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  5. "Sagan handlar om två igelkot…

"Sagan handlar om två igelkottar och en tvål."

Translation:The fairy tale is about two hedgehogs and a bar of soap.

March 5, 2015



Does somebody know this tale?


This is the closest tale I could get (no soap): http://www.amazon.com/The-Tale-Anabelle-Hedgehog-Riverbank/dp/0745946771

And this is the closest product I could get (hedgehog soap): https://www.facebook.com/hedgehogsoap


Jag tycker om love Stephen Lawhead, and his many excellent books. But I think he knows more of celtic sagas than Swedish ones.


Sonic Adventure 2 had Sonic the Hedgehog and, for the first time in the franchise, Shadow the Hedgehog. Additionally, the shoes worn by Sonic in that game were from a brand called Soap. That's the closest thing I've found about this fairytale, which might be just a Sonic game.


I think that may be a liiittle too much headcanon, but I like the theory. :p


For works of fiction, "canon" is the term for the official version of events. For instance, the comics industry is infamous for publishing storylines that directly contradict each other, deciding later which ones are canon and which ones are not.

"headcanon" means something that is neither confirmed nor refuted by the canonical storyline, but which is still believed by someone to be correct within the realms of it.


I'd like to read this fairy tale...

In Germany there is a fairy tale called "der Hase und der Igel" that is about two hedgehogs and a rabbit. When I first read this sentence (not knowing the meaning of tval) I thought this was the story the sentence was refering to.


A terribly late reply, but that fairy tale is called Haren och igelkotten in Swedish. It's not very common, but certainly not unheard of either. :)

Apparently it was first written down in Plattdeutsch in 1840; I should try to find the text and see how much it differs from modern Platt.


Yes the Plattdeutsch version of 1840 was De Has un de Swinegel. There is a full text at http://maerchen-netzwerk.de/klassiker/dehasundeswinegel.htm but I don't know whether that is the "original" version.


Oh, thank you. :) It sounds a bit too modern to be an original version, but it's still a nice read.


The 1855 edition Het Wettloopen tüschen den Haasen un den Swinegel up der Buxtehuder Heid' http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:061:2-1918 is word by word the same but differs in orthograpy.


Excellent digging! :)


There is no soap in that fairy tale.


Does sagan just apply to fairy tales, or does it also apply to a saga or epic?


It's a fantasy story, but not necessarily a fairy tale. The epic the Lord of the Rings books and films are called Sagan om Ringen in Swedish, but they're definitely not fairy tales.


I think fairytale and fantasy story are more or less interchangeable. Fairy tales may be more stories for younger audiences. So is it safe to say that saga is not age specific?


saga in Swedish refers both to fairytales and Icelandic sagas and things like The Forsyte saga. There are more specific words like islänningasaga, folksaga, konstsaga and so on if you want to be more specific. (and long epic stories about families are more often called släktkrönika than saga, but saga is sometimes used too)

The most typical example of saga is a fairytale for children, but it can be used about a lot of other things too depending on context.


Oh, ok. Well, that seems to be the case then, yes.


That seems like an unfair competition.


Mrs Tiggywinkle was a hedgehog who used soap.


Could sagan in this case be translated to "fable"?


No, a fable is a fabel in Swedish.


Thanks for the comment, but isn't a saga on animals quite close to the definition of a fable?


A fable is actually basically a tale meant to enforce a moral. It very often has animals in it, but it's not a requirement.

Besides, "quite close" doesn't really work in linguistics, hence why you can't translate English "tiger" into Swedish lejon either. :)


So maybe the following statements are true:

  • There are several fables that are also saga. (traditionella berättelse om djur som ger en moralisk lärdom)

  • There are at least some fables that are not saga. (moderna fabler som är inte traditionell berättelse)

  • There are some saga on animals that are not fables (saga med djur som inte ger en moralisk lärdom)


Definitely. :) At least if you're talking about Swedish. An English "saga" isn't quite the same.


Is there a sponge with the soap? That makes me think of a french ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otY69wuY70g


Is there a real Swedish fairy tale about two hedgehogs and a bar of soap? I really hope so!


Nope, it's an entirely made-up sentence.


What does this sentence refer to? The comment bubble says there are a whopping 44 comments so I imagine it's discussed at length there, but when I click on the bubble only two comments come up.


It's a bug on mobile. You'll have to view it in a web browser.


And when you view it in a web browser, it loads lazily as you scroll down, so a search for some word within a discussion page may miss its target uless you have scrolled to the very bottom before starting the search


I'm sure my dad once told a dirty joke with that setup...


I... am intrigued.


Is this a real fairy tale? I am very curious.


"The fairytale concerns two hedgehogs and a bar of soap."

Shouldn't this be accepted?


Perhaps someone should write a tale about two hedgehogs and a bar of soap :D


could you say "some soap", or is it strictly "one soap" "a bar of soap"?


"Some soap" is "Lite tvål".


The thing is that native English speakers don't really like a soap or one soap, they prefer to say things like a bar of soap and similar – it isn't really countable in English. In Swedish though, it's a normal word. en tvål, två tvålar, tre tvålar… :)


Does this apply to soap that does not come in bars, such as liquid soap?


I at least would probably prefer to call those en flaska handtvål, since it's more the packages that would be counted. I actually often buy several of these at once, as refills, and when I've brought those home I might say things like Jag har köpt fyra paket handtvål.


Ah gotcha, so there you would use a secondary noun like in English.


This is really helpful, thanks :)


Is saying simply "soap" (since I learned that it is uncountable) accepted here?


I know that my opinion here maybe is worthless, but I think that simply "soap" has a slightly different meaning, just "soap" can mean "a ton of soap", "three bars of soap" or "a truck full of soap", since it has no number of weight, but "en tvål", if I'm not wrong, refers to specifically ONE bar of soap (it can be big, I guess, but it's only one), so the meaning is a little bit different


It is, though I'm not sure I think it should be...


I translated "handlar" as "has to do with" and it was rejected. Am I so far off?


I think has to do with is a bit more vague than is about. With is about, they're really what the story is about. With has to do with, they might be just elements in it, or just be connected to it somehow.


Could you please elaborate some more on "handlar". I am confused. Does the verb have two meaning, "to shop" and "to be about"?

Also, a totally unrelated question: do you know of any dictionary that gives the phonemic transcription of Swedish words? I have trouble distinguishing long and short vowels and it would help me to see the correct written pronunciation.


Yes, the verb has these two meanings and more, see https://sv.wiktionary.org/wiki/handla


Mycket tack för skillnaden.


What would a bedtime story be in Swedish?


godnattsaga is probably the best option.


A direct translation from the Finnish "hyvänyönsatu", I see. Thanks.


Finns det egentligen den här sagan i svenska?


I want to read this hedgehogs bath story, is it real?


Is this a reference to something?


As noted multiple times above: no.


Is this a reference to something, or am I destined to forever wonder what was the deal with the hedgehogs and a bar of soap?


It's just a random sentence.


Bu... but now I need to know that happen with the hedgehogs and the soap :'(


They've eloped and now live on an island in a tent. They are unhappy with all the unwanted press brought upon them from this Duolingo thread. However, no one has seen the soap since the beginning of the covid epidemic.


I have been reading Pippi Långstrump in Swedish, and in that book, the teacher tries to teach Pippi the letter "i" using the word "igelkott".


That's probably quite common, actually. I do that with my toddler.


I was surprised at first to see the word "igelkott" being taught in this course, until I realized they are pretty common in Europe. We don't have any hedgehogs in the U.S. except as pets, imported from some other country, and they are not common even as pets.


In Germany the hedgehog used to be so common that it lent its name to the chestnut calybium Kastanienigel (which is missing in de.wiktionary.org I wonder why, but it appears to have acquired another meaning as "a hedgehog made of chestnut"). Nowadays you sometimes see dead hedgehogs on motorways and, with a bit of luck, live ones in your garden on late summer evenings, and I have never heard of hedgehogs as pets before.


Fun information! Thanks!
I looked up some pictures, and I see the difference in appearance between a European hedgehog and an African hedgehog. It appears that the ones people have as pets in the U.S. (not a common pet) are African Pygmy hedgehogs.


I see why the Kastanienigel got nicknamed "chestnut." It really looks like one. :D


I think the closest thing we have to a hedgehog here is a porcupine.


Hedgehogs are my favourite wild animal in Europe though I didn't see any on my last visit. It's definitely worth learning the word for them in European language courses.

In Australia we have a similar-looking but unrelated animal called an echidna. They're quite a bit bigger than the hedgehogs I've seen - and they lay eggs! Sadly I haven't seen one of these for many years either.


thank you, toddler is a nice word I had not known before.


Is this an actual fairy tale?


Is it just random, or is there really a swedish saga, which deals with two hedgehogs and a bar of soap?


Now I'm interested


Does this tale exist in Sweden? Sounds a little bit strange to me.


No, it's just a random sentence.


Omg 1 year later and I see you really want people to stop wondering about this xD. It's really not the first time Duolingo does this kind of "weird" sentences. And everytime they pull out one of these type of sentences, they always refer to something of culture. One thing I know for sure, they don't pull out these kind of sentences randomly. It's not to obvious there would be a "saga" named after this very same sentence, but they always make a sentence about something specific within something bigger. They never pull out the sentence as the tittle of a "saga" or a film. It's pretty much about specific and pretty niche plot points nada characters. Maybe one exception I recall is the tittle of a song.


A bit difficult to fill in the "bar of". If I hadn't met the same sentence previously, I wouldn't have got this one. But I had, so I did :)


Is there really a fairy tale about two hedgehogs and a bar of soap? I really want to hear it


I'm curious to read this fairytale


Is that about a wellknown swedish fairy tale??


Är det om en speciell svensk saga?


Is this an "in" joke with Swedes? Is this statement that would have cultural meaning for a Swede?


This has to be a reference to something.


I'm intrigued to read this fairy tale!


Is there really a fairytale about two hedgehogs and a bar of soap, or is this just random?


Finns sagan verkligen?


really? my comment is first? :-D utmärkt! What is this in reference to? Tack!


No, but I'm guessing you're on the Android app, since that occasionally doesn't show comments. There are loads of comments here. You'll find the answer to your question among them if you use a web browser instead. :)


Is... is this a thing? Or is this just a random and very weird sentence?


Just a random sentence.


It's an awesome sentence and now I want that story. Also sorry for asking that for the billionth time, the app showed no other comments, but thank you for your patience!


Jag tror att jag måste skriva det...


I've done this sentence many times before, but this time I wrote "porcupine" and was marked incorrect. Is that a separate animal from igelkottar?


Yes, they're not even in the same order - porcupines are rodents, and hedgehogs are eulipotyphlae.

The animal you'd typically mean by "porcupine" is called jordpiggsvin in Swedish - literally "earth spike swine". :)


This now goes in the same category with strawberries. I love it!


I had no idea! Tack så mycket!


Det här låter lite kinkigt för mig. Det måste vara en dusch också... ;-)


Did you mean the English "kinky"? Because kinkig means "whiny" in the sense of e.g. overtired infants and toddlers. :)


Ja, det var vad jag menade. Så hur säger du "kinky" på svenska? :-)


Perhaps we're not naughty enough - Swedish lacks a really good equivalent. :) I actually think most Swedes would use the English word, with the English pronunciation and spelling.


What is a good definition in English of the Swedish word "saga"?

I don't think "fairtytale" is quite right because a fairytale is a specific genre of children's stories and it is expected to contain royalty, fairies or witches or magicians, peasants, romance, and a medieval European setting. This (fictional fiction) story about hedgehogs and soap would not qualify as a fairytale.

What kinds of stories does "saga" include?


Curiosity over the meanings of the word "saga" and how it relates to "fairytale" is what brought me to this long thread seeking answers. I felt as if hearing sagas about traveling, exploring, and other epic situations having some basis in reality made me curious just why would such a soft word as fairytale and epic word as saga be interchangeable.


saga is actually a really good translation of "fairy tale". The genre is a little bit wider than your examples, and the AT(U) classification system contains plenty of fairy tales with animals in them. :)


"Saga" is "saga". There ar family sagas, kings' sagas and also some magical sagas, but none are fairy tales. Those (German "märchen") are a different genre. Still different are "legends".


Vad är det för en saga ?


It is just a random sentence.


In German one can ask Was ist das für ein Märchen? but in Swedish I am not sure whether en fits after för.


It's arguably grammatical, but definitely not nearly as idiomatic.


Thank you! Now I've read this: Vad är du för en katt som inte kan klockan? sa Pettson. (Findus flyttar ut, last page)


I would probably consider Pettson colloquial. :)


Instead of vad för, Tomas Lindström chose a different expression in a similar phrase, translating Какая же ты птица, если ты летать не умеешь? to Vilken sorts fågel är du som inte kan flyga? (https://wessmans.com/pdf/peterochvargen.pdf)


What is the literal translation of "handlar om" and what other instances of this idiom are there? Also, would "sagan är om..." Have been a correct reformulation of this?


handla can mean to act or to play (and also purchase). But I really wouldn't consider the literal translation at all. handla om means to be about or concern / deal with, simple as that.

It cannot be changed into sagan är om... instead.


The German verb handeln is quite similar: Das Märchen handelt von zwei Igeln und einem Stück Seife.


What fairy tale does that refer to?


Is this a reference? Haha


Finns det riktigt en svensk saga som handlar om två igelkottar och en tvål?


Is this an actual fairytale?


Feel like I might be missing a reference here. Is this a popular Swedish fairy tale?


Is this a real Swedish fairy tale or just nonsense?


obscure reference?


Does such a fairy tale truly exist? Would love to read it


Is this a reference to a Swedish fairy tale?


What fairy tale is this??


It's just a random sentence.


I really want to hear the rest of this fairy tale.


There is no such fairy tale, it's just a random sentence.


Var kan man höra eller läsa det? Det verkar intressant! ^_^


What is its name?


What is its name?


According to a Swedish friend of mine, igelkott literally means something like snail porcupine


The Swedish word igel alone means leech, and is related to German Egel. On the other hand, the first part of the Swedish word igelkott, like German Igel, seems to come from a Proto-Germanic "igilaz" (hedgehog).


That doesn't make sense: hedgehogs are native to Sweden, porcupines aren't. Also I wonder if "igel" is related to Russian "игла"--which is "needle", and is referring to the quills.


Is there one, or is it just for två and tvål?


I haven't heard that one, I have to say


Is this a reference to an actual fairytale?

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