On a recent visit to Beijing with his parents, my grandson took quite a liking to a Dutch children’s song. I bounced him vigorously on my knee and sang a chorus, ‘Hop, paardje, hop; hop, paardje, hop’. When I stopped, he dug his heels in and jumped up and down for more:

For some reason, I remember my maternal grandfather doing the same thing, with a final gallop in which the rider is lifted up and then down to the floor with a huge ‘wheeee’.

Next time I will sing him the whole song in Dutch, which I have now found goes as follows:

‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met oude wijven
Toen ze op de markt kwamen begonnen zij te kijven
Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
Geen oude wijven op mijn wagen
Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met oude mannen
Toen ze op de markt kwamen gingen ze samenspannen
Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
Geen oude mannen op mijn wagen
Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met jonge meisjes
Toen ze op de markt kwamen zongen zij als sijsjes
Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
Steeds jonge meisjes op mijn wagen
Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

The translation of the this delightful song goes roughly as follows:

I have loaded my wagon full with old wives
When they came to the market they started to scold
Now I will never in my life
take old wives on my wagon
Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

I have loaded my wagon full with old men
When we came to the market they started to conspire
Now I will never in my life
take old men on my wagon
Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

I have loaded my wagon full with young girls
When we came to the market they started to sing like birds
Now I will take all my life
only young girls on my wagon
Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

(ht cp for the great photos)

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