En 16c Praise and Suspicion

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    Ott 2023

    16c. Friso: Praise and Suspicion

    [150/19] How Friso proceeded:

    From his first marriage, he also had two brothers-in-law, who were very clever. He sent the youngest, Hetto — that is: ‘hot one’ — as herald to Katsburg,[1] which lies deep in the Saxonmarks. Beside his own, Hetto had received seven horses from Friso, that were packed with precious things looted by the sea warriors. With each horse went two young sea warriors and two young riders clad in rich garments and with money in their purses.

    In the same way as he sent Hetto [151] to Katsburg, he sent the other brother-in-law, Bruno — that is: ‘brown one’ — to the Mannagarda Wards. (Earlier in this book,[2] Mannagarda Wards is spelled ‘Mannagarda Fords’, but that is incorrect.) All the riches they had with them were handed out strategically, to princes and princesses and to favored young ladies. When his young men came to the mead halls to dance with the youth, they ordered baskets full of spiced cake and barrels (or even whole tuns) of the best beer.

    After these representatives, he constantly sent out young folk to travel through the Saxonmarks, all of whom had money in their purses and brought with them trinkets or gifts, and who wined and dined carefree in the mead halls. If it happened that the young Saxon men looked on this with envy, the travelers would smile warmly and say: “If you dare to fight our common enemy, you shall be able to offer your brides much richer gifts and still dine lavishly!”

    Both of Friso’s brothers-in-law married daughters of the most renowned princes and, afterwards, troops of young Saxon men and girls came to settle at the Flee Lake. The burgmaids and the old maidens, who still remembered their former greatness, [152] were not well inclined toward Friso’s exploits. Therefore, they did not speak well of him.

    Meanwhile Friso, much slyer than they, let them gossip; but the young maidens he wove with golden fingers into his project.

    Everywhere they said: “We no longer have a mother, but that is because we have grown up. Today a king is more suitable for us, so we can reconquer our lands that the mothers lost through their inattentiveness!”

    They furthermore proclaimed: “Every child of Frya possesses the freedom to let his voice be heard before a decision is made at the election of a leader. If it should come to the point of choosing a king again, I too will have my say.

    “From all that I can see, Friso was chosen for the kingship by Wralda, as he so miraculously sped him here to us. Friso knows the tricks of the Gola, whose language he speaks, so he can be wary of their schemes. And then there is this to consider: What alderman could be chosen as king without the others being envious?”

    Such slogans were pronounced by the young maidens. But the old maids, though few in number, drew their sentiments from a different cask.[3] They proclaimed everywhere and to anyone: “Friso,” they said, “does like the spiders. [153] At night he spins his nets in all directions, and by day he entangles his unsuspecting friends in them. Friso says he cannot suffer priests or puppet princes, but I say that he can suffer none but himself. This is why he will not sanction the restoration of the burg Stavia. It is why he does not want us to have a mother again. Today, Friso is your counselor. But, tomorrow, he desires to be your king, so that he may rule over you all!”

    In the heart of the folk, two divisions emerged: The old and poor wanted to have a mother again, but the young folk, being full of fighting spirit, wanted a ‘father’ — in other words, a king. The first named themselves ‘Mother’s Sons’, and the others named themselves ‘Dad’s Sons’.[4] But the Mother’s Sons were ignored because, since many ships were built, there was abundant prosperity for shipbuilders, smiths, sailmakers, rope makers, and for all other craftsmen. Moreover, the sea warriors brought with them all sorts of jewels and adornments that pleased the women, the maidens, and the girls — which pleased all their relatives, all their friends, and allies.

    When Friso had run the house of [154] Staveren for about forty years, he died. Through his policies, he had reunited many states — though I dare not judge whether we shall be better off for it! Of all the aldermen who had preceded him, none had been as far-famed and controversial as Friso,[5] for, as I said before, the young maidens praised him, while the old maids did everything possible to publicly criticize and denounce him. Although the disapproving elders were hardly able to hinder his policies, their protestations did at least accomplish that he died without becoming king.

    Notes

    1. Katsburg (KATTA.BURCH) — Possibly referring to Kassel in Germany; ‘Castellum Cattorum’ (burg of the Chatti).
    2. See ch. 1c [005] and ch. 13i [112].
    3. ‘drew ... cask.’ (expression) — or: ‘had a different perspective’.
    4. ‘mother's sons’ (MODER HIS SVNA); ‘dad's sons’ (TÁT HIS SVNA). For discourse about use of terms MODER and FÉDER (father/feeder), see ch. 18.
    5. ‘far-famed and controversial’ (BIFÁMED) — famed (Dutch: befaamd) can mean both famous and infamous. Perhaps a wordplay, as the word for maiden is FÁM and he was much discussed by the maidens; the young ones praising him, the old ones condemning him.

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.203 cont.] What Friso did further.

    Of his first wife he still had two brothers-in-law, who were very daring. Hetto — that is, heat — the youngest, he sent as messenger to Kattaburgt, which [p.205] lies far in the Saxsenmarken. Friso gave him to take seven horses, besides his own, laden with precious things stolen by the sea-rovers. With each horse there were two young sea-rovers and two young horsemen, clad in rich garments, and with money in their purses. In the same way as he sent Hetto to Kattaburgt, he sent Bruno that is, brown — the other brother-in-law, to Mannagarda oord. Mannagarda oord was written Mannagarda ford in the earlier part of this book,[1] but that is wrong. All the riches that they took with them were given away, according to circumstances, to princes, princesses, and chosen young girls. When his young men went to the tavern to dance with the young people there, they ordered baskets of spice, gingerbread, and tuns of the best beer. After these messengers he let his young people constantly go over to the Saxsenmarken, always with money in their purses and presents to give away, and they spent money carelessly in the taverns. When the Saxsen youths looked with envy at this they smiled, and said, If you dare go and fight the common enemy you would be able to give much richer presents to your brides, and live much more princely. Both the brothers-in-law of Friso had married daughters of the chief princes, and afterwards the Saxsen youths and girls came in whole troops to the Flymeer.

    The burgtmaidens and old maidens who still remembered their greatness did not hold with Friso's object, and therefore they said no good of him; but Friso, more cunning than they, let them chatter, but the younger maidens he led to his side with golden fingers. They said everywhere, For a long time we have had no mother, but that comes from our being fit to take care of ourselves. At present it suits us best to have a king to win back our lands that we have lost through the imprudence of our mothers. [p.207] Further they said, Every child of Frya has permission to let his voice be heard before the choice of a prince is decided; but if it comes to that, that you choose a king, then also we will have our say. From all that we can see, Wr-alda has appointed Friso for it, for he has brought him here in a wonderful way. Friso knows the tricks of the Gauls, whose language he speaks; he can therefore watch against their craftiness. Then there is something else to keep the eye upon. What count could be chosen as king without the others being jealous of him? All such nonsense the young maidens talked; but the old maidens, though few in number, tapped their advice out of another cask. They said always and to every one: Friso does like the spiders. At night he spreads his webs in all directions, and in the day he catches in them all his unsuspecting friends. Friso says he cannot suffer any priests or foreign princes, but we say that he cannot suffer anybody but himself; therefore he will not allow the citadel of Stevie to be rebuilt; therefore he will not have the mother again. To-day Friso is your counsellor, to-morrow he will be your king, in order to have full power over you. Among the people there now existed two parties. The old and the poor wished to have the mother again, but the young and the warlike wished for a father and a king. The first called themselves mother's sons, the others father's sons, but the mother's sons did not count for much; because there were many ships to build, there was a good time for all kinds of workmen. Moreover, the sea-rovers brought all sorts of treasures, with which the maidens were pleased, the girls were pleased, and their relations and friends.

    [p.209] When Friso had been nearly forty years at Staveren he died.[2] Owing to him many of the states had been joined together again, but that we were the better for it I am not prepared to certify. Of all the counts that preceded him there was none so renowned as Friso; for, as I said before, the young maidens spoke in his praise, while the old maidens did all in their power to make him hateful to everybody. Although the old women could not prevent his meddling, they made so much fuss that he died without becoming king.

    Notes Sandbach

    1. See page 11.
    2. 263 before Christ.


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