fimmtudagur, júní 19, 2008

berum orðum

They shot the second one yesterday. Now they are saying it wouldn't have survived its own rescue. It turns out that is was a she - not ísbjörn but ísbirna or ísbera, not Ófeigur but Ófeig, and at the end only feig. It is very sad.

There's a farmer up north who has dreamt of three, and so now we are waiting for a third great-footed, long-headed white ghost to pad up the beach. He says modestly that he is not especially berdreyminn, however -- not someone who has prophetic dreams with particular frequency.

The ber in berdreyminn is the bare of being uncovered. A berdreyminn maður has dreams that speak plainly and give up their meanings easily. They want to be understood. They hide nothing.

Snorri writes of Óðinn's select warriors: berserkir. Ber-sarks, ber-shirts. Snorri says they fought like animals, roaring and howling as they went into battle. He says iron did not bite on them and fire did not burn them, nearly invulnerable though they wore no armor. Thus the name. Snorri's etymology is no longer universally accepted. Berserkir looks rather like úlfheðnar - wolf coats. Imagine a man kitted out for shapeshifting.

I remain in hope that the farmer up north is proved berdreyminn after all and that his dream of bears comes true. I hope, too, that the third bear is truly ófeigur whichever etymology he prefers.

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