“The Swollen Finger,” a Norwegian Folktale collected in the 19th century by Asbjornsen and Moe, never before translated into English. More of these stories to follow.

By John Dobby Boe

The Swollen Finger

Once upon a time there was a girl who had a finger that was so swollen that she thought there had never been such a swollen finger in the world. She fondled it, she blew it, she kept it still, and she swaddled it as if it were a baby, but it didn’t help. It was hurting badly.

So finally her mother said to her daughter, “This is completely crazy. You are suffering from so much pain that we don’t get any peace, neither you nor I, neither night nor day. I think it would be best if you took the horse and the wagon and went to the doctor and got his advice about your finger.

Yes, she thought so too, so she took the horse and the wagon and left for the doctor. There she came into the kitchen and asked if she could speak with the doctor.

But, as usually happens when someone needs a doctor, she was told no. The doctor was busy entertaining guests, including a priest and a judge, and no one would dare to disturb him.

“I don’t care if he is sitting with the bishop himself,” said the girl. For she had a swollen finger that was beyond all other swollen fingers, and until the doctor told her what to do for it, she wouldn’t leave him alone.

So finally someone was brave enough to intrude on the doctor and tell him someone sick was waiting to see him.

And so that doctor hurried to the kitchen, with the cards still in his hands. “What’s wrong with you?” the doctor said, angry as a watchdog.

“It is this swollen finger!” said the girl, holding up her finger and not saying anything else.

“Go to hell and take your swollen finger and stick it in your cunt!”  screamed the doctor.

“ Thank you very much, father,” said the girl, and she bowed and left.

That was some quick advice from a quick man, the girl said to herself, and as soon as she got to her wagon and sat down as the doctor had told her. She urged the horse forward and let him go as quickly as he could run, all the time keeping her swollen finger in cunt. Her throbbing finger was both sucked and squeezed in that warm place, and when she came home, and took her finger out, there was hole on the finger where the swelling was. Soon it started getting better, and little by little it was completely fine.

One day towards the end of the summer, her mother had churned some butter so nice and yellow it was more like an egg yolk. And she said to the daughter, “I think you should take a pound of this golden butter and to the doctor, because he helped you with your finger.”

So she went to the doctor with the pound of butter. And when she came to the doctor with a gift, this time it wasn’t difficult to talk to him. He both thanked her for the butter and shook hands with her.

“ But tell me, what was it that was wrong with you? I can’t really recall.”

“Oh, doctor don’t you remember?” asked the girl. “I had that bad swollen finger, the worst swollen finger in the world.

“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” the doctor said, as if had started remembering. “But I don’t remember exactly what advice I gave you.”

And so she told him what he had said and what she had done and how her finger had gotten better.

“Oh, was that you?” asked the doctor, noticing how what a stout and pretty girl she was. “Yes, that was a good piece of advice, and thank you very much for the butter,” he said. “But neither butter nor any other thing can help me now,” he continued, “for now I have a pain that is so much worse than what you had, for my pain is in my eleventh finger. You wouldn’t believe how swollen it has become!”

Heaven help you, father!” exclaimed the girl. “Now I know what an aching swollen finger is like. But can’t you use the remedy that you advised to me?”

“Yes, that would be easy enough,” said the doctor, “but I don’t have a tool like yours.”

“Then you can borrow mine,” said the girl.

The doctor thought this was a splendid idea. He borrowed her tool, and he used it very well.

Finally the girl moaned, “Oh, Oh, I felt that the hole break on your finger, doctor. Now I bet it will get better.” And sure enough the swelling did soon go down.

When the girl came back home to her mother, she told her how it went from the beginning to the end. She was happy and proud because she had healed the doctor himself from the pain he had in his eleventh finger.

“God forbid, my daughter!” exclaimed the old woman, clapping her hands. “Now you have also lost your honor.” And the mother explained why.

But the girl didn’t care and told her mother, “If my honor is actually located that close to my asshole, I don’t really give a shit about it.”

1 comment on ““The Swollen Finger,” a Norwegian Folktale collected in the 19th century by Asbjornsen and Moe, never before translated into English. More of these stories to follow.”


  1. jim cooke says:

    Yup, this qualifies as a JBB tale !

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