Last Updated: 3 February 2023

Ainsi font font font (also known as Les petites marionnettes) is a traditional French nursery rhyme dating from the 15th century.

The story of the song

This song is sung to babies as they begin to imitate the adult. It is a gesture song: hands in the air, wrists turned one way, then the other.

The children's song was composed by an anonymous person in the 15th century.

Ainsi Font. Photo YuriArcursPeopleimages via Envato Elements

Photo: YuriArcursPeopleimages via Envato Elements

What is a 'marionnette'?

A marionnette is a puppet, articulated or not, made of wood, cardboard or any other kind of material (bone, leather or clay), manipulated by one or more people (marionnettistes - puppeteers), traditionally hidden in a castelet.

The puppets are expressive and amusing, while at the same time matching the satirical punch lines. With humour, they caricature contemporary society and also mock the authorities.

Guignol de Lyon © Tusco - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Guignol de Lyon © Tusco - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

What about their names?

The French word 'marionnette' is derived from Marion, a diminutive of Mary, and originally referred to a small figure of the Virgin.

In other European languages, the term is similar to the word "poupée": "puppet" in English and "puppe" in German.

The most famous puppets in the world are the Italian Pinocchio, the French Guignol and the American Muppets!

Ainsi Font. Photo Satura_ via Envato Elements

Photo: Satura_ via Envato Elements

Ainsi font font font

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

Ainsi font font font

The lyrics in French

The original song of Ainsi font font font has 3 verses.

Couplet 1

Ainsi font, font, font
Les petites marionnettes,
Ainsi font, font, font
Trois p'tits tours et puis s'en vont.

Couplet 2

Les mains aux côtés,
Marionnettes sautez, sautez,
Les mains aux côtés
Marionnettes recommencez.

Couplet 3

Et elles danseront
Les petites marionnettes,
Et elles danseront
Quand les enfants dormiront.

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

Thus do, do, do
The little puppets,
So do, do, do
Three little tricks and then they go away.

Verse 2

Hands at your side,
Puppets jump, jump,
Hands at your sides
Puppets start again.

Verse 3

And they will dance
The little puppets,
And they'll dance
When the children are sleeping.

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Ainsi font, font, font © French Moments

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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