Shel

The trip of the merry Vikings

by Shelburn Kenderman


italian | engligh | russian


 

[ 1 ]

 

Vladsson Vasilev looked all around, perplexed.

- Good gracious, where am I?

As a matter of fact, the place was charming, a fjord with steep faces, so beautiful, so steep, that it could take one's breath away. Green mountains all around were mirrored in the transparent and limpid water. Over him there was a blue sky and an unexpectedly warm sun, for being in Norway.

A little bit away a man, dressed as an ancient Viking, was angling, and he looked rather angry. He was muttering something in an incomprehensible language... probably Italian.

- Hey, sir, - Vladsson addressed him, after reaching him - can you tell me where we are?

The big man turned his eyes at him, with a large smile.

- Oh, Vladsson, at last! I am Shelburnsson, we know each other through our correspondence and by the pictures we exchanged. Glad to meet you - and, throwing the fishing rod with carelessness, he got up and embraced him.

- Happy to meet you, too - and after the greetings he continued - but what am I doing here, where am I and why am I dressed this way?

- Don't speak to me of that, dear Vladsson, don't speak to me!

- Come on, don't do like that, I do need to know.

- That scamp of an author thrust us into his novel, as characters.

- Are we really in his novel?

- Yes, he does this: he takes real people and throws them into his novel, without pity.

- Oh, what a scoundrel!

- You can really say that, he adds "sson" to nicknames of men, and "dottir" to those of women, and while giggling he explains "this way they look more like Vikings"

- You mean everybody may end up in the dangers of this wild and bold age?

- Certainly, sir. He is a man of no scruples, he takes an innocent, he thrusts a double bladed axe in his hand, and after that he flings him into the Viking ship as an oarsman, in the ancient depths of year 1031 AD, which is when our story takes place.

- Oh, poor them ! Oh, dear, dear, dear!

- Maybe someone could amuse himself playing the role of a Viking, but you never know in what kind of role that author may cast you!

- It's unbelievable.

- Oh, expect anything. Look at me, he knows quite well I hate angling, and he told me... he compelled me, he forced me to feed the fish, with a rod in my hands... me, a hard, brave, valiant warrior, one meter and eighty five tall... - he sounded really excited - left here to be mocked by a pair of cunning codfish!

- So, is this that story you spoke of, the one about Vikings, based on historical researches and a huge amount of documentation ? The one Shelburn keeps writing on www.letterealdirettore.it?

- Yes, yes, not the whole of it, anyway. From that story, which is called "The battle of Hastings" he extracted the trip along the Russian rivers.

- And how does he handle the characters, doesn't he confuse living people with the historical Vikings?

- To avoid confusion, he writes the historical characters with normal fonts. He puts in bold font the non-historical ones.

- Ah, that's why we are in bold font!

- Yes, sir.

- Oh - and here Vladsson breathed a big sigh of relief - since I saw I was written in bold font, I was afraid I had to keep myself on a diet!

- Hey, look over there, someone's arriving!

- What, where, who?

- There, some people are making for Solitariosson. They look like Vikings of Lad.

- What does it mean "Lad"?

- "Lad" stands for "letterealdirettore" ["letters to the editor"], the site where the story was born, and it's also called "Ladheimer" to sound more Viking.

- And who is Solitariosson?

- He's a well known and esteemed Viking of Lad. He's from Napolistad, like me, and he's also famous for his boat, and the stories he wrote about some sea voyages he made.

- Ok, ok, let's hear what they say, now.

 

[ 2 ]

 

It is a beautiful day somewhere in the Viking lands, and someone has a trip in mind...

 

- Hey Sol [short for "Solitariosson"], you, that are an expert of ships, come and see the one we are building for our next "i vikingu". [that is a viking expedition]

- Where, Ganavionsson?

- Third fjord on the left...

- We'll have to walk a lot... and it'll take a lot of time, because of these mountains.

- No, we don't mean to go on foot, we thought we could go there by boat... your boat, of course...

- Ah, now I understand, you cunning fellows... and why are you building it so far from here?

- We needed a fine tree to do a beautiful, long keel, in just one piece, as we Vikings use to do.

- I see ... and for how many oarsmen?

- We thought... about... two hundred...

- Are you crazy? Where are you going to find so much money to build such a big ship?

- Well, in fact, we are going to limit ourselves to a crew of forty people.

- That sounds more reasonable.

- We could do a little trading. You know, a little Baltic amber, some fur, a few slaves...

- You're not going to take them from Lad, are you?

- No, no, but don't stare at us, we are just contributing to mixing races... and what's more, if you get the right occasion, we would like to try some "strandhöggs", you know, those sudden surprise attacks for which we Vikings are so famous and feared.

- A "strandhögg"! And whom you have in mind, as a "stafnbùi"? [it is the first man to jump out of the ship] There are not so many men of great war value.

- We have Giancosson in mind, he is an expert warrior. Or we could get Hannibalsson...

- Nonsense, they are not men willing to act as pirates!

- Then, we could try with Shelwulf... he may be growing a little old, but I have no other in mind, at the moment.

- Certainly there are better warriors, in Lad, but I don't think they'd hardly consent to act as pirates. Shelwulf cannot refuse... but, do you think of him as a resolute, a free and easy fellow?

- We just give it a try.

The little group went towards Shelwulf's sod hut, while a sharp and piercing cold wind had risen, notwithstanding the fine season.

Arriving a few steps away from the hut, they heard a thundering voice singing at the top of his possibilities a typical song of the Viking folklore.

[This is a difficult passage to understand, and to explain.

As a matter of fact, I took a well known song of the Neapolitan folklore, "A Marechiaro", and made a few amusing changes to it, in order to let it become a Viking song. smile

This is not easy to translate, and I am afraid it is not amusing, I am sorry for that].

 

("A MaredelNord", [that is "At the Northern Sea"], authors DiGiacomosson and Tostisson.)

["Marechiaro" is a place in Naples, and its name means "Clear Sea".]

 

- "Quanno spónta la luna a MaredelNord,

pure li Vichinghe nce fanno a ll'ammore...

Se revòtano ll'onne de lu mare del Nord:

pe' la priézza cágnano culore...

Quanno sponta la luna a MaredelNord.

A MaredelNord ce sta nu drekki:

la passiona mia ce tuzzuléa...

Lui ringhia, i' ce fracasso l'orecchi,

s'immerge e pe' sotto murmuléa...

A MaredelNord ce sta nu drekki...

 

[When the moon rises on the Northern Sea,

even the Vikings make love there...

the waves of the Northern Sea roll about

and change colour out of joy...

when the moon rises at the Northern Sea.

In the Northern Sea there is a dragon:

my beloved bumps into it...

he growls, I break his ears,

he plunges, and from under there he grumbles...

In the Northern Sea there is a dragon...]

 

But his singing was interrupted by Sol.

- Statte zitto, Shelwulfì, ca ll'aria è doce!..

[That means "Be quiet, little Shelwulf, that the air is sweet!..", Sol imitates a verse in the song]

- I am working, that's why I'm singing!

- Have pity of us!

- Ok, ok, what do you want? Come in, come on.

They came in and found that the severe and hard warrior was sitting at a vertical loom, that was slantwise laid against the wall.

- You're weaving!

- I'm making money. Should I remind you, perhaps, that we Vikings, all, men and women, spin the "vadhmàl" [a typical Viking cloth], so warm, waterproof and extremely resistant... and we use it as for bartering?

- Yes, yes, we know it... we wanted to invite you to an exped... [he didn't complete the word "expedition"]... a summer holiday in Europe, with... ahem... quite cheap and well priced items.

- Damn!.. And double damn!.. I understand what you mean, what you have in mind, and my answer is "no". I have converted, by now, and I do not do such awful things any more!

Because of the rather resolute reaction, the little group of friends didn't insist, but they went away, while someone was grumbling:

- There isn't (the old) religion any more! All people are becoming bourgeois... I'm afraid we'll come to a bad end.

 

[ 3 ]

 

They had just taken a few steps, when Shelwulf ran after them.

- ...hey, hey, wait for me!

Lucontesson's eyes flashed.

- Hey, so you thought it over again, and you changed your mind! Good, then we are going to go "i vikingu", that is, we go cruising all over Europe!

- Don't get excited, keep cool. My friend Randagiadottir wrote to me that some friends of ours, Netvikingsson, Manusson and others have accumulated some fine fur, and they would like to trade them along the way that goes to the Black Sea, from Birka [= a Viking trade city near Stockholm]. Do you agree going with them? You know, trade is dangerous, in these times, and there is strength in unity.

- Oh, yes, trade is dangerous indeed. It's not by chance that we Vikings are represented with a sword in our hand.

- ... and a balance with broken coins in the other hand! - Ciancesson finished for him.

Wehalidottir was just arriving at that moment, and didn't understand what they were talking about, so she inquired:

- Who broke the coins, and why?

Cynthiatortir reassured her friend:

- Don't get excited, keep cool dear Wehalidottir. It's absolutely normal. You know, we Vikings don't trust on coins that are used in so many different places, also because we navigate along such long and adventurous routes. Therefore we are only interested on the weight of the coins, and when it is not exact, we break a coin to reach the right weight.

- Do you really mean what you say?

- But, of course.

Meanwhile Oldonesson wanted to see where they stood now.

- Well, anyone who wants to come with us will be welcome. We'll gather in Birka, and everyone shall think of his, or her, own baggage. We are the sole crew that has with them Viking women, as we are Lad Vikings, but let us try to follow what the other Vikings usually do. Every "bòndi" [i.e. the typical Viking man. See the word "husband"= "house man"] shall take an axe, a sword and a knife, that he'll always keep with him. We'll put the shields on the broadsides of the knörr [= the Viking ship].

- Oh, yeah! It'll be extremely picturesque, with all those nice drawings and those beautiful colours! - Zoradottir enthusiastically commented, thinking of the impressive pictures she would surely be able to paint of them.

- Shall we have any days, before we leave? I mean, in order to trap some fur of sable, squirrel, or...

- And blue foxes, why not? - Alariksson complained.

- Yes, those, as well.

- ...and mink, ermine, beaver...

- Well, yes, yes, you damned fuss pots! Hunt all you want.

- I'm against hunting - Siaminosson looked sulky - I'd like to say just one thing among the many other ideas I get about hunting for amusement. Killing for amusement a poor terrorized being, simply because we are bigger and stronger, and the so-called "laws" allow us to do that, is base, unworthy of the man, meant as a creature gifted with the capability of thinking and reasoning. Hunters kill for amusement what which belongs to Creation, and therefore a part of God himself.

(original post in: http://www.letterealdirettore.it/fo...hp?threadid=940)

- Keep coll, Siaminosson, we don't speak here of hunting for amusement, but for commerce, it's something different.

But before he could object anything, a violent and sudden shower came down, and all people ran to take shelter from the big drops.

 

After a while, they were all together around the fire, and spoke again of the trip.

- Oldonesson, where is this town, "Birka"?

- Near a town that does not yet exist - Magosson Dellestell intervened, turning his eyes away from a big book of spells and Roman gleanings - and that will be the Capital of Sweden, one day: Stockholm.

www.stockholm.se/templates/template_121.asp

a very beautiful town built on so many little islands.

As a matter of fact, this old and witty magician was responsible, in Lad, for the news about the future. Roman gleanings were instead just a hobby. Where he could find such a book that spoke both of spells and Roman gleanings, I really don't know.

- Which will be our itinerary?

- Departure, as we were saying, from Birka.

www.raa.se/birka/index.asp

Then we'll cross the gulf of Finland, where you'll be able to admire Vyborg,

[Vyborg is the nickname of a Viking of Lad, and also the name of a town]

www.ellennet.com/english/gulffin.html

and we'll reach Saint-Petersburg,

www.travel.spb.ru/theguide/map.html

www.petersburg-russia.com/

saint-petersburg.com/photo-video/index.asp

www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/index.html

from there, navigating upstream river Neva, we'll enter lake Ladoga, and there we'll have a rest in Aldeigjuborg...

- Aldeig... what?

- It's the old Viking name. In Russian it is "Staraja Ladoga".

www.nortfort.ru/ladoga/foto_s6_e.html

- Ah.

- At last we'll make for the South, till the Black Sea

www.viaggievacanze.ro/turism/mar_nero.html

- It'll be tiring. - Shelburnsson grumbled, pouring some beer into the horn he used for drinking. He drank at one gulp, as it was impossible to rest the horn anywhere without pouring the beer out.

 

[ 4 ]

 

[Sometimes Shelburnsson's friends take part in the story not only as characters, but as co-authors. smile To avoid confusion such passages will be clearly indicated]

[author: Cinziatortir ...a woman, whose name is Cinzia, that makes delicious cakes (in Italian "torte")]

Cinziatortir looked at her friend Shelburnsson that was gulping down beer from his mammoth hollow horn and she thought she had to substitute it with a rhinoceros horn, as soon as possible, for the expedition's sake. Probably the Drakkar would get some benefit from this, and the route would be less zigzagging...

[author: Shelburn Kenderman]

- Oh no! - Shelburnsson shouted, disconcerted - somebody here substituted my horn. That's not fair!

- What's going on, dear Shel [short form for Shelburnsson], anything wrong? - Rossanadottir tried to calm him.

- I had a fine horn, hic, a big, big horn, from which I used to drink very moderately, hic...

- Are you really sure of that?

- Well, you know, these horns are suitable for drinking beer, hic, but they have a small imperfection, hic... you never know where to rest them, because they aren't able to stand, hic, and when someone pours beer in it, I have no possibility to rest the horn anywhere, and so I'm obliged to drink, that's why...

- But, who does this to you, poor man, who? Who, I mean, continually pours beer for you?

- Vinosson, C'ha-rhum-sson ... - ["Vino" means "wine" in Italian, and "C'ha-rhum" means "he has got rum"]

- You meant Charunsson, didn't you? - ["Charunsson" is an existing character]

- Well, I lifted the elbow, a little, this time, hic!

- This was rather difficult to notice! smile

- Wasn't it? I can take very much beer, hic ! Look at me as I drive our knörr safely and with elegance, hic... look at me as I go with agility and precision in the middle of those two knerrir [=plural of "knörr"] ... hey, what on earth are you doing? Damn it... what rude manners!

- Don't get angry with him, Shel, Solitariosson intervened with the best intentions, and we all are safer and calmer if it is he who takes the helm.

- Ok, ok, Sol is a friend... and now he has come with his twin brother... they are together at the helm... how pretty they are... I feel safer, as well, hic!

- Hey, friend, may I seat beside you?

- Why not Viaspinasson? How are you getting on?

- Nice party, beautiful trip, in the middle of all these little islands, Birka is a fantastic place, even if it is a little cold.

A violent wave ran over Shelburnsson and Viaspinasson.

- Hey, what cold water!

- A true cold shower... Well, at least now my mind is more lucid... you know, I had drunk a little too much.

- You couldn't notice it.

- As a matter of fact, these knerrir take on water too easily!

- Oh yes, from this point of view they are really lousy - Viaspinasson was bitterly laughing, while slowly drying his face wet with salty, cold water. Then, looking with distress at his drenched and soaking wet clothes, continued.

- ...and yet we must be grateful, we Vikings, to these boats that let us dominate the world scene, these years.

- Yes, a true technological jewel, this knörr - Ciancesson agreed.

Higgisson was emptying his horn while admiring the many islands all around.

www.raa.se/birka/index.asp

- But... I don't see Netvikingsson - Nurglesson was amazed.

- He came to an agreement with Comuthacombenatusson to meet up at Manceastre, where they say there is something... I didn't understand very well, a tournament, o something similar... who knows! [at the time this passage was written there was in Manchester the final football match "Juventus-Milan", for the Champion's League]

- Manceastre? Do you mean, perhaps, Mamecaestre?

- Absolutely not, that's the ancient name, and before that, Romans called that village "Mamuciam", because of a hill that looks like... well... a... you know... let's say, the breast of a beautiful woman...

- Mamuciam, eh? Brrr!, a place for "Brigands"!

- Yes, that was the name of a Celtic tribe, the "Brigantes", that lived in those zones.

- Oh, poor Netvikingsson and Comuthacombenatusson, maybe they are in danger, then?

- No problem, in this moment, year 1031, England is firmly in the hands of our trustworthy friend King Canute the Great.

- Then I can calm down! - Dodidottir exclaimed, with a sigh of relief.

 

[ 5 ]

 

[ author: Shangdisson ]

Dear Shel, I pick up here and there from a book on Middle Ages technology that is in anyway related with what you are narrating in such a very pleasant way: you really should be a skald! [skald = a Viking poet]

In the IX century, horse stirrups arrive in Europe from the Asian steppes. The first to use them are the Franks, engaged in a mortal resistance against the spreading Moors of Al-Andalus.

Thanks to the saddle, which came from the Asian steppes in the I century, and to the stirrup, the knight, firmly planted on his horse, becomes the fulcrum of the army, especially after having developed the long lance held tightly under the arm: the Germanic ideal that every free man is a soldier dies out! A true soldier is only one who can afford two horses at least!

Big horses, that must support a knight and his equipment, eat so much and not only forage, but oats as well. Charles Martel (the Hammer), Carloman and Pepin confiscate large tracts of ecclesiastic lands to give them to their noblemen, who will have to supply the king with noble soldiers on horseback (the new knights!): thus begins what we call feudalism. Continental Europe becomes important, in comparison with Mediterranean Europe, thanks to the invention of the bent plough that, differently from the Roman one, cuts and turns over the semifrozen sods of the north. Big ploughs (ploh, plug, plough, Plinius: plaumorati, i.e. ploum raetiae) driven by eight oxen at last break the sods of the north. But no one single farmer possesses eight oxen. Thus nucleuses are formed, such as the Russian "mir", that democratically plough together and together they decide what to plant. There is a notable increase of the population of continental Europe. The Franks, thanks to the new system of horse warfare, block the Moors. The arrival of plough in Denmark/Sweden causes a dramatic increase in the population: the Vikings sack Europe, and not only. The Normans of France learn the new fighting technique, based on a cataphract rider, firmly mounted on his horse, thanks to the saddle and clamps, with a big sword and a big lance. The Normans invade England and they fight the Angles and Saxons at Battle, near Hastings: Anglo-Saxons are stronger by number and have the advantage of the position, but the clash is between warfare of the VII century and that of the XI century. Anglo-Saxon foot soldiers with bow and a small round shield face the Norman riders that have long shields, long lances and long swords and are riding firmly anchored to the horse, thanks to the stirrup and to the saddle: who's going to win?

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

Shelburn Kenderman was thanking Wehalidottir, for the compliments she had made to him, when he saw Shangdisson's letter, and he replied:

- .... dear Shangdisson, you have gone to Magosson's and you have cast sidelong glances at his crystal ball [=monitor], haven't you? [As a matter of fact, Magosson was a witty wizard, dressed in a blue cloak adorned with stars, that's why he was called the wizard of the stars.]

And how may I answer? Me!... still living in the year 1031, waiting for Polifilosson to inform me about Spanish events? [as a matter of fact, he is my correspondent from Spain]

Anyway, anyone can bet on the result of the battle at Battle [the real place where the battle of Hastings was fought is now called "Battle"]

... but, don't cheat ! Go away all you people from Magosson's, and don't consult oracles, nor fortune-tellers, nor any sort of magicians, nor hack-clairvoyants! [this word was formed in imitation of "hack-writer"]

Remember, I do control you, you know!

 

[ author: Magosson ]

I try to keep them out of the door. But when I am dozing, pardon, reflecting, that strange being reincarnated in Titinoköttur let them in. [Titinoköttur is a cat whose owner is a woman called Emmegidottir]

 

[ author: Emmegidottir ]

Magician! I thought you "noticed" that Titinoköttur and his mistress were "dead" ... a long time ago! [this is a piece of news we don't know, we have been led to believe she pretends she and her cat would have to be considered not existing by the magician, or perhaps by all: I don't know why:]

 

[ author: Magosson ]

Maybe, but there is always the possibility that she became the driving spirit of the magician, and the other one an ugly, mangy, boring, spiteful small animal spirit.

 

[ 6 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- Waiting for the departure for the island Gotland

http://www.gotlandweb.com/english.asp

...while the mariners are embarking, I'm going to tell you something somewhat like a quip... stop jabbing me, Cinziatortir, well... as I was telling you... not a real quip... something a little silly, as a matter of fact...

- Is it the one about Thor's hammer? - Camilladottir tried to know, horrified

- Yes, that's it, you've got it...

- But it's horrible, nobody will laugh!

- I know, I know, but just to entertain the folk, while waiting for embarking for the island Gotland... that will do, Cinziatortir, let me speak! ... our goal, as you know, isn't Visby...

http://www.guteinfo.com/visby/

but Paviken

http://www.guteinfo.com/scripts/aktiv/1368.asp?msp=51

http://www.i.lst.se/livsmiljo/natur...den/paviken.htm

-

- but we don't go to Paviken, Shel!

- Of course! Read this

http://frojel.hgo.se/harbour.html

you can see Paviken is an important commercial center of the Viking ages.

- but we are going to the "big city"!

- ...the big city?

- yes, Mikligardhr, the big city, that is, in Old Norse.

- and you haven't got a picture, a drawing, a painting of this big city?

- but of course, here you are:

http://www.istanbul.com/

http://www.istanbul.com.tr/eng/defaulteng.asp

this is really a beautiful goal, isn't it?

- But then, all those people want to go there, don't they?

- Of course, they want to go through Saint-Petersburg, like we were talking about, to the river Neva, and beyond.

- Ok, and when are we going to leave?

- As soon as we are finished with embarking.

- Then I have enough time to tell you my bad quip!

- Noooo! For Thor's sake!

But Shelburnsson was hard and inflessibile and wanted to tell it in any case...

Sensible mariners will want to forgive him... I hope.

- Well, well - the big Viking started out gladly, as if he were telling an amusing joke - you all know that god Thor is known for his magical hammer... well, one day Freya asked him to hang a picture of managers... that is, I mean to say helmsmen, with their beautiful waving sails, and after a blow here (with that hammer, every blow caused an earthquake),after a blow there... doesn't he hit the divine big finger ? That much-loved big thumb, the preferred one among all his fingers? "Good gracious!" the good god of the ancient religion shouted, "This big thumb hurts me so much!"

- Was this Viking god so polite?

- As a matter of fact, someone says he was swearing like a very angry trooper... but I'll let you imagine what he actually cried, while holding his finger.

- Hadn't the Northern Mithology Gods anyone to doctor them?

- Well, this is a joke, and therefore, the historical facts are not accurate, therefore I will simply tell that he was brought to emergency.

- To emergency? ... a god, like him? ... and what did they do to him?

- A nice "Dei Hospital"! [he jokes on the same pronunciation of the Italian "Dei", i.e. "gods", and the English "Day"]

... and here, as if he had said something amusing, he collapsed to the ground, laughing his head off and holding his belly from all the laughter... Viaspinasson looked at him with an air of sufficiency, lifted his shoulders and went away whispering about.

- Oh my God ... my Viking God! What are we forced to bear!

 

[ 7 ]

 

[ author: Cinziatortir ]

- What could we do? - Cinziatortir whispered to the others. - This was the one chance gave us, and we are forced to keep him! It's our hard luck!

Well, when at least he is not in vein of wisecracks, the ship navigates quickly enough (...)

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

Some days after:

 

[ author: Cinziatortir ]

We'd rather change the soothsayer, sir ... the one we've got isn't able to see further than his nose - Cinziatortir said shaking Shelburnsson who was snoring on the deck... but, since she couldn't get him to regain consciousness, she inserted a salty herring in his mouth.

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- This salty herring, delicious... may I have another one?

- Oh dear, dear, dear... - but Cinziatortir's answer was interrupted by shouts of joy from Ilariadottir.

- Land, land!

http://www.russiaonline.it/sanpietroburgo.html

- Eh eh! - Mago Dellestell snickered cunningly, taking deep breaths of the clean, fresh, fragrant, sea air - I really want to see how you will call that little hamlet down there... as we are only in the year 1031... and a prophecy, instead, of the clairvoyant Nostraevadottir preannounces that in this place, in the year 1703, tzar Peter the Great will found a beautiful city, that will be called Saint-Petersburg. Well, then? What are you going to call it, ah? What are you going to call it?

- ...what should I care? I'm going to call it Saint-Petersburg, just the same. This way at least Vikings of Lad will understand!

But, hearing these words, Oldonesson broke in, bursting out with:

- Ilariadottir, if I said that you seem nice to me, I would certainly be committing violence to my intellectual honesty.

But you let me whet a minimum of fatherly sense for which I can give you a suggestion that is dictated by my best intentions of safety in your respect:

Please, take it easy!!!

Above all, don't speak of matters you don't understand.

It's normally good norm to listen first to others and understand well what they are arguing, before daring to propose your own opinion.

Have I been clear?

 

(sources: letter 883 of Oldonesson , from the files of Lad)

She looked irritated as she replied to him:

- It looks as if you have talked nonsense. I don't understand where this mental rigidity of yours comes from. Professional deformation? - ... and she finished these words doing grimaces, sticking her tongue out and walking away with a definite air, so much so that Archangelsson in person, one of the most eminent and authoritative senior members of Lad, had to intervene to calm down the heated feelings.

- Well, come on, let's have this longed-for stop-over in this little hamlet, 'cause tomorrow we'll have to go on sailing along river Neva

http://digilander.libero.it/ugo38/peter/pag5.htm

a short, but powerful river.

- At least we'll not go thirsty! - Pipposson sighed, observing desolate his empty horn.

- Then we'll reach lake Ladoga, - Archangelsson continued unperturbed - that's a lake as large as the Italian province of Veneto

http://www.karelia.ru/Karelia/Trave.../ladogas_e.html

But above all, I beg you, don't make fools of yourselves, just now that a new Viking girl has joined us, Trinitydottir. Try to get along with each other and don't show yourself for what you are.

There was a vast murmur of assent and soon they started the preparations for landing. Trinitydottir was sleeping blissfully, and Clemente Ugvalsson made sure to wake her up, for the operations of disembarkation.

The day was about to end, and a very bright and sparkling moon was shining in the twilight sky. And as the darkness of the night was deepening, more and more stars were appearing in the sky. The silence was broken only by the warbling of some sea gulls, and the incitements of Solitariosson to the volunteers that were beaching the boat.

 

[ 8 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

Indiksson and Pipposson were becoming enthusiastic about the upcoming voyage...

- Oh, what beautiful places, what an extraordinary experience ! I can't wait to float down the Volga... -

- And stuff ourselves with caviar... who cares if it's Beluga, Asetra or Sevruga, all are fine by me, choose whichever you prefer... no limits, eh eh ! -

http://www.persia.it/html/caviale.htm

- ... towards South, as I was saying, towards Bulgar,

http://members.tripod.com/great-bulgaria/Bolgaria/

a city which was built strategically where trading routes converged. They narrate legendary sagas which tell of the most wonderful adventures, of the inhabitants of the mysterious Bjarmaland... it's so exciting ! -

- Then we could proceed south, after Bulgar, going along the Volga, till the Caspian Sea ! -

- Oh ! We'll reach the town of Itil, capital of Khazaria, we'll dine with Khagan Georgius Tzul !... - and looking at another Viking that had joined them - Aren't you thrilled, Shangdisson ? -

- Take it easy. What are you talking about Georgius Tzul for !? -

- ...because he's the khagan of Khazars, of course ! Aren't you the expert of ancient peoples ? Didn't you write so many times about these Khazars, that possess so much arab silver, and that are famous for trading in honey and wax... and slaves, occasionally ? -

- Dear friends, I see you aren't well informed, and yet it's already fifteen years since that long gone 1016, when Georgius Tzul was captured by an army made of the united strengths of the byzantine emperor Basilius II, and of Sfengus, brother of the Grand Prince of Kiev, Voldemir, or Vladimir, whichever you prefer. Khazaria has lost its independence and the territories of Crimea and Taman ! -

- My Viking God, it seems impossible I thought... I believed...well, I surely didn't expect that at all ! -

- You can't trust anyone these days, can you ? - Pipposson grumbled disheartedly, shaking his head.

 

[ 9 ]

 

[ author: Cinziatortir ]

Cinziatortir looked with disgust at the magician's gown, all full of " pancakes", then he approached Shelburnsson and asked him what he wanted for dinner, as the herrings in the galley were finished and Solitariosson had just left for a new honeymoon, carrying with him our provision of amber-coloured sweetener

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

After leaving the hamlet in the bottom of the gulf of Finland...yes, the one the magician says it will become a big and very beautiful town, they went up the Neva, first southwards then northwards till lake Ladoga, where the magician was looking for a fortress

- It's name is Petrokrepost', and it lies in the point where Neva begins, we cannot... ah that is, and oof, and good heavens !, " krepost' " means "fortress".... and this one hasn't even been built yet, as well ... oof, it isn't possible, do you want to see that we'll be compelled to start the trip again in the third millennium ? -

- Keep cool, magician, and look over there, at what beautiful seascapes... -

After a while they saw a little island

- What's the name of this little island ? - Rossanadottir inquired, being all eager to learn

- Oh dear, it's on the map, but it hasn't any name ! -

- If you look hard, it's an archipelago. You can see three islands at least -

- And look how many there are of them in the northern part of the lake, Balaam, Mantsinsari, Lukkulansari, and many others... eh yes, this lake is full of little islands -

- Are we going to visit them ? - Camilladottir asked, full of hope

- No, they are too far north, as far as today is concerned, after village Kobona, we'll reach village Ligovo, passing between the coast and that little island you see there, whose name isn't on the map -

- Hum, it is still very far. -

Next day, after cape Voronov, they reached Volkhov's mouth

http://ideashistory.org.ru/sschools/ss99/beer.htm

- Oh, well, from here we'll reach the homonymous village, Volkhov, and passing through Kirishi, Chudovo and Gorodok, we'll reach Hòlmgardhr, i.e. Novgorod, "new town".... that is the same meaning of "Napoli", eh eh -

http://eng.tourism.velikiynovgorod.ru/look.htm

http://eng.tourism.velikiynovgorod.ru/stay.htm?volhov

- As a matter of fact "gorod" means "town" in Russian - Shangdisson agreed

- ... and therefore "Gorodok" is "little town" -

- As a matter of fact there are many "Gorodok" in Russia -

- ... and here I can consult the horoscope, too

http://www.gorodok.com.ua/!Horoscope/horoscope.html

eh eh ! - the magician giggled amused, noticing the staring expression of Dodidottir

- Where do you want to take us ? - she protested - "Volk" means "wolf" and therefore "Volkov" certainly is a place for wolves, brrr, you are foolish indeed ! -

- Which wolves do you mean ? It's not "Volkov", and you were right in that case, but "Volkhov", that means "village of magicians", and I included it in our itinerary because of the insistence of our magician -

Mago Dellestell approved satisfied [ "mago" means "magician" ]

- Yes sirs, hold your breath, for we are reaching the magical zone ! -

- Will it take long to reach this Volga ? - Dragonsson protested

Shelburnsson's embarrassment was evident

- Well, you know how it is... we thought that perhaps, going down the Volga, we could go too far eastwards, and we don't know well how things are going there, it might be dangerous.... thus we have chosen a more western route, more peaceful and known, and we'll pass through the fabulous Kœnugardhr, the one Slaves call Kiev -

- Where our friends Væringjar (or Variags, if you like... the Swedish Vikings, in conclusion) are in power. -

- They are in power in Hòlmgardhr-Novgorod also -

- At least we'll be able to understand each other - Dodidottir sighed - because I found Slavonic difficult to understand -

- Yes, but we must hurry up, as we Vikings are too fast in integrating ourselves with the people of the place, and within a short time we'll not be able to understand ourselves, since Vikings living in Kiev already speak Slavonic almost entirely -

- Yes, you already spoke to us about this -

Cattivosson didn't look convinced

- So, then, no Volga caviar, eh ! -

 

[ 10 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

The way to Hòlmgardhr-Novgorod was calm and gladdened by the lucky and good catch of Solitariosson and Luposson Solitario . The boat glided in the limpid and cold waters without making noise, in majestic silence, now and then broken by the squabbles between Lupettsson and Zaquinisson , and among so many other nice trippers, while now and then Ilariadottir ripped into laughing at the latest witticism of Viaspinasson.

When at last they arrived in Novgorod, the atmosphere became more exciting than usual. Everyone wanted to see the town. And, as Novgorod means Napoli, they pretended to eat pizza, spaghetti with clams and "sfogliatelle", with great perplexity and astonishment of the natives.

- Well, as we are in Napoli - Cattivosson began - I want a typical parthenopean dinner... something traditional, after all -

- Well, then I dare recommend a nice dish of "agnolotti al tartufo" (sort of ravioli filled with truffled forcemeat). - Mishasson suggested

- "Truffled" ?... and where can I find truffles ? -

- As we are in Napoli (Novgorod) we should do as Shelburnsson, that is, we go early in the morning for truffles in Plebiscito square... 'cause later in the morning everyone gets up and we find no more truffles -

- What are you saying ? Are you sure ? -

- Try yourself... or do you prefer Vomero truffles ? -

- This one seems to me to be a... well, let's give up. Anyway, if it is as you say, it is already too late to find truffles in Plebiscito square -

- Come on ! I already thought of the truffles, I had some left aside. Let's think about the agnolotti, instead. -

- And how do you cook them ? - Gegeadottir was interested

- Well, after Montalbanosson will have cleaned the truffles well, with a small brush and a wet cloth, Dodidottir, Zoradottir and Cinziatortir will put the flour on the rolling board, opened up like a crater... -

- Ah, this is a demonstration that it really is a typical parthenopean dish ! .... "opened up like a crater" ! It must take its inspiration from the Vesuvius, eh eh -

- Yes. So, as I was telling you, Paperogasson and Maldestrosson will shell the eggs...-

- Why are we supposed to do this... since "Shel"burnsson looks much more suited to "shell" ? -

- Hey, no defections allowed, please, or no dinner today... come on, don't make any fuss and arm yourselves with knives, which, as the good Vikings that you are, you should already have with you. - Mishasson looked all around, and passed his hand over his hair, like if he wanted to recover his concentration.

- But, how many eggs are we supposed to shell ? -

- Three eggs every six people, you know, all quantities are for six people, then you multiply for how many they are -

- ok -

- ... add a glass of lukewarm water and start working, first with your fork... -

- with which fork ?... they haven't invented them yet ! -

- Oh, good heavens... well, do the best you can !... make it with your hands, then, untill you get a smooth and compact mixture, that you will cover with a big bowl, and let it rest for a while, meanwhile Robertadottir will tell you one of her stories. -

- And with what are we going to stuff it ? -

- Melt two curls of butter in a saucepan, and then you'll brown one hundred and twenty grams of pork sirloin and one hundred and fifty grams of lean veal, moistening it with lukewarm water, or, what is even better, with some broth. -

- And what will we do when the pieces of meat are done ? -

- Put out the fire, allow it to cool and then mince the meat with eighty grams of ham. Put this mincemeat in a big bowl, and amalgamate it with sixty grams of grated Parmesan cheese from the Po Valley... -

- And if we don't find it, in Novgorod ? -

- Oh, if you don't find it, you can use Parmesan cheese from Parma, as well -

- Oh, yes. -

- ...add about half of the truffles and the eggs, salt and pepper and work with care. -

- How much salt, and how much pepper ? -

- The right amount, in order for it to be neither too salted, nor too insipid, and you must taste for the pepper, that it shouldn't cover up the other aromas -

- Ah... - Paperogasson , not much convinced, gave a quick desperate look at Maldestrosson , who answered with a disconsolate opening of his arms, while Mishasson went on unperturbed

- I didn't understand one thing... shall I put the eggs in the filling or in the dough ? -

- Alariksson, you didn't pay enough attention, eh ? Three eggs in the dough and one in the filling, of course. Well, let's go on... take the dough and roll it out in a thin sheet -

- I'll need a suitable instrument... -

- You can break a lance and use a piece of it, after you give it a good wash, roll the dough... it's a little slapdash, but it should work as a rolling pin -

- I think you are a little out of your mind... well.. well, we could use you to roll the dough - Maldestrosson giggled, but he got hit on the head with a spoon by Camilladottir , and he kept quiet

Mishasson meanwhile didn't even notice that interruption

- Cut the sheet. Roll up a half of it and cover it, so that it keeps soft. Put down so many nuts of filling on the other half, at a distance of three, four centimeters, well lined. Then you take the other half and cover all. Then, with a star-shaped spur cut out so many square agnolotti, making sure that the edges are welded.

Boil these agnolotti in plentiful salted water. As soon as they come to the surface, strain them and serve them with sprinkled melted butter, and very thin flakes of truffles. -

- Well, then, enjoy your meal, or, like they say here in Novgorod, "prijatnogo appetita" ! -

 

[ 11 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

Vyborgsson was shocked

- What bad luck ! What an indescribable loss ! What an immense pain ! -

- What's happened, Vyborgsson ? -

- Don't you know ?, Nurglesson ? ... he's dead ! -

- Who, for Thor's sake ? -

- Archangelsson -

- What are you just saying? I can't believe it -

- Unfortunetely this is the news -

Star Dashdottir was wordless...

- I thought something like this might happen - Brother Poncinosson intervened - he probably was too excited, and he went "shopping" the way Vikings used to do... paying with axe strokes and sword thrusts. But maybe he met his match. Come here, friends, and let's pray for his sins -

- As a matter of fact, such an elderly person shouldn't have gone sacking all around... -

- He did no sacking at all ! Archangelsson wasn't the kind of man for that; such a gentleman, such a high-class Viking.... for Thor's sake, it wasn't like him at all. -

- So, what happened, who killed him, the brigands ? -

Vyborgsson hesitated for a while, as if his natural reserve prevented him from speaking... then he showed a parchment

- I have here a letter, from his wife... -

- How do you know it's from his wife ? -

- Because he wrote so himself, on Lad -

- So then.... ok, let me see -

He handed over the parchment, painfully

- Here it is:

Almost original letter from Archangelsson

Dear my love, my life's mate, now you aren't any more. When it was no longer the time, you wanted to illude yourself that you were able to excite the fires of youth again. You wanted to surrender to a woman's enchantments (...) and you fell in love just like a young boy. Do you really believe I couldn't tell ? That I didn't notice your strange behaviour, your manoeuvres to speak with her from boat to boat, going out with so many different excuses ? (...)

I waited for all of this to end ; I felt maybe you hadn't had in your youth those experiences and those failures that let you become immune forever, and I let you do as you pleased. (...) What more could I do ? I knew that these are things that pass, even if I was becoming more and more worried because of your progressive craziness.

Then you started to go out for entire afternoons, with any pretext. And you always came back exhausted, with a savage light in your eyes. And still I kept silent, in order to save that last link that still held us together. But I saw I was losing you.

And then, one day, I got a call. They had found you dead in a room of a castle. A good castle, compliments for your good taste, but you never took me to castles like that. You were alone in the room, on your back on the bed, with blankets and sheets in disorder like after a struggle. And it wasn't difficult to think of which kind of struggle it might have been. Graeco-Roman wrestling ? Catch-as-catch-can ? Or perhaps our beloved national martial sport : the glima ?

I took you away, to our hut. I changed you, I washed you. you still had the smell of her and of love (...)

Now you are there, on our bed. At last your features are relaxed, you found the peace you gave away to run after a dream of youth. Now, you are all mine, my big Viking !

 

[ author: Wehalidottir ]

My big Viking !

 

[ 12 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- Well then, before going on, we should bury him with the honours that are due to a man of his rank and of his importance ! - Oldonesson commented , speaking slowly, with grave, grievous, pained voice, what is supposed to be done in such a painful moment

- We have no time for that ! - Higgisson complained, with impatience

- What on earth are you saying ? If Archangelsson doesn't have a worthy and dignified funeral, he will come back to infest the places where he lived, he will haunt the people he knew... he will be a real nightmare for all ! No, we must bury him with... -

- Don't you really mean to do - Alexsson interrupted him - like that man that buried a fellow stopping every hole up, every opening, every orifice... and then he walled him up inside a closed room ? -

- But that man was suspected of being a werewolf -

Lauradottir was worried - Was he by chance a relative of Maxsson ? - [ Maxsson is the name of a dog, ndr ]

- Nonsense, it will be enough to plant a small stake in his heart and I assure you that he will never move again ! - Dragonsson sentenced, with decision

- That's enough, that's enough, for Asgardh's sake ! [ Asgardh being the town, or fortress, where the pagan gods lived ] - Oldonesson made himself be respected by using all his authority to calm the excited hearts down

- We have to bury him, like I said, with every honour ! -

- What do you mean ? -

- We'll transform this knörr [ the viking ship ] in his tomb, and we'll fill her with all types of richness and luxury -

- But what will he be able to do with all this, he being dead ? - Clemente Ugvalsson protested - He will not, by any means, enjoy it or use it, after his death ! -

- Perhaps he will not, but one day some diligent archaeologists will find his tomb, and, if it has remained untouched, all the vestiges of our civilization... -

- A message to our descendants ? -

- Yes, just that -

- Well, anyway Archangelsson is worth any sacrifice. -

Giovannadottir wasn't convinced

- Yes... but, why bury him, and not deposit him, instead, on the ship, let it leave, slow and majestic, and give fire to her ? Imagine the scene: this fabulous Viking ship all in flames, carrying the last greeting to the immortal hero... a divine, romantic, unforgettable scene, in a firy sunset, and background music by Morriconesson ! -

- Romantic scene ? I suppose so, but, it would seem to be more Celtic, than Scandinavian. -

- Oh yes !... and yet, as a matter of fact, he is really more Celtic than Scandinavian... -

- Don't forget we are in a viking novel, good pagan heavens ! -

- But - Lucontesson intervened - if we really intend to follow the viking tradition, we also have to bury his wife, alive, in a big house. We dress him in rich cloths, the golden bracelets he wore, with much food, drinks, and money. We hermetically seal the door of the tomb ...-

- And his wife ? -

- Well, what can we do, it's the custom, isn't it ? Ibn Rusta says so as well, and he frequented the Variags, those he called Rus, and he knows these traditions well -

- Buried alive ? Let's not exaggerate, Ibn Fadlan tells instead of an impressive funeral ceremony, during which a slave was buried with her dead owner. But she wasn't buried alive, she was strangled first. -

- Oh dear, dear, dear, how terrible ! I'd neglect this tradition, instead, since the Christian faith is spreading all around, and it forbids that. I would preserve the much more cheerful tradition of having a solemn drinking party -

- Oh yes, a funeral is not a funeral, if we don't drink merrily - Shangdisson agreed

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- Whose funeral are you talking about ? - Archangelsson asked very cheerfully, arriving just on that moment

Embarassment was general, and palpable... some hid here, some cleared their throats there... some pretended to have lost something...

- Oh, no, nothing... - Latobdottir mumbled at last

- Hey, Viking boys, what on earth are these faces ? It looks like you saw a ghost. -

- A ghost ? Nonsense ! ... but you, too, writing such things on Lad ! ... we were worried, that is... -

- Which things ?... this one ? Oh, never mind it, it was just a fantasy. -

He looked at his friends, straight in their faces... they were hesitant and confused

- Don't tell me that you... oh no, I cannot believe it... you, ah ah, my Thor [ i.e. "my god" ] ... let's be serious ! -

And he went away giggling and shaking his head, while after him the murmuring went on increasing in a forceful crescendo.

In the general confusion, somebody availed himself of the opportunity of draining a bottle of beer.

 

[ 13 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- Ah - Archangelsson muttered, stroking his beard - once again "agnolotti al tartufo" for lunch.... I tell you, my dear Clemente Ugvalsson , as far as I'm concerned, I don't believe this story about the parthenopean dish, it sounds so much a cock-and-bull story -

- Parthenopean dish, eh ? That rascal Shelburnsson is rolling on the floor and nearly died laughing, other than parthenopean dish ! -

- Ah yes ? It sounded too strange, as a matter of fact, truffles, in Plebiscito square... what an incredible story ! -

- Actually, the dish is Piedmontese. -

- You can't trust these people, can you ? -

- And look at him over, even today he ate a pantagruelian dinner ... he drank gallons of beer, he has no restraint... and after such a huge meal, I think he'll have trouble sleeping... -

- Oh yes, I'm sure he'll have difficulty digesting all the parasol mushrooms he stuffed himself with -

- Look... he seems ill at ease and his vision is cloudy... he's got up, and goes stumbling to bed -

- He'd do better to have a nice stroll along the boardwalk. He'd have pleasant and relaxing views, and he'd digest all the food he ate... no, he's going straight to sleep, what an irresponsible person ! -

- After all those legends, those northern myths that were told at the table, I wouldn't be surprised if he dreamt of them, eh eh -

- Above all, that story of the wolf Fenrir was impressive and frightening... that savage and ferocious wolf, son of Loki and of the giantess Angrbodha, the one who ate god Tyr's hand... what a story ! -

- And then , wizard Dellestell, told of a profecy about some kind of theatrical work he says future Vikings of Lad will see... "god for a week", or something like that... ah, I think everybody would like to have such an experience -

The two friends departed, while, having fallen into a deep sleep, Shelburnsson noisely snored.

If it were possible to see the dream, it would have been very surprising.

...in the green field, laughing children merrily chased each other, where the rainbow finished and the big, beautiful, imposing ash Yggdrasill rose, branches and leafage covering the entire sky. Deers walked peacefully, a goat grazed on the grass and a cock watched the eagle circling in the sky. Squirrel Ratatosk, who would go up and down the ash tree all day long , stopped to look inquisitively at the bold man snoring...

Just on that moment something extraordinary happened ... a divine breath fluttered in the air, and a majestic figure approached the Viking of Lad :

- Shel, Shel , open your eyes ! -

- Let me be - grumbled the greedy table-companion, turning over onto his other side - I'm sleepy ! -

- You cannot do that, now that the world's destiny depends on you ! -

- The world's... what ? - He opened his eyes and rubbed his eyelids, incapable of recovering his clear thinking - Who are you ? -

- I'm god Tyr, stand up, I have to speak to you ! -

- What ? Are you, by chance, the god of transportation ? -

- Take another witticism like that and I'll break your legs ! -

- Oh Viking god ! -

- Look at me, don't you recognize me ? -

- As a matter of fact... no ! ...should I ? -

- What do people say when they speak of he who is superior and is afraid of nothing ? -

- They say "gallant like Tyr" -

- And what do they say when a person is extremely shrewd ? -

- They say that he is "perspicacious like Tyr" -

- Do you see that you know me ? I'm Tyr, Odine's son, the most courageous, the wisest, the most audacious of the gods. They rightly say of me that I have great power over the victory in war. That's why all warriors invoke me in battle. And it is because of this that some compare me to the Roman god Mars, and they dedicated Tuesday to me... -

- Yeah, but why do they call you "the one handed god" ? Since you are the god of war, you'd need your hand to fight. -

- It's a long story, that's going to happen again. -

- Ah, really ? -

- Yeah, and it is why I need your help -

- Didn't you bind wolf Fenrir ? Did he perhaps free himself ? -

- Worse, much worse... two wolves, that taken singly would be good people, Lupettsson and Luposson Solitario [ "Lupetto" means "little wolf". and "Lupo Solitario" means "lonely wolf" ] , because of an evil spell, merged into one unique dreadful beast, wolf Ladsson ! -

- Oh, my goodness ! How could it be possible ? They have opposite ideas, they can't get along well with each other ! -

- That's the drama, and the reason for the schizophrenia of this ferocious beast... everyone wants to make it do what they say, and the monstrous animal is distressed and fidgets and squirms due to the unbearable struggle and the internal suffering -

- Dramatic situation indeed ! -

- And that's not all. The black wizard, who wanted this curse to happen, put other characters inside the wolf, like Zaquinisson , Eunuksson , and many others... clones and anti-clones... seizing up what little that remained of human in the brain of the terrible beast ! -

- How will we be able to stop all this ? -

- We'll chain the bad wolf like we did with wolf Fenrir ! -

- But it cost you your hand ! -

- Exactly, that's why I need a warrior, a courageous warrior like you: I name you Viking god for one week... the time needed to enchain wolf Ladsson! -

- Who, me ? Not at all, I need my hand, I have to write, to eat, and so on... look for someone else ! -

- Are you daring to nay say god Tyr ?! -

- Am I perhaps being reckless...? Back off ! -

Tyr started to darken, nervously fondling his sword... but after a little while, being a wily god, he decided to resort to astuteness, in order to persuade the bold and proud human warrior... but I'll tell you about this as soon as possible...

 

[ 14 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

While Shelburnsson turned to the other side, Trying to fall asleep again, Tyr turned to somebody ( ...we don't know who ), and started muttering. Then how much time passed ? Who knows ? Albert Einsteinsson rightly says time is relative, and here you have every evidence of that. How long since Tyr decided to try to persuade the old sleepy-head guzzler ? ...uhm... that is... I mean, here we are going on with our story, continuing from the same dream !...so, after a while, Tyr resumed the charge

- Shel , wake up, the World needs you ! -

- Why doesn't it try to get help from Giancossonor by Brother Poncinosson ? -

- Giancosson, strong and an expert of Martial Arts... I could understand, too, but what has Brother Poncinosson got to do with it ? Is it your hope to convert him, eh ? -

- Why not ? You never know with these friars, sometimes they know how to behave with wolves... -

- That's enouuugh ! You cannot refuse to help the World ! -

- Why not ? -

- Because - Cinziatortir intervened, coming out from behind the god - those who don't help the World, don't get to taste this cake ! -

- Whaaaat ? -

Shelburnsson looked at the most impressive mound of whipped cream and strawberries he had ever seen, with Portuguese bread... -

- Spanish bread, the name is "Spanish bread" - Ilariadottir stated precisely

...oh?, just a little, after all, but something, that would make anybody faint five times at least.... nor could our friend resist its sight.

"Well" the brave warrior thought " who says I'll lose my hand in any case ? Maybe I'll be smarter than the wolf " and, feeling braver, he concluded sighing

- Ok, I'll go, but I want a taste first, to build up my strength... you know, those wolves are so strong ! -

He got a small slice of cake, as a sweetener, and they pushed him, still hesitant, towards the area where the terrible wolf lived.

While they dragged him with difficulty, the poor man tried to get more information

- Explain the story of this beast better... I mean this wolf Fenrir, that cost you your hand -

- When the gods came to know that the sons of Loki and of the giantess Angrbodha, wolf Fenrir, the serpent of Midhgardhr and Hel, were nursed in the land of the giants, Iötunheimr, and they learned of the fatal prophecy... -

- What prophecy ? Does perhaps Wizard Dellestell have a hand in it, once again ? -

- No, no, this is a very very ancient prophecy, very ancient indeed, foretelling great damnation to the gods by that filthy bastard race, by that devil's progeny... if I may call Loki this, as from this badly brought up god comes almost every evil, every trouble, every misfortune to us, Aesir and Vanir -

- And why do you keep him with you ? -

- Never mind, there's no Good without Evil. That's why we bear him, that bad fellow. And sometimes we compel him to help us. -

- So what, what did you do when you got to know of the prophecy ? -

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/thor.html

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/mythlinks.html

 

[ 15 ]

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- What could we do ? - Tyr tried to assume an uninterested expression looking at his nails - We had to free us of him in any way, hadn't we ? -

- Don't tell me that... -

- Keep cool, boy. Because of the seriousness of the danger, Allfödhr himself took the situation over... -

- "All" who ? Is he not a relative of Al Caponesson , maybe ? -

- What are you saying, ignorant young man ? He is the supreme and the oldest of gods ! And his name, in our language, means, as you well know, "father of all" -

- It sounds like "All-father", actually -

- Yeah. Do you see it's easy ? -

- Is it true that this one got twelve names ? -

- Yes, it is, and, with the variants, even more. Do you want me to list all of them ? Herian, Nikarr, Nikuz.... -

- That's enough, that will do, please. And where is this so important god now, what can he do, what did he make, which great things ? -

- Ah, he lives in all times and governs all the kingdoms and all the things, big and little ones. He made sky, earth, air and every thing... but his most important creation was "man". -

- Well, since he was in it, couldn't he do him a little better ? -

Tyr gave him a black look

- Ok, ok, I was joking. -

- ... and he gave him a soul - Tyr continued - that will live eternally, even if the body becomes powder or ash -

- Do you mean that they should be buried or cremated ? -

- Yes, I do. And those who have lived rightly will go into Víngólf... - Here Shelburnsson avoided telling one of his, since Tyr didn't look disposed to bear jokes, talking about such an important character

- ... also called Gimlé - the Viking god was going on saying - while the wicked will go into Hel, and from there into Niflhel... -

- A kind of Hell, if I understand well -

- Yes, sir, fallen into the ninth world ! - Tyr exclaimed with thundered voice, making shudder the Viking of Lad .

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

- Well - Shelburnsson asked with uncertain look - this supreme god, Allfödhr, what did he do ? -

- He let fetch the sons of Loki, and when they were in front of him, he seized the serpent of Midhgardhr and threw him into the deep sea that sorrounds all lands -

- And the serpent drowned ? -

- On the contrary, he grew out of all proportion, untill he sorrounded the whole earth with his body, so that his head bites his tail -

- Oh, that reminds me of the cats ! - the lively spark of Lad giggled for an instant, but he had to turn serious again very soon

- Then Allfödhr seized Hel and threw her into Niflheimr, giving her power over nine worlds, where she puts up those who die of illness or old age, and gives them a place to stay. -

- And how can you recognise her ? -

- Oh, you can't miss her, she's half livid, half the colour of meat, and her look is grim and cruel, turned downwards. -

- ...encouraging -

- She has got there large properties, sorrounded by very high hedges, and big gates. Her hall is called Éliúdhnir, and her plate is called "Hunger" (Hungr), and her knife "Famine" (Sulltr)... her servants are called "Idle" (Ganglati) and "Slovenly" (Ganglöt). The entrance threshold is called "Impending Danger", and her couch "Death Bed", and it has a curtain around, that is called "Dazzling Disgrace"... -

- I could have bet !... I begin to dislike this place, I believe that the farm holiday centre chosen by Clemente Ugvalsson , is undoubtfully better, after all. -

- And what about the wolf ? -

- Oh, that one... ! -

- Aesir brought him by them, but it was only me to dare going by him and feed him. That animal was growing day by day, and all prophecies confirmed that he was destined to our ruin. -

- So, you took him to the municipal kennel... ? -

- We decided to make a very hardy chain, which was called Lœdhingr, and we brought it to the wolf -

- And he let you bind him quietly ? -

- Shrewdly, I told him "Come on, nice fellow, show us your strength. Break this chain. It's certainly easy for you !" -

- ... and instead ? -

- Instead... it really was very easy, and he broke it at the first effort. -

- Oh, good heavens ! -

- So, we made another chain, double strong, that we called Dr@oacute;mi. And we went back to the wolf, with that chain. This time also it wasn't difficult to persuade him, flattering his vainglory and his pride of very strong wolf "Nice fellow, I'm sure you'll become famous indeed if you will break this chain, too. Show your power, your strength, your overwhelming energy " -

- ... and did he fall for it ? -

- Of course he fell for it -

- Oh well. And the chain resisted ? -

- When we were ready, he stirred himself, knocked the chain against the ground, stirred it violently and with a big effort broke it with such a violence that the fragments flew far away. -

- Did he free himself of Drómi this way ? -

- Yes, he did, but with such a big effort, that since then, we Vikings are used to say "he looses from Lœdhingr" or "he pulls off himself from Drómi" when someone pursues something with all his energies. -

- Oh, yes, that's really true - Shelburnsson admitted

 

[ 16 ]

 

[ author: Toskosson ]

Original post by Shelburn Kenderman

(...)

- Oh, yes, that's really true - Shelburnsson admitted Shel, you are mythical Toskosson

 

[ author: Shelburn Kenderman ]

Thank you, Toskosson

- At last, were you able to chain this wolf, or not ? -

- Actually, we were going to fear not to be able. - Tyr rested his head on the shoulder of the human being, as if he wanted to weep

- Come on, don't be discouraged by this, even you, such powerful gods ! -

Tyr soon recovered his control, taking his solemn and authoritative look again

- Allfödhr sent Skírnir to the country of Dark Elfi, by some Dwarfs... -

- Just a moment, who is this Skírnir ? -

- The Freyr's messenger -

- Freyr ? -

- Yes, Freya's brother, son of Niördhr. Freyr is the god of abundance and richness, master of the rain that feeds the ground, of the sun that heats, of the nature that produces flowers and fruits... do you want to see an image ? -

- No, thank you, no, for Thor's sake. I understand well what you mean -

- He is represented by a huge c.... -

- Shut up, for Odine's sake, or they will censor us, here ! -

- Well, I was saying, this Skirnir let the Dwarfs prepare the famous fetter whose's name is "Gleipnir", that is made by . -

- Are you sure ? -

- Of course I am. -

- It's hardly credible... -

- And yet, these were the components -

- I can't believe it... are you sure these were the exact words they said ? -

- The exact words were these :

"Hann var gerr af sex hlutum: Af dyn kattarins ok af skeggi konunnar ok af rotum bjargsins ok af sinum bjarnarins ok af anda fisksins ok af fugls hráka."

Where "Hann" (=he) is the fetter -

- And these Dwarfs prepared a fetter by using these ingredients... oh ! -

- Well, you know, they aren't simple dwarfs. These ones were born at the beginning of the world, from the meat of giant Ymir... -

- Just a moment, I heard about this Ymir, already -

- Of course, Ymir was a bad giant, born from ice impregnated of poison, and that's why he was killed, and Odine and his brothers brought his body into Ginnungagap, that is into the Nothing, into the Emptyness, into the Primordial Abyss, and Earth was created from his meat ... -

- I guess he should have been a little big, wasn't he ? -

- You guess exactly. Actually he was a giant. And sea was created from his blood -

- The Red Sea ? -

- All the seas ! Mountains were made from his bones, trees and woods were made from his hair, and sky from his skull, and clouds from his brain... -

- This giant was a little absent-minded, wasn't he ? -

- ...and his eyebrows were used to build a huge circular wall around the land destined to men, Midhgardhr, that means "Midllegate", but we could say "Middleland", perhaps. Some worms then went out of the body of Ymir and the gods wanted them to get human look and intelligence. These are, actually, those little beings that are called Dwarfs, and that contribute to the order of the Cosmos, because four of them support the vault of the sky -

- Are they, maybe, those who are called Austri, Vestri, Nordhri and Sudhri ? -

- Exactly. -

- Ahem, now I understand why we can't see who supports the sky, because it is the Dwarfs, eh eh ! -

- Dwarfs live underground, because they are afraid of the light of the Sun... they say it could petrify them, and they are the guardians of the treasures of earth, that is of the metals -

- In fact, people say they are very skillful smiths -

- You can really say that, they did make many jewels and the weapons of the gods. -

- People say they are very wise, too -

- Certainly, sir, and this is due to their tight connection with earth. And they know magics, as well -

- Extraordinary, I'm sure that wizard Dellestell will appreciate to know them ! -

- Yes, sir, They were, at last, that built the fetter Gleipnir, a smooth rope, soft as a ribbon of silk, but solid and exceptionally strong. -

- If this fetter is so extraordinary as you tell, it will be opportune, I think, that while you go on with your story, we of Lad, too, make another one, similar to that, in order to chain the dreadful wolf Ladsson-

- Yes, sir, it looks a very good idea, but, do you know Skirnir, do you know where to find him ? -

- ...ahem, the case is that, as you are saying, he's the messenger of Frey, who is one of the Wanes... and, you know, we haven't much confidence in those gods... -

- Do you know Aesir better ? -

- Do you think I should ? -

- What about the Dwarfs ? -

- I'll tell you. Actually I don't need them, I'll arrange by myself. -

- What do you mean ? -

- Emmegidottir and Tinoköttur (that is Emmegidottir's cat) will provide for the noise that a cat makes when it moves... it's very easy for them, isn't it ? So easy. It will do to record it... eh eh, How difficult it looks for these ancient Vikings, doesn't it ? -

- It doesn't looks regular... you want to use some spell, some magics of the times of Lad ... of the land of Ladheimer ! -

- Ladheimer ? -

- Eh eh, - the good Viking god confirmed with proud - it was me to invent this word - and he blushed because of the contentment

- I think it isn't difficult to get a beard of a woman, as well... we have Gurusson&Figodottir (or Gurudottir&Figosson... it's not my business), Filippodottir and many others, we'll find someone that will be so kind to collaborate - Tyr looked like he were going to say something... but he grumbled something incomprehensible in his teeth and he sat down, tiredly.

- As far as the roots of a mountain are concerned, at the moment I don't know, but I count on the help of my valiant Vikings of Ladheimer -

Tyr lifted his face again and pricked up his ears, as he heard the name he had invented

- As far as the sinews of a bear are concerned, I count on the help of Orsobrunosson [ =Brown Bear ] and Orsopelososson [ =Shaggy Bear ]. -

- And how do you get off with the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird, eh ? ...eh ? - Tyr looked having regained all his vigour.

- Well, I will think about it, and I will find something. Now you, go on with your story. -

 


to be continued
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Created by Vlad Vasiliev on 8 Sen 2003
Last modified on 19 Feb 2004


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