Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deconstructing the Lullaby

I sing to Wren at bedtime. I used to sing "hush little baby, don't you cry" but Wren stopped liking that. Instead, for the past month I have sung The Unicorn. It is almost the only song I remember from listening to as a child. We used to have this record of Des and Dawn Lindberg singing the song and it was memorable but disturbing. Every time I heard it I was sad because the song is about the Flood and explains that the reason we don't see unicorns is that they were disobedient and played in the rain so they missed the ark and all drowned:

"the unicorns was hidin'
playing silling games.
They were kicking' and a splashin
while the rain was pourin'
oh them foolish unicorns."

then later...

"And the unicorns looked up
from the rock and cried.
And the water came up
And sort of floated them away
That's why you've never seen a unicorn to this day."

I started singing the first verse:
"A long time ago
When the Earth was green.."

"What?" said Wren. "How is the earth green. Earth is BROWN! Was the animals eating green earth?"
"No," I explained. "I think they mean that the land had green grass on it. The animals could eat the green grass."

I continued singing until a few lines on:
"The loveliest of all was the Unicorn."

"Why they are singing about a horse with wings when there IS NO HORSE LIKE THAT??"
"Well, um.. they are singing that there was a horse like that but it didn't get on the boat with Noah."
"Oh, but there IS NO HORSE with wings."
"Not now, no."

Then we reached the line "there were green alligators.."

Wren:"Why are alligators green?"
Me: "So they can hide in the green river water to catch animals. They like to be camouflaged."

Song: "There were cats and rats and elephants."
Wren: "wait wait. There are no cats and rats here in the zoo!!"
Me: "It was on Noah's ark. All the animals in the world had to get on."

Song: "The lord said ... stand back, I am gonna make it rain."
Wren: "How is he do that magic. How is he make it just rain?"
Me: He is a god so he can just do that.
Wren: "How is he do it?"
Me: "lets just sing it"

I sang it.

Tonight Wren has a cough. I gave him a homeopathic honey cough syrup and he liked it. I have also given him a pillow for the first time. He is proud of his pillow and showed Daddy when he came in for his lullaby. He is still in there. I wonder if he is being similarly interrogated.


Linda said...

He's just so funny! Typical two-year old I think. :)

tamusana said...

I think we had a record of The Little Weavers (?) singing the Unicorn song, not Des and Dawn!! I was stunned to discover, relatively recently, that that song is actually a rhyme by Shel Silverstein (one of Garrett's heroes). If Wren really wants to get technical, you might want to point out to him that unicorns had a single horn, but no wings ;-)

nautilus said...

Why dont you sing him the Windsong from Mighty Joe Young:
Imba wimbo, (teach him some swahili). its very beautiful - see it on utube:
Sing a song
And for a moment
You will be visited by the wind
Sing a song
And for a moment
Dream sweetly of the wind
Sleep now until the night is dawn
The wind and the night song, they are there
However the song, my child, will go on forever.

Shannon said...

Hi Tam,
I was also reminded of the song by reading Shel Silverstein. I thought it was a Des and Dawn original!

Actually, it makes much more sense from Shel Silverstein. It is an irreverant version of the Ark if ever I heard one.

Last night Wren was worrying about all those other geese, "if he take TWO geese the FRIEND GEESE will be sad!"

Also, he thinks unicorns have horns and wings. Many faerie versions of them are winged. Wren says that they are not horses because they have "skin and wings and nose"

I shall point to the HORN in future :)


Shannon said...

HI Mum
I intended to sing this but I have to commit it to memory first :) Tonight I made up my own song to avoid the discussion.