The Legend of Loof Lirpa
In 1793 the health ministry of Norway was tasked with measuring the feet of all the citizens. The runaway winner of the contest was a little-known man called Loof Lirpa.
His picture, alongside a picture of his feet with a normal-sized pair of feet for comparison, appeared in the newspapers of the day, there were two. The King awarded Loof a thousand Kroner which could be expected to keep him in comfort for the rest of his days.
In those days there were no shoe sizes so Loof had to have his shoes specially made. Fortunately his father came from a long line of cobblers.
Loof decided to set out exploring. The first country he discovered was Denmark. Norwegians had heard of Denmark but hitherto they had thought of it as a mythic land inhabited by giants. Danes are similar in size to Norwegians and in fact Loof, with his prodigious feet, was regarded as a giant by them. He was introduced to the King who told him of another land which the Danes greatly feared. In modern times it is known as Sweden.
Loof walked to Sweden where he found that the land of Abba was in fact a rather peaceful place. In fact he married and raised twelve children in Sweden. There was a mistranslation of his writings about Sweden which were published posthumously forty years later. From this people in Norway got the impression that far from being a pacific nation, Sweden was in fact in the Pacific.
He was mourned in Sweden, Denmark and eventually in his native Norway.
Note – as this is written in English, I have followed the tradition of spelling Loof Lirpa's name backwards.
by Derek McMillan
Derek McMillan is a writer in Durrington. His wife, Angela, is his editor. His latest work is a collection of short stories and flash fiction called "Brevity". It can be bought on eBay and directly from the author.