The Farmer in the Dell

 

1. 

THE FARMER IN THE DELL

Formation: Circle, walking around the farmer. The One-who-is-it: The farmer.

 

Procedure: The farmer is in the middle of the circle. As the song progresses, the farmer’s family grows, one by one. After they acquire the cheese, the farmer leaves, then the wife, and then, as the song progresses, the entire family until the cheese stands alone.

Song Text:

 

1.     The farmer in the dell, The farmer in the dell, Hi ho the derry oh! The farmer in the dell.

 

2.      The farmer takes a wife, The farmer takes a wife, Hi ho the derry oh!

The farmer takes a wife.

3.     The wife takes the child.

4.     The child takes the nurse ...

5.     The nurse takes the dog ..

6.     The dog takes the cat …

7.     The cat takes the rat ..

8.     The rat takes the cheese …

9.     The farmer says goodbye* ..

10.   The wife says goodbye ...

11.   The child says goodbye ..

12.   The nurse says goodbye.

13.The dog says goodbye                                             .

14.The cat says goodbye .

15.The rat says goodbye      .

16.   The cheese stands alone!

Action:

 

The children stand in a circle around the farmer (or circle around the farmer). On “Hi ho the derry oh,” children often cheer the farmer by waving one hand in a circle over their heads like a lasso.

 

The farmer chooses a wife who joins him in the center of the circle.

The wife chooses a child, who joins the farmer and the wife.

 

The child chooses a nurse who joins the family group. Action continues according to the words of the song.

The action reverses: the farmer waves good-bye to his family and returns to the circle.

 

The wife says goodbye, waves to the rest of the family and returns to the circle.

 

The whole family leaves, one by one, until only the cheese is left.

 

, / V

The cheese stands alone. Very often the game begins again, and the cheese becomes the new farmer!

 

The children love choosing the color of the “magic dust” in the leader’s pockets, becoming the new farmer when the leader tosses the color of dust they chose over the “cheese” causing it to magi­cally become the new farmer.

2. The farmer takes a wife

9. The farmer says goodbye

3. The wife takes the child

10. The wife says goodbye

4. The child takesthe nurse

11. The child says goodbye

5. The nurse takes the dog

12. The nurse says goodbye

6. The dog takes the cat

13. The dog says goodbye

7. The cattakes the rat

14. The cat says goodbye

8. The rat takes the cheese

15. The rat says goodbye

16. The cheese stands alone

THE FARMER IN THE DELL:

 

In Oklahoma alone, there are 46 variants. This song has been a model song experience in ETM, a source of much study and amazement of the teachers who have observed children responding to it. * The words, “The farmer leaves the wife,” etc. are the original words, and may be used, if preferred.

 

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