saw this they urged each other on with mutual cheering,
and there was one great hurrah through all the ships. So
says Thiodolf : —
"'On with our ships! on to the foe!' Spears against shields In fury rat-
Cry Magnus' men — on, on they go. tie,— _^
Was never seen so fierce a battle.
And now the battle was exceedingly sharp; and in the
assault Svein's ship w^as cleared of all her forecastle men
upon and on both sides of the forecastle. Then Magnus
boarded Svein's ship, followed by his men ; and one after
the other came up, and made so stout an assault that
Svein's men gave w^ay, and King Magnus first cleared
that ship, and then the rest, one after the other. Svein
fled, with a great part of his people; but many fell, and
many got life and peace. Thiodolf tells of this: —
"Brave Magnus, from the stern The king's luck thrives— their decks
SDringing "^^^ cleared.
On to the stem, where swords were Of fighting men no more appeared-
ringinK The earl's ships are driven to flight.
From his sea-raven's beak of gold Hefore the ]<!!;«, would stop ^}y - ^S^^ ■
Deals death around— the brave! the The gold-distributor first then
bold! Gave quarters to the vanquished
The earl's housemen now begin men."
To shrink and fall : their ranks
grow thin —
This battle was fought on the last Sunday before Yule.
So says Thiodolf: — ^^
'"Twas on a Sunday morning bright. And many a man, foredoomed to die.
Fell out tliis great and bloody tight. To save his life o'ertjoard did fly,
When men were arming, fighting. But sanlt ; for swimming could not
Or on the red decks wounded lying. And dead men rolled in every "wave."
Magnus took seven ships from Svein's people. So says
"Thick Olaf's son seven vessels The Norway girls will not be spd
cleared, To hear such news — each from her
And with his fleet the prizes steered. lad."*
He also sings : —
"The captured men will grieve the A heavy storm that very night
most O'ertoolt tliem flying from the fight ;
Svein and their comrades to have And siculls and bones are tumbling
lost ; round.
For it went ill with those who fled, Under the sea, on sandy ground."
Their wounded had no easy bed.
Svein fled immediately by night to Seeland, with the
men who had escaped and were inclined to follow him;
but King Magnus brought his ships to the shore, and sent
his men up tlie country in the night-time, and early in the
morning they came down to the strand with a great booty
in cattle. Thiodolf tells about it : —
"But yesterday with heavy stones And driven their cattle to the shore.
We crushed their sliulls, and broke And filled our ships with food in
their bones, store.
And thinned their ranks; and now To save his land from our quick
Up through their land we've ta'en Svein will need something more
our way, than words."
32. — svein's flight.
King Magnus sailed with his fleet from the south after
Svein to Seeland ; l3ut as soon as the king came there
Svein fled up the country with his men, and Magnus fol-
lowed them, and pursued the fugitives, killing all that
were laid hold of. So says Thiodolf: —
"The Seeland girl asks with fear. We scoured through all their muddy
'Whose blood-bespattered shield and lanes,
spear — Woodlands, and fields, and miry
The earl's or king's — up from tho plains.
shore Their hasty footmarks in the clay
Moved on with many a warrior Showed that to Ringsted led their
SAGA OF MAGNUS THI- GOOD
"Spatterod with mud from heel to His banner yesterday was seen,
111 :iJ, The saud-bllls ai.tl greeu trees be-
Our gallant lord his true men led. tween,
Vill Lund's earl halt his hasty Through moaa and mire to tbo
Aud try ou land another fight? In arrow flight, leaving the land."
Then Svein lied over to Fycn Islantl, and King- Magnus
carried fire and sword tlirough Seeland, and burnt all
round, because their men had joined Svein's troop in har-
vest. So savs Thiodolf: —
"As Svein in winter had destroyed
The royal house, the Icing employed
No little force to guard the laud,
Aud the earl'.s forays to withstand.
An armed band one morn lie found,
And so beset them round and round,
That Canute's nephew quit kly fled.
Or he would have been captive led.
'Our Throndhjem king In his Just ire
Laid waste the land with sword and
Tiurnt every house, and over all
Struck terror into great and small.
To the earl's friends he well repaid
Their deadly hate — such wild work
Op them and theirs, that from his
Flying for life, away they hurry."
33. BURNING IN FYKN.
As soon as King Magnus heard that Svein witli his
troops had gone across to Fyen, he sailed after them ; and
when Svein heard this news he went on board ship and
sailed to Scania, and from thence to Gautland, and at last
to the Swedish King. King Magnus landed in Fyen, and
])lundered and burned over all; and all of Svein's men
who came there fled far enough. Thiodolf si:)€aks of it
thus : —
"Fiona isle, once green and fair,
Lies black and reeking through the
The red fog rises, thick and hot.
Prom burning farm and smoulder-
The gaping thralls in terror gaze
On the broad upward-spiring blaze.
From thatched roofs and oak-built
Their murdered masters' stately
"Svein's men, my girl, will not for-
That thrice they have the Norse-
I?y sea, by land, with steel, with Are,
Thrice have they felt the Norse
Fiona's maids are slim and fair.
The lovely prizes, lads, we'll share :
Some stand to arms in rank and
Some seize, bring off, and fend with
After this the people of Denmark suhmitted to King
Magnus, and during the rest of the winter, there was
peace. King Magnus then appointed some of his men to
go\'ern Denmark ; and when spring ^Yas advanced he
sailed northwards with his fleet to Norway, where he re-
mained a great part of the summer.
34. — BATTLi; AT HELGANES.
Now, when Svein heard that King Magnus had gone to
Norway he rode straight down, and had many people out
of Svithjod with him. The people of Scania received him
well, and he again collected an army, with which he first
crossed over into Seeland and seized upon it and Fyen,
and all the other isles. When Kino- Majjnus heard of this
he gathered together men and ships, and sailed to Den-
mark ; and as soon as he knew where Svein was lying with
his ships King Magnus sailed to meet him. They met at
a place called Helganes, and the battle began about the fall
of day. King Magnus had fewer men, but larger and
better equipt vessels. So says Arnor, the earls' skald : —
"At Helganes — so goes the tale — When twilight fell he urged the flght.
The brave wolf-feeder, under sail. Close combat — man to man all night ;
Made many an ocean-elk' his prey. Through a long harvest night's dark
Seized many a ship ere break of day. hours,
Down poured the battle's iron
The battle was very hot, and as night advanced the fall
of men was great. King Magnus, during the wdiole night,
threw hand-spears. Thiodolf speaks of this : —
"And there at Helganes sunk down. The Norsemen's king let fly his
Sore wounded, men of great re- spears,
nown ; His death-wounds adding to their
And Svein's retainers lost all heart, fears :
Ducking before the flying dart. For each spear-blade was wet all
igjj. T Up to the shaft in their life-gore."
SAGA OF MAGNUS THE GOOD
To make a short tale, King- Magnus won the victory
ill this battle, and Svein fled. His ship was cleared of men
from stem to stern ; and it went so on board many others
of his ships. So says Thiodolf : —
"Earl Svein fled from the empty
His lonely ship an unmann'd wreck ;
M:iguut5 the Good, the people's friend.
Pressed to the death ou the false
And Arnor says : —
"The cutters of Bjorn's own brother
Soon changed their owner for
Iliiciter,' the sword his father bore,
Was edge and point, ataiucd red
with gore :
Swords sprinkle blood o'er armour
When kings for land and power
The king took them and all their
The crews, however, got off clear."
A great number of Svein's men fell, and King Magnus
and his men had a vast booty to divide. So says Thio-
"Where the Norsemen the Danish
A Gautland shield and breast-plate
Fell to my share of spoil by lot :
And something more i' the south I
(There all the summer swords were
A helm, gay arms, and gear worth
Home to my quiet lovely one
I sent — with news how we had won."
Svein fled up to Scania with all the men who escaped
with him; and King ]\Iagnus and his i>eople drove the
fugitives up through the country without meeting any
opposition either from Svein's men or the bondes. So
says Thiodolf : —
A foray through the land he
Denmark in every quarter shakes.
Up liill and down the horses scour.
Carrying the Danes from Norse-
"Olaf's brave son then gave com-
All his ships' crews should quickly
King Magnus, marching at their
A noble band of warriors led.
King Magnus drove with fire and sword through the
land. So says Thiodolf : —
'This was the name of Saint Olaf's sword, which Magnus h»d
recovered. — L.
"And now the Norsemen storm To Lund, o'er Scania's peaceful
Following their banner in a throng : My shoulder bore my useless shield :
King Magnus' banner Hanies on high, A fairer land, a better road,
A star to guide our roaming by. As friend or foe, I never trod."
They began to burn the habitations all around, and the
people fled on every side. So says Thiodolf :—
"Our ioe-cold iron in great store, Red flashing over half the sky ;
()ur arms, beside the king we bore: The blazing town flings forth its
The Scauian rogues fly at the view light,
Of men and steel all sharp and true. Lighting the cowards on their flight."
Their timbered houses flame ou
And he also sang: —
"The king o'er all the Danish land "Across Fiona's moor again.
Roams, with his fire-bringing baud : The paths late trodden by our men
The house, the hut, the farm, the We tread once more, until quite near,
town. Through morning mist, the foes ap-
All where men dwelt is burned down. pear.
O'er Denmark's plains and corn- Then up our numerous banners flare
fields. In the cold early morning air ;
Meadows and moors, are seen our And they from Magnus' power who
shields : fly
■Victorious over all, we chase Cannot his quick war-work deny."
Svein's wounded men from place to
Then Svein fled eastwards along Scania, and, King
Magnus returned to his ships, and. steered eastwards also
along the Scanian coast, having got ready with the great-
est haste to sail. Thiodolf sings thus about it : —
"No drink but the salt sea Hard work on the salt sea.
On board our ships had we. Off Scania's coast, had we ;
When, following our king, Hut we laboured lor the king,
On board our ships we spring. To his foemen death to bring."
Svein fled to Gautland, and then sought refuge with
the Swedish king, with whom he remained all winter
(1046), and was treated with great respect.
35. — OF KING Magnus's campaign.
When King Magnus had subdued Scania he turned
about, and first went to Falster, where he landed, plun-
SAGA or MAG,\US THE GOUU
dered, and killed many peoj)le who had before sulnnilled
to Svein. Arnor speaks of this: —
"A bloody vengeance for their guile The battle-fleld Is coverod o'er.
King Magnus takes on Falster Isle ; With eagle's prey from shore to
The treacherous Danes his fury feel, shore ;
And fall before his purpled steel. And the king's courtmen were the
To quench with blood the raven's
Thereafter Magnus with his fleet ])roceedcd to the isle
of Fyen, went on land, plundered, and made great devas-
tation. So says Arnor, the earls' skald : —
"To fair Fiona's grassy shore He will be long remembered there.
His banner now again he bore: The warrior in his twentieth year.
He who the mail-shirt's linked chains Whom their black ravens from afar
Severs, and all its lustre stains, — Saluted as he went to war."
36. — OF KING Magnus's battles.
King Magnus remained in Denmark all that winter
(104G), and sat in peace. He had held many battles, and
had gained the victory in all. So says Od Kikinaskald : —
•"Fore Michaelmas was struck the Short before Yule fell out the day.
blow Southward of Aros, where the fray,
That laid the Vindlaind vikings low ; Though not enough the foe to quell.
And people learned with joy to hear Was of the bloodiest men can tell."
The clang of arms, and leaders' cheer.
And Arnor says : —
"Olaf's avenger who can sing? Four battles won within a year, —
The skald cannot o'ertake the king. Breaker of shields! with sword and
Who makes the war-bird daily drain spear.
The corpse-blood of his foemen slain. And hand to hand, exalt thy fame
Above the kings of greatest name."
King Magnus had three battles with Svein Ulfson. So
says Thiodolf : —
"To our brave Throndhjem sover- After three battles to regain
eign's praise What was his own, unjustly ta'en.
The skald may all his skaldcraft Unjustly kept, and dues denied,
raise ; He levied dues iu red-blood dyed. "
For fortune, and for daring deed.
His song will not the truth exceed.
37. — OF KING MAGNUS, AND THORFIN AND RAGNVALD,
EARLS OF ORKNEY.
While King Magnus the Good, a son of King Olaf the
Saint, ruled over Norway, as before related, the Earl
Ragnvald Brusason lived with him. Earl Thorfin Sig^ird-
son, the uncle of Ragnvald, ruled then over Orkney. King
]Magnus sent Ragnvald west to Orkney, and ordered that
Thorfin should let him have his father's heritage. Thorfin
let Ragnvald have a third part of the land along with him ;
for so had Bruse, the father of Ragnvald, had it at his
dying day. Earl Thorfin was married to Ingebjorg, the
earl-mother, who was a daughter of Fin Arnason. Earl
Ragnvald thought he should have two-thirds of the land,
as Olaf the Saint had promised to his father Bruse, and
as Bruse had enjoyed as long as Olaf lived. This was the
origin of a great strife between these relations, concern-
ing which we have a long saga. They had a great battle
in Pentland Firth, in which Kalf Arnason was with Earl
Thorfin. So says Bjarne Gullbrarskald : —
"Thy cutters, dashing through the Kalf, thou art fond of warlike toil,
tide. Gay in the strife and bloody broil ;
Brought aid to Earl Thorfln's side. But here 'twas hate made thee con-
Fin's son-in-law, and people say tend
Thy aid made Bruse's son give way. Against Earl Ragnvald, the king's
38. — OF KING Magnus's letter to England.
King Magnus ruled then both over Denmark and Nor-
way ; and when he had got possession of the Danish do-
minions he sent ambassadors over to England to King Ed-
ward, who brought to him King Magnus's letter and seal.
And in this letter there stood, along with a salutation from
SAG.} or MAGNUS THE GOOD
King Magnus, these words: — "Yc must have licard of
the agreement which I and Hard.Hknut made, — that he of
us two who survived the other should ha\c all the land
and people which the deceased had possessed. Now it has
so turned out, as ye have no douht heard, that I have taken
the Danish dominions as my heritage after Hardaknut.
But before he departed this life he had England as well
as Denmark; therefore I consider myself now, in conse-
quence of my rights by this agreement, to own England
also. Now I will therefore that thou deliver to me the
kingdom; otherwise I will seek to take it by arms, lK:)th
from Denmark and Norway; and let him rule the land to
whom fate gives the victory."
39. — KING Edward's answer to king magnus's letter.
Now when King Edward had read this letter, he replied
thus: "It is known to all men in this country that King
Ethelred, my father, w^as udal-born to this kingdom, both
after the old and new law of inheritance. We were four
sons after him ; and when he by death left the throne my
brother Edmund took the government and kingdom ; for
he was the oldest of us brothers, and I was well satisfied
that it was so. And after him my stepfather, Canute the
Great, took the kingdom, and as long as he lived there was
no access to it. After him my brother Harald was king
as long as he lived; and after him my brother Hardaknut
took the kingdoms both of Denmark and England ; for he
thought that a just brotherly division that he should have
both England and Denmark, and that I should have no
kinj^dom at all. Now he died, and then it was the resolu-
tion of all the people of the country to take me for king
here in England. So long as I had no kingly title I served
my superiors in all respects, like those who had no claims
by birth to land or kingdom. Now, however, I have re-
ceived the kingly title, and am consecrated king. I have
established my royal dignity and authority, as my father
before me; and while I live I will not renounce my title.
If King Magnus come here with an army, I will gather
no army against him ; but he shall only get the opportunity
of taking England when he has taken my life. Tell him
these Vvords of mine." The ambassadors went back to King
Magnus, and told him the answer to their message. King
Magnus reflected a while, and answered thus : "I think
it wisest, and will succeed best, to let King Edward have
his kingdom in peace for me, and that I keep the kingdoms
God has put into my hands."
SAGA OF HARALD HARDRADE.
Harald, son of Sigurd Syr, was born in the year 1015, and left
Norway 1030. He was called Hardrade, that is, the severe coun-
sellor, the tyrant, though the Icelanders never applied this epi-
thet to hlra. ITarald helped the Icelanders in the famine of
1056, and sent them limber for a church at Thingvol. It was
the Norwegians who gave him the name tyrant in contrast to
tlje debonnairetc of Magnus. He came to Norway in lO-lfi, and
became sole king in 1047. He died in 1066. and his son and
successor Magnus died in 1069.
His saga is to be compared with Agrip, Fagrskinna. and Mor-
The skalds quoted are: Thioldolf, Bolverk, Illuge Bryndala-
skald, Stuf the skald, Thorarin Skeggjason, Valgard o' Val, Od
Kikinaskald, Grane Skald, Thorleik the Fair, Stein Herdison.
Ulf the Marshal, Arnor the earls' skald, Thorkel Skallason, and
King Harald Hardrade himself.
1. HARALD ESCAPES FROM THE BATTLE OF STIKLESTAD.
Harald, son of Sigurd Syr, brother of Olaf the Saint,
by the same mother, was at the battle of Stiklestad. and
v.as fifteen years old when King Olaf the Saint fell, as was
before related. Harald was woimded, and escaped with
other fugitives. So says Thiodolf : —
"At HauK the fire-sparks from his Bulgaria's ronquoror. I ween,
shield Had scarcelv fifteen winters seen.
Flew round the king's head on the When from hs murdered brother a
As blow 'for blow, for Olafs sake. His unhelmed head he had to hide."
His sword and shield would give
Ragnvald Brusason led Harald from the battle, and the
night after the fray took him to a bonrle who ihvelt m a
forest far from other j:>e(^ple. The peasant received
Harald, and kept him concealed; and Harald was wailed
upon until he was quite cured of his wounds. Then the
bonde's son attended him on the way east over the ridge
of the land, and they went by all the forest paths they
could, avoiding the common road. The bonde's son did
not know who it was he was attending; and as they were
riding together between two uninhabited forests, Harald
made these verses : —
"My wounds were bleeding as I rode ; From wood to wood T crept along,
And down below the bondes strodo, Unnoticed by the bonde-throng ;
Killing the wounded with the sword, 'Who knows,' I thought, 'a day may
The followers of their rightful lord. come
My name will yet be great at
He went eastward over the ridge through Jamtaland
and Helsingjaland, and came to Svithjod, where he found
Ragnvald Brusason, and many others of King Olaf's men
who had fled from the battle at Stiklestad, and they re-
mained there till winter was over.
2. HARALD's journey to CONSTANTINOPLE.
The spring after (1031) Harald and Ragnvald got
ships, and went east in summer to Russia to King Jaris-
leif, and were with him all the following winter. So says
the skald Bolverk : —
"The lung's sharp sword lies clean Our brave king is to Russia gone, —
and bright, Braver than he on earth there's
Prepared in foreign lands to fight : none :
Our ravens croak to have their fill. His sharp sword will carve many a
The wolf howls from the distant hill. feast
To wolf and raven in the East."
King Jarisleif gave Harald and Ragnvald a kind recep-
tion, and made Harald and Eilif, the son of Earl Ragn-
SAGA or HARALD IIARDRADE
vald, chiefs over the land-defence men of the kinc^. So
says Thiodolf : —
"Whpre Ellif was, one heart and The oastorn VIndland men they
The two chiefs had in their com- Into a corner: and they move
mand : The LcBlans, although ill at pane.
In wedge or line their battle order To take the laws their conquerors
Was ranged by both without dis- please."
Harald remained several years in Russia, and travelled
far and wide in the Eastern land. Then he bej^^an his ex-
pedition out to Greece, and had a great suite of men with
him ; and on he went to Constantinople. So says Rol-
verk : —
"Before the cold sea-cnrlinK blast The king saw plancinc o'er the bow
The cutter from the land flew past. Constantinople's nielal clow
Mer black yards swinging to and fro, From tower and roof, and painted
Her shield-hung gunwale dipping sails
low. Gliding past towns and wooded
3. — OF HARALD.
At that time the Greek empire was ruled by the Em-
press Zoe the Great, and with her Michael Catalactus.
Now when Harald came to Constantinople he presented
himself to the empress, and went into her pay; and im-
mediately, in autumn, went on board the galleys manned
with troops which went out to the Greek sea. llarald had
his own men along with him. Now Harald had been but
• a short time in the army before all the \'arings flocked
to him, and they all joined together when there was a
battle. It thus came to pass that Harald was made chief
of the Yarings. There was a chief over all the troops
who was called Gyrger, and who was a relation of the
empress. Gyrger and Harald went round among all the
Greek islands, and fought much against the corsairs.
4. OF IIARALD AND GYRGER CASTING LOTS.
It happened once that Gyrger and the Varings were
going through the country, and they resolved to take their
night quarters in a wood ; and as the Varings came first
to the ground, they chose the place which was best for
pitching their tents upon, which was the highest ground ;
for it is the nature of the land there to be soft when rain
falls, and therefore it is bad to choose a low situation for
your tents. Now when Gyrger, the chief of the army,
came up, and saw where the Varings had set up their
tents, he told them to remove, and pitch their tents else-
where, saying he would himself pitch his tents on their
ground. Harald replies, "If ye come first to the night
quarter, ye take up your ground, and we must go pitch
our tents at some other place where we best can. Now do
ye so, in the same way, and find a place where ye will. It
is, I think, the privilege of us Varings here in the domin-
ions of the Greek emperor to be free, and independent of
all but their own commanders, and bound onl)' to serve
the emperor and empress." They disputed long and hotly
about this, and both sides armed themselves, and were
on the way to fight for it ; but men of understanding came
between and separated them. They said it would l^e better
to come to an agreement about such questions, so that
in future no dispute could arise. It came thus to an arbi-
tration between them, at which the best and most saga-
cious men should give their judgment in the case. At this
arbitration it was determined, with the consent of all par-
ties, that lots should be thrown into a box, and the Greeks
and Varings should draw which was first to ride, or to