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I am reading a children's book written in hiragana. I saw the opening line of the book mentioned online as being from the lyrics of a song, so I think this may be a folk song or children's song.

The first line is: いもむし ごーろごろ

I translated this as The caterpillar started to roll (with the sound effect of a large and heavy rolling object adding humor).

But then the next line confuses me completely. ひょうたん ぽっくりこ

My dictionary tells me that ひょうたん could be a contradiction or a gourd, but I don't see how either of those ideas would fit in.

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I'm a native Japanese, but I don't know the meaning of 「ぽっくりこ」.
Visit the site http://blog.livedoor.jp/season4/archives/9306591.html, then you'll know native Japanese don't know the meaning of 「ぽっくりこ」. So, you need not worry about not knowing the meaning of 「ぽっくりこ」.

I'm not sure, but 「ぽっくりこ」 may be an onomatopoeia. When you tap at a gourd, it will sound something like that.

At least, I know the 「ひょうたん」 in this phrase is a gourd, not contradiction. The meaning of contradiction for 「ひょうたん」 is used only in the Japanese proverb 「瓢箪{ひょうたん}から駒{こま}」.
瓢箪{ひょうたん}から駒{こま} could be literally translated like;
A piece of shogi gets out of a gourd, upon which "shogi" is a game of Japan like chess.

The proverb means;

  • What is not expected happens.
  • An impossible thing happens.
  • Something said as a joke actually happens.

Similar proverbs in English are;

  • Many a true word is spoken in jest.
  • There is many a true word spoken in jest.

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    I have never heard ぽっくりこ before, but could it be 「ぽっくり」 (in the sense of "softly and swellingly" just like that beer belly) and 「こ」 like 擬声語・擬態語などに付いて、そのような状態である意を表す。? – siikamiika Apr 16 '17 at 12:18
  • @siikamiika >「こ」like 擬音語・擬態語などについて、そのような状態である意を表す。I think so. And, it also gives softness to an expression such as すみっこ(隅っこ meaning a corner). – mackygoo Apr 16 '17 at 13:32

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