Thursday, 10 November 2016

A Halling with Angelica Root

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“A Halling with Angelica Root” is one of the shorter Hulder Tales. It contains a caricature of a Hallingdøl (denoting someone from Hallingdal), who has two or three tales of the “mound-folk,” or hulders to tell. The tales are not the most dramatic; but they nicely demonstrate the propensity of the simple country folk to believe, even if there was a more reasonable explanation for the phenomena they experienced.

It is worth noting, however, that the narrator attempts to explain only the second tale.

From my point of view, this is an infuriating text. Asbjørnsen has transcribed the informant’s Halling dialect, which is further removed from standard Norwegian than either Swedish or Danish. Despite it causing me trouble, I do lament the necessary loss of the dialect in the translation—some of the depth and atmosphere is lost.

Coincidently, angelica root (Angelica archangelica) is the herb used to flavour Dubonnet, Bénédictine, and Vermouth; but you have to know what you are doing, since it looks strikingly similar to related, poisonous plants.

As with “The Gravedigger’s Tales,” Per Krohg has illustrated this text. His illustrations are still under copyright, but they may be viewed here. They are well-worth having a look at.

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