Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pirate Queen: Awilda

Pirate Queens: #6 of 10
part of Random Magic Tour: Pirates!

visit Liana's Paper Doll to see her creation of
Awilda's Purple Tunic and Brown Cloak

Awilda, whose name meant ‘untamed,’ was a Nordic princess who ran away to become a pirate in order to escape an arranged marriage.

There’s some dispute over whether she was a real-life pirate or a historical figure whose legend was simply embroidered with colorful details.

In any case, here’s an excerpt about this feisty alleged pirate and future queen, from The Pirates Own Book (1837) by Charles Ellms:

The Saxons, a people supposed to be derived from the Cimbri, uniting the occupations of fishing and piracy, commenced at an early period their ravages in the German Ocean; and the shores of Gaul and Britain were forages open to their depredations.

About the middle of the fifth century, the unwarlike Vortigern, then king of Britain, embraced the fatal resolution of requesting these hardy warriors to deliver him from the harassing inroads of the Picts and Scots.

Our mention of this memorable epoch is not for its political importance, great as that is, but for its effects on piracy; for the success attending such enterprises seems to have turned the whole of the northern nations towards sea warfare.

The Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes, from their superior knowledge of navigation, gave into it most; and on whatever coast the winds carried them, they made free with all that came in their way.

Canute the Fourth endeavored in vain to repress these lawless disorders among his subjects; but they felt so galled by his restrictions, that they assassinated him.

On the king of Sweden being taken by the Danes, permission was given to such of his subjects as chose, to arm themselves against the enemy, pillage his possessions, and sell their prizes. This proved a fertile nursery of pirates, who became so formidable under the name of ‘Victalien Broders,’ that several princes were obliged to arm against them, and hang some of their own chiefs.

Even the females of the North caught the epidemic spirit, and proudly betook themselves to the dangers of sea-life.

Saxo-Grammaticus relates an interesting story of one of them. Awilda (also spelled Alwilda or Alvild), the daughter of Synardus, a Gothic king, to deliver herself from the violence imposed on her inclination, by a marriage with Alf, the son of Sygarus, king of Denmark, embraced the life of a rover; and attired as a man, she embarked in a vessel of which the crew was composed of other young women of tried courage, dressed in the same manner.

Among the first of her cruises, she landed at a place where a company of pirates were bewailing the loss of their commander; and the strangers were so captivated with the air and agreeable manners of Alwilda, that they unanimously chose her for their leader.

By this reinforcement she became so formidable, that Prince Alf was despatched to engage her. She sustained his attacks with great courage and talent; but during a severe action in the gulf of Finland, Alf boarded her vessel, and having killed the greatest part of her crew, seized the captain, namely herself; whom nevertheless he knew not, because she had a casque which covered her visage.

The prince was agreeably surprised, on removing the helmet, to recognize his beloved Alwilda; and it seems that his valor had now recommended him to the fair princess, for he persuaded her to accept his hand, married her on board,and then led her to partake of his wealth, and share his throne.

Medieval literature scholar Carolyne Larrington includes the tale of Awilda (or Alvild) in her book Women and Writing in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook, also based on a mention in a translated version of the Gesta Danorum.

A preview from the book is available, and it includes all sorts of colorful additional details about this already outlandish and entertaining pirate tale: Alvild The Pirate.

On a side note, the Gesta Danorum, or A History of the Danes, might also have been a primary or secondary source text for writer William Shakespeare, whose play Hamlet was based on a Norse legend of intrafamilial treachery in a royal household. The main character: Amleth.


Shown above: Cross-dressing pop star Kaya was so taken with the story of Awilda that he released a single about this runaway royal-turned-pirate who reportedly roamed the stormy Northern seas in the lawless days of the fifth century.

Lyrics: Awilda
Kaya Music by KALM
Arranged by KALM, Kei Suzuki

The ultramarine that continues for forever
The end of the dark night that has cooled down
A storm comes with the surging west wind
The rose that blooms in the deep darkness

I dance embraced by the furious raging waves
In solitude I do the blind sword dance with shreds
I no longer need words of prayer
The thing I believe is only one thing
Just this fever and pride
They fall beautifully

If you hold me you’ll put your life on the line won’t you
Show me a rose colored resolution
Dancing a sweet Pas de deux with a god of death

The moonlight has a dull reflection in the Lagon
Reminiscence sways lightly in the disance
Even in the night that continues to fall even warm arms
Everything flows into the blue darkness

Come my beloved
Rest softly on my chest
Someday I’ll embrace you until the day becomes a bubble

Swaying on the waves vivid despair
I’ll sing you an unending song woven with hatred
Of a love dyed blue

I dance embraced by the furious raging waves
In solitude I do the blind sword dance with shreds
I no longer need words of prayer
The thing I believe is only one thing
Just this fever and pride
They fall beautifully

Swaying on the waves vivid despair
I’ll sing you an unending song woven with hatred
If you hold me put your life on the line
Show me a rose colored resolution
Dancing a sweet Pas de deux with a god of death

Translator’s Notes:
* Kaya wrote (eikyuu = eternity) but sings (tokoshie = eternity)


Meet more dastardly pirates in Random Magic! (More)

Shown above: Book trailer for Random Magic

Pirate quote from Random Magic:

Winnie jumped up on the rotten barrel, and thrust her pointy chin out at the pirates.

"I'm going to give you one last chance," she said, "to hand over all your gold and set us free."

The red sail of the ship thwumped against the mast.

Rough weather was coming.


Then the crew fell over laughing.

So did the parrot, who thought it was the funniest thing he'd heard since breakfast.

Browse or buy: Print edition | Kindle


Arrrgh, good work, matey - ye’ve found a secret stash of plunder.

You can play to win this Little Pirate Prize, and plenty of other
wonderful things scattered throughout Random Magic Tour: Pirates! (May 10-30)

Pirate Ghosts: Stories of Hauntings at Sea

Description: Spooky, assorted tales. Pirates and voodoo for the win. 206 pages.

A lawyer who puts on an odd pair of blue spectacles finds himself transported back to a New Orleans of another age -- the age of infamous pirate Jean Lafitte...

An arrogant British colonial, probing Trinidad's voodoo and treasure legends, uncovers his own murderous guilt...

A bit of local history -- the history of the most notorious pirate crew of the West Indies -- comes all too much alive for a Santa Cruz homeowner...

These are a sampling of the eerie situations that run through this collection of ten short stories by such authors as Carl Jacobi, John Masefield, Henry S. Whitehead, and Washington Irving.

Some of this fiction is languid and enchanting, saturated with the magic of talismans, potions, and crazed old peg-legs.

But just as you start to relax, lulled by the spell of the tropics, turn the page -- and when the Jolly Roger goes up this time, your nerves may be drawn as tight as a hangman's rope: for the brutality of some of these seagoing outlaws more than explains their dread reputation. Meet these ghostly pirates, and rest easy...You'll only think you're walking the plank. (Summary via GoodReads)

Reader note: Please note that this book is apparently out of print and in limited supply, so the winner will be receiving a used copy of the book. However, it will be acquired from a reputable bookseller and in good condition.

On the upside - you’d be receiving a rare book, and potentially a collectible item, and the pirate tales really do sound like they could be irresistible, and a spicy, creepy, jolly entertaining read. It’s got pirates. And voodoo. And the macabre. And magic. Whoo! (But it’s your call.)

By the way, Random Magic also includes a fateful encounter with a voodoo legend - the tricky, wise and wryly sardonic Baron Samedi, who gallantly offers to fix a thorny problem -- with a simple but heartbreaking solution.

Find the book Random Magic: Amazon | Kindle

In the meantime, back to this pirate stash and other adventure stories with a dollop of pirates, voodoo, and all things magical and spooky, in Pirate Ghosts: Stories of Hauntings at Sea.

Ye can carry off this Little Pirate Prize!

Here’s how to win:

Win this cute pirate prize by:
1. Adding your email address in comments section
2a. In comments, add your Twitter link to this post

2b. In comments, add link to your quick blog mention about this post

2c. In comments, add your blog post link about this post, the blog post
can be brief or detailed, it’s up to you

2d. In comments, add your link to different tour post that you’ve also enjoyed, and why it was fun to read

2e. (Double, triple or quadruple your chances!) In comments, add your
email address plus each of the above in up to four separate entries,
for max of four chances to win

* YES, you can enter up to four times, giving you not just one but four chances to win this prize!

NOTE: Please include each entry (your email address plus Twitter/blog/tour post link) separately, since each entry will be assigned a separate number for the drawing.

So, one entry might look like this:
Entry #1: Email address + Twitter link

A second entry might look like this:
Entry #2: Email address + blog mention link

And so on.

- If you need some help to see what the separate entries look like, please just click here: See Sample Entries

- The winner will be selected at random using
- You'll need a mailing address or P.O. box so the prize can be sent to you.
- Please note, this surprise prize is open to ALL!
- Offer open through May 30, 2011, midnight, EST
- Winner announced June 6, 2011


Contest has ended - winner is here


- FIND MORE surprise pirate prizes! Follow the tour


The main Rum + Plunder treasure hunt is open internationally!
Here’s another fun way to win something piratey and cool:
Browse prizes or join the hunt

Have fun and good luck!


* image source Awilda

* guest post from Random Magic Tour: Pirates!

~-~~-~ ...and a bottle o'rum schedule ~-~~-~

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