thumb the nose
robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon May 17 17:15:22 UTC 2010
>> This goes back to the Jomsvikings, and includes (death on a log) whether
>> proof of an afterlife turned on a brooch or a fishbone.
>> And if you want *that explained, it really is Amy West's territory and
> Like I said, get used to disappointment. I haven't read any of the
> Jomsvikings material. I am really pretty much a sham, charlatan, etc.
> So, no I can't explain that reference.
Actually, I'd managed to misremember this myself.
_The Saga of the Jomsvikings_, tr. Lee M. Hollander (1955), Chapter 13, page
Then the seventh man was led there, and Thorkel asked him the question.
"I think well of dying. Just cut me down quickly. Here I hold a knife
in my hand. We have often talked, we Jomsvikings, about whether a man knows
anything when he is quickly beheaded. So let this be a proof of the matter:
I shall hold up this knife if I know of anything; else it will drop."
Thorkel hewed, the head flew off, and the knife dropped."
What I *thought I remembered was that the saga had a fishbone, but that the
English translation of Frans Gunnar Bengtsson's _Röde Orm_, originally
written in Swedish in 1941 and which draws in part on the Jómsvíkinga saga,
replaced this with the slightly less mundane brooch.
But apparently it started as a knife ...
So knife, brooch, or fishbone -- whatever, I do seem to have screwed up
quite royally in this instance. Maybe I fantasized the fishbone. I don't
have the English translation of Bengtsson, _The Long Ships_, to hand even to
check what *that actually has.
On the Jomsvikings, Wiki is useful, with links to the various sources:
Links to various editions of Jómsvíkinga saga can be found here:
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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