After researching some of the most up-to-date and well-written books on the Norse culture, I got tired and threw the books aside to watch the best of Viking films I could find: “The Long Ships,” “The Norseman,” “Vikings” and “Pathfinder.” With testosterone surging through me, I wrote the following!
The Vikings were a misunderstood bunch of merchants. Each year, the Vikings would do a lot of housekeeping at their manors. Then they would gather together all their junk and go to their Things (which were sort of like flea markets, only you didn’t want to use that term since it kept people away during the Black Plague). These were sometimes called “stable sales” and were forerunners of today’s “garage sales.”
After a while, the Vikings figured out that they were just moving things around and not really getting rid of anything. So they loaded their old paperback sagas, junk jewelry and teakwood statues of Odin with clocks in his left eye into ships and sailed off to make a buck somewhere else.
Unfortunately, the Church didn’t like the Vikings, since they were cutting into the Church’s sale of its own worthless junk (called “relics”). So the Church got its propaganda machine going and told all their priests to end their prayers with “And deliver us, O Lord, from the dross of the Norsemen.” Unfortunately, Latin was already a dead language; and the priests misunderstood, praying instead to be delivered from the “wrath” of the Vikings.
When their congregations heard this, they figured that the priests had pissed people off again and that it was up to them to save their skins. So when the Vikings arrived to set up shop, the natives tended to hustle down and try to close them down, breaking their display cases and setting fire to their merchandise. The peace-loving Vikings, seeing the destruction for no reason, decided to give the Christians a taste of their own medicine and really kicked ass. They then helped themselves to Christian merchandise to help replace their own damaged goods.
When news of the fiasco came out, the Church decided to cover up for their priests’ mistakes and came up with the Viking myth as we know it today. The Vikings, who were very sensitive, changed their names to Normans. Since no one expects much from anyone named Norman, they were easily able to conquer half of Europe before the Church figured out what was going on. The Church then shrugged and sat back to wait until the King of England wanted a divorce. Then, they figured, they would show them.
The Vikings invented a lot of things but didn’t patent them, so other people took credit for them. They loved to go boating but never got the hang of waterskiing. When they were on dry land, they really missed their ships. Their phrase, “I ban longin’ for my ship” became shortened to “long ship” and became synonymous with the ships themselves, which the Vikings actually called “floaty things,” since they were looked on as floating flea markets.
A few Vikings set up a protection racket, called “Dane Geld,” which was short for “Give the Dane your spare change or he’ll cut your balls off.” When the Vikings changed their names to Normans, this group conquered Sicily and later changed their names to Mafia.
Swedish Vikings never wore horned helmets; theirs had wings. Norwegian Vikings wore horned helmets and were distinguished from Swedish Vikings. Danish Vikings wore flutes on their helmets. All of them dressed alike otherwise. Anyone who did not wear a furry skirt and a muscle shirt wore blue jeans and t-shirts (their t-shirts had fancy Celtic knotwork embroidery but no snappy sayings, since hardly anyone could read their runes). It is still being debated whether Vikings wore tennis shoes or cowboy boots.