Our Little Viking Cousin of Long Ago - C. H. Johnston

And All Ended Happily

The Vikings scrambled ashore, and, forming in a procession, marched up the main street, to the blowing of trumpets, the clashing of cymbals, and the rolling of rude drums.

Then they were carried to the town hall upon the shoulders of the inhabitants of Bratthalia, where Leif Ericson, himself, mounted a high platform and delivered a speech. He closed his remarks with the words:

"We are glad to get home, I can assure you, O people of Greenland. We are glad to get home from Vinland, the land of the salmon, the moose, the beaver, and the wolf, which we have left safely in the hands of the Skrellings. We have brought you much lumber and many dried fish, as a token of our affection for you, and we trust that some of you will follow us in explorations to 'Vinland, the Beautiful.' "

The boys clapped their hands at these remarks, and then went to look for old Staumfroid, as the vessel was to be unloaded next day, and they wished to be where they could get their treasure as it was handed over the side.

"Boys, I will be with you to-morrow," said old Staumfroid, "and when the treasure comes over the rail, you will hear from me, I can assure you. Rest content! Those two villains, Haldor and Thor, will not get it away from you as long as my name is old Staumfroid."

The boys were much overjoyed to hear him talk in this manner, and, bright and early next morning, they were down at the shore, where the Valhalla  had been run up against a dock, and where the Norsemen were already at work in unloading her. Old Staumfroid was there, also, with a keen look in his eye.

Haldor and Thor mingled with the other men, and, after much lumber had been taken from the hold, they began to take out a quantity of skin bags which seemed to be very heavy, indeed. They were carried up on the beach and were placed next to some fox skins. When all had been removed from the hold, old Staumfroid walked over to the place where the bags lay, followed by Eric and Biarne. Leaning over, he felt one with his hand.

"What have we here?" said he.

Haldor was standing nearby and his face grew crimson. The scar upon his forehead took on a purplish hue.

"Ballast!" he muttered.

"Oh, no, my fine friend," said old Staumfroid. "This is not ballast. This is something else, I can assure you." Then he straightened up, "This is treasure which belongs to Biarne and Eric, and you dug it up upon the beach at Vinland."

The expression upon Haldor's face was anything but pleasant.

"It's a falsehood!"

In answer old Staumfroid took out his long knife and ripped a bag open. A quantity of golden coins jingled out upon the stones.

"What say you to that, sir?" he asked.

The thieving Norseman stood with his mouth wide open.

"Now, know you," continued Staumfroid, "that this treasure belongs to these two boys and I insist that it shall be returned to them. You dug it up on the beach in Vinland, and you must give it back to the rightful owners. If you do not do this, I will take the matter up before Leif Ericson, himself, and it will go hard with you."

Both Haldor and Thor looked at Staumfroid and walked away. Old Staumfroid smiled.

"Now, boys, this shall be taken to a safe place and you will both be rich young men," said he.

Not long afterwards, with the assistance of Leif Ericson, the boys sailed with their treasure for Norway. Long life and prosperity were to be their lot; but they often thought of their wonderful expedition to Vinland, the Beautiful. As the old Nornir had said, one with a red beard and a scar upon his forehead was to prove to be an enemy, but, thanks to old Staumfroid, all had ended auspiciously. The young Vikings lived happily ever afterwards, admired and respected by all the brave and daring Norsemen.

But what of Vinland?

Many other Norsemen, principal among whom was Thorfinn Karlsefni in 1007 A. D., sailed across the great, surging Atlantic Ocean to get fish and lumber in the new country. A settlement, called Norumbega, was made upon the Charles River, that river, filled with salmon, which flowed through a lake into the sea. But eventually this was deserted by the bold Vikings, who returned to their homes in Greenland, Iceland, and Norway; leaving high stone walls, artificial canals, and docks and wharves, to show where they had once lived in peace and comfort in beautiful Vinland.