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International Music & Culture
El Milano
(Mexican Children's Game Song)

El Milano
Canción de juego
Children's Game Song

Vamos a la huerta
Del toro-toronjil*,
A ver a Milano
Comiendo perejil.

Milano no está aquí,
Está en su vergel,
Abriendo una rosa
Y cerrando un clavel.

Mariquita, la de atrás,
Que vaya a ver
Si viene o no viene,
Para echarnos a correr.

Let's go to the garden
With the lemon, lemon balm
To see Milano
a'eating parsley.

Milano isn't there,
He's in his orchard
Opening a rose
And closing a carnation.

Little Mary, the one in the back,
Let her go and see
If he's coming or if he isn't coming,
So we can start running.

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*"Toronjil" is lemon balm, toro-toronjil is just a repetition of the beginning of the word (it's not a bull called Toronjil). Some versions have this word as "toro-torojil".

Alternate version:

Vamos a la vuelta
Del toro-torojil
A ver a la rana
Comiendo perejil.

La rana no está aquí
Estará en su vergel
Cortando una rosa
Sembrando un clavel.

English Translation:

Let's go around
The lemon, lemon balm
To see a frog
a' eating parsley.

The frog isn't there,
It's probably in its orchard
Picking a rose,
Sowing a carnation.

Game Instructions

One of the children is Milano, s/he goes away from the group and pretends to sleep.

The other children walk in a line while singing the first two verses of the song. At the end of the second verse, they stop. Then while they sing the third verse, the last child in the row goes to see Milano and touches his/her forehead.

The first child in the row asks, "Is Milano dead or healthy?" (¿el Milano está muerto o está sano?). The last child answers, "He's sick" (Está indispuesto) and goes back to the end of the line. The children sing the first two verses again. Then the last child goes back to see Milano and answers:

"He's got a cold" (Tiene catarro)
Then: "He's hot" (Tiene calentura)
Then: "He has fever" (Tiene fiebre)
Then: "He's got typhus" (Tiene tifo)
Then: "He's been administered the last sacraments" (Se está sacramentando)
Then: "He's writing his will" (Está haciendo testamento)
Then: "He's dying" (Está agonizando)
Finally: "Milan is dead" (Milano está muerto).

Then all the kids start running while Milano chases them. Whoever s/he catches becomes the new Milano.

-Game instructions translated from Vicente T. Mendoza, "Lírica infantil de México, Letras mexicanas, Fondo de cultura económica" (1951).

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Translations by Monique Palomares and Lisa Yannucci.

¡Muchas gracias!

Lyrics & Recordings Needed!

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