4 min read
The Vikings Return

by William Thomas

When they learned that their audience was cancelled, the daughters of Odin – who preferred to settle unreconcilable disputes with heavy swords and hand-axes – suggested the town’s mayor reconsider…” their instructor read, reverently smoothing the pages of the podium-size tome so ancient its cover, hinges and hasp were overgrown by verdigris.     

     “He didn’t. Which is why the picture I’m about to show you of those Viking women in their raider-regalia came to hang in his burned-out office,” Miss Maypole finished.     

     A lad in front put up his hand.     


     “There aren't any really Vikings,” he insisted. “Not anymore. Not right now.” Unvoiced, but clearly heard, was a hesitant, right?     

     “Of course not,” assured their teacher. “Except for those six longships standing into our bay.”    

     Following her pointed finger, the entire class turned and gasped. Red-striped square-sails pregnant with menace and a following breeze, the squadron of dragon prow warships was already deep inside the inlet. And coming on fast.     

     Hide drumheads adorned with symmetrical crosses, spirals and runic inscriptions had been unshipped and were being beaten in a terrible building rhythm by smoke-smeared, long-bearded, half-naked berserkers enthusiastically wielding femurs and thigh bones whose owners – wild animals or otherwise – had likely not wished to part with them.       

     Even with maximum mayhem and molestation imminent, Richard remained fixated on his teacher, whose always fashionable attire was morphing from simple Armani skirt and blouse into an elaborately embroidered, full-length purple gown set off by a bustier of royal pedigree and design.     

     No longer a close-clipped, jet-black wing, golden waist-length Nordic tresses coyly draped the upperworks of a remarkably pale bosom. A pair of wide silver bracelets, sharply incised with X’s, triangles, sun wheels and the vertical directional arrow of Tiwaz encircled her wrists. A diadem of periwinkles crowned her forehead.     

     Who knew?     

     Super-big clues that they weren’t where they were anymore included the curving Senna streaks framing Miss Maypole’s face, and the coin-size gold bracteate from Skåne hanging on a sinew around her neck. Also, that heavy broadsword thrust through her belt.     

     Were those bloodstains?     

     “You're one of them!” he shouted, jumping to his feet and totally freaking out the already traumatized class. “You're one of them Viking vixens in that old book!”     

     “Sit DOWN!” roared the metamorphized maiden. “While you still have legs under you.”     

     Richard parked himself so fast he nearly toppled his desk.     

     “This illustration is a good likeness, don't you think?” Miss Maypole sweetly resumed. Smiling as if she was about to guzzle a chalice filled with hot goat’s blood, their transmogrified teacher tilted the book’s startlingly-detailed woodblock print for all to see.     

     Knock them over with a kestrel feather if the figure holding up a worried-looking severed head didn't look just like… Ms. Maypole!     

     When she snapped the musty book shut, dust puffed from between its covers like a ghostly exclamation.     

     “Are you, like, Wonder Woman?” little Amy squealed. And under the glare of the entire class, instantly shut up.     

     “Would you like to join us? Or would everyone prefer to die horribly?” their newly acquired chieftess inquired. “Except for you girls, of course, who might find yourselves part of the entertainment.”     

     “How can you say that?” a young lady-in-waiting protested. “Aren’t we all sisters of Freja?”     

     “That’s up to you.”     

     Eyes flashing jade fire, their appalling governess turned on the trembling class. “I give you a choice: surrender your lives, or roll with us. Those dragon ships are about to ground on the beach. So, decide. Quick!”     

     Her charges gasped. Nobody could imagine a schoolteacher giving such an ultimatum!     

     “That’s not nice!” Martin burst out. “You’re not supposed to hurt our feelings. My dad says it’s…” face scrunched in concentration… “ill-eagle!”     

     “Your point?” demanded the fierce warrioress who had replaced their mellower mentor. “Do you really think those who so lustily honor and celebrate the intertwined female and male essences care for such ill-considered judgement?”     

     In the shocked hush that followed, the big clock high on the wall seemed to ratchet with unusual volume and vehemence. Perhaps because its hands were moving backwards in a blur.     

     Wait. Didn't Viking children clutch long colored ribbons as they danced and ducked around a Maypole during the spring planting festival dedicated to Sif?     

     “Sign me up,” said a boy who had not yet spoken.     

     “Me too,” squealed Megan.     

     “I vant Vikink very yes!” the Russian kid chimed in, no doubt imagining unlimited spoils of ice cream.     

     And that is how Miss Maypole's 8th graders became wolves of the sea before leaving their seats.     

In what seemed like the very next instant, their Viking visitors burst into the classroom with hair-raising, pre-Germanic and Slavic screams of pillage and delight. Underscored, of course, by carefully rehearsed Nordic oaths to Odin, raven-informed father of us all.     

     Their leader, clad in animal skins, bones, bells, wild face paint, braided white feathers, dusty black boots and an illicitly-acquired solar Seiko, slammed to a halt.     

     “By the sacred feminine futha!” he bellowed. “Felleg er fuþ sin bylli Fuþorglbasm!”     

     In the scandalized silence that ensued, the red-bearded, antler-helmeted, urgently-in-need-of-steam-cleaning, hirsute monster dropped his double-axe with a thwack! that cleaved the floor. Slamming Miss Maypole clean off her feet with one massive paw, he hugged her dainty as a daisy.     

     “Sweetie pie!” he exclaimed.     

     “Honey buns!” the wilde woman shouted back, wrapping both legs around his wide-belted waist and kissing him hard on the mouth. “I knew you'd come!”

Photo Caption:

Dragonship inbound -pilotguides.com