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The Source:

"The Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus",
translated by Oliver Elton (Norroena Society, New York, 1905).

The Case:

You can find the complete story in our section of "Source Material" listed under "Grammaticus". And Sir Walter Scott's version of the tale can be found in the same section listed under "Scott".

This then, more or less, is my interpretation of the story:

Two important warriors, Aswid and Asmund, had become bloodbrothers which meant that their mutual support would last even beyond death. So Aswid died, and was buried in a large barrow. As used to be the custom, his horse and dog were also put inside the grave cellar. And Asmund too, on account of them being bloodbrothers, went into the grave before it was closed.

Now a group of Swedish warriors happened to pass the barrow and figured that there might be a treasure inside. So one of them was lowered into the grave hanging on a rope. When they pulled up the rope, instead of treasure, Asmund was hanging on it. He told them that Aswid had come alive again, first killed and eaten his horse and dog, and then had attacked Asmund, tearing off one of his ears. So he had no choice than cut of the vampire's head and put a stake through him.

The Date:

Saxo Grammaticus, who reports the story, appears to have lived in the 12th Century. So we can safely assume that these events must have taken place earlier than that. Supposing that they ever took place.

The Place:

As far as I can tell we are talking about Norway. But don't ask me for a specific location. The fact that a band of plundering Swedes puts in an appearance strengthens my conviction. Having said this, someone will probably come along to tell me that I have got it all wrong. Preferably a Norwegian this time. That will be fine. I love to get reactions to the things that I write.   :  ]

Possible Follow-Up:

Obviously we will have to check Saxo Grammaticus again. Not only read the vampire bit this time, but also find out more about Aswid and Asmund. Who were they ? Where did they come from ? Where were they going ? And how far did they get ? Hey, you know. All the usual questions...

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 22 November 2009

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