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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Susanne (skw) ADD: Low German songs sung in the Worldwide sing (4) Lyr Add: Low German songs sung during the Worldwi 15 Jun 20

... Worldwide Mudcat Singaround - forgot there is a limit to thread titles.

The song I sang this week was

(by Klaus Groth)

Lütt Matten de Has’
De mak sik en Spaß,
He weer bi’t Studeern
Dat Danzen to lehrn,
Un danz ganz alleen
Op de achtersten Been.

Keem Reinke de Voß
Un dach: dat's en Kost!
Un seggt: Lüttje Matten,
So flink op de Padden?
Un danzst hier alleen
Op de achtersten Been?

Kumm, lat uns tosam!
Ik kann as de Dam!
De Krei de speelt Fidel,
Denn geit dat candidel,
Denn geit dat mal schön
Op de achtersten Been!

Lütt Matten gev Pot.
De Voß beet em dot
Un sett sik in Schatten,
Verspies’ den lütt Matten:
Un de Krei, de kreeg een
Vun de achtersten Been.

Rough translation:

Little Matty the hare
Amused himself there
Went in for a chance
To study the dance
And he danced all alone
On his hind legs alone

Bold Reynard came by
And thought, What a bite!
And said, Little Matty
Your legs they move deftly
And you dance all alone
On your hind legs alone

Why not dance with me?
I can be your lady
The crow plays the fiddle
You'll find it a diddle
And you'll not dance alone
On your hind legs alone

Matty readily agreed
Reynard killed him deid
He retired to the bushes
To devour Matty's carcass
And the crow got the right
Of the hind legs for a bite

This 19th-century song is obviously a fable and should be applicable to human life. The application intended by the poet is not obvious, though: He once explained that Matty stood for his home state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany (before the 1871 unification), which had at that time been (sort of) defended against Denmark by Prussia (Reynard) and Austria (the crow), then incorporated into Prussia against its will, and Austria was fobbed off with some morsels of territory.

If that seems far-fetched, think of the British Foreign Secretary (Lord Palmerston?) who is supposed to have said "There are only three people who understand the Schleswig-Holstein question - one is dead, the other has gone mad, and I've forgotten what it is about!"

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