see illustrated story: Hagbarður og Hvutti
(this is only brief translation of text)




Hagbarður and Hvutti (Doggie)

page 2

The sheep is being collected after having been free in the mountains of Iceland during summer when weather is good

(Icelandic sheep is said to be the wildest domestic animals on earth!!)

Hagbarður and Hvutti are standing (you see them) where most difficult it is to stop the sheep from running away (-- the heard does not want to be captured, wants to keep its freedom). The farmers are collecting the sheep for lamb-slaughter before winter comes; the long hard dark winter of the north.

(sheep is always fed on hay during winter.)


Before beginning the story of Hagbarður and Hvutti, I must tell you a secret (but you must not tell anyone):

Hagbarður has taught Hvutti several words -- but -- in a very funny way; i.e.: every word Hvutti knows has for him an opposite meaning of what humans take them for:

go! -- and Hvutti comes

come! -- and Hvutti goes

keep quiet! -- Huvtti barks

bark! -- he shuts up


Here, Hagbarður (Hvutti being only a puppy by then) is bringing the cow home for milking.

-Go home, my bovine beauty, Hagbarður sings.

When he sings: go home -- Hvutti comes to Hagbarður. Thus assuming go home must mean: come.


As Hvutti is chasing the raven, Hagbarður calls: -come, Hvutti! Come here!

Come here must mean: go on barking and chasing (Hvutti assumes of course)



During the summer sheep is grazing free. But sheep must not eat the fertilized grass that is to be cut and harvested in autumn.

Habgarður's job is to chase them away during the nigth, -- the northen summer-nights in Iceland taht are as bright as day.

(We have midnight-sun during summer; Iceland is on 64°-66°North)

Hagbarður sings: -Chase and and bark my clever dog. I am the greatest sheep-owner in the north!

-Chase and bark my clever dog, the best sheep-dog in the whole of Iceland.

Then Hvutti sits down and keeps quiet.

Thus: chase and bark must mean: sit down and keep quiet.


When sheep try to sneak in to eat the fertilized grass, say me-me-me to call the lamb, Hagbarður says: -shut up, sheep; -easy easy; Hvutti barks. Shut up and easy easy is bound to mean: bark.

As you now know the secret of Hvutti's up-bringing, I am going to tell you the story:

10 - 11

Everybody on the farm is going to a nearby village. Hvutti must stay at home. He is being put inside - into the cow-stable where calfs are kept. The door shut.

Hvutti is not supposed to be following Hagbarður who rides away on his pony.

But grandmother who has to feed the calves opens the cow-shed, and Hvutti sneeks out.....

12 - 13

.....follows the track of the ponies until he finds his master, Hagbarður.

-Go home, Hvutti!, mother says.

Hvutti knows what that means: go home! means: come here! -- and he happily waggles his tail.

14 - 15

People gather in the village.

-Is this the clever sheep-dog or yours, Hagbarður? the kids ask. -The best sheep-dog in the north, isn't he?

-Can he play a role in our piece, as he is so clever?

-Well, says Hagbarður, -I am not too sure about him being a good actor....


The play is rather poor. The kids made it themselves. (It is based on out-laws (útilegumenn) living in the wilderness, stealing sheep, hiding in caves in the highlands.)

Hvutti is waiting for a word he understands.


-Come on, Hvutti, come on! the actor says.

Hvutti goes the other way. (For him come means: go.)

-Well, says the actor, -go away, go away!

(He wants it to look as if the dog obeys his commands.)

Go means come for Hvutti, so he comes to him.


-Chase! Chase sheep! says the boy.

Hvutti lies down


-Keep quiet, Hvutti. Easy!. We have spotted the sheep-thieves.


Then Hvutti starts to bark.

The kids cheer.

The play is ruined..


Shut up! Hvutti, they shout.

Now that is a word that Huvtti understands; He barks as loud as he can. THIS IS FUN!


At last Hagbarður says: -Hvutti! Now you go home.


Hvutti comes to Hagbarður, his friend and master, and sits down.

All the children admiring him. He is great fun!

But, now tell me one thing: is Hvutti a well-behaved and obedient dog or is he not?