Last week, I finished brushing up my translation skills on one Old Frisian text, so today I started on a new one. Alas, instead of simple English translations, this version translates wandering Frisian sentences with even more convoluted German sentences. If I thought the introduction to this edition was hard to read in German, the translations are a thousand times harder.
Reading the text, I feel like some kids ran away to build a tree house in the woods, so that they would have a nice, secret place for their super secret club. But the club has to have rules, guys, we can’t just do anything in our super secret clubhouse. So um… yeah. The president. We’ll have a president, and he has to keep eing president until his year is up. And he’ll rule until the Sunday before May Day. Unless May Day is on a Sunday, and then it’s the Sunday before. And this is another thing that the club members want, that before the club meeting all the club members have to put money in the kidde to make sure they’re good. And if someone isn’t good, then they have to pay twice as much because it’s on a Sunday, but if somebody says they were bad and they really weren’t, that person has to pay. And if somebody accuses somebody else about gold but the person says “I haven’t taken any gold”, then he can escape like that.
That’s what my afternoon has been like. Just little boys in a clubhouse, making their bizarrely complicated rules. And they have all the literary finesse of ten-year-old boys because there was no literature in Frisia at the time, and besides, they were subsistence farming colonists, not authors.
I’ve got to say, it is a little more endearing thinking of the authors as small, excited boys. Newpaper hats, water balloons, a nice big banner that says ‘no girLs’ aLowwed’.