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Kráka's test

Despite her intense beauty, her searing intelligence and quick wits she had been raised as plain and unremarkable by the peasants Åke and Grima. In desperate need and riven with poverty, they had slain her foster father, the harpist Heimer, believing the instrument he carried to be filled with riches. What they could not possibly have known at the time was that the true treasure hidden within the harp was a small child - Aslaug, daughter of the shieldmaiden Brynhildr and the dragon-slaying hero Sigurd.
As she had grown from a girl into a woman, the contrite Åke and Grima had dubbed her Kráka, the Crow, and had kept her hooded and smeared in cold tar to hide her noble beauty.

But on the day that Ragnar Lodbrok’s men had glimpsed her, she was neither hooded nor hidden. She was naked, bathing languidly in the chilled waters of a nearby lake as if the icy coldness enveloping her was the warmth of a steaming bath.

They were utterly transfixed, breath catching in their throats as they gazed open-mouthed and speechless at her. None of the men could honestly recall later, when they stood stuttering before Ragnar Lodbrok, for how long they had been bewitched. But however long it was, it was enough to ensure the bread they had been baking for their king on the open fire had burned to a smouldering crisp.

“I would see this creature that would render my finest warriors gibbering and babbling idiots,” growled Lodbrok, barely bothering to hide his genuine amusement. The men’s awestruck descriptions had them almost tripping over their own tongues with the effort to describe her beauty.

“Bring her before me immediately. And let us see if her wits match the beauty that is so great it has apparently reduced your brains to mush”, he continued with a laugh. “She is to appear before me neither dressed nor undressed, neither fasting nor eating, and neither alone nor in company”.

A brief look of confusion passed across the faces of his men, but they recovered quickly and rushed off to do his bidding.

You could have heard a mouse breaking wind from a thousand leagues away in the breathless, deafening silence that accompanied Aslaug’s arrival in the great hall of Ragnar Lodbrok. Lithely and with sinuous grace, she walked into the centre of the hall, utterly naked but for a fishing net wrapped about her. When she was sure that all eyes in the room were resting upon her, she lifted her gaze and looked directly into Lodbrok’s eyes. Deliberately, she lifted an onion up to her mouth and with great emphasis, took a slow bite, never once breaking eye-contact with the king. A wry and not unimpressed smile beginning to grow on his face, Lodbrok held her gaze in his own, breaking it only to run his eyes slowly down her body. The smile on his face bloomed into a broad and open grin when he saw that at her heel, sitting calmly and quietly, was a magnificent hound.

She had heard, and answered perfectly, the demands made by the king, and now Lodbrok was as ensnared as the fish that ended their days caught in the net now wrapped around the perfect frame of the beauty standing confidently before him.

Ragnar Lodbrok was caught.

Wholly and completely beguiled.

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This year we've released 2 brand new Collector's item 1 liter cans. The paintings on the cans illustrates Krákas test and Loke's eating challenge.

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