The thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland for centuries, as far back in time as when Norway and Scotland were at war. The Norsemen attempted to surprise the Scots with a night attack. Taking off their footwear to ensure silence, they traveled across the thistle covered land. The resulting cries alarmed the Scots enabling them to drive off the Norse. The thistle became a national symbol, giving the motto "Nemo me impune lacessit", which is translated as "What dares meddle with me?"