Le facteur n'est pas passé
Il ne passera jamais
Lundi, mardi, mercredi
Jeudi, vendredi, samedi
("Fermez les petits pois" ou
"Fermez les petits pois chez soi")
The mailman didn't pass by.
He will never pass by,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
("Close the peas" or
"Close the peas at home")
The children are sitting on a circle, the "mailman" has a handkerchief or a piece of material. While the children are singing, the mailman goes round the circle. When they say "Close the peas", they close their eyes and the mailman drops the handkerchief behind a child's back. When the latter notices it, he must pick it up and run to catch the mailman, who must go round the circle and sit at the now empty place. If the mailman succeeds in sitting at the other's place or if the child who was given the "mail" didn't see it, they switch places. Otherwise, the game resumes with the same mailman.
I always saw my students play it this way. When I was a child, we didn't say the days of the week but "one o'clock, two o'clock…", the mailman definitely had to drop the handkerchief before the song ended, we wouldn't say "Close the peas", we were keeping our eyes wide open and it often happened that the one who'd been given the "mail" would drop it behind someone else's back while running behind the first mailman, which was more fun! – Tatie Monique
Sylvie wrote, "In the South, the song for the mailman game is sung as 'il ne passera jamais' (he will never pass by). Then the week begins and in the end he passes by anyway! It's inconsistent and it annoys me. In Alsace we would sing it as 'il pass'ra dans 5 minutes, dring, dring, le voilà' (he will pass by in 5 minutes, dring, dring, dring, here he is' then the days of the week and the game can go on, but it doesn't rhyme. So we now sing 'il pass'ra dans la journée' ('he will pass by during the day') –Thanks, Nadine!"
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing and translating this song (edited by Mama Lisa). Many thanks also to Sylvie Choffel for the alternate second line and comment.
Many thanks to Edit' Dupont for contributing and singing this song for Mama Lisa's World.