Can Anyone Help with a Rhyme Sounding Like, “Oddly boddlee finga hoof”? It’s Most Likely German!

David Stewart wrote:

Lisa, maybe you can help me with a poem my mother (now 78) learned from her grandmother when she was a child. I believe it is German and she has no idea what it means but has asked many people the meaning and has never found out. Your help would be greatly appreciated. It goes something like this (of course the spelling is off):

Oddly boddlee finga hoof
Steck ta bow wow
Also goot
Katch s-mouse
Bow wow schnauz

If anyone can help David with the original words to this rhyme and/or a translation, please let us know in the comments below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, English, German, German Nursery Rhymes, Germany, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Readers Questions, USA. 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.

One Response to “Can Anyone Help with a Rhyme Sounding Like, “Oddly boddlee finga hoof”? It’s Most Likely German!”

  1. Elle Müller Says:

    Here’s your answer!
    This is a song mentioning a thimble (‘Fingerhut’).

    The part where you wrote ‘oddly boddlee’ sparked a memory of a song a lady from Austria told me about.

    I did much searching for Austrian songs mentioning Fingerhüte, and out of all the songs mentioning thimbles, this one is surely your long sought after song.

    You seemed to be remembering the second verse.


    Kinderliedchen aus dem Mürzthale.
    Mitgetheilt von Frau A. Marx, Allerheiligen.

    1. Miazale, Moizale geah’ma z’an Tanz,
    Setz’ a weiß’ Häuberl auf und ean grean Kranz,
    Ziag’s roathi Kitterl on, s’schwarzi Miaderl dazua,
    Oaft bist mein liab’s Schotzerl, d’Schönst’ für dein’n Bua.

    2. Etli, wetti Fingerhut,
    Stirbt der Bauer, ist’s nit gut,
    Stirbt die Bäuerin auch zugleich,
    Geh’n die Engel mit der Leich.

    3. Holzknechtbuab’n müass’n früh aufsteh’n,
    Müass’n d’ Hackerl nehm’ und in Holzschlag geh’n
    Wonn d’ Sunn schön scheint und dos Hackerl schreit,
    Dos is’n Holzknecht Buab’n sein größti Freud’.

    4. Wann der Auerhahn balzt
    Und der Kohlführer schnalzt
    Und das Brandvögerl schreit,
    Ist der Tag nimmer weit.


    Here’s my attempt at a translation into normal German:

    1. Miazale, Moizale geh einmal zu einen Tanz,
    Setzt ein weißes Häubchen auf und einen grünen Kranz,
    Zog das roter Kittel an, das schwarze _____ dazu,
    Oft bist mein liebes Schatzerle, die Schönste für deinen Bauer.

    [It looks like Etli means Etliche/Einige (Some), and Wetti is a short form of Barbara(name) or etwas unnötiges (something useless), or this is just nonsensical rhyme.]

    2. Etli, Wetti Fingerhut,
    Stirbt der Bauer, ist es nicht gut,
    Stirbt die Bäuerin auch zugleich,
    Gehen die Engel mit der Leiche.

    3. Holzknechtbuben müssen früh aufstehen,
    Müssen das Hackerle nehmen und in Holzschlag gehen
    Wann die Sonne schön scheint und das Hackerle schreit,
    Das ist ein Holzknecht Buben sein größter Freude.

    4. Wann der Auerhahn balzt
    Und der Kohleführer schnalzt
    Und das Brandvögel schreit,
    Ist der Tag nimmer weit.


    Now an attempt into English?

    1. Miazale, Moizale let us dance,
    Put on a white cap(hat) and a green wreath,
    put on the red coat, and the black medallion(?),
    Often you are my most beloved sweetheart, the most beautiful for your farming boy.

    2. Etli, wetti (IMHO no real meaning, just rhyming) thimble/foxglove,
    If the farmer dies, it is not good,
    if the farmer’s wife also dies,
    than the angels will go with the bodies.

    3. Wood-farm-servant-boys must get up early,
    They must take the axe and go cut timber,
    If the sun is shining and the axe is crying (working well),
    then this is the servant’s greatest joy.

    4. If the grouse/capercaillie-cock dances,
    and the Kohlführer(coal delivery coachman?) clicks,
    and the Brandvögel(a kind of bird) screams,
    the day is never far.


    Although I’m a German speaker, I can’t translate this any better than this. Much of this is rather intelligible, but this is obviously in some kind of Viennese dialect, and I’m unsure of the meaning of many of these words.

    In my defence, how many of you know what ‘kumbaya’ means? :P

    Could another be helpful with the translation?

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