Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finns are nothing else than a fabulous transmogrification of those Norse "sea-dogs,"

Repeated investigations have gradually brought me to the conviction that the Finn or Seal stories contain a combination of the mermaid myth with a strong historical element—that the Finns are nothing else than a fabulous transmogrification of those Norse "sea-dogs," who from eld have penetrated into the islands round Scotland, into Scotland itself, as well as into Ireland. "Old sea-dog" is even now a favourite expression for a weather-beaten, storm-tossed skipper—a perfect seal among the wild waves.

The assertion of a "higher" origin of still living persons from Finns ... would thus explain itself as a wildly legendary remembrance of the descent from the blood of Germanic conquerors. The "skin" wherewith the Finns change themselves magically into sea-beings I hold to be their armour, or coat of mail. Perhaps that coat itself was often made of seal-skin, and then covered with metal rings, or scales, as we see it in Norman pictures; for instance, on the Bayeux tapestry. The designation of Norwegian and Danish conquerors, in Old Irish history, as "scaly monsters," certainly fits in with this hypothesis.

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