13 August 2010

Friday night folklore: A Drunkard in Hell

This short tale is an example of the kind of humorous tales told by Icelanders in the olden days.

One day there were two men working in a farm smithy. Late in the afternoon a man arrived at the farm, so drunk that he passed out and rolled off his horse into the mud in front of the farmhouse.

The two smiths took him and carried him into the smithy and laid him on a pile of wood coal, where he slept until it was dark outside. When he began to wake up, the smiths were just finishing their work for the day but had not yet put out the fire in the forge.

They decided to observe the drunkard when he woke up, to see if anything funny would happen, and hid in a corner. The drunkard woke up and felt all around him. Realising that that he was lying on a heap of coal and seeing the fire he came to the conclusion that he must have died and gone to Hell.

He rose up and listened for a while, but when he heard nothing he began to be bored and called out: “Can none of all the demons gathered here give me a little something to drink?”

The two smiths jumped up laughing, and thus ends the story.

Copyright notice: The wording used to tell this folk-tale is under copyright. The story itself is not copyrighted. If you want to re-tell it, for a collection of folk-tales, incorporate it into fiction, use it in a school essay or any kind of publication, please tell it in your own words or give the proper attribution if you choose to use the wording unchanged.

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