Odin the Allfather was among the most important gods in Norse mythology. The scholars believed that the Vikings lived their life only to meet Odin and only to join His Army when dead. There is a story about the Viking warrior which impressed me the most. He wanted to fight and to die a warrior death. This was only to see Odin and his brothers in Valhalla.
No one told exactly what the man’s name was. They only called him “the man” or “that old man”. Because his moments of glory only came when his life ended. The hidden name is, I believe, to point to all of the Viking warriors. Not just only “the man”, everyone in the Viking community wished to meet Odin.
He was born among the Viking community and brought up with the power of the Viking pagans. He believed in gods like Odin, Thor, and Freyr. They worshipped together and fought together. But this “the man” was so powerful that he was nearly invincible in battle.
When he was young, he enjoyed his power and strength. He was, no doubt, a great warrior in his clan. “The man” seldom made mistakes in battle. He brought victory to his tribe. This warrior was never fulfilled. Because he wished to see the gods even in his dreams. He wished to join Odin and fought under His command. Sometimes, our old warrior despised his talents. Because of his talent, he could not die a warrior death.
Death, in the Viking belief, was the only way to find Odin in their afterlife. But not all kinds of death could deserve a seat in Valhalla. Only those sacrificing in battle could join Valhalla. Dying of old age or sickness was not something glorious in Viking age. Because of this, the old man could not see his Odin.
Days by days and years by years, he could not escape the power of time. He aged and he became an experienced warrior, not to say an old warrior. His brothers and family were about to bid a farewell to him. This man became alone in this world when his beloved ones were no more.
Sometimes, the old man doubted whether Odin did not want him to join Valhalla because he made any mistake. Odin kept supporting him and he kept winning more battles. Until one day, he felt he was such a burden to his young brothers on battlefield. But on the other hand, he could not return home and die on bed. That was a shame to a full-time warrior like him. The old man begged his jarl to fight the last battle.
The jarl finally allowed this man the final fight. For the sake of his clan and for the good of himself as well, the old many fought until his last breath in his last battle. His final breath was for his jarl’s generosity and his final effort was for the glory of his clan. The final sign was for himself. Finally, he made it to see Odin. When the Valkyries arrived, the man gave them a smile. He had been waiting so long for this sacred moment. Finally, he could see his brothers again and could feast along with Odin in Valhalla.