La Loba Lullaby (The Wolf)

Andrea Garrido shared with us an early childhood memory of the Spanish lullaby called "La loba".  She’s from Montevideo, Uruguay. Here’s what she wrote:

Since I was young, I heard "The She-Wolf" as a lullaby sung in my family. My grandmother sang it to me at night when I stayed at her home overnight. She would sing it to my brothers at nap time and my cousins ​​when they went to see her. She sang it to my mother and my mother sang it to my brothers and me.

On hearing it I imagined the fields where my grandmother grew up, the dark nights, the sound of the wind, lush plants, the animals. I also imagined the she-wolf and her puppies there…

I know that my grandmother heard it from her mother who in her turn told it to her grandchildren. But what I didn’t know is whether or not my grandmother knew it had more lyrics or if she thought the song was only the refrain. I discovered recently that Juana de Ibarbourou wrote it and that it’s longer than I ever imagined. And I feel as if, magically, she [Juana] had been part of our family. I told all this to my mother who was amazed to learn about it. Now she can sing the whole song to her grandchildren. Although I think the it will simply be, "the wolf I buy the wolf …" our familiar song, the usual one.

My mother says it’s the song of all mothers in my family … and for sure of all the children also … Now I want to share it so that other children of the world can enjoy it, in the same way that we enjoy it in my family. And thus sing it as I sing it to my son Juancito with all my heart …

Here’s the chorus that she sang:

La loba, la loba,
le compró al lobito
un calzón de seda
y un gorro bonito.
La loba, la loba
salió de paseo
con su traje rico
y su hijito feo.
La loba, la loba
vendrá por aquí,
si esta niña mía
no quiere dormir.

The she-wolf, the she-wolf
Bought for her puppy
Silk pants
And a pretty little cap.
The she-wolf, the she-wolf
Went out for a walk
In her fine dress
And with her ugly little son.
The she-wolf, the she-wolf
Will come around here,
If my little girl
Doesn’t want to sleep.

Andrea wrote:

My grandmother passed away many years ago, but through "la loba", her spirit can live on. For me, the story still being told is like a tribute to her. And though she didn’t happen to meet her grandson Juancito, if I tell him about "La loba", I’ll also be talking about her…

Thank you for sharing that lovely memory with us Andrea! -Mama Lisa

Here’s Andrea’s letter in the original Spanish:

Desde muy chica sé que escuché "La loba " como canción de arrullo en mi familia. Mi abuela me la contaba de noche cuando me quedaba en su casa a dormir. Se la cantaba a mis hermanos a la hora de la siesta y a mis primos cuando iban a verla. Se la cantó a mi madre de pequeña y mi madre nos la cantó a mis hermanos y a mí. 

Al oírla yo imaginaba el campo donde creció mi abuela, la oscuridad de sus noches, el murmullo del viento, las plantas frondosas, los animales.También imaginaba allí a la loba y a su lobito…

Sé que mi abuela la escuchó de su madre que a la vez se la contó a sus nietos. Pero lo que no sé es si mi abuela sabía; que en verdad  no se llamaba "La Loba", que tampoco era solo esa la letra o si ella pensaba que era solo el estribillo.Yo descubrí hace poco que no era así, que la escribió Juana de Ibarbourou y que es tan larga como nunca imaginé. Y siento como si, mágicamente, ella hubiera sido parte de nuestra familia. Le conté todo eso a mi madre y también se asombró al saberlo. Ahora ella puede cantarla integra a sus nietos. Aunque creo que igual seguirá, simplemente siendo así; "la loba que le compró al lobito…" nuestra canción familiar, la de siempre.

Mi madre dice que es la canción de todas las madres de mi familia… y claro que de todos los hijos también … Ahora quiero compartirla  para que así puedan disfrutarla otros niños del mundo, de la misma manera que la disfrutamos en mi familia.Y así cantarla como se la canto a mi hijo Juancito con todo mi corazón…

La loba, la loba,
le compró al lobito
un calzón de seda
y un gorro bonito.
La loba, la loba
salió de paseo
con su traje rico
y su hijito feo.
La loba, la loba
vendrá por aquí,
si esta niña mía
no quiere dormir.

Mi abuela  hace muchos años que ya no está, pero a traves de "La loba"  su espiritu puede perdurar. Para mí que siga  contándose su historia es como un homenaje hacia ella.Y si bien ella no pudo llegar a conocer a su nieto Juancito, si a él  le hablo, le cuento de "La loba"  le estaré hablando también de ella.

Andrea Garrido

This article was posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 at 12:31 pm and is filed under Childhood Memories, Countries & Cultures, Languages, Lullabies, Lullabies from Around the World, Lullabies in Spanish, Parenting, Spain, Spanish, Spanish Lullabies, Uruguay. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “La Loba Lullaby (The Wolf)”

  1. E. Lopez Says:

    I’m from northern Mexico and remember my mother singing this lullaby when I was about four years old. I’m sixty now. It never occurred to ask her to write it down for me. She knew a wealth of poems, lullabies, and songs from the area where she grew up in the state of Coahuila, Mexico from the first half of the twentieth century. I’m so glad that I have found the complete lyrics. It never occurred to me to ask her about them, and now they have died with her.

  2. Lisa Says:

    I’m glad you found your childhood lullaby. We have many more Songs and Rhymes from Mexico. Check out the page, you might find more from your childhood.

    Best wishes,

    Mama Lisa

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting