The entire Latvian national epic Lāčplēsis can be heard online

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I was browsing through LibriVox yesterday and taking a look in particular at some of the smaller languages, and noted that Latvian had just one entry. Most of the time languages with just a few entries will have perhaps the Declaration of Human Rights and a few small select bits of poetry, but Latvian's one entry turned out to be especially long - it's Lāčplēsis, the Latvian national epic. Meaning bear-slayer, the reason for the name is:

His name means "Bear-slayer", because as a young man, living as the adopted son of the Lord of Lielvārde, he kills a bear by ripping its jaws apart with his hands.
Weird. I had a very memorable dream a few years ago where I did the same thing. Along came a bear to accost us and I flew up in the air and crushed its skull with my left hand. Felt really bad about it too within the dream as this particular bear couldn't be reasoned with so I had no choice but to use excessive force.

Anyway, back to the real Lāčplēsis: the page on LibriVox is here, and the total running time is almost 3.5 hours. Latvian has much less content online than Lithuanian, making resources that much more valuable for those who wish to learn it. The link on the LibriVox page doesn't work exactly as it should, so here is the text: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.

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