Friday, December 23, 2005
The Yule Cat cometh
I know it’s Christmas, but I’m feeling grumpy. For the last 48 hours, amanuensis has been obsessed with Jólakötturinn, the Yule Cat, a figure from Icelandic folklore. She’s been raking through her files, googling like a fiend, and emailing someone named Alda in Iceland. (My ears perked up, though, when Alda wrote that putrid skate, a local holiday delicacy, smells remarkably like cat piss.)
Amanuensis barely stopped typing long enough to open those little cans she brings home from the gourmet pet place. Yesterday she forgot to take out the trash, but I made the most of the situation, beginning my epic concatenation, “Absent be Jackson.”
Finally, she settled down and read me the tale of the Yule cat. I must say, this Jólakötturinn has more cattitude than any other cat I’ve heard of. If you’re in Iceland and your kids don’t pick up their litter, you threaten that Jólakötturinn will come and deal with them.
There’s a poem about the Yule Cat floating around the blogosphere, but personally I find it rather insipid. Here’s one verse:
If one heard a pitiful "meow"Now, here’s the verse amanuensis told me:
Something evil would happen soon.
Everybody knew he hunted men
But didn't care for mice.
When Yule Cat’s voice resounded through the valley,Isn’t that much more satisfying?
Parents hid their children
In the cellar with the salted herring,
For the Cat preferred the smell of human flesh to fish.
Update: 12/13/2006: Darcy X has uncovered a song (?) about the Yule Cat. Humor him!
Update: 12/20/2006: Bjork sings about the Yule Cat in Icelandic!
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6 Old Comments:
Preferred human flesh to fish....hmm! Can't say I think very highly of his taste...
It's true: the Yule Cat is a nasty beast.
Actually, this is slightly inaccurate. Kids are not threatened with the Yule Cat, they're threatened with Grýla, the terrible ogre that owns the Yule Cat. The YC comes and eats anyone who doesn't get a new item of clothing for Christmas.
Hoppy Holidays from Diva Kitty, Fiona, Orlando and DKM
Thank you for the correction about Grýla. I really need to get amanuensis a book on Icelandic folklore. Do you know of any good books in English (or German or French, for that matter?)
And Happy Holidays to you and yours!