I had to write a history paper on the vikings for school one day and at the time I found out about it I was not very thrilled.
I like writing but writing history papers isn’t as fun as writing fiction.
Then I had this great idea. What if I wrote a fiction paper for the school assignment? You’re probably wondering how that worked. Well, I got an A so it must have been fine.
I did write a regular history paper about the vikings, but I also wrote this for fun because who likes to read a typical essay?
The Vikings……Through the eyes of Cearul, The Time Traveler
My name is Cearul. I am a time traveler. I don’t know exactly how I became one, but only remember someone telling me I would grow up to see things that others wouldn’t. So here I am, seeing things that others can’t. But I don’t want it to be that way. I want you to see those things too. But the only way you can see them is by reading what I have to say. I am sorry you can’t physically see what I see. I wish you could. But for some reason it is only I who am able. But even so, I am making an attempt to bring it as real before your eyes as I possibly can.
On one of my many travels through time, I witnessed scenes from exciting parts in history. And these scenes were at the time of Vikings. I, Cearul, witnessed the Vikings with my very own eyes! The people from the 790s who lasted till the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This is what happened in detail……
I landed from my time jump in a grove of trees. Quickly, I ran out to see where I was. I was on a Scottish island and sat facing the near Atlantic Ocean. Long wooden boats that floated gently in the waves were anchored to a rocky beach. Rain was beginning to fall. I smelled the air. It was full of a wild smell. Something exciting was about to happen. The trees where I had landed were tall and full. They swayed careless in the rolling wind that had begun to blow. Then, I heard the shrill cries of many people. A distant bell began to ring. It was deep and musical, but the way it was ringing sent my blood cold. Danger was on the move. I followed the sound back into the trees and away from the sea. Before long I came to a beautiful rolling countryside. Green fields all wet with rain housed a fortress of stone. But this fortress was not one that housed soldiers. It housed peaceful monks and nuns. I could see them milling about the grounds. I stood atop a hill that overlooked the monastery. And when I began to study the intricate shapes and curves of the building, I realized that the monks and nuns were not milling about in pleasure. They were running for their lives! I now came to the conclusion that I had suddenly appeared in the middle of one of the Viking’s raids.
A fierce mob of men dressed in animal skins and wielding axes rushed towards the monastery at top speed. They came in from all directions and from the looks on their faces, they intended to strike down everything in their path. And they did. All of them were fearless. Some howled like dogs and swung their weapons about wildly to bring terror into the hearts of their enemies. At this sight, I was filed with fear for the monks and nuns and rushed to help them. But of course, like I nearly always do, I forgot the main rule of time travel.
On my rush down the hill I stopped in front of a fleeing monk. His brown robe was in his hands and he was dashing my way. Three Viking men with nasty scars on their arms were at his heels. The monk ran past me and I was left to face the Viking men. I waved my arms at them. I yelled trying to get their attention. Rain streamed down my hair and face. But no one seemed to notice me. They ran right through me like I was a cloud of dust.
You see, I get so into my time travel adventures I forget the main rule of time travel. YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE PAST. I am only there as a witness. I cannot help or worsen the situation. I can only watch and learn from what I see. (And of course tell you what I have seen.) So please forgive me If I seem forgetful and try to change the past even though I can’t. I personally think that you would try and do the same if you were in my shoes. Ok now…..back to where we were…….
I left the standstill position I was in and found my way into the monastery. The Viking raiders had left a trail of mud and battle remains. I was saddened by the many lives that were lost. These Vikings were cruel. They struck down and murdered innocent monks and nuns all for the sake of what? As I carried on through the monastery walls I heard the pounding of feet. A group of six warriors began plundering everything that was of worth. Bibles decorated with gems, food, clothes, and various other items were stolen and stuffed into cloaks or seal skin sacks. Before too long, the raid ended with the smell of smoke and the sight of flames. The monastery was now a fiery tomb. I left the burning building while watching the walls crumble into heaps of cracked stone and charred wood. There was nothing beautiful left of that place.
I watched the Viking men leave swiftly, all heading back in the same direction I had come. Some of them carried monks or nuns tied tightly with coarse rope. Slaves, I thought. I scowled at their deeds and at their backs. I did my best to keep up with them. At the beach, the men loaded their plunder and slaves onto the long boats that hung back in the foaming waters. I climbed aboard like a stowaway, being secretive, though of course no one could see me. Even so, I felt the need to be like a spy. These men were dangerous and from the way they fought and fearfully destroyed everything in their way made me quiver. The boats left the shore and took to the rough ocean. A storm was beginning to quake. The sky was a sheet of grey glass all speckled with dark drops of rain. The oars of the great ship rumbled against the side as I watched the muscly arms of a nearby Viking. As he rolled the hard oars through the churning waters, a wave splashed against the side of the boat. The faces of some of the men looked drawn and hungry. Barely any of them ate. What they had plundered they took a sparse handful for a meal. While some rowed, some ate their tiny meals in silence. Then they took turns.
Suddenly, my time travel powers jumped me ahead in time. I was still in the boat in my same position, except now the sea was calm. The air was clear and sun poured over everyone’s backs. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The men now looked more ragged and drawn than ever. Their provisions didn’t look as plentiful but I could tell that there was quite a bit left. I wondered why these men did not eat their fill. Why were they only eating tiny amounts and saving it?
A grating sound caught my ears. Rocks were grinding up against the bottom of the boat. We had hit a shore. The men jumped out with enthusiasm, hauling loads of rope and plunder with them. The boats were tied securely to the beach and after several moments of unloading, I could hear the excited shrieks of others on the shore. Women with long braids and scarves tied over their hair came to greet the men with open arms. Children in breeches and long dresses ran wildly with small dogs along the rocks while shouting happily. Their fathers and older brothers had come home. Abruptly, the men pulled out what plunder they had and showed it off to their wives and children. Food and clothes were passed about while the family members walked to their homes higher up and back in the forest. I followed along to watch what would happen next.
Through the trees and beside a great fjord a village of houses met my eyes. They were long houses made of bark and some had grass growing along the top. Spying one family, I followed them inside their own home. The head of the family was the very man who had been rowing the boat. He removed his iron and leather laden helmet and set it on a bench covered in reindeer skins. (In my entire travels with the Vikings, I didn’t see one helmet with horns or wings on them. I still wonder who made up the whole horn thing) The sacks of goods he set down beside the doorway. A warm hearth sat in the middle of the house with a starry fire cooking food. The whole place smelled delicious. The wife whose hair was in two long blonde braids, smiled as she handed her husband a plate of nuts and cooked meat. The husband received it graciously and patted his son’s head who watched curiously. While the father ate, I saw him motion to his son to bring him the bags of stolen goods. The boy who looked to be about nine, drug the bag over to the fire. His two other siblings, a boy of five and a girl of eleven eyed the bag eagerly. The dad, while chewing motioned his son to open the bags up. The wife stirred the fire then sat next to her husband. The boy opened the bag and gasped. He pulled out a bible covered in gold lettering and rich gems. He rattled on in Norse then handed the book to his mother. She ran her fingers down over the book and nodded smiling.
The father looked proud and nodded to his son to keep going. The boy pulled out hide-wrapped-packages of meat, vegetables, grain, clothes, more gem covered books, and tools. The family gathered about touching and gasping. The father looked all the prouder and then touched each of his children’s heads with his hands. I could see him tell them each something in Norse with the firelight glowing in all their eyes. From where I was standing, this looked like the perfect family scene. There was a peace that wrapped around them all. And for me, it was hard to believe that this very same man had been across the ocean battling like a wild animal for all these treasures. And all of it was for his family. Later I understood. These people had to survive. Their lands were difficult for farming and for winter the food was scarce. So, the fathers and older brothers went to raid across the waters for things that would get them through the winter. After my witnessing of these events, my time was up in the Viking era. I arrived back in the present time and thought over everything I had seen. I decided that you should see what I saw. And this was the best way that you could.
I hope you understand a little bit more about the Vikings and hopefully you won’t always picture them in your mind as tyrants of the sea. I had a different experience that I hope will shed a little more light on their true characters.
Till another time travel, this is your friend Cearul signing off from a Viking adventure.