The meaning of the word 'saga' (plural: 'sǫgur' or 'sögur') translates as 'that which is said', or more widely: a 'saying', 'statement', 'story', 'tale', or 'narrative'. Also in the storytelling tradition of medieval Iceland is the short story called the 'þáttr' (plural: 'þættir'), meaning a strand of rope or a yarn, comparable to the word 'yarn' in English sometimes used to refer to a story.
The seven tales in this book are:
- The Tale of The Story-Wise Icelander (Íslendings Þáttr Sögufróða), a tale about a young Icelandic storyteller in the court of Harald Sigurdsson.
- The Tale of Thorstein Shiver (Þorsteins Þáttr Skelks), a tale about Thorstein Thorkelsson encountering a demon while feasting with King Olaf Tryggvason.
- The Tale of Ale-Hood (Ölkofra Þáttr), a satire on the legal and judicial system of the Icelandic Commonwealth, and its domination and manipulation by powerful individuals for their own financial gain, trampling over the rights of the people they are meant to protect.
- The Tale of Ívarr Son of Ingimundr (Ívars Þáttr Ingimundarsonar), a tale about a king who goes to great lengths to comfort his heartbroken friend.
- The Tale of Thidrandi and Thorhall (Þiðranda Þáttr ok Þórhalls), a tale about a sacrifice taken by spirits of the old gods, as their days are numbered due to the onset of christianity in Iceland.
- The Tale of Helga Thorisson (Helga Þáttr Þórissonar), a tale of two brothers who travel north on a trading voyage, coming into contact with powerful sorcery.
- The Tale of Audun of the West Fjords (Auðunar Þáttr Vestfirska), a tale of a poor man who makes a name for himself with an unusual gift and an epic journey.
This book is designed to be of use to anyone studying or with a keen interest in Old Norse or Old Icelandic, clearly showing how these languages work, and the influence of these languages on English. This edition is laid out in three columns, the original text, a literal word-for-word translation, and a modern translation. Also included is a word list with over 4,000 definitions.
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