Believe it or not, I use this line from "The Little Red Hen"
regularly, especially when asked whether I am responsible
for something. It's just my way
of saying "Not me!" The phrase is also mischevious
and playful enough that a good deal of ambiguity
remains, especially when I inflect
my voice a certain way. Thus, the interrogator
is torn between my words, which say "Not I" and the twinkle
in my eye that says "Me! Me! Me!"
It is in this way that I make an official denial while coyly suggesting that I might be lying. Then again, maybe I'm not.
You'd be amazed how much mileage can be coaxed out of a single, simple phrase.