Raising Neem-Roonis- Atal matal tootoolé (a children's nursery rhyme)

Leyla Shams
February 9, 2020

Atal matal totoolé is a popular children's rhyme with a simple game that goes along with it. Like a lot of nursery rhymes, it has some pretty silly and nonsensical aspects to it, and it's something you could sing over and over again without really thinking about the meaning. But it's nice to have some context when you're saying something over and over again.

The game goes something like this- everyone sits with their legs stretched out in front of them. With each syllable, you tap one leg and then the other of each person in order. Whatever leg you land on for the last syllable gets retracted. In the end, whoever has the last leg left wins!

We've recorded the rhyme with this blog post- take a listen, and then practice saying it yourself. It's pretty fun! Below is the full transliteration, following by a line by line translation (note, some of it is meaningless rhyming, including the title of the song).

atal matal tootoolé
gāve hasan chejooré
na sheer dāré, na pestoon
gaveshõ bordan hendestoon
yek zané kordee bestoon
esmeshō bezār amghezi
doré kolāsh ghermezi
ācheen, vācheen,
yek, pā, tō, var, cheen!
atal matal tootoolé
(just a rhyme)
اَتَل مَتَل توتولِه
gāvé hasan chejooré
how is hasan's cow?
گاوِ حَسَن چِه جوره؟
na sheer dāré na pestoon
It doesn't have milk or udders
نَه شیر دارِه نَه پِستون
gāveshō bordan henestoon
they took his cow to India
گاوِشو بُردن هِندسِتون
yek zané kordee bestoon
find a Kurdish wife
یِک زَنِ کُردی بِستون
esmeshō bezār amghezi
Name her Amghezi
اِسمِشو بِذار عَم قِزی
doré kolāsh ghermezee
around her hat is red
دورِ کُلاش قِرمِزی
hacheen ō vācheen
(just a rhyme)
هاچین و واچین
yé, pā, tō, var, cheen!
take, one, foot, A-WAY!
یِه، پا، تو، وَر، چین


Even though I can barely pronounce it as nice and rhythmically as you do, it's fun to have my own try (my Iranian boy is chuckling hard as I give it a go).

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