Who says there were no female warriors? History is awash with badass women who could show up any man on the battle field. Our first chronicling of historical ladies is of one such woman: Blenda, a 16-year-old Swedish Viking girl with a plan. There is some debate as to when she actually lived, but the legend is more important than the time period. The Viking men had a persistent habit of being away for the majority of the year, doing all sorts of Viking pastimes like navigating the seas, worshiping Thor, Son of Odin, pillaging, killing, plundering, and drinking. This left the Viking women in charge of the homestead.
On one such occasion, when the men were having a merry time attacking the Norwegians, the Danish Kingdom decided it was high time they attack the vulnerable settlements to the North. The first stop on the way was Smaland, where our heroine Blenda lived. When Blenda learned of the Danes planned attack, she rallied her hometown and devised a plan to annihilate the Danes.
The scheme was simple: welcome the Danes with mead and feminine charm, wait until they became lethargic with drunkenness, then take every axe in town to their heads. Needless to say, the allure of mead, turkey legs, and Swedish ladies were too much for the Danes to pass up, and they gladly partied until the onslaught. Blenda and the women of Smaland left no Dane alive.
Now, while it is uncomfortable to celebrate a bloodbath, the truly amazing bit of this story is what occurred after.The King of Sweden was so pleasantly surprised by Blenda’s efforts that he granted the women in Smaland massive gains in social and political rights, like the ability to own and inherit property, money, and land, which were all previously unavailable to them. It’s amazing that a 16-year-old did all this, and advanced the status of women to near equal respect with men in one afternoon. It might not be our way of fighting for women’s rights in today’s day and age, but we can’t say it wasn’t effective. Let’s hear it for Blenda, a teenager who is still recognized as a national hero in Sweden.