Can Any Help with a German or Hungarian Tickling Rhyme?

Becky Haegele wrote to us on the Mama Lisa Facebook Group asking for help with a tickling rhyme her grandmother would play and recite to her. Here’s her question:

Grandmother had a baby rhyme supposedly about cream and a mouse. She would circle her finger in the palm of baby’s hand saying something sounding like, “kreme kreme mauseline.” (We all remember that slightly differently and I am just sounding it out. “Kriebe, Kriebe” ) Say something for each finger then tickle up the arm. No one can remember and she has passed. I found the rhyme in Czech but it sounds different. I was hoping someone might recognize it. She spoke German and Hungarian so it could be either language. 

Update from Becky: I think it’s German. I finally had my home video digitized in hopes that someone could transcribe and translate the little finger rhyme our grandmother did with our children. It is at 1:40:45. We would like to continue with the next generation but no one remembers the whole rhyme or what it means. Thank you for any assistance.

If anyone can help with this rhyme, please comment below or email me.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 at 7:56 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Finger Plays, German, Germany, Hungarian, Hungary, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Rhyme Games, Rhymes by Theme, Tickling Rhymes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

15 Responses to “Can Any Help with a German or Hungarian Tickling Rhyme?”

  1. Dominic Phillips Says:

    sounds like German

  2. Barbara Simon Says:

    My mother in law did the mousie baby game. Tickle palm, up arm then tickle armpit. This is phonetically written.

    Come ein mousie…? housie
    Vo ver vessen
    In baby’s (name) kitziekatsen

    Oma, born Vienna 1927, passed away.

    Basically here comes mousie out of his housie
    Where is going? In baby’s Armpit…tickle pit?

    In this case Oma was Jewish, from Vienna. Spoke German, English and Yiddish. Will check with family and friends who have an Oma still living.

    I came here for separate poem/song. Memory is muddled this was circa 1953 or so. My mother sang Bryan O’Lynn and sang “Brian o’lynn and his wife’s mother they all went over the bridge together. The bridge fell out and Brian fell in…” bad cess to the maker quoth Brian O’Lynn. Or he said that about the pants with Hairy/woolly side. Sweet memory.

  3. Barbara Simon Says:

    And from another German speaker (Facebook saves the day).

    …With lots of eye contact and fingers making a crawling motion up baby’s arm, we used to say …Geht eine Maus die Trepp hinauf, bleibt ein bisschen hocken (stop at elbow), geht ein Stueckchen weiter rauf (crawl with fingers to baby’s ear lobe), kommt es an die Glocken….Kilingelingeling, (gently pull baby’s lobe), Wer ist Da??? …Say Baby’s name happily and hug baby. Most babies will want to do it again and again….

  4. Dorie Uhler Says:

    This is different, but thought it might jar someone’s memory. My grandmother and her mother were from Germany. When we were little she used to do’ a circling around in the air with index finger over the baby’s belly. She would say in English Bora, Bora, Bora, a big brown bear – went around the world – I don’t know where. Thought he’d make a hole don’t know where, Bora, Bora, Bora a Big Brown Bear . Thought he’d make it there. (As she was doing this the finger got closer and closer to the belly button. As she finished it she would come down to the belly button and act like she was drilling a hole.
    I don’t know if she originally did this in German or not. But, I do remember my mother doing it to my baby sister.

  5. T Baucells Says:

    This sounds like it must be the German version of
    “Round and round the garden,
    like a teddy bear.
    1 step,
    2 steps
    And a TICKLE under there!”

  6. Lisa Says:

    Here’s a YouTube of Round and Round the Garden in German. Can anyone provide the German lyrics please?

  7. rebecca haegele Says:

    With the added video we have made out

    Dinge geben, Dinge geben, Dinge geben, Dinge geben
    keine nichts gegeben

  8. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Becky wrote:


    Griebe, Griebe, Meiselein
    Meiselein hat Grieben
    dem gegeben (Daumen), dem gegeben (Zeigefinger), usw.
    und dem Kleinen nichts gegeben
    läuft schnell den Arm hoch und kitzelt.

  9. Kat Blackmon Says:

    My grandmother, whose Father was from Germany, used to play a counting game with us, using our toes – much like “this little piggy”, only starting with the baby toe and moving towards the big toe. My memory of the words/sounds that went with it were as follows (written phonetically):

    Ecka Pea (baby toe)
    Polly Rue
    Rue Whistle
    Mary Ostle
    and Ole Tum Bumble! (big toe)

    I have never heard this or found anything like it anywhere. I would love to know where it comes from, or anything anyone might be able to tell me about it

  10. Lisa Says:

    Kat – We have a post with likely hundreds of versions of this type of toe naming rhyme. We’re not sure which is the first version.

  11. Nancy sherer Says:

    Now that i am a grandmother !!! I am Passing this down from my grandmother ( Jewish Romanian)
    A Keezela Mazelah Keutchib Keutchi Keutchi Koo …She would blow to clean my palm , make a circle with her fingers in my palm and then run her fingers up my arm and tickle my underarm …. I am guessing that Mazelah is from Yoddish or German for Mouse …. Does anyone else remember this

  12. John Davidoski Says:

    My grandmother, who was Hungarian and Slovak, did a tickling rhyme with her grandkids and great grandkids where she would make circles on the palm of their hands with her forefinger (to start) but at the end poke them lightly in the belly 3 times. It phonetically sounded like:

    Telly Mama
    setzy dalla
    essa vetsa
    abood salla
    Pook de petska
    Pook de petska
    Pook! Pook! Pook! (this where she poked them in the belly).

    This was always a big hit with her grandkids (who would laugh and say “Again!”) and was hoping someone had a clue as to the origin. There is a Hungarian rhyming scheme that has vague similarities (

  13. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Anna O. wrote:

    Käse Käse Mäuselein…
    at’s dem gegeben, hat’s dem gegeben –
    Und der kleine Winzige-…?
    Isst alles auf?

    Cheese, cheese, little Mouse
    gave it to this one, and this one.
    And the little tiny one, -gets it all ?

    I don’t understand the last words, seems to be an other language !

    Nice to look for this !

  14. Chris Says:

    I remember a rhyme that began with a happy mouse seeking her house. It began , Laufty Maisle sucht die haisel. Wo ist es do! ist es… And ended in a jab into the armpit and massive giggles. Sweet, sweet memories.

  15. John Says:

    Not sure of (German? or other) language 80 years ago. Help with “round & round garden type” rhyme which PHONETICALLY went like:
    Morla morla grit ski (with circular tickling)
    A buckel a rup, a rups a rup,
    A pelser a fretser,
    Sher at ick a pup. (Throw away motion of pinky)

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