- 1 Of the Situation of Countries.
- 2 Of the People of Asia.
- 3 Of Odin's Brothers.
- 4 Of Odin's War With the People of Vanaland.
- 5 Odin Divides His Kingdom: Also Concerning Gefion.
- 6 Of Odin's Accomplishments.
- 7 Of Odin's Feats.
- 8 Odin's Lawgiving.
- 9 Of Njord's Marriage.
- 10 Of Odin's Death.
- 11 Of Njord.
- 12 Frey's Death.
- 13 Of Freya and Her Daughters.
- 14 Of King Fjolne's Death.
- 15 Of Swegde.
- 16 Of Vanlande, Swegde's Son.
- 17 Of Visbur, Vanlande's Son.
- 18 Of Domald, Visbur's Son.
- 19 Of Domar, Domald's Son.
- 20 Of Dygve, Domar's Son.
- 21 Of Dag The Wise.
- 22 Of Agne, Dag's Son.
- 23 Of Alric and Eric.
- 24 Of Yngve and Alf.
- 25 Of Hugleik.
- 26 King Gudlog's Death.
- 27 Of King Hake.
- 28 Jorund, Yngve's Son.
- 29 Of King On, Jorund's Son.
- 30 Of Egil and Tunne.
- 31 Of King Ottar.
- 32 Of King Adils' Marriage.
- 33 Of King Adils' Death.
- 34 Rolf Krake's Death.
- 35 Of Eystein and the Jutland King Solve.
- 36 Of Yngvar's Fall.
- 37 Of Onund the Land-clearer.
- 38 Of Ingjald the Bad.
- 39 Of King Onund's Death.
- 40 The Burning in Upsal.
- 41 Of Hjorvard's Marriage.
- 42 War Between Ingjald and Granmar and Hjorvard.
- 43 Death of the Kings Granmar and Hjorvard.
- 44 Of Ingjald's Death.
- 45 Of Ivar.
- 46 Of Olaf the Tree-feller.
- 47 Olaf the Tree-feller's Death.
- 48 Halfdan Hvitbein Made King.
- 49 Of Halfdan Hvitbein.
- 50 Of Ingjald, Brother of Halfdan.
- 51 Of King Eystein's Death.
- 52 Of Halfdan the Mild.
- 53 Of Gudrod the Hunter.
- 54 Of King Olaf's Death.
- 55 Of Rognvald the Mountain-high.
Of the Situation of Countries.[edit | edit source]
It is said that the earth's circle which the human race inhabits is torn across into many bights, so that great seas run into the land from the out-ocean. Thus it is known that a great sea goes in at Narvesund1, and up to the land of Jerusalem. From the same sea a long sea-bight stretches towards the north-east, and is called the Black Sea, and divides the three parts of the earth; of which the eastern part is called Asia, and the western is called by some Europa, by some Enea. Northward of the Black Sea lies Swithiod the Great, or the Cold. The Great Swithiod is reckoned by some as not less than the Great Serkland2; others compare it to the Great Blueland3. The northern part of Swithiod lies uninhabited on account of frost and cold, as likewise the southern parts of Blueland are waste from the burning of the sun. In Swithiod are many great domains, and many races of men, and many kinds of languages. There are giants, and there are dwarfs, and there are also blue men, and there are any kinds of stranger creatures. There are huge wild beasts, and dreadful dragons. On the south side of the mountains which lie outside of all inhabited lands runs a river through Swithiod, which is properly called by the name of Tanais, but was formerly called Tanaquisl, or Vanaquisl, and which falls into the Black Sea. The country of the people on the Vanaquisl was called Vanaland, or Vanaheim; and the river separates the three parts of the world, of which the eastermost part is called Asia, and the westermost Europe.
Endnotes:[edit | edit source]
(1) The Straits of Gibraltar. (2) Northern Africa. (3) Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa.
Of the People of Asia.[edit | edit source]
The country east of the Tanaquisl in Asia was called Asaland, or Asaheim, and the chief city in that land was called Asgaard. In that city was a chief called Odin, and it was a great place for sacrifice. It was the custom there that twelve temple priests should both direct the sacrifices, and also judge the people. They were called Diar, or Drotner, and all the people served and obeyed them. Odin was a great and very far-travelled warrior, who conquered many kingdoms, and so successful was he that in every battle the victory was on his side. It was the belief of his people that victory belonged to him in every battle. It was his custom when he sent his men into battle, or on any expedition, that he first laid his hand upon their heads, and called down a blessing upon them; and then they believed their undertaking would be successful. His people also were accustomed, whenever they fell into danger by land or sea, to call upon his name; and they thought that always they got comfort and aid by it, for where he was they thought help was near. Often he went away so far that he passed many seasons on his journeys.
Of Odin's Brothers.[edit | edit source]
Odin had two brothers, the one called Ve, the other Vilje, and they governed the kingdom when he was absent. It happened once when Odin had gone to a great distance, and had been so long away that the people Of Asia doubted if he would ever return home, that his two brothers took it upon themselves to divide his estate; but both of them took his wife Frigg to themselves. Odin soon after returned home, and took his wife back.
Of Odin's War With the People of Vanaland.[edit | edit source]
Odin went out with a great army against the Vanaland people; but they were well prepared, and defended their land; so that victory was changeable, and they ravaged the lands of each other, and did great damage. They tired of this at last, and on both sides appointed a meeting for establishing peace, made a truce, and exchanged hostages. The Vanaland people sent their best men, Njord the Rich, and his son Frey. The people of Asaland sent a man called Hone, whom they thought well suited to be a chief, as he was a stout and very handsome man; and with him they sent a man of great understanding called Mime. On the other side, the Vanaland people sent the wisest man in their community, who was called Kvase. Now, when Hone came to Vanaheim he was immediately made a chief, and Mime came to him with good counsel on all occasions. But when Hone stood in the Things or other meetings, if Mime was not near him, and any difficult matter was laid before him, he always answered in one way -- "Now let others give their advice"; so that the Vanaland people got a suspicion that the Asaland people had deceived them in the exchange of men. They took Mime, therefore, and beheaded him, and sent his head to the Asaland people. Odin took the head, smeared it with herbs so that it should not rot, and sang incantations over it. Thereby he gave it the power that it spoke to him, and discovered to him many secrets. Odin placed Njord and Frey as priests of the sacrifices, and they became Diar of the Asaland people. Njord's daughter Freya was priestess of the sacrifices, and first taught the Asaland people the magic art, as it was in use and fashion among the Vanaland people. While Njord was with the Vanaland people he had taken his own sister in marriage, for that was allowed by their law; and their children were Frey and Freya. But among the Asaland people it was forbidden to intermarry with such near relations.
Odin Divides His Kingdom: Also Concerning Gefion.[edit | edit source]
There goes a great mountain barrier from north-east to south-west, which divides the Greater Swithiod from other kingdoms. South of this mountain ridge it is not far to Turkland, where Odin had great possessions. In those times the Roman chiefs went wide around in the world, subduing to themselves all people; and on this account many chiefs fled from their domains. But Odin having foreknowledge, and magic-sight, knew that his posterity would come to settle and dwell in the northern half of the world. He therefore set his brothers Ve and Vilje over Asgaard; and he himself, with all the gods and a great many other people, wandered out, first westward to Gardarike, and then south to Saxland. He had many sons; and after having subdued an extensive kingdom in Saxland, he set his sons to rule the country. He himself went northwards to the sea, and took up his abode in an island which is called Odins in Fyen. Then he sent Gefion across the sound to the north to discover new countries; and she came to King Gylve, who gave her a ploughgate of land. Then she went to Jotunheim, and bore four sons to a giant, and transformed them into a yoke of oxen. She yoked them to a plough, and broke out the land into the ocean right opposite to Odins. This land was called Sealand, and there she afterwards settled and dwelt. Skjold, a son of Odin, married her, and they dwelt at Leidre. Where the ploughed land was is a lake or sea called Laage. In the Swedish land the fjords of Laage correspond to the nesses in Sealand. Brage the Old sings thus of it: --
- "Gefion from Gylve drove away,
- To add new land to Denmark's sway --
- Blythe Gefion ploughing in the smoke
- That steamed up from her oxen-yoke:
- Four heads, eight forehead stars had they,
- Bright gleaming, as she ploughed away;
- Dragging new lands from the deep main
- To join them to the sweet isle's plain.
Now when Odin heard that things were in a prosperous condition in the land to the east beside Gylve; he went thither, and Gylve made a peace with him, for Gylve thought he had no strength to oppose the people of Asaland. Odin and Gylve had many tricks and enchantments against each other; but the Asaland people had always the superiority. Odin took up his residence at the Maelare lake, at the place now called Old Sigtun. There he erected a large temple, where there were sacrifices according to the customs of the Asaland people. He appropriated to himself the whole of that district, and called it Sigtun. To the temple priests he gave also domains. Njord dwelt in Noatun, Frey in Upsal, Heimdal in the Himinbergs, Thor in Thrudvang, Balder in Breidablik; to all of them he gave good estates.
Of Odin's Accomplishments.[edit | edit source]
When Odin of Asaland came to the north, and the Diar with him, they introduced and taught to others the arts which the people long afterwards have practised. Odin was the cleverest of all, and from him all the others learned their arts and accomplishments; and he knew them first, and knew many more than other people. But now, to tell why he is held in such high respect, we must mention various causes that contributed to it. When sitting among his friends his countenance was so beautiful and dignified, that the spirits of all were exhilarated by it, but when he was in war he appeared dreadful to his foes. This arose from his being able to change his skin and form in any way he liked. Another cause was, that he conversed so cleverly and smoothly, that all who heard believed him. He spoke everything in rhyme, such as now composed, which we call scald-craft. He and his temple priests were called song-smiths, for from them came that art of song into the northern countries. Odin could make his enemies in battle blind, or deaf, or terror-struck, and their weapons so blunt that they could no more but than a willow wand; on the other hand, his men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild bulls, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon themselves. These were called Berserker.
Of Odin's Feats.[edit | edit source]
Odin could transform his shape: his body would lie as if dead, or asleep; but then he would be in shape of a fish, or worm, or bird, or beast, and be off in a twinkling to distant lands upon his own or other people's business. With words alone he could quench fire, still the ocean in tempest, and turn the wind to any quarter he pleased. Odin had a ship which was called Skidbladnir, in which he sailed over wide seas, and which he could roll up like a cloth. Odin carried with him Mime's head, which told him all the news of other countries. Sometimes even he called the dead out of the earth, or set himself beside the burial-mounds; whence he was called the ghost-sovereign, and lord of the mounds. He had two ravens, to whom he had taught the speech of man; and they flew far and wide through the land, and brought him the news. In all such things he was pre-eminently wise. He taught all these arts in Runes, and songs which are called incantations, and therefore the Asaland people are called incantation-smiths. Odin understood also the art in which the greatest power is lodged, and which he himself practised; namely, what is called magic. By means of this he could know beforehand the predestined fate of men, or their not yet completed lot; and also bring on the death, ill-luck, or bad health of people, and take the strength or wit from one person and give it to another. But after such witchcraft followed such weakness and anxiety, that it was not thought respectable for men to practise it; and therefore the priestesses were brought up in this art. Odin knew finely where all missing cattle were concealed under the earth, and understood the songs by which the earth, the hills, the stones, and mounds were opened to him; and he bound those who dwell in them by the power of his word, and went in and took what he pleased. From these arts he became very celebrated. His enemies dreaded him; his friends put their trust in him, and relied on his power and on himself. He taught the most of his arts to his priests of the sacrifices, and they came nearest to himself in all wisdom and witch-knowledge. Many others, however, occupied themselves much with it; and from that time witchcraft spread far and wide, and continued long. People sacrificed to Odin and the twelve chiefs from Asaland, and called them their gods, and believed in them long after. From Odin's name came the name Audun, which people gave to his sons; and from Thor's name comes Thore, also Thorarinn; and also it is sometimes compounded with other names, as Steenthor, or Havthor, or even altered in other ways.
Odin's Lawgiving.[edit | edit source]
Odin established the same law in his land that had been in force in Asaland. Thus he established by law that all dead men should be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and the ashes be cast into the sea or buried in the earth. Thus, said he, every one will come to Valhalla with the riches he had with him upon the pile; and he would also enjoy whatever he himself had buried in the earth. For men of consequence a mound should be raised to their memory, and for all other warriors who had been distinguished for manhood a standing stone; which custom remained long after Odin's time. On winter day there should be blood-sacrifice for a good year, and in the middle of winter for a good crop; and the third sacrifice should be on summer day, for victory in battle. Over all Swithiod the people paid Odin a scatt or tax -- so much on each head; but he had to defend the country from enemy or disturbance, and pay the expense of the sacrifice feasts for a good year.
Of Njord's Marriage.[edit | edit source]
Njord took a wife called Skade; but she would not live with him and married afterwards Odin, and had many sons by him, of whom one was called Saeming; and about him Eyvind Skaldaspiller sings thus: --
- "To Asa's son Queen Skade bore
- Saeming, who dyed his shield in gore, --
- The giant-queen of rock and snow,
- Who loves to dwell on earth below,
- The iron pine-tree's daughter, she
- Sprung from the rocks that rib the sea,
- To Odin bore full many a son,
- Heroes of many a battle won."
To Saeming Earl Hakon the Great reckoned back his pedigree. This Swithiod they called Mannheim, but the Great Swithiod they called Godheim; and of Godheim great wonders and novelties were related.
Of Odin's Death.[edit | edit source]
Odin died in his bed in Swithiod; and when he was near his death he made himself be marked with the point of a spear, and said he was going to Godheim, and would give a welcome there to all his friends, and all brave warriors should be dedicated to him; and the Swedes believed that he was gone to the ancient Asgaard, and would live there eternally. Then began the belief in Odin, and the calling upon him. The Swedes believed that he often showed to them before any great battle. To some he gave victory; others he invited to himself; and they reckoned both of these to be fortunate. Odin was burnt, and at his pile there was great splendour. It was their faith that the higher the smoke arose in the air, the higher he would be raised whose pile it was; and the richer he would be, the more property that was consumed with him.
Of Njord.[edit | edit source]
Njord of Noatun was then the sole sovereign of the Swedes; and he continued the sacrifices, and was called the drot or sovereign by the Swedes, and he received scatt and gifts from them. In his days were peace and plenty, and such good years, in all respects, that the Swedes believed Njord ruled over the growth of seasons and the prosperity of the people. In his time all the diar or gods died, and blood-sacrifices were made for them. Njord died on a bed of sickness, and before he died made himself be marked for Odin with the spear-point. The Swedes burned him, and all wept over his grave-mound.
Frey's Death.[edit | edit source]
Frey took the kingdom after Njord, and was called drot by the Swedes, and they paid taxes to him. He was, like his father, fortunate in friends and in good seasons. Frey built a great temple at Upsal, made it his chief seat, and gave it all his taxes, his land, and goods. Then began the Upsal domains, which have remained ever since. Then began in his days the Frode-peace; and then there were good seasons, in all the land, which the Swedes ascribed to Frey, so that he was more worshipped than the other gods, as the people became much richer in his days by reason of the peace and good seasons. His wife was called Gerd, daughter of Gymis, and their son was called Fjolne. Frey was called by another name, Yngve; and this name Yngve was considered long after in his race as a name of honour, so that his descendants have since been called Ynglinger. Frey fell into a sickness; and as his illness took the upper hand, his men took the plan of letting few approach him. In the meantime they raised a great mound, in which they placed a door with three holes in it. Now when Frey died they bore him secretly into the mound, but told the Swedes he was alive; and they kept watch over him for three years. They brought all the taxes into the mound, and through the one hole they put in the gold, through the other the silver, and through the third the copper money that was paid. Peace and good seasons continued.
Of Freya and Her Daughters.[edit | edit source]
Freya alone remained of the gods, and she became on this account so celebrated that all women of distinction were called by her name, whence they now have the title Frue; so that every woman is called frue, or mistress over her property, and the wife is called the house-frue. Freya continued the blood-sacrifices. Freya had also many other names. Her husband was called Oder, and her daughters Hnoss and Gerseme. They were so very beautiful, that afterwards the most precious jewels were called by their names.
When it became known to the Swedes that Frey was dead, and yet peace and good seasons continued, they believed that it must be so as long as Frey remained in Sweden; and therefore they would not burn his remains, but called him the god of this world, and afterwards offered continually blood-sacrifices to him, principally for peace and good seasons.
Of King Fjolne's Death.[edit | edit source]
Fjolne, Yngve Frey's son, ruled thereafter over the Swedes and the Upsal domains. He was powerful, and lucky in seasons and in holding the peace. Fredfrode ruled then in Leidre, and between them there was great friendship and visiting. Once when Fjolne went to Frode in Sealand, a great feast was prepared for him, and invitations to it were sent all over the country. Frode had a large house, in which there was a great vessel many ells high, and put together of great pieces of timber; and this vessel stood in a lower room. Above it was a loft, in the floor of which was an opening through which liquor was poured into this vessel. The vessel was full of mead, which was excessively strong. In the evening Fjolne, with his attendants, was taken into the adjoining loft to sleep. In the night he went out to the gallery to seek a certain place, and he was very sleepy and exceedingly drunk. As he came back to his room he went along the gallery to the door of another left, went into it, and his foot slipping, he fell into the vessel of mead and was drowned. So says Thjodolf of Kvine: --
- "In Frode's hall the fearful word,
- The death-foreboding sound was heard:
- The cry of fey denouncing doom,
- Was heard at night in Frode's home.
- And when brave Frode came, he found
- Swithiod's dark chief, Fjolne, drowned.
- In Frode's mansion drowned was he,
- Drowned in a waveless, windless sea."
Of Swegde.[edit | edit source]
Swegde took the kingdom after his father, and he made a solemn vow to seek Godheim and Odin. He went with twelve men through the world, and came to Turkland, and the Great Svithiod, where he found many of his connections. He was five years on this journey; and when he returned home to Sweden he remained there for some time. He had got a wife in Vanheim, who was called Vana, and their son was Vanlande. Swegde went out afterwards to seek again for Godheim, and came to a mansion on the east side of Swithiod called Stein, where there was a stone as big as a large house. In the evening after sunset, as Swegde was going from the drinking-table to his sleeping-room, he cast his eye upon the stone, and saw that a dwarf was sitting under it. Swegde and his man were very drunk, and they ran towards the stone. The dwarf stood in the door, and called to Swegde, and told him to come in, and he should see Odin. Swegde ran into the stone, which instantly closed behind him, and Swegde never came back. Thiodolf of Kvine tells of this: --
- "By Diurnir's elfin race,
- Who haunt the cliffs and shun day's face,
- The valiant Swegde was deceived,
- The elf's false words the king believed.
- The dauntless hero rushing on,
- Passed through the yawning mouth of stone:
- It yawned -- it shut -- the hero fell,
- In Saekmime's hall, where giants dwell."
Of Vanlande, Swegde's Son.[edit | edit source]
Vanlande, Swegde's son, succeeded his father, and ruled over the Upsal domain. He was a great warrior, and went far around in different lands. Once he took up his winter abode in Finland with Snae the Old, and got his daughter Driva in marriage; but in spring he set out leaving Driva behind, and although he had promised to return within three years he did not come back for ten. Then Driva sent a message to the witch Huld; and sent Visbur, her son by Vanlande, to Sweden. Driva bribed the witch-wife Huld, either that she should bewitch Vanlande to return to Finland, or kill him. When this witch-work was going on Vanlande was at Upsal, and a great desire came over him to go to Finland; but his friends and counsellors advised him against it, and said the witchcraft of the Finn people showed itself in this desire of his to go there. He then became very drowsy, and laid himself down to sleep; but when he had slept but a little while he cried out, saying that the Mara was treading upon him. His men hastened to him to help him; but when they took hold of his head she trod on his legs, and when they laid hold of his legs she pressed upon his head; and it was his death. The Swedes took his body and burnt it at a river called Skytaa, where a standing stone was raised over him. Thus says Thjodolf: --
- "And Vanlande, in a fatal hour,
- Was dragg'd by Grimhild's daughter's power,
- The witch-wife's, to the dwelling-place
- Where men meet Odin face to face.
- Trampled to death, to Skytaa's shore
- The corpse his faithful followers bore;
- And there they burnt, with heavy hearts,
- The good chief killed by witchcraft's arts.
Of Visbur, Vanlande's Son.[edit | edit source]
Visbur succeeded his father Vanlande. He married the daughter of Aude the Rich, and gave her as her bride-gift three large farms, and a gold ornament. They had two sons, Gisle and Ond; but Visbur left her and took another wife, whereupon she went home to her father with her two sons. Visbur had a son who was called Domald, and his stepmother used witchcraft to give him ill-luck. Now, when Visbur's sons were the one twelve and the other thirteen years of age, they went to their father's place, and desired to have their mother's dower; but he would not deliver it to them. Then they said that the gold ornament should be the death of the best man in all his race, and they returned home. Then they began again with enchantments and witchcraft, to try if they could destroy their father. The sorceress Huld said that by witchcraft she could bring it about by this means, that a murderer of his own kin should never be wanting in the Yngling race; and they agreed to have it so. Thereafter they collected men, came unexpectedly in the night on Visbur, and burned him in his house. So sings Thjodolf: --
- "Have the fire-dogs' fierce tongues yelling
- Lapt Visbur's blood on his own hearth?
- Have the flames consumed the dwelling
- Of the here's soul on earth?
- Madly ye acted, who set free
- The forest foe, red fire, night thief,
- Fell brother of the raging sea,
- Against your father and your chief."
Of Domald, Visbur's Son.[edit | edit source]
Domald took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domald, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and kill him, and sprinkle the stalle of the gods with his blood. And they did so. Thjodolf tells of this: --
- "It has happened oft ere now,
- That foeman's weapon has laid low
- The crowned head, where battle plain,
- Was miry red with the blood-rain.
- But Domald dies by bloody arms,
- Raised not by foes in war's alarms --
- Raised by his Swedish liegemen's hand,
- To bring good seasons to the land."
Of Domar, Domald's Son.[edit | edit source]
Domald's son, called Domar, next ruled over the land. He reigned long, and in his days were good seasons and peace. Nothing is told of him but that he died in his bed in Upsal, and was transported to the Fyrisvold, where his body was burned on the river bank, and where his standing stone still remains. So says Thjodolf: --
- "I have asked wise men to tell
- Where Domar rests, and they knew well.
- Domar, on Fyrie's wide-spread ground,
- Was burned, and laid on Yngve's mound."
Of Dygve, Domar's Son.[edit | edit source]
Dygve was the name of his son, who succeeded him in ruling the land; and about him nothing is said but that he died in his bed. Thjodolf tells of it thus: --
- "Dygve the Brave, the mighty king,
- It is no hidden secret thing,
- Has gone to meet a royal mate,
- Riding upon the horse of Fate.
- For Loke's daughter in her house
- Of Yngve's race would have a spouse;
- Therefore the fell-one snatched away
- Brave Dygve from the light of day."
Dygve's mother was Drott, a daughter of King Danp, the son of Rig, who was first called "king" in the Danish tongue. His descendants always afterwards considered the title of king the title of highest dignity. Dygve was the first of his family to be called king, for his predecessors had been called "Drottnar", and their wives "Drottningar", and their court "Drott". Each of their race was called Yngve, or Yngune, and the whole race together Ynglinger. The Queen Drott was a sister of King Dan Mikillati, from whom Denmark a took its name.
Of Dag The Wise.[edit | edit source]
King Dygve's son, called Dag, succeeded to him, and was so wise a man that he understood the language of birds. He had a sparrow which told him much news, and flew to different countries. Once the sparrow flew to Reidgotaland, to a farm called Varva, where he flew into the peasant's corn-field and took his grain. The peasant came up, took a stone, and killed the sparrow. King Dag was ill-pleased that the sparrow did not come home; and as he, in a sacrifice of expiation, inquired after the sparrow, he got the answer that it was killed at Varva. Thereupon he ordered a great army, and went to Gotland; and when he came to Varva he landed with his men and plundered, and the people fled away before him. King Dag returned in the evening to his ships, after having killed many people and taken many prisoners. As they were going across a river at a place called Skjotan's [the Weapon's] Ford, a labouring thrall came running to the river-side, and threw a hay- fork into their troop. It struck the king on the head, so that he fell instantly from his horse and died. In those times the chief who ravaged a country was called Gram, and the men-at-arms under him Gramer. Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
- "What news is this that the king's men,
- Flying eastward through the glen,
- Report? That Dag the Brave, whose name
- Is sounded far and wide by Fame --
- That Dag, who knew so well to wield
- The battle-axe in bloody field,
- Where brave men meet, no more will head
- The brave -- that mighty Dag is dead!
- "Varva was wasted with the sword,
- And vengeance taken for the bird --
- The little bird that used to bring
- News to the ear of the great king.
- Varva was ravaged, and the strife
- Was ended, when the monarch's life
- Was ended too -- the great Dag fell
- By the hay-fork of a base thrall!"
Of Agne, Dag's Son.[edit | edit source]
Agne was the name of Dag's son, who was king after him -- a powerful and celebrated man, expert, and exercised in all feats. It happened one summer that King Agne went with his army to Finland, and landed and marauded. The Finland people gathered a large army, and proceeded to the strife under a chief called Froste. There was a great battle, in which King Agne gained the victory, and Froste fell there with a great many of his people. King Agne proceeded with armed hand through Finland, subdued it, and made enormous booty. He took Froste's daughter Skjalv, and her brother Loge, and carried them along with him. When he sailed from the east he came to land at Stoksund, and put up his tent on the flat side of the river, where then there was a wood. King Agne had at the time the gold ornament which had belonged to Visbur. He now married Skjalv, and she begged him to make burial feast in honour of her father. He invited a great many guests, and made a great feast. He had become very celebrated by his expedition, and there was a great drinking match. Now when King Agne had got drank, Skjalv bade him take care of his gold ornament which he had about his neck; therefore he took hold of the ornament, and bound it fast about his neck before he went to sleep. The land-tent stood at the wood side, and a high tree over the tent protected it against the heat of the sun. Now when King Agne was asleep, Skjalv took a noose, and fastened it under the ornament. Thereupon her men threw down the tent-poles, cast the loop of the noose up in the branches of the tree, and hauled upon it, so that the king was hanged close under the branches and died; and Skjalv with her men ran down to their ships, and rowed away. King Agne was buried upon the spot, which was afterwards called Agnefet; and it lies on the east side of the Tauren, and west of Stoksund. Thjodolf speaks of it thus: --
- "How do ye like the high-souled maid,
- Who, with the grim Fate-goddess' aid,
- Avenged her sire? -- made Swithiod's king
- Through air in golden halter swing?
- How do ye like her, Agne's men?
- Think ye that any chief again
- Will court the fate your chief befell,
- To ride on wooden horse to hell?"
Of Alric and Eric.[edit | edit source]
The sons of Agne were called Alric and Eric, and were kings together after him. They were powerful men, great warriors, and expert at all feats of arms. It was their custom to ride and break in horses both to walk and to gallop, which nobody understood so well as they; and they vied with each other who could ride best, and keep the best horses. It happened one day that both the brothers rode out together alone, and at a distance from their followers, with their best horses, and rode on to a field; but never came back. The people at last went out to look after them, and they were both found dead with their heads crushed. As they had no weapons, except it might be their horses' bridles, people believed that they had killed each other with these. So says Thjodolf: --
- "Alric fell, by Eric slain,
- Eric's life-blood dyed the plain,
- Brother fell by brother's hand;
- And they tell it in the land,
- That they worked the wicked deed
- With the sharp bits that guide the steed.
- Shall it be said of Frey's brave sons,
- The kingly race, the noble ones,
- That they have fought in deadly battle
- With the head-gear of their cattle?"
Of Yngve and Alf.[edit | edit source]
Alric's sons, Yngve and Ali, then succeeded to the kingly power in Sweden. Yngve was a great warrior, always victorious; handsome, expert in all exercises, strong and very sharp in battle, generous and full of mirth; so that he was both renowned and beloved. Alf was a silent, harsh, unfriendly man, and sat at home in the land, and never went out on war expeditions. His mother was called Dageid, a daughter of King Dag the Great, from whom the Dagling family is descended. King Alf had a wife named Bera, who was the most agreeable of women, very brisk and gay. One autumn Yngve, Alric's son, had arrived at Upsal from a viking cruise by which he was become very celebrated. He often sat long in the evening at the drinking-table; but Alf went willingly to bed very early. Queen Bera sat often till late in the evening, and she and Yngve conversed together for their amusement; but Alf soon told her that she should not sit up so late in the evening, but should go first to bed, so as not to waken him. She replied, that happy would be the woman who had Yngve instead of Alf for her husband; and as she often repeated the same, he became very angry. One evening Alf went into the hall, where Yngve and Bera sat on the high seat speaking to each other. Yngve had a short sword upon his knees, and the guests were so drunk that they did not observe the king coming in. King Alf went straight to the high seat, drew a sword from under his cloak, and pierced his brother Yngve through and through. Yngve leaped up, drew his short sword, and gave Alf his death-wound; so that both fell dead on the floor. Alf and Yngve were buried under mounds in Fyrisvold. Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
- "I tell you of a horrid thing,
- A deed of dreadful note I sing --
- How by false Bera, wicked queen,
- The murderous brother-hands were seen
- Each raised against a brother's life;
- How wretched Alf with bloody knife
- Gored Yngve's heart, and Yngve's blade
- Alf on the bloody threshold laid.
- Can men resist Fate's iron laws?
- They slew each other without cause."
Of Hugleik.[edit | edit source]
Hugleik was the name of King Alf's son, who succeeded the two brothers in the kingdom of the Swedes, the sons of Yngve being still children. King Hugleik was no warrior, but sat quietly at home in his country. He was very rich, but had still more the reputation of being very greedy. He had at his court all sorts of players, who played on harps, fiddles, and viols; and had with him magicians, and all sorts of witches. Hake and Hagbard were two brothers, very celebrated as sea-kings, who had a great force of men-at-arms. Sometimes they cruised in company, sometimes each for himself, and many warriors followed them both. King Hake came with his troops to Sweden against King Hugleik, who, on his side, collected a great army to oppose him. Two brothers came to his assistance, Svipdag and Geigad, both very celebrated men, and powerful combatants. King Hake had about him twelve champions, and among them Starkad the Old; and King Hake himself was a murderous combatant. They met on Fyrisvold, and there was a great battle, in which King Hugleik's army was soon defeated. Then the combatants, Svipdag and Geigad, pressed forward manfully; but Hake's champions went six against one, and they were both taken prisoners. Then King Hake penetrated within the shield-circle around King Hugleik, and killed him and two of his sons within it. After this the Swedes fled; and King Hake subdued the country, and became king of Sweden. He then sat quietly at home for three years, but during that time his combatants went abroad on viking expeditions, and gathered property for themselves.
King Gudlog's Death.[edit | edit source]
Jorund and Eric, the sons of Yngve Alricsson, lay all this time in their warships, and were great warriors. One summer they marauded in Denmark, where they met a King Gudlog from Halogaland, and had a battle with him, which ended in their clearing Gudlog's ship and taking him prisoner. They carried him to the land at Stromones, and hanged him there, and afterwards his men raised a mound over him. So says Eyvind Skaldaspiller: --
- "By the fierce East-kings' cruel pride,
- Gudlog must on the wild horse ride --
- The wildest horse you e'er did see:
- 'Tis Sigur's steed -- the gallows tree.
- At Stromones the tree did grow,
- Where Gudlog's corpse waves on the bough.
- A high stone stands on Stromo's heath,
- To tell the gallant hero's death."
Of King Hake.[edit | edit source]
The brothers Eric and Jorund became more celebrated by this deed, and appeared to be much greater men than before. When they heard that King Hake in Sweden had sent from him his champions, they steered towards Sweden, and gathered together a strong force. As soon as the Swedes heard that the Yngling brothers were come to them, they flocked to them in multitudes. The brothers proceeded up the Maelare lake, and advanced towards Upsal against King Hake, who came out against them on the Fyrisvoid with far fewer people. There was a great battle, in which King Hake went forward so bravely that he killed all who were nearest to him, and at last killed King Eric, and cut down the banner of the two brothers. King Jorund with all his men fled to their ships. King Hake had been so grievously wounded that he saw his days could not be long; so he ordered a warship which he had to be loaded with his dead men and their weapons, and to be taken out to the sea; the tiller to be shipped, and the sails hoisted. Then he set fire to some tar-wood, and ordered a pile to be made over it in the ship. Hake was almost if not quite dead, when he was laid upon this pile of his. The wind was blowing off the land -- the ship flew, burning in clear flame, out between the islets, and into the ocean. Great was the fame of this deed in after times.
Jorund, Yngve's Son.[edit | edit source]
Jorund, King Yngve's son, remained king at Upsal. He ruled the country; but was often in summer out on war expeditions. One summer he went with his forces to Denmark; and having plundered all around in Jutland, he went into Lymfjord in autumn, and marauded there also. While he was thus lying in Oddesund with his people, King Gylog of Halogaland, a son of King Gudlog, of whom mention is made before, came up with a great force, and gave battle to Jorund. When the country people saw this they swarmed from all parts towards the battle, in great ships and small; and Jorund was overpowered by the multitude, and his ships cleared of their men. He sprang overboard, but was made prisoner and carried to the land. Gylog ordered a gallows to be erected, led Jorund to it, and had him hanged there. So ended his life. Thjodolf talks of this event thus: --
- "Jorund has travelled far and wide,
- But the same horse he must bestride
- On which he made brave Gudlog ride.
- He too must for a necklace wear
- Hagbert's fell noose in middle air.
- The army leader thus must ride
- On Horva's horse, at Lymfjord's side."
Of King On, Jorund's Son.[edit | edit source]
On or Ane was the name of Jorund's son, who became king of the Swedes after his father. He was a wise man, who made great sacrifices to the gods; but being no warrior, he lived quietly at home. In the time when the kings we have been speaking of were in Upsal, Denmark had been ruled over by Dan Mikellati, who lived to a very great age; then by his son, Frode Mikellati, or the Peace-loving, who was succeeded by his sons Halfdan and Fridleif, who were great warriors. Halfdan was older than his brother, and above him in all things. He went with his army against King On to Sweden, and was always victorious. At last King On fled to Wester Gotland when he had been king in Upsal about twenty-five years, and was in Gotland twenty-five years, while Halfdan remained king in Upsal. King Halfdan died in his bed at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound; and King On returned to Upsal when he was sixty years of age. He made a great sacrifice, and in it offered up his son to Odin. On got an answer from Odin, that he should live sixty years longer; and he was afterwards king in Upsal for twenty-five years. Now came Ole the Bold, a son of King Fridleif, with his army to Sweden, against King On, and they had several battles with each other; but Ole was always the victor. Then On fled a second time to Gotland; and for twenty-five years Ole reigned in Upsal, until he was killed by Starkad the Old. After Ole's fall, On returned to Upsal, and ruled the kingdom for twenty-five years. Then he made a great sacrifice again for long life, in which he sacrificed his second son, and received the answer from Odin, that he should live as long as he gave him one of his sons every tenth year, and also that he should name one of the districts of his country after the number of sons he should offer to Odin. When he had sacrificed the seventh of his sons he continued to live; but so that he could not walk, but was carried on a chair. Then he sacrificed his eighth son, and lived thereafter ten years, lying in his bed. Now he sacrificed his ninth son, and lived ten years more; but so that he drank out of a horn like a weaned infant. He had now only one son remaining, whom he also wanted to sacrifice, and to give Odin Upsal and the domains thereunto belonging, under the name of the Ten Lands, but the Swedes would not allow it; so there was no sacrifice, and King On died, and was buried in a mound at Upsal. Since that time it is called On's sickness when a man dies, without pain, of extreme old age. Thjodolf tell of this: --
- "In Upsal's town the cruel king
- Slaughtered his sons at Odin's shrine --
- Slaughtered his sons with cruel knife,
- To get from Odin length of life.
- He lived until he had to turn
- His toothless mouth to the deer's horn;
- And he who shed his children's blood
- Sucked through the ox's horn his food.
- At length fell Death has tracked him down,
- Slowly, but sure, in Upsal's town."
Of Egil and Tunne.[edit | edit source]
Egil was the name of On the Old's son, who succeeded as king in Sweden after his father's death. He was no warrior, but sat quietly at home. Tunne was the name of a slave who had been the counsellor and treasurer of On the Old; and when On died Tunne took much treasure and buried it in the earth. Now when Egil became king he put Tunne among the other slaves, which he took very ill and ran away with others of the slaves. They dug up the treasures which Tunne had concealed, and he gave them to his men, and was made their chief. Afterwards many malefactors flocked to him; and they lay out in the woods, but sometimes fell upon the domains, pillaging and killing the people. When King Egil heard this he went out with his forces to pursue them; but one night when he had taken up his night quarters, Tunne came there with his men, fell on the king's men unexpectedly, and killed many of them. As soon as King Egil perceived the tumult, he prepared for defence, and set up his banner; but many people deserted him, because Tunne and his men attacked them so boldly, and King Egil saw that nothing was left but to fly. Tunne pursued the fugitives into the forest, and then returned to the inhabited land, ravaging and plundering without resistance. All the goods that fell into Tunne's hands he gave to his people, and thus became popular and strong in men. King Egil assembled an army again, and hastened to give battle to Tunne. But Tunne was again victorious, and King Egil fled with the loss of many people. Egil and Tunne had eight battles with each other, and Tunne always gained the victory. Then King Egil fled out of the country, and went to Sealand in Denmark, to Frode the Bold, and promised him a scatt from the Swedes to obtain help. Frode gave him an army, and also his champions, with which force King Egil repaired to Sweden. When Tunne heard this he came out to meet him; and there was a great battle, in which Tunne fell, and King Egil recovered his kingdom, and the Danes returned home. King Egil sent King Frode great and good presents every year, but he paid no scatt to the Danes; but notwithstanding, the friendship between Egil and Frode continued without interruption. After Tunne's fall, Egil ruled the kingdom for three years. It happened in Sweden that an old bull, which was destined for sacrifice, was fed so high that he became dangerous to people; and when they were going to lay hold of him he escaped into the woods, became furious, and was long in the forest committing great damage to the country. King Egil was a great hunter, and often rode into the forest to chase wild animals. Once he rode out with his men to hunt in the forest. The king had traced an animal a long while, and followed it in the forest, separated from all his men. He observed at last that it was the bull, and rode up to it to kill it. The bull turned round suddenly, and the king struck him with his spear; but it tore itself out of the wound. The bull now struck his horn in the side of the horse, so that he instantly fell flat on the earth with the king. The king sprang up, and was drawing his sword, when the bull struck his horns right into the king's breast. The king's men then came up and killed the bull. The king lived but a short time, and was buried in a mound at Upsal. Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
- "The fair-haired son of Odin's race,
- Who fled before fierce Tunne's face,
- Has perished by the demon-beast
- Who roams the forests of the East.
- The hero's breast met the full brunt
- Of the wild bull's shaggy front;
- The hero's heart's asunder torn
- By the fell Jotun's spear-like horn."
Of King Ottar.[edit | edit source]
Ottar was the name of King Egil's son who succeeded to the domains and kingdom after him. He did not continue friendly with King Frode, and therefore King Frode sent messengers to King Ottar to demand the scatt which Egil had promised him. Ottar replied, that the Swedes had never paid scatt to the Danes, neither would he; and the messengers had to depart with this answer. Frode was a great warrior, and he came one summer with his army to Sweden, and landed and ravaged the country. He killed many people, took some prisoners, burned all around in the inhabited parts, made a great booty, and made great devastation. The next summer King Frode made an expedition to the eastward; and when King Ottar heard that Frode was not at home in his own country, he went on board his own ships, sailed over to Denmark, and ravaged there without opposition. As he heard that a great many people were collected at Sealand, he proceeds westward to the Sound, and sails north about to Jutland; lands at Lymfjord; plunders the Vend district; burns, and lays waste, and makes desolate the country he goes over with his army. Vatt and Faste were the names of the earls whom Frode had appointed to defend the country in Denmark while he was abroad. When the earls heard that the Swedish king was laying Denmark waste, they collected an army, hastened on board their ships, and sailed by the south side to Lymfjord. They came unexpectedly upon Ottar, and the battle began immediately. The Swedes gave them a good reception, and many people fell on both sides; but as soon as men fell in the Danish army other men hastened from the country to fill their places, and also all the vessels in the neighbourhood joined them. The battle ended with the fall of Ottar and the greater part of his people. The Danes took his body, carried it to the land, laid it upon a mound of earth, and let the wild beasts and ravens tear it to pieces. Thereafter they made a figure of a crow out of wood, sent it to Sweden, and sent word with it that their king, Ottar, was no better than it; and from this he was called Ottar Vendelcrow. Thjodolf tells so of it: --
- "By Danish arms the hero bold,
- Ottar the Brave, lies stiff and cold.
- To Vendel's plain the corpse was borne;
- By eagles' claws the corpse is torn,
- Spattered by ravens' bloody feet,
- The wild bird's prey, the wild wolf's meat.
- The Swedes have vowed revenge to take
- On Frode's earls, for Ottar's sake;
- Like dogs to kill them in their land,
- In their own homes, by Swedish hand."
Of King Adils' Marriage.[edit | edit source]
Adils was the name of King Ottar's son and successor. He was a long time king, became very rich, and went also for several summers on viking expeditions. On one of these he came to Saxland with his troops. There a king was reigning called Geirthjof, and his wife was called Alof the Great; but nothing is told of their children. The king was not at home, and Adils and his men ran up to the king's house and plundered it, while others drove a herd of cattle down to the strand. The herd was attended by slave-people, churls, and girls, and they took all of them together. Among them was a remarkably beautiful girl called Yrsa. Adils returned home with this plunder. Yrsa was not one of the slave girls, and it was soon observed that she was intelligent, spoke well, and in all respects was well behaved. All people thought well of her, and particularly the king; and at last it came to this that the king celebrated his wedding with her, and Yrsa became queen of Sweden, and was considered an excellent woman.
Of King Adils' Death.[edit | edit source]
King Halfdan's son Helge ruled at that time over Leidre. He came to Sweden with so great an army, that King Adils saw no other way than to fly at once. King Helge landed with his army, plundered, and made a great booty. He took Queen Yrsa prisoner, carried her with him to Leidre, took her to wife, and had a son by her called Rolf Krake. When Rolf was three years old, Queen Alof came to Denmark, and told Queen Yrsa that her husband, King Helge, was her own father, and that she, Alof, was her mother. Thereupon Yrsa went back to Sweden to King Adils, and was queen there as long as she lived. King Helge fell in a war expedition; and Rolf Krake, who was then eight years old, was taken to be king in Leidre. King Adils had many disputes with a king called Ole of the Uplands; and these kings had a battle on the ice of the Venner lake, in which King Ole fell, and King Adils won the battle. There is a long account of this battle in the "Skjoldunga Saga", and also about Rolf Krake's coming to Adils, and sowing gold upon the Fyrisvold. King Adils was a great lover of good horses, and had the best horses of these times. One of his horses was called Slongve, and another Raven. This horse he had taken from Ole on his death, and bred from him a horse, also called Raven, which the king sent in a present to King Godgest in Halogaland. When Godgest mounted the horse he was not able to manage him, and fell off and was killed. This accident happened at Omd in Halogaland. King Adils was at a Disa sacrifice; and as he rode around the Disa hall his horse' Raven stumbled and fell, and the king was thrown forward upon his head, and his skull was split, and his brains dashed out against a stone. Adils died at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound. The Swedes called him a great king. Thjodolf speaks thus of him: --
- "Witch-demons, I have heard men say,
- Have taken Adils' life away.
- The son of kings of Frey's great race,
- First in the fray, the fight, the chase,
- Fell from his steed -- his clotted brains
- Lie mixed with mire on Upsal's plains.
- Such death (grim Fate has willed it so)
- Has struck down Ole's deadly foe."
Rolf Krake's Death.[edit | edit source]
Eystein, King Adils' son, ruled next over Sweden, and in his lifetime Rolf Krake of Leidre fell. In those days many kings, both Danes and Northmen, ravaged the Swedish dominions; for there were many sea-kings who ruled over many people, but had no lands, and he might well be called a sea-king who never slept beneath sooty roof-timbers.
Of Eystein and the Jutland King Solve.[edit | edit source]
There was a sea-king called Solve, a son of Hogne of Njardo, who at that time plundered in the Baltic, but had his dominion in Jutland. He came with his forces to Sweden, just as King Eystein was at a feast in a district called Lofond. Solve came unexpectedly in the night on Eystein, surrounded the house in which the king was, and burned him and all his court. Then Solve went to Sigtun, and desired that the Swedes should receive him, and give him the title of king; but they collected an army, and tried to defend the country against him, on which there was a great battle, that lasted, according to report, eleven days. There King Solve was victorious, and was afterwards king of the Swedish dominions for a long time, until at last the Swedes betrayed him, and he was killed. Thjodolf tells of it thus: --
- "For a long time none could tell
- How Eystein died -- but now I know
- That at Lofond the hero fell;
- The branch of Odin was laid low,
- Was burnt by Solve's Jutland men.
- The raging tree-devourer fire
- Rushed on the monarch in its ire;
- First fell the castle timbers, then
- The roof-beams -- Eystein's funeral pyre."
Of Yngvar's Fall.[edit | edit source]
Yngvar, who was King Eystein's son, then became king of Sweden. He was a great warrior, and often lay out with his warships; for the Swedish dominions were much ravaged then by Danes and East-country men. King Yngvar made a peace with the Danes; but betook himself to ravaging the East country in return. One summer he went with his forces to Estland, and plundered at a place called Stein. The men of Estland came down from the interior with a great army, and there was a battle; but the army of the country was so brave that the Swedes could not withstand them, and King Yngvar fell, and his people fled. He was buried close to the seashore under a mound in Estland; and after this defeat the Swedes returned home. Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
- "Certain it is the Estland foe
- The fair-haired Swedish king laid low.
- On Estland's strand, o'er Swedish graves,
- The East Sea sings her song of waves;
- King Yngvar's dirge is ocean's roar
- Resounding on the rock-ribbed shore."
Of Onund the Land-clearer.[edit | edit source]
Onund was the name of Yngvar's son who succeeded him. In his days there was peace in Sweden, and he became rich in valuable goods. King Onund went with his army to Estland to avenge his father, and landed and ravaged the country round far and wide, and returned with a great booty in autumn to Sweden. In his time there were fruitful seasons in Sweden, so that he was one of the most popular of kings. Sweden is a great forest land, and there are such great uninhabited forests in it that it is a journey of many days to cross them. Onund bestowed great diligence and expense on opening the woods and cultivating the cleared land. He made roads through the desert forests; and thus cleared land is found all through the forest country, and great districts are settled. In this way extensive tracts of land were brought into cultivation, for there were country people enough to cultivate the land. Onund had roads made through all Sweden, both through forests and morasses, and also over mountains; and he was therefore called Onund Roadmaker. He had a house built for himself in every district of Sweden, and went over the whole country in guest-quarters.
Of Ingjald the Bad.[edit | edit source]
Onund had a son called Ingjald, and at that time Yngvar was king of the district of Fjadryndaland. Yngvar had two sons by his wife -- the one called Alf, the other Agnar -- who were about the same age as Ingjald. Onund's district-kings were at that time spread widely over Sweden, and Svipdag the Blind ruled over Tiundaland, in which Upsal is situated, and where all the Swedish Things are held. There also were held the mid-winter sacrifices, at which many kings attended. One year at midwinter there was a great assembly of people at Upsal, and King Yngvar had also come there with his sons. Alf, King Yngvar's son, and Ingjald, King Onund's son, were there -- both about six years old. They amused themselves with child's play, in which each should be leading on his army. In their play Ingjald found himself not so strong as Alf, and was so vexed that he almost cried. His foster-brother Gautvid came up, led him to his foster-father Svipdag the Blind, and told him how ill it appeared that he was weaker and less manly than Alf, King Yngvar's son. Svipdag replied that it was a great shame. The day after Svipdag took the heart of a wolf, roasted it on the tongs, and gave it to the king's son Ingjald to eat, and from that time he became a most ferocious person, and of the worst disposition. When Ingjald was grown up, Onund applied for him to King Algaut for his daughter Gauthild. Algaut was a son of Gautrek the Mild, and grandson of Gaut; and from them Gotland (Gautland) took its name. King Algaut thought his daughter would be well married if she got King Onund's son, and if he had his father's disposition; so the girl was sent to Sweden, and King Ingjald celebrated his wedding with her in due time.
Of King Onund's Death.[edit | edit source]
King Onund one autumn, travelling between his mansion-houses, came over a road called Himmenheath, where there are some narrow mountain valleys, with high mountains on both sides. There was heavy rain at the time, and before there had been snow on the mountains. A landslip of clay and stones came down upon King Onund and his people, and there he met his death, and many with him. So says Thjodolf, namely: --
- "We all have heard how Jonkur's sons,
- Whom weapons could not touch, with stones
- Were stoned to death in open day,
- King Onund died in the same way.
- Or else perhaps the wood-grown land,
- Which long had felt his conquering hand,
- Uprose at length in deadly strife,
- And pressed out Onund's hated life."
The Burning in Upsal.[edit | edit source]
Then Ingjald, King Onund's son, came to the kingdom. The Upsal kings were the highest in Sweden among the many district-kings who had been since the time that Odin was chief. The kings who resided at Upsal had been the supreme chiefs over the whole Swedish dominions until the death of Agne, when, as before related, the kingdom came to be divided between brothers. After that time the dominions and kingly powers were spread among the branches of the family as these increased; but some kings cleared great tracts of forest-land, and settled them, and thereby increased their domains. Now when Ingjald took the dominions and the kingdom of his father, there were, as before said, many district-kings. King Ingjald ordered a great feast to be prepared in Upsal, and intended at that feast to enter on his heritage after King Onund his father. He had a large hall made ready for the occasion -- one not less, nor less sumptuous, than that of Upsal; and this hall was called the Seven Kings Hall, and in it were seven high seats for kings. Then King Ingjald sent men all through Sweden, and invited to his feast kings, earls, and other men of consequence. To this heirship-feast came King Algaut, his father-in-law; Yngvar king of Fjadryndaland, with his two sons, Alf and Agnar; King Sporsnjall of Nerike; King Sighvat of Aattundaland: but Granmar king of Sodermanland did not come. Six kings were placed in the seats in the new hall; but one of the high seats which Ingjald had prepared was empty. All the persons who had come got places in the new hall; but to his own court, and the rest of his people, he had appointed places at Upsal. It was the custom at that time that he who gave an heirship-feast after kings or earls, and entered upon the heritage, should sit upon the footstool in front of the high seat, until the full bowl, which was called the Brage-beaker, was brought in. Then he should stand up, take the Brage-beaker, make solemn vows to be afterwards fulfilled, and thereupon empty the beaker. Then he should ascend the high seat which his father had occupied; and thus he came to the full heritage after his father. Now it was done so on this occasion. When the full Brage-beaker came in, King Ingjald stood up, grasped a large bull's horn, and made a solemn vow to enlarge his dominions by one half, towards all the four corners of the world, or die; and thereupon pointed with the horn to the four quarters. Now when the guests had become drunk towards evening King Ingjald told Svipdag's sons, Gautvid and Hylvid, to arm themselves and their men, as had before been settled; and accordingly they went out, and came up to the new hall, and set fire to it. The hall was soon in a blaze, and the six kings, with all their people, were burned in it. Those who tried to come out were killed. Then King Ingjald laid all the dominions these kings had possessed under himself, and took scatt from them.
Of Hjorvard's Marriage.[edit | edit source]
When King Granmar heard the news of this treachery, he thought the same lot awaited him if he did not take care. The same summer King Hjorvard, who was called Ylfing, came with his fleet to Sweden, and went into a fjord called Myrkva-fjord. When King Granmar heard this he sent a messenger to him to invite him and all his men to a feast. He accepted it willingly; for he had never committed waste in King Granmar's dominions. When he came to the feast he was gladly welcomed. In the evening, when the full bowls went round, as was the custom of kings when they were at home, or in the feasts they ordered to be made, they sat and drank together, a man and woman with each other in pairs, and the rest of the company sat and drank all together. But it was the law among the vikings that all who were at the entertainment should drink together in one company all round. King Hjorvard's high seat was placed right opposite to King Granmar's high seat, and on the same bench sat all his men. King Granmar told his daughter Hildigunn, who was a remarkably beautiful girl, to make ready to carry ale to the vikings. Thereupon she took a silver goblet, filled it, bowed before King Hjorvard, and said, "Success to all Ylfinger: this cup to the memory of Rolf Krake" -- drank out the half, and handed the cup to King Hjorvard. He took the cup, and took her hand, and said she must sit beside him. She says that is not viking fashion to drink two and two with women. Hjorvard replies that it were better for him to make a change, and leave the viking law, and drink in company with her. Then Hildigunn sat down beside him, and both drank together, and spoke a great deal with each other during the evening. The next day, when King Granmar and Hjorvard met, Hjorvard spoke of his courtship, and asked to have Hildigunn in marriage. King Granmar laid this proposal before his wife Hilda, and before people of consequence, saying they would have great help and trust in Hjorvard; and all approved of it highly, and thought it very advisable. And the end was, that Hildigunn was promised to Hjorvard, and the wedding followed soon after; and King Hjorvard stayed with King Granmar, who had no sons, to help him to defend his dominions.
War Between Ingjald and Granmar and Hjorvard.[edit | edit source]
The same autumn King Ingjald collected a war-force, with which he intended to fall upon Granmar and Hjorvard; but when they heard it they also collected a force, and Hogne, who ruled over East Gotland, together with his son Hildur, came to their assistance. Hogne was father of Hilda, who was married to King Granmar. King Ingjald landed with his army, which was by far the most numerous. A battle began, which was very sharp; but after it had lasted a short time, the chiefs who ruled over Fjadryndaland, West Gotland, Nerike, and Aattundaland, took to flight with all the men from those countries, and hastened to their ships. This placed King Ingjald in great danger, and he received many wounds, but escaped by flight to his ships. Svipdag the Blind, Ingjald's foster-father, together with his sons, Gautvid and Hylvid, fell. Ingjald returned to Upsal, very ill-satisfied with his expedition; and he thought the army levied from those countries he had acquired by conquest had been unfaithful to him. There was great hostility afterwards between King Ingjald and King Granmar, and his son-in-law King Hjorvard; and after this had continued a long time the friends of both parties brought about a reconciliation. The king appointed a meeting, and concluded a peace. This peace was to endure as long as the three kings lived, and this was confirmed by oath and promises of fidelity. The spring after, King Granmar went to Upsal to make offering, as usual, for a steady peace. Then the foreboding turned out for him so that it did not promise him long life, and he returned to his dominions.
Death of the Kings Granmar and Hjorvard.[edit | edit source]
The autumn after, King Granmar and his son-in-law Hjorvard went to a feast at one of their farms in the island Sile. When they were at the entertainment, King Ingjald came there in the night with his troops, surrounded the house, and burnt them in it, with all their men. Then he took to himself all the country these kings had possessed, and placed chiefs over it. King Hogne and his son Hildur often made inroads on horseback into the Swedish dominions, and killed King Ingjald's men, whom he had placed over the kingdom which had belonged to their relation Granmar. This strife between King Ingjald and King Hogne continued for a long time; but King Hogne defended his kingdom against King Ingjald to his dying day. King Ingjald had two children by his wife -- the eldest called Aasa, the other Olaf. Gauthild, the wife of Ingjald, sent the boy to his foster-father Bove, in West Gotland, where he was brought up along with Saxe, Bove's son, who had the surname of Flette. It was a common saying that King Ingjald had killed twelve kings, and deceived them all under pretence of peace; therefore he was called Ingjald the Evil-adviser. He was king over the greater part of Sweden. He married his daughter Aasa to Gudrod king of Scania; and she was like her father in disposition. Aasa brought it about that Gudrod killed his brother Halfdan, father of Ivar Vidfavne; and also she brought about the death of her husband Gudrod, and then fled to her father; and she thus got the name also of Aasa the Evil-adviser.
Of Ingjald's Death.[edit | edit source]
Ivar Vidfavne came to Scania after the fall of his uncle Gudrod, and collected an army in all haste, and moved with it into Sweden. Aasa had gone to her father before. King Ingjald was at a feast in Raening, when he heard that King Ivar's army was in the neighbourhood. Ingjald thought he had not strength to go into battle against Ivar, and he saw well that if he betook himself to flight his enemies would swarm around him from all corners. He and Aasa took a resolution which has become celebrated. They drank until all their people were dead drunk, and then put fire to the hall; and it was consumed, with all who were in it, including themselves, King Ingjald, and Aasa. Thus says Thjodolf: --
- "With fiery feet devouring flame
- Has hunted down a royal game
- At Raening, where King Ingjald gave
- To all his men one glowing grave.
- On his own hearth the fire he raised,
- A deed his foemen even praised;
- By his own hand he perished so,
- And life for freedom did forego."
Of Ivar.[edit | edit source]
Ivar Vidfavne subdued the whole of Sweden. He brought in subjection to himself all the Danish dominions, a great deal of Saxland, all the East Country, and a fifth part of England. From his race the kings of Sweden and Denmark who have had the supreme authority in those countries, are descended. After Ingjald the Evil-adviser the Upsal dominion fell from the Yngling race notwithstanding the length of time they could reckon up the series of their forefathers.
Of Olaf the Tree-feller.[edit | edit source]
When Olaf, King Ingjald's son, heard of his father's end, he went with the men who chose to follow him to Nerike; for all the Swedish community rose with one accord to drive out Ingjald's family and all his friends. Now, when the Swedes got intelligence of him he could not remain there, but went on westwards, through the forest, to a river which comes from the north and falls into the Venner lake, and is called Klar river. There they sat themselves down, turned to and cleared the woods, burnt, and then settled there. Soon there were great districts; which altogether were called Vermeland; and a good living was to be made there. Now when it was told of Olaf, in Sweden, that he was clearing the forests, they laughed at his proceedings, and called him the Tree-feller. Olaf got a wife called Solva, or Solveig, a daughter of Halfdan Guldtand, westward in Soleyar. Halfdan was a son of Solve Solvarson, who was a son of Solve the Old, who first settled on these islands. Olaf Tree-feller's mother was called Gauthild, and her mother was Alov, daughter of Olaf the Sharp-sighted, king in Nerike. Olaf and Solva had two sons: Ingjald and Halfdan. Halfdan was brought up in Soleyar, in the house of his mother's brother Solve, and was called Halfdan Hvitbein.
Olaf the Tree-feller's Death.[edit | edit source]
There were a great many people who fled the country from Sweden, on account of King Ivar; and when they heard that King Olaf had got good lands in Vermeland, so great a number came there to him that the land could not support them. Then there came dear times and famine, which they ascribed to their king; as the Swedes used always to reckon good or bad crops for or against their kings. The Swedes took it amiss that Olaf was sparing in his sacrifices, and believed the dear times must proceed from this cause. The Swedes therefore gathered together troops, made an expedition against King Olaf, surrounded his house and burnt him in it, giving him to Odin as a sacrifice for good crops. This happened at the Venner lake. Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
- "The temple wolf, by the lake shores,
- The corpse of Olaf now devours.
- The clearer of the forests died
- At Odin's shrine by the lake side.
- The glowing flames stripped to the skin
- The royal robes from the Swedes' king.
- Thus Olaf, famed in days of yore,
- Vanished from earth at Venner's shore."
Halfdan Hvitbein Made King.[edit | edit source]
Those of the Swedes who had more understanding found that the dear times proceeded from there being a greater number of people on the land than it could support, and that the king could not be blamed for this. They took the resolution, therefore, to cross the Eida forest with all their men, and came quite unexpectedly into Soleyar, where they put to death King Solve, and took Halfdan Hvitbein prisoner, and made him their chief, and gave him the title of king. Thereupon he subdued Soleyar, and proceeding with his army into Raumarike, plundered there, and laid that district also in subjection by force of arms.
Of Halfdan Hvitbein.[edit | edit source]
Halfdan Hvitbein became a great king. He was married to Aasa, a daughter of Eystein the Severe, who was king of the Upland people, and ruled over Hedemark. Halfdan and Aasa had two sons, Eystein and Gudrod. Halfdan subdued a great part of Hedemark, Toten, Hadeland, and much of Westfold. He lived to be an old man, and died in his bed at Toten, from whence his body was transported to Westfold, and was buried under a mound at a place called Skaereid, at Skiringsale. So says Thjodolf: --
- "Halfdan, esteemed by friends and foes,
- Receives at last life's deep repose:
- The aged man at last, though late,
- Yielded in Toten to stern fate.
- At Skiringsale hangs o'er his grave
- A rock, that seems to mourn the brave Halfdan,
- To chiefs and people dear,
- Received from all a silent tear."
Of Ingjald, Brother of Halfdan.[edit | edit source]
Ingjald, Halfdan's brother, was king of Vermeland; but after his death King Halfdan took possession of Vermeland, raised scatt from it, and placed earls over it as long as he lived.
Of King Eystein's Death.[edit | edit source]
Eystein, Halfdan Hvitbein's son, became king after in Raumarike and Westfold. He was married to Hild, a daughter of Eric Agnarsson, who was king in Westfold. Agnar, Eric's father, was a son of Sigtryg, king in the Vend district. King Eric had no son, and died while King Halfdan Hvitbein was still in life. The father and son, Halfdan and Eystein, then took possession of the whole of Westfold, which Eystein ruled over as long as he lived. At that time there lived at Varna a king called Skjold, who was a great warlock. King Eystein went with some ships of war to Varna, plundered there, and carried away all he could find of clothes or other valuables, and of peasants' stock, and killed cattle on the strand for provision, and then went off. King Skjold came to the strand with his army, just as Eystein was at such a distance over the fjord that King Skjold could only see his sails. Then he took his cloak, waved it, and blew into it. King Eystein was sitting at the helm as they sailed in past Jarls, and another ship was sailing at the side of his, when there came a stroke of a wave, by which the boom of the other ship struck the king and threw him overboard, which proved his death. His men fished up his body, and it was carried into Borre, where a mound was thrown up over it, out towards the sea at Raden, near Vodle. So says Thjodolf: --
- "King Eystein sat upon the poop
- Of his good ship: with sudden swoop
- The swinging boom dashed him to hell,
- And fathoms deep the hero fell
- Beneath the brine. The fury whirl
- Of Loke, Tempest's brother's girl,
- Grim Hel, clutched his soul away;
- And now where Vodle's ocean bay
- Receives the ice-cold stream, the grave
- Of Eystein stands -- the good, the brave!"
Of Halfdan the Mild.[edit | edit source]
Halfdan was the name of King Eystein's son who succeeded him. He was called Halfdan the Mild, but the Bad Entertainer; that is to say, he was reported to be generous, and to give his men as much gold as other kings gave of silver, but he starved them in their diet. He was a great warrior, who had been long on viking cruises, and had collected great property. He was married to Liv, a daughter of King Dag of Westmare. Holtar, in Westfold, was his chief house; and he died there on the bed of sickness, and was buried at Borre under a mound. So says Thjodolf: --
- "By Hel's summons, a great king
- Was called away to Odin's Thing:
- King Halfdan, he who dwelt of late
- At Holtar, must obey grim Fate.
- At Borre, in the royal mound,
- They laid the hero in the ground."
Of Gudrod the Hunter.[edit | edit source]
Gudrod, Halfdan's son, succeeded. He was called Gudrod the Magnificent, and also Gudrod the Hunter. He was married to Alfhild, a daughter of King Alfarin of Alfheim, and got with her half the district of Vingulmark. Their son Olaf was afterwards called Geirstad-Alf. Alfheim, at that time, was the name of the land between the Glommen and Gotha rivers. Now when Alfhild died, King Gudrod sent his men west to Agder to the king who ruled there, and who was called Harald Redbeard. They were to make proposals to his daughter Aasa upon the king's account; but Harald declined the match, and the ambassadors returned to the king, and told him the result of their errand. Soon after King Gudrod hove down his ships into the water, and proceeded with a great force in them to Agder. He immediately landed, and came altogether unexpectedly at night to King Harald's house. When Harald was aware that an army was at hand, he went out with the men he had about him, and there was a great battle, although he wanted men so much. King Harald and his son Gyrd fell, and King Gudrod took a great booty. He carried away with him Aasa, King Harald's daughter, and had a wedding with her. They had a son by their marriage called Halfdan; and the autumn that Halfdan was a year old Gudrod went upon a round of feasts. He lay with his ship in Stiflesund, where they had been drinking hard, so that the king was very tipsy. In the evening, about dark, the king left the ship; and when he had got to the end of the gangway from the ship to the shore, a man ran against him, thrust a spear through him, and killed him. The man was instantly put to death, and in the morning when it was light the man was discovered to be Aasa's page-boy: nor did she conceal that it was done by her orders. Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
- "Gudrod is gone to his long rest,
- Despite of all his haughty pride --
- A traitor's spear has pierced his side:
- For Aasa cherished in her breast
- Revenge; and as, by wine opprest,
- The hero staggered from his ship,
- The cruel queen her thrall let slip
- To do the deed of which I sing:
- And now the far-descended king,
- At Stiflesund, in the old bed
- Of the old Gudrod race, lies dead."
Of King Olaf's Death.[edit | edit source]
Olaf came to the kingdom after his father. He was a great warrior, and an able man; and was besides remarkably handsome, very strong and large of growth. He had Westfold; for King Alfgeir took all Vingulmark to himself, and placed his son Gandalf over it. Both father and son made war on Raumarike, and subdued the greater part of that land and district. Hogne was the name of a son of the Upland king, Eystein the Great, who subdued for himself the whole of Hedemark, Toten, and Hadeland. Then Vermeland fell off from Gudrod's sons, and turned itself, with its payment of scatt, to the Swedish king. Olaf was about twenty years old when Gudrod died; and as his brother Halfdan now had the kingdom with him, they divided it between them; so that Olaf got the eastern and Halfdan the southern part. King Olaf had his main residence at Geirstad. There he died of a disease in his foot, and was laid under a mound at Geirstad. So sings Thjodolf: --
- "Long while this branch of Odin's stem
- Was the stout prop of Norway's realm;
- Long while King Olaf with just pride
- Ruled over Westfold far and wide.
- At length by cruel gout oppressed,
- The good King Olaf sank to rest:
- His body now lies under ground,
- Buried at Geirstad, in the mound."
Of Rognvald the Mountain-high.[edit | edit source]
Rognvald was the name of Olaf's son who was king of Westfold after his father. He was called "Mountain-high," and Thjodolf of Hvina composed for him the "Ynglinga-tal", in which he says: --
- "Under the heaven's blue dome, a name
- I never knew more true to fame
- Than Rognvald bore; whose skilful hand
- Could tame the scorners of the land, --
- Rognvald, who knew so well to guide
- The wild sea-horses through the tide:
- The "Mountain-high" was the proud name
- By which the king was known to fame."