Whilst researching Norse culture, I learned something spiffy. Well, I’ve actually learned a lot of spiffy things but this one hits super close to home. Like, my own grandmother kind of close.
When my dad’s mom was alive, she would say that fish and company start to stink after 3 days. I think it’s a good idea to remember when visiting people because I feel pretty much the same way. With relatives I like and am used to, I can go for longer than 3 days but for everyone else I get tired of them around day 3.
What does that have to do with Norse culture?
I was reading Viking Age: Everyday Life During the Extraordinary Era of the Norsemen by Kirsten Wolf and she says,
“…No one must try the hospitality of his friends too hard, but instead move on, for by the third day the loved guest is loathed…” (pg. 70)
Don’t visit someone longer than 3 days. “Fish and company start to stink after 3 days.” WOW!
So I’m thinking this is a family saying that links my grandma to her Swedish heritage (her family emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden when she was a baby). And that cultural note of keeping visits under 3 days can be traced all the way back to the time of the Vikings or even before. We’re talking, like, maybe before 790 A.D. or C.E. as the book says. If anyone knows what C.E. stands for, please tell me.
That is totally AWESOME!! For me it’s like a connection to the past. This saying of my grandma’s (one which I use as well) connects me to the past. The ANCIENT past. Something people practiced before 800 A.D. is still in practice (or at least in thought) today. By me and my family.
I know this is totally Nerds-ville for most people, but I’ll happily set up residence in Nerds-ville to keep that direct line to the Vikings.
I just thought this was super cute. What?? A fish hat!!
On another note, my grandma had another saying that I like to remember: “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own.”
She was a wise woman, my grandmother.
I’ll end here with a riddle. If you know the answer, please comment. My next post will reveal it.
I am the eye that weeps the most when best pleased.
What am I?