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By Rider, 31 July 2007; Revised
Category: Medieval Europe: Historical Figures
There is a Norse legend that tells us about the adventures and revenge of Amled and it differs in many ways from the usual Norse legends (trickery and deceit).
Amled was the son of Orvendel and Gerud. Fenge was the brother of Orvendel and they both served the king of Denmark, Rorik. Gerud was the daughter of Rorik and she was beautiful. Fenge liked Gerud and decided to kill Orvendel, later saying that he did so because Orvendel had tortured Gerud. He also took Gerud as his wife. Amled pretended to be a madman and he managed to avoid being killed alongside his father. Everything Amled did or didn’t do or say was as stupid as what you would expect from a total lunatic.
However, people began to suspect something when Amled bent branches and added hooks to the ends. These people had Fenge try and reveal Amled. Therefore, Fenge left Amled alone with a beautiful girl and had people spy upon her. To do this, Fenge had Amled ride into a forest with some guards (Amled sat on the horse reversed to normal). On the way, they saw a wolf and the guards said that it was a pony and Amled agreed, saying that those horses were what Fenge lacked the most; then the guards said that a rudder of a ship was a knife and Amled replied that it was meant for the largest ham in the world; soon after the guards said that, the sand was a mountain of flour – Amled replied that the waves were a large grinding stone.
Soon, they reached the previously agreed upon place and Amled was led together with the girl. However, one of the guards warned Amled with a bird and Amled led the girl into the bogs. Soon, they returned and the girl said that nothing had happened. The guards led Amled back to Fenge and reported. Still, some people remained suspicious and they suggested that Amled be left alone with his mother.
A man was placed into the room (into a pile of straws) and he waited for Amled and Gerud. They soon entered, but Amled suspected something and found the man, killing him. Amled then revealed himself to the mother.
Fenge then wished to remove Amled, but didn’t dare to do so himself. He preferred to send him to England where his friend, the King of England, would kill Amled. He also sent two guards with Amled and a runic letter. Amled searched the guards while on ship and rewrote the runes saying that Amled must marry the King’s daughter and his escorts would have to be killed.
When they reached the King, the King read the letter and ordered a party be held. Amled said he didn’t wish anything during the entire three days of the party – when he was asked why, he said that the bread was bloody, the wine was irony and the meat stank like a body... he also added that the King had the eyes of a slave and that the Queen wasn’t of a better lineage.
The King was told of that and he had his men search the field, where the grain had been taken from, that had been a battlefield; the pigs had once eaten a robber and the fountain that had provided the wine with water had rusty swords in it. He then confronted his mother and found out that he really was the son of a slave. He asked Amled how the Queen had acted as a slave and he replied that the Queen hadn’t dined as ladies should.
The King then hung the escorts of Amled and gave his daughter as a wife to Amled. The king also paid a ransom for the escorts in two golden bars. In a single year, Amled returned to Denmark to Fenge.
Amled had asked his mother to hold the funeral if he hadn’t returned in a year and so she had. But Amled stepped in the middle of the funeral and people found that it was normal compared to the other weirdnesses of Amled. Fenge asked where were the two escorts and Amled had him view the two golden bars. Amled then went to drink and he wounded himself with his sword. After that, people nailed the sword and the hilt together so the accident couldn’t happen again.
Soon, everyone was asleep and Amled cut down the carpets from the walls and hooked the carpets to the floors with the hooks he had made earlier. He then went to Fenge’s chamber and changed the swords, also setting the house on fire. He then awoke Fenge and Fenge drew the sword of Amled, which was stuck in the hilt. Amled then killed Fenge.
Amled didn’t tell of his doings to the peasants at once, but when he did, he spoke with such skill that the people elected him as their new king. He then sailed back to England with three ships. The King of England heard that Fenge had been killed and as the two had once sworn to avenge each other, he decided to kill Amled.
To do that, he sent Amled to search for a new wife to a Queen of Scotland, Ermuntrud. Ermuntrud, however, never had wanted to marry and had killed all who had wanted to betroth her. Amled reached the vicinity of the castle of Ermuntrud and fell asleep. A scout then stole Amled’s shield and the message meant for Ermuntrud. Ermuntrud scrapped the message and made it look like she was to marry Amled. Then, the scout had to return the shield and the message. Amled had noticed it missing, however, and Amled trapped the scout. Amled then went to Ermuntrud and she wished to marry him saying that the daughter of the English king wasn’t good enough for him. Amled agreed and the two married.
His first wife soon came to tell Amled of his father and the betrayal he was planning. The King then attacked Amled, but he was wearing armour and was only lightly wounded. Amled’s men were killed by hundreds and it seemed that Amled couldn’t offer battle the next day. Amled then put the bodies standing with stones and sticks so it seemed he had a large army left. The forces of the English king fled seeing this and the King was killed. He then sailed back to Denmark with both of his wives.
The son of Rorik, Vigleik, said that Amled was grabbing power and Amled succumbed, giving a large loot to Vigleik and, later, went against him with his armies. Ermuntrud said she would kill herself if Amled would die. Vigleik regathered and came with a massive force. After Amled had been killed in battle, Ermuntrud, however, joined the men of Vigleik and married him.