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International Music & Culture
Il était une bergère
(French Kids Song)

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Il était une bergère
There Was a Shepherdess
Chanson enfantine
(French)
Children's Song
(English)

Il était une bergère - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Intro Image


Il était une bergère,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Il était une bergère,
Qui gardait ses moutons,
Ron, Ron,
Qui gardait ses moutons.

Elle fit un fromage,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Elle fit un fromage,
Du lait de ses moutons,
Ron, Ron,
Du lait de ses moutons.

Le chat qui la regarde,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Le chat qui la regarde,
D'un petit air fripon,
Ron, Ron,
D'un petit air fripon.

Si tu y mets la patte,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Si tu y mets la patte,
Tu auras du bâton,
Ron, Ron,
Tu auras du bâton.

Il n'y mit pas la patte,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Il n'y mit pas la patte,
Il y mis le menton,
Ron, Ron,
Il y mis le menton.

La bergère en colère,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
La bergère en colère,
Tua son p'tit chaton,
Ron, Ron,
Tua son p'tit chaton.

Elle fut à confesse,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Elle fut à confesse,
Pour demander pardon,
Ron, Ron,
Pour demander pardon.

- Mon Père, je m'accuse,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Mon Père, je m'accuse,
D'avoir tué mon chaton,
Ron, Ron,
D'avoir tué mon chaton.

- Ma fille, pour pénitence,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Ma fille, pour pénitence,
Nous nous embrasserons,
Ron, Ron,
Nous nous embrasserons.

- La pénitence est douce,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
La pénitence est douce,
Nous recommencerons,
Ron, Ron,
Nous recommencerons.

There was a shepherdess,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
There was a shepherdess,
Who was watching her sheep,
Ron, ron,
Who was watching her sheep.

She made cheese,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
She made cheese
With her sheep's milk
Ron, ron,
With her sheep's milk.

The cat was watching her,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
The cat was watching her
With a mischievous look
Ron, ron,
With a mischievous look.

"If you put your paw in it
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
If you put your paw in it,
I'll beat you with a stick
Ron, ron,
I'll beat you with a stick."

It didn't put its paw in it,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
It didn't put its paw in it,
It put its chin in it,
Ron, ron,
It put its chin in it.

The angry shepherdess,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
The angry shepherdess
Killed her little kitten,
Ron, ron,
Killed her little kitten.

She went to confession,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
She went to confession
To ask for a pardon,
Ron, ron,
To ask for a pardon.

"Father, I accuse myself,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
Father, I accuse myself
Of killing my kitten,
Ron, ron,
Of killing my kitten."

"Daughter, as a penance,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
Daughter, as a penance
We'll kiss each other,
Ron, ron,
We'll kiss each other."

"The penance is sweet,
And ron, ron, ron, little patapon.
The penance is sweet,
We'll do it over again,
Ron, ron,
We'll do it over again."
 
Listen
Pascal wrote, "'Il était une bergère' is not, originally, a lullaby. But with a very slow tempo, it can do the trick. It was my music to fall asleep to as a kid. :) " In the following recording you can hear Pascal singing it like a lullaby.

Notes

Not very moral, is it?

*****

Alternate Ending:

Harald Meilicke wrote: "'Il était une bergère' has a text that was unknown to me and is a slightly, let's say, mean version starting from 'la bergère en colère tua son p'tit chaton' onwards (i.e., she kills the kitten and later says she'll do it again). In a version more appropriate for small children, this couplet goes 'la bergère en colère lui donna du bâton' (i.e. she beats the kitten) and the songs ends."

Comments

There's an English Version of Il était une bergère called There Was a Farmer's Daughter. (Check out the link!)

There's a Spanish song with the same theme called Estaba una pastora.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing and translating this song, and for providing the midi and sheet music. Thanks to Harald Meilicke for sharing an alternate ending.

The illustration is from Chansons et rondes enfantines (1870).

Many thanks to Edit' Dupont for singing this song for Mama Lisa's World.

MP3: Monique Palomares

Many thanks to Pascal from Frenchy Bunny for singing this song in a lullaby style for us!

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