Hänschen klein ging allein
Little Hans went alone

Hänschen klein ging allein

in die weite Welt hinein.

Stock und Hut steht ihm gut,

ist gar wohlgemut.

Aber Mutter weinet sehr,

hat ja nun kein Hänschen mehr.

„Wünsch dir Glück“, sagt ihr Blick,

„kehr nur bald zurück!“


Sieben Jahr, trüb und klar,

Hänschen in der Fremde war.

Da besinnt sich das Kind,

eilet heim geschwind.

Doch nun ist’s kein Hänschen mehr,

nein, ein großer Hans ist er,

braun gebrannt Stirn und Hand.

Wird er wohl erkannt?


Eins, zwei, drei geh’n vorbei,

wissen nicht, wer das wohl sei.

Schwester spricht: „Welch Gesicht!“,

kennt den Bruder nicht.

Kommt daher die Mutter sein,

schaut ihm kaum ins Aug’ hinein,

spricht sie schon: „Hans, mein Sohn!

Grüß dich Gott, mein Sohn!“

Little Hans went alone

out into the big world.

Stick and hat fit him well,

is very well-tempered.

But his mother cries a lot,

‘cause there is no Little Hans any more.

“Whish you well,” say her eyes,

“Just come home again soon!”


Seven years, dull and clear,

Little Hans has been away.

Then the child bethinks,

hurries home quickly.

But now, it’s not Little Hans any more,

no, he is a grown up Hans,

forehead and hand are well-tanned.

Will they recognize him?


One, two, three walk by,

don’t know who this might be.

Sister says: “What a face!”,

doesn’t know her brother.

Then his mother comes along,

barely looks into his eye

and says: “Hans, my son!

God bless you, my son!”

As early as in 1710, this song was already sung as a hunting song with the title “Ride out…”. Later on, there is evidence of the song being entitled “May changes all anew”. This kind of change of lyrics is typical for German folk songs. The lyrics that are sung nowadays were written by Franz Wiedemann (1821-1882). They center on a little Hans who leaves home with stick and hat and returns back home after seven years. This is indicative of Hans having to take to the road for the compulsory wandering of several (mostly exactly seven) years. During this period, a craftsman was not allowed to return to his home region because he had to learn outside of his region. Even today, some craftsmen honor this tradition and “wander” around town to celebrate the end of their apprenticeship – with stick and hat as well as with black trousers and a black jacket. This song is also still one of the first songs that children learn.