Lullabies Sound Great, But When You Hear These 12 Songs, You Won’t Sleep For Days

When you were little, you most likely sang “Ring Around the Rosy” on the playground without a care in the world. But as you grew older, you probaby learned that the seemingly harmless rhyme was actually about the Black Death. This obviously gives the tune a more ominous tone.

These rhymes and lullabies, however, are pretty upfront about their inherent horror. Most of them deal with illness, death, and a monster that, for no particular reason, will come and eat you. Thankfully, most kids don’t pay any mind to the words until they’re old enough to realize that mythical, man-eating beasts don’t actually exist. Still, the fact that these things are directed at children is a little disturbing.

1. “Nana Nene” is a Brazilian lullaby about a crocodile who will haunt your child’s nightmares.


Hush little baby/Cuca is coming to get you/Papa went to the fields/mama went to work.

Black-faced ox/Come grab this child/Who is scared of grimaces.

Bogeyman/Get off the roof/Let this child sleep peacefully.

2. “Duermete Mi Niño” is a Spanish lullaby in which a wolf-like creature is said to torture and eat children.


Sleep little one/Sleep already/Or the Coco will come and take you away.

Sleep little one/Sleep already/Or the Coco will come and eat you up.

3. “Dodo Titit” is a Hatian lullaby featuring a killer crab.


Night-night little mama/Night-night little mama/If you don’t sleep/the crab will eat you/If you don’t sleep/the crab will eat you.

Your mama isn’t here/she went to the market/Your papa isn’t here/he went to the river/If you don’t sleep/the crab will eat you/If you don’t sleep/the crab will eat you.

4. “Bayu Bayushki Bayu” is yet another lullaby about a wolf, this time from Russia.


Sleep sleep sleep/Don’t lie too close to the edge of the bed/Or little grey wolf will come/And grab you by the flank/Drag you into the woods/Underneath the willow root.

5. In an Italian lullaby called “Ninna Nanna,” pretty much everyone is out to get you.


Ninna nanna, ninna oh/To whom shall I give this baby?

If I give it to the old hag/She’ll keep it for a week.

If I give it to bogeyman/He’ll keep it for an entire year.

If I give it to the while wolf/He’ll keep it for a long time.

Lullaby sleep fairies/Send my baby to sleep.

6. On the island of Java, children fear the lullaby of “Lelo Ledung,” which tells of a scary giant coming to snatch them in the night.


Please hush, don’t keep on crying/My child with a lovely face. If you cry, you won’t look as beautiful.

I pray that you can live honorably/Be a woman of high importance/Bring honor to your parents’ name/Be a warrior of your country.

Please hush, my child/There/The moon is full/Like the head of a scary giant/One who’s looking for a crying child.

Tak lelo…lelo…lelo ledung/Please hush, my beautiful child/I am carrying you in a “kawung” batik sling/If you keep on crying, you’ll make me nervous.

7. In Iceland, the lullaby “Bíum, Bíum, Bambalóu” speaks of a ghostly presence.


Beeum, beeum, bambalow, bambalow and dillidillidow/My little friend I lull to rest/But outside/A face looms at the window.

8. Also of Icelandic origin, the tale of “Sofðu Nú Svínið þItt” is just plain creepy.

The Well at Kom Ombo

Sleep, you black-eyed pig/Fall into a deep pit of ghosts.

9. The “Highland Fairy Lullaby” from Scotland guarantees that parents will lose their children one day. Fun times!


I left my baby lying there, lying there, lying there/I left my baby lying there/To go and gather blaeberries.

Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go/Gorry o go, gorry o go/Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go/I’ve lost my dearest baby-o.

I saw the little yellow fawn/But never saw my baby.

I traced the otter on the lake/But could not trace my baby.

Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go/Gorry o go, gorry o go/Ho-van, ho-van gorry o go/I never found my baby-o.

10. Malaysian singer Zee Avi decided to create “Lima Anak Ayam,” a lullaby about dying baby chicks.


Five chicks/One chick dies/One chick dying leaves four.

11. The Norwegian lullaby “Kråkevisa” is about a dead cow.


…then he skinned the cow and cut her in pieces/she weighed near sixteen and twenty pounds

From the pelt he made twelve pair of shoe/she gave the best pair to Mother/

And the meat he salted in vessels and barrels/and preserved the tongue for the Yule meal.

From the entrails he made twelve pair of rope/and the claws he used for dirt-forks/

And the beak he used for a church-boat/that people could sail both to and fro.

And the mouth he used for grinding grain/and he made the ears into trumpets.

And from the eyes he made glass for the hall/and the neck he placed on the church for decoration.

12. Turkish lullaby “Incili Bebek Ninnisi” lulls children to sleep with soothing tales of a ritualistic camel sacrifices, among other things.


Above black eagles wheeling/All of a sudden swooping/My little baby stealing/Sleep, little baby, sleep.

Above black eagles soaring/A crown of pearls left lying/Your stupid father snoring/Sleep, little baby, sleep.

Above black eagles flying/My little baby clutching/And all the world a-spying/Sleep, little baby, sleep.

Above black birds ascending/My baby’s flesh a-rending/And all the world attending/Sleep, little baby, sleep.

(via Mental Floss)

If you didn’t hear these growing up, congrats! You probably had a slightly happier childhood. Probably.