Thorvald and Bob

By: Shannon H.

NOTE: I own the characters to the story. Any persons, living or dead, resembling any characters in the fic is purely co-incidental. The story is LOOSELY based upon the "Hagar the Horrible" comic strips. My Scandinavian history class and my love for comedy inspired this story. I apologize if this story appears to be really stupid and plotless.

Once upon a time, a long time ago (and I do mean a LONG time ago) was a great and mighty Viking named Thorvald (pronounced TOR-VALD) the Bold. Thorvald the Bold lived in Norway and made his living plundering and raiding local villages and towns with his friend and fellow Viking, Bob the Inadequate. Although Bob wasn't much of a Viking warrior like Thorvald (heck, he wasn't much of anything since he was so short), they were good friends and enjoyed each other's company.

One day, they found themselves bored with life. They've managed to pillage and burn practically every city north and south of Trondelag and others west and east of Sweden and Denmark. Upon hearing Leif Eriksson's voyages to "Vinland," (Vinland = North America) they suddenly grew interested in heading off toward a new land.

They decided to head off to Vinland and in doing so, they had to build a good, strong, sturdy boat. So one day, they spent an entire afternoon working on it in Thorvald's backyard.

"Just one more plank in here and this baby will be finished," said Thorvald, putting the finishing touches on their Viking boat.

"Thorvald," said Bob, coming out of the house with some mead. "Your wife wants to know when you're going to get that 'blasted eyesore of a boat' out of the backyard."

"Tell her it's none of her business," he mumbled as he hammered in the last nail.

"IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, GUNNHILD!" Bob called from the backyard.

With that, Gunnhild, Thorvald's wife, snubbed her nose and went back to cleaning the kitchen.

"I said to 'tell her,' Bob, not yell at her!" snapped Thorvald. "Now, we've got a good, Viking ship!" He stepped back to admire his work. "How do you like it?"

"It looks like a cross between a canoe and a rowboat," Bob said.

"Well, it's the best I can do," said Thorvald. "We ship off tomorrow morning."

Tomorrow morning came quickly and Thorvald the Bold and Bob the Inadequate gathered their things and set sail for Vinland in search of wealth, prestige, and bragging rights. What they didn't know was that they were in for an adventure of a lifetime.

"You know something, Thorvald," said Bob. "This is going to be the furthest I've ever been away from Norway."

"Yeah, me too," Thorvald replied. "And away from my wife, so that's a good thing."

"Can I use the compass and be the navigator, Thorvald?" Bob asked, looking through all the navigational tools they packed along.

"Sure, just don't make sure we get lost."

Bob had no idea how to read a compass, much less navigate his way out of a mead hall. He picked up the contraption and looked at it, not sure which way was North or South or East or West so he simply directed Thorvald to sail southward. They continued to sail for a few weeks until they reached a plot of land.

"We did it, we did it!" Bob cheered. "We made it to Vinland!"

They dropped anchor and the two of them gathered their weapons and went from town to town, raiding and pillaging until they came to a large city full of bustling people.

"Bob, this doesn't look like Vinland to me," he said. "It's supposed to be rich in natural resources and vinyards and this doesn't look like it."

"Nonsense," Bob said. "I was spinning the compass around and it pointed southward."

"So you basically picked this place at random?"

"Uh, I guess so. Let me ask someone."

Bob approached a large man running a store full of baked goods and asked them about their location.

"Why, you're in London, England, my boy," said the baker. "We get Viking raids all the time so it's no big deal anymore."

"Bob you IDIOT!," scolded Thorvald. "You directed us to England! Next time, let ME do the navigation."

"Ah c'mon, can't a guy make a mistake? I promise this time around, we'll REALLY be in Vinland."

Thorvald sighed and let Bob take control of the compass again. This time, they sailed for what seemed like years. They sailed through calm waters and stormy seas. They somehow managed to reach land but their boat crashed upon a rocky shoreline, stranding them on a strange land.

"Hello?" Thorvald called out.

"Anyone here?" asked Bob.

No one answered, but they did spot a village in the distance, hidden away by a lush, tropical rainforest. The two of them cut away a trail through the forest to find a native tribal civilization. Then, they made their grand entrance.

"I AM THORVALD THE BOLD," Thorvald bellowed. "And I am here to plunder your village!

"And I'm Bob!" Bob yelled with all his might, wielding a small, knife-like sword.

In an instant, they were surrounded by half-naked tribal warriors armed with spears, bows and arrows, and poison darts.

"BOB!" Thorvald hollered as the two of them were placed in a big, pot of water, surrounded by dancing tribal natives. "This IS not Vinland!"

"Yeah, you're right, Thorvald," said Bob. I think we're south of Vinland."

"As soon as we get out of this mess, I-I-I-I-I don't know what I'll do to you, you little twit!"

After much negotiation, the natives set Thorvald and Bob free. They both went to the site of their wrecked boat and gathered the rest of their belongings.

"Great, that's just great!" mumbled Thorvald angrily. "We're stranded here, probably thousands of miles from where we wanted to go in the first place, and IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, BOB THE INADEQUATE!"

"Look Thorvald, if we fix the boat, we can get back on track and we'll finally go to Vinland. "

"Yes, but I'M doing the navigation this time!"

"C'mon Thorvald. Let me do it. Remember, third time's a charm!"

"Ohhhh no you don't," said Thorvald, taking the compass out of their belongings. "This time, I'M taking control."

After fixing their boat, the two of them headed off northward along the Atlantic shoreline. Some several weeks later, they managed to make it to their intended destination: Vinland.

It was as Leif Eriksson said it was. Rich in natural resources, full of vinyards, and plenty of sandy beaches, Thorvald and Bob set anchor and walked ashore, clad in their Viking gear. But there was no village to plunder...or burn for that matter. There was a sign nearby that read "LEIF ERIKSSON WAS HERE." The place was completely uninhabited except for a village of natives in the distance...and Thorvald and Bob WERE NOT going to take their chances.

"Well, at least we know we're in the right place," Bob said.

"And we traveled all this way for NOTHING?" Thorvald said. "There aren't any cities to invade and pillage! Where's the gold? The silver? The material goods?"

"I don't think Leif Eriksson mentioned any of those," said Bob. "He told me that there were going to be natural resources but he didn't mention of any towns or cities."

"You MORON! Why didn't you tell me?"

"Well, Leif didn't say there 'weren't any cities or towns.' He just didn't mention any."

The next day, Thorvald and Bob set sail for their native Norway, not speaking a word to each other. From that day on, Thorvald the Bold made absolutely sure NOT to include Bob the Inadequate (who definitely lives up to his nickname) in any important decision-making.