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Eat Chocolate, Learn Norwegian Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Traditions

The next time you’re in a Norwegian kiosk shopping snop (sweets, candies), look out for the melkesjokolade (milk chocolate) called ”Et lite eventyr” (a little fairy-tale). There is only a single piece of chocolate inside the little yellow plastic wrapping. But then you don’t buy this product for the sjokolade – on the back side of the plastic there’s printed an easy-language Norwegian eventyr!

Let’s open a package together:

TOMMELITEN

Det var en gang en kone som hadde en eneste sønn. Once upon a time there was a woman who had only one son. Han var ikke lenger enn en tommelfinger, så Tommeliten ble han kalt. He was no longer than a thumb, so he was called Thumb-little. Da han begynte å bli voksen, sa moren hans at nå skulle han ut og finne seg en kone. When he was becoming an adult, his mother said that now he should go out and find himself a wife. Det ville Tommeliten veldig gjerne, og de dro avsted med hest og kjerre. Tommeliten was very keen on that, and they left home with a horse and a cart. Første målet var kongsgården, for der visste mor at det bodde en flott prinsesse… The first destination was the royal court, for there Mother knew there was a good-looking princess…

[Tommeliten then plays a game with his mother: He disappears, and when the mother is all in tears, he says pip pip, peeping forth from the horse’s mane, then its ear, then its nostril…]

Da kom han ikke frem før hesten nøs, for han hadde sittet inni hestenesen. Then he didn’t appear before the horse sneezed, for he had been sitting inside the horse’s nose. Da puttet moren hans han i en pose. Then his mother put him in a bag.

Prinsessa var rask med å bestemme seg og før noen visste ordet av det, var de mann og kone. The princess made a quick decision, and before anybody knew what was happening, they were husband and wife. Så skulle det spises middag, og det var ikke så enkelt for en som er så liten. Then it was dinner-time, and that wasn’t easy for one who was so small. Det gikk bra så lenge han kunne spise av tallerkenen. It went well as long as he could eat from the plate. Verre ble det da grøtfatet kom inn. It became worse when the porridge bowl was brought in. Da måtte han sette seg på kanten av fatet. Then he had to sit down on the edge of the bowl. For å nå smørøyet midt uti grøten, måtte han sette seg på kanten av smørøyet. To reach the ”butter eye” in the middle of the porridge, he had to sit down on the edge of the butter. Men tenk, prinsessa kom borti han med skjeen sin, så han falt uti smørøyet og druknet.
But lo! the princess accidentally hit him with her spoon, so he fell into the ”butter eye” and drowned.

(Freia’s shortened version of ”Tommeliten” – originally found among the folktales collected by Asbjørnsen og Moe in the 18th century [copyright expired!])

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


Comments:

  1. scharon de almeida adamson:

    Eat Chocolate, Learn Norwegian= A healthy thing to do 🙂