Monday, 23 May 2011

Viking Quips

Vikings were keen on black humour, and in battle and at the moment of death they were likely to pull out a witty remark, usually a self-aggrandising joke at the enemy's expense. Here's one 'dying words' quip I read today:

When Tryggvi, who was the son of King Olafr Tryggvason (scary when he was a pagan Viking, even scarier when he was a Christian king) and an Englishwoman named Gyða, grew up and came to Norway from England, the rumour went round that he wasn’t the son of Olafr at all, but the son of a priest. Tryggvi denied this. He fought a battle against Sveinn (the son of Knut) who was then ruling over Norway, at a place called Tungunes. During the battle, Tryggvi picked up two spears at once and threw them, and as he did so he said, "That’s how my father taught me to say mass!"

(i.e. he resembles his father, Olafr Tryggvason, and is no priest's son).

Unfortunately Tryggvi was killed in the same battle, so had no opportunity to further prove his parentage...

ETA: this is probably the modern equivalent...

2 comments:

Theodric the Obscure said...

Clerk: Cool quote. Is it supposed to be "at once"?

Clerk said...

Yes it is! Thanks.