A Moment of Jen
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Tuesday, July 15, 2003
posted by Jen at 7/15/2003 11:08:00 PM

I almost forgot to tell you the funniest part! The Yiddish lullabye!

You have to understand that since we got here my mother's been spending a lot of quality rocking-chair time with Lucy, singing her this Yiddish ditty.

Then, last week, my Nanna arrived, and sang her the same song.

I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this. "Hey Ma," I said, when my grandmother was within earshot. "What's that song mean, anyhow?"

My mother thought about it. "Under Lucy's bed..." she began.

"Crib," Nanna corrected.

"Lives a little...."

"A pure white," said Nanna.

"Sfiegele," said my mother. "I'm not sure what that is."

"Goat," said my Nanna, rolling her eyes.

"A little goat."

"A pure white goat."

"What is the little...."

"Pure! White!"

"....goat selling?"

"Wait," I said, "the goat is selling stuff?"

"Frances, that's wrong," said Nanna. "The songs says, the goat is going to market, and that will be your fate."

"So wait," I said, "Lucy's going to market? To get sold?"

"No!" said Nanna. "To sell things!"

"Almonds and raisins," my mother offered, singing the verse in Yiddish.

"I hate raisins," I said.

My grandmother gave us both a dirty look.

"So here's my question," I said. "How'd the goat get under her bed..."


"Well, whatever. Why is there a goat under the bed in the first place?"

"Well," said Nanna, "when you lived on a farm there were chickens and goats around."

"Yeah, but in the house?"

"Sure!" she said, as if this made perfect sense.
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