Saturday, November 11, 2006

The most important fact in my country's history - Norway

The event most crucial to my country's fate took place when the Gulf Stream begun its journey from Mexico to our northern shores. I'm not sure exactly on which date this would have happened, but if it hadn't, life in Norway would be much more frigid than it currently is.

More entertaining, though, is Snorre's tale of the early constitution of Norway. You see, back in the day there was no Norway at all, just a collection of petty kingdoms ruled by chieftains. Among these was Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair) who came to be the first king of Norway.

Behind every great man stands an equally great gold digger. The most important person in Norwegian history would be a little lady by the name of Gyda Eiriksdatter. She was daughter to a neighboring king, and, as the story goes, a maiden of the fairest sort.

The future overlord sent his lackeys to offer her a hand in marriage, but she refused to waste her virginity on a man whose rule consisted of nothing but a couple of measly parishes. -I find it strange, she said, that there is no king to conquer it all, like Gorm of Denmark and Eirik of Uppsala. On one condition will I accept his proposal, she said: -If he lays the whole of Norway under his rule.

Consequently, the lackeys had to return with unfinished business. They suggested to the king that it would serve the ill-tempered, obstinate Gyda right if she were abducted and forced into marriage. Harald Fairhair, however, found her request reasonable. She had not said anything wrong or acted in a way that called for revenge. In fact, he was grateful for her inspirational words. He should have thought of this long ago, he said, and swore not to cut nor comb his hair until he had conquered Norway.

Then the lovelorn king set out on a murderous spree. The battle of Hafrsfjord stood sometime during the 880s and marked the final crushing of the opposition. At long last, Harald could get himself groomed and send word for his bride. The rest is history.

And so it came to pass that the forming of the Norwegian state rests on a bloody love story. It is in many ways sad, yet fortunate in others, that the nation did not retain a passion like that which took part in its making.



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