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Tales From The Old Norse

Northern Europe



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The Lad And The Devil








More Information...

This volume, Tales From The Old Norse is part of a set of collections covering the Scandinavian story-telling tradition. With this volume we reach the conclusion of our journey through the tales from the north.

Originally I intended to complete the Scandinavian series with the Finnish volume, but as ever, there were just too many fabulous stories in my archive to call such an immediate halt.

In this volume we have work collected by Jørgen Engebretsen Moe and Peter Christen Asbjørnsen taken from East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon and Norske Folkeeventyr, much of which I have adapted from George Webbe Dasent’s translations in Popular Tales from the Norse and from Andrew Lang’s Red Romance Book.

Norse mythology is generally considered to be the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples , stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianisation of Scandinavia and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period.

The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.

The collecting of generic Scandinavian folklore began when Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, in the 1630’s, sent out instructions to all of the priests to collect the folklore of their area. They collected customs, beliefs that were not sanctioned by the church, and other traditional material.

As a result of their common Germanic origin, Scandinavian folklore shows a large correspondence with folklores elsewhere, such as England and Germany, among others.


How One Went Out To Woo

Once on a time there was a lad who went out to woo him a wife. Amongst other places, he came to a farm-house, where the household were little better than beggars; but when the wooer came in, they wanted to make out that they were well to do, as you may guess. Now the husband had got a new arm to his coat.
“Pray, take a seat”, he said to the wooer, “but there’s a shocking dust in the house.”
So he went about rubbing and wiping all the benches and tables with his new arm, but he kept the other all the while behind his back.
The wife she had got one new shoe, and she went stamping and sliding with it up against the stools and chairs, saying, “How untidy it is here! Everything is out of its place!”
Then they called out to their daughter to come down and put things to rights; but the daughter, she had got a new cap; so she put her head in at the door, and kept nodding and nodding, first to this side, and then to that.
“Well! for my part”, she said, “I can’t be everywhere at once.”
Aye! aye! that was a well-to-do household the wooer had come to.

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