Thursday, June 16, 2005

It's a little known fact that there's a sizeable Scandinavian population in Western New York State. The Double-Vey family arrived from Denmark to settle in Jamestown, NY at the turn of the last century. As was the case with the Zees (the Polish side), Double-Vey new Americans kept the native tongue under wraps so that the kids would learn English properly.

For the past two days, I'd been obsessing over a song that Grandma taught me when I was a child, as when she visited me the first time this week, she was singing it to me:

Højt på en gren en krage,
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
højt på en gren en krage sad.

Så kom en hæslig jæger,
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
så kom en hæslig jæger hen.

Han skød den stakkels krage,
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
han skød den stakkels krage ned.

Nu er den stakkels krage,
- simsaladim bamba saladu saladim -
nu er den stakkels krage død.

My Danish is HORRIBLE, as I've not used it or even thought of it
since I was a kid, but the gist of the song is that a little cuckoo set itself up in a tree. Along came a young hunter who shot the little cuckoo. The next year, the little cuckoo (another one, I'd assume) came back to sit in the tree (and so on and so forth).

I've tried to get the song out of my head, but can't. It's a cheery little thing, but it makes me want to cry.

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