Archery was of course something all Vikings needed to master. The bow and arrow was used both in battle and in the hunt. Archery competitions were common. There are many tales of championship shots in the sagas. Some of these in several versions. Here is an example. You may recognise the story, but take a look at the note below!

Palnatoke said once, "after a few mugs of ale", that shooting an apple off a stick didn't show much class. King Harald Bluetooth heard of this and ordered Palnatoke to shoot an apple off of his own son's head. He would only get one try. Palnatoke had to obey the King's wishes but when the King asked Palnatoke, after he had succesfully shot the apple, why he had taken out three arrows before he shot, he replied: "The other two were to avenge my son against you in case I missed with the first".

There is a similar story told about Hemming Aslakson and Harald Hardråde.


This story is from the period 900-1000. The legend of William Tell comes from the 1400's, many years later.

- 14. august 2004 -