"We have quite a lot of rhymes that start with 'On the top of a mountain there was a ...'. " -Chinese Garden
On Top of the Mountain, There was a Hemp Plant
On top of the mountain, there was a hemp plant*
There was a cicada that was creeping up it.
I asked the cricket, "Why do you creep up it?"
And she said, "I am thirsty and want to eat hemp."
*Literally, "a stem of hemp" - hemp plants grow as individual stems.
gāo gāoshān shàng yī kē má
yǒu gè jíliǎo er wǎng shàng pá
wǒ wèn jíliǎo er pá zěn di
tā shuō kěle yào chī má
Thanks and Acknowledgements
This rhyme and image can be found in "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 for helping with the translation. Translated with Lisa.