Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Pursuant this post, Lipman left a comment that had me in stitches.

As a side-note to introducing an Icelandic blogger, I had mentioned that I had struggled through Old Norse (and Old English) texts.

Lipman wrote:
"I did that too, back in the halls of The University. Fascinating language, but the content of any random part of the sagas is basically:

" X [name unpronounceable to most, containing at least a pre-aspirated long T or sommmink] takes his club, says "Honey, I might be late for dinner, see to it that the fish don't stink too much", goes to the other end of the island to his neighbour's hut and knocks him dead. "-"

So true, so very true.

The only addition I would make is that X of the unpronounceable name is the son of Hack-spit the Rapist, who is the son of Gargle the But-ugly, the son of Greatwart Half-ape, son of Barfsack the Buggerer, whose half-sister was known all the way to Asgard as the ugliest she-thing in the north - famous as herder of pigs and elderly virgin, though eventually and illegitimately great-grandmother of the chap about whose dead-knocking we are forced to read at length. Who had offended by looking funny.


Spiros said...

That's MISTER Barfsack the Buggerer to you, bub.

Phillip Minden said...

Greatwart Half-ape, son of Barfsack the Buggerer

In fact, according to Manuscript K, he was his grandson, and the uncorrupted texts have:

Greatwart Half-ape, son of Giuseppe, son of Barfsack the Buggerer

Giuseppe didn't have an epithet, and later scholars said it can only mean this one was really nasty. One unclear fragment seems to read "Giuseppe the Harmless", though, but that name scared the mediaeval copyists so much that they unconspicuously left him out.

Spiros said...

I feel sure that further study will reveal that Giuseppe was in fact Greatwart Half-ape's cobbler, and not in fact his son; Giuseppe, not blessed with the most reliable sense of direction, having gotten hopelessly lost en route from Napoli to the Medici Court (either at The Vatican or Firenze, the records are unclear), and fetched up in Bumfuck, Hyperborea, following a prolonged series of improbable misadventures. In fact, so far from being nominated "the Harmless", for a time he bore the epithet "Solerepairer"; one can see how the mistranslation might arise.

Spiros said...

And, to paraphrase the Reverend Spooner, when I say "Greatwart the Half-ape" in the passage above, I of course mean Barfsack the Buggerer.

Anonymous said...

Tell us more about Halfspit the Rapist.
He sounds like a likable sort of fellow.

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