Lord Eldjarn Bildr's Biography
BY ELDJARN BILDR
My name is Eldjarn Bildr; I am a 9th Century Swedish Viking living in the city of Birka Sweden. Birka sets on the Island of Bjorko at the entrance to Lake Malar near the site of modern Stockholm Sweden. This city is the main trading center for all of Central Sweden. We have three deep-water harbors and one shallow draft harbor for small ships. Traders come to Birka from Frisia, Anglo-Saxon England, Rhineland, the Baltic countries, Byzantium, and Orientals. We are best known for trading furs, which we get from Lapps, Finns, and from Russia. Fur cloaks made from bear, fox, marten, otter, and beaver are common. We also traded and received Rhineland pottery, glass, metal ware, pallia fresonia (an elaborate type of cloak), and textiles from the Middle East, Chinese silk, Byzantine embroidery made with gold thread. Some other wares we traded were reindeer antler and items made from them, hand carved combs, walrus teeth, amber and honey from Southern Sweden. I work in the shipyards in Birka both building the long ships and also unloading the trading ships when they come to port, this way I get first choice of whatever cargo they have. Our best time for trading is during the cold months because that is when the best furs would begin to show up for trade. During the summer months we trade food items and other things grown by our people. As things do happen within our city and our warriors go to Valhalla, they are buried with their weapons and armor, riding gear, food and drink, a horse and a dog and sometimes a woman who was their wife or a serf. They would also take their crampons with them as to help them walk on both ice and snow and their ice skates made from cow bones. I myself have been on 3 raids. I have been to Kiev Russia, Constantinople in Byzantium and to the Eastern shores of Anglo-Saxon England. At my home I grow wheat for breads and barley for soup, as well as raising sheep for the meat and wool for my clothing. I live in a timber built house which myself and others have built and have used clay caulking to keep the biting cold winds out. In the warm months I walk among the forest of beech, birch, willow, oak, and pine trees. I have hunted the Eider Duck for food and watched the Peregrine Falcon fly overhead as well as the waxwing. I set around the campfires and wonder to myself what the future holds for my people.
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