Lullaby: Soothing Song or Melodic Warning

Whimsical Wednesday with Arlinda

While most of us have fond memories of being sung lullabies as children, the legend behind the origin of lullabies in a dark one. As children, we can remember our parents singing us soothing songs in an attempt to get us to fall asleep; lullabies were joyful bonding experiences between ourselves and our parents. After stumbling upon various lullaby origin stories, one caught my interest.

After researching the origins of lullabies, I found a multitude of websites claiming the legend of Lilith as the inspiration behind the creation of many lullabies that we have all heard since our childhood and grew to remember the soft and calming melodies. The term lullaby is said to have been derived from Lilith abi that is derived from a Hebrew phrase said to mean Lilith begone. Just wait, it gets creepier. It is said that lullabies were used as a form of protection for children against Lilith coming to steal their souls in the night.

This view of the origin of lullabies brings a whole new perspective and analysis Rock-a-Bye Baby, a lullaby that surely we have all heard time and time again.

  Rock a Bye Baby

Rock-a-bye, baby

In the treetop.

When the wind blows,

The cradle will rock.

When the bough breaks,

The cradle will fall,

And down will come baby,

Cradle and all.

Baby is drowsing,

Cosy and fair.

Mother sits near,

In her rocking chair.

Forward and back,

The cradle she swings,

And though baby sleeps,

He hears what she sings.

The baby eerily hears what the mother is singing, though the mother sits away from the baby in her rocking chair. While reading this I thought, why did the mother sit away from her child? Was she guarding the baby’s room against the arrival of Lilith, or was she afraid to sit near her child should Lilith arrive? While I can explore the various possibilities of lullabies being derived as a protective shield against Lilith, I shall leave it to my readers to come up with their own interpretations.

As far fetched as the concept of Lilith being at the center of the origin of lullabies, it’s October and with Halloween just around the corner it seems the perfect time to share such a creepy and chill provoking origin story. If you wish to explore the many different origin stories of lullabies, I have posted a few links below. I hope you find the links as interesting as I did upon stumbling onto these websites.


~Arlinda Mulosmanaj