German Folklore from Utah, Florida, and Minnesota

Informant’s Data:


Informant 1: Kate Justin is my girlfriend of close to one year who has a lot of Germanic roots in her family tree. She is 20 years young and attends the University of Central Florida. She grew up in Logan, Utah. She is currently living in Winter Park, Florida.

Informant 2: Luke Uttley is my friend of many years whose family has germanic roots dating back to before his ancestors founded Gettysburg. He was born and raised in Winter Park, Florida and is attending Notre Dame. He is currently living at home in Florida.

Informant 3: Patrick Rodriguez is a former high school swim teammate whose father has germanic roots. He is attending the University of Florida and will be moving to Puerto Rico after he graduates. He currently lives in Winter Park, Florida.

Informant 4: Tanner Jones is a student I know at Dartmouth whose family immigrated from Germany several generations ago. He currently lives in Edina, MN.


Contextual Data:


Social Context: 

This was obtained during the great COVID-19 ‘chill out’ of 2020 where we had to collect these accounts over zoom and through electronic messaging.


Cultural Context: German nursery rhymes are used to pacify, educate, and entertain children. A testament to how powerful these stories are, my informants knew them after generations of disconnection from their original German geographic origins.



Item 1:

My informants Luke and Patrick told me of a story his mom would recite to him in order to teach him how to talk, and to calm him down when he became agitated called Himpelchen and Pimpelchen.


Himpelchen and Pimpelchen

Climbed a high mountain

Himpelchen was a Heinzelmann (a sprite or household spirit)

and Pimpelchen was a dwarf

They stayed long sitting up there

and wagged their nightcaps

After many weeks

they crawled into the mountain

Sleeping there in full tranquility

Be quiet and listen carefully:

(sound of snoring)


Item 2:

Kate told me of a game she used to play as a child with others called Ring Around the Rosie which is German in origin.


Ring around the rosie

A pocketful of posies

“Ashes, ashes”

We all fall down!


Item 3:

Tanner Taught me of a rhyme which his grandma would tell him when he grew restless. Minnesota is known to get rainy at times so the rhyme reflects that rainy nature.


Pitter Patter! Pitter Patter!

The rain wets the hair.

Dripping from nose to mouth.

Dripping from mouth to chin

Dripping from to chin then to the abdomen.

The rain is now restless

And falling to the Earth like

Nothing is the matter!

Pitter Patter! Pitter Patter!


Item 4:

Was collected from Tanner Jones. The purpose of this one was to get him to not touch the hot oven/stove to keep him from hurting himself.


Don’t touch the oven!

It’s hot hot hot!

Don’t touch the stove!

Do not not not!

You’ll get burned and start to scream

And won’t be able to get cold even

From icecream


Collector’s Comments:

I now know better the culture of my closest friends and how their old germanic traditions shaped their world views.


Collector’s Name: Matthew Degtyar




Nursery Rhymes