The 8-year-old girl who pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake opened up about her extremely metal experience in the Guardian, in what is undeniably the cutest as-told-to ever published.
During what Saga Vanecek claims was “the hottest summer for 260 years,” the 8-year-old and her family were staying at a cabin by lake Vidöstern in southern Sweden, where Vanecek likes to “build sandcastles on the beach, or find rocks to skim across the water and see how many times I can make them bounce.” She also frequently plays in the lake — a beloved pastime that led to her discovery of the ancient Viking sword.
She describes the experience:
I was crawling along the bottom of the lake on my arms and knees, looking for stones to skim, when my hand and knee felt something long and hard buried in the clay and sand. I pulled it out and saw that it was different from the sticks or rocks I usually find. One end had a point, and the other had a handle, so I pointed it up to the sky, put my other hand on my hip and called out, “Daddy, I’ve found a sword!”
I felt like a warrior, but Daddy said I looked like Pippi Longstocking. The sword felt rough and hard, and I got some sticky, icky brown rust on my hands. It started to bend and Daddy splashed up to me, and said I should let him hold it. It was my sword and now he was taking it away! I gave it to him in the end.
After passing off her prize, Vanecek ran to her “mamma,” “mormor” (her “grandma,” she clarifies), and her other relatives who were having fika outside (so Swedish!). There, she started to yell, “I found a sword, I found a sword!” Her dad then showed the sword to their neighbors, who said it looked like a Viking sword.
Vanecek says her family later showed the sword to archaeologists, who said “nothing like this had ever been found in Scandinavia before,” and told Vanecek to not tell anyone about it, in case there were others in the lake. While she says it “wasn’t hard to keep the secret,” she does admit that she told one of her “best friends, Emmy,” who didn’t telly anyone, except her parents, but it’s “OK” because “they promised not to tell anybody else.”
And while Venecek is clearly proud of her discovery, she does want people on the internet to know that she is not the “queen of Sweden.” Obviously, she would be happy to be “queen for a day,” but when she grows up, she has other dream careers.
“People on the internet are saying I am the queen of Sweden, because in the legend of King Arthur, he was given a sword by a lady in a lake, and that meant he would become king,” she says. “I am not a lady — I’m only 8 — but it’s true I found a sword in the lake. I wouldn’t mind being queen for a day, but when I grow up I want to be a vet. Or an actor in Paris.”