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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.?

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