I have a joke for the Icelanders. I would write it in Icelandic if I could, but I only know the punchline in Icelandic, so I'll translate that into English...
Once upon a time, there was a salesman who traveled from farm to farm selling horse and farm supplies. But something happened and he could no longer make any sales.
His boss called him into his office and told him "Siggi, you're a great guy and everyone likes you very much. But for a while now, you have not sold a thing. Anything at all. We can't afford to keep you on your salary and we are going to have to let you go. But because we like you so much, and we have done well by you in the past, we are going to give you one month before you have to leave and go on your own."
The following week, the boss noticed that Siggi's sales were up. In fact, they matched the rest of his group. The second week, Siggi produced more sales than anyone else in the whole region. For the third week, he was the highest seller in all of Iceland. And finally, on the fourth week, he not only met record sales figures, but the warehouse people had to work overtime to keep up with him.
There was no way he could be fired now.
His boss called him in to tell him he should stay. But he had a question: how had he been able to change his sales?
Siggi shrugged. "It may be because I learned a new word." he said modestly.
"Oh. What word is that?"
The boss frowned. "I don't understand..."
"Well, when a customer tells me his mare just got first prize, I say "frábært". And when a customer says that his son just got accepted into Hólar, I say "frábært". Or that his daughter just had a baby I say "frábært".
"What did you say before?"
In real life, we need to know when to say kjaftæði as well as frábært.
And in the case of the Icelandic horse, I think people have a tendency to over-use the frábært side. This is not to say that everything else is pure kjaftæði, but at times some reality needs to be dished out. For, if everything is so frábært with the horse, why isn't everyone in the rest of the world buying them? Particularly in my own country, America, where there are less than 3,000 among the millions in other breeds.
So we need to explore that question with a clear mind, look at it as objectively as we can. In the next few articles, I will address this issue: If the Icelandic horse is so great, why doesn't everyone (who rides) ride one?
And if I say kjaftæði from time to time, remember it's from a good friend of Iceland and the Icelandic horse!