tweede friese landrecht

This document is a legal text in Old Frisian, a forerunner of the contemporary Frisian language. It describes, for example, the right of a mother to sell the land of her child before it comes of age – but only in an emergency, to protect it from cold and starvation.

Tweede Friese landrecht uit het Fivelgoër handschrift, circa 1450

Tweede Friese landrecht from the Fivelgo manuscript, around 1450
. Oebele Vries reading passages from het Tweede Friese Landrecht

The passage runs as follows: [The mother may sell the land if]

“… the child is stark naked or homeless and when dark mist and bitter cold and long darkness spread over the fenced fields and all seek refuge in their[…] houses and warm corners and wild animals seek the shelter of mountains and hollow trees […].”

Rather poetical for a legal text, don’t you think?