An amusing trick

The sagas can be a lot earthier than one might expect.  While there was a code of conduct, you should not come to them expecting courtliness or dainty manners.  These are not the Knights of the Round Table; they are berserkers and pirates, but mostly just stout farmers who know when to argue and when to fight.

Let’s look at Grettir, from the eponymous saga.  Now, to be fair, it’s worth noting that Grettir’s is a more legendary saga than most, which tend to be fairly realistic, depicting disputes over land and such.  Grettir, on the other hand, fights a zombie (draugr); in fact, this scene, among others, have led him to be considered as a distant analogue to everyone’s favorite chap Beowulf.

Thanks to Grettir, it's acknowledged that a man's waistline is marked by his nipples.

Thanks to Grettir, it's acknowledged that a man's waistline is marked by his nipples.

So, in such a setting, how is it that we get an outstanding detail like this one:

Audun was bringing back dairy products loaded on two horses.  One of the horses carried skyr [basically a yogurty curdled milk product] placed in skin bags, which were tied shut at the top….Audun unloaded the horse and carried the skyr into the house.  As he came inside, he couldn’t see in the dark.  Grettir stuck his foot out from the bench so that Audun fell on his face.  He landed on top of a skyr bag, forcing the top open.  Audun jumped up and asked what idiot was there.  Grettir named himself.

Audun said, “That was foolishly done.  What is it that you want here?”

“I want to fight you,” said Grettir.

“Let me take care of the food first,” said Audun.

“As it should be,” said Grettir, “if there’s no one else to do it for you.”  [Ed. note: ZING!]

Audun bent down and picked up the skyr bag.  He flung it straight into Grettir’s arms, telling him first to deal with what had been given to him.  Grettir was covered all over with skyr and was more insulted than if he had been given a serious wound.

If you’re wondering how it turns out, the two engage in some HOTT YOGURT-WRESTLING ACTION, knocking all about the house, until another fellow comes along and tells Grettir to cut it out.  Grettir sings a little song he made up, making fun of Audun for getting choked out.  Who wouldn’t?

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1 Comment

  1. mordicai said,

    October 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    This is…pretty awesome. I want yogurt wrestling!


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