History Stories

The third and fourth graders at Papdale School in Kirkwall, Scotland (on the isle of Orkney) had received the two goldfish as a Christmas gift just a few months ago. Alas, as is often the goldfish way, the pair—fondly known as Bubbles and Freddy—were not long for this world.

Their death, however, served as a form of inspiration for the students and their teachers, who just that week had begun studying Viking history. As part of those lessons, they’d learned about Norse mythology, how the Vikings mourned their honored dead, and the idea of a Viking afterlife in Valhalla.

So he tots set to work, building a fleet of tiny Viking longships out of egg crates and cereal boxes, a proper fit for the fishy pair. As they said on a classroom blog, “We worked in teams of two or three to create Viking Long Ships suitable to send to Valhalla. We knew that the Vikings would only have sent the most beautiful ships to be burned for important people in their communities.”

They wrote down their memories of Freddy and Bubbles as tributes, then set off for a local stream, where each child set their ships to sail. Leading the procession was a ceremonial vessel, presumably carrying Bubbles and Freddy, lit aflame—just as it would have been in the Viking era.

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