thumb the nose

Robin Hamilton 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
>> the
>> 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
>> not
>> mine.


> 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
109, has:

    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:



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