The fishing trip of Byleif/Byleifs fiskefänge (epic icelandic poetry according to the Háttatal)

Discussion in 'Art, Literature, and Music' started by Canini, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    This one probably bears some explaining. There is a pretty much untranslatable section of the Prose Edda (the collection of norse mythology gathered and written down by the icelandic Skald Snorri Sturlasson at around 1220) called Hattatal that contains 102 examples of meters used in scaldic poetry. Snorri composed a long song of praise for his patron king Hakon using each of these meters. I was inspired to try my hand at something similiar, so here is the adventure of Byleif the Blitzer (Real name Byleif Chenannais Lauersson) a fictional icelandic saga hero. His story is about his visit to numerous islands in order to find one with enough fish to support his people and takes place in the same world as my game Alex and Adva. I have tried to stick to the style of writing presented in the prose edda as closely as possible. I have written each verse in two versions; swedish and english. In-universe, the english version is supposed to be a later translation by a seperate translator.

    The giant Farbouti often came to the island Lauer and thundered over her. During a particular wild storm a bolt of lightning hit the tallest and thinnest tree of the island. It split into two and swelled, eventually giving birth to two sons. Tymor was the oldest and most eager. He was weak in the limbs but very clever, and he has brought much hardship to both gods and man, although he has also helped them numerous times. Byleif was younger and had a strong body, and when he came of age he built a ship out of half of his mother's body in order to seek fame and fortune.


    Byleif leaves Lauer


    Byleif Från Lauer
    Lauersonen
    Sonen i båten
    Bådar fiskefänge
    Fångad av stormen
    Stiltje; vilse
    Vissnad så stilla
    Sitter Laursonen


    Byleif of Lauer
    Son of Lauer
    Sits in his own boat
    To start his great fishing
    Wind is washing him
    Lost in Storbukt
    Lost at sea, forsaken
    Is the son of Lauer


    Rodde Mäktigt
    Tricksarns's broder
    Rodde manligt
    Över havet
    Han såg därborta
    Havets livboj
    Ön den drog han
    Fram till båten


    Sailed his longship
    Tymor's brother
    Sailed most bravely
    O'ver the sea
    He saw thereover
    The belly of seas
    The island sea
    Towards the boat



    Byleif reaches a archipelago


    Byleif såg nu fem stjärnor
    Öarna de var fem till talet
    Hus stod på branta backar
    För att hälsa
    Ingen fisk finns här sades
    Ingen plats för manlig hjälte
    Byleif fortsatte snabbt sin resa
    Byleif, Lauers son



    Byleif now saw five stars
    Islands five before his eyes
    Houses stood on broad backs
    To greet him
    No fishes for him here
    No place for a brave hero
    Byleif continued his great journey
    Byleif, Lauer's son



    Femsjunk
    Tomhus
    Tomhav
    Äresjunk
    Ösjunk
    Fiskefänge
    Jarliv
    Ro nu



    Fivesink
    Housefell
    Seafell
    Glorysink
    Islandsink
    Fishing
    Kinglife
    Row on



    Byleif enters a ship-race


    Byleif den barska
    Önska sig äran
    Satte av sig från
    Fiske för lovad
    Plats
    Kunskapsrik vår kung
    Mannamodig mena
    Per lopp på vatten
    En utlovad plats
    För honom



    Byleif the bold
    Wished for glory
    Swiftly he changed
    Fishes for place
    A race
    Knowledgable king
    Directionless klutz
    Places were taken
    Lo, Boat for a boat
    He conquered



    Vattnets häst
    Flög över ärans linje
    Först kom Byleif
    Av alla hjältar
    Hjältars hare
    bror till kaniners skurkar
    Satte av
    Fisk fanns här inte



    The horse of the blue
    Jumped the line of competition
    First was Byleif
    Of all the heroes
    Hero of rabbits
    Brother to the harey villain
    Winning he left
    There was no fish here



    Byleif fights the great wolf


    Nu kom Byleif
    Till lila rökande havssaliv
    På en ö av klackande klossar
    Satt vargen och ettret dröp ur kolossen
    Vargen den vilda
    Sedernas ätare fick smaka järn
    Svärdet i gapet, av Byleif den barska
    Köttet gick dock inte att äta, järn



    Now came Byleif
    To the desolation of Smog
    To the island of clicking colosses
    Sat the wolf and from his maw posion
    The wild wolf
    The eater of oaths got iron for dessert
    Sword in the maw, Byleif the brave
    This flesh proved no nourishment



    Slottens slott rasade nesligen då vargen led
    Byleif ville ej hat
    Kaninernas kung skrek i båten och drog
    Vargens tand satt över ögat
    Han hade fiskat länge, men var ej klar
    Hans folk hade ej fisk
    Här kunde tricksarens bror ej vara kvar
    Resan fortsatte mot vidare vatten



    The castle of the wolf was torn apart
    Old as it was
    Byleif did not want it but set forth
    The teeth were aching
    He had fished for a long time but was not done
    His people had no fish
    The brother of the trickster did not remain
    Byleif set sail for wider waters



    Byleif is trapped and escapes from the sea ogre


    Nästa ö var mystisk till sättet, nästa ö var ingen ö
    I vattnet låg en väldig jätte, I vattnet stirrade han surt
    Två ögon hade giganten, två ögon brände Byleif
    Med ett slag slog han den tappre, med ett slag tog han båten
    Jätten svalde kaninernas kung, Jätten malde och drog
    Tänderna var hårda som diamanter, Tänderna var såsom tursarnas drott
    Men Byleif hade sin egen list, Byleif har sina egna gaddar
    Han redde ett hem till sin, räddes ej den fruktansvärdes buk



    The next island was curious, the next island was weird
    In the water was a giant, in the water he glared
    Two eyes had the giant, two eyes burned Byleif
    With one stroke he hit the brave one, with one stroke he took the boat
    The turs swallowed the heroice hare, the turs was filled to the brim
    His teeth were diamonds, his teeth were king among ivory
    But Byleif was clever, Byleif was cunning
    He made a home there, he made the giant his abode



    Byleif och jätten
    Var nu jämnstarka
    Han grävde sig utåt
    Byleif grävde neråt öst
    Jätten skrek nesligen
    Hål hade han
    Byleif skrattade och tog
    Båten för mer fiske



    Byleif, a giant
    Both were strong
    Hare dug down
    Byleif now dug east
    The giant screamed
    The back-hole
    Byleif left laughing and
    Took his boat further



    To be continued!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
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  2. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    Byleif on the island with the sealed monster


    Liten i eftertanke, stor i mod
    På den stora ön satt litet huvud
    Byleif slet och drog
    Dådkunnig kunde ej
    Träd fanns på stentopp
    Klöv utan yxa och egg
    Byleif byggde vid solen slut tillslut
    En lång pinne att rubba sten vid strand



    One short of thought but big on bravery
    On the great island was a tiny head
    He began to pull
    But found he could not
    Trees were above him
    Cut without an axe
    Byleif he built at sun's end in the end
    A counterweight to lift the stone quickly



    Inside the cavern where a mouth
    Inside the mouth there was an eye
    Inside the eye a bloodshot vein
    Byleif drew his sword without
    The wyrm it roared in anger in pain
    Byleif roared in surprise and fright
    They both roared together
    The island was torn amidst



    Inunder huvudet fans en mun
    Inunder munnen fanns en tand
    Inunder tanden fanns en ven
    Byleif drog resolut sitt svärd
    Monstret skrek i förblindad ilska
    Byleif skrek som bivargen själv
    De båda tappra skrek tillsammans
    Ner ön slets sönder i fasor



    Byleif on the island of regrets


    På nästa ö som Byleif såg
    Fanns ett småhus av god härkomst
    Alla döda var däri
    Ty ön låg vid storledsände
    Byleif svor ed att aldrig se
    Sin egen ö full av god fisk
    De döda i huset var Byleifs sak
    Hans skuld av ödet vävt



    On the next isle Byleif saw afar
    Was a house of good make and full
    Of the dead
    As the island was on the end of a grand line
    Byleif swore to never see such
    Desolation in his own time
    But the house was his burden
    His destiny woven by guilt



    Lång var färden till nästa ömål
    Där såg Byleif en hästsko i vann
    Ska man ut och leta efter fisken
    Kommer istället jättehäst
    Gröna ön var som Allgrönan
    Norr var nu riktning å färd
    Fisken fanns inte och mage kurra
    Vad göra åt detta predikament?



    Long was the trip to the next sea
    Horseshoe was in the deep
    Shall one find the little fishis
    A giant horse simply won´t do
    Green it was as the Allgreen
    North was now the road bound
    No fish and stomach growlin'
    Hwaet can be done about this predicament?



    Byleif and the curse of the kilted warriors



    Kokosnöt fanns, söt nöt, god nöt
    På ön för Byleif att äta
    Han fortsatte go och såg på sin väg
    Hur folket slog småsten via pinnar i hål
    De kastade stockar och roade sig väldeliga
    En handfast ö förvisso
    Byleif visslade och in i dimman
    Glad i hågen rodde han på



    Coconut broke, good nut, sweet nut
    To fill the belly of the king
    He continued onwards and saw
    How people threw pebbles with stick into holes
    How they threw logs and shouted manly
    A brave and kilted community indeed!
    Byleif whistled and carried on
    Happy in his heart he rode on



    Månskära i nedan brann i skyn
    Skyn böljade och ingen sov
    Sova kan man ej på ringande ö
    Ö som drabbades av monsters art
    Art av dvärgar bodde där
    Där fanns vapen som de lyfte
    Lyfte kunde de med handskar och rep
    Rep band Byleif runt månskäran



    Waning gibbous moon blazed in the sky
    Skyfall, nightfall Byleif did not sleep well
    Well made was the island before
    Before the seamonsters struck the island
    Island of diamond and dwarves
    Dwarves lifted tools and weapons
    Weapons like a lifter waning
     
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  3. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    "The fishing trip of Byleif" is a fictionized account of the life of the viking chieftain Byleif "The Blitzer" Chenannais Lauersson by the skald Snurre Sturlarsson. We mainly know of Byleif from this poem and the historic prose account "A circle around the world", also by Snurre. A somewhat strange thing to note about the poem barely mentions any of Byleif's friends, family and warriors, making him seem more like a force of nature than a man. This contrasts with the rather mundane goal of the poem, which is fishing. The english version have been translated by the famed journalist and activist, John Henbellow.

    Byleif defeats the monster of the dwarves


    Lång stod Byleif över dvärgarna
    Kort var han framför sedernas monster
    Liten ö på stort hav
    Kort strid varar länge i människans hjärta
    Murket blött trä blir järngrått
    När dvärgars hammare får ljuda
    Nu fortsätter färden i blodrött vatten
    Och småfolk äter medan Byleif svälter



    Towering was Byleif over the dwarves
    Yet in the monsters he met his match
    Tiny island of the great sea
    Short battle lasts long in the legend of men
    Brown woods turn to shining iron
    When the humble ship is repaired by craftsmen
    The water is neither blue nor green, but black and red
    Starving hare provides for the small ones


    The prose version of this story recounted in "A circle around the world" goes into greater detail about the monster (a great Lindwyrm that had to be skinned seven times for it to die), the man who helped Byleif come up with a plan to slay it (Alexander Arnabat, his court mage) and the culture of the dwarves (They were the first to use iron to make tools and creates the very first large scale ship-making industry). While those account may be more interesting for those that want pure facts, the poetic version cannot be equalled for sheer raw feeling.
     
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  4. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    wow, nicely done!
     
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  5. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    Land mot öga, livsnöd mot landboj
    Seglarens lycka vaktad av Utgårds värsta
    Femöga, rödöga, Byleif vitöga
    Huvudets vaktorn lyser över nejden
    Tankens korp minnes nu backlandets jätte
    Kan de båda vara av samma art?
    Livets fruktan ger frukt för livets livslängd
    Denna längd ger i framtid fortsatt ätt

    Country towards eye, Man in need towards the lifebuoy of the sea
    The luck of the sailor was guarded by the worst of the Outyard
    Five eye, red eye, Byleif white Eye
    The lighthouse of the head lightens the night
    The raven of memory spies the giant
    Can they both be the same?
    The fear for life leads to fear of life
    Such fear brings your lineage to an end

    [​IMG]
    Byleif encounters the island of the giant...which is the giant itself.
     
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  6. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    doesn't that need to be The fear for life leads to fear to live? (not that I would know I don't read scandinavian haha but it just kinda feels like it should :p Awesome little cutscene by the way!
     
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  7. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    Thanks!

    You are completely right! However, the english translation is supposed to be, in-universe, kind of faulty. It is supposed to be akin to early translations of norse mythology (which did not have a really high status for study until Tolkien and a few other experts in the field) which often translated words and sentences verbatim without finding a proper english equivalent.

    That said, english is not my first language so it could totally have been a real spelling mistake and I thank you for pointing it out. But in this singular case, it was actually intended!
     
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  8. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    ok haha I get it this one just seemed to stand out to me somehow ;) Not that English is not my first language either and neither is norse so I dunno lol Impressive what you've been doing here btw :)
     
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  9. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    I am very flattered that you think so! Also sorry for not responding earlier. The text I am using as a base is actually ancient Icelandic although the non-english text of my version is swedish. These takes a long time to write since it is difficult to find good translations of the Hattatal, even from libraries (there are none online). Anyway, here is the next part:

    Byleif in the land of former heroes

    Byleif lämnade glatt denna ö
    Med guld i båten och huvud av tursar
    Ut ur revet gick färden
    När en stor melankoli nedsteg på nejden
    Ur himlen flög ett evig mörker
    I vattnet dök en virvel upp
    Byleif kände fruktan och försvann
    Detta var de forna hjältarnas land

    Byleif happily left this island
    With gold in the boat and heads of trolls
    Out of the reef he went
    When a great sadness came over his head
    Out of the heavens a great darkness came
    In the water a whirlpool appeared
    Byleif felt fear and rowed away
    This was the land of former heroes

    Byleif on the empty island shaped like a shark

    Byleif kom till en ö formad som en haj
    Molnen, Imerts bistra barn, dansade i vinden
    Han besteg den men fann inget av intresse
    Gräset var såsom sanden i detta intet
    Det fanns lite småplock men inget av nytta
    Ruinen av dåraktiga män som strandats här
    Han började nu att ge sig av
    Men de bästa planer är som harars språng

    Byleif arrived at a shark-filled island
    The clouds, sons of Imert, danced in the wind
    On the island was nothing of interests
    The grass was as sand in this sunken desolation
    Byleif could could not use those two things together
    The ruins of foolish men
    He began to leave
    The best laid plans are as the steps of the young doe

    Byleif reaches the island of summer

    Byleif letade nu efter ny ö
    En lysande stråle i havets stormbyar
    I fjärran fanns en sommarö
    En ö för hjärtan och mandom
    Kaninernas kung började sin mödosamma färd
    Vener och muskler i underbar samklang
    Över oätliga hajar gick färden framgent
    Från gräns till gräns gick gränsöverskridaren

    Byleif now hunted for another island
    A shining beam among the stormy waves
    Far away was the island of summer
    This island was made for lovers and men
    The harefair one now started his journey
    Veins and tendrils struggled together
    The sharks he killed but did not eat
    From border to border went the bordercrosser

    Since hattatal has 101 verses we are now 1/5 of the way though!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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