A Mol Iz Geven A Mayse

Once Upon a Time
אַ מאָל איז געװען אַ מעשׂה

Folk song. Text published in 1901 by S. Ginzburg and P. Marek; text and music published in 1911 by Platon Brounoff and S. Kisselgof. This folk song uses the metaphoric king and queen in referring to man and wife in keeping with Sabbath and Passover tradition.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


A story happened, long ago,
the story is not a happy one.
The story begins
with a Jewish king.

Lull-a-bye my little bird,
lull-a-bye my child.
I have lost such a love,
oh, woe is me.

Once there was a king,
the king had a queen,
the queen had a vineyard,
lull-a-bye, my child.

In the vineyard was a little tree
the tree had a little branch,
on the branch there was a little nest
in the nest, there lived a little bird.

The king died,
the queen was ruined,
the branch broke,
the bird escaped from the nest.

A mol iz geven a mayse,
Di mayse iz gornit freylekh,
Di mayse heybt zikh onet
Mit a yidishn meylekh.

Lyulinke, mayn faygele,
Lyulinke, mayn kind.
Kh’hob ongevorn aza libe,
Vey iz mir un vind!

A mol is geven a meylekh,
Der meylekh hot gehat a malke,
Di malke hot gehat a vayngortn,
Lyulinke, mayn kind.

In vayngortn iz geven a beymele,
Dos beymele hot gehat a tsvaygele,
Oyfn tsvaygele iz geven a nestele,
In nestele hot gelebt a feygele.

Der meylekh iz opgeshtorbn,
Di malke iz gevorn fardorbn,
Dos tsvaygele iz opgebrokhn,
Dos feygele fun nest antlofn.

אַ מאָל איו געװען א מעשׂה,
די מעשׂה איז גאָרניט פֿרײלעך,
די מעשׂה הײבט זיך אָנעט
מיט א ייִדישן מלך.

ליולינקע, מײַן פֿײגעלע,
ליולינקע, מײַן קינד.
כ’האָב אָנגעװאָרן אַזאַ ליבע,
װײ איז מיר און װױנד!

אַ מאָל איז געװען אַ מלך,
דער מלך האָט געהאַט אַ מלכּה,
די מלכּה האָט געהאַט אַ װײַנגאָרטן,
ליולינקע, מײַן קינד.

אין װײַנגאָרטן איז געװען אַ בײמעלע,
דאָס בײמעלע האָט געהאָט אַ צװײַגעלע,
אױפֿן צװײַגעלע איז געװען א נעסטעלע
אין נעסטעלע האָט געלעבט א פֿײגעלע.

דער מלך איז אָפּגעשטאָרבן,
די מלכּה איז געװאָרן פֿאַרדאָרבן,
דאָס צװײַגעלע איז אָפּגעבראָכן,
דאָס פֿײגעלע פֿון נעסט אַנטלאָפֿן.

Song Title: A Mol Iz Geven A Mayse

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Time Period:20th century

This Song is Part of a Collection

Mir Trogn Song Book Cover with Illustrations

Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs

First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.

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