As liarald was, who in hlH day
Obtained o'er all the upper Bway.
"And glad are we so well she sped, ā
The people's friend Is now their
And good King Magnus always
How much he to Queen Astrid owes.
Such stepmothers as this good queen
In truth are very rarely seen ;
And to this noble woman's praise
The skald with joy his song will
Thiodolf the skald also says in his song of Magnus: ā
"ā UTien thy brave ship left the land.
The bending yard could scarce
The fury of the whistling gale.
That split thy many-coloured sail ;
And many a stout ship, tempest-tost.
Was in that howling storm lost
That brought thee safe to Sigtuna's
Far from the sound of ocean's roar."
2. ā Magnus's expedition from svithjod.
King Magnus set out on his journey from Sigtuna with
a great force, which he had gathered in Svithjod, They
proceeded through vSvithjod on foot to Helsingjaland. So
says Arnor, the earl's skald : ā
"And many a dark-red Swedish And chosen men by thee were led.
shield Men who have stained the wolfs
Manhed with thee from the Swedish tongue red. ,, ^ .,
field. Each milk-white shield and polished
The countrv people crowded in, spear i. , .Ā», ..
To help Saint Olaf's son to win; Came to a splendid gathering there.
Magnus Olafson went from the East through Jamta-
land over the keel-ridge of the country and came down
upon the Throndhjem district, where all men welcomed
the king with joy. But no sooner did the men of King
Svein, the son of Alfifa, hear that King Magnus Olafson
was come to the country, than they fled on all sides and
concealed themselves, so that no opposition was made to
King Magnus ; for King Svein was in the south part of
the country. So says Arnor, the earls' skald :
"He who the eagle's talons stains The lightning of thy eye so near.
Rushed from the East on Thrond- Great king! thy foemen could not
hjem's plains ; bear.
The terror of his plumed helm Scattered they fled ā their only caro
Drove his pale foemen from the If thou their wretched lives wilt
3. MAGNUS MADE KING.
Magnus Olafson advanced to the town (Nidaros),
where he was joyfully received. He then summoned the
people to the Eyra-thing;^ and when the bondes met at the
Thing, Magnus was taken to be king over the whole land,
as far as his father Olaf had possessed it. Then the
king selected a court, and named lendermen, and placed
bailiffs and officers in all domains and offices. Immedi-
ately after harvest King Magnus ordered a levy through
all Throndhjem land, and he collected men readily; and
thereafter he proceeded southwards along the coast.
4. ā KING SVEIN's flight.
King Svein Alfifason was staying in South Hordaland
when he heard this news of war. He immediately sent
out war-tokens to four different quarters, summoned the
'Eyra Thing, held on the ayr of the river Nid, that is, on the spit of
sand, still called an ayr in the north of Scotland, dividing a lake, pond,
or river-mouth from the sea. At the Thing held here the kings of Nor-
way were chosen and proclaimed. It was held to be the proper Thing
for settling disputes between kings In Norway. ā L.
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
bondes to him, and made it known to all that they should
join him with men and ships to defend the country. All
ihe men who were in the neighbourhood of the king pre-
cnted themselves ; and the king formed a Thing, at which
in a speech he set forth his business, and said he would
advance against Magnus Olafson and have a battle with
Iiim, if the bondes would aid his cause. The king's
speech was not very long, and was not received with
much approbation by the bondes. Afterwards the Dan-
ish chiefs who were about the king made long and clever
speeches ; but the bondes then took up the word, and an-
swered them ; and although many said they would follow
S\cin, and fight on his side, some refused to do so bluntly,
some were altogether silent, and some declared they would
join King Magnus as soon as they had an op}X)rtunity,
Then King Svein says, "Methinks very few of the lx)ndes
to whom we sent a message have appeared here; and of
those who have come, and tell us to our face that they will
join King Magnus as soon as they can, we shall have as
little benefit as of those who say they will sit at home
quietly. It is the same with those who say nothing at all.
But as to those who promise to help us, there are not more
than every other man; and that force will avail us little
rgainst King Magnus. It is my counsel, therefore, that
v.-e do not trust to these bondes ; but let us rather go to
the land where all the people are sure and true to us, and
where we will obtain forces to conquer this country
again." As soon as the king had made known this res-
olution all his men followed it. turned their ship's bows,
and hoisted sail. King Svein sailed eastward along the
land, and then set right over to Denmark without delay,
and Hardaknut received his brother Svein very kindly.
At their first meeting- Hardaknut offered King Svein to
divide the kingdom of Denmark with him, which offer
King Svein accepted.
5. ā KING Magnus's journey to norway.
In autumn (1035) King Magnus proceeded eastward
to the end of the country, and was received as king
throughout the whole land, and the country people were
rejoiced at his arrival.
6. DEATH OP KING CANUTE THE GREAT AND HIS SON
King Svein, Canute's son, went to Denmark, as before
related, and took part in the government with his brother
Plardaknut. In the same autumn King Canute the Great
died in England, the 13th November, forty years old, and
was buried at Winchester. He had been king of Den-
mark for twenty-seven years, and over Denmark and
England together twenty-four years, and also over Nor-
way for seven years. King Canute's son Harald was
then made king in England. The same winter (1036)
King Svein, Alfifa's son, died in Denmark. Thiodolf
the skald made these lines concerning- King Magnus : ā
"Through Sweden's dirty roads Ihe And partly hy his men betrayed :
throng Flying to Denmark o'er the sea,
Followed the king in spearmen He loaves the land quite clear to
Svein doth fly, in truth afraid,
Bjarne Gullbrarskald composed the following lines con-
cerning Kalf Arnason : ā
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
ā¢ā¢By thoc the kings got each his Kalt! it wag you who ahowcd the
own, ā way
Magnus by thee got Norway's To our young king, the battle-
tlirone ; lover, ā
And Svcin in Denmark got a seat. From Russia to his father's sway
When out of Norway he was beat. You showed the way, and brought
King Magnus ruled over Norway this winter (lO.'JG),
and Hardaknut over Denmark.
7. RECONCIUATION BETWEEN HAItDAKNUT AND KING
The following spring (1036) the kings on both sides
ordered out a levy, and the news was that they would
have a battle at the Gaut river ; but when the two armies
approached each other, the lendermen in the one army sent
messengers to their connections and friends in the other;
and it came to a proposal for a reconciliation between the
two kings, especially as, from both kings being but young
and childish, some powerful men, wdio had been chosen
in each of the countries for that purpose, had the rule of
the country on their account. It thus was brought about
that there was a friendly meeting between the kings, and
in this meeting a peace was proposed; and the peace was
to be a brotherly union under oath to keep the peace to-
wards each other to the end of their lives; and if one of
them should die without leaving a son, the longest liver
should succeed to the whole Irmd and people. Twelve
of the principal men in each kingdom swore to the kings
that this treaty should be observed, so long as any one of
them was in life. Then the kings separated, and each re-
turned home to his kingdom ; and the treaty was kept as
long as both lived.
8. OF" QUEEN ASTRID,
Queen Astrid, who had been married to King Olaf
the Saint, came to Norway with King Magnus her step-
son, as before related, and was held by him deservedly
in great honour and esteem. Then came also Alfhild,
King Magnus's mo-ther, to the court, and the king re-
ceived her with the greatest affection, and showed her
great respect. But it went with Alfhild, as it does with
many who come to power and honour, that pride keeps
pace with promotion. She was ill pleased that Queen
Astrid was treated with more respect, had a higher seat,
and more attention. Alfhild wanted to have a seat next
to the king, but Astrid called Alfhild her slave-woman,
as indeed she had formerly been when Astrid was queen
of Norway and King Olaf ruled the land, and therefore
would on no account let her have a seat beside her, and
they could not lodge in the same house.
9. OF SIGVAT THE SKALD.
Sigvat the skald had gone to Rome, where he was at
the time of the battle of Stiklestad.
He was on his way back from the South when he
heard tidings of King Olaf's fall, which gave him great
grief. He then sang these lines : ā
"One morning early on a hill, Where our king fell,ā our kind goo''
Thr misty town asleej) ;uid still, king,
Wandering I thought upon the fields, Where now his happy youthful
Strewed o'er with broken mail and spring?
shields. My father too ! ā for Thord was then
One of the good king's chosen men."
One day Sigvat went through a village, and heard a
husband lamenting grievously over the loss of his wife,
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
Striking^ his breast, tearing his clothes, weepint:^ bitterly,
and saying he wanted to die; and Sigvat sang these
lines : ā
"This poor man mourns a much- But tho brave man who knows no
loved wife, fear
Gladly would he be quit of life. Drops for his king a silent tear,
Must love be paid for by our grief? And feels, perhaps, his loss as deep
The price seems great for joy so brief. As those who clamour when they
Sigvat came home to Norway to the Throndhjem
conntry, where he had a farm and children. He came
from the South along the coast in a merchant vessel, and
as they lay in Hillarsund they saw a great many ravens
flying about. Then Sig\'at said :ā
"I see here many a croaking raven When Olaf s ship lay here wind-
Flying about the well-known haven : bound,
When Olafs ship was floating here. Oft screamed the erne o'er Hlllar
They knew that food for them was sound,
near ; Impatient for the expected prey.
And wont to follow to the fray."
When Sigvat came north to the town of Throndhjem
King Svein was there before him. He invited Sigvat
to stay with him, as Sigvat had formerly been with his
father King Canute the Great ; but Sigvat said he would
first go home to his farm. One day, as Sig^^at w^as walk-
ing in the street, he saw the king's men at play, and he
sang : ā
"One day before I passed this way, That made me pale, and feel unwell.
When the king's guards were at Perhaps it was I thought, just then,
their play, How noble Olaf with his men.
Something there was ā I need not In former days, I oft have seen
tell ā In manly games upon this green."
Sigvat then went to his farm; and as he heard that
many men upbraided him with having deserted King
Olaf. he made these verses : ā
"May Christ condemn me still to I was at Rome, as men know well
burn Who saw me there, and who can tell
In quenchless fro, if T did turn. That there in danger I was then :
And leave King Olaf in his need,ā Tho truth I need not hide from
My soul is free from such base deed. men."
Sigvat was ill at ease in his home. One day he went
out and sang: ā
"While Olaf lived, how smiled the But now to me all seems so dreary,
land ! ā All black and dull ā of life I'm
Mountain and cliff, and pebbly weary :
strand. Cheerless to-day, cheerless to-mor-
All Norway then, so fresh, so gay, row ā
On land or sea, where oft I lay. Here in the North we have great
Early in winter Sigvat went westward over the ridge
of the coLintiy to Jamtaland, and onwards to Helsingja-
land, and came to Svithjod. He went immediately to
Queen Astrid, and was with her a long time, and was a
w^elcome guest. He was also w^ith her brother King
Emund, and received from him ten marks of proved
silver, as is related in the song of Canute. Sigvat always
inquired of the merchants who traded to Novgorod if
they could tell him any news of Magnus Olaf son. Sigvat
composed these lines at that time: ā
"I ask the merchant oft who drives To little birds, which wing their way
His trade to Russia, 'How he thrives, Between the lands, I fain would say.
Our noble prince? How lives he How much we long our prince to see ;
there?' They seem to bear a wish from me."
And still good news ā his praise ā I
10. ā OF KING Magnus's first arrivai^ in svithjod.
Immediately after Magnus Olafson came to Svithjod
from Russia, Sigvat met him at Queen Astrid's house,
and glad they all were at meeting. Sig\^at then sang: ā
"Thou art come here, prince, young I join myself to thy j'oung power.
and bold ! I could not o'er to Russia hie, ā
Thou art come home ! With joy be- Thy mother's guardian here was I.
hold It was my punishment for giving
Thy land and people. From this Magnus his name, while scarcely
Afterwards Sigvat travelled with Queen Astrid, and
followed Magnus to Norway. Sigvat sang thus : ā
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
"To the crowds streaming to the If He, to whom be nil the praise,
Thing, Give us a son in all liis ways
To see and hear Magnus their king. Like to his sire, no folk on earth
Loudly, young king, I'll speak my Will bless so much a royal birth."
'God to His people has been kind.'
Now when Magnus became king of Norway Sigvat
attended him, and was his dearest friend. Once it hap-
pened that Queen Astrid and Alfhild the king's mother
had exchanged some sharp words with each other, and
Sigvat said : ā
"Alfhild! though it was God's will The queen-born Astrid should not be
To raise ttiee ā yet remember still Kept out of due respect by thee."
11. ā KING gi^af's shrine;.
King Magnus had a shrine made and mounted with
gold and silver, and studded with jewels. This shrine
was made so that in shape and size it was like a coffin.
Under it was an arched way, and above was a raised roof,
with a head and a roof-ridge. Behind were plaited
hangings ; and before were gratings with padlocks, which
could be locked with a key. In this shrine King Magnus
had the holy remains of King Olaf deposited, and many
were the miracles there wrought. Of this Sigvat speaks : ā
"For him a golden shrine is made. Here many a man shall feel his way.
For him whose heart was ne'er Stone-blind, unconscious of the day,
afraid And at the shrine where Olaf lies
Of mortal man ā the holy king. Give songs of praise for opened
Whom the Lord God to heaven did eyes."
It was also appointed by law that King Olafs holy
day should be held sacred over all Norway, and that day
has been kept ever afterwards as the greatest of Church
days. Sigvat speaks of it: ā
"To a-nf, Magnus' father, raise, Well may I keep within my breast
NVitUiu my house^ the song of praise ! A day for him in holy rest, ā
With joy, yet grief, we'll keep the My upraised hands a golden ring
day On every branch' bear from that
Olaf to heaven was called away. king."
12. OF THORER HUND.
Thorer Hund left the country immediately after King
Olaf's fall. He went all the way to Jerusalem, and many
people say he never came back. Thorer Hund had a son
called Sigurd, father of Ranveig who was married to
Joan, a son of Arne Arnason. Their children were Vid-
kun of Bjarkey, Sigurd Hund, Erling, and Jardthrud.
13. OF THE MURDER OF HAREK OF THJOTTA.
Harek of Thjotta sat at home on his farm, till King
Magnus Olafson came to the country and was made king.
Then Harek went south to Throndhjem to King Magnus.
At that time Asmund Grankelson was in the king's house.
When Harek came to Nidaros, and landed out of the ship,
Asmund was standing with the king in the gallery outside
the loft, and both the king and Asmund knew Harek
when they saw him.. "Now," says Asmund to the king,
"I will pay Harek for my father's murder." He had in
his hand a little thin hatchet. The king looked at him,
and said, "Rather take this axe of mine." It was thick,
and made like a club. "Thou must know, Asmund,"
added he, "that there are hard bones in the old fellow."
Asmund took the axe, went down, and through the house,
and \\hcn he came down to the cross-road Harek and his
men coming up met him. Asmund struck Harek on the
'The fingers, fho branches of the hand, bore golden fruits from the
generosity of the king. ā L.
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
head, so that the axe penetrated to the brains ; and that
was Harek's death-woinid. Asmund turned back directly
to the king's house, and the whole edi^e of the axe was
turned with the blow. Then said the king, "What would
lliy axe have done, for even this one, I think, is spoilt?"
King Magnus afterwards gave him a hef and office in
lialogaland, and many are the tales about the strife be-
tween Asmund and Harek's sons.
14. ā OP THORGEIR F'LEK.
Kalf Arnason had at lirst, for some time, the greatest
share of the government of the country under King Mag-
nus; but afterwards there were people who reminded the
king of the part Kalf had taken at Stiklestad, and then
it became difficult for Kalf to give the king satisfaction in
anything. Once it happened there were many men with
the king bringing their affairs before him ; and Thorgeir
iHck from Sula in Veradal, of whom mention is made be-
fore in the history of King Olaf the Saint, came to him
about some needful business. The king [xaid no attention
to his words, but was listening to people who stood near
him. Then Thorgeir said to the king, so loud that all
who were around him could hear ā
"Listen, my lord, to my plain word. Listen to me : well did I see
I too was there, and had to bear The men yoti're trusting the dead
A bloody head from Stiklestad: corpse thrustinn
For I was then with Olafs men. Out of their way, as dead it lay: _
And striking o'er your father s gore.
There was instantly a great uproar, and some told
Thorgeir to go out ; Ijut the king called liim. and not only
despatched his business to his satisfaction, but promised
him favour and friendship.
15. KALF ARNASON FUES THE COUNTRY.
Soon after this the king was at a feast at the farm of
Ilaug in Veradel, and at the dinner-table Kalf Arnason
sat upon one side of him, and Einar Tambaskelfer on the
other. It was already come so far that the king took
little notice of Kalf, but paid most attention to Einar.
The king said to Einar, "Let us ride to-day to Stiklestad.
I should like to see the memorials of the things which
took place there." Einar replies, "I can tell thee noth-
ing about it; but take thy foster-father Kalf with thee;
he can give thee information about all that took place."
When the tables were removed, the king made himself
ready, and said to Kalf, "Thou must go with me to Stik-
Kalf replied, "That is really not my duty."
Then the king stood up in a passion, and said, "Go thou
shalt, Kalf!" and thereupon he went out.
Kalf put on his riding clothes in all haste, and said to
his foot-boy, "Thou must ride directly to Eggja, and
order my house-servants to ship all my property on board
my ship before sunset."
King Magnus now rides to Stiklestad, and Kalf with
him.. They alighted from horseback, and went to the
place where the battle had been. Then said the king to
Kalf, "Where is the spot at which the king fell?"
Kalf stretched out his spear-shaft, and said, "There
he lay when he fell."
The king: "And where wast thou, Kalf?"
Kalf: "Here where I am now standing."
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
The king turned red as blcxxl in the face, and s.aid,
"Then thy axe could well have reached him."
Kalf replied, "My axe did not come near him;" and
immediately went to his horse, sprang on horsel^ack, and
rode away with all his men ; and the king ro<le hack to
Ilaiig. Kalf did not stop until he got home in the even-
ing to Eggja. There his ship lay ready at the shore side,
and all his effects were on Ixvard, and the vessel manned
with his house-servants. They set off immediately hy
night down the fjord, and afterwards proceeded day and
night, when the wind suited. He sailed out into the West
sea, and w-as there a long time plundering in Ireland,
Scotland, and the Hebudes. Bjarne Gullbrarskald tells of
this in the song about Kalf: ā
"Brother of Thorberg, who still stood He Is the first who friendship broke.
Well with the king! in angry mood For envious men the falsehood
He is the first to break with thoe, spoke;
Who well deserves esteemed to be ; And he will be the first to rue
The breach of friendship 'twixt you
16. OF THi: THREATS OF THE EONDES.
King Magnus added to his property Veggia, which
PIrut had been owner of, and Kviststad, which had be-
longed to Thorgeir, and also Eggja, with all the goods
which Kalf had left behind him ; and thus he confiscated
to the king's estate many great farms, which had be-
longed to those of the bonde-army who had fallen at Stik-
lestad. In like manner, he laid heavy fines upon many
of those who made the greatest opposition to King Olaf.
He drove some out of the country, took large sums of
money from others, and had the cattle of others slaugh-
tered for his use. Then the bondes began to murmur,
and to say among themselves, "Will he go on in the same
^vay as his father and other chiefs, whom we made an
end of when their jjride and lawless proceedings became
insupportable?" This discontent spread widely through
the country. The people of Sogn gathered men, and, it
was said, were determined to give battle to King INIagnus,
if he came into the Fjord district. King Magnus was
then in Hordaland, where he had remained a long time
with a numerous retinue, and was now come to the reso-
lution to proceed north to Sogn. When the king's friends
observed this, twelve men had a meeting, and resolved
to determine by casting lots which of them should inform
the king of the discontent of the people; and it so hap-
pened that the lot fell upon Sigvat.
17. ā OF the; free-speaking song (bersoglisvisur).
Sigvat accordingly composed a poem, which he called
the Free-speaking Song, which begins with saying the
king had delayed too long to pacify the people, who were
threatening to rise in tumult against him. He said : ā
"Here in the south, from Sogn is Let us take arms, and briskly go
spread To battle, if it must be so ;
The news that strife draws to a head : Defend our king ā but still deplore
The bondes will the king oppose ā His land plunged in such strife once
Kings and their folk should ne'er bo more."
In this song are crfso these verses : ā
"Hakon, who at Fitiar died, ā "The bondes ask but what is fair;
Hakon the Good, could not abide The Olafs and the Earls, when there
The viking rule, or robber train. Where Magnus sits, confirmed to all
y\nd all men's love he thus did gain. Their lands and gear ā to great and
The people since have still in mind small.
The laws of Hakon, just and kind ; Bold Trygve's son, and Harald's
And men will never see the day heir,
When Hakon's laws have passed The Olafs, while on earth they were,
away. Observed the laws themselves had
And none was for his own afraid.
SAC A OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
"Let not thy counsellors stir thy
Against the man who speaks the
Thy honour lies in thy good sword.
But still more in thy royal word ;
And. if the people do not lie,
The new laws turn out not nigh
So just and mild, as the laws given
At Ultasuud iu face of heaven.
"nĀ« cautious, with this news of
Flyint; about ā give them no reason.
We hang the thief, but th(.'n we use
Consideration of the excuse.
I think, great king (who wilt rejoice
Engle and wolf with battle voice).
It would be wise not to oiiposc
Thy bondes, and make them thy
"Dread king! who urges thee to
Thy pledged word, and back to take
Thy promise given? Thou warrior
With thy own people word to hold.
Thy promise fully to maintain.
Is to thyself the greatest gain :
The battle-storm raiser he