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Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 18:27:21 +0000 (GMT)
From: Josh Geller 
Subject: (urth) The Devil In A Forest and St. Olaf of Norway

The Devil In A Forest is perhaps a minor work, but an extremely
interesting one.

There's a hamlet in the woods, the woodcutters who are relics of a
previous stage of civilization, a bandit who is a woodcutter aristocrat, a
witch who knows the technology of the old civilization, megalithic ruins
that are 'not a town' etc.

This is one of the most valuable books for people trying to understand the
old civilization of Europe.

There's a story about King Olaf the Holy of Norway. See, it was generally
known that he was a reincarnation of Olaf Geirstadtalf, who was buried in
the mound at Geirstadt. There had been a prophecy to the effect, he had
Olaf G.'s sword that came out of the mound etc. The problem was that St.
Olaf was occupied with the forcible Christianization of Norway, and it
sort of looked bad that a Christian king should be an incarnate elf. So
they did a little stage play, where the King and some of his companions
(who would also have been out of the mound, by the old way) went to Olaf
G's mound on horseback and one of the companions asked the King if
he didn't remember when they had been there before, and St. Olaf answered
that it was not possible for a person  to live more than once, because you
lived once, died once and were resurrected once on the Last Day. Then he
was overcome with emotion and rode away, because (in my view) what he was
saying was so much at conflict with the reality.

Wolfe has a good grasp on all of this, as he shows in 'Devil' and also in
the Latro books.



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