In this monograph we have undertaken to show that the use of rhymes and doggerels for "counting-out" obtains among children in all countries; that the customs perpetuated in their juvenile games are of great antiquity, and that they originate in the superstitious practices of divination by lots.
In forming the collection of counting-out rhymes we have been assisted by many correspondents, as well as by the children themselves who kindly responded to our published appeals; to all of these we give hearty thanks. In the preparation of these pages we have consulted many authorities, some of which are named below; to all of them due credit is given.
Examples of counting-out rhymes in a still greater number of languages could undoubtedly be gathered by extending the correspondence of the author, and the best way to accomplish this seemed to be by presenting to the public the material already collected. Those interested in folk-lore will confer a great favour upon the author by sending him lists of counting-out rhymes, with information concerning the usages among children. Rhymes in foreign languages not included in the following pages will be especially welcome. Communications addressed to the author, care of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, U.S.A., will be thankfully received and duly acknowledged.