This morning I watched a NOVA documentary on the Vikings. The Vikings were an exceptionally vital culture that managed to travel halfway around the globe and influenced many geographic areas. Much of their history is lost because they had an oral tradition and did not start recording their histories until the early medieval period. In addition, they have been somewhat maligned because they had a habit of raiding monasteries. Monasteries were the repositories of history and information. If you burn the newspaper office, they write bad stuff about you.
For the last couple of days, I have been reading a translation of the Elder Eddas. It is entitled Poems of the Vikings and the translation was done by Patricia Terry. It includes beautiful passage of simple imagery, Scandinavian myth, and wisdom and advice. I read this close to 20 years ago and I am very much enjoying rereading this book.
Here is a passage:
Let no man ever mock another
for what so many suffer;
out of wise men fools are made
by the lures of love.
Only you can know what lives near your heart,
see clearly into yourself;
for the wise man, no sickness is worse
than nothing left to love.