I became quite interested in this song when my cat, who may have been Turkish, disappeared earlier this year. He celebrates his eleventh birthday today and his sixth month of disappeared status Friday. When he was first absent I would sing this lullaby in case he was hurt or scared somewhere, and to calm myself.
Other people sing it in all sorts of versions, including tacky versions, punk rock parodies, and versions with Turkish subtitles. It is a lullaby for a child who has beauty spots; his hands are decorated with henna tattoos. The cows are eating the cabbages and must be run out of the garden.
On 29 August 2005 it was my cat’s fifth birthday and it is hard to believe but more than half of his life — that is, more than half of the part of his life he spent with me — took place after Katrina. Now we will sing the song again, a cappella, in honor of that night when the storm had passed through, and the levees had not broken.