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VULGAR’S GOING ON A TRIP IN A REAL LONG BOAT! WITH OARS AND EVERYTHING! His class are off to visit Burp, where there was once a massive battle that the Vikings totally lost. But this time, thinks Vulgar, it’s going to be different. This time, the Battle of Burp will be a glorious Viking victory. And it’s not as if anything could go wrong with that plan, is it?

£4.99 www.nosycrow.com COVER ARTWORK © SARAH HORNE


LOOK OUT FOR MORE STORIES OF MAYHEM AND CHAOS IN

VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE ROCK CAKE RAIDERS VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE GREAT GULP GAMES VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE SPOOKY SCHOOL TRIP VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE TERRIBLE TALENT SHOW VULGAR THE VIKING AND A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCREAM


ILLUSTRATED BY

SARAH HORNE


With special thanks to Barry Hutchison First published in the UK in 2013 by Nosy Crow Ltd The Crow’s Nest, 10a Lant St London, SE1 1QR, UK Nosy Crow and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Nosy Crow Ltd Text copyright © Hothouse Fiction, 2013 Illustrations © Sarah Horne, 2013 The right of Hothouse Fiction and Sarah Horne to be identified as the author and illustrator respectively of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. A CIP catalogue record for this book will be available from the British Library All rights reserved 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of Nosy Crow Ltd. Printed and bound in the UK by Clays Ltd, St Ives Plc Papers used by Nosy Crow are made from wood grown in sustainable forests. ISBN: 978 0 85763 218 0 www.nosycrow.com


CHAPTER ONE

HISTORY LESSONS Vulgar sat near the back of the class, drumming his dirty fingernails on the school desk. His teacher was droning on about an old battle. A battle should have been an exciting subject for a lesson, but the teacher wasn’t called Dagmar the Dull for nothing. “It took the Viking forces a great many hours to row their longboats to Angle 1


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

Land,” said Dagmar. “During this time they encountered all manner of dangers and perils.” “Like sea serpents?” Vulgar asked hopefully. “Like hand splinters,” Dagmar said. “And possibly even some light rain.” Vulgar’s shoulders slumped. “Oh.” He looked over to his best friend Knut’s desk. Knut’s wonky horned helmet was down over his eyes and he was snoring gently.

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“What about the battle itself ?” asked Vulgar. “Can we skip to that bit?” “Hour after hour they rowed,” droned Dagmar, ignoring him. “With only the waves for company.” “And two hundred other Vikings,” pointed out Princess Freya. She was sitting at the front of the class, her long blonde hair tied in perfect pigtails. Luckily for her, Vulgar couldn’t quite reach them from his seat. Dagmar ignored her, too. “When they finally reached the village of Burp they were exhausted and slightly damp, but they were ready to fight. They had a tall task ahead of them. A very tall task, indeed.


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

For they needed to capture the famous Burp Tower, in order to pillage its stores of gold!” “Now we’re talking,” said Vulgar. He jabbed a pinkie finger in his ear and wiggled out a lump of wax. He wanted to hear every word of this. Even Knut had opened his eyes and was listening intently. “I bet we destroyed them,” Vulgar said. “How long did it take?” “About half an hour, I bet,” guessed Knut. “Less,” said Vulgar. “We conquered 4


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

them and got the gold in about ten minutes. Right?” Dagmar shook his head. “Wrong. The Viking invaders were driven back by the people of Burp.” Vulgar’s jaw dropped. He flicked out another clump of wax, in case he’d misheard. “Driven back?” “Defeated. Vanquished. Sent packing,” Dagmar said. Vulgar and Knut exchanged disbelieving glances. “But... but how?” “It’s actually very interesting,” said Dagmar, and Vulgar immediately knew it wouldn’t be. “They employed a technique we refer to as the ‘Boar’s Snout’.” “What? They were riding on pigs?” said Knut. “The ‘Boar’s Snout’ is a battle formation,” explained Dagmar. “Soldiers form into an arrowhead shape. This 5


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

pushes through the opposing army, scattering them. The people of Burp drove back the invading Vikings, and stopped them from stealing any gold.” “So… what?” muttered Vulgar, who was still coming to terms with the fact that the Vikings had lost. “We got beaten by a big triangle?” “Still, a triangle with a cool name,” said Knut. “Boar’s snout.” He snorted like a pig. Vulgar laughed, then snorted noisily back in reply.

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Freya turned and glared at them. “Cut it out. That’s disgusting.” “I thought you’d like it, being a pig yourself,” Vulgar replied. He snorted again, even louder this time. “Yes, I am a PIG,” Freya said, folding her arms. “A Pretty Intelligent Girl.” “Yeah, well...” said Vulgar, but he couldn’t think of a reply, so he just gave a final piggy snort instead. The teacher carried on talking about the Battle of Burp, but Vulgar had lost interest. He sat back in his chair and gazed out of the window instead. The people of Blubber were going about their usual business. They tended their vegetables. They trimmed their grass. They crocheted and knitted.


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

None of it was proper Viking stuff. If they’d won the Battle of Burp things might have been different. If they’d won back then, maybe school wouldn’t have been invented. I’d be out pillaging and plundering now, not sitting in a boring old classroom, thought Vulgar. A blast of a horn snapped him out of his daydream. The fanfare continued for a few seconds, then collapsed into a fit of coughing and wheezing. An old man hobbled into the class, struggling to get his breath back. It was Harrumf, the steward of the Great Hall. “Nearly blew me bleedin’ lungs out,” Harrumf muttered, before he realised the whole class was looking 8


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

at him. “Show yer appreciation for His Royalness—” Harrumf began, before another coughing fit made him stop. King Olaf waddled into the class munching on a barbecued elk rib. Gravy dripped down his chin and into his plaited beard. “Greetings, children,” he said, spraying little lumps of elk meat over the front row. “Good morning, King Olaf,” the class chorused, ducking to avoid the worst of the spray.

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“As Dagmar has no doubt told you, this week sees the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Burp.” “Actually,” said Dagmar, raising a crooked finger, “historians are unable to reach an agreement on the exact date of—” “Blah, blah, blah,” said King Olaf, waving a dismissive hand. “To celebrate, I’m taking you all on a trip to Angle Land, where we will be re-enacting the battle itself.” “Hooray!” cheered the class. “I can’t go. I get seasick,” said Dagmar. “You weren’t invited,” said the King. “Hooray!” cheered the class, even louder this time. Vulgar raised a hand. “Angle Land is across the sea. How will we get there?” Please say longboat, please say longboat, please say longboat, he thought. 10


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“By longboat,” said King Olaf, and Vulgar jumped off his seat in excitement. He and Knut began dancing around the classroom. “We’re going on a longboat!” Knut shouted. “To invade Angle Land!” added Vulgar.


VULGAR THE VIKING AND THE BATTLE OF BURP

King Olaf raised his hands. “Whoa there! Nobody said anything about invading.” Vulgar and Knut stopped dancing. “We’re going to celebrate one hundred years of friendship between Blubber and Burp,” the King explained. “This is a trip to promote peace and harmony.” Vulgar thought about this. “But we’re still going by longboat?” “Yes,” said King Olaf. “We’re still going by longboat.” Vulgar shrugged and started dancing again. He was going to sail the seas on a real longboat, just like a proper Viking. This was going to be brilliant!

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Vulgar the Viking and the Battle of Burp - Chapter 1