Ian Cumpstey’s masterful translation of ten Scandinavian folk ballads will amuse, entertain, and delight you if you are at all into this sort of mythological storytelling.
He has done a wonderful job of bringing these ballads — many of them centuries old — into popular verse form, so even readers like me (I have an English degree, but never got much past Beowulf) can easily appreciate them.
He has even written a brief introduction prior to each one, giving it valuable context and a glimpse into the role each played during the times they were being told in their native languages (around a blazing hearth deep in the Scandinavian woods, one imagines).
I particularly liked the one involving the currently big-screen popular God Thor cross-dressing to retrieve Mjolnir. I can just imagine how movie audiences today would react to seeing their superhero dressed up in a woman’s frock.
The rest of the ballads ranged from cheerful and sunny, to melancholy and tragic, clearly showing that Scandinavian audiences — like those today — appreciated a well-told tale, full of human (and mythological God) triumphs and tragedies.
I give Warrior Lore five stars and recommend it as good reading material to be shared around a roaring fire — now as way back then.