Josefine Ottesen
  prize-winning Danish author
Presentation > Books > Historical Novels & Sagas > Viking Sagas

Viking Sagas

Twenty of the absolute best stories from Denmark's Ancient Times 
Illustrated by Sune Elskær and Lorenz Frølich
People's Press, 2017

Viking Sagas contains sagas and tales that have in common that they tell of people, events and places in Denmark and the surrounding areas in and around the Viking Age. 

These are stories that have been transmitted orally for many, many years. Some of them were written down around 1000; others were first recorded in the 12th and 13th centuries. 

Scandinavians have known for many generations who Rolf Krake was, and about Ragnar Lodbrog and the Lejre Kings. Now the stories are available once more to new generations.



Extract
Hervør continued across the island. She took her direction from the glow of the fire and reached the mounds where Angantyr and his brothers were buried. She paid no heed to the ring of fire that surrounded the burial grounds, but walked straight through it.    
When she was standing in front of the mounds, she said, "Wake up, Angantyr! This is your daughter, Hervør, speaking. I want Tyrfing, the sword you stole and that has been forged by dwarfs."   
When no one answered her, she continued, "Have the weapons and shields of the sons of Arngrim rusted away? Are your helmets stuck in the roots of the trees? Have you been eaten by the worms? Give me the sword now, Angantyr. What use is a good weapon to a spectre?"     
Still no one answered and Hervør became angry. 
"Then let that be the story that is told: that Angantyr and his brothers are powerless. That you are nothing but mull and dust; that all that strength you once had has gone. No one needs to fear you or your descendants any more."    
As if in reaction to her scorn, the mound opened up like a big blazing fire, and through the fire she heard Angantyr say, "Hervør, my daughter, why have you come here with your cruel words? Have you gone wild and lost your mind? What brings you to wake the dead from their sleep? And the sword isn't here. Those who won the battle kept the weapon."   
"You're lying. I know you have Tyrfing with you in the mound. I am your child. I have to succeed you."  
"The sword will be a curse on your family."    
But Hervør just laughed. "You don't scare me. I long to feel the stock in my hand."   
"No woman has the strength to swing the sword, Hervør," shouted Angantyr's spirit. "Listen to what I'm saying."   
But Hervør wanted the sword. "I'm your daughter. Give it to me! "

Author's comments
I have always loved the old Viking sagas, and as a child I read Axel Olrik's new versions so many times that the book finally hung in shreds.  
To me, the old stories are part of our historical DNA and I was really happy when People's Press suggested that I rewrite them so that a new generation of children could have access to these exciting stories.