Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

The Wisdom of Odin

I read the Poetic Edda (the collection of Icelandic mythological poems) last year and enjoyed it very much. So much, in fact, that I still have to reference it on a regular basis. I especially like the Hovamol, a collection of wisdom sayings of Odin, the High One. While Odin certainly is no Solomon, and much of the Hovamol is silly, it still rises to the poetical lofty heights of the Proverbs from time to time. Here are some of my favorites.

16 The sluggard believes he shall live forever,
     If the fight he faces not;
But age shall not grant him the gift of peace,
     Though spears may spare his life.

19 Shun not the mead, but drink in measure;
     Speak to the point or be still;
For rudeness none shall rightly blame thee
     If soon they bed thou seekest.

22 A paltry man and poor of mind
     At all things ever mocks;
For never he knows, what he ought to know,
     That he is not free from faults.

23 The witless man is awake all night,
     Thinking of many things;
Care-worn he is when the morning comes,
     And his woe is just as it was.

26 An ignorant man thinks that all he knows,
     When he sits by himself in a corner;
But never what answer to make he knows,
     When others with questions come.

And my personal favorite (as I've lately been getting up at 5:30 a.m.)
59 He must go early forth whose workers are few,
     Himself his work to seek;
Much remains undone for the morning-sleeper,
     For the swift is wealth half won.