Thursday, June 27, 2013

Helgi Again

Thanks for the comment. I may not translate the poem by myself. I clearly do not understand the cultural context. Your explanation of the line makes the poem sound more disturbing than ever. Having bones and pebbles for toys! I realize why. That's what was easily available. But still...

I will use those toys in my story, if I finish it. One problem with me writing about Iceland is -- I don't know enough, in spite of a lot of reading and a couple of visits. It simply is not enough.

As far as the poem goes, I can take the English translation I have and clean it up, make it into smoother and more powerful English. That I can do. My Icelandic is awful, but my English is pretty good.

There are troll children in the story. They can be playing with human bones...


Blogger Helgi Briem said...

Hi Eleanor.

I definitely think you should go ahead with the translation.

The cultural context is even more disturbing than you perhaps know.

The play Jóhann Sigurjónsson wrote was called "Fjalla-Eyvindur" or "Eyvind of the Mountains". This was supposedly based on a real person and events. It is a staple of both professional and amateur theatres here in Iceland.

It deals with Eyvind, a poor man who gets caught stealing sheep and flees to the mountains. He meets a widow, Halla, and they fall in love and flee together.

Eventually they are discovered and things go from bad to worse. Apparently she sings the lullaby before throwing her baby in a waterfall when being pursued.

To read more:

A more complete account in Icelandic:

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