Elephant and Castle
Iceland: The Poetic Edda
13th century, Old Norse, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Reykjavik.
'You were once a mare with a precious bit in your mouth!' shouted Gudmund.
An exchange of insults between two opposing Scandinavian warriors betrays, perhaps, a little more than just animosity:
'You obviously don’t remember the old tales, when you cast these lies in my direction,' shouted Gudmund. 'Do you not remember eating food that the wolves had left and sucking wounds with a cold nose?'
'When you were a witch on Varins Island,' replied Sinfjotli, 'you had an evil tongue, You said the only man you wanted was Sinfjotli and I fathered nine wolves on you...'
'You were once a mare with a precious bit in your mouth,' shouted Gudmund, 'but I made you frothy with sweat many a day riding you laden with packs down a mountain pass.'
'You had no idea how to behave when you milked Gullnir’s goats,' replied Sinfjotli, 'or that time when you were Imd’s daughter, dressed in rags...'