a wolf howling to the moon
- Linnea Lucifer

THE WOLF SONG, ASTRID LINDGREN

LET’S LISTEN to Vargsången (the wolf song) by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and composer Björn Isfält. This is the second of this year’s Advent Calendar treats. You can find the lyrics in English, and the reason why I decided to make this song the second stop on the guided tour of my backwaters, below.

When Jonna Jinton [2] sings Vargsången, she doesn’t just sing it to you. 

She grabs you by the hand and takes you deep into the Northern wilderness.

Astrid Lindgren, 1907 – 2002, was a Swedish author who’s probably most known for her children’s fiction. With titles like Pippi Longstocking, Ronja the Robber’s daughter, Mio my Mio and Emil of Lönneberga, Lindgren won the hearts of children all over the world.

In Astrid Lindgren’s stories, children had agency, They were allowed to be human, rather than props, and they often looked at the adult world through a lens that made adults look rather foolish. Furthermore, in Lindgren’s books, kids were faced with issues of life and death, of poverty and injustice, of suffering and tyranny. She didn’t shy away from the painful and the ugly aspects of life, and she believed that kids should be treated like humans. That they were capable of understanding the dark and shouldn’t be sheltered from it. 

Apart from a long list of wonderful books and films, Astrid Lindgren also gave us some of our most popular children’s songs. She wrote the lyrics and some truly great composers wrote the melodies for them. For today’s advent treat, I give you Vargsången (the wolf song) from Ronja Rövardotter. [1]

There are several versions of the Wolf song on Spotify. This one was

recorded by The Daughters of the Wolf.

Vargsången, Lyrics in English

Wolves howl in the woods at night

Howl when they want to sleep

Hungry, they have nothing to eat

And their den is so cold

Hey wolf, hey wolf, don’t come near

You’ll never have my baby

Wolves howl in the woods at night

Howl with hunger and grief

But I’ve saved ’em a hog’s tail

To ease their wolfish hunger

Hey wolf, hey wolf, don’t come near

You’ll never have my baby

Sleep my child, you’re safe with me

The wolves howl at the moon

And I will feed them chicken bones 

As long as no one has had them

Hey wolf, hey wolf, don’t come near

You’ll never have my baby [4]

Swedish actor, Lena Nyman, who played Ronja’s mother in the 1984 film

adaptation sings Vargsången as a lullaby to help her daughter fall asleep.

So, the second song I picked for this guided tour through the Ulfrheim Saga and my Swedish backwaters was a lullaby from a children’s book. But how is it relevant to my stories?

Well, first of all, Edda sings this lullaby to the kids when they are going to bed at night. I guess you could say that Astrid Lindgren is a part of their cultural heritage.

And wolves…

Wolves are everywhere in my stories, from the names Ulfrheim (home of the wolves) and Fenrir’s Cubbies to more or less visible appearances. there’s a reason for that, but I’m afraid it’s nothing I can share right now. Because spoilers.

I wrote the English lyrics to Vargsången when my kids were little ones, as we tried to stick to English at home. Took me some time to fish them out of my archives, and now that I have I cringe and want to re-write them. That’ll have to wait, though. Done is better than perfect, right?

My favourite version of this song, by far, is Jonna Jinton’s, but I hope you’ll give the other ones a chance too.

The Ulfrheim advent calendar has its own playlist on Spotify.

Let’s see if we can get 24 musical treats in there…  

Well, that was all I had for you today. Do you have any questions or something you’d like to say? Hit me up in the comments below or slide into my DMs on socials and let’s talk.

Got an advent calendar of your own going? Add a link below so we can hop over and see them.

Thank you for your time!

Much love,

//Evalena 😘

© Evalena Styf, 2021

PSST!

      1. Vargsången by Astrid Lindgren and Björn Isfält. ©The Astrid Lindgren Company. Published by Universal Music Publishing.

      2. Johnna Jinton is a Swedish artist, musician and filmmaker who lives in the Northlands. On her YouTube channel, she shares stories and glimpses from her life up north, music, nordic herdingcalls, painting, ice baths, and beautiful nature shots.

      3. Please, support musicians by listening to their music via channels and platforms that actually pay them for their work. 

      4. English lyrics to Vargsången by Evalena Styf. 

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