Sunday, July 14, 2002

The sun was just finishing up its brief pass below the horizon when I was woken out of a fitful sleep last night at 1:30. It was a late dinner in the courtyard of the building. I hadn't noticed anyone down there chittering away when I'd gone to sleep, but I suppose they'd come out sometime after midnight. And now, though they were assuredly drunk, they were singing a song I knew by Bellman, in glorious and sure-footed three-part harmony:

Bort allt vad oro gör,
bort vad allt hjärtat kväljer.
Bäst att man väljer
bland dessa buteljer
sin maglikör.
Granne, gör du just som jag gör,
vet denna oljan ger humör.
Vad det var läckert!
Vad var det? Rhenskt Bläckert?
Oui, Monseigneur!

Bort allt vad oro gör,
allt är ju stoft och aska.
Låt oss bli raska
och tömma vår flaska
bland bröderna.
Granne, gör du just som jag gör,
vet denna oljan ger humör.
Vad det var mäktigt!
Vad var det? Jo, präktigt!
Mallaga - ja!

I suppose I might have been angry, woken up at an ungodly hour. But it is Sweden, and it is summer, and I could only be charmed by the ever-so-civil incivility of it. Who could be upset at being woken by a choir of Swedish angels? So I stood by the window, naked, and listened for a while as they continued to sing and laugh through the slow-coming dawn.

When I woke this morning, I wondered for a moment if it had been a dream.

The Swedish word for the day is grannarna. It means the neighbors.

- by Francis S.

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