Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

The phrase "Diddle, diddle, dumpling" means "toddle, toddle, plump little kid" (dumpling meaning plump little kid in a friendly sort of way). Here's why...

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition for Diddle: "To walk unsteadily, as a child; to toddle; = daddle. Obs."

Here's an example it gives of diddle used in print in 1632: "And when his forward strength began to bloom, To see him diddle up and down the Room!"

-The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition for Dumpling: "2. A dumpy animal or person, short and of rounded outlines."

Here's an example it gives of it used in print in 1828: "Dumpling, a little fat child or person, as broad as long."

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Denslow's Mother Goose (1901) has the first line as "Deedle Deedle Dumpling".

The version of the rhyme below is from The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. It's interesting to see how they name the clothing in their version...

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his breeches on,
One stocking off, and one stocking on;
Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John.

Here's the version from Harry's Ladder to Learning (1850):

Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his breeches on;
One shoe off, the other shoe on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John.

Here's the version from The Little Mother Goose (1912):

Deedle, deedle, dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with his stockings on;
One shoe off, and one shoe on,
Deedle, deedle, dumpling, my son John.

Here's the Scottish version as found in A Book for Bairns and Big Folk, Children's Rhymes, Games, Songs, and Stories, 2nd edition (1904) by Robert Ford:

Hey diddle dumplin' my son John,
Went to his bed with his trowsers on;
One shoe off and the other shoe on,
Hey diddle dumplin', my son John.

Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1
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MP3: Lisa Yannucci

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Here's an idiosyncratic version of Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling performed by my husband and son, Jason and Calvin Pomerantz.
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Thanks and Acknowledgements

The 1st illustration is from The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. The 2nd illustration is from The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. Thanks to Jason and Calvin for the 2nd video! 1st video and mp3: Mama Lisa.

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