The Scandalous Tyranny Of Mankind

Halldór Laxness: “Suddenly the pauper's irresistible flood of talk engulfed the great independent household where everybody stood on his own feet. Talking she came across the marshes with her bundle on her back, and she talked ceaselessly all that day long till naked she climbed talking into bed beside the grandmother and little Nonni. Her talk dripped through the days like a leak that nothing can stop. She talked to herself as she raked the hay together in the meadow, and the boys closed slyly in upon her and listened: she discussed parish affairs, parish affairs, agriculture, and private matters, inquired into paternities and adulteries, flayed even the landed farmers for starving their sheep, branded respectable parishioners as thieves, and attacked the Bailiff, the minister, and even the Sherriff, reviling the authorities where others could see nothing but wet marshes, and always getting the better of the issue because her opponents were many miles awy. She poured out a continual stream of curses, complaining most of all over what she called the scandalous tyranny of mankind. This tyranny of mankind was such a thorn in her flesh that, regardless of whether she was talking to herself, to the others, to the bitch, to the sheep that chanced to cross the mowing, or to the ignorant song-birds of the air, all her discourse, waking and sleeping, revolved about this one hub. She lived in continual and altogether hopeless revolt against this loathsome oppression, and for that reason there was something rash, insolent, and vindictive in her eyes, something reminiscent of the eyes of an evil but indeterminate animal that one had seen in dreams; formless, but terrifying in its proximity.”