one of Faroes Islands commemorative stamps featuring Skrimsli

An introduction to this ballad:
Faroes Islands commemorative stamps

Skrímsla

(Skrujmsli Rujma, Skrymsli Ryma)

The Skrimsli Ballad

(a Faroese ballad)
{Modern Faroese (orthography)}

Skrímsla


1.
Tað var um ein halgan dag,
man meg rætt um minna,
bóndin fór á skógvin burt
epli og aldin at finna.

Viðgangur:
/
\
Vinturin líður, summarið kemur,
jørðin gerst so blíða,
grør so fagurt aldin undir líða.
2.
Tað dregur at tí myrka æli,
sólin líður at fjalli,
bóndin vildi fegin og fúsur
heima verið til halla.
3.
Tað dregur at tí myrka æli,
dagurin leið at kveldi,
bóndin vildi fegin og fúsur
heima verið í veldi.
4.
Tað lættir í tað myrka ælið,
lýsir um leið so langa,
Bóndin sá á skóginum skrímslið
mikið móti sær ganga.
5.
Skrímslið kom úr jørðini upp,
mikið er Óðins evni,
tigultalv í hendi ber
og beint á bóndan stevnir.
6.
Búgvið talv í hendi bar
av hvíta fílabeini,
so vóru teir terningar
av reyðagulli reina.
7.
Risin so til orða tekur,
ríkur av trølskur alvi:
“Setist niður, søtin mín,
vit leikum títt við talvi!“
8.
Bóndin svaraði og segði: “ Nei,
tað má ei so vera,
eg havi ikki lært at leika talv
ella nakra skemtan gera. “
9.
“Tú mant ljóta at leika talv, “
segði tann tussin harði,
“kosta skal høvur mítt ella títt,
men hvørki góðs ella garðar. “
10.
Bóndin dvaldist ei leingi tá,
hann fann upp á tey ráð,
hann dregur upp á seg sigurshandskar,
sigur mundi hann fá.
11.
Bóndin leyt tá leika talv,
tó at hann treyður vildi,
so fall teirra fundur út,
sigurin honum fylgdi.
12.
Teir telva títt, teir telva dátt,
hvørki um góðs ella garðar,
risin tapti lív og lund,
høvur og heysin harða.
13.
“ Í talvi hevur tú vunnið meg,
og mant væl av gávum rósa,
lova nú mær at loysa lív,
sum sjálvur tú vilt kjósa. “
14.
“Lovi eg tær at loysa lív,
flyt mær fram í fyrsta,
virtur og vín og aldins vín
og alt tað, ið lív kan lysta!
15.
Tú skalt mær til hallir føra
breiða borg og langa,
bæði við veggir og víngarðar
alla ævi standa.
16.
Har skal gólv á grundum vera
av hvítum marmorasteini,
rævur av seigum sifrisviði,
veggir av fílabeini.
17.
Har skal gólv á grundum vera,
tigulstein sum tinna,
takið takt við blýggi blátt,
tað besta sum man kann finna.
18.
Har skulu seggja seingir síggjast,
gjørdar við gólvið niðri,
bæði við beð og blæur á
fullar av Føniksfiðri.
19.
Har skulu seggja seingir síggjast,
av dýrum dúni full,
síðan alt við purpurklæði
og reina reyðargull.
20.
Har skal kelda kurtalig,
góðan grip skal kalla,
full við dýrar drykkir tá
vítt um vørild alla.
21.
Har skal kelda kurtalig
alla ævi renna,
har skal eingin livandi
til sótt ella sjúkdóm kenna.
22.
Har skal eingin sjúkur verða,
fyrr enn sjálvur lystir at deyða,
ella eg høggi høvur av tær
sum ein hund til heyg.
23.
Har skal eingin sjúkur verða,
fyrr enn sjálvur lystir at velja,
ella eg høggi høvur av tær
sum ein hund til heljar.
24.
Har skal bæði matur og drekka
flytast fram at borði! “
Risin vil ikki lata lív,
hann játtar í hvørjum orði.
25.
Bóndin fagnar brúður blítt,
hann kemur heim á kveldi:
“ Vænta man eg virði mítt
vaksa brátt í veldi. “
26.
Bóndans kona til orða tekur,
tók so sárt at gráta:
“ So man skrímslið skiljast við teg,
tú mant lívið láta. “
27.
Bóndin sovnar allvæl fast
blítt á brúðar armi.
Risin sankar gullið saman
troyttur og tungur av harmi.
28.
Skrímslið fór bæði um sjógv og sand,
dalir og førslu fjøll,
hann flutti borg í bóndans garð
við góðs og gripum øll.
29.
Hann mundi honum til hallar føra
breiða borg og langa,
bæði við veggir og víngarðar
alla ævi standa.
30.
Hann mundi honum til hallar føra
tað var ið tað fyrsta,
virtur og vín og aldins vín
og alt tað, ið lív kan lysta!
31.
Har mundi gólv á grundum vera
av hvítum marmorasteini,
rævur av seigum sifrisviði,
veggir av fílabeini.
32.
Har mundi gólv á grundum vera,
tigulstein sum tinna,
takið takt við blýggi blátt,
tað besta sum man kann finna.
33.
Har mundi seggja seingir síggjast,
gjørdar við gólvið niðri,
bæði við beð og blæur á
fullar av Føniksfiðri.
34.
Har mundi seggja seingir síggjast,
av dýrum dúni full,
síðan alt við purpurklæði
og reina reyðargull.
35.
Har mundi kelda kurtalig,
góðan grip skal kalla,
full við dýrar drykkir tá
vítt um vørild alla.
36.
Har mundi kelda kurtalig
alla ævi renna,
har mundi eingin livandi
til sótt ella sjúkdóm kenna.
37.
Har mundi bæði matur og drekka
flytast fram at borði,
risin vildi ei missa lív,
hann helt væl síni orð.
38.
Bóndin kemur út árla morgun,
glaður fyri uttan vanda,
hann sær eina stóra borg
fyri sínum durum standa.
39.
Bóndi kemur út árla morgun,
sær sær einki at meini,
risin treiv um hansara lær,
hann klóraði hann inn at beini.
40.
Bóndin kemur út árla morgun,
alt fyri uttan sút,
risin treiv í hansara kvið,
so indrini hingu út.
41.
Bóndin liggur á grønum vølli,
mestur er hann deyður,
teir studdu hann inn á borgina,
hann kendi tá ikki til neyð.
42.
Bóndin heilsaði brúður blítt,
tá hann kom heim á kveldi:
“Her eru konggar, tíggju og tólv,
ið minni hava makt og veldi. “
43.
Bóndin er bæði fegin og blíður,
mildur av gævuleiki,
tað eru kongar, tíggju ella tólv,
minni hava ráð og ríki.
44.
Bóndans kona er búgvin við barn,
ber skrúður og skarlak reyð:
“Eg eri tí rædd av risans ráðum,
hann troyggjar á bóndans deyð. “
45.
Bóndin hevur alt ið lív kann lysta,
bæði úti og inni,
troyttast man nú tungan mín,
eg skemti ei longur á sinni.


From Corpus Carminum Færoensium (CCF) Ballad No. 90. (Hentze's Collection of 1819, No. 4)
{Lyngbye's phonetic transcription}

Skrujmsli Rujma


1.
Teâ veâr um ajn aarla Morgun,
Mee man rat um Minna,
Bondin four aa Skogvin burt,
Æpli o Aldan eât finna.

Stevi.
/
\
Vintirin lujur, Summarin kjemur,
Jörin gerst so bluja,
Grör so feâvurt Aldan undir Luja.
2.
Teâ drevur eât tuj mirka Eâli,
Soulin lujur aa Fjadli,
Bondin vildi fejin aa fûsur
Hajma vera tiil Hadla.
3.
Teâ drevur eât tuj mirka Eâli,
Deâvurin laj eât Qvöldi,
Bondin vildi fejin o fûsur
Hajma vera uj Veldi.
4.
Teâ lujsir uj teâ mirka Eâli,
Lujsir um Laj so langa,
Bondin saa aa Skogvin Skrujmsli,
Mikjil mout seâr ganga.
5.
Skrujmsli koom ûr jörina up,
Mirjil um Ouvans Evni,
Tijil Talv uj Hendi beâr,
O bajnt aa Bondin stevnir.
6.
Tijil Talv uj Hendi beâr
Eâv qvujta Elfinbajni;
So vouru tajr Terningar
Eâv rejar Gudli rajna.
7.
Risin so tiil Orar tekur,
Rujkur eâv trelskum Alvi:
Sedist niur, Söti mujn,
Viit lajkum tujt vi Talvi.
8.
Bondin sveâraji o seji Naj,
Teâ man aj so vera,
Ee heâvi ikkji lart eât lajka Talv,
Idla neâkra Skjemtan gjera.
9.
Tû manst ljouta aa Lajka Tavl,
Seji tan Thussin heâri;
Kosta skeâl Hövur mujt idla tujt,
Qvörkji Gous, aj Geârar.
10.
Bondin stendur aa grönari Vödli,
Han fann up aa tej Raa;
Han drevur up sujnun Sijurshanskar
Sijur vildi han faa.
11.
Bondin leât taa lajka Tavl,
Houast han trejur vildi,
So fedl tajrra Findi aa,
Eât han fek Sijur - Skjildri.
12.
Hesir Theknar talva tujt,
Qvörkji um Gous, aj Geârar,
Risin misti Lujv o Lund,
Hövur o Heisi heâra.
13.
Uj Talvi hevur tû vunni mee,
O man veâl eâv Gavun rousa;
Lova nû meâr eât lojsa Lujv,
Sum sjaalvur tû viil kjousa.
14.
Lovi Ee teâr eât lojsa Lujv,
Taa fliid meâr fram uj fista
Virt o Vujn o Aldansvujn,
Alt teâ, uj Lujv kan lista.
15.
Tû skeâl meâr tiil Hadlar föra
Braja Borg o langa,
Båaji vi Virt o Vujngeârar,
Adla Eâvi standa.
16.
Heâr skeâl Gölv eâv Grundun vera
Tijilstajn sum Tidna,
Teâkji takt vi Blujkkji blaat,
Teâ besta sum man kan finna.
17.
Heâr skeâl Gölv aa Grundun vera
Eâv qvujtum Marmorastajni,
Rævur eâv sajum Sidris Viji,
Veggjar eâv Fujlabajni.
18.
Heâr skulu Seggja Saangjir sujggjast,
Gjordar vi Gölvi niri,
Båaji vi Blæum o Bordum aa,
O fudlar eâv Fenixfiri.
19.
Heâr skulu Seggja Saangjir sujggjast
Eâv Sveâna Dujni Fudl;
Sujan alt vi Purpurkleâir,
O rajna rejar Gudl.
20.
Heâr skeâl Kjedla kurtali,
Gouvan Grip skeâl kadla,
Fudl vi dujri Drikkji taa
Vujt um Vörild adla.
21.
Heâr skeâl Kjedla kurtali
So vujt um Vijir renna,
Heâr skeâl aagjin Livandi
Tiil Sût idla Sjukdom kjenna.
22.
Heâr skeâl aangjin sjukur vera,
Firinn sjaalvur lister eât deja,
Idla Ee höggji Hövur eâv teâr,
Sum ajn Hund tiil Hej.
23.
Heâr skeâl aangjin sjukur vera
Firinn sjaalvur listir eât vellja;
Idla Ee höggji Hövur eâv teâr,
Sum ajn Hund tiil Helja.
24.
Heâr skeâl båaji Meâtur o Drekka
Flidast fram aa Bori. —
Risin viil ikkji leâta Lujv,
Han jaattur uj qvörjun Ori.
25.
Bondin fagnar Bruvur blujt,
Han kjemur hajm aa Qvöldi:
Vanta man Ee Viri mujt
Vaxa braat uj Veldi.
26.
Bondans Kona tiil Orar tekur,
Touk so heârt eât graata:
So man Skrujmsli skjiliast vi tee,
Tû manst Lujvi laata.
27.
Bondiu sovnar alveâl fast,
Bjujt aa Bruar Armi,
Risin savnar Gudli seâman,
Trojttur o Tungur eâv Harmi.
28.
Skrujmsli four båaji um Sjegv o Sand,
Deâlir o færsli Fjödl,
Han flutti Borg uj Bondans Geâr
Vi Gous o Gripun öld.
29.
Han mundi honun tiil Hadlar föra,
Teâ veâr uj teâ fista,
Virt o Vujn o Aldansvujn,
Alt uj Lujv kundi lista.
30.
Han mundi honun tiil Haldar föra
Braja Borg o Langa,
Båaji vi Virtur o Vujngeârar,
Adla Eâvi standa.
31.
(Heâr skeâl Gölv eâv Grundun vera )
(Tijilstajn sum Tidna, )
(Teâkji takt vi Blujkkji blaat, )
(Teâ besta sum man kan finna. )
32.
Heâr mundi Gölv aa Grundun vera
Eâv qvujtum Marmorastajni,
Rævur eâv sajum Sidris Viji,
Veggjar eâv Fujlabajni.
33.
Heâr mundi Seggja Saangjir sujggjast,
Gjordar vi Gölvi niri,
Båaji vi Blæum o Bordum aa,
O fudlar eâv Fenixfire.
34.
Heâr mundi Seggja Saangjir sujggjast,
Eâv Sveâna Dujni fuld,
Sujan alt vi Purpurkleâir,
O rajna rejar Gudl.
35.
Heâr mundi Kjelda kurtali,
Gouvan Grip skeâl kadla,
Fudl vi dujrar Drekkjir taa
Vujt um Vörild adla.
36.
Heâr skeâl Kjelda kurtali
Vujt um Vijir renna,
Heâr mundi aangjin Livandi
Tiil Sût idla Sjukdom kjenna.
37.
Heâr mundi båaji Meâtur o Drekka
Flida see fram aa Boor. -
Risin vildi aj leâta Lujv,
Han helt veâl sujni Oor.
38.
Bondin kjemur ût aarla Morgun,
Hleâvur foruttan Vanda,
Han seâr ajna stoura Borg
Firi sujnun Durun standa.
39.
Bondin kjemur ût aarla Morgun,
Seâr see aankjiaa Majni;
Risin trajv um hanfara Leâr,
Han klouraji han inn eât Bajni.
40.
Bondin kjemur ût aarla Morgun,
(Alt foruttan [sût],)
(Risin trajv uj hanfara [kvi],
(So [indrini hingu] ût)
41.
Bondin stendur aa grönun Vödli,
Mestur eer han o dijur,
Tajr studdu han inn uj Borgjina,
Han kjendi aj tiil Nej.
42.
Bondin hajsaji Bruvur blujt,
Taa han koom hajm aa Qvöldi:
Teâ eru Kongar tujggju idla tölv,
Minni heâva Magt o Völdi.
43.
Bondin err båaji fejin o blujur,
Mildur eâv Javnalujkji:
Teâ eru Kongar tujggju idla tölv,
Minni heâva Raa o Rujkji.
44.
Bondans Kona eer bygvin vi Badn,
Skruvur aa Skeârlak rej:
Ee eri tou rædd eâv Risans Raavun,
Han trojggjar aa Bondans Dej.
45.
Bondin hevur alt uj Lujv kan lista,
Båaji ûti o inni. —
Trojttast man nû Tunga mujn,
Ee skjemti laangur aa Sinni.


(H. C. Lyngbye, Færoiske Qvæðer om Sjurð Fovnisbane og hans Æt,, 1822.)
{English Translation}

Skrímsla. (The Monster)


1.
It was on a holiday* 1
As far as I remember,
The farmer* went into the woods
To look for apples and mast*.

Refrain:
/
\
Winter is fading; summer arrives,
The earth becomes so gentle,
Those fair masts are growing on the hillside.
2
A dark squall was brewing,
The sun was declining,
The farmer would rather be
At home* 2 in his own house.
3
A dark squall was brewing,
The day was fading,
The farmer would rather be
On his own domain.
4
The dark squall was fading,
The light became bright,
The farmer saw a mighty monster* 4
Walking through the wood.
5
The monster rose from the earth,
The magic of Odin* 5 is strong,
He had a chessboard* in his hands
And walked straight to the farmer.
6
He had a chessboard in his hands,
Ivory-white, and ready to play,
And all the dice* 6 were made
Out of pure gold.
7
The giant* 7 spoke and talked like this,
Strong by evil magic*:
“ Please sit down, my dearest one*,
We are going to play the chess*! “
8
The farmer spoke and answered: “ No,
I don't think we are,
I never learned to play chess
Or any other games. “
9
“ You are going to play the chess, “
That evil giant* 9 said,
“ We will bet our heads,
But neither farms nor possessions! “
10
Then the farmer couldn't resist
He got a bright idea,
He put on his victory-gloves,
Then he was sure to win.
11
The farmer had to play the chess
Although he was reluctant,
But the result of their meeting was
That he won the game.
12
Their game was fast; their game was fierce,
They didn't play for goods,
The giant lost his hardened skull,
As well as his life and woods* 12.
13
“ You have defeated me in chess,
You should be proud of your gift,
Let me buy my life back
I'll pay you what you want. “
14
“ If I let you buy your life back,
My first wish shall be this:
Beer and wine and mead of mast,
And anything I want!
15
You shall bring a large and broad
Castle to my homestead,
All its' walls and all its' vineyards
Have to last forever.
16* 16
The castle floors shall be made of
Whitened marble stone,
The laths* of hardened cypress wood,
And ivory* for walls.
17
The castle floors shall be made of
Tiles and flint stones,
The roof be made of bluish lead,
The best that can be found.
18
There must be beds for real men* 18,
Built up from the floor,
The featherbeds* and pillows must have
Feathers from a phoenix.
19
There must be beds for real men,
Filled with costly down,
The gables draped with purple clothing
And the purest gold.
20
There must be a magnificent spring* 21,
A very precious object,
Filled with rare and costly drinks
From all over the world.
21
There must be a magnificent spring
That flows until forever,
There mustn't any living creature
Ever become ill.
22
Nobody shall become ill
Before he wants to die,
Otherwise I'll chop your head of
Like a dog, that is put to death.
23
Nobody shall become ill,
Other than by choice,
Otherwise I'll chop your head of,
Like a dog who is sent to hell.
24
There must be food and drink* 24
Ready on every table! “
The giant wanted to stay alive,
And accepted all the claims.
25
The farmer hails his wife with love,
When he returns that evening:
“ I expect that my wealth
Soon will increase a lot. “
26
The farmer's wife became sad,
She cried, and spoke like this:
“ Then the monster will seek your life
And you are going to die. “
27
Yet the farmer went to sleep,
In the arms of his wife,
The giant gathers all the gold,
Angry and exhausted.
28
The monster rushed on sand and sea,
Over vales and mountains,
He placed a castle on the farmers land,
Filled with goods and treasures.
29 * 29
He brought him a large and broad
Castle to his homestead,
All its' walls and all its' vineyards
Were to last forever.
30
He brought to the farmers land,
As the first demand:
Beer and wine and mead of mast,
And anything he wished for!
31
The castle floors were all made of
Whitened marble stone,
The laths of hardened cypress wood,
And ivory for walls.
32
The castle floors were all made of
Tiles and flint stones,
The roof was made of bluish lead,
The best that could be found.
33
There were beds for real men,
Built up from the floor,
The featherbeds and pillows had
Feathers from a phoenix.
34
There were beds for real men,
Filled with costly down,
The gables draped with purple clothing
And the purest gold.
35
There was a magnificent spring,
A very precious object,
Filled with rare and costly drinks
From all over the world.
36
There was a magnificent spring
Which flows until forever* 36,
There wouldn't any living creature
Ever become ill.
37
There was food and drink,
Set on the table,
The giant didn't want to loose his life,
He kept his promises.
38
The farmer stepped out in the dawn
He didn't expect danger,
There he saw a mighty castle,
Placed on his land.
39
The farmer steps out in the dawn
Anticipates no danger,
The giant hit him on his thigh,
And scratched him to the bone.
40
The farmer steps out in the dawn
He doesn't have a worry,
The giant hit him on his stomach,
His guts were hanging out.
41
The farmer fell down on the ground* 41,
It seemed like he was dead,
They helped him into the castle,
And all his wounds were gone.
42
The farmer hails his wife with love,
When he arrived that evening:
“ There are at least ten or twelve
Kings that are poorer than me. “
43
The farmer is glad and friendly,
Contented with his luck:
“ There are at least ten or twelve
Kings that are lesser than me. “
44
The farmer's wife is pregnant,
She wears scarlet robes:
“ I fear for what the giant will do,
He will seek your life. “
45
The farmer now has all he prayed for,
Outside as well as inside,
Now my tongue is getting tired,
And I will stop this fun..


tr. by Anker Eli Petersen

If you're interested in my Japanese translation of the TJATSI pages.

Origins of the Ballad:

There is a triad of Faroese Ballads referred to as "forbidden ballads" by some: 1) Skrimsli (where such implement of "witchcraft" as the "Victory-Glove" is used), 2) Loki's Tale (where heathen gods are summoned), and 3) Odin in Asgard .

Hans Christian Lyngbye was a Danish marine botanist who had come to the Faroese Islands to collect specimen but also collected local ballads on the side. His Færøiske Qvæder om Sigurd Fofnersbane og hans Æt)(1822) was the first time these ballads were published. Svavo's collection antedates this publication, but that manuscript sat in the Royal Collection and was not published for many years.

In the lef-hand column, is the text from Hentze's collection, and is included in Grundtvig et. al.'s grand compendium Corpus Carminum Færoensium. Different versions of Faroese ballads are cataloged according to this volume as (CCF # 90, etc.). Henzel's version is transcribed in standard Faroese orthography. This written Faroese is quite close to Old Icelandic, but, the pronunciation diverges somewhat, so Lyngye's phonetic transcription is handy in that respect.

Footnotes:

*1
* On a holiday..— Henze's orthographic version has "holiday", whereas Lyngbye's phonetic version has "One early morning".
* farmer böndi is a farmer or a person who runs a farmstead. Also rendered "bondsman", or, since he could be a person of considerable means, "franklin" also. The -n is a definite article suffix.
* mastaldin means nuts and berries, hips and haws. The word "mast" refers to beechnut, acorns, etc. often used for hog-feed. [BACK]

*2
* homeheim occurs in place names such as Jotunheim, the land of the giants. Old Norse pronunciation is 'hey-m' (rhymes with same), but Faroese pronunciation is 'high-m' (rhymes with time) — like the German pronunciation. [BACK]

*4
* Skrimsliskrímsli [Faroese] or skrimsl [OIcelandic], meaning "monster". [BACK]

*5
* Odin— The chief Norse god. In standard Faroese the name of the deity is written Óðin, just like Icelandic. But Lynbye's has phonetically written this as "Ouvin" (gen. Ouvans, acc. Ouvan), which belies the fact that this is how the Faroese pronounce the name of the god. In Faroese, the "ð" (eth) constant is either pronounced like "v" or "y" or is mute.
* magic of Odin is strong— The word evni (= OIc. efni) means "matter, quality, mettle," etc. One might say the monster was very well endowed with Odin-like qualities, hence he was skilled in magic.
* chessboardtigul talv. The chess-like boardgame is usually known as tafl (pronounce "tavvle"), by its Icelandic name, but we see here that Faroese call it talv (pronounced "talv"). Note that possibly dice were used in the game (see notes to str. 6 below). [BACK]

*6
* diceterningar (pl.) [pronounced "TEDN-INGAR"], (Old Icelandic teningr (sing.)). This may be construed to mean simply "chess pieces". [BACK]

*7
* giantrisin (= OIc. risi). Perhaps "jotun" (ettin) is the more familiar Norse word for "giant", but here we have the form that is closer to the German word (Ger. Riesen).
* Strong by evil magic— The word trøskur (OIc. trollskapr) literally translates to "troll-like qualities" but means "magic". I think alvi probably means "elfin".
* dearest one— Far. søti OIc. sœtr Eng. "sweet".
* chess — Far. talv, OIc. tafl.[BACK]

*9
* giant— Far. tuss OIc.þurs, þuss. "giant, ogre, monster." The name of the god Thor is said to be etymologically related.
[BACK]

*12
* life and woods— Far. hövur og heysin. I think this is literally "haven and heath". [BACK]

*16
* The English translation follows Henze's version. Note that strophes 16 and 17 are interchanged in Lynbye's version. It turns out Lynbye has undertaken a number of such rearrangements and editing of text, obviously frowned upon by purist ballad-collectors.
* lath— Far. rævur;. OIc. ræfr, rjálfr ráfr; is glossed as "roof". And in the next strophe we have Far. teâkji which seems to be a cognate for OIc. þak; Ger. Dach, and Eng. "thatch".
* ivory Whereas the word for ivory is consistent the Henze's orthograph version, in Lyngbye version, we see Elfinbajn (similar to Ger. Elfbein) in Strophe 6 and fílsbein here (spelt the same as the OIc. word ). [BACK]

*18
* real men— Far. seggja (gen.). In Old Icelandic, seggr (nom.), seggja (gen.) is a poetical expression for a "man".
* beds — Far. seingir, or Old Icelandic sængr, sæing (old form) meaning "bed".
* featherbeds and pillows— Of the pair of words Far. blæum (gen.), OIc. blæja meaning "fine colored cloth, cover of a bed, burial shroud"", etc. is common to both versions. Likely what is meant is a type of quilted/stuffed blanket, which we call "comforters" in the US. The two versions disagree on the other word. Henze has beð, which means "bedding" and Lyngbye has borð which means "board, table, etc.". In either case, the balladist probably means "stuffed mattress". [BACK]

*21
* well—This is a magical well-spring that not only produces various dainties and fine beverage, but has the effect of the elixir of life.
* flows forever is how it is put in Henze's version, but it "flows from the woods" in Lyngbye's version. (recurs in Str. 36) [BACK]

*24
* food and drink— Far. matur OIc. matr are cognates of Eng. "meat", but is applied to food in a more general sense. Cp. viand, which is the French word for "meat", but originally meant "victual" or any food or sustenance. Far/OIc. drekka is a cognate of Eng. "drink". [BACK]

*29
* Strophes 29 and 30 are interchanged in the two versions. Cf. note *16. [BACK]

*36
* flows forever reads "flows from the woods" in Lyngbye's version. (same as Str. 21) [BACK]

*41
* fell down on the ground— In Lyngbye's version, it reads "stood spellbound." [BACK]

Recommended Link

Text

  • TJATSI (the Faroese Post Office page - English homepage).
      This attractive site with unique folk-art decor has many ballads and are in the process of having accompanying English translations done by webmaster Anker Eli Petersen et al.

  • Folklore and Folk Poetry (Folkesagn og folkediktning):
      The "Ballad and Folk Poetry (Kvad og folkediktning)" page here has texts of the "Skrujmsli Rujma (the ballad of skrimsli the monster)", the "Lokka Táttur" ballad, and "Óðin í Ásgørðum" (Odin in Asgard). (in Faroese). This is where I obtained the present text.

  • H. A. Guerber's Myths of the Norsemen One of his stories is"Skrymsli and the Peasant's Child" (English)
      This work is supposed to be a composite of the following three Faroese ballads:
      1) Skrymsli Ryma (The Skrymsli Ballad)
      2) Lokka Thaattur (Lokki's Tale)
      3) Odin ur Asgørdum (Odin in Asgard)
    Actually, practically the entirety of Guerber's story is from "Lokki's Tale". However it is not explicitly told at the beginning of this ballad what kind of "match" it was that the peasant played against his monster opponent. So specifing this to be a chess/tafl match is, one might say, an element taken from the "Skrymsli ballad".

  • Loki's Trick (English)
      A variant of the tale. Here Loki catches and uses a haddock rather than a flounder.

  • Tafl Chess (English)
      This is a page on the the pre-chess boardgame played by Norsemen, put together by Ben Slade who also runs the www.heorot.dk site.

    Japanese Sites

  • Infinite ∞ Space
      " Loki ga kodomo wo sukuu monogatari" summarizes and comments on the Japanese translation of H. A. Guerber's short story above. This site featured the tale as a "rare story" of the Norse, and discussions about it on its BBS led me to inquire on the source of the story.
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