Wendigo / Hiawathan [not] spoken here

nils at math.uio.no nils at math.uio.no
Sun Jul 2 16:50:02 CEST 2006

Elaine Ramshaw commented on "War of the Wendigo":

<< Not to mention, glad that Rosa got to see the story
in print in English, after all the time he spent writing all
the dialogue in Hiawathan! >>

and asked:
<< Which also leads me to ask....when the Peeweegahs stories
are published in other languages, do they ever try to put the
Peeweegah dialogue in meter? Or do they figure there's no
point in doing that, since the meter won't remind their readers
of Hiawatha? >>

I should ideally have checked all sources here & supplied
more specific information, but I can't do so from where
I am now ... so this is just by memory & association:

* The Norwegian version of Barks'[s] original Peeweegah
U$ #18 story appeared first in 1962, and is a classic,
translated I think by Elisabeth Skaare. She did *not* really
go for the HW Longfellow 1855 meter, or for the Kalevalian
runometer, but allowed the Peeweegans to _rhyme_,
which they did wondrously:
   Tror du elgen her, min bror
   godtar eiendomsmeglerord?
should be fondly recitable for all Norwegians of elevated

* When Rosa's War of the Wendigo story was published
(1993?), the publishers might have wondered for a minute
whether they should honour Kalevala and Longfellow
and Barks'[s] and Rosa's texts directly, so to speak,
or whether it would feel even more appropriate to honour
the successful and famous 1962 translation. They chose
the second line, which I think was a fine decision.
So, again, the 1993 Peeweegans rhyme as excellently
and purposefully as they did in 1962, but not in runometric
   På tide å gå til aksjon!
   Tilkall Hjort- og Elg-bataljon!
   Beverne stiller fulltallig opp --
   stinkdyr kommer i samplet tropp.

* When Rosa's Sammon Salaisuus (The Quest for Kalevala)
was published in Norwegian, Swedish and German in 2001,
hard & conscentious work and many loving man-hours went
into giving Rosa's kalevalarunometrics the best of
translations -- I know, since I was given the privilege of
carrying out the Norwegian translation, and I was in email
contact with the Swedish and German translators (and heard
later on that the Danish translation was less well done??).

There was also one page in the Norwegian edition (also
my privilege & responsibility) that gave some appropriate
background facts and connections, from Hiawatha to the
Peeweegans and Elias Lönnrot and Jean Sibelius etc.

Nils Lid Hjort

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