The Little Sawyers of San Juan
Maderitos de San Juan,
Los del rey sierran bien
Los de la reina también.
The little sawyers of San Juan,
The king's sawyers saw well,
The queen's sawyers too.
Monique wrote: "Regarding the meaning of 'maderos' or 'maderitos', it's based on 'madera' meaning 'wood'. 'Aserrín' is sawdust and 'aserrín aserrán' is an onomatopoeia that imitates the sound of the saw. I think 'sierran' (saw) is the main clue and we can translate 'maderos' and 'maderitos' as 'sawyers' (or alternatively woodsmen).
The child "rides" on the adult's knees while the adult holds the child's hands and makes a push and pull saw movement. Then on the last word, "también" - on the first part "tam" the child is pulled, on "bién" the child is "pushed" and gently let go backwards (while holding onto him/her).
MP3: Monique Palomares
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Cleofé García González for contributing this song and to Monique Palomares for translating it (with Lisa Yannucci).
Many thanks to Lila Pomerantz for the drawing.