Published August 31, 2016
Our summer Saga series has taken us to Norway and Sweden (and will again) but has largely skipped all things Danish. We wouldn’t want our former colonizers to feel left out (they were very involved for soooo long after all), so this issue is going to recap a short tale pulled from a very long and boring series of Sagas about Scandinavian nobility called Heimskringla. While most Sagas’ authors are unknown, Heimskringla and the short tales associated with it were almost certainly written by Iceland’s medieval literary monarch himself: Snorri Sturluson. (Fun fact: “snorri” is also a Swedish slang term for “penis.” Isn’t that adorable?) He loved making money and writing books, two activities that have preoccupied most Icelanders ever since—although most have to choose only one of the two.
Third time’s the charm
This tale is about a Dane named Hrói. He’s got one blue, one black eye, and an assload of bad luck. He’s mad skilled at smithing, so he makes tons of dope shit but when he gets in a boat to try and sell it, he wrecks it and loses everything. So what’s a dude to do? Get back on the horse, or whatever inspiration cliché you prefer, so he starts all over and makes more but when he sets off to sell it, he falls right back off the horse. And by horse, I mean the ship. And by he, I mean all of his shit. So he finally decides to try something else. Kinda.
He goes to the King of Denmark to try his luck. I mean luck is basically the only thing that qualifies a king to lead a whole country, so the guy must basically piss felix felicis. Hrói offers to give the king a cut of his profits if he goes into business with him and even though the court is all, “nooooo, don’t doooooo it,” the king has tons of money and zero fucks, so why not give the money? His luck outweighs Hrói’s and this makes them both even richer. Then Hrói ends the deal and peaces out to Sweden.
Fool me once
In a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever have to write, he meets one fugly douchebag in Sweden. This guy, Helgi, takes him into a warehouse filled with stuff and offers to trade it all for Hrói’s stuff and they agree on a time and place. Hrói has his stuff delivered but when he arrives a day late to pick up Helgi’s stuff, the warehouse is empty. Helgi says that he dragged it all out for Hrói but since Sweden has a law that men must protect their stuff from thieves and Hrói wasn’t present on time to do so, he considers the deal void and is keeping ALL THE THINGS.
I forgot to mention that Hrói is totally pimped out in fancy clothes with a fancy belt and knife. As he’s walking away, he runs into Helgi’s equally fugly and douchey brother, Þorgill, who claims that Hrói stole the knife and belt from him in Normandy. Then he runs into a one-eyed douche named Þorir, another brother, who claims Hrói stole his eye using magic and that’s why his eyes are mismatched. What a fucking day, amirite?
Good thing he then runs into some babe named Sigurbjörg. She’s like, “Are you Dumbass-Hrói?” and he’s like, “I used to be Rich-as-Fuck-Hrói but I guess I’m Dumbass-Hrói now. Please help me?” She says she doesn’t think she can help him but she totally wants to touch his butt, so she offers to hide him in her room so he can overhear what her father, a very wise law-speaker, suggests. This turns out to be fighting lies with lies.
An eye for an eye
In court, the three Brothers Douche claim their bullshit but Hrói’s not such a dumbass as his name suggests. He lies about having a brother whom Þorgill murdered and that’s how he got the knife. With Þorir, he suggests they each pop out an eyeball and if they don’t weigh the same, Þorir must be lying and of course he refuses.
Finally, against Helgi, he claims that since he was standing in the warehouse when he made the deal that Helgi himself should also be included in the property and that he must therefore be granted to Hrói as a slave. Sigurbjörg’s dad has Hrói’s back and the king offers Hrói ALL THE THINGS and also all three brothers as slaves. Jackpot! He banishes Helgi and has the other two killed. Then he marries Sigurbjörg, moves back to Denmark, and lives as Rich-as-Fuck-Hrói richly-as-fuck ever after.
Morals of the story: 1. Try to be on time. 2. Capitalism is trickery.