The Wandering Ballad – Song no. 7: Riddle

October 3, 2014

This is the seventh in a series of blogs about the songs on our new CD “The Wandering Ballad”. 

 

This song is a small fragment from a long ballad, noted down in the Swedish speaking prat of Finlend, about two Vikings meeting in a lonely place.

 

One of them threatens to kill the other unless he can correctly answer to a riddle.

 

The theme of having to answer a riddle to be allowed to pass is common in medieval tales and legends, including the tales of King Arthur. I have found it added to many ballads and the actual questions vary wildly.

 

Here I just chose a couple of strophes from the much longer riddle.

 

What’s rounder than a wheel?

Where can you see the brightest light?

What is faster than a larks wing in flight?

Who builds the broadest bridge?

Where do the fish reign?

Who sings louder than a crane?

 

The sun is rounder than a wheel.

In the sky is the brightest light.

The soul is faster than a larks wing in flight.

The ice builds the broadest bridge,

there under fish reign.

Thunder sings louder than a crane.

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