children and autumn

BG 147 – Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?

Way back in the 1960s, when I was in kindergarten (in The Netherlands), we learned a song that I still hum silently every fall. It goes like this:
‘Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?’
Weird question right? So even back then we were preoccupied with commerce.
‘A hundred thousand leaves in a heap.’
One hundred thousand was synonymous with ‘many’. Looooots of leaves in a heap. Or actually several heaps. Heaps that didn’t last long, because, so it goes on:
‘Bags full of wind.’
Bags full of wind? Bágs full of wind? It seems to me that the writer of the text really lost it here. You sometimes bagged those leaves to carry them away, but the wind wasn’t bagged, was it? Whether the songwriter meant garbage bags or the pockets of our jackets or trousers, there was no wind in it.
The wind blew freely around us, almost blew us upside down, roared around our house at night, tousled our hair, made our eyes water and our noses run. But wind in bags? I don’t think so.
So: ‘Bags full of wind. Yes my child.’
Well songwriter, I don’t know who you were, but you certainly weren’t my father or mother.
‘I hope you like that.’
And of course we kids ‘liked that’. We thought it was fantastic!
Autumn with its tumultuous wind and rain, with its impressive dark clouds flying high in the sky, with all those beautiful dying leaves being blown from the trees and other exciting hobby materials falling to the ground: acorns, beechnuts and chestnuts.
We dried the most beautiful fallen leaves between old newspapers, with heavy books on them. At our house – my parents didn’t read books – old telephone books were used, they were heavy too.
We learned a lot of songs in my early years in school, some of which, like this one, will be etched in my memory forever.
One more time then (in Dutch):
‘Herfst, herfst, wat heb je te koop?
Honderdduizend blaadren op een hoop.
Zakken vol met wind, ja mijn kind,
‘k hoop maar dat jij dat wel aardig vindt.’

Translated:
‘Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?
One hundred thousand leaves in a heap.
Bags full of wind, yes my child,
I hope you like that.’