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Giving the bear to Svein: The interests in the bear

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Chapter Summary

Certain gifts to the king, it seems, are special. Routine tribute is one thing, but a polar bear, bought with everything the presenter had? And there is more than that. Examine the interests, as property law teachers would say, in the bear. By one view Audun owns it, subject to his conveyance of a half interest to Aki, which conveyance, however, turns out to be unenforceable. But there are two other interests in the bear still to be accounted for: King Svein's and Harald's. When Harald Hardradi lets Audun and his bear have passage through Norway to continue their way to Svein, Harald's spirit, to employ the Maussian metaphors of what imbues a gift with its obligatory powers to be requited, attaches to the bear. Harald has now signed on to the gift, endorsed it.

Keywords: Harald Hardradi; King Svein; Maussian metaphors; polar bear



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