inp- for a while, so that the tables were not removed.
Thorarin went out to the priest who had the church under
his care, and gave him two marks of silver to ring in the
Sabbath as soon as the king's table was taken away. When
the king had drunk as much as he wished the tables were
removed. Then said the king, that it was now time for
the slaves to go to the murderer and put him to death. In
the same moment the bell rang in the Sabbath.
Then Thorarin went before the king, and said, "The
Sabbath-peace this man must have, although he has done
The king said, "Do thou take care, Thorarin, that he
do not escape."
The king then went to the church, and attended the
vesper service, and Thorarin sat the whole day with
Asbjom. On Sunday the bishop visited Asbjorn, con-
fessed him, and gave him orders to hear high mass.
Thorarin then went to the king, and asked him to appoint
men to guard the murderer. "I will now," he said, "be
free of this charge." The king thanked him for his care,
and ordered men to watch over Asbjorn who w'as again
laid in chains. When the people went to high mass
Asbjorn was led to the church, and he stood outside of
the church with his guard ; but the king and all the people
stood in the church at mass.
127. — ERI^ING^S RECDNCIUATION WITH KING OEAF.
Now we must again take up our story where we left it,
— that Erling and his son Skjalg held a council on this
affair, and according to the resolution of Erling, and of
Skjalg and his other sons, it was determined to assemble
a force and send out message-tokens. A great multitude
of people accordingly came together. They got ready
with all speed, rigged their ships, and when they reck-
oned upon their force they found they had nearly 1500
men. With this war-force they set off, and came on Sun-
day to Augvaldsnes on Karmt Island. They went straight
up to the house with all the men, and arrived just as the
Scripture lesson was read. They went directly to the
church, took Asbjorn. and broke off his chains. At the
tumult and clash of arms all who were outside of the
SAGA OF OLAF IIARALDSON
church ran into it ; but they who were in the church looked
all towards them, except the king^, wdio stood still, with-
out looking around him. Erling and his sons drew up
their men on each side of the path which led from the
church to the hall, and Erling with his sons stood next to
the hall. When high mass was finished the king went
immediately out of the church, and first went through the
open space between the ranks drawn up, and then his
retinue, man by man ; and as he came to the door Erling
placed himself before the door, bowed to the king, and
saluted hin>. The king saluted him in return, and prayed
God to help him. Erling took up the word first, and said,
"My relation, Asbjorn, it is reported to me, has been
guilty of misdemeanor, king; and it is a great one, if he
has done anything that incurs your displeasure. Now I
am come to entreat for him peace, and such penalties as
you yourself may determine; but that thereby he redeem
life and limb, and his remaining here in his native land."
The king replies, "It appears to me, Erling, that thou
thinkest the case of Asbjorn is now in thy own power, and
I do not therefore know why thou speakest now as if thou
wouldst offer terms for him. I think thou hast drawn
together these forces because thou are determined to settle
wliat is between us."
Erling replies, "Thou only, king, shalt determine, and
determine so that we shall l:>e reconciled."
The king : "Thinkest thou. Erling, to make me afraid ?
and art thou come here in such force with that expecta-
tion? No, that shall not be; and if that be thy thought, I
must in no way turn and fly."
Erling replies. "Thou hast no occasion to reminrl m^
how often I have come to meet thee with fewer men than
thou hadst. But now I shall not conceal what lies in my
mind, namely, that it is my will that we now enter into a
reconciliation ; for otherwise I expect we shall never meet
again." Erling was then as red as blood in the face.
Now Bishop Sigurd came forward to the king and said,
"Sire, I entreat you on God Almighty's account to be rec-
onciled with Erling according to his offer, — that the man
shall retain life and limb, but that thou shalt determine
according to thy pleasure all the other conditions."
The king replies, "You will determine."
Then said the bishop, "Erling, do thou give security
for Asbjorn, such as the king thinks sufificient, and then
leave the conditions to the mercy of the king, and leave
all in his power."
Erling gave a surety to the king on his part, which he
Thereupon Asbjorn received his life and safety, and
delivered himself into the king's power, and kissed his
Erling then withdrew with his forces, without exchang-
ing salutation with the king; and the king went into the
hall, followed by Asbjorn. The king thereafter made
known the terms of reconciliation to be these: — "In the
first place, Asbjorn, thou must submit to the law of the
land, which commands that the man who kills a serv^ant
of the king must undertake his. service, if the kingf will.
Now I will that thou shalt undertake the office of bailiff
which ThorerSel had, and manage my estate here in Aug-
SAGA or OLAF IIARALDSON
valdsnes. ■ Asbjorn replies, that it should he according
to the King's wii'i ; "hut 1 must first go home to my farm,
and put things in oider tliere." The king was satisfied
with liiis, and proceeded to another guest-quarter.
Asbjorn made hnnself ready with his comrades, who all
kept themselves concealed in a quiet creek during the time
Asbjorn was away from them. They had had their spies
out to learn how it went with him, and would not depart
without having some certain news of him.
128. OF TIIORER HUND AND ASBJORN SEI/SBANi;.
Asbjorn then set out on his voyage, and about spring
(1023) got home to his farm. After this exploit he
was always called Asbjorn Selsbane. Asbjorn had not
been long at home before he and his relation Thorer met
and conversed together, and Thorer asked Asbjorn par-
ticularly all about his journey, and about all the circum-
stances which had happened on the course of it. Asbjorn
told everything as it had taken place.
Then said Thorer, "Thou thinkest that thou hast well
rubbed out the disgrace of having been plundered in last
"I think so," replies Asbjorn; "and what is thy opinion,
"That I will soon tell thee," said Thorer. "Thy first
expedition to the south of the country was indeed very
disgraceful, and that disgrace has been redeemed ; but this
expedition is both a disgrace to thee and to thy family, if
it end in thy becoming the king's slave, and being put on
a footing- witli that worst of men. Thorer Sel. Show that
thou art manly enough to sit here on thy own property.
and we thy relations shall so support thee that thou wilt
never more come into such trouble."
Asbjorn found this advic&much to his mind ; and before
thev parted it was firmly* determined that Asbjorn should
remain on his farm, and not go back to the king or enter
into his service. And he did so, and sat quietly at home
on his farm.
129 KixG OLAF BAPTIZES IN VORS AND VALDERS.
After King Olaf and Erling Skjalgson had this meet-
ing at Augvaldsnes, new differences arose between
them, and increased so much that they ended in perfect
enmity. In spring (1023) the king proceeded to guest-
quarters in Hordaland, and went up also to Vors, because
he heard there was but little of the true faith among the
people there. He held a Thing wnth the bondes at a place
called Vang, and a number of bondes came to it fully
armed. The king ordered them to adopt Christianity;
but they challenged him to battle, and it proceeded so far
that the men were drawn up on both sides. But when it
came to the point such a fear entered into the blood of the
l)ondes that none would advance or command, and they
chose the part which was most to their advantage; namely,
to ol^ey the king and receive Christianity; and before the
king left them they were all baptized. One day it hap-
pened that the king was riding on his way a singing of
psalms, and when he came right opposite some hills he
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
hailed and said, "Man after man shall relate these my
words, that I think it not advisable for any king of Nor-
way to travel hereafter between these hills." And it is
a saying- among the people that the most kings since that
time have avoided it. The king proceeded to Ostrarfjord,
luul came to his ships, with which he went north to Sogn,
and had his living in guest-cjuarters there in summer
(102o) ; when autumn approached he turned in towards
the Fjord district, and went from thence to Valders, where
the people were still heathen. The king hastened up to
the lake in Valders, came unexpectedly on the bondes,
seized their vessels, and went on board of them with all
his men. He then sent out message-tokens, and
appointed a Thing so near the lake that he could use the
vessels if he found he required them. The bondes resorted
to the Thing in a great and well-armed host; and when
he commanded them to accept Christianity the bondes
shouted against him, told him to be silent, and made a
great uproar and clashing of weapons. But when the
king saw that they would not listen to what he would
teach them, and also that they had too great a force to
contend with, he turned his discourse, and asked if there
were people at the Thing wdio had disputes with each
other which thcv wished him to settle. It was soon found
by the conversation of the bondes that they had many
quarrels among themselves, although they had all joined
in speaking against Christianity. When the bondes began
to set forth their own cases, each endeavored to get some
upon his side to support him; and this lasted the whole
day long until evening, when the Thing was concluded.
When the bondes had heard that the king had travelled
to Valders. and was come into their neighborhood, they
had sent out message-tokens summoning the free and the
unfree to meet in arms, and with this force they had
advanced against the king ; so that the neighbourhood all
around was left without people. When the Thing was
concluded the bondes still remained assembled ; and when
the king observed this he went on board his ships, rowed
in the night right across the water, landed in the country
there, and began to plunder and burn. The day after the
king's men rowed from one point of land to another, and
over all the king ordered the habitations to be set on fire.
Now when the bondes wdio were assembled saw what
the king w-as doing, namely, plundering and burning, and
saw the smoke and flame of their houses, they dispersed,
and each hastened to his own home to see if he could find
those he had left. As soon as there came a dispersion
among the crowd, the one slipped away after the other,
until the whole multitude was dissolved. Then the king
rowed across the lake again, burning also on that side of
the country. Now came the bondes to him begging for
mercy, and offering to submit to him. He gave every
man w'ho came to him peace if he desired it, and restored
to him his goods; and nobody refused to adopt Chris-
tianity. The king then had the people christened, and
tO(jk hostages from the bondes. He ordered churches to
be built and consecrated, and placed teachers in them. He
remained a long time here in autumn, and had his ships
drawn across the neck of land between the two lakes.
The king did not go far from the sides of the lakes into
SAGA OF OLAP HARALDSON
the country, for he did not much trust the bondes. When
the king thought that frost might be expected, he went
further up the country, and came to Thoten. Arnor, the
earl's skald, tells how King Olaf burnt in the Uplands, in
the poem he composed concerning the king's brother King
"Against the Upland people wroth, Who could rot fly
Olaf, to most so mild, went forth: Hung on gallows high.
The houses burning, It was, I think, in Olaf's race
All people mourning ; The Upland people to oppress."
Afterwards King Olaf went north through the valleys
to Dovrefield, and did not halt until he reached the
Throndhjem district and arrived at Nidaros, where he
had ordered winter provision to be collected, and remained
all winter (1024). This was the tenth year of his reign.
130. OF EINAR TAMBASKElvFER.
The summer before Einar Tambaskelfer left the coun-
try, and went westward to England (1023). There he
met his relative Earl Hakon, and stayed some time with
him. He then visited King Canute, from whom he
received great presents. Einar then went south all the
way to Rome, and came back the following summer
(1024), and returned to his house and land. King Olaf
•dnd Einar did not meet this time.
131. — THE BIRTH OF KING MAGNUS.
There was a girl whose name was Alfhild, and who
was usually called the king's slave-woman, although she
was of good descent. She was a remarkably handsome
girl, and lived in King Olafs court. It was reported
this spring that Alfhild was with child, and the king's
confidential friends knew that he was father of the child.
It happened one night that Alfhild was taken ill, and only
few people were at hand; namely, some women, priests,
Sigvat the skald, and a few others. Alfhild was so ill
that she was nearly dead; and when she was delivered of
a man-child, it was some time before they could discover
whether the child was in life. But when the infant drew
breath, altliough very weak, the priest told Sigvat to
hasten to the king, and tell him of the event.
He replies, "I dare not on any account waken the king;
for he has forbid that any man should break his sleep until
he awakens of himself."
The priest replies, "It is of necessity that this child be
immediately baptized, for it appears to me there is but
little life in it."
Sigvat said, "I would rather venture to take upon me
to let thee baptize the child, than to awaken the king; and
I will take it upon myself if anything be amiss, and will
give the child a name."
They did so; and the child was baptized, and got the
name of Magnus. The next morning, when the king
awoke and had dressed himself, the circumstance was
told him. He ordered Sigvat to be called, and said, "How
earnest thou to be so bold as to have my child baptized
before I knew anything alx)ut it?"
Sigvat replies, "Because I would rather give two men
to God than one to the devil."
The king — "What meanest thou?"
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
Sigvat — "The child was near death, and must have
been the devil's if it had died as a heathen, and now it is
God's. And 1 knew besides that if thou shouldst be so
angry on this account that it affected my life, I would be
The king asked, "But why didst thou call him Magnus,
which is not a name of our race?"
Sigvat — "I called him after King Carl Magnus, who, I
knew, had been the best man in the world."
Then said the king, "Thou art a very lucky man,
Sigvat; but it is not wonderful that luck should accom-
pany understanding. It is only wonderful how it some-
times happens that luck attends ignorant men, and that
foolish counsel turns out lucky." The king was over-
joyed at the circumstance. The boy grew up, and gave
good promise as he advanced in age.
132. THE MURDER OE ASBJORN SELSBANE.
The same spring (1024) the king gave into the hands
of Asmund Grankelson the half of the sheriffdom of the
district of Halogaland, which Harek of Thjotta had for-
merly held, partly in fief, partly for defraying the king's
entertainment in guest-quarters. Asmund had a ship
manned with nearly thirty well-armed men. \\''hen
Asmund came north he met Harek, and told him what
the king had determined wnth regard to the district, and
produced to him the tokens of the king's full powers.
Harek said, "The king had the right to give the sheriff-
dom to whom he pleased ; but the former sovereigns had
not been in use to diminish our rights who are entitled by
l)irth to hold powers from the king, and to give them into
the hands of the peasants who never before held such
offices." But although it was evident that it was against
Harek's inclination, he allowed Asmund to take the
sheriffdom according to the king's order. Then Asmund
proceeded home to his father, stayed there a short time,
and then went north to Halogaland to his sheriffdom; and
he came north to Langey Island, where there dwelt two
brothers called Gunstein and Karle, both very rich and
respectable men. Gunstein, the eldest of the brothers, was
a gO(xI husbandman. Karle was a handsome man in
appearance, and splendid in his dress; and both were, in
many respects, expert in all feats. Asmund was well
received by them, remained with them a while, and col-
lected such revenues of his sheriffdom as he could get.
Karle spoke with Asmund of his wish to go south with
him and take service in the court of King Olaf, to which
Asmund encouraged him much, promising his influence
with the king for obtaining for Karle such a situation as
he desired ; and Karle accordingly accompanied Asmund.
Asmund heard that Asbjorn,who had killed Thorer Sel,
had gone to the market-meeting of Vagar with a large
ship of burden manned with nearly twenty men, and that
he was now expected from the south. Asmund and his
retinue proceeded on their way southwards along the
coast with a contrary wind, but there was little of it.
They saw some of the fleet for Vagar sailing towards
them ; and they privately inquired of them alx5ut Asbjorn,
and were told he was upon the way coming from the
SAGA OF OLAF HARALDSON
south. Asniuncl and Karle were bedfellows, and excel-
lent friends. One day, as Asmund and his people were
rowing through a sound, a ship of burden came sailing
towards them. The ship was easily known, having high
bulwarks, was painted with white and red colours, and
coloured cloth was w^oven in the sail. Karle said to
Asmund, "Thou hast often said thou w^ast curious to see
Asbjorn wdio killed Thorer Sel ; and if I know one ship
from another, that is his which is coming sailing along."
Asmund replies, *'Be so good, comrade, and tell me
which is he when thou seest him."
When the ships came alongside of each other, "That
is Asbjorn," said Karle; "the man sitting at the helm in a
Asmund replies, "I shall make his blue cloak red ;"
threw a spear at Asbjorn, and hit him in the middle of the
body, so that it flew through and through him, and stuck
fast in the upper part of the stern-post; and Asbjorn fell
dow^n dead from the helm. Then each vessel sailed on its
course, and Asbjorn's body w-as carried north to Thran-
darnes. Then Sigrid sent a message to Bjarkey Isle to
Thorer Hund, who came to her while they were, in the
usual way, dressing the corpse of Asbjorn, When he
returned Sigrid gave presents to all her friends, and fol-
lowed Thorer to his ship ; but before they parted she said,
"It has so fallen out, Thorer, that my son has suffered by
thy frieudly counsel, but he did not retain life to reward
thee for it; but although I have not his ability yet will I
show my good will. Here is a gift I give thee, which I
expect thou wilt use. Here is the spear which weiit
through Asbjorn my son, and there is still blood upon it,
to remind thee that it fits the wound thou hast seen on the
corpse of thy brother's son Asbjorn. It would be a manly
deed, if thou shouldst throw this spear from thy hand so
that it stood in Olaf 's breast ; and this I can tell thee, that
thou wilt be named coward in every man's mouth, if thou
dost not avenge Asbjom." Thereupon she turned about,
and went her way.
Thorer was so enraged at her words that he could not
speak. He neither thought of casting the spear from him,
nor took notice of the gangway ; so that he would have
fallen into the sea, if his men had not laid hold of him as
he was going on board his ship. It was a feathered spear ;
not large, but the handle was gold-mounted. Now Thorer
rowed away with his people, and went home to Bjarkey
Isle. Asmund and his companions also proceeded on their
way until they came south to Throndhjem, Vvhere they
waited on King Olaf; and Asmund related to the king all
that had happened on the voyage. Karle became one of
the king's court-men, and the friendship continued be-
tween him and Asmund. They did not keep secret the
words that had passed between Asmund and Karle before
Asbjorn was killed ; for they even told them to the king.
But then it happened, according to the proverb, that every
one has a friend in the midst of his enemies. There were
some present who took notice of the words, and they
reached Thorer Hund's ears.
133. OF KING OIvAF.
When spring (1024) was advanced King Okf rigged
SAGA OF OLAP IIARALDSON
out his ships, and sailed sontliwards in summer along the
land. He held 'I'hings with the hondes on the way, set-
tled the law business of the people, put to rij^hts the faith
of the country, and collected the king's taxes wherever he
came. In autumn he proceeded south to the frontier of
the country; and King Olaf had now made the people
Christians in all the great districts, and everywdiere, by
laws, had introduced order into the country. He had also,
as before related, brought the Orkney Islands under his
power, and by messages had made many friends in Ice-
land. Greenland, and the Farey Islands. King Olaf had
sent timber for building a clnuxh to Iceland, of which a
church was built upon the Thing-field where the General
Thing is held, and had sent a bell for it, which is still
there. This was after the Iceland people had altered
their law^s, and introduced Christianity, according to the
word King Olaf had sent them. After that time, many
considerable persons came from Iceland, and entered into
King Olaf's service; as Thorkel Eyjolfson, and Thorleif
Bollason, Thord Koll>einson. Thord Barkarson, Thorgeir
Havarson, Thormod Kalbrunar-skald. King Olaf had
sent many friendly presents to chief people in Iceland ; and
they in return sent him such things as they had which they
thought most acceptable. Under this show of friendship
which the king gave Iceland were concealed many things
which afterwards appeared.
134. — KING olaf's message TO ICELAND, AND THE COUN-
SELS OF THE ICELANDERS.
King Olaf this summer (10:M) sent Thorarin Nefiulf-
son to Iceland on his errands ; and Thorarin went out of
Throndlijeni fjord along with the king, and followed him
south to More. From thence Thorarin went out to sea,
and got such a favourable breeze that after four days' sail
he landed at the W'estman Isles, in Iceland. He pro-
ceeded immediately to the Althing, and came just as the
pci^ple were upon the Lawhillock, to which he repaired.
When the cases of the people before the Thing had been
determined according to law, Thorarin Nefiulfson took up
the word as follows : — "We parted four days ago from
King Olaf Haraldson, who sends God Almighty's and
his own salutation to all the chiefs and principal men of
the land ; as also to all the people in general, men and
women, young and old, rich and poor. He also lets you
know that he will be your sovereign if ye will become his
subjects, so that he and you will be friends, assisting each
other in all that is good."
The people replied in a friendly way, that they would
gladly be the king's friends, if he would be a friend of
the people of their country.
Then Thorarin again took up the word : — "This fol-
lows in addition to the king's message, that he will in
friendship desire of the people of the north district that
they give him the island, or out-rock, which lies at the
mouth of Eyfjord, and is called Grimsey, for which he
will give you from his country whatever good the people
of the district may desire. He sends this message partic-
ularly to Gudmund of ModruvelUr to support this matter,
because he understands that Gudmund has most influence
in that quarter."
SAGA OF OLAF IIARALDSON
GudniLiiid replies, "I\Iy inclination is greatly for King
Olaf's friendship, and that I consider much more useful
than the out-rock he desires. But the king has not heard
rightly if he think I have more power in this matter than
any other, for the island is a common. We, however,
who have the most use of the isle, will hold a meeting