From Iceland — Icelandic Sayings: “Sjaldan er ein báran stök”

Icelandic Sayings: “Sjaldan er ein báran stök”

Published February 7, 2020

Icelandic Sayings: “Sjaldan er ein báran stök”
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic saying “sjaldan er ein báran stök” literally means “there is seldom only one wave that breaks”, but figuratively it’s the equivalent of “when it rains, it pours.” One of the great things about this phrase is that it can be applied to both good and bad situations (although more often than not, it usually has a negative connotation), so it can also function like “good things come in threes,” only waves seldom come in threes, either. And if there are any people who understand the way waves work, it would be an island fishing nation. Try saying it the next time an Icelandic friend shares some bad news with you, just to show what a great friend you are.

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