We had to go out in this lousy weather this morning. To make the trip less irksome, I keep my eye out for amusing signs. My favorite, “Fried Carpet,” alas, is no more. Then there’s the tiny one-room office with the sign, “World Enterprises.” Finally, there’s “Saga Wok,” which suggests a story along these lines:
There was a man named Dishonest Haakon wh0 lived on a farm near Trondheim, and had to leave suddenly because his neighbors burned down his house, thinking he was in it… (We can skip the rest. Icelandic sagas always start several generations back. So we’ll just jump 100 years ahead.)
Sven and Einar decided to open a Chinese restaurant at the foot of the glacier near Vapnafjiord, and they called it “Saga Wok.” They were a long time learning how to pronounce the word “wok” properly, and they found a real wok to be an item very difficult to obtain.
One day a man called Olaf the Strangler came in and ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan, and this led to trouble.
“You will be disappointed to learn that we have as yet nothing on the menu except for salt cod and whale blubber,” Sven told him.
“In that case, I don’t think much of this Chinese restaurant of yours,” Olaf replied. “You would be wise to give me what I ask for. They don’t call me Olaf the Strangler for nothing.”
Einar overheard this from the kitchen, and it upset him. He came out with an iron skillet in his hand and dashed out Olaf’s brains. “Now you may be called Olaf the Silent,” he said.
“I would rather you had not done that,” said Sven. At that the two friends came to blows, and made a mess of their dining room. After that they parted angrily.
A shepherd named Hrolf the Unlucky brought the news to Olaf’s wife, Thorhild Dagger, that Einar of the Saga Wok had killed her husband. “Olaf was no woman’s idea of a husband,” said Thorhild, “but I shall avenge this insult to myself. Go now to my foster-father, Kjartan Massacre, and bid him come to me with a dozen of his fiercest men: and then we shall all pay a visit to this Einar.”
Here the story must break off for the time being, as there is only so much space for a post on a blog. Any reader so inclined may feel free to continue it in the “Comments” space.