Popular Tales of the Norse
POPULAR TALES OF THE NORSE
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A GREAT READ FOR YOUNG VIKINGS!
This is George Dasent's classic collection of Scandinavian folklore. This is not about Norse mythology per se; so if you are looking for tales of Odin, Loki, and Freya etc., we would refer you to a volume entitled Tiivistelmä or The Children of Odin. Rather, this is a volume that is more fairy and less Viking, or Saga, in nature. This is an anthology of Norse-themed folk tales, similar to the Grimm Brothers, or Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands. All of the usual suspects are in place, including giants, trolls, witches, evil step-siblings, magical boons, seemingly impossible tasks, and anthropomorphic animals and beings.
The introduction is exceptionally well written, and places various magical and other themes from the tales into the context of ancient Norse Pagan beliefs. It is a Victorian scholarly treatise however (with the requisite multipage footnotes and rhetorical flourishes), which will no doubt be appreciated by readers with an academic persuasion.
Once past the introduction however, the prose descends to the young adult level, and the delightful stories can be appreciated by readers of all ages. But be warned, despite these tales being magical in character, these are tales from an era when political correctness did not exist. In the words of the translator, the person who, in such a work, wilfully changes or softens, is as guilty as they "who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter."
So join with us again and venture back in time to an age when the world still had a connection to the ethereal. A time when magic was still believed to exist. A time when Trolls, Elves, Nidhogg, Vargr and other magical beings still roamed the earth.
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Excerpt from POPULAR TALES OF THE NORSE
BOOTS WHO MADE THE PRINCESS SAY, "THAT'S A STORY."
Once upon a time there was a king who had a daughter, and she was such a dreadful story-teller that the like of her was not to be found far or near. So the king gave out, that if anyone could tell such a string of lies as would get her to say, "That's a story," he should have her to wife, and half the kingdom besides. Well, many came, as you may fancy, to try their luck, for everyone would have been very glad to have the Princess, to say nothing of the kingdom; but they all cut a sorry figure, for the Princess was so given to story-telling, that all their lies went in at one ear and out of the other. Among the rest came three brothers to try their luck, and the two elder went first, but they fared no better than those who had gone before them. Last of all, the third, Boots, set off and found the Princess in the farm-yard.
"Good morning," he said, "and thank you for nothing."
"Good morning" said she, "and the same to you."
Then she went on
"You haven't such a fine farm-yard as ours, I'll be bound; for when two shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's horns, the one can't hear the other."
"Haven't we though!" answered Boots; "ours is far bigger; for when a cow begins to go with calf at one end of it, she doesn't get to the other end before the time to drop her calf is come."
"I dare say!" said the Princess. "Well, but you haven't such a big ox, after all, as ours yonder; for when two men sit, one on each horn, they can't touch each other with a twenty-foot rule."
"Stuff!" said Boots; "is that all? why, we have an ox who is so
big, that when two men sit, one on each horn, and each blows his great mountain-trumpet, they can't hear one another."
"I dare say," said the Princess; "but you haven't so much milk as we, I'll be bound; for we milk our kine into great pails, and carry them in-doors, and empty them into great tubs, and so we make great, great cheeses."
"Oh! you do, do, you?" said Boots. "Well, we milk ours into great tubs, and then we put them in carts and drive them in-doors, and then we turn them out into great brewing vats, and so we make cheeses as big as a great house. We had, too, a dun mare to tread the cheese well together when it was making; but once she tumbled down into the cheese, and we lost her; and after we had eaten at this cheese seven years, we came upon a great dun mare, alive and kicking. Well, once after that I was going to drive this mare to the mill, and her back-bone snapped in two; but I wasn't put out, not I, for I took a spruce sapling, and put it into her for a back-bone, and she had no other back-bone all the while we had her. But the sapling grew up into such a tall tree, that I climbed right up to heaven by it, and when I got there, I saw the Virgin Mary sitting and spinning the foam of the sea into pigs'-bristle ropes; but just then the spruce-fir broke short off, and I couldn't get down again; so the Virgin Mary let me down by one of the ropes, and down I slipped straight into a fox's hole, and who should sit there but my mother and your father cobbling shoes; and just as I stepped in, my mother gave your father such a box on the ear, that it made his whiskers curl."
"That's a story!" said the Princess; "my father never did any such thing in all his born days!"
So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.
Table of Contents for POPULAR TALES OF THE NORSE
|POPULAR TALES FROM THE NORSE|
|True and Untrue|
|Why the Sea Is Salt|
|The Old Dame and Her Hen|
|East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon|
|Boots Who Ate a Match with the Troll|
|Boots Who Made the Princess Say, "That's A Story."|
|The Twelve Ducks|
|The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body|
|The Fox as Herdsman|
|The Cat on the Dovrefell|
|Princess on the Glass Hill|
|How One Went Out to Woo|
|The Cock and Hen|
|The Two Step-Sisters|
|Taming the Shrew|
|Gudbrand on the Hill-side|
|The Blue Belt|
|Why the Bear Is Stumpy-Tailed|
|Not a Pin to Choose Between Them|
|One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest|
|The Three Princesses of Whiteland|
|The Lassie and Her Godmother|
|The Three Aunts|
|The Cock, the Cuckoo, and the Blackcock|
|Rich Peter the Pedlar|
|Boots and the Troll|
|The Lad Who Went to the North Wind|
|The Master Thief|
|The Best Wish|
|The Three Billy-Goats Gruff|
|Well Done and Ill Paid|
|The Husband Who Was to Mind the House|
|The Seven Foals|
|The Widow's Son|
|Boots and His Brothers|
|Big Peter and Little Peter|
|The Cock and Hen That Went to the Dovrefell|
|Doll i' the Grass|
|The Lad and the Deil|
|The Cock and Hen a-Nutting|
|The Big Bird Dan|
|Soria Moria Castle|
|Bruin and Reynard|
|Little Annie the Goose-Girl|
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