Danegeld... And Other Appeasements.

by Peter Hunter


and other appeasements

Some things disturb me more than others - particularly our total inability to learn lessons from history, recently whilst writing this - remembering the ghosts and legends of the past I become conscious of repetitions often un-noticed

there remains a quiet spot on the north Norfolk coast, where the land suddenly changes direction south-south-west a low shore bordering that great estuary they call the 'Wash' - there is a dark place amongst the sand dunes and the scattered pine trees

... a haunted place

so says local legend - when forced to explain its ambience, its almost spiritual mood of melancholy and foreboding - a place perhaps of ghosts steeped in memories of sombre, painful events.

But when the grey of winter combines with a chilling wind from the North Sea reminding old-timers of long-ago hardship - sometimes in some dark tavern, now and again after persistent questioning - maybe lubricated by a little cider or ale - this legend emerges

over a thousand years ago it was our habit - or rather our rulers custom - to try and buy some peace with financial appeasement. Those nasty Norsemen, Vikings from over the North Sea with their fur clothes and brass helmets

had this irritating habit of helping themselves to our treasure, and perhaps more infuriatingly - our women, many of them apparently virgins. Our chiefs found this practice annoying - not only suffering financially but politically - as the first priority of government or any leadership is to protect it citizens by providing and leading adequate security.

So they tried to circumvent their failure by the appeasement of the Norsemen

bribing them with the currency of the day

We called it Danegeld

and one of these transaction took place long ago - at the end of what we choose to call the Dark Ages

and it went horribly wrong - with the Viking chieftain believing he had been cheated - with his men then slaying the small party bring him the treasure

But this quaint practice the appeasement, not the violence

is it so different to what we do today? Is it so different from our government's proposal to increase 'overseas aid' to twelve billion - twelve thousand million pounds each year? The real reason, not the popular conception that this aid is to protect the impoverished, the needy and the starving children - after of course the inevitable siphoning by corrupt politicians and 'agents' in the receiving counties

not so - digging deeper - is apparently to discourage them from 'attacking' us through terrorism and other means hostile to our way of life

who said Danegeld is consigned to history


Peter Hunter 2012

Peter Hunter's full-length works are available on Kindle

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