"Mano, mano morta" (Hand, Dead Hand) can also be found with the variation, "Mano, mano molle" (Hand, Limp Hand).

Mano, mano morta - Italian Children's Songs - Italy - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Here are some other versions:

Lucia Bini wrote…

"My parents come from Friuli and I learnt this one:

Mano mano morta
che batte sulla porta
Buum! (repeat several times at different tempos!)

English translation

Dead, dead hand
That hits upon the door,

Dad would sit me on his lap and shake my floppy hand and then tap me on the forehead with it at the buum! The idea of course is to fight being hit by your own hand so it was an enjoyable game."


Rosa wrote, "I come from Calabria and I remember:

Mano mano morta
Dio che ti comporta
Un pezzetino di pane
Un poccatino di vino
peri tup etti n'to mussino!

English translation

Dead hand hand,
God holds you up.
A little piece of bread
A little bit of wine
(Made up word) Peri tupetti on the little mouth!
(As you make the child's hand give himself a little tap on the mouth.)"


Here's a Sicilian version:

Manu modda manu modda
lu Signuri ti la 'ncodda
ti la 'ncodda cu la codda
manu modda manu modda

English translation

Limp hand, limp hand,
The Lord glues it for you.
He glues it with glue,
Limp hand, limp hand.


Here's a Venetian version:

Man morta, man morta
pele de oca
pele de agnelo
daghe 'na sciafa a to fradelo,
to fradelo non ghe xè,
daghe 'na sciafa a chi ghe xè.

English translation

Dead hand, dead hand,
Goose skin,
Lamb skin,
Give a slap to your brother,
Your brother is not there
Give a slap to whoever is there.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Claudia for contributing this rhyme. Many thanks also to Lucia Bini for contributing and translating the second version of it. Many thanks also to Rosa Cotrona for contributing and translating the third version of it.
Sicilian and Venetian versions contributed and translated by Monique Palomares.

Thanks to Lila Pomerantz for the drawing of Mano Morta!

Grazie mille!