True and Untrue and Other Norse Tales
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Edited by Sigrid Undset
There is a family likeness to the folktales of the world. Cultures separated by thousands of miles yet share commonalities in plotlines, characters, and morals. How does this happen? asks Sigrid Undset. “Is it because all men are brothers under the skin, and the things that matter the most to all of us are in the end very much the same, so that when we invent stories about the world as we know it, or as we would like it to be, we unconsciously invent almost the same stories? Or is it because the tales have wandered?”
To these questions, the answer is the same: yes. Regardless of time and place, parents have treasured their children; boys and girls have desired to marry someone they truly love; men and women have prized loyalty and courage and honored fidelity and wisdom; they have rejected wickedness and sloth; and they have celebrated wine and wit—and told stories to commemorate it all.
So although the Norwegian folk tales have wandered far and wide through space and time, to us Norwegians they seem to be blood of our own blood, and bone of our own bone, as homely as our mountains and forests and fjords. (Sigrid Undset)
Based on the Norwegian folklore of by Pieter Christian Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, True and Untrue and Other Norse Tales collects twenty-seven magical tales of kings and queens, princes and princesses, giants and trolls, husbands and wives, and the wonders of Soria Moria Castle—all of which are certain to delight readers young and old.
Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was a Norwegian novelist and essayist and a convert to Catholicism. Her work is renowned for its realism and poignancy, and she is best known for her three-volume novel Kristin Lavransdatter. In 1928, Undset was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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