Björnen sover

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Lyrics and tune.[1]

Björnen sover is a singing game, used both as a round dance and a children's song. The tune is a simplified version of the one used for Gubben Noak, published by Carl Michael Bellman, published in Songs of Fredman in 1792. Still today (1999), research hasn't proved if Carl Michael Bellman wrote the tune or not. Since it became famous, the tune been used for several different lyrics during the span of 200 years, including many children's song.[2]

The game[edit]

  1. One person is appointed bear, taking cover, pretending himself-herself to sleep
  2. Other participants walk around the "bear" in a ring, singing Björnen sover (the "bear is sleeping").
  3. At the end of the song, the bear "wakes up", and begins to chase the other participant.
  4. When someone's caught, he or she will become the "bear" the next time.

Russia and the USSR[edit]

Because Russia and the USSR sometimes have been called the Russian Bear the term björnen sover ("the bear sleeps") has in Swedish sometimes referred to times in international politics when Russia has brpaidought less attention, but not everyone is trusting them.[3]


An early recording with Kjell Lönnå with children from "Riddaren's Kindergarten" in Sundsvall appeared on the 1982 album Gnola och sjung.[4]


  1. ^ Palm Stenström, page 124
  2. ^ Palm Stenström, page 268
  3. ^ F. Lundbäck (21 August 2008). "Björnen sover - inte" (in Swedish). Vimmerby tidning. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Gnola och sjung" at Svensk mediedatabas