Hello, dear readers! As your resident Viking Elder, I get a lot of rune tablets sent to me around this time of year. Most say things like ‘Dear Finbrad. I not rune good but what I gaf gyvv gif’ and then it becomes hard to read on account of the scratching and the tablets being broken, but occasionally the questions are coherent. Here are a couple that might guide you through the stressful time leading up to Winter Solstice.
Dear Finnbard. I am away a-Viking for eight months a year, often more. What should I fetch for my wife for winter solstice? Last time I gave her the hewn-off hands of my enemies she was not impressed.
– Concerned Helmet-holder, Norway.
Dear Helmet. Trusting in raids as your primary source of gifts can be a double-edged sword. Often you need to make decisions on the fly and it can be quite hard to get blood-stains and the smell of smoke out of clothing even though it has been worn sparingly and cut off the previous owner with the utmost care. However, most if not all women like a strong man who can provide for the home, so I can see your dilemma. I am surprised at your wife rejecting your generous gifts. Have you considered writing and singing to her a seven thousand line skaldic poem? I will just about guarantee that that will put a stop to further requests for gifts.
Dear Finnbard. My son just killed his first man in an ice-hockey game. He wants to come a-Viking with me this winter. Should I let him, as a Winter Solstice present?
– Grim Kveldulfsson, Iceland. P.S. he is seven.
Dear Grim. I think there is sound sense in letting the boy have a go at the rest of the world. If he continues killing in Iceland there might not be that many of you left. Just make sure he doesn’t get tangled up too badly in the politics of court and for the love of everything that’s pagan keep him off the mead.
Dear Finnbard. Last time my husband came home from raiding he had a bunch of rancid, cut-off hands with him in a sack. What should I suggest?
– Disgruntled, Norway.
Dear Disgruntled – divorce him. Right now. He clearly doesn’t understand what women want and need in this modern age. In fact, I’d say you would be within your rights to kill him unless he writes you a seven thousand line skaldic poem.
Dear Finnbard. I am thinking of going over to see my father, who has recently started a colony out west. I’ve got most of the presents sorted but I’m looking for something extra. What should I bring him?
– L. Eriksson, Iceland.
Dear L. Eriksson. You have a choice. Bring three extra barrels of mead or a competent navigator. I’d go for the navigator.
That is all for now, readers or listeners to the one person in the village who can read. Wait patiently until the snow melts for my next instalment in Rune Tablets to Finnbard – 10 things to wear a-Viking in spring!
And that’s it from Snorri Kristjansson, and if you liked this post, you might like to check out The Valhalla Saga ;). Follow the rest of our #JFBChristmasAdvent series on Twitter @jofletcherbooks for more author posts, wish lists, short stories and competitions!