Chinese Nursery Rhymes

Chinese nursery rhymes have similar themes to our traditional nursery rhymes, and one of my kids' favourite childhood songs appears to have derived directly from the Chinese original. I expect you will spot it too!

Chinese Nursery Rhymes

This little frog has two eyes,
Four legs,
One mouth,
No tail,
Says croak, croak and
Plops into the water.

These little frogs have four eyes,
Eight legs,
Two mouths,
No tails,
Say croak, croak and
Plop into the water.

Etc.

Editor's Note: What a great way to learn the 4x table!

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My little baby, little boy blue,
Is as sweet as sugar and cinnamon too;
Isn't this precious darling of ours
Sweeter than dates and cinnamon flowers?

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He climbed up the candlestick,
The little mousey brown,
To steal and eat tallow,
And he couldn't get down.

He called for his grandma,
But his grandma was in town,
So he doubled up into a wheel,
And rolled himself down.

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"Fire-fly, fire-fly,
Come from the hill,
Your father and mother
Are waiting here still.
They've brought you some sugar,
Some candy, and meat,
For baby to eat."

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This little cow eats grass,
This little cow eats hay.
This little cow drinks water,
This little cow runs away,
This little cow does nothing,
But just lies down all day,
We'll whip her, let's whip her, let's whip her.

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This little lady drinks wine,
This little lady warms it,
This little lady brings dishes of salt vegetables,
This little lady serves food,
And this little lady passes the plates round and round and round ......

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What do you see in the heavens bright?
I see the moon and the stars at night.
What do you see in the earth, pray tell?
I see in the earth a deep, deep well.
What do you see in the well, my dear?
I see a frog and his voice I hear.
What is he saying there on the rock?
Get up, get up, ke'rh kua, ke'rh kua.

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Old grandmother Wind has come from the East.
She's ridden a donkey - a dear little beast.

Old mother-in-law Rain has come back again.
She's come from the North on a horse, it is plain.

Old grandmother Snow is coming you know,
From the West on a crane - just see how they go.

And old aunty Lightning has come from the South,
On a big yellow dog with a bit in his mouth.

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The Emperor of Ch'in Shih Huang-ti
Built a wall
From the hills to the sea.
He built it wide,
He built it stout,
To keep his subjects in
And the Tartars out.
The Emperor of Ch'in.

Meng Chiang-Nu, one sad day
From her own dear home
A thousand leagues away
To the wall did come.
Weary and worn
She wept and she cried:
"Where is my dear love Buried inside?"
She wept and she cried
And her tears did fall,
Till down, down tumbled
That great big wall.

Editor's note: The Emporor Shih Huang-ti built the Great Wall of China between the years 228 and 210 BC, using slave labour under such appalling conditions that thousands died in the construction. According to legend, in every mile of the Wall a man was to be buried alive to placate the gods, but only one man was actually sacrificed as his name, Wan, means the number 10,000. His wife, Meng Chian-Nu, went to find him. We have a longer version of the story that you can read at Activity Village or print out for later, here.

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