By William I Miller
Audun’s tale is the story of an Icelandic farmhand who buys a polar endure in Greenland for no different cause than to provide it to the Danish king, part an international away. it might justly be indexed one of the best items of brief fiction in international literature. Terse within the top saga sort, it spins a narrative of complicated aggressive social motion, revealing the cool wit and finely-calibrated reticence of its 3 major characters: Audun, Harald Hardradi, and King Svein. the story must have a lot to have interaction felony and cultural historians, anthropologists, economists, philosophers, and scholars of literature. The story’s therapy of gift-exchange is beneficial of the nice anthropological and old writing on gift-exchange; its remedy of face-to-face interplay a fit for Erving Goffman.
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Additional info for Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business
4 (ÍF 11). 24 part one payment back to the merchant we might find it much easier to resist our desires to buy. Here is where Audun comes in. He provides Thorir the Norwegian with some help, and the help takes the form of finding creditworthy customers, people who could take away the goods now and be trusted to have enough wool and access to enough people to weave it in time so that Thorir could collect his payment and set sail before the weather turned bad in early autumn, as in his case, or next spring if he must.
He arrives out of funds and he and his bear are starving to death. For the first time, though it will not be the last, Audun is reduced to begging. Enter Aki, a steward of King Svein. To the bargaining episodes between Eirik and Audun, Audun and Harald, and the bargains brokered by Audun for Thorir the sea merchant, we now add another. Contrast the different types of duress afforded by bargaining with Harald, who can simply take the bear if he chooses, with the kind of duress starvation places Audun in with Aki.
As did Thorstein when Audun left Iceland, Harald suggests Audun might well be a lucky man, and sends him on his way, but not before he actually manages to extract a Yes from Audun, who agrees to Harald’s demand that he return to tell his tale. How could Audun risk talking to Harald the way he does and still let the tale maintain its commitment to plausibility? Audun knows Harald is ruthless, but he also knows that there are other aspects of the king’s character that make it not outrageously foolish to talk to Harald this way.
Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business by William I Miller