|.: Lunda Tysker's tale
The Lunda Tysker Stone (left) was discovered by archaeologists in the Isle of Man in 1980, and it adds credence to an ancient legend which dates back to the time of the Viking invasion.
According to the story, Lunda Tysker was a warrior who arrived with King Godred Crovan and who quickly became one of the King’s trusted leaders thanks to his ingenuity and bravery.
Unfortunately, Lunda Tysker was also a touch eccentric and was given to odd fancies and obsessions which would distract him from the day to day business of reigning over a nation of unruly Celts.
This came to a head when he decided he would like to touch the moon. Despite entreaties from his men not to waste his time on something so foolish, he sat down and tried to devise a way of reaching so high.
Eventually, he came up with a primitive catapult which he would load himself onto before being launched skywards towards his destination. Setting to work, he gathered the necessary lumber and eventually completed the machine.
On the day he planned to achieve his goal, he invited Godred Crovan and the rest of the Viking warriors to see his triumph. They gathered in Sulby where Tysker went about making final preparations and adjustments to his contraption – much to the amusement of the other Norsemen.
At the appointed time, with the moon high in the sky, Tysker climbed aboard and ordered one of the men to pull away the last piece of wood which would release the mechanism.
With an enormous twanging sound, the machine flipped forward and sent him soaring into the sky. He roared with joy as his trajectory took him higher and higher.
What Lunda Tysker didn’t realise, however, was that an Irish fleet led by King Cuchilaineamon O’Connolimiskin had set out that morning carrying a heavily armed force who intended to take Godred Crovan’s kingdom by force.
They were within sight of the Isle of Man when Tysker suddenly fell on them out of the sky, killing the king instantly. He brushed himself down, miraculously unharmed, and let out a bellow of disappointment at not reaching the moon.
Of course, this created panic within the fleet – the Irish troops had suddenly been left leaderless by a flying Viking who, it seemed, would slaughter them all in short order.
Abandoning their flagship, they turned tail and fled back to Ireland carrying tales of the Manx madmen. In fact, in the Gaelic tongue, Lunda Tysker became a phrase denoting madness. This was eventually anglicised to “lunatic”, which if commonly mistaken as a French loan word.
The Lunda Tysker Stone, unearthed during a dig at Sulby by Liverpool University, clearly shows Tysker on board the catapult waiting to be hurled aloft. The Stone was sent to the British Museum, despite protests from the Manx Government, and remains a bone of contention between England and the Isle of Man to this day.
Labels: Godred Crovan, Ireland, isle of man, isle of man manx, Lunda Tysker, Sulby, Vikings
Written at 16:30 by
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