En 01b Adela’s Advice

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    1b. Adela’s Advice

    [001/16] At last, Adela requested the floor, and spoke:

    “You all know that I was three years a burgmaid. You also know that I was chosen to become Folksmother[1] and that I did not accept, as I desired to be wed with Apol. But what you do not know is that I have studied all that is befallen as if I were Folksmother indeed. Long have I traveled far and wide to observe what was happening. In this way, many things have been revealed to me that others do not know. You said yesterday that our kinfolk on the other side of the Weser were meek and spineless. Yet I may tell you that the Magy did not conquer a single district by force of arms, [002] but solely through deceitful intrigue, and still more through the greed of the military leaders and noblemen.

    Frya said we should not allow unfree people to dwell among us. But what have they done? They have imitated our enemy, for instead of killing their prisoners or setting them free, they have ignored Frya’s guidance and used them as slaves. Because they did so, Frya could no longer watch over them. They took the freedom of another and thus lost their own. Though all this was already known to you, I shall now tell how, by degrees, they sank so low.

    The wives of the Finns bore children. These grew up with our Frya children. At times they romped and rollicked together about the yard or sat with one another beside the hearth. There, our children listened eagerly to the outrageous sagas of the Finns, because they were provocative and new. This is how, despite the authority of their parents, they lost their Fryas identity. When our children grew up and saw that the children of the Finns could not use weapons and must only toil, a disdain for work flourished among them and they grew very haughty. The chieftains and their best sons laid down with promiscuous Finn girls. Their own daughters, led astray by this bad example, allowed themselves to bear children of the best looking Finn boys, in mockery of their foul parents. When the Magy got wind of this, [003] he selected the most attractive of his Finns and Magyars and promised them cows with golden horns if they could find a place amongst our folk and spread his doctrine.[2] But his people went yet further: Children were kidnapped and taken to the Upsalands.[3] And when they had been brought up in the Magyars’ evil ways, they were sent back.

    As these outward slaves could speak our language, they cozied up to the military leaders and nobles, declaring that, if they would submit to the Magy, their sons could succeed them without election by the folk. Those who, for their good deeds, had gained a share of land before their house were promised another share behind on behalf of the Magy.[4] Those who had already earned a front and a back yard were promised a surrounding yard, and who had a surrounding yard was promised an entire estate. If the nobles were still loyal Fryas, the usurpers changed tack and aimed at the degenerate sons.

    Yesterday, some of you suggested that we mobilize all our folk to force the eastern states back to the old ways. But, in my humble opinion, that would have miserable consequences. Imagine, for a moment, that our cattle here had previously been plagued by a serious lung disease that was still raging elsewhere: Would you then risk allowing your healthy animals to go amongst their sick ones? Surely never! If all must agree and affirm that this would lead to nothing but trouble, who then would dare [004] send his children into the midst of an utterly depraved folk?

    Were I permitted to give my advice, I should say that, before anything else, you must elect a new Folksmother. I know that you are grappling with this prospect because, of the thirteen burgmaids who yet remain, no fewer than eight desire the honor. But I would take no heed of this. Tuntia, maid of the burg Medeasblik, never aspired to it; and yet she is full of wisdom and clarity, and as loyal to her folk and our ways as all the others combined.

    I would also counsel you go to the burgs and copy all the laws, Frya’s Tex, all of the histories and everything else you can find on the walls, so that nothing will be lost if the burgs are destroyed. It is written there that the Folksmother and each burgmaid shall have, besides helpers and messengers, twenty-one maidens and seven maiden apprentices. Were I to add something, it would be to write: ‘... and as many worthy daughters as the burgs can house to come and study.’ For I say in truth, and time shall bear it out: If you wish your children to remain true Fryas, not to be conquered either by intrigue or force of arms, then you must see to it that your daughters become real Frya women. You must teach the children how great our lands once were, what a great people our ancestors were, how great we are still compared to others. Tell them of the heroes, [005] of their heroic deeds, and of distant sea voyages. These tales must be told by the hearth, around the homestead, or anywhere else — in times of joy and of tears. But, for them to be etched into the minds and hearts, the teachings must flow from the lips of your wives and daughters.”

    Adela’s advice was followed.


    1. ‘Folksmother’ (MODER) — lit.: ‘mother’; this translation is used whenever confusion with a child's mother would otherwise be possible.
    2. 'cows with golden horns’ is an expression that still exists in Dutch, referring to a promise of ‘good things that are not realistically possible’, like unending riches or mountains of gold.
    3. ‘Upsalands’ (VPSALÁNDUM) — could refer to the region around Uppsala, Sweden, a historic center of Nordic paganism.
    4. ‘Those who ... share behind’ — see ch. 3b, 5th law [019/25].

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.5 cont.] Thereupon Adele, demanded to be heard, and said:—

    You all know that I was three years Burgtmaagd. You know also that I was chosen for Volksmoeder, and that I refused to be Volksmoeder because I wished to marry Apol; but what you do not know is, that I have watched everything that has happened, as if I had really been your Volksmoeder. I have constantly travelled about, observing what was going on. By that means I have become acquainted with many things that others do not know. You said yesterday that our relatives on the other side of the Weser were dull and cowardly; but I may tell you that the Magy[1] has not won a single village from them by force of arms; but only by detestable deceit, and still more by the rapacity of their dukes and nobles.

    Frya has said we must not admit amongst us any but free people; but what have they done? They have imitated our enemies, and instead of killing their prisoners, or letting them go free, they have despised the counsel of Frya, and have made slaves of them.

    Because they have acted thus, Frya cared no longer to watch over them. They robbed others of their freedom, and therefore lost their own. [p.7]

    This is well known to you, but I will tell you how they came to sink so low. The Finn women had children. These grew up with our free children. They played and gamboled together in the fields, and were also together by the hearth.

    There they learned with pleasure the loose ways of the Finns, because they were bad and new; and thus they became denationalised in spite of the efforts of their parents. When the children grew up, and saw that the children of the Finns handled no weapons, and scarcely worked, they took a distaste for work, and became proud.

    The principal men and their cleverest sons made up to the wanton daughters of the Finns; and their own daughters, led astray by this bad example, allowed themselves to be beguiled by the handsome young Finns in derision of their depraved fathers. When the Magy found this out, he took the handsomest of his Finns and Magyars, and promised them "red cows with golden horns" to let themselves be taken prisoners by our people in order to spread his doctrines. His people did even more. Children disappeared, were taken away to the uplands, and after they had been brought up in his pernicious doctrines, were sent back.

    When these pretended prisoners had learned our language, they persuaded the dukes and nobles that they should become subject to the Magy—that then their sons would succeed to them without having to be elected. Those who by their good deeds had gained a piece of land in front of their house, they promised on their side should receive in addition a piece behind; those who had got a piece before and behind, should have a rondeel (complete circuit); and those who had a rondeel should have a whole freehold. If the seniors were true to Frya, then they changed their course, and turned to the degenerate sons. Yesterday there were among you those who would have called the whole people together, [p.9] to compel the eastern states to return to their duty. According to my humble opinion, they would have made a great mistake. Suppose that there was a very serious epidemic among the cattle, would you run the risk of sending your own healthy cattle among the sick ones? Certainly not. Every one must see that doing that would turn out very badly for the whole of the cattle. Who, then, would be so imprudent as to send their children among a people wholly depraved? If I were to give you any advice, it would be to choose a new Volksmoeder. I know that you are in a difficulty about it, because out of the thirteen Burgtmaagden that we still have remaining, eight are candidates for the dignity; but I should pay no attention to that.

    Teuntia, the Burgtmaagd of Medeasblik, who is not a candidate, is a person of knowledge and sound sense, and quite as attached to our people and our customs as all the rest together. I should farther recommend that you should visit all the citadels, and write down all the laws of Frya's Tex, as well as all the histories, and all that is written on the walls, in order that it may not be destroyed with the citadels.

    It stands written that every Volksmoeder and every Burgtmaagd shall have assistants and messengers—twenty-one maidens and seven apprentices.

    If I might add more, I would recommend that all the respectable girls in the towns should be taught; for I say positively, and time will show it, that if you wish to remain true children of Frya, never to be vanquished by fraud or arms, you must take care to bring up your daughters as true Frya's daughters.

    You must teach the children how great our country has been, what great men our forefathers were, how great we still are, if we compare ourselves to others. [p.11]

    You must tell them of the sea-heroes, of their mighty deeds and distant voyages. All these stories must be told by the fireside and in the field, wherever it may be, in times of joy or sorrow; and if you wish to impress it on the brains and the hearts of your sons, you must let it flow through the lips of your wives and your daughters.

    Adela's advice was followed.

    Note Sandbach

    1. Magy, King of the Magyars or Finns.

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    En 01a Assembly in Disarray ᐊ previous/next ᐅ En 01c Names of the Reeves

    Nl 01b Adela's Raad