Chad Gadya - Related Folksongs

Appendix to the One Only Kid webpage


Here are several folksongs similar to "Chad Gadya". They are all cumulative songs - I've included the first and last stanzas. The lines of three dots ...  ... indicate the stanzas which have been left out. 

German folksong:  Der Herr der schikt den Jockel aus
Yiddish folksong: Hot Got aroysgeshikt a yekele af der velt
French folksong: Ah! Tu sortiras, Biquette
French/Catalan folk story: La petite fourmi qui allait à Jérusalem
Spanish folksong: La mora y la mosca 
Spanish folksong: Estaba la rana cantando debajo del agua
Ladino folksong from Rhodes: La mora y la mosca
Ladino folksong from Sarajevo: Tenia yo
Czech folksong: Jora de na pivo
Greek folksong: Dili Dili, to Kandili


German folksong: "Der Herr der schikt den Jockel aus" [The lord who sent the peasant / yokel out]
(Here is the Grimm Brothers' version)

Der Herr, der schickt den Jockel aus The lord / master who sent the lad (peasant / yokel) out
Er soll den Hafer schneiden. To cut the oats.

Der Jockel schneidt den Hafer nicht

 The lad didn't cut the oats
Und kommt auch nicht nach Haus. And didn't come back home.
...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...   ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...
Da geht der Herr nun selbst hinaus  Out went the master himself 
Und macht gar bald ein Ende draus.  And made an end of it.
Der Teufel holt den Henker nun,  Now the devil stopped the hangman, 
der Henker hängt den Schlächter nun,  Now the hangman hanged the butcher,
Der Schlächter schlacht' den Ochsen nun  Now the butcher slaughtered the ox,
Der Ochse säuft das Wasser nun,  Now the ox drank the water,
Das Wasser löscht das Feuer nun,  Now the water put out the fire,
Das Feuer brennt den Prügel nun,  Now the fire burnt the stick,
Der Prügel schlägt den Pudel nun,  Now the stick beat the dog,
Der Pudel beißt den Jockel nun,  Now the dog bit the peasant,
Der Jockel schneidt den Hafer nun,  Now the peasant cut the oats
Und kommt auch gleich nach Haus.  And came straight back home.



Yiddish folksong: Hot Got aroysgeshikt a yekele af der velt [God sent a peasant out in the world]
(Source: "A Different Night")

(See the discussion on The Apples Will Not Fall for more Yiddish versions)

Hot Got aroysgeshikt a yekele af der velt God sent a peasant out
zol di bonelekh raysn to harvest the pears
Yekele vil nisht bonelekh raysn Yekele didn't want to harvest the pears
un di bonelekh viln nisht faln. and the pears didn't want to fall.
 ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...
Hot Got aleyn gekumen af der velt God Himself came
zol der oxele trinkn so that the little ox would drink.
Oxele hot ongefangn vaserl trinkn The little ox began to drink the water, 
Vaserl hot ongefangn fayerl leshn  The little water began to put out the fire,  
Fayerl hot ongefangn shtekele brenen The little fire began to burn the stick,
Shtekele hot ongefangn huntele shlogn The little stick began to beat the dog,
Huntele hot ongefangn yekele baysn The little dog began to bite the peasant, 
Yekele hot ongefangn di bones raysn The little peasant began to harvest the pears 
un di bonelekh hobn ongehabn tsu faln. And the little pears began to fall. 



French folksongAh! Tu sortiras, Biquette [Ah! Go out, little kid]

(Here's a video of this children's song)

Biquette ne veut pas sortir du chou: Little kid doesn't want to get out of the cabbage patch
Ah! tu sortiras, Biquette, Biquette, Oh, you will go out, Biquette, Biquette, 
Ah! tu sortiras de ce chou-là. Oh, you will get out of that cabbage patch. 
On envoie chercher le chien, Someone is sent to look for the dog
Afin de mordre Biquette in order to bite Biquette, 
Le chien ne veut pas mordre Biquette. The dog doesn't want to bite Biquette. 
...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...
On envoie chercher le diable Someone is sent to look for the devil 
Pour qu'il emporte le boucher to carry the butcher away, 
Le diable veut bien emporter le boucher The devil wants to carry the butcher away, 
Le boucher veut bien tuer le veau, The butcher wants to kill the cow, 
Le veau veut bien boire l'eau The cow wants to drink the water, 
L'eau veut bien éteindre le feu, The water wants to put out the fire, 
Le feu veut bien brûler le bâton, The fire wants to burn the stick,
Le bâton veut bien assommer le loup, The stick wants to knock out the wolf,
Le loup veut bien manger le chien, The wolf wants to eat the dog, 
Le chien veut bien mordre Biquette The dog wants to bite the kid,
Biquette veut bien sortir du chou: The kid wants to get out of the cabbage: 
Ah! Tu es sortie de ce chou-là! Aha! You have got out of that cabbage patch! 


French/Catalan folk story: La petite fourmi qui allait à Jérusalem [The little ant that went to Jerusalem]

(Here is an adaption of the story for children's choir, storyteller, soloists and piano)


Once upon a time there was an ant travelling to Jerusalem. On the way there it found snow, which broke its leg.
The ant said, "Snow, you are so strong! You have broken the leg of the ant travelling to Jerusalem."
But the snow said, "Not as strong as the sun that melts me."

...  ...  ...  ...  ...

So the ant said, "Little girl, you are so strong! You drink the milk of the cow that drinks the water that puts out the fire that burns the stick that hits the dog that chases the cat that eats the mouse that makes holes in the mountain that stops the wind that blows the cloud that hides the sun that melts the snow that broke the leg of the ant travelling to Jerusalem.
And the little girl picked up the ant, tended its leg, and let it go again.



Spanish folksong:  La mora y la mosca [The Moorish girl and the fly]

Estaba la mora en su lugar There was the Moorish girl in her place
vino la mosca y le hizo mal: The fly came and harmed her.
de la mosca a la mora From the fly to the girl 
y la mora en su moralito sola. and the girl
...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...   ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...
Estaba el herrero en su lugar, There was the blacksmith in his place,  
vino la muerte y le hizo mal, death came and harmed him,
de la muerte al herrero From death to the blacksmith
del herrero al cuchillo from the lord to the knife 
del cuchillo al buey from the knife to the ox
del buey al agua from the ox to the water
del agua a la lumbre from the water to the fire
de la lumbre al palo from the fire to the stick
del palo al perro from the stick to the dog
del perro al gato from the dog to the cat
del gato al ratón from the cat to the mouse
del ratón a la araña from the mouse to the spider 
de la araña a la mosca from the spider to the fly
de la mosca a la mora from the fly to the dark girl
y la mora en su moralito sola and the girl  


Spanish folksong
: Estaba la rana cantando debajo del agua [The frog was singing under the water]
(Source: Rubin)

Estaba la rana cantando debajo del agua The frog was singing under the water
Cuando la rana se puso a cantar When the spider began to sing.
Vino la mosca y la hiz callar. The fly came and shut him up.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Callaba el hombre, al cuchillo, The man shut the knife up,
   el cuchillo al toro,     the knife the bull,
   el toro al agua,     the bull the water,
   el agua al fuego,     the water the fire,
   el fuego al palo,     the fire the stick,
   el palo al perro,     the stick the dog,
   el perro al gato,     the dog the cat,
   el gato al ratón,     the cat the mouse,
   el ratón a la araña,     the mouse the spider,
   la araña a la mosca,     the spider the fly,
   la mosca a la rana,     the fly the frog,
Que estaba cantando debajo el agua; Who was singing under the water.  
Cuando el hombre se puso a cantar, When the man began to sing,
Vino su suegra y lo hizo callar! His mother-in-law came and shut him up!


Ladino folksong from RhodesLa mora y la mosca [The Moorish girl and the fly]
(Source: Silverman & Armistead)

S'estavase la mora en su bel estar. The Moorish girl was sitting in her sweet repose.
Venia la moska por azerle mal.
 The fly came along to do her harm.
La moska a la mora, The fly harmed the girl,
Meskina la mora, Poor dark girl
Ke en sus kampos moras. in her Moorish fields.
...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ... ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ... 
S'estavase'l shohet en su bel estar The ritual slaughterer was sitting in his sweet repose. 
Venia el malah amave por azerle mal. The Angel of Death came to do him harm. 
El sohet al buey, The slaughterer to the ox
El buey al agua The ox to the water 
El agua al fuego The water to the fire
El fuego al palo The fire to the stick
El palo al perro The stick to the dog
El perro al gato The dog to the cat
El gato al raton The cat to the mouse
El raton a la rana The mouse to the frog
La rana a l'abezba The frog to the wasp
L'abezba a la mora The wasp to the fly
La moska a la mora The fly to the girl,
Meskina la mora Poor Moorish girl
Ke en sus kampos moros.  In her Moorish fields.


Ladino folksong from Sarajevo:  Teniya yo
(Source: Armistead & Silverman; Levy - Antologia)

Tenia yo, tenia yo un viejo  I had, I had an old man,
que cavava vinas who cultivated vineyards,
vinas tan hermozas such lovely vineyards,
henchidas de rozas. full of roses.
Tenia yo, tenia yo un azno I had, I had a donkey,
que llevava'l viejo that the old man rode,
que cavava vinas who cultivated vineyards,
vinas tan hermozas such lovely vineyards,
henchidas de rozas. full of roses.
...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...
Tenia yo, tenia yo malakh-hamavet, I had, I had an angel of death
que degollo al shohet who slaughtered the slaughterer
que degollo al buey who killed the ox
que bevia l'agua that drank the water
que matava 'l fuego that put out the fire
que quemava'l palo that burned the stick
que kharvava'l azno that beat the donkey
que ilevava'l viejo that carried the old man
que cavava vinas 

that cultivated vineyards

vinas tan hermozas,

 such lovely vineyards,
henchidas de rozas. full of roses.


Czech folksongJora de na pivo

Thanks to Michal Mynar, one of the people who have read this webpage, for sending in this humorous Czech folksong. 

Jora de na pivo, na to dobry vino
Jora nechce domka hiti,
zhe se mo chce tuze piti
zhe mosi pit pivo a to dobry vino.

Poslale pro Joro habe domka presil,
Jora nechce domka hiti ....

Poslale pro pséka, habe Joro kósal,
Psék nechce Joro kósat, ...

Poslale pro keje, habe pséka mlátil,
Kej nechce pséka mlátit,  ...

Poslale pro vohnen, habe keje spálil
Vohen nechce keje pálit Kej nechce ...

Poslale pro vodo, habe vohen zhasla.
Voda nechce vohen haset, vohen nechce ...

Poslale pro vola, habe vodo vepil,
vul nechce vodo piti, voda nechce ...

Poslale pro rasa, habe vola vodrel,
ras nechce vola driti, vul nechce ...

Poslale pro babu, habe carovala,
baba nechce carovati, ras nechce vola driti ...

Poslale pro certa, habe babo zebral

Cert zacne babo bráti
baba zacne carovati
ras zacne vola driti
vul zacne vodo piti
voda zacne vohen haset,
vohen zacne keje pálet
kej zacne pséka mlátit
psék zacne Joro kósat
a Jora hotekal,
do gatí nasepal

George is going to drink beer and good wine
George doesn’t want to go home,
because he likes drinking much more
He says that he has to drink beer and good wine.

They ask George to come back home,
George doesn’t want go home ...

They ask the dog to bite George,
The dog doesn’t want to bite George ...

They ask the stick to hit the dog,
The stick doesn’t want to hit the dog ...

They ask the fire to burn the stick,
The fire doesn’t want to burn the stick ...

They ask the water to quench the fire,
The water doesn’t want to quench the fire ...

They ask the ox to drink the water,
The ox doesn’t want to drink the water ...

They ask the butcher to hack the ox,
The bucher doesn’t want to hack the ox ...

They ask the witch to put a spell on the butcher,
The witch doesn’t want to put a spell on the butcher ...

They ask the devil to take the witch

The devil starts to take the witch
The witch starts to put a spell on the butcher
The butcher starts to hack the ox
The ox starts to drink the water
The water starts to quench the fire
The fire starts to burn the stick
The stick starts to hit the dog
The dog starts to bite George
And George runs like mad
and craps in his pants.



Armistead, S. & Silverman, J. A Judeo-Spanish cumulative song and its Greek counterpart. 
Levy, I. Antologia Liturgia Judeo-Española
Rubin, R. (1973). Voices of a people: The story of Yiddish folksong. C.17 - Folksong - A universal language.
"A Different Night: A Passover Musical Anthology" - Voice of the Turtle, CD booklet