Helen Moser

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riddles, scrapple, crow feathers, watermelon, butter churn, animals, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect


A handwritten letter from Helen Moser addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated July 1, 1949. Within, Moser provides a list of rhymes and riddles she remembers from her childhood, translated from Pennsylvania Dutch into English.


Helen Moser


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 410-1 to 410-2


Bally, Pennsylvania


July 1st 1949

Bally Box 91.

Dear Sirs,

Here are a few riddles.

1. Loch loch ollis loch hapt un zeek doch (ans ket.) hole hole everything hole pulls and holds just the same (chain)

2. Wuv war Moses we es licht ous gona is. –(ans im dunkla we mear ah.) Where was Moses when the light went out. (in the dark the same as us.)

3. Wass is schwatzer mil die grab (ans. si feddera.) What is blacker than the crow (his feathers.)

En grie haus in dem grina haus en weiss haus in dem weissa haus en root haus un in dem roota haus sin schwatza leid. (ans. en wassmalone.) A green house in the green a white house in the white house a red house in the red house are black people. (A watermelon.)

5. Far nas geat dar fux ivver den barrick. (ans. wile ar net una derich ga kun.) Why does the fox go over the hill. (because he can not go underneath.)

6. Wass iss dar unnerschitt gschmischich n butterfoss un n hawna. (ans. as budderfoss hut si fluggel in menich un dar hawna aus wenich.) What is the difference between a butter churn and a rooster. (The butter churn has its wings inside and the rooster outside.)

7. Won es beef fleesch en halva dawler is in Fildelphi wass sin de fensa riggel in barricks caunty. (ans. hole.) lf beef meat is half a dollar in Philadelphia what are the fence rails in Berks County.


8. Wass fann haws hurd ken schwantz. (ans. ponhaus.) what kind of a rabbit has no tail (Pondabbit or Scrapple.)

Dear Sirs,

I like your Penna. Dutchman very much it brings back some of our childhood memories in little rhymes which are almost forgotten hope to read more of the Penna. Dutch cooking and baking. Hope you have good luck in printing your paper.

Sincerely yours

Helen Moser

Bally Box 91

Berks Co. Penna.


English and Pennsylvania German

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Letter From Helen Moser to Alfred L. Shoemaker, July 1, 1949



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