no attention to it, and the people ran over the corn, so
that it was trodden flat to the earth. There dwelt a
bonde there called Thorgeir Flek, who had two sons
nearly grown up. Thorgeir received the king and his
people well, and offered all the assistance in his power.
The king was pleased with his offer, and asked Thorgeir
what was the news of the country, and if any forces were
assembled against him. Thorgeir says that a great army
was drawn together in the Throndhjem country, and that
there A\cre some lendermen both from the south of the
country, and from Halogaland in the north ; "but I do not
know," says he, "if they are intended against you, or
going elsewhere." Then he complained to the king of the
damage and waste done him by the people breaking and
treading down all his corn fields. The king said it was
ill done to bring upon him any loss. Then the king rode
to where the corn had stood, and saw it was laid flat on
the earth ; and he rode round the field, and said, "I expect,
bonde, that God will repair thy loss, so that the field,
within a week, will be better;" and it proved the best of
the corn, as the king had said. The king remained all
night there, and in the morning he made himself ready,
and told Thorgeir the bonde to accompany him and Thor-
geir offered his two sons also for the journey; and al-
though the king said that he did not want them with him,
the lads would go. As they would not stay behind, the
king's court-men were about binding them ; but the king
seeing it said, "Let them come wnth us : the lads will come
safe back again." And it was with the lads as the king
215. OF THE BAPTISM 01^ THD VAGABOND FOREST-MEN.
Thereafter the army advanced to Staf, and when the
king reached Staf's moor he halted. There he got the
certain information that the bondes were advancing with
an army against him, and that he might soon expect to
have a battle with them. He mustered his force here,
and, after reckoning them up, found there were in the
army 900 heathen men, and when he came to know it he
ordered them to allow themselves to be bapti;^ed, saying
that he would have no heathens with him in battle. "We
must not," says he, "put our confidence in numbers, but
in God alone must we trust; for through his power and
favour we must be victorious, and I will not mix heathen
people with my own." When the heathens heard this,
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
they held a council among themselves, and at last -iOO men
agreed to ])c baptized ; but 500 men refused to adopt
Christianity, and that body returned home to their land.
Then the brothers Gauka-Thorer and Afrafaste presented
themselves to the king, and offered again to follow him.
The king asked if they had now taken baptism. Gauka-
Thorer replied that they had not. Then the king ordered
them to accept baptism and the true faith, or otherwise to
go away. They stepped aside to talk with each other on
what resolution they should take. Afrafaste said, "To
give my opinion, I will not turn back, but go into the
battle, and take a part on the one side or the other ; and I
don't care much in which army I am." Gauka-Thorer
replies, "If I go into battle 1 w ill give my help to the king,
for he has most need of help. And if I must believe in a
God, why not in the white Christ as well as in any other?
Now it is my advice, therefore, that we let ourselves be
baptized, since the king insists so much upon it, and then
go into the battle with him." They all agreed to this, and
went to the king, and said they would receive baptism.
Then they were baptized by a priest, and the baptism was
confirmed by the bishop. The king then took them into
the troop of his court-men. and said they should fight
under his banner in the battle.
216. KING OLAF's speech.
King Olaf got certain intelligence now that it would
be but a short time until he had a battle with the bondes ;
aufl after he had mustered his men, and reckoned up the
force, he had more than '5000 men, which appears to be
a great army in one fiekl. Then the king made the fol-
lowing speech to the j^eople: "We have a great army,
and excellent troops ; and now I will tell you, my men, how
I will have our force drawn up, I wall let my banner go
forward in the middle of the army, and my-court-men,
and pursuivants shall follow it, together with the w^ar
forces that joined us from the Uplands, and also those
who may come to us here in the Throndhjem land. On
the right hand of my banner shall be Dag Hringson, with
all the men he brought to our aid ; and he shall have the
second banner. And on the left hand of our line shall the
men be whom the Swedish king gave us, together with
all the people who came to us in Sweden ; and they shall
have the third banner. I will also have the j^eople divide
themselves into distinct flocks or parcels, so that relations
and acquaintances should be together; for thus they
defend each other best, and know each other. We will
have all our men distinguished by a mark, so as to be a
field-token upon their helmets and shields, by painting the
holy cross thereupon with white colour. When we come
into battle we shall all have one countersign and field-cry,
— 'Forward, forward. Christian men ! cross men ! king's
men !' We must draw up our men in thinner ranks, be-
cause we have fewer people, and I do not wish to let them
surround us with their men. Now, let the men divide
themselves into separate flocks, and then each flock into
ranks ; then let each man observe well his proper place,
and take notice what Ixinner he is drawn up under. And
now we shall remain drawn up in array; and our men
shall be fully armed, night and day, until we know where
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
the meeting shall be between us and the bfjndcs." When
the king- had finished speaking, the army arrayed, and
arranged itself according to the king's orders.
217. — KING olaf's counsel.
Thereafter the king had a meeting with the chiefs of
the different divisions, and then the men had returned
whom the king had sent out into the neighbouring dis-
tricts to demand men from the bondes. They brought
the tidings from the inhabited places they had gone
through, that all around the country was stripped of all
men able to carry arms, as all the people had joined the
bondes' army; and where they did find any they got but
few to follow them, for the most of them answered that
they stayed at home because they would not follow either
party : they would not go out against the king, nor yet
against their own relations. Thus they had got but few
people. Now the king asked his men their counsel, and
what they now should do. Fin Arnason answered thus
to the king's question : "I will say what should be done,
if I may advise. We should go with armerl hand over
all the inhabited places, plunder all the goods, and bum
all the habitations, and leave not a hut standing, and thus
punish the l«ndes for their treason against their sov-
ereign, I think many a man will then cast himself loose
from the bondes' army, when he sees smoke and flame at
home on his farm, and does not know how it is going with
children, wives, or old meu, fathers, mothers, and other
connections. I expect also," he added, "that if we suc-
ceed in breaking the assembled host, their ranks will soon
be thinned ; for so it is with the bondes. that the counsel
which is the newest is always the dearest to them all, and
most followed." When I'in had ended his speech it met
with general applause ; for many thought well of such a
good occasion to make booty, and all thought the bondes
well deserved to suffer damage ; and they also thought it
probable, what Fin said, that many would in this way be
brought to forsake the assembled army of the bondes.
Now when the king heard the warm expressions of his
people he told them to listen to him, and said, "The
bondes have well deserved that it should be done to them
as ye desire. They also know that I have formerly done
so, burning their habitations, and punishing them severely
in many ways ; but then I proceeded against them with fire
and sword because they rejected the true faith, betook
themselves to sacrifices, and would not obey my com-
mands. We had then God's honour to defend. But this
treason against their sovereign is a much less grievous
crime, although it does not become men who have any
manhood in them to break the faith"and vows they have
sworn to me. Now, how^ever, it is more in my power to
spare those wdio have dealt ill with me, than those whom
God hated. I will, therefore, that my people proceed
gently, and commit no ravage. First, I will proceed to
meet the bondes: if w^e can then come to a reconciliation,
it is well; but if they will fight with us, then there are two
things before us; either we fail in the battle, and then it
will be well advised not to have to retire encumbered with
spoil and cattle; or we gain the victory, and then ye will
be the heirs of all who fight now against us; for some will
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
fall, and others w ill lly, but both will have forfeited tlieir
goods and proj^erties, and then it will be good to enter
into full houses and well-stocked faj'nis ; but what is burnt
is of use to no man, and with pillage and force more is
wasted than what turns to use. Now we will spread
out far through the inhabited places, and take with us all
the men we can find able to carry arms. Then men will
also capture cattle for slaughter, or whatever else of pro-
vision that can serve for food ; but not do any other rav-
age. But I will see willingly that ye kill any spies of the
bonde army ye may fall in with. Dag and his people shall
go by the north side down along the valley, and I will go
on along the country road, and so we shall meet in the
evening, and all have one night quarter."
218. OF KING OLAF^^S SKALDS.
It is related that when King Olaf drew up his men in
battle order, he made a shield rampart with his troop
that should defend him in battle, for which he selected
the strongest and boldest. Thereafter he called his skalds,
and ordered them to go in within the shield defence. "Ye
shall," says the king, "remain here, and see the circum-
stances which may take place, and then ye will not have
to follow the reports of others in what ye afterwards tell
or sing concerning it." There were Thormod Kolbrunar-
skald, Gissur Gulbraskald, a foster-son of Hofgardaref,
and Thorfin Mun. Then said Thormod to Gissu^-, "Let
us not stand so close together, brother, that Sigvat the
skaUl should not find room when he comes. He must
stand before the king, and the king will not have it other-
wise." The king heard this, and said, "Ye need not sneer
at SigA'at, because he is not here. Often has he followed
me well, and now he is praying for us, and that we
greatly need." Thormod replies, "It may be, sire, that ye
now require prayers most ; but it would be thin around the
banner-stafY if all thy court-men were now on the way to
Rome. True it was what we spoke alxDut, that no man
who would speak with you could find room for Sigvat."
Thereafter the skalds talked among themselves that it
would be well to compose a few songs of remembrance
about the events which would soon be taking place.
Then Gissur sang : —
"From me shall bonde girl never Many and brave they are, vre know,
hear Who come against us there below ;
A thought of sorrow, care, or fear: But, life or death, we, one and all,
I wish my girl knew how gay By Norway's king will stand or
We arm us for our viking fray. fall."
And Thoriin Mun made another song, viz. : —
"Dark is the cloud of men and On ! let us feed the carrion crow, —
shields. Give her a feast in every blow ;
Slow moving up through Verdal's And, above all, let Throndhjem's
fields : hordes
These Verdal folks presume to bring Feel the sharp edge of true men's
Their armed force against their king. swords."
And Thormod sang: —
"The whistling arrows pipe to battle. Up! brave men, up! with 01a< on!
Sword and shield their war-call rat- With heart and hand a field is won.
tie. One viking cheer ! — then, stead of
Up ! brave men, up ! the faint heart words,
here We'll speak with our death-dealing
Finds courage when the danger's swords."
These songs were immediately got by heart by the
219. OF KING OLAF's GIFTS FOR THE SOULS OF THOSE
WHO SHOULD BE SLAIN.
Thereafter the king made himself ready, and marched
SAGA or OLAf IIARALDSON
down through the valley. His whole forces took up their
night-quarter in one place, and lay down all night under
their shields ; hut as soon as day broke the king again put
his army in order, and that being done they proceeded
down through the valley. Many bondes then came to the
king, of whom the most joined his army ; and all, as one
man, told the same tale, — that the lendermen had collected
an enormous army, with wdiich they intended to give
battle to the king-.
The king took many marks of silver, and delivered
them into the hands of a bonde, and said, "This money
thou shalt conceal, and afterwards lay out, — some to
churches, some to priests, some to alms-men, — as gifts for
the life and souls of those who fight against us, and may
fall in battle."
The bonde replies, "Should you not rather give this
money for the soul-mulct of your own men ?"
The king says, "This money shall be given for the souls
of those who stand against us in the ranks of the bondes'
army, and fall by the weapons of our own men. The
men who follow us to battle, and fall therein, will all be
saved together with ourself."
220. OF THORMOD KOLBRUNARSKALD.
This night the king- lay with his army around him on
the field, as before related, and lay long awake in prayer
to God, and slept but little. Towards morning a slum-
ber fell on him. and when he awoke daylight was shooting
up. The king thought it too early to awaken the army,
and asked where Thormod the skald was. Tlx)rmod was
at hand, and asked what was the king's pleasure. "Sing-
us a song," said the king. Thormod raised himself up,
and sang so loud that the whole army could hear him.
He began to sing the old Bjarkamal, of which these are
the first verses : —
"The day is breaking, — Nor wassail cup.
The house cock, shaking Nor maiden's jeer.
His rustling wings. Awaits you here.
While priest-bell rings, Hrolf of the bow !
Crows up the morn, Har of the blow !
And touting horn Up in your might ! the day is break-
Wakes thralls to work and weep ; ing ;
Ye sous of Adil, cast ofl sleep ! 'Tis Hild's game* that bides your
Wake up! wake up? waking."
Then the troops awoke, and when the song was ended
the people thanked him for it ; and it pleased many, as it
was suitable to the time and occasion, and they called it
the house-carle's whet. The king thanked him for the
pleasure, and took a gold ring that we;ighed half a mark
and gave it him. Thormod thanked the king for the gift,
and said. "We have a good king; but it is not easy to say
how long the king's life may be. It is my prayer, sire,
that thou shouldst never part from me either in life or
death," The king replies, "We shall all go together so
long as I rule, and as ye will follow me."
Thormod says, "I hope, sire, that whether in safety or
danger I may stand near you as long as I can stand,
whatever we may hear of Sigvat travelling with his gold-
hilted sword." Then Thormod made these lines: —
"To thee, my king. I'll still be true, Though he may feast the croaking
Until another skald I view, raven.
Here in the field v/lth golden sword. The warrior's fate unmoved I
As in thy hall, with flattering word. view, —
Thy skald shall never be a craven. To thee, my king, I'll still be true."
'Hild's game is the battle, — from the name of the war-goddess
SAGA OF OI.AF IIARALDSOM
221. KINC. 01, Al'^ COMKS TO STIKI.KSTAD.
King Olaf led his army farther down through the val-
ley, and Dag and his men went another way, and the king
did not halt until he came to Stiklestad. There he saw
the bonde army spread (nit all aroinid ; and there were
so great numbers that people were going on every foot-
path, and great crowds were cf^llectcd far and near. They
also saw there a troop which came down from Veradal,
and had been out to spy. They came so close to the
king's people that they knew each other. It was Hrut of
Viggia, with thirty men. The king ordered his pursui-
vants to go out against Ilrut, and make an end of him,
to which his men were instantly ready. The king said to
the Icelanders, "It is told me lliat in Iceland it is the
custom that the bondes give their house-servants a sheep
to slaughter; now I give yon a ram to' slaughter.^ The
Icelanders were easily invited to this, and went out imme-
diately with a few men against Hrut, and killed him and
the troop that followed him. When the king came to
Stiklestad he made a halt, and made the army stop, and
told his people to alight from their horses and get ready
for battle ; and the people did as the king ordered. Then
he placed his army in battle array, and raised his banner.
Dag was not yet arrived with his men, so that his wing of
the battle array was wanting. Then the king said the
Upland men should go forward in their place, and raise
their banner there. "It appears to me advisable," says the
king, "that Harald my brother should not be in the battle,
for he is still in the years of childhood only." Harald
'Hrut means a young ram. — L.
replies. "Certainly I shall be in the battle, for I am not so
weak that I cannot handle the sword ; and as to that, I
have a notion of tying the sword-handle to my hand.
None is more willing than I am to give the bondes a blow ;
so I shall go with my comrades." It is said that Harald
made these lines: —
"Our army's wing, where I shall The brisk young skald should gaily
I will hold good with heart and Into the fray, give blow for blow,
hand; Cheor on his men, gain inch by inch.
My mother's eye shall joy to see And from the spear-point never
A battered, blood-stained shield flinch."
Harald got his will, and was allowed to be in the battle.
222. OF TIIORGILS HALMASON.
A bonde, by name Thorgils Halmason, father to Grim
the Good, dwelt in Stiklestad farm. Thorgils offered
the king his assistance, and was ready to go into battle
with him. The king thanked him for the offer. "I would
rather," says the king, "thou shouldst not be in the fight.
Do us rather the service to take care of the people who are
wounded, and to bury those who may fall, when the battle
is over. Should it happen, bonde, that I fall in this
battle, bestow the care on my body that may be neces-
sary, if that be not forbidden thee." Thorgils promised
the king what he desired.
223. — olaf's speFch.
Now when King Olaf had drawni up his army in battle
array he made a speech, in which he told the people to
raise their spirit, and go boldly forward, if it came to a
battle. "We have," says he, "many men, and good; and
SAGA OF OLAF IIARALDSON
althou<;li the hoiulcs may have a somewhat lar.q'cr force
than we, it is fate thai rules over victory. This I will
make known to you solemnly, that I shall not Hy from this
battle, hut shall either he victorious over the bondes, or
fall in the fight. I will pray to God that the lot of the
two may befall me which will be most to my advantage.
With this we may encourage ourselves, that we have a
more just cause than the bondes; and likewise that God
must either protect us and our cause in this battle, or give
us a far higher recompense for what we may lose here in
the world than what we ourselves could ask. Should it
he my lot to have anything to say after the battle, then
shall I reward each of you according to his service, and
to the bravery he displays in the battle; and if we gain
the victory, there must be land and movables enough to
divide among you, and which are now in the hands of
your enemies. Let us at the first make the hardest
onset, for then the consequences are soon seen. There
being a great difference in the numbers, we have to expect
victory from a sharp assault only; and, on the other
hand, it will be heavy work for us to fight until we are
tired, and unable to fight longer ; for we have fewer people
to relieve with than they, who can come forward at one
time and retreat and rest at another. But if we advance
so hard at the first attack that those who are foremost in
their ranks must turn round, then the one w^ill fall over
the other, and their destruction will be the greater the
greater numbers there are together." \Y\\qx\ the king
had ended his speech it was received with loud applause,
and the one encouraged the other.
224. OF TIIORD rOLASON.
Thord Folason carried King Olaf's banner. So says
Sigvat the skald, in the death-song which he comix>sed
about King Olaf, and put together according to resur-
rection saga : —
"Thord. I have heard, by Olaf's The banner of the king on high,
Bide, Floating all splendid in the sky
Where raged the battle's wildest From golden shaft, aloft he bore, —
tide. The Norsemen's rallying-point of
Moved on, and, as by one accord yore."
Moved with them every heart and
225. — OF KING olaf's armour.
King Olaf was armed thus : — He had a gold-mounted
helmet on his head, and had in one hand a white shield,
on which the holy cross was inlaid in gold. In his other
hand he had a lance, which to the present day stands
beside the altar in Christ Chuch. In his belt he had a
sword, which w-as called Hneiter, which was remarkably
sharp, and of which the handle was w^orked with gold.
He had also a strong coat of ring-mail. Sigvat the
skald, speaks of this : —
"A greater victory to gain. High rose the fight and battle-heat, —
Olaf the Stout strode o'er the plain The clear blood ran beneath the feet
In strong chain armour, aid to bring Of Swedes, who from the East came
To his brave men on either wing. there,
In Olaf's gain or loss to share."
226. — KING olaf's dream.
Now when King Olaf had drawn up his men the army
of the bondes had not yet come near upon any quarter,
so the king said the people should sit down and rest
themselves. He sat down himself, and the people sat
around him in a widespread crowd. He leaned down,
SAGA 01' OLAf IIARALDSON
and laid Iiis head upon Fin Arna5;on's knee. There n
slnm])cr came u\m)u liim, and he slept a little while; but
at the same time the bondes' army was seen advancing
with raised banners, and the multitude of these was very-
Then Fin awakened the king-, and said that the bonde-
army advanced against them.
The king awoke, and said, "Why did you waken me,
Fin, and did not allow me to enjoy my dream?"
Fin : "Thou must not be dreaming ; but rather thou
shouldst be awake, and preparing thyself against the host
which is coming down upon us ; or, dost thou not see that
the whole bonde-crowd is coming?"
The king replies, "They are not yet so near to us,
and it would have been better to have let me sleep."
Then said Fin, "What was the dream, sire, of which
the loss appears to thee so great that thou wouldst rather
have been left to waken of thyself?'"
Now the king told his dream. — that he seemed to see
a high ladder, upon which he went so high in the air that
heaven was open : for so high reached the ladder. "And
when you awoke me, I was come to the highest step to-
Fin replies, "This dream does not appear to me so good
as it does to thee. I think it means that thou art fey ;^
unless it be the mere want of sleep that has worked upon
227. OI^ ARNTJOT GEUJNE'S BAPTISM.
When King Olaf was arrived at Stiklestad, it hap-
'Fey means (loomed to die.
pcned, among other circumstcinces, that a man came to
him; and aUhough it was nowise wonderful that there
came many men from the districts, yet this must be re-
garded as unusual, that this man did not appear Hke the
other men who came to him. He was so tall that none
stood higher than up to his shoulders: very handsome
he was in countenance, and had beautiful fair hair. He
was well armed ; had a fine helmet, and ring armour ; a
red shield; a superb sword in his l^elt; and in his hand a
gold-mounted spear, the shaft of it so thick that it was a
handful to grasp. The man went before the king,
saluted him, and asked if the king would accept his