Translating Thorn

Let’s worry about the þegna, the thegns. They set up camp at night, prepare food, tend to horses, fires. Get ordered around by el jefe to do every damn thing. They can’t do that themselves? Come on. It’s late. The thegns are tired. They have to be up first and early to get the whole show back on the road. All that work and nervous energy. It’s going to be a battle! They’re wiped out and finding places to sleep. Let’s pause here.

Raise you hand. Have you ever walked right into a bramble of some kind, in broad daylight, and you didn’t see it until the burning tear right into your skin? This is Britain. They have thorns all over the place. Do you live where blackberries grow like a plague upon the land? I do. They hurt. Now, find a place to sleep at night like a tired thegn in the super dark that’s bramble free and bramble free adjacent. Because you are either going to roll over in the night or slip some down the slight slope you are sleeping on. There’s going to be a slight slope, el jefe‘s got the flat spot. The boss will stay put, and you will slide, maybe end up in those thorns you didn’t see when you went to bed. It’s that zippering open of flesh that I hate. Ungemetun, immeasurable, pain. Or when a whole tentacle of it grabs right on in multiple places and won’t let go, and you have to extricate without touching it. Try doing that. Thorny plants are yfyl. Evil. Poor thegns. Let’s let them sleep.

There are two other rune poems, Norwegian and Icelandic. In those the Þ rune means giant. The giant is dangerous. The giant will attack you for no reason beyond that you exist. The giant hates you. The giant is evil. The Rune Poem says anfeng ys yfyl. What’s this that’s evil? Anfeng does mean grabbing something, taking something, but with a bit of a flavor of receiving something. Anfeng also means defense or defender.You don’t just walk right up to a bramble and grab on, you receive the first blow and have to defend yourself because the thorn always strikes first. The thorn is evil. The thorn will attack you for no reason beyond that you exist. The thorn hates you.