Mar 30, 2011

Booksale Love: Direct from Iowa

Ghosts, Witchcraft and the Other World: Icelandic Folktales I. Translated by Alan Boucher. Iceland Review Library, 1977. 91 pgs.

The stories in this book surprised and delighted me by turns. Many of the folktales were reminiscent of the sagas in their understated irony and humor. I was reminded that those of us in the living flesh lead really dull lives, compared to those non-living spirits that surround us daily and nightly--just out of view.

 The Soul of my man Jon is a charming story about the lengths a woman will go to for her man. Specifically, a woman whose man was "ill-natured, little liked by his neighbours, ... lazy and useless about the house ... " But she loved him. When he died she set off for Heaven to have a talk with St. Peter. Next she talked to St. Paul, then the Virgin Mary. She finally resorted to tricking Jesus Christ Himself in order to save Jon's soul.

Rich Farmer, Poor Farmer is a wonderful cautionary tale about misconception and trust. One night a Poor Farmer has a dream that he and his Rich Farmer friend will both die in three days. The two farmers spend their remaining time on earth together, with surprising results.

All in all, a fun read.

I'm sure there are many more Icelandic treasures in Iowa waiting to be found--keep up the good work, Liz!

1 comment:

Professor Batty said...

And there is probably a volume II out there somewhere!