Monday, January 21, 2013
messages from a lullaby
Like many lullabies of that time and this, the tune may have sent sweet babes into the arms of Morpheus, but their words of warning were not always so sweet.
The Babylonian lullaby, for example, chastises the child for disturbing the house god with its crying and threatens repercussions. In Kenya, a lullaby informs the child that a baby that cries will be eaten by a hyena. Even the "Rock-a-bye-Baby" melody widely known in English, comes with the caveat that "when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall."
The two-edged sword of lullabies makes me think that perhaps they were intended not just for the babies at which they were aimed, but also at the exasperations and wishful threats of the parents who sang them.