The Bock Saga is the story of mankind as passed down through the generations of the Bock family, the Finnish family of Ior Bock whom, according to him, was the keeper of an ancient oral tradition that sheds light on the heathen culture of Finland and its history. It begins with the first two people dwelling on this earth and ends with the untimely and tragic death of Ior Bock in 2010. It covers a huge time span and an enormous number of events have taken place since then. The Bock Saga narrates this all in great detail. It is, in short, an enormous story… Ior Bock told us that, from the age of seven to the age of 27, he had been educated on the Bock Saga by his mother, Rhea, and her sister Rachel Boxström. He would have to sit for two hours every day and listen to his mother and aunt relating the Saga. He was not allowed to say a single word; he could only listen. The two storytellers were very strict taskmasters. If, for some reason, a day was skipped, the listening time would be doubled on the following day. Needless to say, this all happened at the expense of the young Ior’s formal schooling. And in this way, the family story of the Saga was passed on from his mother and aunt to Ior over the course of 20 years. Rhea and Rachel, in turn, heard it from their father and their father’s sister, who got it from their parents, and so on. The family tradition was to educate the children in the Bock Saga, passing it on orally for countless generations. Oral traditions have the unfortunate reputation of not being trustworthy, because when passed on they slightly change, so that over long periods of time a story can change considerably. The Saga differs in that it lays on top of what is called the “sound system”, which is similar to a mathematical matrix that controls what is true and what is not in the Saga. This particular matrix is formed by the Root language, a language in which every sound has a meaning and a mark. All syllables, words and sentences are combinations of these building blocks of meaningful sounds. Since the meaning of the sounds are fixed and cannot be altered, the Saga can be passed on to the next generation without any changes in its purest form. Just as mathematics is the language in which the natural cohesion between numbers is described and can be thus passed on, so is the Root language the natural means of describing the Bock Saga.
The 24 of February 1984 dawned like any other morning on the glistening shores of India’s smallest state of Goa. As had become the custom, a few friends gathered on the porch of Ior Bock’s house to soak up the good company. But on this particular morning, Ior stroked his bushy moustache and cleared his throat, announcing that he had a story to tell concerning “The Alphabet”. His friends couldn’t help but feel ever so slightly surprised. The last thing they expected from someone considered more or less illiterate and whose main interest was 18th-century Nordic history, was to dwell on such a subject. But what would follow was the fascinating story of his family. This story is called the Bock Saga. It was not long before pots and pans were flying through the air in reaction to what he told his listeners. And this was only the beginning of many strong reactions provoked by the Saga. In the midst of all the chaos and bizarreness that his words evoked, Ior just quietly continued to tell his story to anyone who took the time to listen. I was there – listening – when the rug of the porch was pulled from under our feet… and the seed for this book was sown. ×