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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where is the Sooth in Soothsaying? The Finns as Skilled Fairy Tale Prognosticators




Part II: Finn-magic. Ingimund commences the trip to Iceland.


King Harold had retired, the mightiest of all kings in the Northern Kingdoms. He remembered what his friends had foretold and now held a great festival to bestow high honor. He invited Ingimund and when that man arrived, the king received him graciously and said "Your diligence and position among men, I hear, is considerable. But you are lacking one thing, you do not have a wife. I have selected a woman to be your spouse. I remembered her, when you put your own life in danger for mine. The daughter of Jaris Thorir the Silent. Her name is Vigdis, she is a very beautiful wife and very rich. I will be your advocate to her." Ingimund thanked the king and said he very much wished the union. The king held the festival with great splendor and ceremony and the guests traveled home.


Ingimund prepared himself for the wedding and when everything was ready, King Harold appeared and many other great men. Ingimund married Vigdis per the agreement. The wedding feast was celebrated with great honor; the king did his part with gifts and other honors.


Ingimund spoke to the king: Now I am quite satisfied in my station. It is a great honor to stand in your favor. But I intend to do what the Finnwife prophesied about the turn in my life. I wish it weren't true that I will sever the attachment to the inheritance from my father.


The king replied: "I can't do anything to stop you and there might be something to it. Frey will allow his lot to be taken there, where he shall establish his chair of honor." Ingimund said, "I want to call three Finns who will disclose to me the fruitfulness of the district and the nature of the land where I am to dwell. I want to send them to Iceland."


The king said, he would grant permission "But I suspect you shall travel there and I am not sure whether you shall obtain my permission or steal away, as is now often customary."


"That I shall never do," Ingimund spoke "that I would travel under your banishment." Then the King departed from him. Ingimund went home to his property.


He sent for the Finns; three came out of the north. Ingimund said, he wanted to strike a deal with them "I shall give you butter and tin, but you shall travel on an errand for me to Iceland, search for my lot and report on the nature of the country." They replied "A dangerous mission for the messengers, but because you have requested it, we shall try. Now you should lock us alone in a house and do not allow anyone to call us by name." And so it happened as the Finns described.


After three nights Ingimund went to the three Finns, who jumped up and all breathed uneasily. One spoke "Hard work for messengers and enormous trials did we have. But we bring such signs to ensure you will recognize the country when you arrive; all shall be according to our description. It was difficult for us to find the lot and the magic words of the Finnwife have great meaning; we have put ourselves in the utmost danger. We came to the country where three Fjords intersect out of the Northeast and large seas lay beyond. Then we came to a deep valley and in the valley below the mountain there were several copses. There we found the usual little valley and in the small forest we found the lot. When we wanted to snatch it up, the brush shot up all around us and (impeded us) and the lot always slipped through our fingers. When we reached after it, a veil always covered it and we could not seize it. You shall have to go there yourself." He said he would ride immediately and thought it would be useless to resist. He richly rewarded the Finns and they departed. But he continued to live on his property, was rich and an honorable man.


Soon thereafter he visited the king and reported to him what had happened and what he had decided. The king said this was not unexpected. He said, it was difficult to act against magic words. Ingimund agreed it was true "I have tried everything." The king replied "Regardless of the country you reside in, you shall be respected." Once again, he gave honor to the king. Ingimund called a feast and invited his friends and chieftains. They celebrated in great splendor. He demanded silence at this feast and spoke "I have decided to make an enormous turn in my life. I am considering going to Iceland, more in consideration of fate and the overwhelming power of magic words than because of any desire on my part. Those who want to go with me, are free to do so. Those who wish to stay, may do this also. What all our friends decide is the same to me."


There were loud outcries in response to his speech and the people said the departure of such a man would be a loss. "And still, there are fewer things stronger than fate." Many decided to travel with Ingimund, who were well-respected farmers and men. Those who decided to go, did not have their own house or farm.



* It is common belief that calling a person by name interrupts the magic.

* Apparently the three southern branches of the Wespenbotten: Widder Fjord, Mittel Fjord and Welpen Fjord.

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com