Some stories from slavery time in Suriname are very well known. So well known and common that they are found in songs we sing without even giving it a second thought.
One of those song is “Peroen Peroen Mi Patron”
One morning in the year 1799, a Guide, which stood on the lookout, saw some English warships sailing in the river. He made alarm. then began to tell other Guides to pass this message to each other. After the commander of the fortress, Peroen, was notified of this, he proclaimed “Let, come what will. I will have the English squadron in such a wreck, that they will return to the ocean on nothing but boards “.
Meanwhile the squadron, commanded by Hugh Seymour and Thomas Trigge, approached the Fortress unhindered and instead of resistance Peroen decided to surrender.
This story became a song of ridicule towards the commander, Peroen.
“Peroen Peroen Mi Patron”
‘Sien, san dee na mofo sien dee kom,
Peroen, Peroen, mi patron?’
(Do you see what’s coming down the river, Peroen?)
‘San wani kom, mik a kom:
Ingrisiman sa tjari pranga
Go na jobo pan!’
(“Let, come what will. I will have the English squadron in such a wreck, that they will return to the ocean on nothing but boards “.)
‘Bakoeba, Bakoeba, kaserie, kaserie,
Nimo, nimo, jaâsabo.’
‘Bosro ma pinka
Bosro ma bo!’
(He surrendered and baked them cakes)
‘Ala dem grikiebie
din sab’na fien fien wroko,
O Codjo, Codjo, fai dom,
joe dom so kita, kita, kai koi!’
(The small bird knows his work, how to use the wind – meaning: You as a captain don’t know what you are doing, while the birds do – Codjo how are you so dumb? Peroen’s name is substituted for Codjo, which according to tradition was the name given to someone born on a Monday and was considered dumb )
‘Sien, san dee na mofo sien dee kom’
(Do you see what’s coming down the river?)
This is the song the slaves & creoles sung among themselves, no doubt with much laughter, and it survived to this day.
Today this song is part of a kids game in Suriname: