Chants of the Farm (Pennsylvania Dutch)

Changing Diapers

After affixing the clean diaper, the caretaker’s index finger slowly circled down to the child’s belly while singing this chant, whereupon the caretaker tickled the child at the conclusion of the chant.

Boilie, boilie, gix!
Boily, boily, gix!


Soothing a Pain

The caretaker blew on the sore spot before singing this chant.

Heelie, heelie, Hinkeldreck, / Bis marriye frieh iss alles weck!
Haily, haily, Chicken Clay, / Tomorrow morn it’s all away).


A Boyhood Game

Boys sang this chant during a game similar to musical chairs but played with sticks that had to be placed in holes.

Kessli rum, Kessli rum … Loch!
Around the pail, around the pail … hole!


Catching Fish

Children sang this chant after spitting on the worm while baiting the hook when fishing with their elders.

Fischi, Fischi, beiss! / Die Mammi hott die Scheiss.
Fishy, fishy, bite, / Mommy has a fright!


Chants of the Frogs

Children sang these chants while fishing upon hearing the croak of a frog.

Bulli rumm, / Bulli rumm, / Gixx gixx!
Bully rum, / Bully rum, / Gix gix!

Der Benchi kummt, der Benchi kummt! / Hott er die Bix? Hott er die Bix?
Benjie comes; Benjie comes! / Has he a gun? Has he a gun?


Songs of the Churn

Women and children sang these chants while churning butter.

Mei Mammi’s Budderschtenner, / Mei Mammi Glopp-Fass!
My mommy’s butter-churn, / My mommy’s punching-keg!

Budder, Budder, dick dich! / Budder, Budder, grimmel dich!
Butter, butter, get thick! / Butter, butter, crumb yourself!

Budder, Budder, gnippel dich!
Butter, butter, I’ll smack you!


Over the Kitchen Stove

The cook sang these chants while rekindling the fire in the wood stove.

Feierli, Feierli, brenn! / Sippli, Sippli, koch!
Firelet, firelet, burn! / Soupy, soupy, boil!

Feier brenn, Suppli koch, / Die Mary hock tans Feier-Loch!
Fire burn, soupy boil, / Mary sits at the fire door!


The Turnips Are Boiling

The cook sang this chant to hasten the cooking of turnips, simmering in an iron kettle.

Rie-ro-rippel, / Schwatz iss der Stippel, / Root iss es Loch, / Wu der rie-ro-rippel drin kocht.
Ree-roworipple, / Black is the tipple, / Red is the hole, / Where the ree-row-ripple is a-boil.


Boiling Apple Butter

Children sang this chant while stirring apple butter, boiling in a huge copper kettle over an outdoor fire pit.

Rie-ra-rippel, / Geel iss der Stippel, / Schwartz iss es Loch, / Wu der rie-ra-rippel drin kocht.
Ree-raw-ripple, / Yellow is the tipple, / Black is the hole, / Where the ree-raw-ripple is a-boil.


The Song of the Scythe

Men sang these chants while sharpening a scythe with a whetstone and cutting weeds with a scythe.

Sensewetzer, Sensewetzer, / Graasmeeher, graasmeeher!
Scythe-whetter, Scythe-whetter, / Grass-mower, grass-mower!

Farmer: Der Wetz iss gut, / Der Wetz iss gut! / Waer gaar net wetzt, / Ihm schneidt’s net gut.
Scythe: Ich schneid dir net, / Ich schneid dir net! / Du magscht gewetze / Wie du witt!
Farmer: The Scythe is sharp, / The Scythe is sharp! / Who doesn’t sharpen / Can’t cut well.
Scythe: I’ll not cut well, / I’ll not cut well! / And you may sharpen / As you will!


Calling Farm Animals

The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained personal relationships with their animals, including cows, cats, kittens, pigs, piglets, chicks, and hens.

Kumm, da, da, da ….
Come here, here, here ….

Kumm Baassie, Baassie ….
Come, Bossy, Bossy ….

Kumm Buss, Buss, Buss ….
Come, Puss, Puss, Puss ….

Kumm Bussli, Bussli ….
Come, Pussy, Pussy ….

Kumm Wutz, Wutz, Wutz ….
Come Pig, Pig, Pig ….

Kumm Wutzi, Wutzi ….
Come Piggy, Piggy ….

Kumm Bie, Bie, Bie ….
Come Chick, Chick, Chick ….

Gau, Gau, Gau, Gau ….
Hen, hen, hen, hen ….


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