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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Jómsvíkinga Saga...Viking Humor

The Jomsvikings captured in the battle of Hajorungavagr were being executed, and it came to be the turn of a young 18 year-old man to die...

"And then there was brought up a young man whose hair was long and golden- yellow like silk. Thorkel asked him the same question he had asked the others. “What do you think about dying?”

He replied,’ I have lived the best part of my life. I do not care to live after those who have died here. But I want to be led to slaughter not by slaves, but rather by a man not lower than you; nor will such a one be hard to find- and let him hold my hair away from my head so that my hair will not become blood-stained.

A man from the Jarl’s body guard stepped forward and wound the long hair around his hands. Thorkel slammed down with his sword, and at that moment the young man jerked away his head, so the blow fell on the arms of the one holding his hair, and cut them off at the elbow.

The young man leapt up and said., “Whose hands are in my hair?”

The victorious vikings thought this such a good joke that they offered the young Viking his freedom, and when he refused unless the other Jomvikings were freed also, they agreed. (-;

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