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Subject: Dutch children's song about horseriding
(25 april 2018)


Dear Rosemary,

I am one of eleven siblings. We are trying to find the words to a Dutch nursery rhyme my Grandfather would sing to each of us when we were little. He would sit, cross his legs, place us on his ankle, and hold our hands. He would then raise and lower his lower leg "riding" us in an up-and-down fashion while reciting...

Yea - ah - patch - a - mick - an - draw
Mor - gen - is - a - soon - day
A - dun - da - ring - and - a hare
Und - a - met - ta - boom - da - clare
Un - don - koms - da - ack - kush - man
x x x x x x x x x x
Yee - a, yee - a, yee - a.

While raising his leg higher and higher, making us fly off his outstretched foot. Please help with the translation.
I am sure you got a kick out of reading this.

Bob.





Answer     (26 april 2018)


Dear Bob,

I had a bit of a hard time to recognize any Dutch in the lines you sent me. Of course I understand how hard it is, to write down Dutch in phonetic English, based on a childhood memory. But I did understand 1 line, the second line:

'Morgen is a soonday' ('morgen is een zondag') means: 'tomorrow is a sunday'.

With google I got no hits with just this sentence. So I searched for the words 'tomorow sunday' in the scientific Dutch Song Database. And here I found a children's song, I'm rather sure that it's the song you are searching for:

'Hop hop paardje op een draf / Morgen is het zondag', meaning: 'Hop hop (go, go) little horse at a trot / Tomorrow it is Sunday'.

So in your written down text:
Yea - ah - patch - a - mick - an - draw
    Ju ju, paardje met een draf
Mor - gen - is - a - soon - day
    Morgen is een zondag

This is a traditional, anonymous children's song from around 1850 or older. The Dutch Song Database collected 64 versions of this song, specially between 1850 and the 1930's:
liederenbank.nl/paardjedrafzondag
These variants were in those days written down from the oral tradition. When songs are passed on by word of mouth for generations, variants in both text and music will develop. That's why there are so many versions.

Unfortuanately, as far as I can see, none of these versions is exactely the same as your version of the song. But that does not mean your version is wrong; no, they are all variants - the original song is simply lost in the centuries.


The song 'Hop hop paardje op een draf / Morgen dan is het zondag' is what we call in Dutch a 'knielied' (a 'knee song'): a song for young children, generally about horses, you sing with the young child on your knees, holding his hands. During singing, you let the child hop up and down on the rhythm, imitating horseback riding. Often, the adult lets the child 'fall down' or 'fall' backwards on the last word (but holding him firm by his wrists, of course). I never heard of letting the child sit on your feet/ankles instead of your knees, but I only can remember such songs/games from my own father and grandfather (probably these are typical songs/games that men sing?), so that's little comparison, and the result is the same: playing a fun 'horseriding' game, having fun with a young child.

The oldest versions of your song were written down around 1850, for example by the well-known folk and children's songs collectors J. Goeverneur and J. van Vloten. In the DBNL (digital library of dutch literature) you can find a few pages of the first mentioned song book, with the typical illustrations of that time (1880):
dbnl.org/tekst/goeverneur
Here you find a picture of horses next to the 'knee song'.

The song describes several people who are going horseriding on Sunday. Probably these were people riding through a public park on their day off (common in the nineteenth/eighteenth? century). The song mentions gentlemen with (rich) colourful clothes, ladies with wide sleeves - and behind them, last in line, rides a farmer, a field man. Often these kind of 'knieliedjes'/'knee songs' mention several horses or horseback riders, and the rhythem of the song changes with each horse.


The Song Database gives only the complete songtext of 5 old versions. I send two of them at the bottom of this mail, with translations - because I think you'll recognize several sentences in these two.

At last (knowing more words of the song) I could find a website that mentions the song - this website is called SeniorPlaza, meaning something like Square for Elderly. They have two versions of this song:
seniorplaza.nl/paardjedraf
seniorplaza.nl/hophoppaardje
Both are rather similar to your lyrics; I translated the first one for you.

I couldn't find the song on the many websites with nowadays Dutch children's songs - so I'm afraid the song is still only known by some elderly (senior) people and is no longer sung with children.

Based on the three versions I translated for you, at the bottom of this mail, I'll give it a try to write a possible text of your version in Dutch.


I hope this was what you were looking for. I understand that songs of your childhood can strongly bring back memories - so I hope that this will bring back good memories about your grandfather, both for you and all your siblings.

With kind regards from the Netherlands, met hartelijke groeten,

Rozemarijn  ('rosemary').

Dutch songs with English translation  (dutchsongs.overtuin.net)

---

Dutch Song Database
The song ('knielied') 'Hop hop paardje op een draf / Morgen is het zondag' (64 versions):

liederenbank.nl/paardjedrafzondag

---

Version in:
H. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Niederländische Volkslieder, HoraeBelgicae NVl (1856)

Hossebosse, paardje,
met jou vlossen staartje:
zóó rijden de heeren
met haar' bonte kleêren;
zoo rijden de vrouwen
met haar' bonte mouwen;
zoo rijdt de akkerman
met zijn paardjen achteran.

Translation:

Trudging little horse
with your fluffy tail
like this the gentlemen ride
with their colourful clothes
like this the ladies ride
with their colourful sleeves
like this the field man rides
on his little horse last in line (at the back).

---

Version in: J. Goeverneur, Kinderdeuntjes, wiegeliedjes (1880)

Ziet, zoo rijen de Heeren,
Met 'er bonte kleêren;
Ziet, zoo rijen de vrouwen,
Met 'er wije mouwen;
Ziet, zoo rijen de joffertjes,
Met 'er mooie pantoffeltjes;
Ziet, zoo rijdt de akkerman,
Met zijn paardje achteran;
Ju, ju, zeggen we dan.

Translation:

Watch, like this the gentlemen ride
with their colourful clothes
Watch, like this the ladies ride
with their wide sleeves
Watch, like this the misses ride
with their nice slippers
Watch, like this the field man (farmer) rides
on his little horse last in line (at the back)
Ju ju (go, go) we all say.

---

Version on SeniorPlaza
seniorplaza.nl/versjes/hop-hop-paardje

Hop hop paardje op een draf
morgen is het zondag
en dan komen de heren
met hun lange kleren
en dan komt de akkerman
met ons kindje achteran.

Translation:

Hop hop (go, go) little horse at a trot
tomorrow it is Sunday
and then the gentlemen will come/arrive
with their long clothes
and then the field man will arrive
with our little child last in line (at the back)

---

Your version:

Yea - ah - patch - a - mick - an - draw
Mor - gen - is - a - soon - day
A - dun - da - ring - and - a hare
(Und - a) - met - ta - boom - da - clare
Un - don - koms - da - ack - kush - man
x x x x x x x x x x
Yee - a, yee - a, yee - a

In Dutch:

Ju ju, paardje met een draf
morgen is een zondag
en dan daar rijden de heren
met hun bonte kleren
en dan komt de akkerman
(met zijn paardje achteran)

Translation:

Ju ju (go, go), little horse at a trot
tomorrow is a Sunday
and then there'll ride the gentlemen
with their colourful clothes
and then the field man will arrive
(with his little horse last in line (at the back))



I hope this answers all your questions!





Answer     (26 april 2018)


Dear Rosemary,

thank you very much for your speedy reply. Armed with the information you provided, I will contact my siblings to get their rendition of the wording to see how well they all match up.

That ought to be a very interesting experiment. I might share the results with you.

Sincerely, Bob.









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