The Ulfheðinn Saga
N.B. This saga relates to the exploits and history of the Ulfhedinn reenactment group. It does not relate to the historic Ulfheðnar in any way and in fact is completely made up. You have been warned.
The Lay of Ulke the Troll
The troll Ulke had a desire to kill men and make a name for himself.
So he went out from his mountain lair to walk to the lands of men.
On his way he came to a Wolf called Ergg. I will kill and eat you Troll for I am hungry and I will fight and eat you Wolf or you can come with me and eat tender men. We will learn how to fight their spears and swords. The wolf considered the troll and thought he would make a poor meal whereas he knew men were tasty. This is how Ulke met Errg. They both continued on, as they neared the lands of men Ulke decided to make a spear. So he went to a great tree and started to take a branch. As the wind blew the tree it smote Ulke about the head. Undaunted Ulke took a log and fashioned it into a spear. This is how Ulke gained his spear Udane. So Ulke, Errg and Udane entered the lands of men and sought out the Blue Giant at the mouth of the Borne fjord to learn the spear and sword ways of men. The Blue giant taught them how to fight but demanded much of them. Ulke, Errg and Udane decided they would leave the giant and journey onwards to test their new skills and feast on the flesh of men. They came to a village where the men marvelled at the three strange beings but were not afraid of them. There they joined in battle. Errg was first to die. Ulke and Udane killed many yet the men stood their ground. Ulke began to doubt his plan to eat men and was impressed by their ferocity. One of men shouted to the bleeding troll
“You fight well monster!”
“As do you manling”
“We can fight on but we would like to fight like you”
“Come and feast with us and teach us your ways”
Ulke considered this and decided he would teach men not eat them.
He took the skin of Errg and wore it about his shoulders and head in memory of his friend and lived among the men.
These were the first Ulfheðinn
Why the Ulfhedinn painted their shields
Gildi eða blóð., Blóð eða afráð. Payment or blood. Blood or tribute!
Haakon and the Ulfheðinn were employed to take geld in Anglaland and journeyed there. None in their ships could speak the tongue of that land. When they came to the Saxons none could make themselves understood because they were stupid. After killing many of Saxons they were beaten off and went back to their ships. Haakon took the council of his captains.After much talk they decided that they would make themselves clear to the dense Saxons. So they painted one side of a shield red and one side yellow. The red meant blood and the yellow meant gold. Haakon went back to the saxons and pointed to the yellow side saying geld then the other saying blood. Give us gold or there will be blood. The Saxons still did not understand them so they killed even more of their men but were still beaten off. They went back to their ships and Haakon and his captains discussed the matter further. They then decided to paint the shield in quarters to repeat the message so the foolish Saxons would understand. Back they went and said to the Saxons again blood or gold, gold or blood pointing to the shield. Finally the Saxons understood and gave the Ulfheðinn the gold. This is why the shields of the Ulfheðinn are painted red and yellow.
Haakon and the Great Erection
Haakon had set camp with a group of Saxons at Corfe’s Gate and he and his men started to put up their tent. The tent was a mighty erection which could hold all the Ulfhedinn. A group of the Saxons decided that they would taunt Haakon and his men as they did so for they were Saxons and as a race they are uncivil. “You fools!” they shouted “The tent is inside out!” Haakon doubted himself for but a moment, looked at the tent and carried on. “You’ll just have to take it down again heathen” berated the Saxons “ What dumb oxen these northmen are!” Haakon felt the rage swell within him but still he carried on. The Saxons rolled about laughing and Haakon could stem the tide of his anger no more. “Silence you dogs! By Odin the next man to laugh will lose his head! Come you prating sheep and put up this tent or by Odin and Njord I’ll hang you from a tree as an offering!”. The saxons were sore afraid and hurried to put up the tent. First they turned it inside out and began to erect it but soon realised the tent was the right way round. Shamefaced they started again and with ill temper raised the mighty tent. Haakon laughed as they worked “Let it always be known that the Saxons worked so hard on giving me a mighty erection!” At last the tent was raised and as the last tent peg was hammered into the ground they all limped away shamed by Haakon.