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"Give Me Three Grains of Corn, Mother" poem in the Hamsphire Gazette newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This poem, which was also turned into a song, was written by Amanda M. Edmond who lived in Brookline, Massachusetts. The poem describes the dying moments of one of the victims of the Irish potato famine. It is based on a story out of Ireland where a young boy kept saying "Mother, give me three grains of corn." The mother apparently thought her son was delirious, and kept trying to sooth him with phrases like, "Sure if I had all the corn in the world, I would give it to you." After the boy died, a neighbor woman who had been present searched the boy's pockets and found three grains of corn in one of them. This poem first appeared in the Boston Traveler and was reprinted in many other newspapers. The poem endured long after this first publication. It is partly quoted in My Friend Annabel Lee by Mary MacLean and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin, both published in 1903. It also appeared in many school textbooks during the last half of the 19th century, for use in elocution exercises.


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