Der Kashtnboym

The Chestnut Tree
דער קאַשטנבױם

Words by Yitskhok Perlov (1911-1980); music by Lola Folman (1908-1979). The song was submitted by Hershl Altman, Bronx, N.Y. who heard Lola Folman sing it in the DP Camp Ziegenheim, Germany, in 1945. At that time, he writes, she was touring with her husband, Yitskhok Perlov, to bring comfort to the survivors. In this country the song was popularized by actress Mina Bern, who submitted the melody.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


A mother had a little girl
a little girl had she,
lovely blond hair
the child had.
She sits and sews a little dress
she sits, sews and dreams,
the apple, the apple
does not fall far from the tree.

The years go by,
life follows its course,
the little daughter is grown now.
She is lovely and slender.
Her mother, forty-two years old,
is still young and fit;
The daughter is sixteen
and has already had successes.

Young men hang around
outside her house,
singing pretty songs
and calling her to come out:
Come out, my darling,
where the chestnut is in bloom,
I am yours, and you are mine,
and I dream only of you.

The mother thinks they’re calling her,
she runs like a hare to the mirror;
The daughter blushes
and hangs her head.
“Children must go to sleep
dogs are howling outside.”
“Momma, I’m not sleepy,
I’m not a child anymore.”

The mother goes into her bedroom
and lies right down in bed.
She hears the chestnut tree
tapping on the windowpane, saying:
“Once upon a time, I bloomed for you
when you were young,
Today I am blooming for your daughter,
for she is young and beautiful.”

A mame hot a tekhterl,
A tekhterl gehat,
Sheyne blonde herelekh
Hot dos kind gehat.
Zi zitst un neyt a kleydele,
Zi zitst un neyt un troymt,
Dos epele, dos epele
Falt nisht vayt fun boym.

Es tsien zikh di yorelekh,
Dos lebn geyt zayn gang,
Dos tekhterl dervaksn shoyn —
Zi iz oykh sheyn un shlank.
Di mame, tsvey un fertsik yor,
lz nokh yung un toyg;
Dos tekhterl shoyn zekhtsn yor
Un hot shoyn fil derfolg.

Es dreyen zikh bokhurimlekh
In droysn bay ir hoyz,
Zingen sheyne lidelekh
Un rufn ir aroys:
— Kum aroys, mayn libinke,
Vu s’blit der kashtnboym,
lkh bin dayn un du bist mayn
Un nor fun dir ikh troym.

Di mame meynt dos ruft men ir,
Zi loyft tsum shpigl vi a hoz;
Dos tekhterl farroytlt zikh
Un lozt arop di noz,
— Kinder muzn shlofn geyn,
In droysn voyen hint,
— Mame, kh’bin nisht shleferik,
Kh’bin nisht mer keyn kind.

Di mame geyt in shlofshtub arayn
Un leygt zikh glaykh in bet,
Hert zi vi der kashtnboym
Klapt in shoyb un redt:
— lkh hob a mol far dir geblit
Ven du bist yung geven,
Haynt bli ikh far dayn tekhterl,
Vayl zi iz yung un sheyn.

אַ מאָמע האָט אַ טעכטערל,
אַ טעכטערל געהאַט,
שײנע בלאַנדע הערעלעך
האָט דאָס קינד געהאַט.
זי זיצט און נײט אַ קלײדעלע,
זי זיצט און נײט און טרױמט,
דאָס עפּעלע, דאָס עפּעלע,
פֿאָלט נישט װײט פֿון בױם.

עס ציֶען זיך די יאָרעלעך,
דאָס לעבן גײט זײַן גאַנג,
דאָס טעכטערל דערװואַקסן שױן –
זי איז אױך שײן און שלאַנק.
די מאָמַע, צװײ און פֿערציק יאָר,
איז נאָך יונג און טױג;
דאָס טעכטערל שױן זעכצן יאָר
און האָט שױן פֿיל דערפֿאָלג.

עס דרײען זיך בחורימלעך
אין דרױסן בײַ איר הױז,
זינגען שײנע לידעלעך
און רופֿן איר אַרױס:
– קום אַרױס, מײַן ליבינקע,
װוּ סיבליט דער קאַשטנבױם,
איך בין דײַן און דו ביסט מײַן
און נאָר פֿון דיר איך טרױם.

די מאַמַע מײנט דאָס רופֿט מען איר,
זי לױפֿט צום שפֿיגל װי אַ האָז;
דאָס טעכטערל פֿאַררױטלט זיך
און לאָזט אַראָפּ די נאָז,
— קינדער מוזן שלאָפֿן גײן,
אין דרױסן װױען הינט,
— מאַמע, כ׳בין נישט שלעפֿעריק,
כיבין נישט מער קײן קינד.
די מאַמע גײט און שלאָבפשטוב אַרײַן
און לײגט זיך גלײַך אין בעט,
הערט זי װי דער קאַשטנבױם
קלאָפּט אין שױב און רעדט:
— איך האָב אַ מאָל פֿאַר דיר געבליט
װען דו ביסט יונג געװען,
העײַנט בלי איך פֿאַר דײַן טעכטערל,
װײַל זי איז יונג און שײן.

Song Title: Der Kashtnboym

Composer: Lola Folman
Composer’s Yiddish Name: לאָלאַ פֿאָלמאַן
Lyricist: Yitskhak Perlov
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: יצחק פּערלאָװ
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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