(This trip was so unreal that it only made sense to explain as a fairy tale. It’s pretty close to what happened.)

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Once upon a time there were two travelers who set off one day shortly after Midsummer for the Viking kingdom of Norway, the Land of the Midnight Sun. They vowed to traverse the land from west to east, one day to lay eyes on its fabled capital from whence they could return home.

They had sailed many seas and conquered many monsters of the deep before arriving in the small fishing village of Bergen on the southwestern shores.

Harpoon

Whale steak

Bergen's Bryggen Wharf Buildings

Hungry and tired from their voyage, they ventured to the fish market to sample the local wares. Being newly arrived and foreign to this land, they had only enough coin of the realm to buy the littlest fish. No sooner had they begun to bring it back to their inn than the fish began to whisper to them, pleading to be set free.

“Please let me go. If you do, I’ll grant you three wishes.”

The travelers thought long and hard. “But what shall we eat here in Bergen? We only have one more schilling.”

“Don’t fret. That’s just enough for one of the famous Skillingsbolle. People come from far and wide for a taste of the Bergen cinammon bun.”

Skillingsbolle

“Then it’s a bargain, Magic Fish. And for our first wish, as we are travelers, we wish for good weather on our voyage. May the sun shine and the rain only fall when we’re safely inside.”

“So it shall be,” announced the fish and with that, they threw him back into the sea.

No sooner had he spoken than the sun shone through the clouds, the rain cleared, and a beautiful rainbow arched across the village. And so it came to pass that the sun shone during their travels and the rain came only as they were settling safely inside.

Rainbow over Bergen

Scaling a mountain to get a lay of the land and their journey ahead, they passed a herd of grazing goats that pointed them on toward a bridge further into the forest.

Goats at the top of Mount Fløyen

Bridge atop Mount Fløyen

But shortly after crossing, they found themselves surrounded by a band of trolls. They fought the trolls off through the short summer night and only narrowly escaped as the sun rose in the early morn and turned the trolls to stone.

Trolls in the forest of Mount Fløyen

Close call!

Continuing on, they traversed many mountains and valleys, being careful to stay clear of treacherous waterfalls and of the alluring Huldra, the Norse forest nymphs that lure travelers from their paths deep into the wood.

Kjosfossen waterfall with a Hulder dressed in red

By and by, they saw mountain tops that were still peaked with snow and, crossing a frozen lake before them, they entered a cave of ice and found themselves in the palace of the Snow Queen. She offered them warm clothes and drinks, but meant for them to stay forever where it was always winter. Here they found other travelers who had fallen under her spell and longed to escape.

Snow-topped mountains and frozen lake

Magic Ice in Bergen

“O Magic Fish, please melt the Snow Queen’s heart and magic palace, that we might leave this place and continue on our journey.”

At that, all that was frozen melted away into a rushing river. They had to make haste with the others to escape through the rapids.

White water rafting - photo by Voss Active

As they parted ways with their companions, the two travelers sailed on along the fjords. At long last they reached the fabled city of Oslo and were welcomed by the Viking King, who granted them safe passage home after their long adventures.

Fjords

 

Viking ship

“O Magic Fish, we have but one more wish: That we may one day find our way back to this enchanting kingdom.”

And with that hope in mind, they lived happily ever after.

(For details on planning a similarly amazing trip, see How to Make the Most of a Trip to Norway.)

Fjords

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3 thoughts on “Norway in a Fish Tale

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