FRIDAY IS upon us. Frigga’s day. Frigga, the Norse goddess of love and fertility, the wife of Odin, the most powerful of all the Northern gods. Also, some people say, the same person as Freyja, or Freya.
In olden times, Frigga’s day was regarded as a lucky day. Northerners held their nuptials on that day. And all was smiles and happiness — until the Christians came along.
As they spread their gospel, they also spread the calumny that Frigga was a witch. Because of this false testimony, Friday became regarded as an unlucky day, a day on which no right-minded sailor would set sail, for fear of bad luck at sea.
That old superstition still holds sway among those intending to set out on long voyages in small boats, and even among those who man the warships of countries with large navies. No-one who depends on the sea for his or her livelihood scoffs at this superstition.
So what to do, if you simply must sail on a Friday? Well, there is a way to set sail on Frigga’s day without attracting bad luck, if you know how. And here’s how:
Start your voyage on a Wednesday or Thursday. Go a mile or two purposefully, and then return to your mooring or slip to attend to some problem that seems to have arisen. Perhaps the cook forgot to buy cooking oil. Perhaps the bosun has discovered a stay starting to strand. Perhaps the skipper left his chronometer on the bedside table at home. There are many convincing causes that would require a prudent crew to return to port.
Now you can set sail on Friday without the burden of bad luck hanging over you, because you are not actually setting sail on Friday, but merely continuing a voyage that started on Wednesday or Thursday.
And if a Christian should challenge you and accuse you of deception, you can say: “You’re a fine one to speak of deception, my man, after what your people did to dear old Frigga.”
And on Friday fell all this mischance.
— Chaucer, The Nonne Preeste’s Tale
Men don’t make passes
At girls who wear glasses;
Girls who don’t, but should,
Will never know
If men make passes.(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)