National Geographic : 1954 Dec
855 Battle-ax in Hand, the Jarl Leads His Men on a Peaceful Invasion of Lerwick In medieval times the Vikings repeatedly swooped down from the north to raid, conquer, and colonize. They occupied much of Scotland, Ireland, and England. Their keels grated on Black Sea sands and probably on New World shores. War to these sailor-soldiers was an honorable way of life and the means of attaining Valhalla, the warrior's paradise. To their victims, however, the Vikings were crews of pirates. Christians in coastal and river districts prayed as part of their litany, "From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us." Time has given a romantic tinge to the Vikings. Just as Americans fondly recall the deeds of Western bad men, Shetland Islanders honor their Norse ancestors for unquestioned valor. The raiders' mighty deeds are commemorated by three songs sung during the parading and burning of a Viking ship (pages 856 to 859). Here the Jarl and his bodyguard march to the docks for a ceremony aboard their long ship.