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A Furore Normannorum Libera Nos, Domine

A Furore Normannorum Libera Nos, Domine

. 3 min read

I mentally groaned as I started my final year of English. British Literature. Another year reading classics I've already read, then writing boring, formal essays on them, with not one ounce of creativity involved. But credits are credits. I made a start.

I was not particullarily enthralled to be reading "an excerpt from Beowulf", because I had read the same excerpt two years ago for a different English course. But I was seriously not looking forward to the first essay. I groaned as I read the first essay option.

"What role do pagan and Christian values play in Beowulf? Do you think the poet is trying to merge two irreconcilable worldviews? Defend your thesis with examples from the poem."

In other words, just the sort of thing I hate. Then I read the other option.

"Write a short epic based on a similar storyline to the excerpt of Beowulf that you studied."

I think my jaw might have dropped open. I couldn't beleve my luck. Creative writing for my first assignment! I always get high marks for English, but this year started off with a bang, getting my second 100% in English for my whole high school career (yes, the other 100% was a creative writing assignment as well).

Here is my story:

A Furore Normannorum Libera Nos, Domine

The Faroe Islands

Long ago, near England fair

in the islands of Faroe

The dangerous dragon Dethwell dwelt                                                                              

in a cave hid amidst the mountains

Not abounding kinship and kindness

this monstrous beast levied

high wages in exchange for

letting certain vikings dwell there

These nordic folk were forced

to travel vast distances to find

gold for their vile master

for him no one could defy

The leader of these folk

named Egric the Hammer

was stronger and stouter than

any other in that clan

A ship set course

south and east across

the wave-way with

the stout chieftain at the prow

They sailed far in search

of Catholic abbeys in order

to steal the holy treasures

For they feared none but Dethwell

The Abbey of Lindisfarne, an island off the coast of Northumberland

The Island of Lindisfarne

was a renowned and holy place                                      

where an abbey resided

under the care of St. Cuthbert

Residing in the sacred building

were many treasures of gold

crucifixes, candle sticks

and many a bejewelled container

Then, the ship-men fierce

did fall upon the Island of God

stripping it of many treasures

including one more precious than most

Egric took a golden chalice

right off the sacred altar

thinking only, that twas made of gold

unknowing of the significance it bore

“Oh, woe upon us,” St. Cuthbert cried

“the heathen hath taken the Holy Grail”

upon this cry, every good monk

fell at once to the floor in prayer

“From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord."

they cried, as the vesper chimed

unknowing that, sailing in a sea vessel

was the means of their salvation

The norsemen fled from the island,

loading the hoard onto the ships

And set anchor, only to find

Oswald, king of Northumbria awaiting

The heathens fled

the Christians pursued

straight to the Faroe Islands

were the beast of evil waited

Fire blazed, smoke billowed

as the hoard-gatherer dived

setting the mast ablaze

in the heat of his fury

“Hold your ground, bold men

this worm of dark must perish”

so saying, did the mighty Oswald

hold his axe high in the air

Dethwell swooped down

intending to kill the king

But Oswald struck, just once

Straight into the monsters gut

With a single shriek of rage

Dethwell was no more

as he tilted, then fell

straight into the salt waves

Thus was the Holy Grail won

also, the Faroe Islands freed

And added into every prayer

"A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine”


Canonical hours.

History of the Faroe Islands.


Viking Age.

Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.