Dos Baytshl Kreln

The Necklace of Beads
דאָס בײַטשל קרעלן

Words by Yitskhok Perlov (1911-1980); music by Lola Folman (d. 1979), well-known singer in pre-war Poland. The song was popularized in the United States by singer Mina Bern, who submitted it to us.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


I bought myself a bead necklace
to please my beloved, today,
to look pretty for my beloved
when I go walking with him.

I can’t sleep all night.
Love, who invented it?

I waited for him outside
and pretended that was not what I was about.
I played with the beads
and felt his hot gaze on me.

We were married joyfully.
I have two little daughters, two pretty girls;
I wash and dry their diapers,
the house is all clamor and crying.

One gets the measles, the second chicken pox,
tonsilitis — I am terrified,
for one, it’s her belly, the other, a tooth,
and, poor things, they burst out crying.

Today, the older one is wearing my beads
so she, too, will please her beloved,
and the younger one — already getting dressed up.
Soon when she goes walking, she’ll not go alone.

Kh’hob zikh gekoyft a baytshl kreln,
Az mayn gelibtn zol ikh haynt gefeln,
Far mayn gelibtn zol ikh oyszen sheyn,
Ven ikh vel mit im shpatsirn geyn.

Kh’ken nit shlofn a gantse nakht,
Libe, ver hot es oysgetrakht?

Kh’hob im opgevart in droysn,
Un gemakht zikh, az kh’bin gornit oysn,
Mit di kreln hob ikh zikh geshpilt
Un zayn heysn blik oyf zikh gefilt.

Geshtelt a khupe gor in freydn.
Kh’hob tsvey tekhterlekh, tsvey sheyne meydn;
Ikh vash di vindelekh un trikn zey,
In shtub iz a gepilder, a geshrey.

Mozlt eyns, hot s’tsveyte pokn,
An anginele — ikh ver dershrokn,
Bay eyner s’megele, baym tsveytn — tseyn,
Un s’fargeyt zikh nebekh in geveyn.

Haynt trogt di eltste mayne kreln,
Az ir gelibtn zol zi oykh gefeln,
Un di yingere — zi putst zikh shoyn,
Shpatsirn vet zi shoyn nit geyn aleyn…

כ’האָב זיך געקױפֿט אַ בײַטשל קרעלן,
אַז מײַן געליבטן זאָל איך הײַנט געפֿעלן,
פֿאַר מײַן געליבטן זאָל איך אױסזען שײן,
װען איך װעל מיט אים שפּאַצירן גײן.

כ’קען ניט שלאָפֿן אַ גאַנצע נאַכט,
ליבע, װער האָט דאָס אױסגעטראַכט?

כ’האָב אים אָפּגעװאַרט אין דרױסן,
און געמאַכט זיך אַז כ’בין גאָרניט אױסן,
מיט די קרעלן האָב איך זיך געשפּילט
און זײַן הײסן בליק אױף זיך געפֿילט.

געשטעלט אַ חופּה גאָר אין פֿרײדן,
כ’האָב צװײ טעכטערלעך, צװײ שײנע מײדן;
איך װאַש די װינדעלעך און טריקן זײ,
אין שטוב איז אַ געפּילדער, אַ געשרײ.

מאָזלט אײנס, האָט ס’צװײטע פּאָקן,
אַן אַנגינעלע — איך װער דערשראָקן,
בײַ אײנער — ס’מעגעלע, בײַם צװײטן — צײן,
און ס’פֿאַרגײט זיך נעבעך אין געװײן.

הײַנט טראָגט די עלטסטע מײַנע קרעלן
אַז איר געליבטן זאָל זי אױך געפֿעלן
און די ייִנגערע — זי פּוצט זיך שױן,
שפּאַצירן װעט זי שױן ניט גײן אַלײן. . .

Song Title: Dos Baytshl Kreln

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

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

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