The Fabulous Lives of Anglo-Saxonists

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the first Yale professor to compliment me on my blog at a party.* Anglo-Saxonist, Old Norser**, and always snappy dresser Roberta Frank was quoted in a news story about, of all things, a squirrel scampering up and down the foul pole at a Yankees game. Why would the New York Times be quoting an Anglo-Saxonist in a sports story?*** Here’s why:

Believe it or not, the squirrel’s actions closely resembled those of Ratatosk, or “gnawing tooth,” a squirrel in Norse mythology that climbed up and down a tree that represented the world. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar and poet, recorded the story in his 13th-century work “Prose Edda.”

As the story goes, Ratatosk carried insults as it traveled to opposite ends of the tree, fueling a rivalry between the evil dragon residing at the bottom of the tree and the eagle perched at the top.

This proves the old adage, the Norse always win at Oh, You Think Your Mythology is Weird, Do You, Sonny? They’re the ones who made the Holy Grail into a sort of robot butler, after all.****

*It was awkward, because I like to pretend that no one reads this. It saves me from feeling too embarrassed after my fourth gratuitous Mr. T reference in a post about Thomas Aquinas, or all those posts about medieval genitalia.
**Or is it Norsist? Norsian?
***The larger, non-mythological reason is, of course, that the New York Times acts like a tiny regional gazette when it comes to the anything Yankees.
****I am only slightly making that up.

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