French Nursery Rhyme / marching song

   Un éléphant
   Ça trompe, ça trompe
   Un éléphant
   Ça trompe énormément.

   La peinture à l'huile
   C'est bien difficile
   Mais c'est bien plus beau
   Que la peinture à l'eau.

   Start over with deux, then trois etc ...

The elephant bit is untranslatable, it's a pun on the word trompe=trunk and the verb tromper=to fool or mislead. The second part is 'Oil painting is quite difficult, but much nicer than water painting'.

This concludes the nursery rhyme part of this writeup.

This is also the title of a 1976 French movie, written and directed Yves Robert, starring Jean Rochefort as a faithful husband who after observing all his married friends having all sorts of affairs suddenly snaps and starts obssessing about a beautiful woman in red he saw driving by.

The title is yet again a pun on the word 'trompe', which in this sense means 'adultery'

This film was remade as The Woman In Red with Gene Wilder and Kelly LeBrock.

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I'd never heard the painting verse (which I quite like), but maybe it's a regional thing. In Quebec, I learned it:

Un mille à pied
Ça use, ça use
Un mille à pied
Ça use les souliers

and then the elephant verse came afterwards. The above means "one mile by foot, that wears out one's shoes". Trust me, it's more idiomatic in French. Then both verses increase the number. A couple of girls from France whom I met on the very dull four-day train journey from Montreal to Vancouver told me that in France the verse has "un kilomètre". It's a lot of syllables to fit in, but hey, at least you can divide it by a hundred.

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