Tag Archives: kids song

Iranian Nursery Rhyme

Main Piece

Original Script

Phonetic Script

Pinky miguyad, “boxzarit dozdi konam”

Angoshte halghe miporsid, “che chizi ra mitavonim bedozdim?”

Angoshte vasat eztehar mikonad, “chizi bozorg va taloey”

Angoshte eshare miporsid, “che kasi pasokhe khoda ra midehad?”

Angoshte shest pasokh midahad, “man boyad zira man bozorg va ghavi hastam.”


Pinky said, “let me steal do.”

Finger ring asked, “what thing we can steal doing?”

Finger middle declare doing, “something big and goldy.”

Finger pointing asks, “who answer God will?”

Finger thumb answered, “I shall, since I big and strong am.”


The pinky says, “Let us steal”

The ring finger asks, “What can we steal?”

The middle finger declares, “Something big and gold!”

The index finger asks, “Who shall answer to God?”

The thumb answers, “I shall, for I am big and strong.” 


My informant’s mother used to recite this nursery rhyme to her when she was little. My informant says that nursery rhymes pertaining to the fingers are very common in Iran, and there are many children’s books dedicated to giving fingers personalities. This particular rhyme, my informant believes, was local to her family because her schoolmates weren’t familiar with it. She believes that the purpose of this nursery rhyme was to teach her about the existence of roles in society. She associated the physical stature (length and width) of each of her fingers with certain personality traits. For example, the pinky is the weaker person who suggests to sin and steal, the ring finger is the accomplice, the middle finger is the materialist, the index finger is the responsible one who reminds them of the consequences of their actions, and the thumb is the voluntary scapegoat that sacrifices himself so that the hand can succeed.


This nursery rhyme was told to teach children about the types of people in society. My informant cannot recall the first time she heard this from her mother, but can confirm that it was a common occurrence during her playtime hours with her mother. 

My Thoughts 

I think societal roles are an interesting concept to teach children. It is very difficult to try to teach children about the different types of people. Usually, that is learned through experience. I thought of this nursery rhyme as a type of cautionary tale, as if it is telling us to stay away from the pinky, ring and middle finger personalities and make acquaintance with the index finger and thumb personalities. My informant was young when she heard this rhyme, so it seems fitting that her mother would warn her about the different types of people in this world so that my informant can surround herself with good people in school. 

Duck Girl Song

[The subject is CB. Her words are bolded, mine are not.]

Context: CB is one of my friends, and a sophomore student in college. Both of her parents are lawyers in the military, so she was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has also lived in Germany, Kansas, and Oregon. The following is a song that she learned when she was nine or ten years old from an American Girl Scout camp in Germany called Camp Lachenwald, which translates to “laughing woods.”

I’m an old duck rover from out in Montana
Round up them duckies and drive ‘em along
To a flooded corral where we bulldog and brand ‘em
Mosey on home just a-singin’ this song

Singin’ quack quack yippee-yay
Quack quack yippee-yo
Get along, little duckies
Get along real slow
It’s dirty and smelly and really don’t pay
But I’ll be a duck girl ‘til the end of my days.

On Saturday nights, I ride into town
On my short-legged pony with my hat pulled way down
But the boys don’t like duck girls and I can’t figure out why
No cowgirl could be more romantic than I

Singin’ quack quack yippee-yay
And quack quack yippee-yo
Get along, little duckies
Get along real slow
It’s dirty and smelly and really don’t pay
But I’ll be a duck girl ‘til the end of my days.

Thoughts: This song was sung entirely in an exaggerated Southern accent, which I thought was interesting especially because CB learned it while she was in Germany, albeit from other Americans. One thing I noticed was that the song was specific to a gender, but it led me to realize that most of the children’s folk songs I knew growing up were generally sung by girls more often than boys, even when the songs didn’t specify whether the singer was supposed to be a boy or a girl. I also feel that ducks are a common motif in children’s songs and games, like duck-duck-goose and the Five Little Ducks song. Ducks seem to be a symbol that adults associate with children because pictures of them commonly appear on baby clothes, but I suppose children also associate ducks with themselves because the songs they sing and the games they play often involve them.