This  is just a great column from McSweeney’s:

History’s a Bitch: A Dog Walk Through Time: This Dog Rules.

After Eystein conquered Trondheim, Norway’s main city, he installed his son Ostrund as king. When his subjects decided they really weren’t very fond of Ostrund and killed him, Eystein went medieval on the upstarts and “ravaged the land far and wide, and subdued it.”

After this, Eystein the Now-Pissed-Off, in order to communicate his contempt for the people, gave them a choice for their next ruler: either Thorer Faxe, his servant, or Saur, his dog. Saur is pronounced “Say-err” and translates from the Icelandic as “excrement,” giving us a colorful picture of the kind of person Eystein was, namely the kind that would name his dog “Crap.” The conquered people chose the dog as their ruler, assuming that they would be rid of the dog faster.