Ormurin Langi

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Ormurin Langi (The Long Serpent)
by Jens Christian Djurhuus, translated by Anker Eli Petersen

Ormurin Langi ("The Long Serpent") is a very popular song in the Faroe Islands. It was written ca. 1830 by Jens Christian Djurhuus.

The song has 86 verses and is in Faeroese, and deals with the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason. The title Ormurin Langi refers to Olaf Tryggvason's ship with the same name.Excerpted from Ormurin Langi on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Would you like to hear my song,
would you believe my words?
About king Olaf Tryggveson,
the subject of this song.

Dance resounds in the halls,
dance! – Form a ring,
Brave Norwegians ride
to Hildur’s thing. (Hildurs thing: Battle/war)

The king had a wessel built
on the level sand,
The Serpent was the largest ship,
built on Norwegian lands.

A wessel was built in Norway’s land,
cut from the finest wood,
the keel between those mighty bows
was seventy yards and a foot.

A man came down from the mountains,
a strong bow in his hands:
”The mighty eaarl of Ringerike
sent me to your lands.”

They set out on salty seas,
raised their silky sail,
the king himself steered the ship
out into the gale.

Eric left the sandy beach
ran down to the pier,
”Be prepared to leave the beach
the Serpent is now here!”

They all saw the Serpent come,
sailing proud and bold,
the rigging was a sail of silk,
the bows were made of gold.

Wolf the Red stood in the bows,
he never got it wrong,
”Don’t shoot the ship to much ahead,
the Serpent is too long.”

King Olaf stood up in the stern,
staring back and forth,
”Who owns all these mighty ships
steering at our port?”

Herning looks out on the ships,
answers to his call,
”They belong to Eric the Earl,
the bravest of them all.”

The king of Denmark stormed ahead,
convinced that he could win,
Norwegians they fought so hard,
the Danish lines were thin.

Smoke raised from the fighting men,
blood poured in the sea.
It turned out that all the Danes
had to back and flee.

Eric jumped unboard the Serpent,
with his sword in hand,
Herning rushed down from the stern,
med him with his brand*. (*Brand: sword)

The king shouted from the stern,
through the noise and rattle:
”Jump into the sea, my men!
We have lost this battle:”

Then the king and all his men,
- although brave and bold -
jumped into the salty sea,
they did as they were told.