Gubben Noak

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Facsimile of Carl Michael Bellman: "Fredmans sång no. 35", 1791

"Gubben Noak" (originally "Om gubben Noach och hans fru" or just "Gubben Noach", and since 1791 also "Fredmans sång n:o 35")[1] is a traditional Swedish song, a drinking song and bible travesty written in 1766 (or possibly earlier), with text by Carl Michael Bellman.[2] The song is probably the best known of all Bellman's works.

The song[edit]

The setting in the song is when Noah from the Old Testament had come to rest on the mountains of Ararat, and is inspired by the Book of Genesis 9:20–21, when Noah established a vineyard and got drunk from drinking the wine. From there ends the bible connection. The song is, along with songs number 36–43, for instance "Joakim uti Babylon" and "Ahasverus var så mäktig", one of the biblical travesties that made Bellman popular during the 1760s.


Being somewhat afraid of the church, Bellman chose to first publish the song anonymously on broadsheets throughout the country; although it was generally known at the time who had composed the song.

In 1768 the Lund chapter reacted by sending a letter to the priests of the diocese, attempting to collect all prints and transcripts of "Gubben Noach" and other biblical travesties, in order to have them destroyed.[2][3][4]

In 1791 "Gubben Noak" was included in the song book Fredmans sånger, along with eight other biblical travesties, such as "Gubben Loth och hans gamla Fru" (Songs of Fredman no 35–43).


Earlier sources for the song's melody have not been found.[2] The same melody has been used for other songs, including the popular Swedish children's song Björnen sover.[5]

Children's song[edit]

Simplified and more innocent versions of the song have become popular as children's songs.


  1. ^ Bellman, Carl Michael (1766 or earlier). "N:o 35 Gubben Noak" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "N:o 35" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  3. ^ Domkapitlet i Lund (1768). "Som til Consistorium blifwit inlemnade ..." (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  4. ^ "Bellman. Verken" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]