Art by Matt Smith

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In 2019, an abandoned smartphone was found partially buried beneath layers of sediment and urine in a South Boston alleyway. This forgotten relic was soon revealed to contain a remarkable audio-text describing in great detail the religious beliefs of ancient Scandinavia. This oral manuscript was transcribed and released to the general public as Norse Mythology for Bostonians in early 2020 and translated into English and released as The Impudent Edda in late 2023.

During the global lockdown that followed the transcription’s initial release, archaeologists, historians, and philologists continued to study the audio text as well as the device itself, now known simply as the Codex Bostonia. These researchers eventually uncovered an additional stash of hidden audio files stored in a previously secret location on the phone’s memory card. These recently recovered myths are being documented and made available to the public here as they become available in either transcripted or translated form. The breadth of their arcane lore, the depth of their spiritual insights, and the poignancy of their poetic revelations confirm that the collective audio texts of the Codex Bostonia remain the single most important contribution to our knowledge of pre-Christian Scandinavian religious beliefs to have emerged in a millennium.

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All right, so there were these three brothers from Finland1 living in Wolfeboro up in New Hampshire because they liked the lake and all the outdoor activities that they could do in the wintertime. It kind of reminded them of home, though I don’t really know why they even left Finland in the first fucking place. But New Hampshire’s pretty fucking far from Russia, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Anyway, one day these guys go for a walk down along the lake, and it turns out there’s these three chicks skinny dipping in the water! I mean, these girls had taken off all of their swan-feather clothes and went for a swim buck-naked in broad fucking daylight!2 So the brothers all thought this was wicked awesome since, you know, it’s not everyday you come across real-life swan-maidens skinny dipping up in fucking Winnipesaukee,3 so they somehow flirted with these girls even though they’re Finnish and Finns don’t really know how to be extroverted, but this is an ancient fucking fantasy story where the normal rules don’t apply, so there you go.

Anyway, next thing you know, the Finns and the swan-maidens are all getting married and living happily ever after, but only for like eight fucking years. In the ninth year, the swan-maidens all ran away. Or maybe they flew away, since they probably put their swan outfits back on again. I don’t fucking know, but they’re gone. Just gone, just fucking vanished since it turns out that Wolfeboro’s a better place to visit than to live in full-time, I guess, and they were looking for more exciting action4 than hanging out in a rustic cabin with a dingy sauna in the woods by the lake with only Finnish silence and vodka to keep them entertained.

So now the brothers get all fucking depressed and two of them go off searching for their swan-maiden wives, but one of the brothers, this guy Wayland,5 he just stays at home and continues to make awesome shit out of precious metal since he’s a smith, and that’s what he does. So he’s just sitting there, being super contemplative about his missing swan-wife and silver and gold and whatnot, when the door gets kicked in, and some dickhead Russians run in, knock him unconscious, and then fucking rob the place blind.6

Next thing Wayland knows is he wakes up in shackles in the shitty basement of some secret compound on some dumb, uninhabited island out in the middle of the fucking lake where the Russians run their filthy fucking North American human trafficking operations from. It’s a totally sordid fucking affair, and it’s obvious these guys either got special connections to Putin or are trying to get away from Putin, I’m not sure which. But either way, they’re a bunch of vile fucking criminals, and clearly moving to New Hampshire didn’t help Wayland and his brothers avoid organized Russian crime in the long run.

Anyway, so now Wayland’s a total fucking captive and the head Russian’s wife—who’s only there because the guy brought his entire fucking family to his criminal headquarters as though he were actually a good upstanding husband and father figure or whatever—goes and mutilates Wayland’s legs,7 so now he can’t fucking walk, which means at least they take his shackles off. And then they make him go and craft all sorts of awesome shit out of gold and silver in some shady corner of the compound since they’re greedy as hell.8

And well, as you can probably imagine, Wayland is totally fucking pissed. I mean, the guy’s seething with extreme rage, but he’s also internalizing it all and biding his time since he’s a Finn and this is a goddamn hardcore fucking display of true fucking sisu9 in action that he’s doing.

And so eventually after a long-ass time, the head Russian’s two young kids go to see all the gold and silver jewelry that Wayland’s been making out in his rundown outdoor workshop area, and so he decapitates them both with his metal-working utensils, and then he buries their bodies and uses their fucking skulls to make some awesome drinking glasses that are all decked out in gold and silver and shit, and then he also makes some jewelry out of their eyeballs and teeth, and then he sends all these fucking things to the head Russian and his wife and they’re none the wiser even though they’ve kind of been wondering where their sons went off to.

And then the head Russian’s college-aged daughter goes to see Wayland because she’s also really into jewelry. Well, apparently Wayland has a lot of beer on hand since the Russians thought it’d be easier to just keep him fucking intoxicated the whole time than trying to deal with a sulking, sober crippled artist-type, and so he uses his weird sisu charm to get this girl drunk, and then he bangs her and gets her pregnant. And then he gets out his special magical, golden wings that he’d been making in secret, and he puts them on, and then he flies up into the air and hovers above the compound for a while screaming deranged Finnish obscenities at the Russians and then when the top Russian and his wife both finally come out to see what the hell’s going on, he unzips his fly and he empties his entire fucking bladder on those two assholes, and then flies away into the grim mists of murky fucking legend.10

But to honor Wayland’s super creepy fucking revenge on the Russians and all the gold he dealt with, they decided to go and name one of the richest fucking towns in the entire state of Massachusetts after him,11 so there’s also that.

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1 Here, the anonymous poet replicates a common faux pas found throughout Eddic poetry and saga literature: the conflation of the identity of the Sámi and the Finns. The Poetic Edda’s Völundarkviða, the best-known of several medieval textual sources of this ancient tale, relates that the brothers’ names are Slagfid, Egil, and Volund. The version found in the Codex Bostonia most closely follows that of Völundarkviða, but deviations that more closely match other versions such as those found in Thidreks Saga and the Old English poem Deor are also present.

2 Völundarkviða stipulates that the three swan-maidens were actually weaving linen on the lake shore (women working with fabric is a recurring theme across the entire body of Norse lore). The implication is that the swan-maidens had thus removed their swan outfits and were nude, but the ancient verses do not explicitly state that—a fact that the anonymous poet of the Codex Bostonia was apparently eager to clarify. Swan-maidens are popular characters in ancient Germanic lore, and as their name implies, they possess the ability to shape-shift into swans with the aid of their magical swan outfits. According to Völundarkviða, the names of these three are Hladgud, Hervor, and Olrun.

3 The largest lake in New Hampshire. New Hampshire itself plays a substantial, recurring role in the Bostonian tradition of ancient Norse mythology. According to the myths that The Impudent Edda comprises, New Hampshire is where Thor and Loki once failed to purchase tax-free liquor. It is also the location of Tyr and Fenrir’s leisurely drive on the backroads one nice fall day. Additionally, the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee itself is where the Mead of Poetry was brewed from the blood of the murdered spit-mutant deity known as Kvasir.

4 Völundarkviða states that in addition to being swan-maidens, these women were also valkyries. Thus, we should not be surprised that they left their boring husbands and went somewhere much more action-packed and full of violence. Valkyries thrive on blood and gore and dead people.

5 Volund is known as Wayland (or Weland) in the Old English and Bostonian traditions of this ancient story. In some versions, he is also regarded as an elf.

6 In both Völundarkviða and Thidreks Saga, these men are not depicted as Russian mobsters but rather the loyal warriors of King Nidud, ruler of the realm of Närke, now a region in Sweden west of Stockholm with the city of Örebro at its center.

It should be noted, however, that during the Viking Age, Vikings from the Roslagen region of what is now Sweden conquered the territory that eventually became known as Russia. “Rus” was the term applied to these Scandinavians by the Finns and Eastern Europeans at the time, and thus Russia is essentially named after Sweden. Thanks to this linguistic twist, we can’t rule out the possibility that the poet of Codex Bostonia actually meant “dickhead Swedes” when he identified the hostile intruders as “dickhead Russians.”

7 She slices his biarticular hamstring muscles at the knee of both legs.

8 Völundarkviða reveals that this island is called Sævarstöð, but its location in Lake Winnipesaukee has yet to be discovered.

9 Sisu is a Finnish word without a direct correlation in English, but it conveys a sense of determined fortitude—gritting one’s teeth and getting the matter at hand done without wild displays of exuberance, vocalized outbursts, or petty emotions. Sisu is not a favored behavioral trait in the United States of America and other nations that emphasize and reward loudness at the expense of thoughtfulness and integrity.

10 In this scene, the Codex Bostonia closely follows the action as depicted in Thidreks Saga, which also relates that Wayland forged magical wings, albeit with the aid of his brother. Völundarkviða remains silent on the matter of how Wayland was able to fly—he just was.

11 The town of Wayland, Massachusetts, was named after Dr. Francis Wayland, a big wig in New England in the 1800s. However, the name Wayland in the English language probably originates with the ancient legend of Wayland the Smith, so in a roundabout way, the anonymous poet is most likely correct in his assertion here.