Shaggy Dog Story


Eric, the blind viking, sat on his porch as the spring winds swept the clouds slowly inland. Up the steep path leading to Eric’s small house came Olaf, the village elder, eager to speak to him.


“Who’s that?” said Eric, for he could not see.

“’Tis I, Olaf the village elder, we’re organizing a pillaging trip to England. As we’re short of warriors, we were hoping you might come along.”

“Sounds like fun. I’ll ask the missus about it and see what counsel she can give me.”

“Fair enough, Eric. Don’t get up, I’ll see my own way out.”

“As if you’ve got a choice.”


Later that day, Eric was met by his wife, Brunhilde, who’d just come back from the shops.


“Who’s that?” said Eric, for he could not see.

“’Tis I, your wife Brunhilde, back from the shops.”

“Ah, Brunhilde, I have news. Olaf the village elder came to see me and offered me a job.”

“A job, my love?”

“Yes. I am to be a warrior again, to sail to England and loot, rape and pillage.”

“Well, Eric. I don’t know what to say. What if you have an accident or something?”

“It’ll be fine love. Go on, say I can go. I’ll bring you a present…”

“Well, I don’t know…”

“Any present you like! Just name it, it shall be yours.”

“Err… we could do with a new sink unit.”

“A sink? Say no more about it, my love. It shall be yours, I promise.”

And so it was that Eric was taken on board the longship on the journey to the coast of England. The trip was eventful with storms, sea-monsters and half-drowned berserkers weaving a saga of bravery, courage and good fortune. Eventually, the craft arrived upon its objective; England.


“Land ahoy!”

“It’s England, my vikings! Soon we shall raid the be-Odin of this poxy little island!”

“Hurray!” shouted the vikings.

Eric, however, looked worried. Chief Wolfgang spied his apprehensive, blind reaver and went over to talk to him.


“Who’s that?” said Eric, for he could not see.

“’Tis I, Chief Wolfgang. I’ve been thinking. When we disembark I’ll get Lief to point you in the right direction so you can loot, rape and pillage everything ahead of you.”

“Sounds like a plan,” said Eric.

The vikings spilled onto the English coast with blood-curdling yells to loot the undefended coastal villages. In a matter of hours, houses burned, defenders routed and barns had been stormed. Eventually they noticed that Eric was missing. The vikings immediately sent forth a search party to get him back.


Eventually, Eric was tracked down to a building site some miles inland. They found him running around in a circle waving his axe around and shouting. Lief, the leader of the search party, spoke to him.


“Who’s that?” said Eric, for he could not see.

“’Tis I, Lief, I’ve come to get you. Put your axe down. The pillaging is over. We have to get back to the ship.”


“What’s wrong, Eric?”

“It’s just that I need to find a sink unit for Brunhilde. I promised to get her one before I left.”

The search party split up to look for a sink unit. Their search was fruitless. Eventually one of the vikings picked up the first thing to hand; a bricklayer’s hod. [got the joke yet?]

“Sorry Eric, we couldn’t find a sink unit. This will have to do. I’m sure Brunhilde will understand…”

Soon the search party had returned to the longship with Eric. The vikings boarded the craft and made their way back toward their village in distant Norway. Storms and sea-monsters battered the craft on its return as they had when outward bound. After weeks at sea, the small vessel finally made its way back to their familiar harbour. The womenfolk waited eagerly for their men to disembark. Eric, hod perched on his shoulders, shuffled along the quay towards the awaiting Brunhilde.


“Who’s that?” said Eric, for he could not see.

“’Tis I, your wife Brunhilde, it’s good to see you home again and well, my husband!”

“Aye, ’tis good to be back. And here, my love, is the present that you asked for.”

Brunhilde looked wide-eyed at the object her husband had presented her. “But this is not what I asked you to bring me,” she said.

“ I know but [altogether now…] A HOD’S AS GOOD AS A SINK TO A BLIND NORSE!”

Thank-you and good night.

About floppybootstomp

Lecturer, teacher, writer and traveller all perfectly good nouns aren't they? Do they have anything to do with me? Ask the taxman.

Posted on March 11, 2011, in Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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