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Icelandic Humor

Updated: Dec 14, 2023



Icelandic humor may be a little gray for outsiders, we locals think we are hilarious but understand that we may be the only ones with that opinion, but we were even less funny in the old days, This I found out after reading some old jokes from the book Íslensk fyndni (e.Icelandic humor) stories that Gunnar Sigurðsson from the farm Selalækur gathered, wrote and published, and is printed in Ísafoldarprentsmiðja in 1934, the translation to English is made by Season Tours  


Interestingly, quite a few stories are about smart women and their stupid husbands, similar to popular TV shows today such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more 


Here is one of the funnier stories:


Once 2 women argued about whose husband was more stupid, and they decided to put it to the test, one decided to take out her knitting and sewing equipment, after her husband arrived home from work, even though everyone saw that she had no wool nor thread between her hands, when her husband sees this, he asks his wife and asks if she has lost her mind, spinning her machine with no wool nor thread, she replays “no wonder you don't see it, its made with the finest fabric and it is for your clothes” he is satisfied with the explanation, and is happy with his wife expertise, and is looking forward to wearing the fine, beautiful garment.


When the wife pretends to have spun enough thread for the clothes she puts it in the loom to make the fabric, and the husband watches the progress closely, admiring his wife's skills, she enjoys this and takes the “fabric” washes, felts and tailors the imaginary fabric then starts cutting and sewing it  


After all, this is done she asks her husband to try on the clothes, because the fabric is so fragile she helps him put them on, after dressing the poor man in nothing he feels thrilled with the beautiful light imaginary clothes.


Now to the other lady, when her husband comes home “she asks him why he is not in bed’?” he is surprised and asks “Why do you ask me such a question?”  

She tells him he is seriously ill and has to go to bed right away, he believes this and goes to bed, and after a while, she says she is going to lay down his body, he asks her why and please not to do so, she says please don't be like this, you died this morning and we are going to make you a coffin.


The poor man lies like this until they put him into the coffin, then she decides on the burial day, picks 6 men to carry the coffin, and asks the other couple to attend the funeral, the wife of the deceased husband has made a small window on the coffin so the dead one can watch what goes on.


When they are about to carry the coffin out the naked husband arrives, thinking everyone will admire his new outfit, but the opposite happens and everyone busts out laughing when the dead man spots the naked one he shouts out “Now I would laugh if I wasn't dead” 


The funeral was canceled, and the scheme from the ladies was revealed, they were both sentenced to be whiplashed at Þingvellir The Fields of Parliament   


When I was recently at Reynisfjara, the famous dangerous black sand beach, where there are a lot of warnings not to get too close to the ocean, a man got his feet wet when a huge "sneaker wave" suddenly hit, one of my guests standing far away from the wave, saw this and said "his wife is going to tell him he is dead tonight"


Skoðað 11.12. 2023



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