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Readers also enjoyed. About Michael F. Also he bade me choose what men I would for her crew, bidding me thank him not at all, for I was his foster son, and a king by birth moreover. So when I knew that this would please him, I chose Thord for my shipmaster, and Kolgrim for marshal, as we call the one who has charge of the ordering of the crew. And I chose a hundred good men whom I knew well, so that indeed I had the best ship and following in Norway, as I thought.

At least there were none better, unless Harald Fairhair might match me. Now there was one thing that pleased me not at this time, and that was that Kolgrim, my comrade, never called me aught but "master" since I came from Sigurd's presence--which is not the wont of our free Norsemen with any man. Nor would he change it, though I was angry, until I grew used to it in time. Little comradeship was mine to you on that day, and I am minded to make amends if I can. I think I may dare aught against living men for you, though I failed at that mound.

I will give life for you, if I may. I told him that what he had done was well done, and indeed he had had courage to go where none else had dared; for I had ties of friendship that made me bold to meet Jarl Sigurd, and might go therefore where he might not. It was well that he did not come into the presence of the dead. So I must let him have his way, but he could not make me think of him as aught but a good and brave comrade whom I loved well. They hailed me as king when I went on board my ship for the first time with my own men, as I have said. Then our best weapon smith asked for gold from the men, and they gave what they had--it was in plenty with us of Einar's following--and made a golden circlet round my helm, that they might see it and follow it in battle.

It was good to wear the crown thus given willingly, but in the end it sent me from north to south, as will be seen.

Timeline: 757-803

That, however, is a matter with which I will not quarrel, for it sent me to Alfred the king. We had left the firth two days, cruising slowly northward, when one ship came from the north and met us, not flying from our fleet, but bearing up to join us. And when she was close, there came a hail to tell Einar that she bore a messenger from Harald the king in peace, and presently we hove to while this messenger went on board the Jarl's ship. Then it seemed that Einar had been right, and that Harald would lay a fine on the islands for Halfdan's slaying, and so give them back to Einar to hold for him.

The messenger was Thiodolf, Harald's own scald, and he put the matter very plainly before the jarl, so that he thought well of the offer, but would nevertheless not trust himself in the king's power before all was certain, and confirmed by oath. Whereon Thiodolf said that one must see the king on the Jarl's part, and so I seemed the right man to go, as the jarl's foster son and next in command to him. So I took the Jarl's cutter, manning her with enough men of my own crew; and Kolgrim came with me, and we sailed to Kirkwall in company with Thiodolf the scald.

Then when Thiodolf took me into his presence, I saw Harald Fairhair for the first time, as he sat to receive Einar's messenger in the great hall that Sigurd had built and which we had dwelt in. Then I thought that never before could have been one more like a king. Hereafter, when sagamen will sing of a king in some fancied story, they will surely make him like King Harald of Norway.

I myself have little skill to say what he was like beyond this--that never had I seen a more handsome man, nor bigger, nor stronger.

King-like he was in all ways, and his face was bright and pleasant, though it was plain that it would be terrible if he was angry, or with the light of battle upon it. The hair, whence he had his name, was golden bright and shining, and beard and eyebrows were of the same colour. But his eyes were neither grey nor blue altogether, most piercing, seeming to look straight into a man's heart, so that none dared lie to him.

Saxons | Michael F Leggett

I think that it is saying much for King Harald that, though his arms and dress were wonderfully rich and splendid, one cared only to look on his face; and that though many men of worth were on the high place with him, there seemed to be none but he present. When the scald told the king who I was, and what was my errand, with all ceremony, he looked fixedly at me, so that I was ashamed, and grew red under his gaze.

Then he smiled pleasantly, and spoke to me. His voice was as I thought to hear it--clear and steady, and yet deep.

17. Denmark's History - Early Viking Period

It may be that you bear me ill will on his account, but I would have you forget the deeds done that Norway might be one, and the happier therefor. It has not been in my mind that you bade Rognvald slay him as he did. And that Jarl is dead, and the feud is done with therefore.

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Jarl Einar is my foster father, moreover. I did not know why the king thought this, though the reason was at my side; so I only said that my mother had given me to Einar's keeping, and the king said no more at that time about it.

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After that I gave the Jarl's messages, and the king heard them well enough, though it seemed to Einar that the weregild to be paid was over heavy, and he had bidden me tell Harald that it was so. Therefore the king said that he would give me an answer on the morrow, and I went away into the town well pleased with his kindly way with me.

There was a feast made for me that night, and after it I must sit still and hear the scalds sing of the deeds of Harald the king, which was well enough. But then Thiodolf rose up and sang a great saga about the winning of Sigurd's sword, wherein it seemed that I had fought the dead jarl, and bale fires, and I know not what. He had heard strange tales from Einar's men, if they told him all that he sang. Some men may be pleased to hear their own deeds sung of, with more added thus; but I was not used to it, and the turning of all eyes to me made me uncomfortable.

But Harald had paid no sort of heed to what they sang of him, and so I tried to look at my ease, and gave the scald a bracelet when he ended. Now the men shouted when I gave Thiodolf the bracelet, and Harald looked quickly at me. Then I thought that maybe I had overdone the gift, though Einar had ever told me that a good scald deserved good reward, and Thiodolf was well known as the best in Norway. It was a heavy ring, silver gilt, and of good design, that I took from the same viking whose sword I gave to Sigurd.

Then Harald smiled again, and praised Thiodolf also, and I thought no more of the matter. The feast was pleasant enough in the hall, full of Harald's best men and chiefs, though it seemed strange to sit as a guest in Einar's house. Now on the next morning I was to speak with the king about Einar's business, and I went to him unarmed, as was right, save for helm and Sigurd's sword.

He was in the jarl's own chamber, and with him were Thiodolf and a young scald named Harek, who sat with things for writing before him, which was what I had never seen before. We talked for some time, and all went well for peace; but one more message was to go and come between the king and Einar, and so I said I would sail at once.

And Thiodolf and Harek here want to learn more about Sigurd's sword and its winning. But is there no wonder in the tale? So I told him just how the matter was.


And when he heard of the noise, and the stroke with which the ships were smitten, he said, looking troubled, as I thought:. It is passing strange to think on. I would that if one comes to my side he may step gently as you, Ranald Vemundsson. Then he had Kolgrim sent for, and Thord, and they told him truly what they had seen, and how they had fared in the matter.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

If there is peace between you and the jarl, I suppose we are all your men. Now Harald's face was growing black, and I could see that his anger was rising. But he stayed what words he was about to speak, and only said:. He knows my words to Einar his foster father, and I have no more to say.

So we went on board, and I wished that we might go. Yet the king had bidden me stay, and I had no reason for what would be discourteous at least, if it did not look like flight. What the trouble was we could hardly understand. In an hour's time or so I saw Thiodolf and the young scald Harek coming along the wharf and towards our ship, which lay clear of Harald's vessels, and next the harbour mouth. They came over the gang plank, and I welcomed them, but I saw that they had somewhat special to say to me.

No man dares name himself king in Harald's presence--not even his own sons. It is the one thing that he will not bear. But he knows what a sea king is--no king at all, so to speak. He need not grudge the old title. Maybe the portent of the blow that spread from Sigurd's tomb to us has seemed much to him. Already he has two of Einar's best men at his heels. Yet I like him well enough, and I have no fault to find with him, save that he puts a gold circle round his helm and is called king--as he would have been but for me. Go to him, therefore, and tell him to keep out of my way.

I will not have two kings in Norway. But I cannot help what the men call me. The king makes overmuch of the business. I am not foolish enough to try to overturn Harald Fairhair. I rede you get away quickly on the next tide. Five years ago you would not have escaped hence at all. I think you are right.