From Iceland — RECAP: The Tale of Shady Halli

RECAP: The Tale of Shady Halli

Published March 27, 2017

Grayson Del Faro
Photo by
Inga Maria Brynjarsdóttir

This Old Icelandic story begins and ends with dick jokes, which is totally my type of story. It’s classified as a tale rather than a saga because it is pretty short, but goddamn if it doesn’t deliver. (And no, that is not the dick joke.) Try to be patient. It’ll come.

Figuratively a dick

So there’s this Icelander named Halli. He’s a dick. His nickname is often translated as “Sarcastic Halli” but that kind of undersells how savage he can be. Since he throws shade up and down, we’re gonna call him Shady Halli instead. He’s on a trip to Norway when he finds himself face to face with some fancy-ass motherfucker in a fancy-ass ship. This guy asks them where they stayed the night before and Halli says they stayed with a guy named Agði.

Then Mr. Fancy-Ass asks, “Did Agði dick-slam your fart-boxes?” I’m not even kidding. He uses an Old Icelandic term that literally meant “sodomize” but was considered so vulgar and offensive that merely implying it of anyone was legal grounds for immediate application of the death penalty. I tried to find something equivalent, but feel free to choose your own favorite euphemism for butt-sex. When Halli says no, Mr. Fancy-Ass asks if Agði has agreed to render “this service” (literal translation) later.

Halli was born ready. He knows Mr. Fancy-Ass is actually Haraldur, King of Norway, and he gives no fucks. “He let us go without it on one condition,” he tells the king. “He was waiting for fancier asses than ours and knows you’ll pass by tonight, so he’ll pay you that debt in full.” The king tells him he’s being a dick and goes on his way. When they see each other again, Haraldur agrees to let Halli join his court because if he’s a dick at least he’s a funny one.

Metaphorically a dick

It turns out Halli is a poet, which Haraldur is totally into. Except Haraldur has this bad habit of having the food taken away from the tables before everyone is finished eating, and the king is angry because Halli keeps composing shady diss tracks. You know, just little things like:

Our bellies are as empty
As the king’s butt is full
Of dick lol

So one day when their posse is rollin’ through the streets, Halli ducks into a house to eat some porridge. The king finds out and oops, he mad. He real mad. This is like the courtly equivalent of taking a family walk when the father ducks into a whorehouse real quick, his wife walks in after him, sees him nose deep in some hooker’s hooch, and he’s like “Well you don’t put out enough.” That’s some shady shit on every level. And for Haraldur, it means war. Metaphorically.

So Haraldur next serves only porridge to Halli and says he must eat until he dies or he will be killed, but Halli refuses and the king backs down. Next, Haraldur send Halli’s food across the court saying that if he doesn’t recite a poem before it reaches the table, he’ll be killed, but Halli manages again. Then Haraldur pits Halli against Þjóðólfur, the poet laureate of the court, in a sort of medieval rap battle. Halli wins, insinuating that Þjóðólfur is a cannibal because he ate his father’s killer. It turns out his father was killed by a cow, so there. Enraged, Þjóðólfur comes at Halli like, “Hold me back, gurl, hold me back,” but Haraldur holds him back like, “Nah, he cool.”

Literally a dick

Haraldur has this bejeweled axe and sees Halli eyeing it. Halli says he’s never seen an axe so beautiful before. Then Haraldur asks if Halli would take a ding-dong up the poop-tube in exchange for it. “No, but I understand if you will only sell it for what you paid for it,” Halli says. Haraldur’s obsession with butt-sex remains a mystery, but he gives Halli the axe anyway.

Queen Þora, Haraldur’s wife, is scandalized, and Haraldur asks Halli to compose a verse about her. Halli says, and this is an actual, honest-to-goddess, literal translation from the Old Icelandic:

Þora is the best
No one else is worthy
Of pulling back the foreskin
On Haraldur’s dick

And the crowd goes wild. Þora orders Halli killed but Haraldur is like, “But it’s true, only you are worthy of my foreskin,” and Halli is spared. He goes back to Iceland and eventually dies eating porridge, much to Haraldur’s delight.

Morals of the story: 1. Butt-sex is both funny and enjoyable. 2. Lighten up a little.

Read more “Saga Recaps” here.

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