Sigvat also made these verses on Bjorn : —
"The marshal Bjorn, too, I find. To Russia first his steps he bent,
A great example leaves behind. To serve his master still intent ;
How steady courage should stand And now beside his king he fell, —
proof, A uoble death for skalds to tell."
Though other servants stand aloof.
241. BEGINNING OF DAG IIRINGSON's ATTACK.
Dag Hringson still kept up the battle, and made in the
beginning so fierce an assault that the bondes gave way,
and some betook themselves to flight. There a great
number of the bondes fell, and these lendermen, Erlend
of Gerde and Aslak of Finey ; and the banner also which
they had stood under was cut down. This onset was par-
ticularly hot, and was called Dag's storm. But now Kalf
Arnason, Harek of Thjotta, and Thorer Hund turned
against Dag, with the array which had followed them, and
then Dag was overwhelmed with numbers; so he betook
himself to flioht with the men still left him. There was
a valley through which the main body of the fugitives fled,
and men lay scattered in heaps on both sides; and many-
were severely wounded, and many so fatigued that they
were fit for nothing. The bondes pursued only a short
way; for their leaders soon returned back to the field of
battle, where they had their friends and relations to look
242. — KING olaf's miracle shown to thorer hund.
Thorer Hund went to where King Olaf's body lay, took
care of it, laid it straight out on the ground, and spread
a cloak over it. He told since that when he wiped the
blood from the face it was very beautiful ; and there was
red in the cheeks, as if he only slept, and even much
clearer than when he was in life. The king's blood came
on Thorer's hand, and ran up between his fingers to
where lie had been wounded, and the wound grew up so
speedily that it did not require to be bound up. This cir-
cumstance was testified by Thorer himself when King
Olaf's holiness came to be generally known among the
people; and Thorer Hund was among the first of the
king's powerful opponents who endeavoured to spread
abroad the king's sanctity.
243. OF KALE ARNASON's BROTHERS.
Kalf Arnason searched for his brothers who had fallen,
and found Thorberg and Fin. It is related that Fin threw
his dagger at him, and wanted to kill him, giving him hard
words, and calling him a faithless villain, and a traitor to
his king. Kalf did not rcgarrl it, but ordered Fin and
Thorberg to be carried away from the field. When their
SAGA OF OL.IF IIARALDSON
wounds were examined they were found not to be deadly,
and lliey had fallen from fatis^uc, and under the weight
ol' their weapons. Thereafter Kalf tried to hrinj^- his
brothers down to a ship, and went himself with them.
As soon as he was gone the whole bonde-army, having
their homes in the neighbourhood, went off also, except-
ing those who had friends or relations to look after, or
the bodies of the slain to take care of. The wounded
were taken home to the farms, so that every house was
full of them ; and tents were erected over some. But
wonderful as was the number collected in the bonde-army,
no less wonderful was the haste with which this vast body
was dispersed wdien it was once free: and the cause of this
was, that the most of the people gathered together from
the country places w^ere longing for their homes.
244. OF THE BONDES 01" VKRADAL.
The bondes who had their homes in Veradal went to
the chiefs Harek and Thorer, and complained of their dis-
tress, saying, "The fugitives wdio have escaped from the
battle have proceeded up over the valley of Veradal, and
are destroying our habitations, and there is no safety for
lis to travel home so long as they are in the valley. Go af-
ter them with war-force, and let no mother's son of them
escape w^ith life; for that is what they intended for us if
they had got the up[)cr hand in the battle, and the same
they w'ould do now if they met us hereafter, and had bet-
ter luck than we. It may also be that they will linger in
the valley if they have nothing to be frightened for, and
then they would riot proceed very gently in the inhabited
country." The bondes made many words about this,
urg-ing the chiefs to advance directly, and kill those who
had escaped. Now when the chiefs talked over this
matter among themselves, they thought there was much
truth in what the bondes said. They resolved, therefore,
that Thorer Hund should undertake this expedition
through Veradal, with 600 men of his own troops. Then,
towards evening, he set out with his men ; and Thorer
continued his march without halt until he came in the
night to Sula, where he heard the news that Dag Hring-
son had come there in the evening, with many other flocks
of the king's men, and had halted there until they took
supper, but were afterwards gone up to the mountains.
Then Tliorer said he did not care to pursue them up
through the mountains, and he returned down the valley
again, and they did not kill many of them this time. The
bondes then returned to their homes, and the followine
day Thorer, with his people, went to their ships. The
part of the king's men who were still on their legs con-
cealed themselves in the forests, and some got help from
245. — OF THE king's brother, harald sigurdson.
Harald Sigurdson was severely wounded ; but Ragn-
vald Brusason brought him to a bonde's the night after
the battle, and the bonde took in Harald, and healed his
wound in secret, and afterwards gave him his son to
attend him. They went secretly over the mountains, and
through the waste forests, and came out in Jamtaland.
Harald Sigurdson was fifteen years old when King Olaf
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
fell. In Jamtnland Harald found Ragnvald Brusason ;
and they went both east to King- Jarisleif in Russia, as is
related in the Saga of Harald Sigurdson.
246. OF THORMOD KOLBRUNARSKALD.
Thormod Kolbrunarskald was under King Olaf's ban-
ner in the battle ; but when the king had fallen, the battle
was raging so that of the king's men the one fell by the
side of the other, and the most of those who stood on
their legs were wounded. Thormod was also severely
wounded, and retired, as all the others did, back from
where there was most danger of life, and some even fled.
Now when the onset began which is called Dag's storm,
all of the king's men who were able to combat went
there ; but Thormod did not come into that combat, being
unable to fight, both from his wound and from weariness,
but he stood by the side of his comrade in the ranks, al-
though he could do nothing. There he was struck by an
arrow in the left side ; but he broke off the shaft of the
arrow, went out of the battle, and up towards the houses,
where he came to a barn which was a. large building.
Thormod had his drawn sword in his hand; and as he
went in a man met him, coming out, and said, "It is very
bad there with howling and screaming; and a great shame
it is that brisk young fellows cannot bear their wounds:
it may be that the king's men have done bravely to-day,
but they certainly bear their wounds very ill."
Thormod asks, "What is thy name?"
He called himself Kimbe.
Thormod : "Wast thou in the battle, too?"
"I was with the bondes. which was the best side,"
"And art tliou wounded any way?" says Thormod.
"A little," said Kimbe. "And hast thou been in the
Thormod replied, "I was with thcni who had the best."
"Art thou wounded?" says Kimbe.
"Not much to signify," replies Thormod.
As Kimbe saw that Thormod had a gold ring on his
arm, he said, "Thou art certainly a king's man. Give me
thy gold ring, and I will hide thee. The bondes will kill
thee if thou fallest in their way."
Thormod says, "Take the ring if tlnHi canst get it: I
have lost that which is more worth."
Kimbe stretched out his hand, and wanted to take the
ring; but Thormod, swinging his sword, cut off his hand :
and it is related that Kimbe l>ehaved himself no better
under his wound than those he had been blaming just
before. Kimbe went off, atid Thormod sat down in the
barn, and listened to what people were saying. The con-
versation was mostly about what each had seen in the
battle, and about the valour of the combatants. Some
praised most King Olaf's courage, and some named others
who stood nowise behind him in bravery. Then Thor-
mod sang these verses : —
"Olaf was brave beyond all doubt, — But I have heard that Rome were
At. StiVlestnd ^"as none so stout; there
Spat'ered with blood, the king, un- Who in the fight themselves would
Cheered on his men with deed and Though, in the arrow-s-torni. the most
daring. Had perils quite enough to boast."
SAGA OF OLA I' IIARALDSON
2-47. — THORMOD's DKATII.
Thormod went out, and entered into a chamber apart,
in which there were many wounded men, and with them
a woman binding their wounds. There was fire upon the
lloor, at which she warmed water to wash and clean their
wounds. Thormod sat himself down beside the door,
and one came in, and another went out, of those who were
busy about the wounded men. One of them turned to
Thormod, looked at him, and said, "Why art thou so
dead-pale ? Art thou wounded ? Why dost thou not call
for the help of the wound-healers?" Thormod then sang
these verses : —
"I am not blooming, and the fair The slash and thrust of Danish
And slendor girl loves to care steel ; . ,. -tw
For blooming youths — few care for And pale and faint, and bent wita
me ; pain.
With Fenja's meal I cannot fee. Return from yonder battle-plain."
This is the reason why I feel
Then Thormod stood up and went in towards the fire,
and stood there awhile. The young woman said to him,
"Go out, man, and bring in some of the split firewood
which lies close beside the door." He went out and
brought in an armful of wood, which he threw down upon
the floor. Then the nurse-girl looked him in the face, and
said. "Dreadfully pale is this man — why art thou so?"
Then Thormod sang: —
"Thou wondprcst, sweet sprig, at me. The arrow-drift o'crtook mo, girl —
\ man so hideous to see: A fine-p;round arrow in the whirl
Ocep wounds but rarely mend the Went through me, and I feel the
The crippling blow gives little grace. Sits, lovely girl, too near my heart."
The girl said, "Let me see thy wound, and I will bind
it." Thereupon Thormod sat down, cast off his clothes.
and the girl saw liis wounds, and examined that which
was in his side, and felt that a piece of iron was in it,
but could not find where the iron had gone in. In a
stone pot she had stirred together leeks and other
herbs, and boiled them, and gave the w'ounded men of it
to eat, by which she discovered if the wounds had pene-
trated into the belly; for if the wound had gone so deep,
it would smell of leek. She brought some of this now
to Thormod, and told him to eat of it. He replied, "Take
it away, I have no appetite for my broth." Then she
took a large pair of tongs, and tried to pull out the iron ;
but it sat too fast, and would in no way come, and as the
wound was swelled, little of it stood out to lay hold of.
Now said Thormod, "Cut so deep in that thou canst get
at the iron with the tongs, and give me the tongs and let
me pull." She did as he said. Then Thormod took a
gold ring from his hand, gave it to the nurse-woman, and
told her to do with it what she liked. "It is a good man's
gift," said he: "King Olaf gave me the ring this morn-
ing." Then Thormod took the tongs, and pulled the
iron out ; but on the iron there was a hook, at which there
hung some morsels of flesh from the heart, — some white,
some red. When he saw that, he said, "The king has fed
us well. I am fat, even at the heart-roots ;" and so snying
he leant back, and was dead. And with this ends what we
have to say about Thormod.
248. OF SOME CIRCUMSTANCES OP THE BATTLE.
King Olaf fell on Wednesday, the 29th of July (1030).
It was near mid-day when the two armies met, and the
battle began before half-past one, and before three the
SAGA OF OLAF IIARALDSON
king fell. The darkness continued from alKtut half-past
one to three also. Sigvat the skald speaks thus of the
result of the battle: —
"The loss was great to England's The people's sovereign took the field,
foes, The people clove the sovereign's
When tlioir chief fell beneath the shield.
blows or all the chiefs, that bloody day,
ny his own thoughtless people Dag only came out ot the fray."
When the king's shield in two was
And he composed these: —
"Such mightv bonde-power, I ween. When such a king, in such a strife,
With chiefs or rulers ne'er was seen. By his own peoiiln lost his life.
It was the people's mighty power Full many a gallant man must feel
That struck the king that fatal hour. The death-wound from the people's
The bondes did not spoil the slain upon the field of
battle, for immediately after the battle there came upon
many of them who had been against the king a kind of
dread as it were; yet they held by their evil inclination,
for they resolved among themselves that all who had
fallen with the king should not receive the interment
which belongs to good men, but reckoned them all robbers
and outlaws. But the men who had power, and had re-
lations on the field, cared little for this, but removed their
remains to the churches, and took care of their burial.
249. A MIRACI.E ON A BUND MAN.
Thorgils Halmason and his son Grim went to the field
of battle tow^ards evening wdien it was dusk, took King
Olaf's corpse up, and bore it to a little empty houseman's
hut which stood on tlie (Hher side of their farm. They
had light and water with them. Then they took the
clothes off the body, swathed it in a linen cloth, laid it
down in the house, and concealed it under some firewood
so that nobody could see it, even if people came into the
hut. Thereafter they went home again to the farm-
house. A great many beggars and poor people had fol-
lowed both armies, who begged for meat ; and the even-
ing after the battle many remained there, and sought
lodging round about in all the houses, great or small. It
is told of a blind man who was poor, that a boy attended
him and led him. They went out around the farm to seek
a lodging, and came to the same empty house, of which
the door was so low that they had almost to creep in.
Now when the blind man had come in, he fumbled about,
the floor seeking a place where he could lay himself down.
He had a hat on his head, which fell down over his face
when he stooped down. He felt with his hands that there
was moisture on the floor, and he put up his wet hand to
raise his hat, and in doing so put his fingers on his eyes.
There came immediately such an itching in his eyelids,
that he wiped the water with his fingers from his eyes,
and went out of the hut, saying nobody could lie there, it
was so wet. When he came out of the hut he could dis-
tinguish his hands, and all that was near him, as far as
things can be distinguished by sight in the darkness of
night; and he went immediately to the farm-house into
tlie room, and told all the people he had got his sight
again, and could see everything, although many knew he
iKid been blind for a long time, for he had liecn there, be-
fore, going a1x)ut among the houses of the neighbourhood.
He said he first got his sight when he was coming out of
a little ruinous hut which was all wet inside, "I groped
SAGA OF OLAF IIARALDSON
in the water," said lie, "and rubbed my eyes with my wet
hands." He told where the hut stood. The people who
heard him wondered much at this event, and six)ke among
themselves of what it could l^e that produced it : but
Thorg-ils the peasant and his son Grim thought they
knew how this came to pass; and as they were much
afraid the king's enemies might go there and search the
hut, they went and took the body out of it, and removed
it to a garden, where they concealed it, and then returned
to the farm, and slept there all night.
250. OF THORER HUND.
The fifth day (Thursday), Thorer Hund came down
the valley of Veradal to Stiklestad ; and many people,
both chiefs and bondes, accompanied him. The field of
battle was still being cleared, and people were carrying
away the bodies of their friends and relations, and were
giving the necessary help to such of the wounded as they
wished to save; but many had died since the battle.
Thorer Hund went to where the king had fallen, and
searched for his body; but n(->t finding it, he inquired if
any one could tell him what had become of the corpse, but
nobody could tell him where it was. Then he asked the
linndc Thorgils, who said, "I was not in the battle, and
knew little of what took place there; but many reports
are abroad, and among others that King Olaf has been
seen in the night up at Staf, and a troop of people with
liim: but if he fell in the battle, your men must have
concealed him in some hole, or under some stone-heap."
Now although Thorer Hund knew for certain that the
king had fallen, many allowed themselves to believe, and
to spread abroad the report, that the king had escaped
from the battle, and would in a short time come again
upon them with an army. Then Thorer went to his
ships, and sailed down the fjord, and the bonde-army dis-
persed, carrying with them all the wounded men who
could bear to be removed.
251. — OF KING OLAF's BODY.
Thorgils Halmason and his son Grim had King Olaf's
body, and were anxious about preserving it from falling
into the hands of the king's enemies, and being ill-treated ;
for they heard the bondes speaking about burning it, or
sinking it in the sea. The father and son had seen a
clear light burning at night over the spot on the battle-
field where King Olaf's body lay, and since, while they
concealed it, they had always seen at night a light burn-
ing over the corpse; therefore they w-ere afraid the king's
enemies might seek the body where this signal was visible.
They hastened, therefore, to take the body to a place
where it would be safe. Thorgils and his son accordingly
made a coffin, which they adorned as well as they could,
and laid the king's body in it ; and afterwards made an-
other coffin in which they laid stones and straw, about as
much as the weight of a man, and carefully closed the cof-
fins. As soon as the whole lx>nde-army had left Stikle-
stad, Thorgils anrl his son made themselves ready, got a
large rowing-boat, and tor>k with them seven or eight
men, who were all Thorgil's relations or friends, and
privately took the coffin with the king's body down to the
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
boat, and set it under the fcx^t-boards. They had also
with thcni the coffin containing the stones, and placed it
in the boat where all could see it; and then went down
the fjord with a good opportunity of wind and weather,
and arrived in the dusk of the evening at Nidaros, where
they brought up at the king's pier. Then Thorgils sent
some of his men up to the town to Bishop Sigurd, to say
that they were come with the king's body. As soon as
the bishop heard this news, he sent his men down to the
pier, and they took a small rowing-boat, came alongside
of Thorgil's ship, and demanded the king's body. Thor-
gils and his people then took the coffin which stood in
view, and bore it into the boat; and the bishop's men
rowed out into the fjord, and sank the coffin in the sea.
It was now quite dark. Thorgils and his people now
rowed up into the river past the town, and landed at a
place called Saurhlid, alx)ve the town. Then they car-
ried the king's body to an empty house standing at a dis-
tance from other houses, and watched over it for the night,
while Thorgils went down to the tow-n, where he spoke
with some of the best friends of King Olaf, and asked
them if they would take charge of the king's body; but
none of them dared to do so. Then Thorgils and his
men went with the body higher up the river, buried it in
a sand-hill on the banks, and levelled all around it so that
no one could observe that people had been at work there.
They were ready with all this before break of day, when
they returned to their vessel, went immediately out of
the river, and proceeded on their way home to Stiklestad.
252. OF THK BEGINNING OF KING SVEIN AI^FIFASON's
Svein, a son of King Canute, and of Alfifa, a daughter
of Earl Alfrin, had been appointed to govern Jomsborg
in Vindland. There came a message to him from his
father King Canute, that he should come to Denmark ;
and hkewise that afterwards he should proceed to Nor-
way, and take that kingdom under his charge, and as-
sume, at the same time, the title of king of Norway.
Svein repaired to Denmark, and took many people with
him from thence, and also Earl Harald and many other
people of consequence attended him. Thorarin Loftunga
speaks of this in the song he composed about King Svein,
called the Glelogn song: —
•"Tis told by fame. That all couH see ;
How grandly came Then, one by one.
The Danes to tend Each following man
Their young king Svein More splendour wore
Grandest was he, Than him before."
Then Svein proceeded to Norway, and his mother
Alfifa was with him ; and he was taken to be king at
every Law-thing in the country. He had already come
as far as Viken at the lime the battle was fought nt
Stiklestad, and King Olaf fell. Svein continued lii^
journey until he came north, in autumn, to the Thrond-
hjem country ; and there, as elsewhere, he was received
253. OF KING SVEIN'S EAWS.
King Svein introduced new laws in many respects into
the country, partly after those which were in Denmark,
and in part much more severe. No man must leave the
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSO^
country without the kin.q-'s permission; or if he (hd, liis
property fell to the kins;-. Whoever killed a ni;in out-
right, should forfeit all his land and movables. If any
one was banished the country, and .-ui hei'itage fell to him.
the king took his inheritance. At Yule every man should
pay the king a meal of malt from every harvest steading,
and a leg of a three-year old ox, which was called a
friendly gift, together with a spand of butter; and every
house-wife a rock full of unspun lint, as thick as one
could span with the longest fingers of the hand. The
bondes were bound to build all the houses the king re-
quired upon his farms. Of every seven males one should
l)e taken for the service of war, and reckoning from the
fifth year of age; and the outfit of ships should be reck-
oned in the same proportion. Every man who rowed
upon the sea to fish should pay the king five fish as a tax,
for the land defence, wherever he might come from.
Every ship that went out of the country should have
stowage reserved open for the king in the middle of the
ship. Every man, foreigner or native, who went to Ice-
land, should pay a tax to the king. And to all this was
added, that Danes should enjoy so much consideration
in Norway, that one witness of them should invalidate ten
When these laws were promulgated the minds of the
people were instantly raised against them, and murmurs
were heard among them. They who had not taken part
against King Olaf said, ''Now take your reward and
'This may probably have referred not to witnesses of an act, but to
the class of witnesses in the jurisprudence of the Middle Ages oalltd
compurgators, who testified not the fa.-t. but their confidence in the
statements of the accused ; and from which, possibly, our Knglian bail
for offenders arose. — L. ^
friendsliip from the Canute race, ye men of the interior
Throndhjem who fought against King Olaf, and de-
prived him of his kingdom. Ye were promised peace
and justice, and now ye have got oppression and slavery
for your great treachery and crime." Nor was it very
easy to contradict them, as all men saw how miserable the
change had been. But people had not the boldness to
make an insurrection against King Svein, principally be-
cause many had given King Canute their sons or other
near relations as hostages; and also because no one ap-
peared as leader of an insurrection. They very soon,
however, complained of King Svein ; and his mother
Alfifa got much of the blame of all that was against their
desire. Then the truth, with regard to Olaf, became evi-