Saturday, October 10, 2009
Volsungasaga by Anonymous
But Gravy, I don't know if it was all the snow, or the constant raiding and battling, or what, but these folks imagination? Vivid! If the bible had these stories (and the bible is spicy enough), you wouldn't take kids to church. Incest (at least twice), women heroically murdering their own babies as revenge against their husbands, a man covers his face and fills his mouth with honey, so that when an evil wolf tries to lick the honey out of the inside of his mouth (and yes, what you're thinking about is implied) he can bite down on the she-wolf's tongue and rip it from her maw. Yeah, kind of makes the whole Battle of Jericho thing seem tame, doesn't it? I honestly, after reading this, was a little embarrased for being of English speaking descent - I mean, the best we could do was the rather straightforwrad Beowulf, while our cousins up North were making stories that described their special word for Right-facing snowdrifts as being because that's the best place to hide corpses (and now you know, in case you're ever in need). And Odin? Odin is one scary god, showing up in his slouch hat and one eye, and stuff, all creepy and calm.
Anyway, it's difficult at this point to extract a redeeming social lesson for everybody (my first attempt: if you force your girls to marry men they don't like, they will produce children that come back to murder you). But... holy cow! No wonder the Brits were freaked out when the Vikings showed up! And how the heck did they get from here to Hamlet being the Prince of Denmark? If Hamlet was an OLD style viking, he wouldn't have spent so long worrying about killing people. Hopefully the upcoming reading of the Poetic Edda sits back a wee bit more...