Rogue tooth fairy

I promised to tell you back in the first post about Skarphedin’s resourceful use of the teeth he apparently collected from the fragments of Thrain’s smashed skull.  Which battle, it’s worth mentioning, since we’re all interested in verbal jabs around here, flared up because a woman called Skarphedin and his brothers “the little Dung-beards.”  That is a foul thing to say.

So foul that Skarphedin’s amazing skatemurder becomes mandatory, and that is so ice cold that the only possible culmination is a gang of ruffians’ grabbing hold of a pile of chickweed and burning an entire extended family in their home.

Faced with a baleful bonfire, Skarphedin offers his wry grin and a sardonic quip: “So you’re making a fire now, lads!  Are you thinking of doing some cooking?”  They are, of course, and Skarpedin and his kin are the cartoonish roast turkeys, despite the ladies’ attempt to smother the flames with yogurt.

You should never kick a man when he’s down, but neither should you miss a chance to childishly tease a man you’re immolating.  Thus, with the roof collapsing and smoke and ash filling the air, Gunnar Lambason jumps on top of the wall so that he can ask, “Are you crying now, Skarp-Hedin?”

“No,” said Skarp-Hedin, “but it is true that my eyes are smarting.  Am I right in thinking that you are laughing?”

“I certainly am,” said Gunnar, “and for the first time since you killed Thrain.”

“Then here is something to remind you of it,” said Skarp-Hedin.

He took from his purse the jaw-tooth he had hacked out of Thrain, and hurled it straight at Gunnar’s eye; the eye was gouged from its socket on to the cheek, and Gunnar toppled off the wall.

(trans. Magnus Magnusson, and how’s that for a name?)

HOLY HELL.  Leave aside the truly remarkable dexterity by which Skarphedin flicks a molar into a human eye in the midst of an inferno.  And we won’t even worry about the sort of grisly mind that would yank a tooth for a souvenir, just in case he ever forgot the best thing he or anyone ever did.

How about the absolutely gorgeous revenge, albeit a Pyrrhic parting shot, that Skarphedin extracts here on a man about to kill him with impunity?  To have kept around a fragment of a man you slew so as to be able to maim — but not kill, no, Gunnar dies a disgraced outlaw later — your tormentor with a physical feat, itself reminiscent of that by which you obliterated the first man, is just a staggering accomplishment.  And to wait until his moment of triumph and exultation to remind him of the friend you killed, and to carve your mark on him as well in such a painful and public way, oh, it is worthy of Aaron the Moor himself (see :45, and you’ll know what I mean)!


I went image searching for “tooth vs. eye” so as to provide a humorous picture.  Instead I learned that rather than putting eyes out with them, science is removing certain blind folks’ teeth, implanting little lenses in them, and sticking the tooth in their eye!  The tooth keeps their body from rejecting the transplant, and the lens lets them see out of the previously ruined eye.  No word on if this was used to help Gunnar out.

I am not going to include a picture because they’re kind of gross, although maybe less gross than anything discussed above, to be fair.  But, it’s called modified osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, and you can look it up yourself if you’ve a mind to.  We’ve all learned a lot today.



  1. mordicai said,

    October 23, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I saw those toothcams! Very exciting to be in the future.

  2. October 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

    “You should never kick a man when he’s down, but neither should you miss a chance to childishly tease a man you’re immolating.”

    Dear Chris, when does your collected aphorisms come out with Harper Collins? Just send me a mass text, thank you.

  3. ihatedanger said,

    October 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm


    I should have saved my five wisdom teeth, in case my good eye goes blind, too.

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