The Loss of a Story Told: A Consideration of Bragi

A few of us are storytellers, our reputation is our verse, and by the fireside we sit, while others listen to our tales, of heartbreak, awe, victory, and mystery. The stories never get old, even though they be

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told hundreds of times, always different, always the same. We write on the ground, in the sand and trace in the sky, meditations of word magic, channeled through the human voice. Few of us are storytellers, though there were once more.

A man god called Bragi was born to Odin and Frigg, with runes carved on his tongue. The sweet :alu: of skaldcraft flowed simply from his throat, and he told a tale or two in long halls. He was a poet, a character of this age. I think of Bragi and ask why this oral eloquence is now a rarity. Why the skalds and bards are so few and far in between. These days I find the only places the oral story is preserved is through the mouth of wide travelers, rainbow gatherings, heathen festivities and the like. When we want to hear a story we turn to our books. The spontaneity seems to have been nearly lost, and instead we focus on details and quotes, while missing the sentiment. As a wanderer, I see the important of the story to carry me on my ways. Over the years, my possessions have diminished simply because I have recognized them as invaluable. For me, my story is thee most important, that I keep close to my heart. No one can own or sell my story, and there is no other to tell it quite the same way.

I know a wordsmith, within, without, and I’ll tell you what he’s all about

He’s unassuming, quiet and stoic, but when given the talking stick he’s a real poet

There’s a glint in speckled eye, and whiskers on his chin

Drunk on the mead of language, none of that whiskey or gin

The blood of his experience is the core truth of which he speaks

And the myth perpetuates over the coming weeks

Who is this man who wandered into the field

With words and magic by the sacred fire circle to wield

I’ll have you know, his chin forest doesn’t come from age

His whiskers are growing grey, and he seems to us a sage

And I’ve heard a few of his stories, but they don’t get old,

Because the beauty is in the telling, of a shared story told

So drink a horn to Bragi, and tell a story too, for it’s better than a book, and people will appreciate it, between me and you.

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