Viking Saga Lessons: Stay Away from a Viking and His Axe

Posted by Ms Elly on

Viking Saga Lessons: Stay Away from a Viking and His Axe

"He stood so convenient for hewing" is a quote from the Norse sagas written down in the early 1200 AD in Iceland. It was the story called the Saga of the Sworn Brothers. It tells the life and revenge of two sworn brothers Torgeir Hávarsson and Tormod Bersasson.

Torgeir was a talented warrior with the great skill of wielding his axe. His reasons for each time he killed someone were because he liked it then he did so. As the saga depicted, Torgeir was in his prime youth, a heart full of ambition and energy. He was eager to learn anything about wielding the axe to behead his enemies' head. 

In some accounts, people said that Torgeir was a brutal and stubborn man who killed people to revenge for his father. And then he took up his work as killing other for money. In other accounts, Torgeir was described as a psychopath who killed anyone as long as he wanted. 

On one night, one shepherd came home after a hard working day. He stood in the courtyard to talk with other people. He bent forward a little bit and his neck stretched forward.  When Torgeir who was somewhere near saw the shepherd standing in such a position, he wielded his axe and cut the shepherd right in his neck. 

The head fell off and hit the ground. Then Torgeir carried on walking like nothing ever happened. The rest of the people talking to the shepherd was speechless and they quickly went home. 

After the event, some asked Torgeir why he did that. He replied that the shepherd had done nothing wrong to him. But the truth was that Torgeir could not resist the temptation to chop his head. Because "he stood so convenient for hewing".

He who killed with the sword shall die by the sword.

Later, Torgeir came to the land of Norway to become the bodyguard of King Olaf Haraldsson. He made enemies not friends, everywhere and everytime. 

In the year of 1023, during a heroic battle, Torgeir was killed by a gang of people who had one thing in common: their hatred toward Torgeir. His head was cut off from his body and seen as the trophy. As time went by, the head became ugly and the gang had to bury his head. 

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