I really and honestly love to honor this man every year ! Raud was a powerful Viking, a tremendous sailor, a Norse priest, and one major pain in the ass to the Christians of his time, and to King Olaf in particular. He owned the beautiful Viking warship called the Sea - Serpent with which he sailed skillfully through rough oceans, into calm fjords, and up flowing rivers. He was also a substantial land owner which in those days was a sign of social status. He is the perfect example of a Viking warrior who's, as it says in Havamal, reputation will never diminish if he wins fair fame. Raud the Strong won fair fame in battle, and in his defense of the religion of his ancestors, which of course is the religion we now call Asatru.
King Olaf, who was in the process of hunting down Pagans, met Raud the Strong in a great sea battle, and defeated him. Raud however, was a tremendous sea - farer, and knew how to do something that few knew how to do in those days. He knew how to sail against the wind and was able to escape to his settlement in the Godey Islands. Here he held up thinking he was safe, but King Olaf was relentless in his pursuit of Pagans, and when the winds were again favorable, he sailed after Raud.
After reaching the shores of the Godey Islands King Olaf and his men came ashore and capture Raud while he was sleeping. Olaf decided to give Raud and his men one last chance to be baptized and convert to Christianity. ( At least that is how it is written in the histories. Personally I can't see King Olaf being merciful to any Pagan. ) Raud the Strong refused, and even made fun of the Christian God. This infuriated King Olaf who had Raud bound to a beam. He then placed a wooden rod in his mouth to keep it open, and tried to force a snake down Raud's throat through a horn. The first time it would not go through, so Olaf took a red hot iron to the snakes back which forced it to slither down his throat. The snake then ate its way out of the side of Raud killing him. Raud's men, at least the ones who refused to convert were also tortured and killed. King Olaf then took possession of all of Raud's lands and his wealth. King Olaf himself took the beautiful Viking ship the Sea - Serpent.
While Raud, like most Vikings of his time, fought mainly for the plunder of gold and silver, he died at the hands of a tyrannical monarch defending his Gods and his ancestors. On this day, January 9th, let us all raise our horns and honor our great sea - faring Viking Priest, Raud the Strong. All Hail, Raud the Strong ! Our great Viking martyr, defender of the old Gods, and the ways of our ancestors ! All Hail, Raud the Strong !
- Glenn Bergen