The Fantastic Death of Fiolner

Snorri SturlsonThe Great Snorri

Mead is awesome, but as with all alcoholic beverages, there is a very real danger.

That’s right: Drowning.

Did you know that Fiolner, one of the early kings of Sweden purportedly drowned to death in an enormous vat of mead? 

Well, there are worse ways to go…

We present to you Saga I, Chapter XIV from The Heimskringla, by Snorri Sturluson. This translation is a bit antiquated as it is by Samuel Laing, but it’s copyright free, and his Old Norse is better than ours.


“Fiolner, Yngve Frey’s son, ruled thereafter over the Swedes and the Upsal domains. He was powerful, and lucky in seasons and in holding the peace. Fridfrode ruled then in Hleidre, and between them there was great friendship and visiting. Once when Fiolner went to Frode in Sealand, a great feast was prepared for him, and invitations to it were sent all over the country.

“Frode had a large house, in which there was a great vessel many ells high, and put together of great pieces of timber; and this vessel stood in a lower room. Above it was a loft, in the floor of which was an opening through which liquor was poured into this vessel. The vessel was full of mead, which was excessively strong.


“In the evening Fiolner, with his attendants, was taken into the adjoining loft to sleep. In the night he went out to the gallery to seek the privy of the house, and he was very sleepy, and exceedingly drunk. As he came back to his room he went along the gallery to the door of another left, went into it, and his foot slipping, he fell into the vessel of mead and was drowned.

“So says Thiodolf of Huine:–
“In Frode’s hall the fearful word,
The death-foreboding sound was heard:
The cry of fey denouncing doom,
Was heard at night in Frode’s home.
And when brave Frode came, he found
Swithiod’s dark chief, Fiolner, drowned.
In Frode’s mansion drowned was he,
Drowned in a waveless, windless sea.”

Although we’ve obviously read The Heimskringla, we totally forgot about this Epic Demise until Dr. Seigfried mentioned it on Norse Mythology Blog’s Facebook page this week. You should totally check it out, he’s doing some Super Cool Stuff.

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