CHILDREN’S rhymes have been for generations a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland.
Many traditional songs were composed for or by children for playing or amusement, others are variations of words found in poetry books, or even advertising jingles.
We take a look at nine traditional Scottish children’s rhymes.
Let us know in the comment section if we have left any off the list.
A lost children’s counting song or game:
Eenty teenty tirry mirry Ram, tam, toosh Crawl under the bed And catch a wee fat moose.
Cut it in slices,
Fry it in the pan,
Be sure and keep gravy
For the wee fat man.
Annie McShuggle frae Ochintoogle
An old Scottish rhyme on old Glasgow tramcars:
Fares please, fares please,
You can hear me say,
As ah collect ma money
Aw the day.
Ah work in the corporation,
You can tell it by ma dress, Ah’m Annie McShuggle frae Ochintoogle,
The caur conductoress.
There are several variations of this classic children’s Scottish street song:
Skinnymalinkie Longlegs Big banana feet Went tae the pictures An couldnae find a seat So he couldnae pay his fare So the rotten old conductor Went an threw him doon the stair
Kiltie Kiltie cauld bum
Old Scottish children’s rhyme, sung at anyone wearing a kilt: Kiltie kiltie cauld bum
Three sterrs up,
The wummin in the middle door
Hit me wi’ a cup
Ma heid’s a’bleedin
Ma face is a’ cut
Kiltie kiltie cauld bum
Three sterrs up.
One, Two, Three Aleerie
Aleerie is an old word meaning holding your leg crooked. This song was traditionally sung bouncing a ball three times, then lifting your leg and bouncing it under when you come to ‘Aleerie’:
One, two, three aleerie
Four, five, six aleerie
Seven, eight, nine aleerie
Ten aleerie overball
One, two, three aleerie
I saw Mrs Peerie
Sittin on her bumbaleerie
Eatin chocolate biscuits
Wee Willie Winkie
Wee Willie Winkie was the Scottish equivalent of the sandman, who brings sleep to children. It was also the nickname for William III. The rhyme may refer to the curfew regulations under his reign.
The first verse traditionally goes: Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toun
Up stairs and doon stairs in his nicht-goun,
Tirling at the window, crying at the lock,
‘Are the weans in their bed, for it’s now ten o’clock?’
Ye cannae shove yer granny aff a’bus
(In some versions ye cannae shove her off cause she makes you mince and tatties!) Sung to the tune of ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’: O, ye cannae shove yer granny aff a bus
Ye cannae shove yer granny aff a bus
Ye cannae shove yer granny
Fur she’s yer mammy’s mammy
Ye cannae shove yer granny aff a bus.
This Scottish folk song was written by a Galashiels weaver, Robert Coltard. It was originally was an advertising jingle for the aniseed-flavoured sweets that he manufactured in Melrose in the Scottish borders and still remains popular today:
Ally, Bally, Ally Bally Bee
Sitting on your mammy’s knee
Greetin’ for a wee baw-bee
To buy some Coulter’s Candy
Poor wee Jeannie’s looking awful thin
A rickle of bones covered over with skin
Now she’s getting a wee double chin
From sucking Coulter’s Candy
A Scottish rhyme, depicting the wind: Arthur O’Bower has broken his band,
And he’s come roaring owre the lands;
The king o’Scots, and a’his power
Canna turn Arthur O’Bower.