“The Farmer in the Dell” is one of the oldest and most popular nursery rhymes around the world.

The word dell defines a small wooded valley.

The rhyme has been translated in different languages like English, French, Romanian or Thai, while the German version of the song “Es fuhr ein Bau’r ins Holz” is the original one, dating back to 1820s Germany.

“The Farmer in the Dell” as a game

The Farmer in the Dell is also a very popular singing game, being played by a group of children, usually nine. The game can be adapted by changing the number of the characters in the song.

How to play:

At the begining one children will be choosed to be the farmer and he wil stand up in the middle of a circle formed by the others. They will dance around him singing the first stanza of the song.

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Heigh-ho,the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

At “The farmer takes a wife” verse the “farmer” will have to choose, without looking a “wife” from the group of dancing players. The two kids, the “farmer” and the “wife” will stay now together in the middle, holding hands and forming another circle.

The game continue singing the next stanza, the main circle of children dancing around the small circle.

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The farmer takes a wife

At “The wife takes the child” verse the farmer and the wife will choose again another player as the “child” who will go together with them in the middle, forming a bigger circle.

The game finishes with “The cheese stands alone” verse when the last children will remain outside of the interiour circle. He will be the farmer in the next round of the game.

*Tip: When the interior circle will become larger than the exterior one, the children from outside can dance in a semicircle.

“The Farmer in the Dell” Lyrics

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Heigh-ho,the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The farmer takes a wife

The wife takes the child
The wife takes the child
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The wife takes the child

The child takes the nurse
The child takes the nurse
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The child takes the nurse

The nurse takes the cow
The nurse takes the cow
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The nurse takes the cow

The cow takes the dog
The cow takes the dog
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The cow takes the dog

The dog takes the cat
The cow takes the dog
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The cow takes the dog

The cat takes the mouse
The cat takes the mouse
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The cat takes the mouse

The mouse takes the cheese
The mouse takes the cheese
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The mouse takes the cheese

The cheese stands alone
The cheese stands alone
Heigh-ho, the derry-o
The cheese stands alone

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