Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

There’s power in this text, says Helga after the boy has read the five pages, these words that he found in the language and used for bridge-building so that others, as well as he himself, could seek out remote worlds, seek out life, feelings, seek out what exists in the distance but of which we weren’t aware. Translations, Gísli had said, it’s hardly possible to describe their importance. They enrich and broaden us, help us to understand the world better, understand ourselves. A nation that translates little, focusing only on its own thoughts, is constricted, and if it boasts a large population it becomes dangerous to others, as well, because most things are alien to it but its own thoughts and customs. Translations broaden people, and therewith the world. They help you understand distant nations. People hate less, or fear less, what they understand. Understanding can save people from themselves. Generals have a harder time getting you to kill if you have understanding. Hatred and prejudice, I declare to you, are fear and ignorance; you may write that down. He did so, wrote it all down, then went up to his room and corrected the translation, and has now read it over; he read it as the storm pounded the house, the rain lashed the Village, the horses, the sheep, the earth, and turned the June light to dusk. He concludes his reading, there’s power in this text, says Helga; yes, says Geirþrúður, yes, there’s power, and she looks at the boy. Even Kolbeinn seems to hem something that can possibly be interpreted as a compliment, that curmudgeon who still hasn’t let the boy


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