"Thora was the daughter of a Jarl of West Gotland and renowned for her beauty. Her father doted on her and every day bought her lavish gifts of gold. One day he bought her a beautiful pet snake but in time the snake grew so large it become coiled around her bower, menacing the people of the Jarldom and consuming an entire cow a day. Nobody could get to Thora's bower so one day the Jarl had it known about all the lands that the man who could kill the snake would be given he daughter's hand in marriage and a share of the gold guarded by the snake.
Young Ragnar was already the son of king Sigurd Hring and making a name for himself as a skilled fighter, despite his age. He was tall, strong and good looking, most importantly being well liked by his men. Hearing tale of Thora and the Jarl's predicament, Ragnar quietly look his ships and moored up near to the Jarl's lands. Rather than charge into battle against the snake and risk his men, Ragnar waited. He carefully crafted clothing made of the thickest fabric he could find, wrapping his legs in fleeces before having these coated in thick tar. Protecting his head in a helm, he took his spear and marched towards the great earth coil.
The serpent knew at once what it was to be met with and reared up to attack Ragnar, spitting venom at him - but - his tar coated fleeced trousers protected him. Ragnar, side stepping the serpent's attack drove his spear deep into the snake killing it dead. Then Ragnar snapped the spear, leaving the head in the creature and vanished."
The story carries on essentially as the cinderella of the viking age with the Jarl searching for the suitor by matching the spear head to the shaft, with Ragnar finding the whole thing amusing hiding in his unseemly garments only to throw them off and reveal himself as the hero in the last minute and win Thora's hand much to the applause of the hall and the garments then earned him his new nickname of Lodbrock or 'hairy britches!'
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