The other morning I woke up from a dream with an old Danish children's song churning in my head. In the dream I had been singing it for three children, while playing half a guitar (only the neck) with five strings (one of the E-strings were missing). But I guess that's not important from the point of this writeup.


Langt ud i skoven, or Deep in the woods

The song is old enough that I couldn't find an author or composer online. It's one of those songs that keeps getting longer and longer, as you add a line with every new verse, and kids seem to love that. It lets them learn the words as well as have a go at guessing the new line, which is, to some extent, logical enough once you get the gist of the story.

In the movie "The Wicker Man" a song with words very close to these featured. That song was based on an old Irish drinking song called "The Rattlin' Bog". "The Rattlin' Bog" itself is actually not very close to my Danish version, but it's still pretty clear that there is a connection. Songs and nursery rhymes like these are so common it's very hard to tell which came whence.

To begin with the song makes sense, but as it progresses it becomes increasingly clear that the song writer has no sense of either proportions or basic physics. But never mind that: here I give you, first my translated version, and then the original (Oh, and no, the original has no kind of rhyme in it either).


Deep in the woods I saw a little hill
Never did I see a nicer little hill
And the hill is deep in the forest

On the little hill I saw a little tree
Never did I see a nicer little tree
The tree on the hill
And the hill is deep in the forest

On the little tree I saw a little branch
Never did I see a nicer little branch
The branch on the tree
The tree on the hill
And the hill is deep in the forest

On the little branch I saw a little twig (y'all getting the picture here?)
Never did I see a nicer little twig
The twig on the branch
The branch on the tree
The tree on the hill
And the hill is deep in the forest

On the little twig I saw a little leaf
Never did I see a nicer little leaf
The leaf on the twig
The twig on the branch
The branch on the tree (etc.)

On the little leaf I saw a little nest
never did I see a nicer little nest
the nest on the leaf
The leaf on the twig
The twig on the branch (etc.)

In the little nest I saw a little egg
Never did I see a nicer little egg
The egg in the nest
The nest on the leaf
The leaf on the twig (etc.)

From the little egg a little birdie sprang
Sweet was the song the little birdie sang
The bird from the egg
The egg in the nest
The nest on the leaf (etc.)

On the little bird I saw a silky down
Never did I see a softer silky down
The down on the bird
The bird from the egg
The egg in the nest (etc.)

From that silky down a pillow soft and fine
On the pillow rests that baby boy of mine
The pillow from the down
The down from the bird
The bird from the egg
The egg in the nest
The nest on the leaf
The leaf on the twig
The twig on the branch
The branch on the tree
The tree on the hill
And the hill is deep in the forest.


And the Danish version:

Langt ud' i skoven lå et lille bjerg
Aldrig så jeg så dejligt et bjerg
Bjerget ligger langt ud i skoven

På det lille bjerg der var et lille træ
Aldrig så jeg så dejligt et træ
Træet på bjerget
Bjerget ligger langt ud i skoven

På det lille træ der var en lille gren
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en gren
Grenen på træet (etc.)

På den lille gren der var en lille kvist
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en kvist
Kvisten på grenen (etc.)

På den lille kvist der var en lille rede
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en rede
Reden på kvisten (etc.)

I den lille rede lå et lille æg
Aldrig så jeg så dejligt et æg
Ægget i reden (etc.)

Af det lille æg der sprang en lille fugl
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en fugl
Fuglen af ægget (etc.)

På den lille fugl der sad en lille fjer
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en fjer
Fjeren på fuglen (etc.)

Af den lille fjer der blev en lille pude
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en pude
Puden af fjeren (etc.)

På den lille pude lå en lille dreng
Aldrig så jeg så dejlig en dreng
Drengen på puden (etc.)



Pretty sure I'm not in violation of any copyrights or wrongs here...

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