Sunday, February 21, 2010

Building Blocks & Sleeping Rocks

LEGOs were invented in Denmark by a carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen. The word LEGO comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt" which translates to "play well." Later the toymakers discovered that "lego" can also be loosely translated in Latin to mean "I put together" or "I assemble." This is convenient.

Today I saw Holger the Dane. He sleeps in the basement of Kronborg castle (this castle is the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet). His beard has grown down to the floor and he is supposed to sleep there until some date when Denmark is in mortal danger, at which time he will awaken and deliver the nation from evil. I went to this Kronborg castle with my danish co-worker and her boyfriend. We went on a guided tour which unfortunately was completely in danish. My new friends would clue me in on the important stuff. For instance, in the center of this huge ballroom room against the wall is an elaborate structure that resembles a fireplace, but is obviously something else. Everyone's gathered around it blabbing and alas it is a door to a spiral staircase. The guide points through the door and talks with a little more excitement. I'm thinking the passageway is the king's grand entryway or a secret escape to an intricate network or underground tunnels in case the castle is invaded, etc. Danish translation: the spiral staircase was used by the king's guests to relieve their bladders while at parties. They would pee down the spiral steps and the servants put buckets at the bottom to collect the waste. In the morning they wash the staircase with water and sprinkle it with some oil and herb concoction to ease the stench.


Colleen said...

sounds like my kinda of party

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm learning more danish history from you than I ever did from my dad:)

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