Stephen regales us with another saga of the SAGA campaign
There is safety in numbers. Mind, there is also cowardice and dishonour.
It happened that Fritjolf Erlandsson had been raiding the coasts of Britannia and his raids took him north, around the rocky shores of Cape Wrath, and down through the Hibernian seas and the Isles of Manannan. He took landfall at Anglesey before heading down the Conway and harrying the good people who lived in the fertile valley.
This news soon passed to the bishop of Bangor who called upon his bondsman, Owain the Wolf Tamer, to fall upon the norsemen and bring slaughter to them. Owain was pleased to do the bishop’s bidding and he said his prayers unto the Lord that he may prevail in this endeavour.
It was in the woods of Tal-Y-Bont that Owain found Fritjolf and his men lurking, taking camp amid a collection of hoary stones engraved with the symbols of the ancients.
Fritjolf bellowed out to Owain, challenging him to a duel. But Owain was known for his wisdom and canniness, and he knew the deceit of the Vikings, and he was cunning in his actions for he made the leader of the Norse think he had been fooled, but he knew that Fritjolf had hidden his men in the woods and would lay upon him when he drew near. In his turn, Owain had arranged his own warriors and loyal bondsmen, so that Fritjolf would be trapped and Owain could take him back in chains to the bishop in Bangor.
Owain drew his javelins and let a flurry fly at Fritjolf and such was the accuracy of his aim that he pricked the Norse leader terribly. At this Fritjolf showed his true self and hastily fled from Owain and sought sanctuary amongst his men, too cowardly to take the fight to Owain as man against man,as he had entreated. Oh no! This Norse warrior, who had boasted and goaded the bold Owain, soon hid behind his men whilst Owain stood firm, alone, without need of hiding behind the men he was responsible for. So much for heroics when this cursed raider could do nothing more heroic than use his own men, men who had come to his banner, as a shield to protect his own dishonourable hide.
Owain had long since inspired devotion and loyalty in his followers who willingly moved forward to engage the Norse raiders to protect their lord and land.
Many times did Fritjolf and his raiders know the bitter taste of Welsh iron and fell sorry sore at the points of their javelins.
Owain danced around the raiders, his knowledge of the land of his fathers playing into his hands, and the vikings were at a loss at what to do.
And so it happened that Fritjolf and his raiders were sent packing. Lucky them that they were not sent in chains to the bishop, but with their tails between their legs they were beaten off and they made for their longships and took to the seas once more.
They would have no joy in the lands of Cymru!