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Subject: Dutch song about a wagon
(2 mei 2020)


Hello,

My Dad sang a little dutch song or rhyme to us as children. He told us it was about a fella who had a wagon and had to haul wood. The tune "sounded like" this to me, I speak only English. The R, was a rolling R.

Ritamatic zat op en wagen
Ritamatic een hauten lager
Ritamtic een lingly slow
Ritamatic een stokje doh

Have you heard of anything like this? I would like the Dutch and English translation.

Thank you,

Loretta.





Answer     (3 mei 2020)


Dear Loretta,

I didn't know this song, but I could find it for you in the Dutch Song Database. This database has noted 14 versions of this song, all dating back to the period 1880-1930.

liederenbank.nl/wagen

It's easy to see (for me) that this wasn't a well known children's song. It never was printed in a song book or school book with children's songs. It was written down from oral tradition (children singing amongst themselves) by only four collectors.

The text therefore is very simple. It's, like you already wrote, about a person on a wagon, who is sawing wood or carrying shelves (depending on the version). Then he drives into a ditch, but gets out alive. The used (phantasy) name is different in in each version (like Rikkikkik or Ikkerdebik). I'm not sure which of these 14 versions is closest to the version your father sung. But I'll give a word by word translation at the end of this mail.

In google-books I could only find one other source. It was collected by De Vries in 2015, he was a well-known author writing about children's literature. He just copied one of the versions of the Song Database.

The Dutch Song Database has no melody/musical notation of this song. So it wasn't preserved (online or in print).

I hope this will help you a bit further. Music can be strongly connected with memerories of your childhood and I hope this brings back good memories about your father.

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn.

https://www.dutchsongs.overtuin.net

---

liederenbank.nl/wagen

The version I think is closest to your version, was written down in Vloten, 1894
dbnl.org/vloten

Ikkerdebik zat op den wagen,
Ikkerdebik zat hout te zagen,
Ikkerdebik viel in de sloot,
Ikkerdebik was nog niet dood.

---

The words of your version (especially the last two lines) are a bit different. Unfortunately, I don't recognise any Dutch in it ('lingly slow', 'stokje doh').

I guess your version in Dutch would be something like:

Ritamatic zat op een wagen
Ritamatic zat hout te zagen
Ritamatic viel in de sloot
Ritamatic was nog niet dood

In English:

Ritamatic sat upon a wagon
Ritamatic was sawing wood
Ritamatic fell in the ditch
Ritamatic wasn't dead yet





Answer     (3 mei 2020)


Dear Rosemary,

You are amazing. Thank you so much!!

This brings back such wonderful memories. I remember my father singing this song as he stirred our chocolate milk.

Thanks again!

Loretta.









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