Friday, September 2, 2011

Reykjavík Svið

It's like that old Icelandic saga:
There was a witch named Hriðmir whose magic had fled him. He wore the white coat and the white hat, and he chanted to the Giants of the North Wind, but the magic was extinguished and flared no more.

As Hriðmir sat on the banks of the River Hvitá, which in those days was called the River of Tears, he wept for his departed magic.

There arose then, in the midst of the river, a sheep with a fleece like gusting (?) winds, and the sheep said to Hriðmir: "Who weeps? Who that wears the whites has need of weeping?"

And when Hriðmir told the sorrow (?) of his departed magic, the sheep withdrew a blade and lopped off its smiling head, which bounded onto Hriðmir's upturned shield. It was the harbinger of his magic's return.
But not really. It's nothing so grand as all that. It's just an advertisement for svið, an Icelandic dish of sheep's head, on display at a large Reykjavík bus station that caters to foreign visitors.

Although, now that we think of it, why should this sort of sacrifice—which we now know has reached Iceland—require any dressing up? It's already the stuff of everyday legend.

(Thanks to Dr. Bullet for the referral and photo.)

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