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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 three, paragraph 41 - 55.
41. OF HJORVARD'S MARRIAGE.
When King Granmar
heard the news of this treachery, he thought the same lot awaited him if he did not take care. The same summer King Hjorvard, who was called Ylfing, came with his fleet to Sweden
, and went into a fjord
called Myrkva-fjord. When King Granmar heard this he sent a messenger to him to invite him and all his men to a feast. He accepted it willingly; for he had
never committed waste in King Granmar's dominions. When he came to the feast he was gladly welcomed. In the evening, when the full bowls went round, as was the custom of kings when they were at home, or in the feasts they ordered to be made, they sat and drank together, a man and woman with each other in pairs, and the rest of the company sat and drank all together. But it was the
law among the vikings that all who were at the entertainment should drink together in one company all round. King Hjorvard's high seat was placed right opposite to King Granmar's high seat, and on the same bench sat all his men. King Granmar told his daughter Hildigunn, who was a remarkably beautiful girl, to make ready to carry ale to the vikings. Thereupon she took a silver
goblet, filled it, bowed before King Hjorvard, and said, "Success to all Ylfinger: this cup to the memory of Rolf Krake" -- drank out the half, and handed the cup to King Hjorvard. He took the cup, and took her hand, and said she must sit beside him. She says that is not viking fashion to drink two and two with women. Hjorvard replies that it were better for him to make a change,
and leave the viking law, and drink in company with her. Then Hildigunn sat down beside him, and both drank together, and spoke a great deal with each other during the evening. The next day, when King Granmar and Hjorvard met, Hjorvard spoke of his courtship, and asked to have Hildigunn in marriage. King Granmar laid this proposal before his wife Hilda, and before people of
consequence, saying they would have great help and trust in Hjorvard; and all approved of it highly, and thought it very advisable. And the end was, that Hildigunn was promised to Hjorvard, and the wedding followed soon after; and King Hjorvard stayed with King Granmar, who had no sons, to help him to defend
42. WAR BETWEEN INGJALD AND GRANMAR AND HJORVARD.
The same autumn King Ingjald
collected a war-force, with which he intended to fall upon Granmar and Hjorvard; but when they heard it they also collected a force, and Hogne, who ruled over East Gotland, together with his son Hildur, came to their assistance. Hogne was father of Hilda, who was married to King Granmar. King Ingjald landed with his army, which was by far the most numerous.
A battle began, which was very sharp; but after it had lasted a short time, the chiefs who ruled over Fjadryndaland, West Gotland, Nerike, and Aattundaland, took to flight with all the men from those countries, and hastened to their ships. This placed King Ingjald in great danger, and he received many wounds,
but escaped by flight to his ships. Svipdag the Blind, Ingjald's foster-father, together with his sons, Gautvid and Hylvid, fell. Ingjald returned to Upsal, very ill-satisfied with his expedition; and he thought the army levied from those countries he had acquired by conquest had been unfaithful to him. There was great hostility afterwards between King Ingjald and King Granmar, and his son-in-law King Hjorvard; and after this had continued a long time the friends of both parties brought about a reconciliation. The king appointed a meeting, and concluded a peace. This peace was to endure as long as the three kings lived, and this was confirmed by oath and promises of fidelity.
The spring after, King Granmar went to Upsal to make offering, as usual, for a steady peace. Then the foreboding turned out for him so that it did not promise him long life, and he returned to his dominions.
43. DEATH OF THE KINGS GRANMAR AND HJORVARD.
The autumn after, King Granmar and his son-in-law Hjorvard went to a feast at one of their farms in the island Sile. When they were at the entertainment, King Ingjald came there in the night with his troops, surrounded the house, and burnt them in it, with all their men. Then he took to himself all the country these kings had possessed, and placed chiefs over it. King Hogne and
his son Hildur often made inroads on horseback into the Swedish dominions, and killed King Ingjald's men, whom he had placed over the kingdom which had belonged to their relation Granmar. This strife between King Ingjald and King Hogne continued for a long time; but King Hogne defended his kingdom against King Ingjald to his dying day. King Ingjald had two children by his wife -- the
eldest called Aasa
, the other Olaf. Gauthild, the wife of Ingjald, sent the boy to his foster-father Bove, in West Gotland, where he was brought up along with Saxe, Bove's son, who had the surname of Flette. It was a common saying that King Ingjald had killed twelve kings, and deceived them all under pretence of peace; therefore he was called Ingjald the Evil-adviser. He was king over the greater part of Sweden. He married his daughter Aasa to Gudrod king of Scania; and she was like her father in disposition. Aasa brought it about that Gudrod killed his brother Halfdan, father of Ivar Vidfavne; and also she brought
about the death of her husband Gudrod, and then fled to her father; and she thus got the name also of Aasa the Evil-adviser.
44. OF INGJALD'S DEATH.
Ivar Vidfavne came to Scania after the fall of his uncle Gudrod, and collected an army in all haste, and moved with it into Sweden. Aasa had gone to her father before. King Ingjald was at a feast in Raening, when he heard that King Ivar's army was in the neighbourhood. Ingjald thought he had not strength to go
into battle against Ivar, and he saw well that if he betook himself to flight his enemies would swarm around him from all corners. He and Aasa took a resolution which has become celebrated. They drank until all their people were dead drunk, and then put fire to the hall; and it was consumed, with all who
were in it, including themselves, King Ingjald, and Aasa.
Thus says Thjodolf: --
"With fiery feet devouring flame
Has hunted down a royal game
At Raening, where King Ingjald gave
To all his men one glowing grave.
On his own hearth the fire he raised,
A deed his foemen even praised;
By his own hand he perished so,
And life for freedom did forego."
45. OF IVAR.
subdued the whole of Sweden. He brought in subjection to himself all the Danish dominions, a great deal of Saxland, all the East Country, and a fifth part of England. From his race the kings of Sweden and Denmark who have had the supreme authority in those countries, are descended. After Ingjald the
Evil-adviser the Upsal dominion fell from the Yngling race notwithstanding the length of time they could reckon up the series of their forefathers.
46. OF OLAF THE TREE-FELLER.
When Olaf, King Ingjald's son, heard of his father's end, he went with the men who chose to follow him to Nerike; for all the Swedish community rose with one accord to drive out Ingjald's family and all his friends. Now, when the Swedes got intelligence of him he could not remain there, but went on westwards, through the forest, to a river which comes from the north and falls into the Venner
lake, and is called Klar river. There they sat themselves down, turned to and cleared the woods, burnt, and then settled there. Soon there were great districts; which altogether were called Vermeland; and a good living was to be made there. Now when it was told of Olaf, in Sweden, that he was clearing the forests, they laughed at his proceedings, and called him the Tree-feller. Olaf got a wife called Solva, or Solveig, a daughter of Halfdan Guldtand, westward in Soleyar. Halfdan was a son of Solve Solvarson, who was a son of Solve the Old, who first settled on these islands. Olaf Tree-feller's
mother was called Gauthild, and her mother was Alov, daughter of Olaf the Sharp-sighted, king in Nerike. Olaf and Solva had two sons: Ingjald and Halfdan. Halfdan was brought up in Soleyar, in the house of his mother's brother Solve, and was called Halfdan Hvitbein.
47. OLAF THE TREE-FELLER'S DEATH.
There were a great many people who fled the country from Sweden, on account of King Ivar; and when they heard that King Olaf had got good lands in Vermeland
, so great a number came there to him that the land could not support them. Then there came dear times and famine, which they ascribed to their king; as the Swedes used always to reckon good or bad crops for or against their kings. The Swedes took it amiss that Olaf was sparing in his sacrifices, and believed the dear times must proceed from this cause. The Swedes therefore gathered together troops, made an expedition against King Olaf, surrounded his house and burnt him in it, giving him to Odin as a sacrifice for good crops. This happened at the Venner
Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
"The temple wolf, by the lake shores,
The corpse of Olaf now devours.
The clearer of the forests died
At Odin's shrine by the lake side.
The glowing flames stripped to the skin
The royal robes from the Swedes' king.
Thus Olaf, famed in days of yore,
Vanished from earth at Venner's shore."
48. HALFDAN HVITBEIN
Those of the Swedes who had more understanding found that the dear times proceeded from there being a greater number of people on the land than it could support, and that the king could not be blamed for this. They took the resolution, therefore, to cross the Eida forest with all their men, and came quite unexpectedly into Soleyar, where they put to death King Solve, and took
Halfdan Hvitbein prisoner, and made him their chief, and gave him the title of king. Thereupon he subdued Soleyar, and proceeding with his army into Raumarike, plundered there, and laid that district also in subjection by force of arms.
49. OF HALFDAN HVITBEIN.
Halfdan Hvitbein became a great king. He was married to Aasa, a daughter of Eystein the Severe, who was king of the Upland people, and ruled over Hedemark. Halfdan and Aasa had two sons, Eystein and Gudrod. Halfdan subdued a great part of Hedemark, Toten, Hadeland, and much of Westfold. He lived to be an old man, and died in his bed at Toten, from whence his body was transported to Westfold, and was buried under a mound at a place called Skaereid, at Skiringsale.
So says Thjodolf: --
"Halfdan, esteemed by friends and foes,
Receives at last life's deep repose:
The aged man at last, though late,
Yielded in Toten to stern fate.
At Skiringsale hangs o'er his grave
A rock, that seems to mourn the brave Halfdan,
to chiefs and people dear,
Received from all a silent tear."
50. OF INGJALD, BROTHER OF HALFDAN.
Ingjald, Halfdan's brother, was king of Vermeland; but after his death King Halfdan took possession of Vermeland, raised scatt from it, and placed earls over it as long as he lived.
51. OF KING EYSTEIN'S DEATH.
Eystein, Halfdan Hvitbein's son, became king after in Raumarike and Westfold. He was married to Hild, a daughter of Eric Agnarsson, who was king in Westfold. Agnar, Eric's father, was a son of Sigtryg, king in the Vend district. King Eric had no son, and died while King Halfdan Hvitbein was still in life. The father and son, Halfdan and Eystein, then took possession of the
whole of Westfold, which Eystein ruled over as long as he lived. At that time there lived at Varna a king called Skjold, who was a great warlock. King Eystein went with some ships of war to Varna, plundered there, and carried away all he could find of clothes or other valuables, and of peasants' stock, and killed cattle on the strand for provision, and then went off. King Skjold came to the strand with his army, just as Eystein was at such a distance over the fjord that King Skjold could only see his sails. Then he took his cloak, waved it, and blew into it.King Eystein was sitting at the helm as they sailed in past
Jarls, and another ship was sailing at the side of his, when there came a stroke of a wave, by which the boom of the other ship struck the king and threw him overboard, which proved his death. His men fished up his body, and it was carried into Borre, where a mound was thrown up over it, out towards the sea
at Raden, near Vodle.
So says Thjodolf: --
"King Eystein sat upon the poop
Of his good ship: with sudden swoop
The swinging boom dashed him to hell,
And fathoms deep the hero fell
Beneath the brine. The fury whirl
Of Loke, Tempest's brother's girl,
Grim Hel, clutched his soul away;
And now where Vodle's ocean bay
Receives the ice-cold stream, the grave
Of Eystein stands -- the good, the brave!"
52. OF HALFDAN THE MILD.
Halfdan was the name of King Eystein's son who succeeded him. He was called Halfdan the Mild
, but the Bad Entertainer; that is to say, he was reported to be generous, and to give his men as much gold as other kings gave of silver, but he starved them in their diet. He was a great warrior, who had been long on viking cruises, and had collected great property. He was married to
, a daughter of King Dag of Westmare. Holtar, in Westfold, was his chief house; and he died there on the bed of sickness, and was buried at Borre under a mound.
So says Thjodolf: --
"By Hel's summons, a great king
Was called away to Odin's Thing:
King Halfdan, he who dwelt of late
At Holtar, must obey grim Fate.
At Borre, in the royal mound,
They laid the hero in the ground."
53. OF GUDROD THE HUNTER.
Gudrod, Halfdan's son, succeeded. He was called Gudrod the Magnificent
, and also Gudrod the Hunter. He was married to Alfhild, a daughter of King Alfarin of Alfheim, and got with her half the district of Vingulmark. Their son Olaf was afterwards called Geirstad-Alf. Alfheim, at that time, was the name of the
land between the Glommen and Gotha rivers. Now when Alfhild died, King Gudrod sent his men west to Agder to the king who ruled there, and who was called Harald Redbeard
. They were to make proposals to his daughter Aasa upon the king's account; but Harald declined the match, and the ambassadors returned to the king, and told him the result of their errand. Soon after King Gudrod hove down his ships into the water, and proceeded with a great force in them to Agder. He immediately landed, and came altogether unexpectedly at night to King Harald's house. When Harald was aware that an army was at hand, he went out with the men he had about him, and there was a great battle, although he
wanted men so much. King Harald and his son Gyrd fell, and King Gudrod took a great booty. He carried away with him Aasa, King Harald's daughter, and had a wedding with her. They had a son by their marriage called Halfdan; and the autumn that Halfdan was a year old Gudrod went upon a round of feasts. He lay with his ship in Stiflesund, where they had been drinking hard, so that
the king was very tipsy. In the evening, about dark, the king left the ship; and when he had got to the end of the gangway from the ship to the shore, a man ran against him, thrust a spear through him, and killed him. The man was instantly put to death, and in the morning when it was light the man was discovered to be Aasa's page-boy: nor did she conceal that it was done by her
Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --
"Gudrod is gone to his long rest,
Despite of all his haughty pride --
A traitor's spear has pierced his side:
For Aasa cherished in her breast
Revenge; and as, by wine opprest,
The hero staggered from his ship,
The cruel queen her thrall let slip
To do the deed of which I sing:
And now the far-descended king,
At Stiflesund, in the old bed
Of the old Gudrod race, lies dead."
54. OF KING OLAF'S DEATH.
Olaf came to the kingdom after his father. He was a great warrior, and an able man; and was besides remarkably handsome, very strong and large of growth. He had Westfold; for King Alfgeir took all Vingulmark to himself, and placed his son Gandalf
over it. Both father and son made war on Raumarike, and subdued the greater part of that land and district. Hogne was the name of a son of the Upland king, Eystein the Great, who subdued for himself the whole of Hedemark, Toten, and Hadeland. Then Vermeland fell off from Gudrod's sons, and turned itself, with its payment of scatt, to the Swedish king. Olaf was about
twenty years old when Gudrod died; and as his brother Halfdan now had the kingdom with him, they divided it between them; so that Olaf got the eastern and Halfdan the southern part. King Olaf had his main residence at Geirstad. There he died of a disease in his foot, and was laid under a mound at Geirstad.
So sings Thjodolf: --
"Long while this branch of Odin's stem
Was the stout prop of Norway's realm;
Long while King Olaf with just pride
Ruled over Westfold far and wide.
At length by cruel gout oppressed,
The good King Olaf sank to rest:
His body now lies under ground,
Buried at Geirstad, in the mound."
55. OF ROGNVALD THE MOUNTAIN-HIGH.
Rognvald was the name of Olaf's son who was king of Westfold after his father. He was called "Mountain-high," and Thjodolf of Hvina
composed for him the "Ynglinga-tal", in which he says: --
"Under the heaven's blue dome, a name
I never knew more true to fame
Than Rognvald bore; whose skilful hand
Could tame the scorners of the land, --
Rognvald, who knew so well to guide
The wild sea-horses through the tide:
The "Mountain-high" was the proud name
By which the king was known to fame."
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