They wander around with songs that sing and the winch

One night when watching the ever-satisfying Crimes of Passion (though FYI none of the medieval historians on my course ever spent that much time mending a motor boat with their shirt off), I came across this carol.

It seems to be a pretty standard part of Swedish Christmas, if the number of YouTube videos are anything to go by. There’s an excellent one of the Stockholm university choir singing it, with a girl in the St Lucy’s Day crown of candles. From the look on her face it might be grounded to her head with spikes.Other contenders include the pleasingly cheesily-named N’Harmony above and these women, whose voices I like very much:

I tried Googling what the words actually meant but the mighty internet delivered this gem:

The sky hangs star black and the snow is blue,

and the darkness is so pitch dark and the stars so small.

Skim be paths where mänskobarnen go,

and silent brooding cabins with snöskägg on.

Then comes in the hundred, then come in the thousands

Saffron Jacks wandering round the buildings.


They wander around with star light,

They walk around with torches,

With masks and fun game, a jubilant hawser.

They pound hard on the boxes so the ice can detach,

They bow down, they invite to the feast with us.

They wander around with songs that sing and the winch,

So slopes and forests of the score.

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