Herr Mannelig

“Herr Mannelig” is the Scandinavian folk ballad first time recorded in Swedish language approximately in 1877. English version1):

1.
Early in the morning before the sun rose (up)
Before the birds began to sing
The mountain troll proposed to the fair young man
She had a deceiving tongue

(refr.)
Herr Mannelig, Herr Mannelig, betroth to me
For that, I gift you so gladly
You can only answer yes or no
If you wish to or not

2.
To you I wish to give the twelve steeds2)
That go in the grove of roses
Never has there been a saddle upon them
Nor a bridle in their mouths

3.
To you I wish to give the twelve mills
That stand between Tillö and Ternö
The (grind)stones are (made) of the reddest gold
And the wheels are silver-plated

4.
To you I wish to give a gilded sword
Which blade (is made) of fifteen golden rings
And (should) you ever wish to fight a fight
The battlefield you would surely win

5.
To you I wish to give a shirt so new
The best you wish3) to wear
It was not sewn with needle or thread
But crocheted of white silk

6.
Such gifts I would surely take
If thou wert a Christian woman
But now, thou art the worst mountain troll
The spawn of Neck and the Devil

7.
The mountain troll ran out the door
She shakes and wails hard
(If) had I got the fair young man
I would forfeit my curse.

Swedish version - click to show

Swedish version - click to hide

1.
Bittida en morgon innan solen upprann
Innan fåglarna började sjunga
Bergatrollet friade till fager ungersven
Hon hade en falskeliger tunga

(refr.)
Herr Mannelig Herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gärna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om i viljen eller ej:

2.
Eder vill jag gifva de gångare tolf
Som gå uti rosendelunde
Aldrig har det varit någon sadel uppå dem
Ej heller betsel uti munnen

3.
Eder vill jag gifva de qvarnarna tolf
Som stå mellan Tillö och Ternö
Stenarna de äro af rödaste gull
Och hjulen silfverbeslagna

4.
Eder vill jag gifva ett förgyllande svärd
Som klingar utaf femton guldringar
Och strida huru i strida vill
Stridsplatsen skolen i väl vinna

5.
Eder vill jag gifva en skjorta så ny
Den bästa i lysten att slita
Inte är hon sömnad av nål eller trå
Men virkat av silket det hvita

6.
Sådana gåfvor jag toge väl emot
Om du vore en kristelig qvinna
Men nu så är du det värsta bergatroll
Af Neckens och djävulens stämma

7.
Bergatrollet ut på dörren sprang
Hon rister och jämrar sig svåra
Hade jag fått den fager ungersven
Så hade jag mistat min plåga

Translation conventions

Original Swedish text in troll-woman's part has VSO word order (and sometimes IO-V-S-DO), moreover compound predicate (verb + infinitive) is split by subject (verb – subject – infinitive), and she refers to Mannelig with plural “you”. While Mannelig answers rude, with singular “you” (thou) and SVO word order. Numeral “twelve” follows the noun, while “fifteen” precedes the noun. This style will be preserved, archaic flavour for troll's proposal and modern style for Mannelig's reply.

All names are transliterated, even if “Mannelig” means “Male”. “Ternö” refers to village in the region where song was firstly recorded (probably modern Tärnö where a manor and a large farm was located in the 14th century, but there is also an island with the same name 300 km southward). So “Tillö” → “Tillô” and “Ternö” → “Tarnô”.

The most popular version claims that troll's tongue was “false”, but other versions say something like “touching, seductive”, but Neo Black Speech dialects have the word “prâkh” that means both! “Crochet” was replaced with verb from “crook, hook” (gank), and “silk” was translated as “moth's web” (bhârnazd). “Neck” is the kind of shapeshifting water spirit like nymph, mermaid or Slavic rusalka. It was translated as “Nînhûb” (lit. “Water-demon”, with some phonetic resemblance to original). “Devil” was translated as “(Bal)rog”. “Christian” was replaced with “worshipper, believer” (= “gorthal”).


Translation into Nûrlâm

1.
Shi ânshânthum ik ûzhum tulguzâ
Ik îsuzû aig lashut
Rodolgniz thrâh nîr fîm norûr
Tabrusuz ash lâm prakhug

(refr.)
Manneligdûr, Manneligdûr, firiz
Zîgûr dathrogaf zârz glazarz
Gipâsh krugashnut tug akh ogh nar
Ghung gi irm (firut) ogh nar

2.
Gizûr irm da throgut lûkh nukrul
Zamash ukhû trauzor lûthob
Naril takbrusuz ash lûkhlîm takir4)
Agh nar ash krimp pugor takob

3.
Gizûr irm da throgut blûzozd nukrul
Zamash binû Tillôri agh Tarnôri
Blûzgund takob kulû lûrob karnaz
Agh kirn kulû pîlkaga ibirirzi

4.
Gizûr irm da throgut ash lag lûraga
Amash gand nukrâk nazglûrob
Agh irmulg gi maukut ash mauk
Tadrîz gifitgub durtarz

5.
Gizûr irm da throgut ash laup zâsh fîn
Bhogaz gizûr ghîrat kolut5)
Tanarkuz hluthaga bodhirzi ogh srugirzi
Ap gankaga bharnazbob nink

6.
Zâsh thrânû izg ulg6) nork durtarz
Ghung fi kulg ash gorthalniz
Nân rad fi rod olognizum fikaz
Yunum nînhûbob agh balrogob

7.
Rodolgniz irzuzâ pandah
Tapamp agh nîth khag
Dasnabulg nîr fîm norum
Dabûfulg skurmdab

1)
compiled by Un4givenOrc from various translations with some corrections according to Swedish original
2)
horses/palfreys
3)
lust
5)
lit.: Gooddest for you to wish to wear
6)
or “ub”
translations/herr_mannelig.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 01:00 (external edit)