Question about the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Nursery Rhyme “Ride Ride Ranke”

Pamela wrote me about a rhyme that I’ve been asked about many times. Here’s what she wrote…


I am interested in finding a nursery rhyme in the Danish language which I learned as a child and have passed on to my children as well. I hope you can help me locate this rhyme. It is about an alligator or crocodile sneaking up on someone sitting on a log at the edge of a lake. I am probably not remembering the Danish words correctly, and I don’t speak Danish at all, but it sounds something like this:

A rita, rita, runkin
Demile hans hoose,
Devoon yemoon
Kot on a moose
On little wahoon
Syin on a bankin
Slick upon a slick a sow
Woof! Woof! Woof!

I have probably completely ruined the rhyme with my bad memory, but I am very interested in learning it correctly. The Woof! Woof! Woof! Part is where the alligator eats the person.

Thank you!

If anyone knows this rhyme, many people out there would be grateful for the corrrect words. Please comment below or email me with the correct version!



UPDATE: I posted one Swedish version of Rida rida ranka on my Swedish Song Pages, one Danish version of Rida rida ranke, and 2 Norwegian Versions of Rida rida ranke on Mama Lisa’s World’s Norway pages.

More versions in the comments below…

This article was posted on Saturday, December 31st, 2005 at 6:38 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Danish, Danish Children's Songs, Danish Nursery Rhymes, Denmark, Languages, Norway, Norwegian, Norwegian Children's Songs, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Rhea Rhea Runkin, Sweden, Swedish, Swedish Children's Songs, Swedish Nursery 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.

121 Responses to “Question about the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Nursery Rhyme “Ride Ride Ranke””

  1. Katie Says:

    This is the version used in my family!

    Rida Rid Ranka
    Hasten Heter Blanca
    Vart Ska Vi Rida
    Till en Liten Piga
    Vad Skall hon Heta
    Jungfru Margareta
    De Tjocka och don Feta

    Boof-deh Boof-deh Boof-deh

  2. Jan Says:

    Here is a link to my Father singing this nursery rhyme. We grew up hearing this all the time. He just died recently, but he was Norwegian through and through. After he sings the song, he translates the meaning for the members of our family gathered at our annual May 17th picnic.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Corlyssa Says:

    My son is working on a project about our Swedish heritage. I remember fondly the one Swedish song my grandfather used to sing to me while bouncing me on his knees. It is a Rida, Rida Ranka song, but I was under the impression it was about a big dog and a little dog? I will type it out phonetically the way I remember it…if anyone has a similar Swedish version, I would be forever grateful for the correct spelling and meaning.

    Rida Rida Ranka
    Hestan in a Blankan
    Nol starnania
    Pol mensina
    Nellie Kol Him
    Nol in a Brankan.
    Woof Woof Woof (in a high pitched sound)
    Stonna Stolla
    Woof Woof Woof (in a low pitched voice)
    Stonna Stilla

  5. Norma Swanson Says:

    This is what our Swedish grandmother said to us (spelled phonetically).

    Ria Ria Runkin
    Heston hit da blunken
    Varsko de ria
    Tian lita peeka
    Varsko hun hetta
    Anna Margarita!

  6. Jan Pedersen Says:

    Ride, ride Runken
    Hesten heter Blanken.
    Solomon var i silke toy,
    Piken bor i neste by.
    Dit skal vi ride.
    Ingen var hemme.
    To sma hunder sitter under vegan
    Suker seg pa lobben.
    Voof Voof Voof Voof Voof!

  7. Stanford Madsen Says:

    My grandfather was Danish, my grandmother was born in Norway.
    The version I heard was:

    Ride ride Runke
    Hesten hedder Blunke
    Kongens rige
    Hestens pige
    En to, en to

  8. Lisa Says:

    I received this email:

    My grandmother is full Norwegian, and I learned as

    Ride, Ride, Ranke
    to the Miller’s house
    Nobody’s home,
    but the cat and the mouse

    Ride, Ride, Ranke (she pronounced “ride” as “rida”)
    til mollerens hus
    ingen hjemme men
    katten og musa

  9. Melissa Shattuck Says:

    I discovered your site by accident. I was doing some homework on a 6×6 Trivet that came in to my little consignment shop that has Rida,Rida Ranka in English and Swiss. If you or anyone on your site would be interested We have the Trivet priced moderately at 5.00 plus shipping. If you would care for a picture of the Trivet and to find out more information your readers can email I hope that you will allow this post to remain even if you take out the reference to selling because I have learned so much from your postings and really appreciate the love of history and family that your page is generating. Thank you for passing on such a gift!

  10. Lisa Says:

    Kathlene wrote:

    “I came across your page – as I was looking for a nursery rhyme my Norwegian father used to sing to me.

    I am typing it as the words sounded to me:

    Rida rida runkin
    Amelden Poos
    Inna cotty etta ameldin poos
    Milden amalta
    Hilden agalta
    tipesaa – cre, cre cre cre

    The words I found on a YouTube video:

    Rida rida runka (ride ride quickly)
    Tu Mueller Mon Hoose (to the miller mans house)
    Inga von hema (nobody is home)
    mon too small moose (but two small mice)”

  11. Erica Says:

    I have the same story as the rest…grandfather bounced mom on his knee, mom bounced me on her knee and sang:
    (Phonetically spelled!)
    Rida Rida Ranka
    Til Mallen’s hoos
    Der var ingen yemma
    Men leeten katta poos
    Setten on da borde
    Peena en a tail
    Meow, Meow, Meow
    Ah! Woof woof woof

    I never knew what it was about except the part about the cat. There are SO many versions of this rhyme! I love it!

  12. Pam Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I remember my grandmother (her parents emigrated to Hartford, CT, USA from Sweden; she was born in the US in 1908) singing this little rhyme to me and my siblings while bouncing us on her knee. She said that it was about a little boy who rides to a girl’s home, but no one was there but 3 small dogs, who if you didn’t feed them bread, they would go, “woof, woof, woof!”

    I recall the first couple lines sounding like “Rida rida runkin, hester hitta brunken”.

  13. Lisa Says:

    Hi Pam,

    We have a version of your grandmother’s rhyme at the link below…

    Mama Lisa

  14. Pam Says:

    Many thanks Lisa!

  15. Kathleen Says:

    Thank you all! I feel that I am getting closer to the version my grandpa sang to us…I will spell it the way I remember it sounding…plus a little Norwegian I am learning….

    Rida, rida, runca
    Hesten hed a Blanka
    Hesten hed en appelgro
    Saten liten jenta pa
    Rida, rida, runca

    Anyone have ideas about what the “appelgro” might be?

  16. lory Johnson Says:

    this is how I remember the the little song

    ria ria honkin

    hestin hitan blankin

    con stan ta ria

    most con ta ria

    vooff vaff vooff vaff vooff

    My Swedish / Norwegian parents never tried to tell me what it was supposed to mean
    any ideas ?

  17. Heidi Jorgensen Says:

    Hope this Norwegian version works…

    Ride ride ranke…………….Reeda reeda rahn-kay
    Hesten heter Blanke………Horse’s name is Blahn-kay
    Hesten den var abilgrå……Horse’s look was (abil?) gray
    Satt ei lita jente på………. A little girl was riding it
    Og jenta det var (name)…That girl’s name was …..!

    I have sung this to my kids and grandkids.

  18. Lisa Says:

    Paul Kern wrote:

    “Hello Lisa,

    My mom used to say a poem from her childhood; it appears similar to your Ride Ride Runka entries. However, my mom’s version was something like (please forgive the phonetic errors):

    Ride Ride Runken
    Hesta heita blunken
    Mine hesta kunda spenda
    Deia dunken over enda

    She translated it as:

    Ride ride your horse
    My horse is best
    My horse could kick your doll
    End over end.

    Now, I don’t know if my mom just came from a very unruly family that they would include kicking dolls around in a poem, but that’s how she remembered it (she was never fluent – but her parents spoke Norwegian regularly).

    Do you know of any version that is similar in sound or translation to her version?

    Thank you,

    Paul Kern”

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? -Mama Lisa

  19. Elizabeth Says:


    My father growing up always heard a version of this nursery rhyme when he was little. With the birth of his granddaughter he’s been singing it more often, but we’re unsure of what the lyrics mean. He was always told the rhyme was Danish, but he was very little when his great grandfather died.

    Does anyone recognize a version that sounds something like:

    Ride, ride, Ranke,
    Hester Heiden Blanke.
    Dos mo, unde unde
    Blanken side
    Wolf wolf wolf.

  20. Lois Says:

    As Sheri said (July 5 2010), the version my grandfather used to bounce me on his knee had the line “Til Kongens gård og fria”
    It went pretty much like this:
    Ride ride ranke
    Hesten heter Blanke
    Føllet heter Abildgrå
    Den skal (child’s name) ride på
    Hvor ska vi leie
    Til Kongens gård og fria
    Bare to små hunder er der
    Ligger sammen under stolen
    En liten hund sier “Woof!”
    Den andre sier “Woof, woof, woof!”
    I found an English translation in a collection of nursery rhymes which, though not word-for-word, seems to be very close:
    “Ride, ride away,
    Our horse is Dapple Gray,
    And (name) is on his back,
    Oh where shall he ride today?
    To the King’s Castle!
    Only two little dogs are there,
    Lying together under the chair,
    One little dog says “Woof!”
    The other says “Woof, woof, woof!”

  21. Siri Randem Says:

    There are several different versions of “Ride, ride ranke” (rank=straight back/sit upright like you must in a saddle):
    1. Ride, ride ranke til møllerens hus (to the millers house), var ingen hjemme (nobody home, but), men en liten kattepus (tiny kittycat)
    Og tre små mus (and three little mice).
    Katten, den maler (the cat, it purrs), hanen (the rooster, it crows), den galer:

    2. Ride, ride ranke (ride and sit up straight),
    hesten heter Blanke (the horse is called Blanke, orig. Queen Blanca of Sweden),
    Føllet heter Abildgrå (The foal is called Abildgrå, abild is an archaic word for apple, grå=grey =dappled)
    Sitter liten junker på (a little nobleman sits there),
    Den skal barnet (the baby’name) ride.
    Hvor (Where) skal vi ride?
    Til kongens gård ( to the Kings farm/castle) og fri’e (and propose).
    Der er ingen hjemme (nobody is home),
    men tre små hunder ligger under benken og gnager på lenken (but three dogs’ lie beneath the bench, gnawing on their leashes).
    Den ene sier: Voff
    Den andre sier:” Voff, voff!”
    Den tredje sier: “VOFF, VOFF, VOFF!”

    The three dogs’ sizes go from small to large, and saying woof accordingly – different dynamics, adds excitement.

    3. Ride, ride ranke, si meg hvor skal veien gå, bestefar besøk skal få …(The song that you find in a different thread here )

    The nursery rhymes are personalised and have changed in later years into more “modern”, colloquial Norwegian.

    The verses are interchangable with Danish and Swedish versions. Norway has been under both countries’ rule historically and we share several nursery rhymes.

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