Tuesday, July 23, 2019

148th Tale of Asbjørnsen & Moe (aka the 'abominable' tale) Just Got An English Translation #notforkids

I want to be an angel although to die, is hard,
but oh the bliss, to think of this, I'll make good Fairbank Lard" - [ca. 1870–1900 postcard]
Hold on to your hats!
Asbjørnsen & Moe fan and London-born, Norwegian-resident translator, Simon Roy Hughes, (whose translation work was just featured in the last TWO editions of the scholarly journal Gramarye), just found a 148th tale that has been missing from almost every publication of Asbjørnsen & Moe tales.

Here's how our Editor and Head Fairy Tale News Hound found out:

Simon has kindly given us permission to republish his translation in full here, but do be warned - this is not for kiddies and it's pretty clear why it has been quietly missing from Asbjørnsen & Moe volumes. Typical of the period with regard to violence, it does still seem to go a step further with how graphically it's described, so read at your own discretion.

Parson Sausage

(translated by Simon Roy Hughes)
(re-posted in full with kind permission)
There was once upon a time a girl who had been allowed to go to church to attend Mass. But she lived far away in the forest, and the church road was so long that she had to leave home early on Saturday. She walked and she walked, but however she walked, she did not arrive; she had trodden wild grass. She walked and she ran, but she didn’t find the church, nor did she come to folk, until late in the evening; then she came to a cabin far away in the forest. A light shone from the window, and inside a woman went about, cooking and tidying. So the girl went in and asked for a place to stay.
“God help me for a house this is!” said the woman; “I cannot let you stay, I cannot; it would be better to stay in the forest, beneath the sky, than to stay here,” she said, “for here dwell twelve robbers; they are my sons, and if they see you, they will kill you on the spot!”
But the girl said it was better to have a roof above her head, no matter how wrong, than to be out in the forest, beneath the night sky. Well, then she would be allowed to stay, and when they heard the robbers coming, the woman hid her as well as she could, in a corner behind some clutter which lay there. Then came all twelve faring, and between them they had the parson in his parson’s cassock, and in full church decor. They laid him on a stool and stabbed him in his throat with a butcher’s knife, butchered him like any other pig and hung him up by his hind legs. They put his blood in a butcher’s pail, made sausages from it, and cooked and roasted and ate well enough.
The girl did not feel very brave, and she did not think that her life was worth many shillings, there where she lay. But when they had eaten their fill, they settled down, the robbers, and early on Sunday morning the woman woke the girl up, put her on the right path, and then gave her some sausages as food along the way, and bade her hurry so that the robbers wouldn’t take her. But that was something she needn’t bid her, for the girl ran as quickly as she could, and then some. And when the day began to to dawn in the forest, and she glimpsed the church, then she heard a rumbling; the robbers were after her, and wanted to catch her, and so she flew away from the fields, as she thought, and when she saw the church congregation standing on the church hill, waiting for the parson, she swung the sausages in the air, crying: “Parson sausage, parson sausage!” - Then the congregation understood what had become of the parson, and so they immediately took the robbers. Some they beat, and some they hanged, and some they rolled in nail barrels. They caught eleven, but the twelfth escaped, and he walks and crawls and skulks, and if you aren’t very good, then he’ll leap down across all the hills and take you. There he is!

  1. This tale has been printed but twice: once in Norske Illustreret Kalender (1853), and once in Østberg, Henning. Asbjørnsen og Moes eventyr og sagn en bibliografi (2011). It has been called “The Secret Tale,” and considered an “abominable tale,” for reasons that are quickly apparent. I doubt I will be including it in the complete collection, but who knows? 
We thought we'd include the social media exchange after all was revealed as well, for your enjoyment:

Note: Simon has  A collection of Erotic Folktales from Norway, available, and a Norwegian edition of The Three Bears (with nine original illustrations). See below for the links.

We also thought Parson Sausage read as if it were related to The Parson's Mother.  It feels almost like part of the same story (with Parson Sausage being the end of it all), so we asked Simon about any connection. Here's his reply:
So, sort of related.
We will have to wait and see just which book covers this newly translated abominable, secret tale will land between...

Thanks Simon! 

You can read more of Simon's project of translating Norwegian Folktales (that is, to complete the translation of all of Asbjørnsen and Moe's collected tales to English), at his blog HERE. Here's his explanation of the project to inspire you to explore the ever-growing treasure trove there:
About the Norwegian Folktales Project by Simon Hughes 
The collection 
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe collected and published Norwegian folk tales and legends in the middle of the 19thcentury. Whilst some of the tales are very well known in the English-speaking world, such as "The Three Billy-goats Gruff," many more are completely unknown, never having been translated. Imagine! All the trolls and hulders and nisses you may not have read about, yet. 
(FTNH Ed. As an example, The Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library edition of Norwegian Folktales contains 36 of the 110 listed as being collected, not including the 31 additional tales from the 'Round the Yule Log' collection, which doesn't count the variants of a few of those either. All other A&M English collections we've found have the phrase "selected from the collection of" in the subtitle. Even with the final tale numbers being a little difficult to count in light-research-mode, it's clear most English collections fall far short of including the bulk, let alone all, of Asbjørnsen and Moe's collected tales, so we're very excited to learn of this project!)
The project 
My intention with this project is to give the collection the treatment it deserves as a part of our world literature, and translate and publish the folklore that Asbjørnsen and Moe collected, in English analogues to the original publications. I am beginning with Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's Norwegian Hulder Tales and Folk Legends (1845/ 48), which has not appeared in English before. As I progress, I will continue to publish each tale on this site, when I have edited it enough to call it a final draft.
Simon (click his name to learn more about him) has a mailing list to keep you in the loop for updates and new tales, which we highly recommend joining. He also has an intriguing book of Erotic Folktales From Norway...
Click on the image above to be taken to the book options.
Every purchase supports his work!
... and a new English translation by Simon, of a Norwegian version of the Three Bears by P. Chr. Asbjørnsen. It's available in ebook format or print-on-demand. Click on the image below to find out how to purchase your own copy.
It's probably easiest to find Simon on Twitter HERE - something we also recommend. Personable and with that true "folklorist-joy" of discussing all things fairy tale (but particularly those of Norwegian origin), he's a continual delight to tweet with. His comments and insights are most commonly seen being retweeted and discussed on our favorite day in social media each week, #FolkloreThursday.


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