A Finger Test
You strike three times on the top, you see,
And strike three times on the bottom for me,
Then top and bottom you strike very fast,
And open a door in the middle at last.
shang da san tong gu
xia da gu san tong
liang bian yi qi da
dang jian kai da feng
The Chinese title above is from the first line in Chinese. The English title is different. It comes directly from Headland's book of Chinese Mother Goose rhymes.
Below is what I believe would be a literal translation of the rhyme. Based on the photo I believe the instructions would be those in italics next to the rhyme:
Tap three beats on top, (Tap middle finger with pointer finger)
Drum three beats below, (Tap ring finger with pinkie)
Beat both sides at once, (Do both at once)
Open wide the seam in between! (It opens a gap between the ring finger and the middle finger)
Serenity Princess wrote from China: "Honestly speaking, when I was young I did not play the finger game "上打三通鼓". I think your translation is good. Actually, the lyrics do not tell something about the "drum", it just tells children how to use their fingers to play this game."
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Thanks and Acknowledgements
This rhyme and the English translation above are from the book, Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes, by Isaac Taylor Headland of Peking University (copyright 1900).
Many thanks to Yuan Ping for typing this rhyme in Chinese text for us and to Serenity Princess for the commentary and the Pinyin text.
M goi! & Xie xie!