Can Anyone Help with a Dutch or German Children’s Song?

Bruce Ham wrote to us recently looking for help with the lyrics to a Dutch children’s song that his grandmother used to sing to the kids in the family. He sent us a recording of his grandmother singing the song. In the recording you can also hear his grandma talk about how she used to sing it. It shows how important it is to record your relatives to help preserve your family’s history.  This recording is really special and I’m sure Bruce’s family is very happy they have it. (It’s not even my family and it brings tears to my eyes.)

You can listen to the recording below…

MP3 Recording of Dutch Children’s Song

Here’s Bruce’s email:

Hi Lisa,

I am doing a bit of research.  My grandmother (born in Canada) was from Dutch ancestry.  We believe her parents may have also immigrated to Germany before coming to Canada.  Anyways, my grandmother used to sing this song to us all the time.  She told us it was Dutch and was about Ducks having no shoes out in the rain.  Apparently her mother used to sing it to her all the time.

After all the years, I am sure that much has been lost and changed from the original. Do you recognize this at all?  It is from a recording we recently found – it is about 35 years old.

Thank you so much for your time.

Cheers,

 

Bruce Ham

If anyone can help with the original Dutch lyrics to this song and/or a translation, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 at 7:57 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Dutch, Dutch Children's Songs, Frisian, German, German Children's Songs, Germany, Germany, Languages, Netherlands, Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Dutch or German Children’s Song?”

  1. Niklas Oberfeld Says:

    I think I recognize the song. It is German and is called “Suse, liebe Suse, was raschelt im Stroh”. There are several versions of it floating around on the internet. Here is a pretty good one from YouTube:
    https://youtu.be/70byA5pTyew

    The text roughly translates as:
    Susy, dear Susy. What’s rustling in the straw
    It is the little goslings they have no shoes
    The cobbler has leather, (but) no workbench for it
    Therefore the sweet goslings go and have no shoes.

    The second verse is sung very seldom and does not quite fit the first. My guess is that it was a different song with the same melody that got thrown in with the original later:

    Susy, dearest Susy. What for a need (dire times, wanting…)
    Who gives me a threepence for sugar and bread
    (Should, if) I sell my bed and lay me down on the straw
    Then I won’t be strung by a feather nor bitten by a flea

    Although I recognized the song and could make out some words, the language your grandmother sings in is neither standard Dutch nor High German. It must be a Dutch or German dialect, or could it may be be Frisian?

  2. Lisa Says:

    We have a version of the German song in the comments on Eia, popeia, was raschelt im Stroh?. Here are the German lyrics and translation:

    Suse, liebe Suse

    “Suse, liebe Suse, was raschelt im Stroh?”
    Die Gänse gehen barfuß
    Und haben kein’ Schuh.
    Der schuster hat Leder
    Kein’ Leisten dazu,
    Drum kann er den Gänsen
    Auch machen kein’ Schuh.

    English Translation:

    Susanne, Susanne Love

    “Susanne, Susanne love, what’s rustling in the hay?”
    The geese go barefoot
    And have no shoes.
    The cobbler has leather
    But no shoe last,
    Therefore he can’t make the geese
    Any shoes.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Niklas wrote:

    “Yep, that’s the song. I was thrown off by the different opening line and so I didn’t find it in your registry. But that is definitely the song I was thinking about.

    Now if we just could find out what dialect the grandmother is singing in…”

    ‘Niklas

  4. Bruce Ham Says:

    Thanks to all for the information you have provided. After all these years, it is great to know a bit more about this song that was so important to our family. I look forward to hearing anything else you may want to share. And THANK YOU to Lisa for providing this forum!

  5. Juliane Schroeder Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I grew up with a German lullaby that speaks of “What’s rustling in the straw. The cats are dead and the mice are glad.” Are you familiar with a song that sounds like this? I would love the lyrics in German and English. My son also remembers my mother (Omie) singing it to him as a child and would like to have the lyrics for his new daughter. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much,

    Juliane

  6. Helga Burre Says:

    My mother’s german song book from the 1920’s (from northeast Schleswig-Holstein) has
    “Eia, popeia was raschlet imm Stroh
    instead of the “Susi” beginning

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