Friday, September 7, 2012

Hight, heiti, háte, heisse

 "'What are your names?'
Rolf answered: 'Rolf hight I.'"
-Allen French, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow.

Rolf is a fictional young man living in 11th century Iceland. I have long loved this book, and today I came upon the word "hight" while researching related topics. Though its meaning was obvious, it always intrigued me:

"Hight" is an English verb meaning "to call/name," and "to be called/named." It is an archaic term, meaning it is no longer in general use, but people understand it when found in written text.
"Hight" in Wiktionary,
"Archaic" in Wiktionary

This word, not surprisingly, sounds remarkably similar to these phrases meaning "my name is":

ég heiti...
(yerch* hey-te) *ch as in Loch.

Old English:
íċ háte...
(eech ha*-te) *long a, as in "father."

German: Ich heisse...
(eesh/eek high-se)

Legends - a retelling of history

"Look to the past, learn for the future." This was our motto in American Girl's Club.

 "Legends are lessons. They ring with truth." -Queen Elinor, in Brave (a Pixar-Disney film)

"'Haflings!' laughed the Rider that stood beside Eomer. 'Haflings! But they are only a little people in old songs and children's tales out of the North. Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?'
'A man may do both,' said Aragorn. 'For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time.'" - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

Based on fact, legends reflect reality as it was, and sometimes as it is.

Learn from legends or else "History repeats itself." 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Brave - Transformations to Transform Fate

Brave has a rather unusual plot line -for a movie.

The story that most reminds me of this plot line appears, interestingly enough, in The Little House on the Highland series. These are stories about Laura Ingalls Wilder's great-grandmother, Martha, who grew up in Scotland. In a tale that little Martha supposedly heard as a child, a girl is supposed to marry a man she doesn't love at the order of her father. She runs off to the church in despair and overhears two mice talking about her.  One says to the other that what she really needs is such and such a fix. She takes their words to heart and performs the spell, then she goes home to bed. The next morning, her wedding day, the detested suitor arrives. She appears, to the surprise of all, with the head of dog. The suitor begins to rail at her father for cheating him and says he won't have her. Meanwhile the man she loves arrives and he takes her in his arms despite her dog's head. Her head turns back to normal and she weds the man she loves and who truly loves her.

Like Brave, the spell worked an unexpected animal transformation but in the end, the desired outcome arrives. It just arrives in a way no one thought it would, via their reactions to the transformation. 

Picture from Karen's Whimsey