The Legend of General Gaul:
Go back far enough in viking history and the Saxons and Celts were once the same group of people known as the Sax or Selks depending on regional accent. At one point they occupied all of Europe bar Britain and the Middle-East. Although today the various viking cultures are known to fight between each other and even amonst themselves, at this point in time the Selk Empire was a happy, peaceful and properous region of Europe. Greece was yet to be founded, the Romans wont appear on the scene until way later and the people of the Middle-East are currently exclusively Jewish as Islam is yet to exist. In Selk culture the punishment for a moderate level crime, i.e. robbery or violence rather than murder or attempted murder, was for the individual to be sold into slavery in the Middle-East. This wasn't a bad deal as in those days slaves were treated rather well, more akin to apprenticeships that what we know as slavery. In fact mistreating a slave by beating them or starving them when they were loyal and trustworthy was a crime punishable by death. The Middle-East was at the height of its wealth at this time and the rich men who owned slaves liked to show off about how well their slaves were cared for by giving them expensive clothing and making sure any medical problem were well cared for. Slaves were a status symbol and having a slave that was not well looked after was considered improper and you'd be shunned by society. Also a slave and their master having a relationship or adult interactions would ruin both the slave and the master's reputation and as many of the rich folk had large numbers of servants it was impossible to go unnoticed. After a criminal had proven their worth as an honest hard-working man they were often granted freedom and allowed to return to the Selk Empire often a lot richer than when they left. Slavery was a such a good deal for many people struggling to get by in the Selk Empire as humble woodsmiths and farmers that people would deliberate steal small worthless items just so that they could be sold into slavery in the first place. However there were those individuals that were no-good and no matter how hard the slave master tried to lead the crooks on the straight and narrow they just simply wouldn't learn. Thievery in the Middle-East had a much more serious punishment, your hands or all your fingers would be cut off. This was practically a death sentence for slaves as their lack of hands made them both useless as servants and as a farmer or craftsman in the Selk Empire and many wouldn't bother to look after the dead weight knowing that they were a former thief, especially those of Selk race which had already had the opportunity to redeem themselves as slaves and chosen to steal again despite being lavishly spent on by their slave masters.
It was at this time that some no-good slaves in Cumbria, Iberia, which was a city in what's now known as the country of Georgia, had had enough of being supposedly mistreated for the fact they couldn't help themselves from commiting crimes and broke out of their master's home by persuading him to lower the security and sailed off to what's now France. There they proceeded to violently attack whole towns for their riches and kept people in a constant state of fear. What's worse is that the legal system of the Selks which had worked perfectly well for many years was brought into question, especially since France at the time was occupied by non-Selks and the sudden attacks by people claiming themselves to be True Selks made the locals believe that they were somehow at war. Soon the Selk Empire's leaders were brought into question and the Selks were eager to eradicate this threat and clear their reputation. Their solution was send their chief of authories one General Gaul to personally see to the destruction of the threat. However what happened was that Gaul made a deal with the bandits and became their ruler rising up a rival force against the Selk Empire which he named after himself. The word Gaul meant "the brave" in Selk language and the Selks couldn't tolerate being considered cowards by comparrison. They sent their war general named Saxon and a gigantic army to take care of the threat not only wiped them out but anyone who was even suggested to be working with the bandits. This caused a three way split in the Selk Empire between the Gaul sympathisers, the supporters of general Saxon and those that supported the Selk's side who were appalled by Saxon's actions. These later became what we now know as the Gauls, the Saxons and the Celts.
Though the true story is fairly bland itself the Selk Empire became rather fond of many rumors surrounding Gaul's name and these later became multiple fairy tales though as Gaul's first name was unknown he was simply known as John or some variant of the name as John was the most common name in the Selk Empire. Such stories include Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldielocks, Rapunzel, Hanzel and Gretal, the Griffon, the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme and most notoriously the John the Fearless story series which traditionally the forementioned tales are part of. When another man also nicknamed John the Fearless turned up later in France in the 15th century many of the stories were attached to him despite the new John not having Gaul's famous long golden hair. The stories of Gaul turn up in odd places around the world as they were adapted into local variations with slight slurs on the pronunciation of his name. He also went by the names Goldie, Gourd, Goal, Ghoul, Goro, Goat, Garou, Gal, Gore and most notoriously Garuda where he was worshipped as a snake-eating half man, half bird creature. The snake eating habit being a metaphor for his fights against the Selks who were snake worshippers and were already depicted as Nags in many stories. The same snake-eating bird also appears as the Harpy of Greek mythology. The reason Gaul was associated with birds was down to the fact that birds eat worms and worms look similar to snakes, not down to the fact that certain birds eat snakes as is commonly believed. In Roman mythology he appears as the golden eagle clutching a snake in his claws which was the symbol of the Romans for a long time though what the bird was holding changed to many other items over time, the bird carrying the globe in its claws being the most well-known which rested atop the Roman standard. The same symbol is the symbol of the united states presidency though varied again. It's believed that the tengu of Japanese mythology might be another variation again with its long beak-like nose, red tone skin and wings on its back. In a lot of the stories Gaul is known to be a very nasty individual possessing great strength who's very strongly driven by pride but does not believe in honor. He's almost always depicted as a thief yet in some depictions he has powers to cause natural disasters or control the weather and since these traits are associated with gods he's often seen as helpful person to the gods though not exactly a god himself.