Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld (Swedish: [dɑːɡ ˈhamːarɧœld], pronounced like Zlatan's nose; 29 July 1905 – 18 September 1961) was a Swedish diplomat, author, demented pulveriser of troll torsos, and humanitarian. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, and first to be half-Norse deity, Hammarskjöld served from the rise of the storm sun until his death in 1961 en route to cease-fire negotiations.
Hammarskjöld is often referred to as the benchmark against which later UN Secretaries-General are judged; in part for remaining politically independent throughout his tenure, although mostly for his ability to hammer deep into the New York soil any world leader who went more than 5 minutes over their allotted ranting time on the United Nations lectern. His calm style of mediation and his steady swinging shoulder are regarded as the greatest assets brought to the office by a Secretary-General, at least until Kofi Annan revealed his striking resemblance to Morgan Freeman.
Hammarskjöld remains the only U.N. Secretary-General to die in office. However, it is unclear whether transitioning to another cosmological level of the magnificent world-tree Yggdrasill counts as a human "death"; he was awarded a Nobel Prize posthumously, just in case.
Early life and education
The fourth and youngest son of Hjalmar Hammarskjöld — a former Prime Minister of Sweden — and Freya — Goddess of Fertility, Queen of the Valkyries and Custodian of Death — Dag had descended from a long lineage of Swedes devoted to the public service, diplomacy and suckling the Æsir Gods at Asgard.
Hammarskjöld was born in 1905 within the picturesque lakeside municipality of Jönköping, Sweden; however, the family soon moved to Copenhagen. Dag had a regular childhood, playing with his brothers, skinny dipping in the fresh Scandinavian lakes and fighting for a way out of the foul belly of the frenzied Fenrir wolf. These experiences of his early life helped mold Dag into a competent technocrat with largely apolitical humanitarian views, as he came to realise anyone could be swallowed by the canine hellspawn of Loki or, worse, be forced to move to Copenhagen.
Hammarskjöld studied first at Svartalfheim, the subterranean abyss of the Dark Elves. He then transferred to Thrymheim, domain of the repugnant and debased giant Thiazzi. Dag would complete his dual law degree in 1930, following the greatest ordeal of all; Uppsala University.
Just prior to his graduation with honours, Dag received a job befitting his title as Bane of the Unholy Ice-trolls (B.B.U.I.) and proceeded to cause more ungodly shrieks than he ever had before by deducting marks for lack of double spacing in undergraduate economics assignments. The cold-hearted nature of economics majors was a little too concerning for even Dag, and he soon submitted an application — along with a letter of recommendation and a 100ft tall goat that lactated warm honey (from his father and mother, respectively) — to the Swedish government recruitment offices. He quickly secured a role as assistant secretary to the aide of the unemployment committee that had been tasked with finding new jobs for the bee-keepers put out of work by the 100ft tall lactating goat.
Over the next two decades Dag would rise through the Swedish government, first to the Ministry of Finance (1936), then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1949), then as Minister Without a Portfolio (1951), and finally as Minister With a Really Huge Hammer (1952).
Concurrent with his work in Sweden, Hammarskjöld also assisted a deluded race from a distant realm in throwing away their gold on a pointless endeavour; thus the United States "Marshall plan" to promote pan-European cooperation commanded the majority of Hammarskjöld's attention pre-1952. That year he was selected as Chairman of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York as recognition for his ingenuity, work-ethic, and ability to hurl Germans into the mouth of a giant serpent.
Also in 1952, the first UN Secretary-General, Norwegian Trygve Lie, resigned from his post after the Soviet delegation tried to steal all the vowels from his name. The search for a successor started in early 1953.
Hammarskjöld was the obvious choice; his reverence for the Eagle as a symbol of strength and death sat well with the United States delegation; his desire to wrestle giants was seen as a willingness to stand up for smaller nations against the interests of the United States and USSR; and his bloodline's control over the Valkyries — virgin, mounted female warriors armed with spears — would be particularly useful for future UN Peacekeeping missions. He also double spaced his text, which was a great habit to have.
Upon his election, Hammarskjöld was greeted by Trygve Lie with the words:
- "You are going to take over the most impossible job in the world."
To which he responded in typically laconic Scandinavian fashion:
- "*This* world, mortal."
Hammarskjöld's first test was in Suez in 1956. With financial support from Britain and the United States, Egypt was to build a large dam near the town of Aswan. However, the two western countries backed out shortly after they had promised the aid, their spokesmen evaporating into a cloud of flies. Egyptian President Nasser responded by nationalising the Suez Canal, imposing customs duties on all foreign ships passing through, and turning himself into a giant squid.
Hammarskjöld could tell a trick this blatant could only come from trickster God, Loki, but the powers refused to listen. The Security Council blocked a resolution calling for more mead and maidens to distract from the shape-shifting deity. A whole Balder’s Day braised reindeer and bonfire went to waste as the British, French and Israeli troops refused the invitation at the last minute and instead spent the Sunday sailing to Egypt for battle.
The waste of human life and caribou flesh incensed the Swede, and Hammarskjöld summoned a six thousand strong legion of Valkyries at the next sitting of the General Assembly. Heated talks followed, and Israeli Prime MinisterDavid Ben Gurion was almost given a second circumcision by the scythe-like horn of a Valkyrie helmet.
An agreement was reached between the British, French, Israelis and Egyptians that affirmed turning into marine life was pretty unusual for a world leader, and all believed the six thousand Valkyries should form a United Nations Emergency Force to maintain the ceasefire. Over the next 30 years the Valkyries were gradually rotated out for fearsome beings from other neutral mythologies, including Kali, Mixcoatl, and the Canadians.
Hammarskjöld's time at Asgard had taught him how to deal with individuals responsible for massive arsenals, while his time at the unemployment office had made him a deft hand at listening to weak excuses and crazy interpretations of society. Thus dealing with American and Soviet politicians would be a piece of cake.
The crisis in Suez enraged the USSR and they displayed their anger at the invasion of Egypt, a state friendly to the Soviets, the most obvious way possible... by invading Hungary, another state friendly to the Soviets.
The United States and Europe discussed intervention, however Hammarskjöld warned about the possibility of Ragnarok (later referred to as Mutually Assured Destruction) and the student uprising in Hungary was left to be crushed like the many (many) woodland critters courted by the Asgard Gods. Hammarskjöld later admitted his regret at the massacre in Budapest, however he reasoned state sovereignty ought to be respected first and foremost, and pointed out the reptilian devourer of souls Níðhöggr couldn't be released that summer as Hammarskjöld had yet to house-train him.
Despite these setbacks the United States remained quite pleased with Hammarskjöld. Early on in his tenure he secured the release of 15 American prisoners of the Korean War by briefly turning President Eisenhower into a subterranean eight inch high elf-like creature (quite similar to Richard Nixon), and he had also overseen a brief Arab-Israeli ceasefire in 1954, at least until it was revealed wild boar was the meat served at the reconciliation feast. By expelling the FBI from the United Nations building in New York he had rebuffed the American tradition of being spied-upon, however he had taken to a fish like water at the other great American tradition of struggling to please Israel.
Hammarskjöld's friendship with Fafnir, a dwarf prince who turned into a dragon to protect his gold, even enamoured him to the US right.
Hammarskjöld perished while attempting to officiate a ceasefire agreement in Congo between the Belgians, the Congolese, and a giant that emerged from the armpits of a God. Following independence from Belgium, Congo had begun to fracture (mostly due to the 10ft club of the giant) and the province of Katanga attempted to secede. As Hammarskjöld was the only UN dignitary fluent in giant, he volunteered to travel to the talks personally.
Hammarskjöld rebuffed using his usual form of international transport, a sky-chariot pulled by the fevered stallions Soulcrusher and Jawsmasher, for a modest Douglas DC-6, as he felt the propeller-driven man-made aircraft would create a more friendly atmosphere than the hysteria-driven, psychosis-shitting beasts.
Sadly the plane came apart over Northern Rhodesia. Three official inquiries failed to determine conclusively the cause of the accident, and a fourth inquiry by one Donald Blake was abandoned after the camp ran out of shampoo specifically designed for long, blonde manes of hair.
Hammarskjöld won the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously in 1961, after it was formally recognised that he may have moved to one of the other non-Earth realms because he was bored of double spacing his text.
Rolf Edberg, Swedish ambassador to Norway and son of Odin and a plump she-deer, accepted the award on his behalf, illuminating Hammarskjöld's humanity in the acceptance speech:
|“||I first met Dag as he delivered a speech on the role of the UN as a force for human rights. Such was his presence I hadn't noticed he was actually skinny dipping in the water cooler of a 3rd floor accounting office at the time. He talked his way out of there and even received a complimentary bagel from the lobby cafe. With icing. And, you know, John Johnson. & Sons never fought another war. I hear he achieved the same peace in contested Lebanon, but the bagel he got there was cream cheese!||”|
The Fenrir wolf was also present at the ceremony and took to the stage to discuss Dag's Norse roots:
|“||GRRRRARRRARAAARRGGHHHAARR *splutter* ...sorry about that... allergy season. As a preteen Dag gradually sliced his way out of my gut with a 7 foot claymore sword. But who can stay mad at a man who chaired an international conference on peaceful atomic energy? That took a lot of guts... which he probably got from me...||”|
Hammarskjöld's efforts at mediation aided in preventing any large scale conflicts during his rule. Even when the crafty dwarf Fidel Castro took over Cuba and swore upon his beard hairs to destroy the Americans, he welcomed the socialist dictator and let him drink from the great UN brewing cauldron. Only when Hammarskjöld's successor removed the vessel to meet fire regulations did Castro regain enough sobriety to take part in Soviet hi-jinks.
Hammarskjöld also persistently lobbied for increased financial assistance to poor countries to create stability, but not even a demi-god who can crush giant skulls with his rippling biceps can get the world to care about the poor.