*Sinjau is the name of a town called Yssingeaux in French.

A Longer Version:

Balalin, balalan,
Quò es la clòchas de Sinjau
Que fan balalin, balalan.
Quau es mòrt?
Joan de l'òrt;
Quau l'entèrra?
Sa cavala;
Quau lo pura?
Sa centura;
Quau lo sèc?
Son chapèl;
Quau li fai son trauc?
Sos esclòps.

English Translation

Balalin, balalan,
Those are the bells of Sinjau
That go balin, balan.
Who's dead?
John of the garden.
Who's burying him?
His mare.
Who's mourning him?
His belt.
Who's following him?
His hat.
Who's digging his grave?
His clogs.

Game Instructions

The adult sits and holds the hands of the child seated on his/her ankles, they push and pull the child back and forth in a seesaw movement on each line. On the last word, they let the child go a little more backwards (the bells have fallen into the pond, haven't they?)

You can hear the song sung at 14:10 in the La Cie Sous le Ciel video below. You can also hear the tune of some other traditional Occitan songs.

Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to La Cie Sous le Ciel for contributing this rhyme. On their site you can watch the short movies they've made with children.

Translated by Monique Palomares.

Mercé plan!