18 March 2011

Friday night folktales: The Last of the Bakki-brothers


Once the brothers decided to go and fetch firewood. In the old days this was either done by collecting driftwood or by finding some shrubs and tearing them up by the roots and drying them. The brothers went for the latter option. 

The shrubs were situated on a steep mountain-side. The brothers tore what they thought they needed and tied the wood into bundles which they planned to roll down the mountain. Then they started thinking and worrying that maybe the bundles would break apart on the way down or maybe they wouldn't be able to find them at the bottom. 

Therefore they decided to put one of the brothers inside one of the bundles so he could keep an eye on the bundles on the way down. So Eiríkur and Helgi took Gísli and packed him into one of the bundles with only his head sticking out and rolled all the bundles down to the bottom of the slope. 

But when they came down to check on the bundles they found that Gísli could not report on the trip down the mountain, because his head was missing. Although there were only two brothers left, they still called each other “Gísli-Eiríkur-Helgi”.

The last thing we know of the Bakki-brothers, Eiríkur and Helgi, was that they once saw a full moon shining in the sky and couldn’t understand what it was. 

They went to the next farm and asked the farmer what that huge, bright, shiny thing in the sky was, and he told them it was a battle-ship. This frightened them so much that they ran all the way home and hid themselves in the cow-byre, covering both doors and windows so that no light could get in, and there they starved to death for fear of the battle-ship. And that was the last of the Bakki brothers.

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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