Emerging Christianity in the Viking North

West-Oversea“All men must be baptized Christians. They may sacrifice to the old gods in secret; there is no penalty unless they do it openly.

“Babies may still be exposed and men may eat horseflesh; in these things the heathens got their way.

“All men must observe the Christian feasts such as Christmas, Easter and so on.”

“How did the heathens take this, coming from their own Lawspeaker?” asked Erling.

“Many felt betrayed. But they kept their oath and submitted to the law. Which says much for them, I think.”

“You still set babies out to die,” said I.

“No one ever did it lightly, and when they did it was mostly thralls’ children. But there’s a growing feeling that we must outlaw that as well, and the eating of horseflesh, which I for one would miss. Given time, as the older men die off, we’ll have the kind of laws you like, Father.”

“You’re not going to serve us horse, are you?” I asked.

“That would be poor hospitality when Christians have come to visit.”

—Excerpt from Nordskog Publishing title West Oversea, by Lars Walker

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