Complainte De La Butte
Saturday, April 2, 2005

A lullaby. Once off song-fic. Now re-posted with the translations.


I was listening to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack the other day and I came across this song. It was so beautiful that i wanted to use it. Disclaimer- It's all Joss's. Not mine, though I wish it were.

************************************************* Complainte De La Butte

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.” River’s scream echoed throughout the halls of Serenity. Simon sighed as he pulled a shirt on and rushed into his sister’s bedroom. She was curled up in the corner of her bed, knees pulled up to her bent head, and she was rocking to and fro. Her thin sheet covered her bare legs, and draped across her shoulders. She reminded Simon of a girl he had once seen in a blackout sector. So small. So fragile. Simon rushed to her side.

“Shhhh, mei mei. It’s okay, it’s okay.” He comforted in vain. “Not okay, not okay. You don’t understand- you can’t comprehend. You don’t know.” Tears welled in Simons eyes as he saw his fractured sister. She was so frightened. And she was right. He didn’t understand. He couldn’t even help her. “You’re right. I don’t. But I’m trying. I promise. You will get better.” River smiled a little. “I know, I know”

“Do you remember the song that Father used to sing to Mom whenever she got upset.” Simon asked, in an attempt to cheer up his sister. “Complainte de la Butte” River responded with a smile. “That’s right. Do you remember it?” River shook her head. “Sing it to me?” she implored. “Of course.” River lay down on her bed, and as he tucked her in, Simon sang to her, the same way his father would whenever she couldn’t sleep.

‘La lune trop blême Pose un diadème Sur tes cheveux roux La lune trop rousse De gloire éclabousse Ton jupon plein d'trous

La lune trop pâle Caresse l'opale De tes yeux blasés Princesse de la rue Soit la bienvenue Dans mon cœur brisé

The stairways up to la butte can make the wretched sigh While windmill wings of the Moulin shelter you and I

Ma p'tite mandigote Je sens ta menotte Qui cherche ma main Je sens ta poitrine Et ta taille fine J'oublie mon chagrin

Je sens sur tes lèvres Une odeur de fièvre De gosse mal nourri Et sous ta caresse Je sens une ivresse Qui m'anéantit

The stairways up to la butte can make the wretched sigh While windmill wings of the Moulin shelter you and I

Et voilà quelle trotte La lune qui flotte La princesse aussi

Mes rêves épanouis

Les escaliers de la butte sont durs aux miséreux Les ailes du moulin protègent les amoureux”

River had closed her eyes, and was sleeping peacefully by the time Simon finished the song. He turned to leave when he saw Kaylee standing at the door. “That was real pretty doc.” She said after he had exited Rivers room, and closed the door. “I didn’t know you could sing.” “Oh, I’m not very good. My father was always much better at it.” “You gotta learn to take a compliment doc. What’s it about anyway?” Simon was confused by the sudden change of subject “What is what about?” “The song of course. I don’t speak any fancy languages.” “Oh, that. It’s in French, a language from Earth-that-was. It’s about a man who falls in love with a beggar girl. My father used to sing it to my mother, and then to River whenever she couldn’t sleep.” “Oh well, it’s real shiny. You’ll have to teach me.” “I don’t know. French is really very difficult to learn” “Are you saying I ain’t capable?” “No, I mean-” Kaylee shook her head and turned away, leaving Simon to inwardly rebuke himself. As she walked back through the cargo bay he heard her say to herself: “Every time I think I’m getting close” Simon sighed and headed back to his own room. As he past Rivers room he heard the voice of his sister- “You are such a boob”

The End.


Warning- the song is a little inappropriate for Simon to be singing to River, hence the lack of the translation in the original version. But, due to popular demand, here is the translation.

English Translation: The moon, all too fair, in your russet-red hair sets a sparkling crown The moon, all too red with glory, is spread on your poor, tattered gown The moon, all too white, caresses the light in your world-weary eyes Princess of the street, do allow me to greet you, my broken heart cries

The steps of Montmartre, all uphill, are hardest on the poor The sails of the mill, like wings, shelter all paramours

I feel, beggar-girl, your fetters, they curl as they seek out my wrists I feel your young breasts, your thin little waist I lose my regrets I taste on your mouth the feverish breath of a half-starving waif And with your caress I sense drunkenness erasing my life

The steps of Montmartre, all uphill, are hardest on the poor The sails of the mill, like wings, shelter all paramours

And see how she skips, the moon how she drifts, The princess in tow

My reveries grow all paramours The steps of Montmartre, all uphill, are hardest on the poor The sails of the mill, like wings, shelter


Saturday, April 2, 2005 12:52 AM


Please comment- even if you hated it.

no power in the verse

Saturday, April 2, 2005 3:45 AM


Interesting. I like this sudden wave in music-related fanfics. Don't remember the song off of the soundtrack, though. But it's placement in Simon's attempts to soothe River as well as his failed attempts to woo Kaylee serves the story very well. I always though Simon would have a terrible singing voice. And learning a new language is tough. I took Spanish twice and I dropped Spanish twice.

Is is possible for you to post the translated lyrics, just so that we can see what he's singing.

Saturday, April 2, 2005 2:31 PM


This would have been so much more enjoyable if I had a clue what the words meant. I agree with reginaroadie, please post a translation. You can easily add it at the end of your story by going to the 'edit' option then scrolling to the end of the dialogue box. Thanks! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, April 3, 2005 10:41 AM


I too have to agree that the words would have been nice, but nevertheless, the concept was really sweet and original. It's very nice to see the softer side of Simon. And of course, being a huge K/S fan, maybe a sequel to this little peice. One that doesn't involve Simon being his usual boobish self, perhaps. =o)

Sunday, April 3, 2005 10:44 PM


okay dokey, if you guys want. i just thought the second verse of the song was a little inappropriate for a brother to sing to a sister. but hey! you wanted it, so here it is.

no power in the verse

Friday, June 3, 2005 9:10 PM


*L* funny and cute... and a little creepy that simon sung it to River.

Friday, August 19, 2005 4:44 AM


sweet, but also kinda, um, creepy


You must log in to post comments.



Finding Serenity
I always knew I’d die in Serenity. - A story about how Mal dies.

All By Myself- Chapter 3
Someone has taken Kaylee, but will Cam reveal what he knows in time?

All By Myself- Chapter 2
What will Cas do when they find out about Kaylee's past?

All By Myself- Chapter 1
Kaylee has something to hide from her new crew mates...

All By Myself- Prologue
Captain Cassen Trale learns something about her new mechanic- a certain young lady that we're all familiar with...

I'll Never Forget
What If...Bryan Frye reflects on the life of hs daughter.

Complainte De La Butte
A lullaby. Once off song-fic. Now re-posted with the translations.

Colours, Whispers and Tomorrows
Short little once off fic. River's perspective on the crew of Serenity

If Only They Knew- Pt 3
He had known

If Only They Knew- pt 2
He should have known