Friday, 7 September 2012

Bibles in Iceland

"It is too well-known to need mentioning that according to an ancient Icelandic price-scale, the cost of a Bible is equivalent to that of a cow -- and that means an early-calving cow, or else six well-fleeced lambing ewes.  This price is written on the title page of the Bible edition that was printed in a remote mountain valley in northern Iceland in 1584, and as is known, Icelanders have never believed in any other Bible but this one;  it was printed with tasteful vignettes and decorative woodcuts and weighs five pounds, and is very  like a raisin-box in shape.  This volume has always been available in the better churches in Iceland."

The Fish Can Sing  Halldor Laxness
 translated by Magnus Magnusson

1 comment:

  1. Once while travelling in Iceland, Dr. Jean Young (later of the University of Reading) was sheltering in a remote farmhouse. She saw there a sick sheep being cared for in the house, with its head resting as a pillow on the latest very expensive edition of the Larousse Dictionary. This was the book her college had decided was much too costly to buy for its library.