Monday, January 18, 2010
The Finnwife as prognosticator and the Finns themselves as powerful seers.
Destiny versus fortune. Things that can versus things that must happen.
The nature of fate and aligning yourself with the forces of your destiny.
And lastly: In winter, it seems, fairy tale characters stay put if they reside in a northern climate.
A Fairy Tale from Iceland : The Finnwife’s Prophecy
After the battle at Bocksford, Ingimund in splendid finery hastened home to his father, Thorstein, who received him with open arms. He said Ingimund’s path had been full of great fortune, but this was not astonishing, “because you are the daughter’s son of Jarls Ingimund, the luckiest of all men.”
Ingimund stayed the winter and it was that winter Ingjald also visited Thorstein and they celebrated a happy reunion. Ingjald said Ingimund had become all that his ancestors had promised. “But I will hold a festival for you, my foster son, with all the splendor at my command.” Ingimund consented. Ingjald accompanied him and invited many men. Then each rode out and the festival was proclaimed.
Ingjald and his clan practiced magic, according to the custom of the time, that people inquired about their fortune. A Finnish woman, well-versed in magic, came to the festival. Ingimund and Grim appeared at the banquet with a large following. A tall chair was prepared for the Finnwife and it was adorned and decorated for the ceremony. The men approached, one-by-one, rising up from their seats and asking a question about their fate. The woman prophesied for each man, as it was, but each prophecy was quite different from the next and all were satisfied.
The foster brothers sat in their places and did not get up to pose a question. They also did not heed the Finnwife’s prognostications. The seer spoke “Why are those young men not inquiring about their fortune? It seems they are the most magnificent of all persons assembled here.” Ingimund replied “I don’t want to know my fate in advance and I do not believe my destiny rests under the root of your tongue.”
She replied “But nonetheless I will tell you: you shall cultivate the land called Iceland ; it is mostly a wild place now. You shall raise yourself up and become a highly honored man. You shall become old and gray. Your descendents will also be many excellent men in that country.”
Ingimund replied: “That is well said, because I am certain in my decision never to move to that place. Surely I would not be a good merchant if I sold the many beautiful goods of my family and moved to that desolate spot.”
The Finnwife said: “It will happen as I have said. And take this as sign: the lot in your bag has vanished, that lot which King Harold gave you as present. It is lying in the forest where you shall live. The word Frey has been emblazoned in silver on the lot. When you take up your farm, my words shall be fulfilled.”
Ingimund replied: “If it weren’t going against my foster father, you would receive your reward broken over your skull. But because I am not a violent man and don’t want an argument, let us keep it at this.” She said there was no need to become angry.
Ingimund said she had come to bring him misfortune; she replied that it was his fate and would remain so, regardless of how he felt, good or bad about it. She continued “Grim’s fortune will also lead him there, also the fate of his brother, Gromund, and they will both become rich farmers.”
The next morning Ingimund searched for his lot and could not find it. This seemed to him a bad sign. Ingjald asked him to be of good cheer and not let it bother him or dispel his joy. He said: Many splendid men are sailing to Iceland . “I only had good intentions when I invited the Finnwife here..” Ingimund said he could not thank him for it, “But our friendship shall not be severed.” Then Ingimund traveled home to his father and stayed there the winter.
When spring came, he asked his foster brother, what they thought about their travels. Grim said, he thought it was no use struggling against one’s fate. “In summer I will go to Iceland , we two brothers. Many are going there even though they are rich here. Much good has been told me about the country, that the cattle finds nourishment even in winter; there are many fish in the sea and enormous forests. The land is free from the violent acts of kings and evil doers.”
Ingiumund replied “I shall not go there, we must then separate.” Grim said that may well be the case “But it shall not come as a surprise to me, if we meet again in Iceland .” It is difficult to escape one’s fate.” Ingimund said his departure caused him much pain.
Grim sailed out in summer. Both brothers arrived in Borg Fjord and sailed up to the Angelroot Strand. Grim said he would take this land for settlement. He took into possession so much land, that many farms today are still standing on the same ground. Gromund said he would go up to the highlands because he would like the area near the mountains. Grim said it would be a good thing because they would have both benefits from the rich mountain land and abundance from the sea. Gromund settled on Querachenhalde and was considered by all in the land to be a splendid man. Juugi the Black is his descendent. Grim’s line was also blessed and many famous men descended from him, even though they are not named here.