"The crayfish are alive when they die."

Translation:Kräftorna är levande när de dör.

February 16, 2015

This discussion is locked.


Wait, isn't everyone alive when they die?


Haha, this is a literary allusion. Johan Henric Kellgren (1751–1795) wrote the funniest poem of his time, Dumboms Lefverne ('The life of Dunce') (1791)
The Dunce in the poem has many ideas, for instance in literature he prefers a clear style, because, as he puts it, the simpler, the easier. ('Ju simplare, ju enklare'). He is also impressed with how Providence has placed rivers everywhere where there are big cities… 

He is very moved when he sees crayfish crawling in the pan, about to get cooked, (as you probably know, crayfish should be alive until cooked) because (original spelling):

»Nej, ingen dör så grymt som dessa,
— Skrek han — ty de dö lefvande.»

»No, nobody dies as cruelly as these,
– He cried – for they die living.»


Just saw this and I'm a little confused - I see "Ju simplare, ju enklare," but my understanding was the construction is "Ju... Desto..." Am I wrong about this?


Both ways are used, but ju … desto is the standard version and ju … ju is considered more colloquial.


Sadly I undetstood very little of that swedish, is it more literary language or something?


Of course, but also the language has changed quite a bit since 1791. I think most Swedes today wouldn't understand the poem as a whole completely.


I actually thought of M de La Palisse, whose famous epigraphe reads "Here lies Lord de La Palice: Were he not dead, he would still live."


This is related to La Palisse. The epitaph of La Palisse actually said "s'il n'était pas mort, il Ferait encore envie" (were he not dead, he would still be envied), but the F and S looked quite similar (in the time's calligraphy), so it was misread as "il Serait encore en_vie" (he would still be alive). Then some people made songs about La Palisse, using such sentences on purpose, and the version from Bernard de La Monnoye inspired Johan Henric Kellgren for Dumboms Lefverne.


Before I read the comment of Ilmolleggi, I also thought that this what we call lapalissiano in Italian. This name comes from Jaque de la Palisse a French military officers that, if memory serves my right, died in the battle of Pavia in 15 hundredth. Lapalissade is imported from French and used in English very rarely I think.


That word was so confusing for me. I bought a magazine in French at the airport in Nice in 2006 or 2007, to read on the flight back home, and lapalissade was used twice in one article. My French wasn't very good at all, and I really couldn't figure out what it meant. Today, I'd have just looked it up on my phone, but back then, I had to wait until I got back home to check. :)

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.