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9 Creepy Lullabies That Will Do the Opposite of Put You to Sleep

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In your mind, you might have the idea that lullabies are exactly what they’re supposed to be – sweet, soothing, comforting tunes that mothers all over the world have used to sing their sweet babies to sleep for hundreds of years.

If you think this, you don’t have kids, because over the course of the past three years, I’ve been reminded time and time again how effortlessly f*cked up most nursery rhymes and lullabies really are – to the point that I change the words to many of them when I sing them to my kids.

These 9, though… there’s no saving them. They’re creepy from beginning to end, so please join me for a stroll through the world of completely horrifying lullabies.

9. “Ninna Nanna” (Italy)

If you don’t go to sleep, an old hag, a bogeyman, and a white wolf will take you…straight from your mother’s hands as she hands you over.

Yikes.

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.

8. “Nana Nenê” (Brazil)

Cuca is a mythical crocodile-hag, and along with an ox-monster and a bogeyman named Bicho Papao, will steal little babies who aren’t sleeping or protected away into the night.

Terrifying.

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.

7. “Bíum, bíum, Bambaló” (Iceland)

That which cannot be named is even scarier, don’t you think?

Imagine all of the things that could be at the window!

Beeum, beeum, bambalow, Bambalow and dillidillidow.

My little friend I lull to rest.

But outside

A face looms at the window.

6. “Duérmete Niño” (Spain)

If you don’t go to sleep, a shapeshifting monster called Coco (sometimes el Lobo, the wolf) will come and eat you up.

How are you supposed to sleep knowing that?

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.

5. “Highland Fairy Lullaby” (Scotland)

Scottish moms don’t play, and the don’t need any mythical creatures to punish you for not shutting up and going to sleep – they just set you down and lose you forever.

What. The. Eff.

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

4. “Dodo Titit” (Haiti)

Beware the human-eating crab in Haiti.

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.

3. “Kråkevisa” (Norway)

I would like someone to explain to me how a song about a man killing a crow because he thought it was out to kill him is a lullaby or comforting at all?

Any Norwegians in the house?

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

from the pelt he made twelve pair of shoes
he 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

2. “Bayu Bayushki Bayu” (Russia)

Little Russian children beware the wolf.

That’s a country that likes to stay on brand.

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.

1. “Incili Bebek Ninnisi” (Turkey)

This is the tale of a man who promised to sacrifice three camels if he could have a child, then didn’t sacrifice the camels (men, am I right), and what happens next.

It honestly gets worse with every verse.

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.

My mouth is just hanging open, because who could sleep after hearing that?

My eyes would be popped wide open for hours, which trust me, your toddlers don’t need help accomplishing.

Maybe stick with James Taylor songs instead. That’s how we roll in our house.