The poem RAKKI

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15.12.2023Evelyn Ýr


Sá er nú meir en trúr og tryggur
með trýnið svart og augun blá,
fram á sínar lappir liggur
líki bóndans hjá.

Hvorki vott né þurrt hann þiggur,
þungt er í skapi, vot er brá,
en fram á sínar lappir liggur líki bóndans hjá.

Ef nokkur líkið snertir, styggur
stinna sýnir hann jaxla þá,
og fram á sinar lappir liggur
líki bóndans hjá.

Til dauðans er hann dapur og hryggur,
dregst ei burt frá köldum ná,
og hungurmorða loks hann liggur
líki bóndans hjá.

This beautiful poem RAKKI is after Grímur Thomsen (1820-1896), an Icelandic poet. Grímur often sought inspiration from the past in the style of romantic poets. 
He wrote the poem, about an Icelandic dog that died of sorrow due to the loss of its master. The bond between a dog and its master can sometimes transcend death. 

I do not trust myself to translate this masterpiece and did not find a translation of it yet but the story behind the poem is believed to have taken place in East Iceland in 1869:

On the path to the churchyard in Þingmúla in Skriðdal there is a statue of a dog lying out on its paws. This is the path of Þorgrímur Arnórsson, who in his lifetime was a priest in Hofteigur in Jökuldal and in Þingmúla. He was a great farmer and animal lover. He had excellent horses and always had a dog which lay in his lap when he was at home, and always followed him on his travels. The last dog of Reverend Þorgrímur was called Rakki. When Reverend Þorgrímur died, the dog did not want to leave his body, and Rakki was promised to lie with the corpse. He could not be convinced to take food or drink. The body was put in a coffin, and Rakki kept vigil. Then the funeral procession began, and when the coffin was carried into the church, Rakki followed it to the church doors. When the coffin was carried out, it became apparent that Rakki had been waiting at the church doors. He followed the coffin, and when the grave had been filled in, he lay down on the grave mound. He was tried to be carried away, but he resisted the worst, and as soon as he was released, he ran out into the churchyard and lay down on Reverend Þorgrímur's grave. Rakki was given food and drink, but he did not take any of it, and eventually he died of hunger on the grave. A British traveller who came to Þingmúla was told the story of Rakki. He was so moved by it that he had a statue of the dog made and sent it to Iceland with the instructions that it should be placed on Reverend Þorgrímur's grave.

Source Dýraverndarinn 1955



Lýtingsstaðir, 561 Varmahlíð.
Phone: +354 893 3817
[email protected]



Lýtingsstaðir, 561 Varmahlíð.
Phone: +354 893 3817
[email protected]