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The LiederNet Archive

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Die zwei Ratten

Language: German (Deutsch)

Es waren zwei Ratten mit rauhem Schwanz,
Die wollten zusammen zum Kirchweihtanz,
Sie zogen sich an ihren Sonntagsstaat
Und freuten sich über die reiche Wat,
Sie dachten, es könnte sie Keiner,
Und jede dünkte sich feiner.

Sie krochen dem Bauer ins Wagenstroh,
Und fuhren umsonst zur Kirchweih so,
Und als der Bauer am Kruge hielt, 
Da ward im Saale schon aufgespielt,
Sie kletterten vom Gefährte 
Und kräuselten sich die Bärte.

Der Dudelsack und der Sumber klang,
Dem Fiedler die erste Saite sprang,
Die Ratten wurden da sehr geehrt 
Und wären doch lieber gleich umgekehrt,
Sie konnten sich kaum gewöhnen
An all das Summen und Dröhnen.

Nun traten sie aber zum Tanzen an,
Die eine als Weib, die andre als Mann, 
Aus einmal hieß es mitten im Tanz: 
Das sieht ja aus wie ein Rattenschwanz,
Ruft doch den Herbergsvater,
Der hat einen schwarzen Kater.

Der Kater sprang: jetzt kriegt ihr den Lohn!
Hilf Himmel! Herr Kater, wir gehen ja schon!
Der Kater aber biß zweimal zu, 
Da hatten die Ratten vom Tanzen Ruh,
Man hing sie an den Schwänzen,
Die Stallthür zu bekränzen.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "The two rats", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2010-02-24 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-22 22:11:18

Line count: 40
Word count: 192

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The two rats

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

There were two rats with rough tails,
Together they wanted to attend the dance at the parish fair,
They put on their Sunday best
And looked forward to a rich wallowing;
They thought that no one would recognize them,
And each thought he looked finer than the other.

They crept into the straw on the farmer’s wagon,
And without paying a cent they rode to the parish fair,
And when the farmer halted at the tavern,
The music had already started in the hall,
They clambered from the wagon
And curled their beards.

The bagpipes and the string drum rang out,
The first string of the fiddler snapped,
The rats were highly honoured there
But would rather have turned around and gone home,
They simply could not accustom themselves
To all the buzzing and droning.

Then they themselves began to dance,
One as a woman, the other as a man,
Suddenly in the middle of the dance someone said:
Hey, that looks like a rat’s tail,
Call the innkeeper,
He has a black tomcat.

The tomcat leapt: now you shall get your just deserts!
Heaven help us!  Mr. Cat, we’re already leaving!
But the tomcat bit down twice,
Then the rats were done with dancing;
By their tails they were hung
Above the stable door as a decoration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 untranslatable nonsense syllables, passim.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Julius Wolff (1834 - 1910), "Die zwei Ratten", appears in Singuf: Rattenfängerlieder, first published 1881
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Gustav Borchers, Heinrich Karl Johann Hofmann, Hans August Friedrich Zincke genannt Sommer. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2014-06-22 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-22 22:12:49

Line count: 40
Word count: 228