Back to Heimskringla
First (Paragraph 1 - 20) - Next (Paragraph 41 - 54)
Also called "The Story of the Yngling Family from Odin to Halfdan the Black". Part of the Heimskringla saga. Read that node for explanation. This text is public domain (Written in 1255 AD. The English translation is from 1844, and also public domain.
Part two, paragraph 21 - 40.
21. OF DAG THE WISE.
King Dygve's son, called Dag, succeeded to him, and was so wise a man that he understood the language of birds. He had a sparrow which told him much news, and flew to different countries. Once the sparrow flew to Reidgotaland, to a farm called Varva, where he flew into the peasant's corn-field and took his grain. The peasant came up, took a stone, and killed the sparrow. King Dag
was ill-pleased that the sparrow did not come home; and as he, in a sacrifice of expiation, inquired after the sparrow, he got the answer that it was killed at Varva. Thereupon he ordered a great army, and went to Gotland
; and when he came to Varva he landed with his men and plundered, and the people fled away before him. King Dag returned in the evening to his ships, after having
killed many people and taken many prisoners. As they were going across a river at a place called Skjotan's (the Weapon's) Ford, a labouring thrall came running to the river-side, and threw a hay-fork into their troop. It struck the king on the head, so that he fell instantly from his horse and died. In those times the chief who ravaged a country was called Gram, and the men-at-arms
under him Gramer.
Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
"What news is this that the king's men,
Flying eastward through the glen,
Report? That Dag the Brave
, whose name
Is sounded far and wide by Fame --
That Dag, who knew so well to wield
The battle-axe in bloody field,
Where brave men meet, no more will head
The brave -- that mighty Dag is dead!
"Varva was wasted with the sword,
And vengeance taken for the bird --
The little bird that used to bring
News to the ear of the great king.
Varva was ravaged, and the strife
Was ended, when the monarch's life
Was ended too -- the great Dag fell
By the hay-fork of a base thrall!"
22. OF AGNE, DAG'S SON.
was the name of Dag's son, who was king after him -- a powerful and celebrated man, expert, and exercised in all feats. It happened one summer that King Agne went with his army to Finland
, and landed and marauded
. The Finland people gathered a large army, and proceeded to the strife under a chief called Froste
. There was a great battle, in which King Agne gained the victory, and Froste fell there with a great many of his people. King Agne proceeded with armed hand through Finland, subdued it, and made enormous booty. He took Froste's daughter Skjalv
, and her brother Loge
, and carried them along with him. When he sailed from the east he came to land at Stoksund, and put up his tent on the flat side of the river, where then there was a wood. King Agne had at the time the gold ornament which had belonged to Visbur. He now married Skjalv, and she begged him to make burial feast in honour of her father. He invited a great many guests, and made a great feast. He had become very celebrated by his expedition, and there was a great drinking match. Now when King Agne had got drank, Skjalv bade him take care of his gold ornament which he had about his neck; therefore he took hold of the ornament, and bound it fast about his neck before he went to sleep. The land-tent stood at the wood side, and a high tree over the tent protected it against the heat of the sun. Now when King Agne was asleep, Skjalv took a noose, and fastened it under
the ornament. Thereupon her men threw down the tent-poles, cast the loop of the noose up in the branches of the tree, and hauled upon it, so that the king was hanged close under the branches and died; and Skjalv with her men ran down to their ships, and rowed away. King Agne was buried upon the spot, which was afterwards called Agnefet; and it lies on the east side of the Tauren, and
west of Stoksund.
Thjodolf speaks of it thus: --
"How do ye like the high-souled maid,
Who, with the grim Fate-goddess' aid,
Avenged her sire? -- made Swithiod's king
Through air in golden halter swing?
How do ye like her, Agne's men?
Think ye that any chief again
Will court the fate your chief befell,
To ride on wooden horse
23. OF ALRIC
The sons of Agne were called Alric and Eric, and were kings together after him. They were powerful men, great warriors, and expert at all feats of arms. It was their custom to ride and break in horses both to walk and to gallop, which nobody understood so well as they; and they vied with each other who
could ride best, and keep the best horses. It happened one day that both the brothers rode out together alone, and at a distance from their followers, with their best horses, and rode on to a field; but never came back. The people at last went out to look after them, and they were both found dead with their heads
crushed. As they had no weapons, except it might be their horses' bridles, people believed that they had killed each other with these.
So says Thjodolf: --
"Alric fell, by Eric slain,
Eric's life-blood dyed the plain,
Brother fell by brother's hand;
And they tell it in the land,
That they worked the wicked deed
With the sharp bits that guide the steed.
Shall it be said of Frey's brave sons,
The kingly race, the noble ones,
That they have fought in deadly battle
With the head-gear of their cattle?"
24. OF YNGVE
Alric's sons, Yngve and Alf, then succeeded to the kingly power in Sweden. Yngve was a great warrior, always victorious; handsome, expert in all exercises, strong and very sharp in battle, generous and full of mirth; so that he was both renowned and beloved. Alf was a silent, harsh, unfriendly man, and sat at home in the land, and never went out on war expeditions. His mother was called Dageid, a daughter of King Dag the Great, from whom the Dagling family is descended. King Alf had a wife named Bera, who was the most agreeable of women, very brisk and gay. One autumn Yngve, Alric's son, had arrived at Upsal from a viking cruise by which he was become very celebrated. He often sat long
in the evening at the drinking-table; but Alf went willingly to bed very early. Queen Bera
sat often till late in the evening, and she and Yngve conversed together for their amusement; but Alf soon told her that she should not sit up so late in the evening, but should go first to bed, so as not to waken him. She replied, that happy would be the woman who had Yngve instead of Alf for her husband; and as she often repeated the same, he became very
angry. One evening Alf went into the hall, where Yngve and Bera sat on the high seat speaking to each other. Yngve had a short sword upon his knees, and the guests were so drunk that they did not observe the king coming in. King Alf went straight to the high seat, drew a sword from under his cloak, and pierced his brother Yngve through and through. Yngve leaped up, drew his
short sword, and gave Alf his death-wound; so that both fell dead on the floor. Alf and Yngve were buried under mounds in Fyrisvold.
Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
"I tell you of a horrid thing,
A deed of dreadful note I sing --
How by false Bera, wicked queen,
The murderous brother-hands were seen
Each raised against a brother's life;
How wretched Alf with bloody knife
Yngve's heart, and Yngve's blade
Alf on the bloody threshold laid.
Can men resist Fate's iron laws?
They slew each other without cause."
25. OF HUGLEIK
Hugleik was the name of King Alf's son, who succeeded the two brothers in the kingdom of the Swedes, the sons of Yngve being still children. King Hugleik was no warrior, but sat quietly at home in his country. He was very rich, but had still more the reputation of being very greedy. He had at his court all sorts of players, who played on harps, fiddles, and viols; and had with him magicians, and all sorts of witches. Hake and Hagbard were two brothers, very celebrated as sea-kings, who had a great force of men-at-arms. Sometimes they cruised in company, sometimes each for himself, and many warriors followed them both. King Hake came with his troops to Sweden against King Hugleik, who, on
his side, collected a great army to oppose him. Two brothers came to his assistance, Svipdag and Geigad, both very celebrated men, and powerful combatants. King Hake had about him twelve champions, and among them Starkad the Old; and King Hake himself was a murderous combatant. They met on Fyrisvold, and there was a great battle, in which King Hugleik's army was soon defeated. Then the combatants, Svipdag and Geigad, pressed forward manfully; but Hake's champions went six against one, and they were both taken prisoners. Then King Hake penetrated within the shield-circle around King Hugleik, and killed him and two of his sons within it. After this the Swedes fled; and King Hake subdued the country, and became king of Sweden. He then sat quietly at home for three years, but during that time his combatants went abroad on viking expeditions, and gathered property for themselves.
26. KING GUDLOG
Jorund and Eric, the sons of Yngve Alricsson, lay all this time in their warships, and were great warriors. One summer they marauded in Denmark
, where they met a King Gudlog from Halogaland, and had a battle with him, which ended in their clearing Gudlog's ship and taking him prisoner. They carried him
to the land at Stromones, and hanged him there, and afterwards his men raised a mound over him.
So says Eyvind Skaldaspiller: --
"By the fierce East-kings' cruel pride,
Gudlog must on the wild horse ride --
The wildest horse you e'er did see:
'Tis Sigur's steed -- the gallows tree.
At Stromones the tree did grow,
Where Gudlog's corpse waves on the bough.
A high stone stands on Stromo's heath,
To tell the gallant hero's death."
27. OF KING HAKE.
The brothers Eric and Jorund became more celebrated by this deed, and appeared to be much greater men than before. When they heard that King Hake in Sweden had sent from him his champions, they steered towards Sweden, and gathered together a strong force. As soon as the Swedes heard that the Yngling brothers were come to them, they flocked to them in multitudes. The brothers proceeded
up the Maelare lake, and advanced towards Upsal against King Hake
, who came out against them on the Fyrisvoid with far fewer people. There was a great battle, in which King Hake went forward so bravely that he killed all who were nearest to him, and at last killed King Eric, and cut down the banner of the two
brothers. King Jorund with all his men fled to their ships. King Hake had been so grievously wounded that he saw his days could not be long; so he ordered a warship which he had to be loaded with his dead men and their weapons, and to be taken out to the sea; the tiller to be shipped, and the sails hoisted.
Then he set fire to some tar-wood, and ordered a pile to be made over it in the ship. Hake was almost if not quite dead, when he was laid upon this pile of his. The wind was blowing off the land -- the ship flew, burning in clear flame, out between the islets, and into the ocean. Great was the fame of this deed in after times.
28. JORUND, YNGVE'S SON.
Jorund, King Yngve's son, remained king at Upsal. He ruled the country; but was often in summer out on war expeditions. One summer he went with his forces to Denmark; and having plundered all around in Jutland
, he went into Lymfjord in autumn, and marauded there also. While he was thus lying in Oddesund with his people, King Gylog of Halogaland
, a son of King Gudlog, of whom mention is made before, came up with a great force, and gave battle to Jorund. When the country people saw this they swarmed from all parts towards the battle, in great ships and small; and Jorund was overpowered by the multitude, and his ships cleared of their men. He sprang overboard, but was made prisoner and carried to the land. Gylog ordered a gallows to be erected, led Jorund to it, and had him hanged there. So ended his life.
Thjodolf talks of this event thus: --
"Jorund has travelled far and wide,
But the same horse he must bestride
On which he made brave Gudlog ride.
He too must for a necklace wear
Hagbert's fell noose in middle air.
The army leader thus must ride
On Horva's horse, at Lymfjord's side."
29. OF KING ON, JORUND'S SON.
On or Ane was the name of Jorund's son, who became king of the Swedes after his father. He was a wise man, who made great sacrifices to the gods; but being no warrior, he lived quietly at home. In the time when the kings we have been speaking of were in Upsal, Denmark had been ruled over by Dan Mikellati, who lived to a very great age; then by his son, Frode Mikellati
, or the
Peace-loving, who was succeeded by his sons Halfdan and Fridleif, who were great warriors. Halfdan was older than his brother, and above him in all things. He went with his army against King On to Sweden, and was always victorious. At last King On fled to Wester Gotland when he had been king in Upsal about twenty-five years, and was in Gotland twenty-five years, while Halfdan remained king in Upsal.
King Halfdan died in his bed at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound; and King On returned to Upsal when he was sixty years of age. He made a great sacrifice, and in it offered up his son to Odin. On got an answer from Odin, that he should live sixty years longer; and he was afterwards king in Upsal for twenty-five years. Now came Ole the Bold
, a son of King Fridleif
, with his army to Sweden, against King On, and they had several battles with each other; but Ole was always the victor. Then On fled a second time to Gotland; and for twenty-five years Ole reigned in Upsal, until he was killed by Starkad the Old. After Ole's fall, On returned to Upsal, and ruled the kingdom for twenty-five years. Then he made a great sacrifice again for long life, in which he sacrificed his second son, and received the answer from Odin, that he should live as long as he gave him one of his sons every tenth year, and also that he should name one of the districts of his country after the number of sons he should offer to Odin. When he had sacrificed the seventh of his sons he continued to live; but so that he could not walk, but was carried on a chair. Then he sacrificed his eighth son, and lived thereafter ten years, lying in his bed. Now he sacrificed his ninth son, and lived ten years more; but so that he drank out of a horn like a weaned infant. He had now only one son remaining, whom he also wanted to sacrifice, and to give Odin Upsal and the domains thereunto belonging, under the name of the Ten Lands, but the Swedes would not allow it; so there was no sacrifice, and King On died, and was buried in a
mound at Upsal. Since that time it is called On's sickness when a man dies, without pain, of extreme old age.
Thjodolf tell of this: --
"In Upsal's town the cruel king
Slaughtered his sons at Odin's shrine --
Slaughtered his sons with cruel knife,
To get from Odin length of life.
He lived until he had to turn
His toothless mouth to the deer's horn;
And he who shed his children's blood
Sucked through the ox's horn his food.
At length fell Death has tracked him down,
Slowly, but sure, in Upsal's town."
30. OF EGIL AND TUNNE.
Egil was the name of On the Old's son, who succeeded as king in Sweden after his father's death. He was no warrior, but sat quietly at home. Tunne was the name of a slave who had been the counsellor and treasurer of On the Old; and when On died Tunne took much treasure and buried it in the earth. Now when Egil
became king he put Tunne among the other slaves, which he took very ill and ran away with others of the slaves. They dug up the treasures which Tunne had concealed, and he gave them to his men, and was made their chief. Afterwards many malefactors flocked to him; and they lay out in the woods, but sometimes fell upon the domains, pillaging and killing the people. When King Egil heard
this he went out with his forces to pursue them; but one night when he had taken up his night quarters, Tunne came there with his men, fell on the king's men unexpectedly, and killed many of them. As soon as King Egil perceived the tumult, he prepared for defence, and set up his banner; but many people deserted him, because Tunne and his men attacked them so boldly, and King Egil
saw that nothing was left but to fly. Tunne pursued the fugitives into the forest, and then returned to the inhabited land, ravaging and plundering without resistance. All the goods that fell into Tunne's hands he gave to his people, and thus became popular and strong in men. King Egil assembledúan army
again, and hastened to give battle to Tunne. But Tunne was again victorious, and King Egil fled with the loss of many people.
Egil and Tunne had eight battles with each other, and Tunne always gained the victory. Then King Egil
fled out of the country, and went to Sealand in Denmark, to Frode the Bold
, and promised him a scatt from the Swedes to obtain help. Frode gave him an army, and also his champions, with which force King Egil repaired to Sweden. When Tunne heard this he came out to meet him; and there was a great battle, in which Tunne fell, and King Egil recovered his kingdom, and the Danes returned home. King Egil sent King Frode great and good presents every year, but he paid no scatt to the Danes; but notwithstanding, the friendship between Egil and Frode continued without interruption. After Tunne's fall, Egil ruled the kingdom for three years. It
happened in Sweden that an old bull, which was destined for sacrifice, was fed so high that he became dangerous to people; and when they were going to lay hold of him he escaped into the woods, became furious, and was long in the forest committing great damage to the country. King Egil was a great hunter, and often rode into the forest to chase wild animals. Once he rode out with his men to hunt in the forest. The king had traced an animal a long while, and followed it in the forest, separated from all his men. He observed at last that it was the bull, and rode up to it to kill it. The bull turned round suddenly, and the king struck him with his spear; but it tore itself out of the
wound. The bull now struck his horn in the side of the horse, so that he instantly fell flat on the earth with the king. The king sprang up, and was drawing his sword, when the bull struck his horns right into the king's breast. The king's men then came up and killed the bull. The king lived but a short time, and was buried in a mound at Upsal.
Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
"The fair-haired son of Odin's race,
Who fled before fierce Tunne's face,
Has perished by the demon-beast
Who roams the forests of the East.
The hero's breast met the full brunt
Of the wild bull's shaggy front;
The hero's heart's asunder torn
By the fell Jotun's spear-like horn."
31. OF KING OTTAR
Ottar was the name of King Egil's son who succeeded to the domains and kingdom after him. He did not continue friendly with King Frode, and therefore King Frode sent messengers to King Ottar to demand the scatt which Egil had promised him. Ottar replied, that the Swedes had never paid scatt to the Danes,
neither would he; and the messengers had to depart with this answer. Frode was a great warrior, and he came one summer with his army to Sweden, and landed and ravaged the country. He killed many people, took some prisoners, burned all around in the inhabited parts, made a great booty, and made great devastation.
The next summer King Frode made an expedition to the eastward; and when King Ottar heard that Frode was not at home in his own country, he went on board his own ships, sailed over to Denmark, and ravaged there without opposition. As he heard that a great many people were collected at Sealand, he proceeds westward to the Sound, and sails north about to Jutland; lands at Lymfjord; plunders the Vend district; burns, and lays waste, and makes desolate the country he goes over with his army. Vatt and Faste were the names of the earls whom Frode had appointed to defend the country in Denmark while he was abroad. When the earls heard that the Swedish king was laying Denmark waste, they collected an army, hastened on board their ships, and sailed by the south side to Lymfjord. They came unexpectedly upon Ottar, and the battle began immediately. The Swedes gave them a good reception, and many people fell on both sides; but as soon as men fell in the Danish army other men hastened from the country to fill their
places, and also all the vessels in the neighbourhood joined them. The battle ended with the fall of Ottar and the greater part of his people. The Danes took his body, carried it to the land, laid it upon a mound of earth, and let the wild beasts and ravens tear it to pieces. Thereafter they made a figure of a crow out of wood, sent it to Sweden, and sent word with it that their king, Ottar, was no better than it; and from this he was called Ottar Vendelcrow.
Thjodolf tells so of it: --
"By Danish arms the hero bold,
Ottar the Brave, lies stiff and cold.
To Vendel's plain the corpse was borne;
By eagles' claws the corpse is torn,
Spattered by ravens' bloody feet,
The wild bird's prey, the wild wolf's meat.
The Swedes have vowed revenge to take
On Frode's earls, for Ottar's sake;
Like dogs to kill them in their land,
In their own homes, by Swedish hand."
32. OF KING ADILS
Adils was the name of King Ottar's son and successor. He was a long time king, became very rich, and went also for several summers on viking expeditions. On one of these he came to Saxland with his troops. There a king was reigning called Geirthjof, and his wife was called Alof the Great; but nothing is
told of their children. The king was not at home, and Adils and his men ran up to the king's house and plundered it, while others drove a herd of cattle down to the strand. The herd was attended by slave-people, churls, and girls, and they took all of them together. Among them was a remarkably beautiful girl called Yrsa
. Adils returned home with this plunder. Yrsa was not one of
the slave girls, and it was soon observed that she was intelligent, spoke well, and in all respects was well behaved. All people thought well of her, and particularly the king; and at last it came to this that the king celebrated his wedding with her, and Yrsa became queen of Sweden, and was considered an
33. OF KING ADILS' DEATH.
's son Helge ruled at that time over Leidre. He came to Sweden with so great an army, that King Adils saw no other way than to fly at once. King Helge landed with his army, plundered, and made a great booty. He took Queen Yrsa prisoner, carried her with him to Leidre, took her to wife, and had a son by her called Rolf Krake
. When Rolf was three years old, Queen Alof
came to Denmark, and told Queen Yrsa that her husband, King Helge
, was her own father, and that she, Alof, was her mother. Thereupon Yrsa went back to Sweden to King Adils, and was queen there as long as she lived. King Helge fell in a war expedition; and Rolf Krake, who was then eight years old, was taken to be king in Leidre. King Adils had many disputes with a king called Ole of the Uplands; and these kings had a battle on the ice of the Venner lake, in which King Ole fell, and King Adils won the battle. There is a long account of this battle in the "Skjoldunga Saga", and also about Rolf Krake's coming to Adils, and sowing gold upon the Fyrisvold. King Adils was a great lover of good horses, and had the best horses of these times. One of his horses was called Slongve, and another Raven. This horse he had taken from Ole on his death, and bred from him a horse, also called Raven, which the king sent in a present to King Godgest
in Halogaland. When Godgest mounted the horse he was not able to manage him, and fell off and was killed. This accident happened at Omd in Halogaland. King Adils was at a Disa sacrifice; and as he rode around the Disa hall his horse' Raven stumbled and fell, and the king was thrown forward upon his head, and his skull was split, and his brains dashed out against a stone. Adils died at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound. The Swedes called him a great king.
Thjodolf speaks thus of him: --
"Witch-demons, I have heard men say,
Have taken Adils' life away.
The son of kings of Frey's great race,
First in the fray, the fight, the chase,
Fell from his steed -- his clotted brains
Lie mixed with mire on Upsal's plains.
Such death (grim Fate has willed it so)
Has struck down Ole's deadly foe."
34. ROLF KRAKE'S DEATH.
Eystein, King Adils' son, ruled next over Sweden, and in his lifetime Rolf Krake of Leidre fell. In those days many kings, both Danes and Northmen, ravaged the Swedish dominions; for there were many sea-kings who ruled over many people, but had no lands, and he might well be called a sea-king who never slept beneath sooty roof-timbers.
35. OF EYSTEIN AND THE JUTLAND KING SOLVE.
There was a sea-king called Solve, a son of Hogne of Njardo
, who at that time plundered in the Baltic
, but had his dominion in Jutland. He came with his forces to Sweden, just as King Eystein was at a feast in a district called Lofond. Solve came unexpectedly in the night on Eystein, surrounded the house in which the king was, and burned him and all his court. Then Solve
went to Sigtun, and desired that the Swedes should receive him, and give him the title of king; but they collected an army, and tried to defend the country against him, on which there was a great battle, that lasted, according to report, eleven days. There King Solve was victorious, and was afterwards king of the Swedish dominions for a long time, until at last the Swedes betrayed him, and he was killed.
Thjodolf tells of it thus: --
"For a long time none could tell
How Eystein died -- but now I know
That at Lofond the hero fell;
The branch of Odin was laid low,
Was burnt by Solve's Jutland men.
The raging tree-devourer fire
Rushed on the monarch in its ire;
First fell the castle timbers, then
The roof-beams -- Eystein's funeral pyre."
36. OF YNGVAR'S FALL.
Yngvar, who was King Eystein's son, then became king of Sweden. He was a great warrior, and often lay out with his warships; for the Swedish dominions were much ravaged then by Danes and East-country men. King Yngvar made a peace with the Danes; but betook himself to ravaging the East country in return. One
summer he went with his forces to Estland, and plundered at a place called Stein. The men of Estland came down from the interior with a great army, and there was a battle; but the army of the country was so brave that the Swedes could not withstand them, and King Yngvar fell, and his people fled. He was buried close to the seashore under a mound in Estland; and after this
defeat the Swedes returned home.
Thjodolf sings of it thus: --
"Certain it is the Estland foe
The fair-haired Swedish king laid low.
's strand, o'er Swedish graves,
The East Sea sings her song of waves;
King Yngvar's dirge is ocean's roar
Resounding on the rock-ribbed shore."
37. OF ONUND THE LAND-CLEARER.
Onund was the name of Yngvar's son who succeeded him. In his days there was peace in Sweden, and he became rich in valuable goods. King Onund
went with his army to Estland to avenge his father, and landed and ravaged the country round far and wide, and returned with a great booty in autumn to Sweden. In his time there were fruitful seasons in Sweden, so that he was one of the
most popular of kings. Sweden is a great forest land, and there are such great uninhabited forests in it that it is a journey of many days to cross them. Onund bestowed great diligence and expense on opening the woods and cultivating the cleared land. He made roads through the desert forests; and thus cleared land is found all through the forest country, and great districts are
settled. In this way extensive tracts of land were brought into cultivation, for there were country people enough to cultivate the land. Onund had roads made through all Sweden, both through forests and morasses, and also over mountains; and he was therefore called Onund Roadmaker. He had a house built for himself in every district of Sweden, and went over the whole country in guest-quarters.
38. OF INGJALD THE BAD.
Onund had a son called Ingjald, and at that time Yngvar was king of the district of Fjadryndaland. Yngvar had two sons by his wife -- the one called Alf, the other Agnar -- who were about the same age as Ingjald. Onund's district-kings were at that time spread widely over Sweden, and Svipdag the Blind ruled over Tiundaland, in which Upsal is situated, and where all the Swedish Things are held. There also were held the mid-winter sacrifices, at which many kings attended. One year at midwinter there was a great assembly of people at Upsal, and King Yngvar had also come there with his sons. Alf, King Yngvar's son, and Ingjald, King Onund's son, were there -- both about six years old. They amused themselves with child's play, in which each should be leading on his army. In their play Ingjald found himself not so strong as Alf, and was so vexed that he almost cried. His foster-brother Gautvid came up, led him to his foster-father Svipdag the Blind, and told him how ill it appeared that he was weaker and less manly than Alf, King Yngvar's son. Svipdag replied that it was a great shame. The day after Svipdag took the heart of a wolf, roasted it on the tongs, and gave it to the king's son Ingjald to eat, and from that time he became a most ferocious person, and of the worst disposition. When Ingjald was grown up, Onund applied for him to King Algaut for his daughter Gauthild. Algaut was a son of Gautrek the Mild, and grandson of Gaut; and from them
Gotland (Gautland) took its name. King Algaut thought his daughter would be well married if she got King Onund's son, and if he had his father's disposition; so the girl was sent to Sweden, and King Ingjald celebrated his wedding with her in due time.
39. OF KING ONUND
King Onund one autumn, travelling between his mansion-houses, came over a road called Himmenheath, where there are some narrow mountain valleys, with high mountains on both sides. There was heavy rain at the time, and before there had been snow on the mountains. A landslip of clay and stones came down upon King Onund and his people, and there he met his death, and many with
So says Thjodolf, namely: --
"We all have heard how Jonkur's sons,
Whom weapons could not touch, with stones
Were stoned to death in open day,
King Onund died in the same way.
Or else perhaps the wood-grown land,
Which long had felt his conquering hand,
Uprose at length in deadly strife,
And pressed out Onund's hated life."
40. THE BURNING IN UPSAL.
Then Ingjald, King Onund's son, came to the kingdom. The Upsal kings were the highest in Sweden among the many district-kings who had been since the time that Odin was chief. The kings who resided at Upsal had been the supreme chiefs over the whole Swedish dominions until the death of Agne, when, as before
related, the kingdom came to be divided between brothers. After that time the dominions and kingly powers were spread among the branches of the family as these increased; but some kings cleared great tracts of forest-land, and settled them, and thereby increased their domains. Now when Ingjald took the dominions and the kingdom of his father, there were, as before said, many
district-kings. King Ingjald ordered a great feast to be prepared in Upsal, and intended at that feast to enter on his heritage after King Onund his father. He had a large hall made ready for the occasion -- one not less, nor less sumptuous, than that of Upsal; and this hall was called the Seven Kings Hall, and in it were seven high seats for kings. Then King Ingjald sent men all through Sweden, and invited to his feast kings, earls, and other men of consequence. To this heirship-feast came King Algaut, his father-in-law; Yngvar king of Fjadryndaland, with his two sons, Alf and Agnar; King Sporsnjall of Nerike; King Sighvat of Aattundaland: but Granmar king of Sodermanland did not come. Six kings were placed in the seats in the new hall; but one of the high seats which Ingjald had prepared was empty. All the persons who had come got places in the new hall; but to his own court, and the rest of his people, he had appointed places at Upsal. It was the custom at that time that he who gave an heirship-feast after kings or earls, and entered upon the heritage, should sit upon the footstool in front of the high seat, until the full bowl, which was called the Brage-beaker, was brought in. Then he should stand up, take the Brage-beaker, make solemn vows to be afterwards fulfilled, and thereupon empty the beaker. Then he should ascend the high seat which his father had occupied; and thus he came to the full heritage after his father.
Now it was done so on this occasion. When the full Brage-beaker came in, King Ingjald stood up, grasped a large bull's horn, and made a solemn vow to enlarge his dominions by one half, towards all the four corners of the world, or die; and thereupon pointed with the horn to the four quarters. Now when the guests had become drunk towards evening King Ingjald told Svipdag's sons, Gautvid and Hylvid, to arm themselves and their men, as had before been settled; and accordingly they went out, and came up to the new hall, and set fire to it. The hall was soon in a blaze, and the six kings, with all their people, were burned in it. Those who tried to come out were killed. Then King Ingjald
laid all the dominions these kings had possessed under himself, and took scatt from them.
Back to Heimskringla - First (Paragraph 1 - 20) - Next (Paragraph 41 - 54)