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De två systrarna (English translation)

  • Artist: Folk och rackare
  • Song: De två systrarna 2 translations
  • Translations: English, Italian
Swedish
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De två systrarna

Där bodde en bonde vid sjöastrand
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Och tvenne döttrar hade han
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Den ena var vit som den klara sol
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Den andra var svart som den svartaste kol
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Vi tvättar oss bägge i vattnet nu
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Så blir jag väl som viter som du
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Å tvättar du dig både nätter och dar
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Så aldrig du blir som viter som jag
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Och som de nu stodo på sjöastrand
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Så stötte den fulaste sin syster av sand
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Kära min syster du hjälp mig i land
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Och dig vill jag giva min lille fästeman
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Din fästeman honom får jag ändå
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Men aldrig ska du mer på gröna jorden gå
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Där bodde en spelman vid en strand
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Han såg i vattnet var liket det sam
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Spelemannen henne till stranden bar
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Och gjorde av henne en harpa så rar
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Spelemannen tog hennes guldgula hår
Harporsträngar därav han slog
Spelemannen tog hennes fingrar små
Gjorde harpan tapplor på
Spelemannen tog hennes snövita bröst
Harpan hon klinga med ljuvelig röst
 
Så bar harpan i bröllopsgård
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Där bruden hon dansar med gulleband i hår
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Trenne slag uppå gullharpan rann
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Den bruden har tagit min lille fästeman
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Om söndan så satt hon i brudstol röd
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
Om måndan hon brändes i aska och dö
Blåser kallt kallt väder över sjön
 
Submitted by TrampGuyTrampGuy on Tue, 02/07/2013 - 20:56
English translationEnglish
Align paragraphs

The two sisters

There lived a farmer by the seashore
(There's) Blowing cold cold weather1over the sea
And two daughters he had
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
One of them was as white as the bright sun
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
The other was black as the blackest coal
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
We both wash ourselves in the water now
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
So I will most likely become as white as you
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
Even if you wash yourself both day and night
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
You'll never be as white as me
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
And as they stood there on the seashore
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
The ugliest of them pushed her sister off from land
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
You, my dear sister, help me up to land
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
And then I will give you my sweetheart
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
Your fiancé, I will get him anyway
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
But you'll never wander upon the green earth again
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
There lived a fiddler2by the shore
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
He looked into the water where the body floated
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
The fiddler carried her onto the shore
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
And of her he made a sweet harp
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
The fiddler took her golden hair
And built harp strings from it
The fiddler took her small fingers
And decorated the harp with them3
The fiddler took her snow white breasts
And the harp she rang with a lovely tone
 
And the harp was carried to the wedding spot
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
Where the bride was dancing with ribbons in the hair
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
And three strokes on the golden harp was played
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
That bride has stolen my sweetheart
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
On sunday she sat in a bridechair red
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
On monday she was burnt in ashes and death
Blowing cold cold weather over the sea
 
  • 1. I'm not sure if you're able say that the weather is blowing in english, but to replace weather with wind wouldn't suffice, since they mean that the whole weather condition is moving over the sea
  • 2. "Speleman", or nowdays "Spelman", is a swedish folk musician. I chose to translate it into "fiddler" for two reasons. 1. There's an extremely high probability that he was a fiddler, since I'm guessing this story took place in a time when the violin dominated the swedish folk music and 2. It gives a better flow to the lyrics
  • 3. This is a tricky one. To "tappla" is to finger on something but it's not used as a verb here; instead it is used as a noun so it would make the most sense that he decorates the harp with the fingers. If someone has another idea they're welcome to share it.
Thanks!
thanked 8 times
Submitted by vargkustaavargkustaa on Fri, 05/07/2013 - 18:07
Added in reply to request by TrampGuyTrampGuy
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Translations of "De två systrarna"
English vargkustaa
5
Comments
TrampGuyTrampGuy    Fri, 05/07/2013 - 19:26
5

Very nice! and I'm glad you chose to start with the Folk och Rackare songs - they're my favorite Swedish folk band Regular smile

I must say, I think I like the Norwegian version better - where the "white sister" is innocent, and not so smug and arrogant as she is here.

Thanks for clarifying about the "weather blowing over sea", and also for that "tapplor" bit - I wasn't sure about that last one.
I must say, I'm still not fully getting the translation of these two lines:
"Spelemannen tog hennes snövita bröst
Harpan hon klinga med ljuvelig röst"
What did he use her breasts for? and could "hon" maybe refer to the harp instead of her?

Thanks again for the translation - I hope to see more of these from you Regular smile

vargkustaavargkustaa    Fri, 05/07/2013 - 20:00

You're correct, I missed out on that one, it is changed now. As for the breast-part I don't understand it either, my best guess is that it's a reference to the lungs or the whole part of the body where the breasts are, but we're still left without an explanation of what he does with it, unless he uses that part to make the harp ring, like some sort of metaphor for where the singing voice is in the body.

moira.cameron1moira.cameron1    Thu, 07/11/2013 - 21:25

In Scottish and English versions of this ballad, the harper uses the breast BONE to fashion the harp:
"He's made a harp out of her breast bone, who's sound could melt a heart of stone". Perhaps that is the metaphor in this case. As for the fingers - I recall hearing another English version somewhere describing the harper using her finger bones as pegs for the harp strings.

TrampGuyTrampGuy    Fri, 08/11/2013 - 00:16

makes sense, thanks for the info Regular smile

cliffcliff    Mon, 02/12/2013 - 00:04

Thanks for the translation. Finally! Yes agree with my friend Moria. Most likely used the breastbone. Also, heard in a session and never since…

"They set the harp upon a stone
And lo the harp it played alone
The only song the harp played then
Was WOE UNTO MY SISTER JANE!"

TrampGuyTrampGuy    Wed, 04/12/2013 - 17:17

Thanks for the comment Regular smile and is this excerpt you posted from the English version "The Cruel Sister"?

cliffcliff    Tue, 28/04/2015 - 22:41

Yes, the excerpt is from "The Cruel Sister", as far as I know. Note that the Scots group Malinky has a new album out, De två systrarna" is on it, and it's sung in English (well, Scots). I think they've improved the rhyming somewhat.

The album (or individual songs) is on iTunes or from their website

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