do your ears hang low?

“Do Your Ears Hang Low?” is a children’s song often sung in school and at camp. There’s no conclusive evidence concerning the origin of the lyrics. A common belief is that the lyrics refer to the ears of a hound dog. 

It is most likely that this was a crude wartime soldiers’ song that, in sanitized form, has made its way into other circles. Versions with obscene lyrics exist, notably “Do Your Balls Hang Low?”and “Do Your Boobs Hang Low?”

Certainly “Do Your Balls Hang Low?” is known to have been sung by British soldiers on the Western Front during WWI. It’s reported that, on one occasion in 1916, General Douglas Haig heard the song being sung by a column of soldiers as they marched past on their way to the Somme. He immediately rode to the head of the column to remonstrate with the battalion commander, only to find the Colonel singing as heartily as his men.

The tune is frequently heard being played on ice cream truck P.A. speakers in America.

Do you suppose that’s true? Does anybody know? I had a deprived childhood; I’ve never even seen an ice cream truck, let alone heard one.

The following lyrics are from one particular variant of the song:

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ’em in a knot?
Can you tie ’em in a bow?
Can you throw ’em o’er your shoulder
Like a continental [or regimental] [or cotton pickin’] soldier
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears stand high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they’re dry?
Can you wave them at (or semaphore) your neighbor
With an element of flavor? (or the minimum of labor)
Do your ears stand high?

Do your ears flip-flop?
Can you use them as a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip-flop?

Do your ears stick out?
Can you waggle them about?
Can you flap them up and down
As you fly around the town?
Can you shut them up for sure
When you hear an awful bore?
Do your ears stick out?

Do your ears give snacks?
Are they all filled up with wax?
Do you eat it in the morning
Do you eat it in the bath?
Do you eat it with a scone
Or do you eat it on its own?
Do your ears give snacks?

That last verse is not one I want to hear just before I’m about to eat breakfast!

Move on over to for news of the short story I published last night!

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