Thursday, February 21, 2008

Squirrel/ Egern

Ratatosk in Old Norse Mythology

Stretching for a good bite..........

- hanging on with its little claws

- running down wavering its tail for balance

- took a big bite of the fungus, but then I trod upon
a branch - and the squirrel had gone like the wind ........

The Latin name for squirrel is sciurus and means - 'he who sits in the shadow of his tail'. The Danish name egern is an ancient word with roots in Indo-European and Sanskrit language. In Old Norse its name is ikorni. It has been living in Denmark for a very long time, archaeologists have found squirrel-bones which are 8-9000 years old. Today the squirrel is totally protected in Denmark.

The squirrel is a charming little fellow, with strong energy and eternal curiosity. Its menu is manyfold, cones, nuts, buds, beech nuts, acorns, fungi, fruits, berries, larva, insects. It's also a little egg-thief, stealing eggs from little birds and from wood pidgeons and pheasants.

In Norse Mythology Ratatosk (Sharp Tooth) is a little squirrel that runs up and down with messages in the world tree Ydggdrasil and spreads gossip between Vedrfolnir at the top of the world tree and Nidhoggr beneath its roots. Vedrfolnir (the one bleached by the weather) is the hawk sitting between an eagle's eyes, and Nidhoggr is the snake (dragon) eating of the world tree's roots.

Ratatosk is the messenger between worlds -and he can move from ice to fire and everywhere in between. He speaks with everyone, both the As-Gods and the Norns. Today Ratatosk is in many modern appearances, in books, novels, poems and games.

photo 180208: grethe bachmann, Forsthaven, Århus

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