28 August 2010

Short stories 221-230

From Norway:

The Blacksmith Who Could Not Get Into Hell”. Collected by Asbjörnsen and Moe. An amusing folk tale about beating the Devil. Recommended. (A different translation from the one I read.

“The Father” by Björnstene Björnsson. About a proud father and a parish priest.

“Skobelef” by Johan Bojer. A humorous tale about a horse that has a tremendous influence on a small rural community. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

From Sweden:

Love and Bread” by August Strindberg. A rather cynical tale about a man who discovers that one cannot live by love alone. Recommended. (This is such a very different translation that it makes me want to read the original to see which is truer).

“The Eclipse” by Selma Lagerlöf. A heart-warming tale about an old peasant woman who needs an excuse to invite the neighbours over for coffee. Recommended.

“The Falcon” by Per Hallström. A haunting tale about a peasant boy who rescues a hunting falcon. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

Now we turn to the Belgian tales:

“The Mysterious Picture” by Charles de Coster. Originally from The Legend of the Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel. A trickster tale about human vanity.

The Massacre of the Innocents” by Maurice Maeterlinck. About a more modern version of the Biblical massacre of the same name, presumably as a way of showing how really horrible it was, or perhaps as anti-Spanish propaganda? (A different translation).

“The Soul of Veere” by Camille Lemonnier. A description of a melancholy village awakened for a moment by a mad young musician. Very atmospheric. Recommended.

“One Night” by Emile Verhaeren. A spot-on description of the irrational fear that can sometimes grip people. Recommended.

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