Viking Lesson: Treasure Every Breath You Take
This blog post is to offer a new viewpoint about the Vikings who wanted to appreciate every breath they took and everytime they could open their eyes to see their beloved ones. This article is based on the writer's personal viewpoint.
Everything just dawns on me when I first read Havamal the Saying of the High One - one of the major sources from which we get the knowledge about Norse mythology. There is one stanza saying that:
The lame can ride horse, the handless drive cattle,
the deaf one can fight and prevail,
’tis happier for the blind than for him on the bale-fire,
but no man hath care for a corpse.
At the first place, I didn't understand what the above stanza meant. Thinking it was about a bloodshed battle didn't make any sense to me. But when I linked the stanza with the life of Ivar the Boneless one of the great Viking heroes, everything just makes sense. The stanza tells us to treasure every breath we can take.
The one who got injured or wounded in the leg could still ride on a horse. Even the one who could not use their hands could drive cattle. The deaf could still fight and make people remember their name. And the blind could, too. But everyone would forget the dead.
In the Viking saga, the great Viking hero Ivar the Boneless prove this right. As his name indicated, he was literally boneless although debates about the meaning of his nickname carry on. Many scholars believe that Ivar was born without the capability to move his legs. He was allegedly looked down on in his clan for his physical disability. He spent the rest of his life making people kneel down before him though.
Ivar the Boneless in "Vikings" TV Series
Maybe his desire to live on was not for everyone to remember his name, instead to go to Valhalla, to die in battle and come to the Hall of Odin the Allfather. But whatever his motives were, he simply didn't give up. Ivar treasured every breath to live on and improve himself and fight. His physical disability could not stop him from reaching his full potential. And Ivar joined battle and fought and won. In Viking saga, Ivar was written down as the Viking King of Dublin with a mind full of great military tactics and cunning ideas to kill off enemies.
The root to his success was not to give up when everything just turned their back on him. Even if everyone did so, he had himself to support himself. Even his fate was destined to be a man with a disability, he challenged fate and rewrite a new chapter of glory for himself.
Ivar the Boneless joining battle
The lesson here is to treasure every moment of your life, every moment when you can take a breath looking around to see your beloved ones happy and to make as many efforts as possible.
Life is a gift for everyone. I agree that we suffer a lot but it does not mean we must become the victim of life. And the Viking stanza just dawns on me that "How about become the ruler of your own life". There is nothing more a great privilege than living the most of your life. Life is short and it should not be wasted. Viking warriors knew it. They didn't waste their life in battle as we might see in the media. They lived in battle and they fought for what they believed the most in their life.