SANTHARIAN COUNTING RHYMES


This page contians a large variety of Santharian Counting Rhymes as overheard by various bards and minstrels who found it intriguing how children's rhymes throughout the continent had similar themes and concepts.... Or as the great Masterbard Judith of Bardavos keeps saying: "I believe that Counting Rhymes represent the essence of a culture and should be investigated with considerably more respect than most scholars would deign to bestow upon them." Well, judge for yourself...


T
HERGERIM COUNTING RHYME
by Bard Judith

Here's a children's counting song, which has been cleverly translated rolleyes so that it rhymes in both Gnomic and Tharian. It's generally used for 'counting out' and choosing partners in games.

Blugim, blugim
Sphar tir spharin
Girim, gerim,
Klauz delmin,
It ir uy er,
Ap ort en ith,
Etli, kyer, orn!

Dance, dance,
Round and round,
Come and go,
Underground,
Zero one two three,
Four five six seven,
Eight, nine, ten!

 


O
NE LEAPOR FOR ERTEMMIR
by SHABAKUK ZEBORIUS ANFANG

This counting poem, composed in austere Remusian style, reflects the close relationship between the Remusian number system and the ice tribe gods. While history has forgotten its author, or authors, the poem itself is widely known and routinely taught to children, who find the task of memorizing it far from trivial, but are encouraged to take pride in mastering the achievement. The poem plays on the fact that each of the fifteen Remusian numerals, from ert (one) through to nect (fifteen) is associated, by name and folklore, with the fifteen gods of the ice tribes. A sixteenth god is also represented in the poem, namely Afrasnyr, a chaos deity who represents zero.

The poem assists with the learning of the Remusian knuckle counting method. Remusians use the right hand to count on the finger knuckles of the left. Starting with “one/ert”, signified by tapping the lowest knuckle of the left little finger, they count three knuckles on each of the four fingers, plus the base and the two knuckles of the thumb. This covers the numbers one to fifteen. To signify sixteen, Remusians lift the thumb of the right hand. Seventeen is indicated by touching the first knuckle on the left with the outstretched right thumb, and so forth. The outstretched right index finger means thirty-two, the middle finger forty-eight, and so forth. In this way, Remusians can count to eighty on the fingers of their two hands.

When counting thus, Remusians don’t of course always recite the whole poem, not even mentally. Instead, children and adults alike may mutter the following in order to help themselves along: “One leapor for Ertemmir, two leverets for Phoblit, three nightowls for Nechya,…”, and so forth.

The poem’s structure deserves a few lines of explanation. It is arranged in five triplets of lines, representing the knuckles of the five fingers of the left hand. (The single sixteenth line is sometimes left out of recitals.) Remusian poetry does not rely on end rhymes, but rather on alliterations. At least one stressed syllable in the first part of each line must alliterate with at least one stressed syllable in the second part of the same line. For Remusian ears, the more alliterations there are, the better is the poem. Thus, the third line, with its four n-alliterations and its two d-alliterations, would be considered close to perfection.

In content and sentiment, the poem reflects the icelands’ harsh environment and the Remusians’ struggle for survival against elements and enemies. Each god is associated with an animal or a plant with which he or she stands in mythological relation. The wild cat in line fifteen refers, of course, to the ferocious caracal, reputed to be the death deity Necteref’s offspring.
 

One leapor for Ertemmir, long-suff’ring bearer of snow;
Two leverets Phoblit takes, bringer of warmth and of light;
Three nightbirds for Nechya dark: numberless gems in nor’sidian dress.

Four thunderfeet Brender takes, thrasher of brothers and clouds;
Five stormcrows for Asterlin, striker of trees and of men;
Six varro leaves Reanor takes, velvety healer of waterless land.

Se’en snow mice for Chelinor, sniffing the grass with their snouts;
Eight icesnouts proud Pargis takes, frost-struck and pale grows the ground;
Nine falcons for Weabor swift, bending and breaking the feeble and frail.

Ten sun sparks Peiorojon lets soar, and sear the fresh air;
‘leven varlihns for Heterniz, flowing through valleys and hills;
Twelve stryke sharks Asendin takes, shaking the longboats with furious tides.

Thirteen white whales for Aleshnir, hunting beneath the fierce waves;
Fourteen white bears for Zundefor, stalking the valleys and brooks;
Fifteen wild cats for Necteref, never at rest ‘til all warriors are slain.

But there’s nothing for Afrasnyr, who nevermore counts and never yet was.

 


A
DAYS OF THE WEEK FORTUNETELLING RHYME
by Bard Judith

This short counting rhyme is about a century old, and comes from the Manthrian peasants and farmers, who say that one can foretell a child's basic nature by the day of the week upon which he or she was born. Note that they, with stolid cynicism, attribute a nature exactly opposite that which one might expect: a child born on the day named after money and its affairs will be a spendthrift, for example.

Some farmwomen still take this old superstition so seriously that the Manthrian herbwives and Baveras'Wills continue to do a good trade in 'Babe-bringer Draughts', or labour-inducing tinctures, which they swear when taken properly will bring the babe on the day desired. Most of these draughts contain nothing more powerful than Black Raspberry, Wombloose, Mithril Birch sap and the like, which if they do fail to induce labour on the day desired, at the very least will do no harm...

A Prayday child is rebel or flirt,
While a Washday child loves earth and dirt.
Payday's babe in his purse hath a hole,
Midsday's child seeks things of the soul.
On Gamesday born - will never win,
Bakeday birth fates a child too thin -
But a Fastday tot will surely thrive,
Double chins ere he comes to wive.

 

A BIRD FORETELLING RHYME
by Bard Judith

(
Collected Near Marcogg)


One for death and two for birth,
Three for wind and four for earth,
Five for fire, six for rain,
Seven's joy and eight is pain,
Nine to go, ten back again!


A COUNTING-IN RHYME
by Bard Judith

(
As sung throughout central Santhala)


This STICK will TELL the ONE we CHOOSE
To BE the LORD in SHINing SHOES
To RUle LANDS both NEAR and FAR
The STICK says YOU will BE King THAR!


A COUNTING-OUT RHYME
by Bard Judith

(
From the Aurora Fields area
)

Under the ocean, green and deep
Lie the fishes fast asleep,
Under the arm and over the shoe,
Tap on the head, and out goes YOU!


A FLOWER-PETAL FORETELLING CHANT
by Bard Judith

(
Heard near Carmalad from a group of young women
)

He'll LEAVE me
He'll LOVE me
He'll BED me
He'll WED me.
He'll LEAVE me
He'll LOVE me....

(repeated, until only one petal is left to predict the girl's future)


A BIRD COUNTING SONG
by Bard Judith

(
As sung in Dasai)


One bird weeping, two birds love,
Three for Eyasha’s flower above,
Four the Hammerlord will storm,
Five a babe will soon be born.
Six to lay and seven to hatch
Eight brings fish in, nine no catch,
Ten bodes well for harvest time,
More than ten, start o’er the rhyme!


A SKIPPING CHANT
by Bard Judith

(
Composed by Bardavos children)


Rope goes up and rope goes down,
Swing it, swing it, round an' round,
(Ana) run out and (Maevie) run in,
Gimme a kiss an' I'll give ye a pin.

Rope goes up and rope goes down,
Swing it, swing it, round an' round,
Point yer toes and touch yer knees,
Lift yer skirts, and jump as ye please!

(repeated, with different children's names as they jump in)


A FINGER PLAY
by Bard Judith

(
Sung by mothers with their babies. From Chylikis)


Thumb's a sturdy Thergerim,
Pointer's noble Human king,
Longelf stands so proud and tall,
Ringer sings like Halflings small,
Baby is a Brownie wee,
Clap your hands and tickle me!
 

Poems written by various team members