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A Pennsylvania Dutch nursery rhyme about horses

One of my favorite sources for all things Pennsylvania Dutch is Dianne.

In a recent letter, she described a Pa. Dutch saying that her grandfather used when bouncing his grandchildren on his knee.

She writes, “It goes something like this…

Rida, rida gali,
For des’ gal a food-a-fessa.”

She says, “Apparently it is about riding a horse for a mile. On the last stanza of the verse, the child is lifted into the air. That’s the best I can remember of the pronunciation.” (And she notes she’s sound-spelling, but of course that’s fine with me.)

Well, I started digging online, and apparently there are MANY such nursery rhymes in German. This blog post details a few of them – all relating to horse-riding.

After doing some very, very basic research on German words for equine terms, all I came up with is that the first line might translate into something like “ride, ride, gallop” and “food-a-fessa” might be “pferd”-something, with pferd meaning horse.

I’d love to know more about this. Any ideas on the Germanic spelling, on a translation, etc.?

1 comment on “A Pennsylvania Dutch nursery rhyme about horses

  1. I have been trying to find this for ages. In my memory, Nana put a baby on her knee and bounced the baby up and down til the end, when she opened her legs a little to let the baby drop down.
    Phonetically, this is what I remember…
    Rida rida giley
    aud a suda mille
    aud a suda (don’t remember this part)
    gon to find the weiner haus
    (I think there was another line here)
    Plump, plump, plump lithrem wrek.(this was the point that you allowed the baby to drop down some between your legs). If you could fill in the blanks for me, it would be great!

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