Beiarblakken is a ballad from Norway, and it was written down in several versions. Like other middle age ballads, Beiarblakken would be very old, and pre-Christian. We will take a closer look at a version written down from Gotenborg in Seljord (Telemark), Norway, in local Norwegian dialect and each stanza translated in English.
Our ballads have lived thorugh the ages, and common for all of them are that "Christian elements" were implemented during the period of forced Christianization, the same way that our pre-Christian and pagan fairy tales were attached elements that would make them incomprehensible for the foreign priests with their clear but hidden pagan content, and thus go under the radar.
Beiarblakken is such a ballad, and the pagan message is as clear as day.
Der sit tvo Kjæringar onder ein Stein,
de traader Guldskoe,
de skafte den Folen af Mannebein,
I Lofte søve min Jomfru.
Two ladies are sitting under a rock,
they thread golden shoes,
they created that horse from the bone of a man,
I promised to sleep my maiden.
De skapte den Folen aa gav en Navn
aa Beiarblakkjen saa kallar di han.
They created that horse and gave it a name,
Beiarblakken they called him.
Di skapte den Folen aaf Mannebein
aa da førdt di honom te Kongjen heim.
They created that horse from the bone of a man,
then lead him home to the King.
Aa Blakkjen han vi kje paa Stalle staae
gjenge de kje Møiar te aa ifraa.
The horse can we not place on the barn
Maidens come and go.
Aa Blakkjen han drek kje af Brøn
dersom de kje ligge Guld paa Bon.
The horse does not drink from the well
if the gold is not on the bottom.
Kongjen han ropar ivi alt sit Heim
men haakken tor rie min Blak et Skjei.
The King he shouts from his home
But who dears to ride my horse a race.
Til svara Droning Frigge
Krestoffer han tor Blakkjen rie.
Queen Frigge answered
Krestoffer he dears to ride the horse.
Ja kjære min Blak du gjære dæg krom
aat mæ æg læggje Guldbexel i Mond.
Yes, my dear horse make yourself nice
let me place the golden bridle in mouth.
Dei fyste steg som Blakkjen sprang
svarte Mølli ette en Rand.
The first steps the horse took
was the pitch black ridge.
De andre steg som Blakkjen sprang
aa da kaam han te Helvete fram.
The second step the horse took
then he arrived to Hell.
Men de trea stig som Blakken sprang
aa da kaam han te Himmels fram.
But the third step that the horse ran
then he arrived to the heavens.
Aa der han kaam for Himriges Dør
der tottes han han hæ vore før.
And then he came before the door of the heavens
and there he had been before.
Krestoffer la sæg i Salen sjuk
aa Beiarblakken jore sæg mjuk.
Krestoffer laid i the saddle sick
and the horse made himself soft.
Velkommen Krestoffer heim te mæg
no tænk æg kje æg hæv set dæg meir.
Welcome Krestoffer to my home
now I think that I have seen you no more.
Aa Blakken han skulle paa Stalle staa
aa Kresoffer drikke mæ Frugur aa Møiar.
And the horse would in the barn stand
and Krestoffer drink with the maidens.
Aa Kongjen han ville te Ledings fara
aa Krestoffer aa Blakkjen skul heime væra.
And the King would leave (leiðangr, travel to the outskirts of the Kings court)
and Krestoffer and the horse would stay home.
Aa Kongjen han styrde sin Snekke fraa Land
aa Blakken sleit de røde Guldband.
And the King he steered his boat from land
and the horse teared the red golden threads.
Aa Blakken slo meir mæ Hov aa Taand
end Kongjen gjore mæ alt sit Land.
And the horse struck more with hoof and tooth
than the King did with all his land.
Fram kaam der ein gamale Mand
aa æ her ingjen saam sjote kan.
Forward came there an old man
and here there is no one that shoot can.
Ei røde Guldpiil blei der udsend
i Beiarblakkens Brost blev kjendt.
A red golden arrow was there outsent
in the horses chest it was felt.
Aa Kongjen bleiv saa ille te Mot
han blekna saam Bast han svartna saam Jor.
And the King was so upset
he pailed like the inner bark of a tree and blackened like soil.
Ha dæ kje vore for Manneor
æg ha sku la Blakkjen i vigde Jor.
Had it not been for the harness/leather strap of man
I shoud have put the horse in sacred soil.
Ha dæ kje vøre fæ Mannetól
æg ha sku la blakkjen i vigde mól.
Had it not been for tools of man
I should have put the horse in sacred soil.
As we can see, this ballad contains most, if not all, the pagan components for a pattern and symbolic tale of a re-incarnation process.
The maidens spinning golden threads for shoes are the typical fate godesses, the Norns. They create the horse - the vessel of the spirit, from the bones and the blood of man (the dead, the ancestor). Thus, the horse is the ancestor, the ancestral spirit - the placenta and the Fylgja, the one you have to overcome and kill through the ride and will follow you ever after. There is no suprise that the name of the horse is -beiar (difficult/hard) and -blakken (horse).
They brought the horse home, to the Kings home, to the realm of death. The horse would not drink from the well if not gold was laying on the bottom. Gold is ancestral memory - transfered from the ancestor to a decendant. It is "eternal" and is equivalent to blood. Blood memory.
The horse could not be placed on "the barn" before anyone would dare to ride it first. The Queen by the name Frigge (yes, it is Friggr/Freya) who is the chooser of the Einherjar (those who fight alone). She reponds to the King (the ancestor, Óðinn) and tells who dares to ride the horse.
The horse gets a briddle and harness of gold in its mouth - wich the rider holds. They are of gold/blood, connecting the ancestor and the chosen one.
The ride contains three phases (three steps) - as with every other fairy tale and myth, through the sacred number three of the process of a child coming into being, the stages of initiation and a re-incarantion. They are welcomed in the home, and the horse finds its place in the barn, while the chosen one (Krestoffer) drinks with the maidens. He drinks with the quardians of the ancestral spirits, the valkyries - the same way Óðinn does in the myths; for example inside Nítbjörg (the womb) with Gunnlöð (invitation to fight) in his same quest for the sacred mead.
The King goes on leiðangr, and symbolically this means that the old King dies. He leaves the court of the King. He rows out on a boat, symbolically he crosses the river between life and death, the same way the ferryman (Óðinn) in the myths does. The horse tears the golden red threads - the symbol of the blood memory, the ancestral golden thread.
The old man appears, the one with a bow and (of course) the golden arrow. The same way and the same symbol like the huntsman or the woodsman in our fairy tales and myths. The old man is the ancestor.
The golden arrow is connected to the horse, and the old King pails (lík/dead body and white as in the spirits of a white elf) and is also blackened as the soil itself. The old King is a black elf when he resides in the soil (in the burial mound, he is dead). He is as dead as his other self - Beiarblakken, the horse - when the leather strap is cut with the tools of men.
Krestoffer (an inserted later Christian name) is the incarnated old King born again. The white elf, the ancestor, has a new lík once more.