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Thursday, December 13, 2007


The Yule Cat cometh, II

This is a very exciting day! For two years, amanuensis has been searching high and low for a recording of The Yule Cat sung by the Icelandic artist, Bjork. And here it is!

In Icelandic, the Yule Cat is Jolakotterinn. The song apppeared on the compilation album Hvít Er Borg Og Bær in December 1987. Bjork was in the band called the Sugarcubes at the time.

Thanks to a fan of Bjork's music, here's an English translation of the lyrics. The translator seems to be unsure whether the Yule Cat was male or female, but you get the idea that he (or she) liked to eat children! Arghh!

You know the Christmas cat
- that cat is very large
We don't know where he came from
nor where he has gone

He opened his eyes widely
glowing both of them
it was not for cowards
to look into them

His hair sharp as needles
his back was high and bulgy
and claws on his hairy paw
were not a pretty sight

Therefore the women competed
to rock and sow and spin
and knitted colorful clothes
or one little sock

For the cat could not come
and get the little children
they had to get new clothes
from the grownups

When Christmas Eve was lighted
and the cat looked inside
the children stood straight and red-cheeked
with their presents

He waved his strong tail
he jumped, scratched and blew
and was either in the valley
or out on the headland

He walked about, hungry and mean
in hurtfully cold christmas snow
and kindled the hearts with fear
in every town

If outside one heard a weak "meaow"
then unluck was sure to happen
all knew he hunted men
and didn't want mice

He followed the poorer people
who didn't get any new clothing
near Christmas - and tried and lived
in poorest conditions

From them he took at the same time
all their Christmas food
and ate them also themselves
if he could

Therefore the women competed
to rock and sow and spin
and knitted colorful clothes
or one little sock

Some had gotten an apron
and some had got a new shoe
or anything that was needful
but that was enough

For pussy should not eat no-one
who got some new piece of clothes
She hissed with her ugly voice
and ran away

If she still exists I don't know
but for nothing would be his trip
if everybody would get next Christmas
some new rag

You may want to keep it in mind
to help if there is need
for somewhere there might be children
who get nothing at all

Mayhap that looking for those who suffer
from lack of plentiful lights
will give you a happy season
and merry Christmas

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