Posted by R. Berg on March 01, 2005
In Reply to: Gandy Dancer posted by Etaion Shrdlu on March 01, 2005
: I have not seen anywhere else the following explanation:
: In the Norse Eddas, there is an character who uses a wand or stick as a magic tool. The Norse word GANDR is tranlated as "wand" or "staff" and is a word still used in several websites on modern Norse/Viking/pagan rituals.
: The Edda refers to this character as GANDR-Alf (although he is a dwarf, not an elf!) Prof. J.R.R.Tolkien used most of the Edda dwarf-names in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but this one was reserved for the archtypical wizard with his long staff. The name... GANDALF!
: The connection with the long-handled (Irish) railway shovels and any such tool is obvious.
: Indeed I remember (vaguely, unfortunately) a science-fiction short story by one of the "classic" authors - Van Vogt perhaps - where a character earns a small income by sweeping ,i.e. being a broom operative, or "GANDY DANCER"
: Any comments?
I haven't seen that explanation anywhere else, either.