The Oera Linda Book
Written in 1256 AD, from a diary
which was put together 560-558 BC.
from the Original Frisian text
verified by Dr. Ottema
William R. Sandbach
Londen, Trubner & Co, 1876
The Writings of Konered
05 Chapter I: My forefathers have written this book in succession -
1. I will do the same, the more because there exists no longer in my state a burgh on which events are inscribed as used to be the case. My name is Konered. My father’s name was Frethorik, my mother’s name was Wiliow. After my father’s death I was chosen as his successor. When I was fifty years old I was chosen for chief reeve.
2. My father has written how the Lindawrda and Liudgarda were destroyed. Lindahem is still lost, the Lindawrda partially, and the north Liudgarda is still concealed by the salt sea. The foaming sea washes the ramparts of the burgh. As my father has mentioned, the people, being deprived of their harbour, went away and built houses inside the ramparts of the burgh; therefore that complete circuit is called Liudwerd. The navigators say Liuwrd, but that is nonsense.
3. In my youth there was a portion of land lying outside the rampart all mud and marsh; but Frya’s people were neither tired nor exhausted when they had a good object in view. By digging ditches, and making dams of the mud that came out of the ditches, we recovered a good space of land outside the rampart, which had the form of a hoof three poles eastwards, three southwards, and three westwards.
4. At present we are engaged in ramming piles into the ground to make a harbour to protect our rampart. When the work is finished we shall attract navigators. In my youth it looked very queer, but now there stands a row of houses.
5. Leaks and deficiencies produced by poverty have been remedied by industry. From this men may learn that Wr-Alda, our Alfeder, protects all his creatures, if they preserve their courage and help each other.
05 Chapter II: Now I will write about Friso -
1. Friso, who was already powerful by his troops, was chosen chief reeve of the districts round Staveren. He laughed at our mode of defending our land and our sea fights; therefore he established a school where the boys might learn to fight in the Krekalandar manner, but I believe that he did it to attach the young people to himself. I sent my brother there ten years ago, because I thought, now that we have not got any folk-mother, it behoves me to be doubly watchful, in order that he may not become our master.
2. Gosa has given us no successors. I will not give any opinion about that; but there are still old suspicious people who think that she and Friso had an understanding about it. When Gosa died, the people from all parts wished to choose another folk-mother; but Friso, who was busy establishing a kingdom for himself, did not desire to have any advice or messenger from Texland.
3. When the messengers of the Landsaton came to him, he said that Gosa had been far-seeing and wiser than all the reeves together, and yet she had been unable to see any light or way out of this affair; therefor she had not had the courage to choose a successor, and to choose a doubtful one she thought would be very bad; therefore she wrote in her last will:
4. "It is better to have no folk-mother than to have one on whom you cannot rely."
5. Friso had seen a great deal. He had been brought up in the wars, and he had just learned and gathered as much of the tricks and cunning ways of the Golar and the princes as he required, to lead the other reeves wherever he wished. See here how he went to work about that.
6. Friso had taken here another wife, a daughter of Wilfrethe, who in his lifetime had been chief reeve of Staveren. By her he had two sons and two daughters. By his wish Kornelia, his younger daughter, was married to my brother. "Kornelia" is not good Frya’s language; her name ought to be written "Kornhelia".
7. Wemod, his elder daughter, he married to Kauch. Kauch, who went to school with him, is the son of Wichhirte, the king of the Gertmannar. But "Kauch" is likewise not good Frya’s language, and ought to be "Kap". So they have learned more bad language than good manners.
8. Now I must return to my story.
9. After the great flood of which my father wrote an account, there came many Juttar and Letne out of the Balda or Kuade Sea. They were driven down the Katsgat in their boats by the ice as far as the coast of Denamark, and there they remained. There was not a creature to be seen; so they took possession of the land, and named it after themselves, Juttarland.
10. Afterwards many of the Denamarkar returned from the higher lands, but they settled more to the south; and when the navigators returned who had not been lost, they all went together to Seland. By this arrangement the Juttar retained the land to which Wr-Alda had conducted them. The Selandar navigators, who were not satisfied to live upon fish, and who hated the Golar, took to robbing the Phonisiar ships.
11. In the south west point of Skenland there lies Lindasburch, called Lindasnose, built by one Apol, as is written in the book. All the people who live on the coasts, and in the neighbouring districts, had remained true Children of Frya; but by their desire for vengeance upon the Golar, and the followers of Kaltana, they joined the Selandar. But that connection did not hold together, because the Selandar had adopted many evil manners and customs of the wicked Magyarar, in opposition to Frya’s people.
12. Afterwards, everybody went stealing on his own account; but when it suited them they held all together. At last the Selandar began to be in want of good ships. Their shipbuilders had died, and their forests as well as their land had been washed out to sea. Now there arrived unexpectedly three ships, which anchored off the ramparts of our burgh. By the disruption of our land they had lost themselves, and had missed Flymuda.
13. The merchant who was with them wished to buy new ships from us, and for that purpose had brought all kinds of valuables, which they had stolen from the Kaltanarland and Phonisiar ships. As we had no ships, I gave them active horses and four armed couriers to Friso; because at Staveren, along the Alderga, the best ships of war were built of hard oak which never rots.
14. While these sea rovers remained with us, some of the Juttar had gone to Texland, and thence to Friso. The Selandar had stolen many of their strongest boys to row their ships, and many of their finest daughters to have children by. The great Juttar could not prevent it, as they were not properly armed. When they had related all their misfortunes, and a good deal of conversation had taken place, Friso asked them at last if they had no good harbours in their country.
15. They answered, "Oh, yes; a beautiful one, created by Wr-Alda. It is like a bottle, the neck narrow, but in the belly a thousand large boats may lie; but we have no burgh and no defences to keep out the pirate ships."
16. Friso said, "Then you should make them."
17. The Juttar said, "That is very good advice; but we have no workmen and no building materials; we are all fishermen and trawlers. The others are drowned or fled to the higher lands."
18. While they were talking in this way, my messengers arrived at the court with the Selandar gentlemen. Here you must observe how Friso understood deceiving everybody, to the satisfaction of both parties, and to the accomplishment of his own ends. To the Selandar he promised that they should have yearly fifty ships of a fixed size for a fixed price, fitted with iron chains and crossbows, and full rigging as is necessary and useful for men-of-war, but that they should leave in peace the Juttar and all the people of Frya’s race.
19. But he wished to do more; he wanted to engage all our sea rovers to go with him upon his fighting expedition. When the Selandar had gone, he loaded forty old ships with weapons for wall defences, wood, bricks, carpenters, masons, and smiths, in order to build burghs. Witto, or Witte, his son, he sent to superintend.
20. I have never been well informed of what happened; but this much is clear to me, that on each side of the harbour a strong burgh has been built, and garrisoned by people brought by Friso out of Saxanamark. Witto courted Siuchthirte and married her. Wilhem, her father, was chief alderman of the Juttar - that is, chief reeve or officer. Wilhem died shortly afterwards, and Witto was chosen in his place.
05 Chapter III: What Friso did further -
1. Of his first wife he still had two brothers-in-law, who were very daring. Hetto - that is, "Heat" - the youngest, he sent as messenger to Kattaburch, which lies far in the Saxanamark. Friso gave him to take seven horses, besides his own, laden with precious things stolen by the sea rovers. With each horse there were two young sea rovers and two young horsemen, clad in rich garments, and with money in their purses.
2. In the same way as he sent Hetto to Kattaburch, he sent Bruno that is, "Brown" - the other brother-in-law, to Mannagardawrda. Mannagardawrda was written Mannagardaforda in the earlier part of this book, but that is wrong. All the riches that they took with them were given away, according to circumstances, to princes, princesses, and chosen young girls.
3. When his young men went to the tavern to dance with the young people there, they ordered baskets of spice, gingerbread, and tuns of the best beer. After these messengers he let his young people constantly go over to the Saxanamark, always with money in their purses and presents to give away, and they spent money carelessly in the taverns.
4. When the Saxmannar youths looked with envy at this they smiled, and said:
5. "If you dare go and fight the common enemy you would be able to give much richer presents to your brides, and live much more princely."
6. Both the brothers-in-law of Friso had married daughters of the chief princes, and afterwards the Saxman youths and girls came in whole troops to the Flymar.
7. The burgh-femmes and elder-femmes who still remembered their greatness did not hold with Friso’s object, and therefore they said no good of him; but Friso, more cunning than they, let them chatter, but the younger femmes he led to his side with golden fingers. They said everywhere:
8. "For a long time we have had no folk-mother, but that comes from being fit to take care of ourselves. At present it suits us best to have a king to win back our lands that we have lost through the imprudence of our folk-mothers."
9. Further they said, "Every Child of Frya has permission to let his voice be heard before the choice of a prince is decided; but if it comes to that, that you choose a king, then also we will have our say. From all that we can see, Wr-Alda has appointed Friso for it, for he has brought him here in a wonderful way. Friso knows the tricks of the Golar, whose language he speaks; he can therefore watch against their craftiness. Then there is something else to keep the eye upon. What reeve could be chosen as king without the others being jealous of him?"
10. All such nonsense the young femmes talked; but the elder-femmes, though few in number, tapped their advice out of another cask. They said always and to every one:
11. "Friso does like the spiders. At night he spreads his webs in all directions, and in the day he catches in them all his unsuspecting friends. Friso says he cannot suffer any priests or foreign princes, but we say that he cannot suffer anybody but himself; therefore he will not allow the burgh of Stavia to be rebuilt; therefore he will not have the folk-mother again. Today Friso is your counsellor, tomorrow he will be your king, in order to have full power over you."
12. Among the people there now existed two parties. The old and the poor wished to have the folk-mother again, but the young and the warlike wished for a father and a king. The first called themselves "Mother’s Sons", the others, "Father’s Sons", but the Mother’s Sons did not count for much; because there were many ships to build, there was a good time for all kinds of workmen. Moreover, the sea rovers brought all sorts of treasures, with which the femmes were pleased, the girls were pleased, and their relations and friends.
13. When Friso had been nearly forty years at Staveren he died. Owing to him many of the states had been joined together again, but that we were the better for it I am not prepared to certify. Of all the reeves that preceded him there was none so renowned as Friso; for, as I said before, the young femmes spoke in his praise, while the elder-femmes did all in their power to make him hateful to everybody. Although the old women could not prevent his meddling, they made so much fuss that he died without becoming king.
05 Chapter IV: Now I will write about his son Adel -
1. Friso, who had learned our history from The Book of Adela’s Followers, had done everything in his power to win their friendship. His eldest son, whom he had by his wife Swethirte, he named Adel; and although he strove with all his might to prevent the building or restoring of any burghs, he sent Adel to the burgh of Texland in order to make himself better acquainted with our laws, language, and customs.
2. When Adel was twenty years old Friso brought him into his own school, and when he had fully educated him he sent him to travel through all the states. Adel was an amiable young man, and in his travels he made many friends, so the people called him Atharik - that is, "Rich in Friends" - which was very useful to him afterwards, for when his father died he took his place without a question of any other reeve being chosen.
3. While Adel was studying at Texland there was a lovely femme at the burgh. She came from Saxanamark, from the state of Suobaland, therefore she was called at Texland Suobene, although her name was Ifkia. Adel fell in love with her, and she with him, but his father wished him to wait a little. Adel did as he wished; but as soon as he was dead, sent messengers to Bertholda, her father, to ask her in marriage.
4. Bertholda was a prince of high-principled feelings. He had sent his daughter to Texland in the hope that she might be chosen burgh-femme in her country, but when he knew of their mutual affection he bestowed his blessings upon them. Ifkia was a clever Child of Frya. As far as I have been able to learn, she always toiled and worked to bring the Frya’s people back under the same laws and customs.
5. To bring the people to her side, she travelled with her husband through all Saxanamark, and also to Gertmannia - as the Gertmannar had named the country which they had obtained by means of Gosa. Thence they went to Denamark, and from Denamark by sea to Texland. From Texland they went to Westflyland, and so along the coast to Walhallagara; thence they followed the Suder Hrenum, till, with great apprehension, they arrived beyond the Rene at the Marsatar of whom our Apollonia has written.
6. When they had stayed there a little time, they returned to the lowlands. When they had been some time descending towards the lowlands, and had reached about the old burgh of Aken, four of their servants were suddenly murdered and stripped. They had loitered a little behind. My brother, who was always on the alert, had forbidden them to do so, but they did not listen to him.
7. The murderers that had committed this crime were Twisklandar, who had at that time audaciously crossed the Rene to murder and to steal. The Twisklandar are banished and fugitive Children of Frya, but their wives they have stolen from the Tartarar. The Tartarar are a brown tribe of Finda’s people, who are thus named because they make war on everybody. They are all horsemen and robbers. This is what makes the Twisklandar so bloodthirsty.
8. The Twisklandar who had done the wicked deed called themselves Fryar or Frankar. There were among them, my brother said, red, brown, and white men. The red and brown made their hair white with lime water but as their faces remained brown, they were only the more ugly.
9. In the same way as Apollonia, they visited Lydasburch and the Alderga. Afterwards they made a tour of all the neighbourhood of Staveren. They behaved with so much amiability, that everywhere the people wished to install Adel as king. Three months later, Adel sent messengers to all the friends that he had made, requesting them to send to him their representatives in the Minna Month [...]
10. [...] his wife, he said, who had been a femme at Texland, had received a copy of it. In Texland many writings are still found which are not copied in The Book of Adela’s Followers. One of these writings had been placed by Gosa with her last will, which was to be opened by the most senior elder-femme, Albethe, as soon as Friso was dead.
05 Chapter V: Here is the writing with Gosa’s advice -
1. When Wr-Alda gave children to the mothers of mankind, he gave one language to every tongue and to all lips. This gift Wr-Alda had bestowed upon men in order that by its means they might make known to each other what must be avoided and what must be followed to find true life, and to hold that life to all eternity.
2. Wr-Alda is wise and good, and all foreseeing. As he knew that happiness and holiness would flee from Irtha when wickedness could overcome virtue, he has attached to the language an equitable property. This property consists in this, that men can neither lie nor use deceitful words without stammering or blushing, by which means the innately bad are easily known.
3. As thus our language opens the way to happiness and blessedness, and thus helps to guard against evil inclinations, it is rightly named the language of the gods, and all those by whom it is held in honour derive honour from it. But what has happened? As soon as among our half brothers and sisters deceivers arose, who gave themselves out as servants of the good, it soon became otherwise.
4. The deceitful priests and the malignant princes, who always clung together, wished to live according to their own inclinations, without regard to the laws of right. In their wickedness they went so far as to invent other languages, so that they might speak secretly in anybody’s presence of their wicked and unworthy affairs without betraying themselves by stammering, and without showing a blush upon their countenances.
5. But what has that produced? Just as the seed of good herbs which has been sown by good men in the open day springs up from the ground, so time brings to light the evil seed which has been sown by wicked men in secret and in darkness.
6. The wanton girls and effeminate youths who consorted with the immoral priests and princes, taught the new language to their companions, and thus spread it among the people till the language of the gods was clean forgotten.
7. Would you know what came of all this? How that stammering and blushing no longer betrayed their evil doings - virtue passed away, wisdom and liberty followed; unity was lost, and quarrelling took its place; love flew away, and unchastity and envy met round their tables; and where previously justice reigned, now it is the sword. All are slaves - the subjects of their masters, envy, bad passions and covetousness.
8. If they had only invented one language things might possibly have still gone on well; but they invented as many languages as there are states, so that one people can no more understand another people than a cow a dog, or a wolf a sheep. The navigators can bear witness to this. From all this it results that all the slave people look upon each other as strangers; and that as a punishment of their inconsiderateness and presumption, they must quarrel and fight till they are all destroyed.
05 Chapter VI: Here is my counsel -
1. If you wish that you alone should inherit the World, you must never allow any language but the language of the gods to pass your lips, and take care that your own language remains free from outlandish sounds. If you wish that some of Lyda’s children and some of Finda’s children remain, you must do the same.
2. The language of the Ast Skenlandar has been perverted by the vile Magyarar, and the language of the followers of Kaltana has been spoiled by the dirty Golar. Now, we have been weak enough to admit among us the returned followers of Hellenia, but I anxiously fear that they will reward our weakness by debasing our pure language.
3. Many things have happened to us, but among all the burghs that have been disturbed and destroyed in the bad time, Irtha has preserved Fryasburch uninjured; and I may remark that Frya’s language, or the language of the gods, has always remained here untainted.
4. Here in Texland, therefore, schools should be established; and from all the states that have kept to the old customs the young people should be sent here, and afterwards those whose education is complete can help those who remain at home.
5. If foreigners come to buy ironwares from you, and want to talk and bargain, they must come back to the language of the gods. If they learn the language of the gods, then the words, "To Be Free", and, "To Have Justice", will come to them, and glimmer and glitter in their brains to a perfect light, and that flame will destroy all bad princes and hypocritical dirty priests.
6. The native and foreign messengers were pleased with that writing, but no schools came from it. Then Adel established schools himself. Every year Adel and Ifkia went to inspect the schools. If they found a friendly feeling existing between the natives and foreigners, they were extremely pleased.
7. If there were any who had sworn friendship together, they assembled the people, and with great ceremony let them inscribe their names in a book which was called The Book of Friendship, and afterwards a festival was held. All these customs were kept up in order to bring together the separate branches of Frya’s race; but the femmes who were opposed to Adel and Ifkia said that they did it for no other reason than to make a name for themselves, and to bring all the other states under their subjection.
8. Among my father’s papers I found a letter from Liudgert the Gertman. Omitting some passages which only concern my father, I proceed to relate the rest.
9. Pangab, that is, "Five Rivers", and by which we travel, is a river of extraordinary beauty, and is called "Five Rivers" because four other streams flow into the sea by its mouth. Far away to the eastward is another large river, the Helige or Sacred Gongga. Between these two rivers is the land of the Hindos. Both rivers run from the high mountains to the plains. The mountains in which their sources lie are so high that they reach the heavens, and therefore these mountains are called Himellaia.
10. Among the Hindos and others out of these countries there are people who meet together secretly. They believe that they are pure children of Finda, and that Finda was born in the Himellaia mountains, whence she went with her children to the lowlands. Some of them believe that she, with her children, floated down upon the foam of the Gongga, and that that is the reason why the river is called the Helige Gongga.
11. But the priests, who came from another country, traced out these people and had them burnt, so that they do not dare to declare openly their creed. In this country all the priests are fat and rich. In their temples there are all kinds of monstrous images, many of them gold.
12. To the west of the Pangab are the Yrar, or "Morose", the Gedrostne, or "Runaways", and the Orjetten, or "Forgotten". These names are given by the priests out of spite, because they fled from their customs and religion.
13. On their arrival our forefathers likewise established themselves to the east of the Pangab, but on account of the priests they likewise went to the west.
14. In that way we learned to know the Yrar and the other people. The Yrar are not savages, but good people, who neither pray to nor tolerate images; neither will they suffer priests or temples; but as we adhere to the light of Fasta, so they everywhere maintain fire in their houses.
15. Coming still further westward, we arrive at the Gedrostne. Regarding the Gedrostne: they have been mixed with other people, and speak a variety of languages. These people are really savage murderers, who always wander about the country on horseback hunting and robbing, and hire themselves as soldiers to the surrounding princes, at whose command they destroy whatever they can reach.
16. The country between the Pangab and the Gongga is as flat as Fryasland near the sea, and consists of forests and fields, fertile in every part, but this does not prevent the people from dying by thousands of hunger. The famines, however, must not be attributed to Wr-Alda or Irtha, but to the princes and priests.
17. The Hindos are timid and submissive before their princes, like hinds before wolves. Therefore the Yrar and others have called them Hindos, which means "Hinds". But their timidity is frightfully abused. If strangers come to purchase corn, everything is turned into money, and this is not prevented by the priests, because they, being more crafty and rapacious than all the princes put together, know very well that all the money will come into their pockets.
18. Besides what the people suffer from their princes, they suffer a great deal from poisonous and wild beasts. There are great elephants that sometimes go about in whole flocks and trample down cornfields and whole villages. There are great black and white cats which are called tigers. They are as large as calves, and they devour both men and beasts.
19. Besides other creeping animals there are snakes from the size of a worm to the size of a tree. The largest can swallow a cow, but the smallest are the most deadly. They conceal themselves among the fruits and flowers, and surprise the people who come to gather them. Any one who is bitten by them is sure to die, as Irtha has given no antidote to their poison, because the people have so given themselves up to idolatry.
20. There are, besides, all sorts of lizards, tortoises, and crocodiles. All these reptiles, like the snakes, vary from the size of a worm to the trunk of a tree. According to their size and fierceness, they have names which I cannot recollect, but the largest are called alligators, because they eat as greedily the putrid cattle that float down the stream as they do living animals that they seize.
21. On the west of the Pangab where we come from, and where I was born, the same fruits and crops grow as on the east side. Formerly there existed also the same crawling animals, but our forefathers burnt all the underwood, and so diligently hunted all the wild animals, that there are scarcely any left.
22. To the extreme west of the Pangab there is found rich clay land as well as barren heaths, which seem endless, occasionally varied lovely spots on which they eye rests enchanted. Among the fruits there are many that I have not found here. Among the various kinds of corn some is as yellow as gold. There are also golden apples, of which some are as sweet as honey and others as sour as vinegar.
23. In our country there are nuts as large as a child’s head. They contain cheese and milk. When they are old oil is made from them. Of the husks ropes are made, and of the shells cups and other household utensils are made. I have found in the woods here bramble and holly berries. In my country we have trees bearing berries, as large as your lime-trees, the berries of which are much sweeter and three times as large as your gooseberries.
24. When the days are at the longest, and the sun is in the zenith, a man’s body has no shadow. If you sail very far to the south and look to the east at midday, the sun shines on your left side as it does in other countries on the right side.
25. With this I will finish. It will be easy for you, by means of what I have written, to distinguish between false accounts and true descriptions.
26. Your Liudgert.