In the country of the blind…Following Olaf’s last journey #Sweden #travel


Exactly who was Olav. Olav. Olof ?

I’m glad you asked.   

Olaf (let’s keep it simple) Haraldson is Norway’s patron saint and “Etrernal King”  and is credited with bringing Christianity to the country.

Also known as Olaf the Holy and  – less flatteringly – Olav the Fat (though I’ll wager that few were brave or stupid enough to say  that to his face)

Olaf was a precocious Viking.  Going on his first raiding parties at the age of 10

By all accounts he didn’t like being told what to do.  Upon being ordered to saddle his stepfather’s  horse he stomped off to the stables and threw the saddle on the back of a goat.

His stepfather didn’t discipline him but merely smiled.  Which shows you that Olaf wasn’t to be messed with,  even as a boy

He was deposed as king because of the  harsh way he dealt with some  of his subjects.  He travelled in Russia,  fought battles in the east of England  and was baptised in Rouen, France , before mounting a doomed expedition  to ‘re-claim his throne

Most of the information about him comes from Snorri Sturluson’s Icelandic Saga The Heimskringla

One incident details his treatment of a local chief called  Hrorek who rather unwisely displeased Olaf by refusing to buckle under.

Olaf demonstrated his displeasure by blinding Hrorek.  Though – to be fair – he didn’t kill him and even provided him with two servants  and allowed him to sit beside him during feasts…

If we’re in any doubt that Hrorek was somewhat miffed  by his treatment,   Snorri tells us that the blinded chief “became taciturn and answered short and cross when anyone spoke to him “

Honestly.  Some people are just so ungrateful.

He would beat the servants that Olaf gave him and became – in Snorri’s words – “morose”

“sometimes he would be silent that no man could get a word from him”

Even though Olaf out of the goodness of his heart , gave Hrorek some pocket money.

Odd, that

Hrorek finally took the plunge and tried to stab Olaf to death.  Inevitably he failed.  Being blind and all

He died in exile in Iceland.  

Morose and awkward to his dying day


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