My words, thoughts and photos from a Swedish perspective

The ballroom of the Queen of lake Mälaren


Being the happy “owner” of two blogs, one in Swedish and one in English, is something that gives me unexpected problems to solve. I posted this image in the Swedish blog yesterday and of course I wrote the text in Swedish. The only thing I didn’t pay any attention to was the fact that it was, indeed, a very Swedish text referring to poetic expressions here and a metaphor there understood by Swedes only. How on earth am I going to make a decent translation of it?

I could, of course, just translate the text to the best of my ability and write a long note afterward explaining everything and hope that it would make sense sooner or later. The only problem was that the Swedish text is short and the note with the explanations would probably be much longer which would make the entry look stupid and – even worse – make me pass for a fool.

Another way of solving the problem would be to write an entirely new story in English, hoping that I wouldn’t have any visitors with knowledge of both languages reading both blogs and reveal my secret in a comment. The only problem was that I don’t know any English similarities I could build my story on.

Allright, I have now thought of two ways of solving the problem and decided not to use any of them. What am I supposed to do now? The easy way of it is to forget about the poetry and just explain things plainly. Fair play, I said to myself, and that’s what I’m going to do now.

Just like many other cities, Stockholm has also been given a number of various names with a poetic ring. New York, NY can be referred to as “the Big Apple” and Stockholm can be referred to as “the Venice of the North” and – more domestic – as the Queen of Lake Mälaren.

When I posted this image in the blog, the first thing that popped up in my head was to write a short story about the ballroom of the Queen of lake Mälaren where the guests arrived at a time of the day when they would not been seen by any mortal and they danced through the room all the way up to the high settle where the Queen sat together with King Bore, who is a figure from traditional fairy tales where he is described as the King of Winter. The ice and the reflections in it made it look like a dance floor when using a little imagination.

It all made sense in Swedish and I have now, hopefully, managed to make it understandable in English as well, or…?


4 responses

  1. sambissell

    Unseen by we,
    the Queen’s and King’s court
    Danced the minuet on sheets of glass
    drawn by the King of Winter himself:
    Chandeliers’ sparkles lit their way
    through the halls of Drottningholm Palace,
    amid icicles warming their hearts.
    And then, just before dawn,
    Queen, King, and court
    melted away…
    if only to reappear
    when dark emerged once more.

    Inspiration and imagination………..

    23/01/2009 at 09:33

  2. sambissell

    I Googled King Bore and came across this curious page……….


    23/01/2009 at 09:35

  3. Staffan H

    Sam: Wow – thanks a million for the poem. I love it!


    24/01/2009 at 02:29

  4. Dear Staffan,

    I’m Jean-Baptiste, pianist in the Netherlands, and I’m currently busy with constructing a programme about Legends around water in different forms. I’ve got a sunken cathedral in Brittany (La Cathedrale Engloutie – Debussy), a luring mermaid on the Rhine (Die Lorelei – Liszt), and a water nymph flirting with a human (Ondine – Ravel). Then I stumbled upon a lovely Swedish piece by True Rangström, the Mälarlegender. So I’ve been looking around the internet to figure out what these legends were around this lake, and I’ve found your blog (loved both the picture and the poem by the way!). I would love to read more about this allegory of the Queen of Lake Mälaren, but it is proving harder to find that I would think. Would you by any chance have any additional information about it? Any books of legends that I could read for instance? Unfortunately I do not read Swedish (yet), but I can always try and make use of a translator if needed.
    Thank you in advance for your help!
    Wishing you a pleasant Sunday,

    22/01/2017 at 12:24

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