This song was collected by Béla Bartók at Vésző in Békés County in 1909.
Hey, Mrs. Cobbler
Hej, Vargáné káposztát főz,
Kontya alá ütött a gőz,
Kinek adja Zsuzsa lányát?
Nem adja az más egyébnek:
Kara István őkelmének,
Még akkor neki ígérte,
Mikor bölcsőben rengette.
Nem ettem én ma egyebet,
Csak egy köcsög aludttejet.
Azt is csak úgy kalán nélkül,
Megélek én a lány nélkül.
Mrs. Cobbler (1) is cooking cabbage,
The steam is going up (2) to her bun
She is whipping (3) her wooden spoon (4) vehemently,
To whom should she give her daughter, Susan (5)?
She does not give her to anybody else,
Only to Sir István Kara,
She was already promised to him,
When she lulled her in the cradle.
I have not eaten anything today
Except a jug of milk curd,
I ate it without any spoon,
I can live without her daughter.
Notes from Tinker Jack:
(1) It used to be a professional worker who dealt with leather and then made shoes. Today it is a very popular surname in Hungary.
(2) The verb "ütött" means "stroke, hit". It expresses a sudden movement.
(3) The verb "hányja-veti" is again quite challenging to translate. It actually means "Throwing here and there". So, better solutions are welcomed.
(4) "Kalán" is archaic. Today one says "kanál".
(5) Zsuzsa is one of the nickname versions of Zsuzsanna. There are quite a lot in use, too.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Tinker Jack for translating this song and providing such interesting notes!