Good Evening, Good Night


I moved into my Grandmothers farmhouse when I was six years old. I arrived at her doorsteps with a small suitcase, a bag of toys, and all the other valuable belongings a young girl possess.

But there was more, an invisible baggage nobody could see had moved with me. The early years with my parents had left some scars. I didn’t sleep well, had nightmares and felt insecure in my bed, and in my room.

I feared the nights, that’s when they had been yelling and screaming, that’s when they had smelled funny, that’s when I had been scared the most. The monsters of alcoholism had moved with me, they came out and showed their ugly faces at night when I was alone.

The memories haunted me for a while until I got a little dog. It wasn’t a real dog, it was a stuffed animal with a wind-up key.

Every night, when I went to bed my Grandmother came into my room, told me a story and when she left, she turned out the light and let the little dog playe its music.

I could see it from my bed, and I listened to the melody, not knowing what it said, not knowing that it was an old lullaby. Later on, I learned the words of the song, and often I lay in bed and sung with the little dog.

“Guten Abend, Gute Nacht/Good evening, good night”

(Literal English Version)

Good evening, good night,

With roses covered,
With cloves adorned,
Slip under the covers.
Tomorrow morning, if God wills,
you will wake once again.

Good evening, good night.
By angels watched,
Who show you in your dream
the Christ-child’s tree.
Sleep now blissfully and sweetly,
see the paradise in your dream.

It gave me the peace I needed. Listening to the song made me feel safe, and I fell asleep. The little dog and its music helped me to sleep without nightmares until I got older;  until I learned to deal with my past and the bad dreams in a different way.

To this day I hold a soft spot for the melody in my heart.




13 thoughts on “Good Evening, Good Night

  1. This brought tears to my eyes, both for the child you were and who suffered and because this tune is special to me too. I was in Germany as a child and my mother would play this on the piano and sometimes sing too.

    • I didn’t know you spent part of your childhood in Germany. Do you speak German? This tune will always be special to me. I actually added my wish to have a music box with this tune to my bucket list.

      • My German is very simple, I was there from the age of seven to twelve, but some of that time I was at a boarding school in Belgium. I visited Germany a lot in my early years, but apart from a couple of visits to Berlin, have not been there much recently. I hope you get your wish. I have a feeling that one of my girls had a soft-toy parrot with a pull down string with that tune, but it went to neighbour with very sick twins.

    • I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. I had the best childhood a girl could have imagined, after I moved in with my Grandmother.
      Our past forms us into who we are today. I have been very fortunate.

      • I think about that often too, how the paths that led us to this moment were full of positive and negative experiences, wisdom and foolishness. All worth it if we are grateful for where we are 🙂

  2. I have a little musical shepherdess that plays this tune when I wind her up. A gift from my long since dead Mam. I don’t believe alcohol was the cause but 5 year old me remembers many screaming sessions. ‘They’ were simply but painfully incompatible. It took me a long time to stop being a timid child.

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