6 February


Il court il court le furet (also known as Il court le furet) is a traditional French song with lyrics dating from circa 1720.

The song of the ferret

The ferret was traditionally used to hunt rodents near houses and rabbits in burrows.

The ferret was also bred for its fur and as a laboratory animal.

Nowadays it is mainly kept as a pet.

Il court il court le Furet. Photo Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

A pet ferret. Photo Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

It could be a mockery song

Because the song is aimed specifically at ladies, and in the eighteenth century only noble women could be called 'Madame', it is sometimes interpreted as a raucous song mocking Cardinal Guillaume Dubois, the chief minister of the regent, Duke Philippe d'Orléans.

Guillaume Dubois in 1723 by Hyacinthe Rigaud

Guillaume Dubois in 1723 by Hyacinthe Rigaud

The Furet Game

There are several games for children based on the rhyme. Most of them are rounds.

Here's one example:

The children make a circle and sing the song while passing an object called a "furet" from hand to hand. During this time, one child sits in the middle of the circle, eyes closed. When one verse and chorus are over, the furet stops. The child in the middle has to say the name of whose holding it so that he/she can take his/her place. The furet can also be passed behind the back, but this is even more difficult!

Il court il court le furet

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

Il court il court le furet

The lyrics in French

The original song of Il court il court le furet has 3 verses and a chorus.

The French lyrics of the nursery rhyme exist in several variations, of which the following one is one of the most common versions.


Il court, il court, le furet,
Le furet du bois, Mesdames,
Il court, il court, le furet,
Le furet du bois joli.

Couplet 1

Il est passé par ici, (bis)
Il repassera par là. (bis)

Couplet 2

Le voici encore ici (bis)
Le voilà maintenant par là. (bis)

Couplet 3

Il est entré par ici (bis)
Il est ressorti par là. (bis)

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:


He runs, he runs, the ferret,
The ferret of the wood, ladies,
He runs, he runs, the ferret,
The ferret of the fair wood.

Verse 1

He's been here, (bis)
He'll come back this way (bis)

Verse 2

Here he is again (bis)
Now he is here (bis)

Verse 3

He came in here (bis)
He came out this way (bis)

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Il court, il court, le furet © 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:

French Nursery Rhymes Cover by French Moments
French Nursery Rhymes
A la claire fontaine © French Moments
Ah ! dis-moi donc bergère © French Moments
Ah ! Les crocodiles © French Moments
Ah ! vous dirai-je, maman © French Moments
Ainsi font, font, font © French Moments
Alouette gentille alouette © French Moments
Au clair de la lune © French Moments
Au feu les pompiers © French Moments
Au royaume de Diguedondaine © French Moments
Auprès de ma blonde © French Moments
Aux marches du palais © French Moments
Blanc Blanc Blanc belle rose © French Moments
Bon voyage Monsieur Dumollet © French Moments
Buvons un coup ma serpette est perdue © French Moments
C'est la mère Michel © French Moments
C'était Anne de Bretagne © French Moments
Cadet Rousselle © French Moments
Car c’est un bon camarade © French Moments
Chère Élise © French Moments
Chevaliers de la table ronde © French Moments
Colchiques dans les prés © French Moments
Compagnons de la Marjolaine © French Moments
Dame Tartine © French Moments
Dans les prisons de Nantes © French Moments
Dansons la capucine © French Moments
Dodo, l'enfant do © French Moments
En passant par la Lorraine © French Moments
Fais dodo © French Moments
Fleur d’épine © French Moments
Frère Jacques © French Moments
Gentil coquelicot © French Moments
Il court, il court, le furet © French Moments
Il était un petit cordonnier © French Moments
Il était un petit navire © French Moments
Il était une bergère © French Moments
Il pleut, il pleut, bergère © French Moments
J'ai du bon tabac © French Moments
J'ai un gros nez rouge © French Moments
J'fais pipi sur le gazon © French Moments
Je te tiens par la barbichette © French Moments
Joyeux anniversaire © French Moments
La bonne aventure ô gué © French Moments
La danse des canards © French Moments
La légende de saint Nicolas © French Moments
Le bon roi Dagobert © French Moments
Le carillon de Vendôme © French Moments
Le coucou © French Moments
Le facteur n'est pas passé © French Moments
Le fermier dans son pré © French Moments
Le temps des cerises © French Moments
Le temps du muguet © French Moments
Le vieux MacDonald © French Moments
Les filles de La Rochelle © French Moments
Maman les p'tits bateaux © French Moments
Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre © French Moments
Meunier, tu dors © French Moments
Mignonne allons voir si la rose © French Moments
Mon âne © French Moments
Mon père m'a donné un mari © French Moments
Ne pleure pas Jeannette © French Moments
Nous n'irons plus au bois © French Moments
Ô gai, vive la rose © French Moments
Passe passe passera © French Moments
Pirouette Cacahuète © French Moments
Plantons la vigne © French Moments
Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api © French Moments
Pomme, pêche, poire, abricot © French Moments
Promenons-nous dans les bois © French Moments
Savez-vous planter les choux ? © French Moments
Sur la route de Dijon © French Moments
Sur la route de Louviers © French Moments
Sur le pont d'Avignon © French Moments
Sur le pont du nord © French Moments
Tout va très bien madame la marquise © French Moments
Trois jeunes tambours © French Moments
Un éléphant ça trompe énormément © French Moments
Un kilomètre à pied © French Moments
Un, deux, trois, nous irons au bois © French Moments
Une chanson douce © French Moments
Une poule sur un mur © French Moments
Une souris verte © French Moments
V'la le bon vent © French Moments
Voici le mois de mai © French Moments
Y avait dix filles dans un pré © French Moments
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 the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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