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Chapter Summary

More than once we have raised questions about Audun’s motives, only to postpone them. Students and readers suspect he may be a cunning self-interested operator on the one hand, a holy fool on the other. Audun’s Story is a handbook on how to play the gift game exactly right, not by gaming it, but by performing well, because, to apply an image from Yeats, there is no way to tell the dancer from the dance. Audun’s Story traces its descent nonetheless to classic trickster tales, so it is hard to sneer at those who might claim that there is strategically interested behavior going on. There is thus more literary/folkloric warrant than philosophical, biological, or psychological justification for believing that Audun is a man out to make the biggest killing he can.

Keywords: Audun’s motives; Audun’s Story; classic trickster tales; gift game



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