Tag Archives: Norwegian Independence Day

Syttende Mai and Eleanor: Norwegian Independence Day

Norwegian Flag

Eleanor doesn’t know about Norwegian Independence Day, of course, because in her day the Norsemen, (oh those Vikings!), were feared, and rightly so. They had roamed and conquered at will for the last eight hundred years, even bringing law and order to her British Isles in 1066, in the person of William the Conqueror, he of Normandy. That is one reason the British no longer painted themselves blue with woad and wore rabbit skins and now had a legal system that worked. She had no idea the Norwegians would eventually become part of the kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark and finally wrest their independence from their rulers. She has an affinity for those Vikings, however, because she can be fierce in her own way, confronting that cur, Lord William of Litchfield, as well as hunting down the poachers in her forests. Where she finds she cannot be fierce is in her thoughts of Lord Hugh, that handsome, arrogant neighboring lord. Well, yes, she puts up a good fight when she must meet with him, and he thinks her an impertinent young woman hardly worth his time, but, in secret, to her embarrassment, she discovers she harbors sweet longings for him, longings that make her blush. Where are those fierce Viking feelings? Alas, they say love conquers all, even those who wish they were more like Vikings. Why can she not conquer her own feelings?

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Eleanor and Syttende Mai

It being May 17th, Eleanor has a vague feeling that something, somewhere, should be celebrated, but, she is far ahead of her time in her imaginings.  Syttende Mai, the seventeenth of May, is celebrated in Norway as Norwegian Independence Day or Norwegian Constitution Day, begun in 1814.  Of course, to her knowledge, Norway, at this time in 1272 is still full of scary Vikings, who raided her native England far too often in the past.  Interestingly enough, and as you may know, dear readers, in 1066, Willliam of Normandy (aka “William the Norseman”) invaded England with his Normans from northern France (read “Vikings”), and brought some civilization to the woad-painted, animal-skin-wearing inhabitants of the Brititsh Isles, including the kinds of laws that created the Magna Carta in 1225.

Perhaps Eleanor herself has some Viking blood?  If ’tis true, she may be more than a match for the scary characters she knows only too well…say, William of Litchfield, who continues to scheme upon her with his wily, scabrous ways.  There is always that infamous –(but, oh, be still my heart!)– Lord Hugh to contend with, as well, but, well, in all honesty, Eleanor wishes she had more to celebrate with him than just Syttende Mai….

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