Bowl Licker

Bowl Licker comes to town on 17 December. In the past, Icelanders ate from lidded wooden bowls that they sometimes kept under the bed or on the floor. Bowl Licker would hide under the bed, and if someone put their bowl on the floor he grabbed it and licked the inside clean.

Askasleikir, Bowl LickerBowl Licker, the sixth one,
was shockingly ill bred.
From underneath the bedsteads
he stuck his ugly head.

And when the bowls were left
to be licked by dog or cat,
he snatched them for himself
- he was sure good at that!

 

From the poem The Yuletide Lads by Jóhannes úr Kötlum.                             

English translation by Hallberg Hallmundsson.