Tag Archives: IO

Stanza 28: Beaver

byþ ea fixa         and ðeah abruceþ.
fodres on foldan.         hafaþ fægerne eard.

wætre beworpen.         ðær he wynnum leofaþ ᛬᛫

It is a river fish, though it always enjoys
Foraging on land. 
It has a beautiful dwelling place
Thrown into water, there it joyfully lives.


Translating Ior

What is this thing Ior? Runes are riddles and this one is unsolved, but let’s try anyway.

The Rune Poem calls ior a river fish that forages on land. Amphibian. Eel fits well. Some say it is a newt or possibly a water mammal like an otter. Most translators choose eel because it was important in medieval Britain, it was food. I assumed eel for this reason for quite a long time. But this is no way to solve a riddle.

The name of this rune is Ior. There exists an Old English word for eel and it’s not ior, it’s ælfisc. Eel fish. They didn’t call this rune eel fish. They didn’t call it anything we can understand: ior is not a word in Old English, unless it means the letter IO or the rune ᛡ. We have to look under the surface if we want to find this river … More

IO is for I/O

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Rune Casting: Ior

Well look at that you got the Ior rune. Nice. Beaver, probably. Some say eel. Beaver is happier. When have you ever seen a cheerful eel?

You’re doing alright, I can see that. You’ve got a nice place here. Comfortable, I like it. I like your stuff. You’ll be happy at home, and close to it. Content. Peaceful. Here you can go with the flow, throw yourself right in with it and splash around.

IO: extinct Old English diphthong. Of the bajillions of possible sounds we can make with our voices, only a few are needed for language. We made this one redundant. Exiled. Fired its ass. It barely did anything around here. What’s it for? It’s absent from other Old English alphabet collections, the malingerer. It’s unwanted as far as we’re concerned. EO does everything IO can do, and does it better. We don’t need IO. What’s IO even doing here? Pack up your stuff IO and get out, you’re history.

But of course IO has to be difficult on its way out. Typical. Try carving this one into anything. You’ll need a precise hand and a sharp knife. A little finesse. This isn’t hammer and chisel like ᚢ. Make an X, now draw a line through it without slipping to one side or the other. Pass straight through that X’s meeting point, right down … More