Friday, January 27, 2012

From Njal's Saga

Here is a small excerpt from the Robert Cook translation (available through Penguin Books) to give you a taste of how modern the story sounds. It is a conversation between Unn and her father about Hrut, her husband.
"Then Mord spoke to his daughter: 'Now tell me everything that's going on between you, however big it may seem in your eyes.'
'Alright then,' she said. 'I want to divorce Hrut, and I can tell you what my main charge against him is - he is not able to have sexual intercourse in a way that gives me pleasure, though otherwise his nature is that of the manliest of men.'
'How can that be?' said Mord. 'Give me more details.'
She answered, ' When he comes close to me his penis is so large that he can't have any satisfaction from me, and yet we've both tried every possible way to enjoy each other, but nothing works. By the time we part however, he shows he's just like other men.'
Mord spoke, 'You've done well to tell me this.' "

This is the curse the old queen of Norway laid on Hrut when he left. :-)

7 comments:

Anachronist said...

Oh dear, quite a curse!

Kristin said...

LOL!

The Red Witch said...

Except this curse leads to divorce and helps to set up the circumstances under which the feud begins to consume several families.
But, the relationship between Hrut and the queen was interesting. She was Gunnhild, the mother of Harald Grey Cloak, daughter of Gorm of Denmark and the widow of Eric Blood-Axe, the last Viking king of York. She had a reputation for liking men. Eleanor of Aquitaine has a rival.

Anachronist said...

She was Gunnhild, the mother of Harald Grey Cloak, daughter of Gorm of Denmark and the widow of Eric Blood-Axe, the last Viking king of York.

I guess she was also a witch - without sorcery such a curse would never work, would it?

The Red Witch said...

Right you are, she had a reputation for sorcery learned from Finnish wizards.

Tracy said...

When he comes close to me his penis is so large that he can't have any satisfaction from me, and yet we've both tried every possible way to enjoy each other, but nothing works.
Ouch!

The Red Witch said...

Yup but I suppose, for the reputation of the man in question, better this than that it was too small. Hrut seemed to have been bothered more by the fact that he would have to return her dowry than by the divorce or the reason given for it.