I can play Atari
I can do karate
Oops I'm sorry
How and why did this piece of nonsense spread so widely? I don't know, but it did. Weird, no? A lot of the Hasidic children's sayings are equally strange, but what fascinates me most is the interplay between Eastern European and American elements. Some of the sayings I know from scholarly studies of Yiddish children's sayings, others are English ones I knew growing up. Then there is the following:
רינגע ראנגע ראוזי פאקע פאלע פאוזי, עשעס עשעס ווי אלל פאל דאון
"Ringe range rouzi pake fole pouzi, eshes eshes vi all fal daun."
Pretty darn cool.
Even cooler is the ensuing discussion. The poster asks if anyone has heard the rumor that this has to do with idolatry. Someone else writes in to say that he read in "Mallos" (a Hasidic magazine) that this rhyme comes from "the church," and that the "falling down" at the end has to do with bowing down, a big taboo in Judaism, such a big no-no that the poster adds an acronym רח''ל meaning, roughly, 'God forbid' - for merely having mentioned bowing down. Someone else writes
The legend that 'Ring a ring a rozi" has to do with idolatry is sheer idiocy. Somebody just brought me a pamphlet from England that he picked up in one of the tourism places, and it just says that a few hundred years ago there was a plague in England that begins as a rash on the hands shaped like a round rose etc. and the remedy was to put ash on it, and if you didn't you would fall down dead.
This prompts someone to post a link to Snopes where they debunk the story that "Ring Around the Rosie" has anything to do with any plague.
A heck of a journey, all told. From suspicious rumors of idolatry to widespread urban legends to Snopes. All within a week. This is the revolution the internet is causing in the Hasidic world - an instant acceleration to light speed. And we get to watch.