The English language doesn’t have a word for it, so it borrowed from German to express “schadenfreude”: the joy of watching others suffer. But there is a word for this joyous phenomenon in Icelandic: Þórðargleði.
The story goes that a farmer named Þórður was known for taking extreme pleasure in the misfortunes of others. One day he approached the people on his homestead in high spirits, saying, “HAHAHA! Those Northerners can rejoice. I just heard that not a single straw has thawed up there and all their hay has withered and died. And it’s almost harvest time.”
So, the next time you feel guilty about laughing when others fail, remember that you are not Þórður, the man who laughed at famine.
Read more about Icelandic words here.
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