The Viking With a Hundred Horns

Story File
9.8

Values

Austerity

Main Lesson

Ostentation brings nothing positive. Sooner or later it will become a weakness.

Setting

A Viking village

Characters

A Viking warrior and a young man

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The Viking With a Hundred Horns

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A story about how pride and ostentation leads to defeat

Olav Brutolsen was the most terrible of all the Vikings. With just his bare hands he could fight a bull into submission in a matter of seconds. To make sure people knew just who he was, his helmet and cloak were adorned with his victory trophies. On his helmet were over a hundred horns, and on his cloak were a thousand precious stones; one stone for each enemy he had defeated.

In his city everyone would make way for him as he went by, but one day a young man who was absent-mindedly reading as he walked, bumped into Olav. Olav was furious. He reproached the young man and challenged him to a fight to the death. The skinny young man had no choice; all he could do was accept on one condition:

-“I can’t see very well, and I don’t know you, so I’ll need you to keep your helmet and cloak on during the fight so I can make you out.”

Olav laughed a hearty laugh and disdainfully accepted the young man’s stupid condition, before launching himself at the youth, intent on destroying him. The boy was agile, and he only just managed to slip through Olav’s clutches. The same happened each time Olav attacked, and as the fight went on it became easier for the young man to evade the attacks. Although no one could believe how the boy was doing, they all expected him to fall down dead as soon as Olav landed the first blow.

But that blow never came. Olav had been attacking for more than five minutes, and after ten minutes he fell to the ground, as if dead.

Many onlookers thought the young man must be some kind of wizard, but the boy, who was a medical student by the name of Virtensen, had demonstrated to everyone how Olav’s pride and ostentation had been enough to make him fall under the weight of his helmet and cloak. When Olav came to, like a good warrior he accepted his defeat. From that day he got rid of the useless trophies on his helmet and cloak, and returned to simple clothing. Now wherever he walked he was just like anyone else. Everywhere, that is, except for when he walked on the battlefield, where he came to be recognised not for his many horns or his bejeweled cloak, but for his unmatched ferocity.


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