About this book
Battle is a practical and sometimes lasting way of solving man's problems. It relies on the strength of the combatants and ignores the truth of the dispute. Discussion face to face can dissolve attitudes which have incorrectly determined judgements. The most striking example of this that I know is a Battle in Ireland in the eleventh century, where the king of Leinster fought a Viking prince. The Icelanders had raided Ireland for several generations in search of women, which they lacked since most of the population of Iceland were men who had arrived there by rowing long-boats from Norway. The prince was leading such a raid for the first time. Standing in the prow of the leading boat he saw Irish cavalry galloping along the beach to meet them. As they approached the shore the Irish king rode out of the band to challenge single combat. The Icelander jumped into the surf to meet him. As they raised their swords each realized that the other's face was like his own. When the Irish king spoke the other recognized the language. It had been spoken in Iceland by his grandmother who had been captured and taken there from Ireland. Swords were dropped and replaced by drinking horns. It was soon established that they were cousins. The battle gave way to a life-time of close co-operation.
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