Login
FacebookTwitterYoutube
Get your free website from Spanglefish

Nam Bu Leam Fhìn Thu, Thàladhainn Thu (If You Were Mine, I Would Lull You) - traditional

 

Nam bu leam fhìn thu, thàladhainn thu (x3)        

(If you were mine, I would lull you)

Thàladhainn, thàladhainn, thàladhainn thu          

(Lull you, lull you, lull you)           

 

Nam bu leam fhìn thu, leanabh mo chìche           

(If you were mine, babe of my breast)

Nam bu leam fhìn thu, thàladhainn thu                 

(If you were mine, I would lull you)

Thàladhainn, thàladhainn, thàladhainn thu          

(Lull you, lull you, lull you)

 

The melody of this lullaby is similar to that of Dream Angus, but the words are quite different in meaning.  The song is connected with the MacLeods of Dunvegan, on Skye, who were reputed to have taken on fairy women as wetnurses to their babies.

There are a couple of different stories associated with this song.  In one, a fairy woman is walking over the hill to visit her neighbours.  On the way she sees a man coming in the other direction, away from the neighbours' house.  He is carrying a sword which is dripping with blood and she fears for the safety of her neighbours.  When she arrives at the house, she finds her fears well founded, as the whole household has been massacred.  The parents lie dead on the floor, the young children lie dead beside them, even the dogs have been slaughtered.  Then she notices movement from the baby's cradle.  Hidden among the blankets is the newborn baby.  The baby starts to cry and the fairy woman lifts him to try to comfort him, but he will not be comforted and she sings this song.

 

In an alternative story, the wife of the chief of the MacLeods gives birth to a baby, much to the joy of the family.  However, the mother is a fairy woman and while the child is still a baby, she is forced to return to her own people.  One night, there is a great feast going on in Dunvegan Castle and the nursemaid who is supposed to be caring for the child is so attracted by the colour and festivity that she leaves the baby sleeping and goes to watch.  While she is away, the baby wakens and begins to cry.  When she hears it, she comes back and finds a woman cradling the baby, singing this song to him.  She has wrapped the child in an embroidered, yellow covering.  As the child calms, the woman hands the child back to the nursemaid and leaves.  The story goes that the woman was the baby's mother, returned to see that her child was kept from harm and the yellow cover was the so-called Fairy Flag of Dunvegan, a banner which the clan should wave at times of dire need.  Legend has it that this otherworldly banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod would invariably defeat their enemies.  It can only be waved 3 times, though, after which it will fall into dust.  The flag has been waved twice so far - in 1480 at Blàr Bàgh na Fala and ten years later at the Battle of Glendale.  The flag itself certainly exists and is a popular attraction at Dunvegan Castle.  There are many stories associated with it and it's origins and this is not the only lullaby said to have been sung by the baby's mother.

This song appears on the Bairn's Kist album and is available to preview or download from iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bairns-kist/id418445575

 

 

 




Ships and Harbours Image Library