Back on April 8th, Maggie and I went to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Maggie wanted to see the exhibit about the Vikings. Now I hate to admit this, but I didn’t know until I saw the exhibit that many of the Vikings came from places now located in modern day Sweden. How could I have not known? I must have been asleep, or more likely daydreaming, when the subject came up in History class in grammar school. Duh!?!

The exhibit was very interesting. Sure there were spears and swords, but there were also bowls and utensils actually used by the Vikings; by the way, the utensils included knives and forks so the Vikings were not uncouth, beast-like animals who ate by hand and threw the bones on the floor when they were through. Motion pictures have polluted history!

On the other hand, the Vikings did seem to do more than their share of plundering and pillaging and many of them were pirates, attacking ships on the open sea. I guess they felt they had to live life to its fullest since most of them never saw the age of 40. Most of them never got the chance to express whatever wisdom they acquired much less nourish the ideas. Yes, I’m making excuses for them. Hey! Some of them may be kin.

Later in history they migrated to northern France (Normandy) and actually attacked the city of Paris (fighters not lovers). Then in 1066, now known as Normans, they sailed across the channel and conquered much of England. English, which was of Germanic origin, was wedded with the more Latinate version of the Normans and the English language was blessed with an influx of multi-sylabelled words. House became residence; sweat, perspiration; walk, perambulate and hug, embrace. So you see this highly active group was a linguistic blessing in disguise. The English language is better off for the rampaging efforts of the Normans. The proof of course is that English is now the lingua franca of most of the world.

Disclaimers: Some of the preceding comments may not be 100% historically accurate. Like the movies, I am embellishing for entertainment value. What do we writers call it? Ah, yes, artistic license.

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