Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor
December 16, 2016 5:38 PM   Subscribe

This Anglo-Saxon Version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Might Be More Epic Than Beowulf. Maybe, maybe not, but: Via Etymonline on Facebook, who says “An Internet classic; but I can no longer find it where I first found it (Cathy Ball’s Old English reference pages).

[A] translation of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" into Anglo-Saxon verse collected online by Philip Craig Chapman-Bell:

Incipit gestis Rudolphi rangifer tarandus

Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor –
Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas!
Glitenode and gladode godlice nosgrisele.
Ða hofberendas mid huscwordum hine gehefigodon;
Nolden þa geneatas Hrodulf næftig
To gomene hraniscum geador ætsomne.
Þa in Cristesmæsseæfne stormigum clommum,
Halga Claus þæt gemunde to him maðelode:
“Neahfreond nihteage nosubeorhtende!
Min hroden hrædwæn gelæd ðu, Hrodulf!”
Ða gelufodon hira laddeor þa lyftflogan –
Wæs glædnes and gliwdream; hornede sum gegieddode
“Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor,
Brad springð þin blæd: breme eart þu!”

Rendered literally into modern English:

Here begins the deeds of Rudolph, Tundra-Wanderer
Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer –
That beast didn’t have unshiny nostrils!
The goodly nose-cartilage glittered and glowed.
The hoof-bearers taunted him with proud words;
The comrades wouldn’t allow wretched Hrodulf
To join the reindeer games.
Then, on Christmas Eve bound in storms
Santa Claus remembered that, spoke formally to him:
“Dear night-sighted friend, nose-bright one!
You, Hrodulf, shall lead my adorned rapid-wagon!”
Then the sky-flyers praised their lead-deer –
There was gladness and music; one of the horned ones sang
“Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer,
Your fame spreads broadly, you are renowned!”
posted by mandolin conspiracy (11 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Epic!
posted by BlueHorse at 5:46 PM on December 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Really, it is a tale of an outcast who returns in triumph with the patronage of a bearded gift giving punishment wielding bearded god. Really, is this how the All Father Odin hid in the modern world? Sleipnir's eight legs became a reindeer each? Whoa, I need more ale for this.
posted by jadepearl at 6:58 PM on December 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


jadepearl, yeah, pretty much.
posted by tau_ceti at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


On a different note, I love that it feels like a real Anglo-Saxon poem, kennings and all, not just a translation.
posted by tau_ceti at 7:10 PM on December 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


On a different note, I love that it feels like a real Anglo-Saxon poem, kennings and all, not just a translation.

Heh. Santa Claus should really be "chimney-crawler" or "gift-sneaker."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I was kind of hoping for the addition of murderous vengeance visited upon the mockers, of course, in poetic Egil Skallagrimsson style.
posted by jadepearl at 8:04 PM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was kind of hoping for the addition of murderous vengeance visited upon the mockers, of course, in poetic Egil Skallagrimsson style.

Let's do this.

Relying on the Seamus Heaney Beowulf translation here:

So, after nightfall, Hrodulf set out
for the reindeer-house, to see how the game-deniers
were settling into it after their play
and there he came upon them, a company of the cruellest
asleep from their mocking, insensible to feels-pain
and reindeer sorrow. Suddenly then
the Tundra-Wanderer was creating havoc:
glowing and grim, he grabbed eight tormentors
from their resting places and rushed to his lair,
nose-cartilage flushed and inflamed from the raid,
blundering back with the butchered hoof-bearers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:24 PM on December 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


It's not really Mōdraniht until a longhouse gets set on fire and someone gets stabbed.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:36 PM on December 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


It's not really Mōdraniht until a longhouse gets set on fire and someone gets stabbed.

This is precisely why we're not travelling to the in-laws' for the holidays this year. YMMV.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:41 PM on December 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Hrodulf, don't worry about the taunting, thaes ofereode, thisses swa maeg.
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:03 AM on December 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not bad, but it's no Beowulf meets Godsylla.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:03 AM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


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