Posted on January 21st, 2016 | by Leslie

0

Falling Down

Notes on Track 8

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Thumbelina has always been one of my favourite fairytales.  The copy I still have from my childhood of this edition was caught in a flood, but I can still read the words I wrote with magic marker on the inside back cover: Never to give away.  I’m a huge fan of the art of Susan Jeffers and have several of her books, including The Wild Swans which inspired “Eleven Feathered Sons” on Volume One.

If the story ended here where Thumbelina is sheltered for the winter by the field mouse, where she wins the attention (I won’t say love) of the wealthy mole who detests the sunlight and the world above his tunnels as much as he enjoys Thumbelina’s voice raised in song, where she chooses out of a sense of duty to marry the mole and never again leave his side, she would have kept her agency and chosen her fate but disappeared.

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When I was curating the songs for Volume Two I felt the lack of a truly autumnal song.  Then I remembered these illustrations and this chapter of Thumbelina’s life and I sat down and played the music-box tune that became the melody while staring out my window, watching the dry leaves tumbling on the wind, channelling them into notes on my old Heintzman.

Source

  • Hans Christian Andersen, Thumbelina, as told by Amy Ehrlich, pictures by Susan Jeffers.  (The Dial Press: New York, 1979).

Lyrics

Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down

Tell me about your adventures, child
How did you come to this field?
You must be hungry, you’re wasting away
After your many ordeals
Sit by the fire, tell me how does that feel?

You won’t survive in this weather, child
Stay here with me, earn your keep
I have been gathering all summer long
Close your eyes and go to sleep
You nevermore will have cause to weep

Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down

What a help you have been, child
There is someone you should meet
He’d make a wonderful husband
As wealthy as you are sweet
Go prepare dinner, you’re in for a treat

Why do you bitterly cry, child?
You’ll be a bride in the spring
Life in the tunnels is safer
You’ll never want for a thing
All of our days will grow brighter when you sing

Down in the darkness, you will sing
Down in the darkness, you will sing
Down in the depths of the darkness
You’re the most beautiful sound
Stay with us here, deep underground

Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down

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