Sagas & Legends
King Eric slays his brothers.
Harold Fairhair set his sons to rule in Norway when he began to grow old: Eric he made king above all his other sons. It was when Harold had been king for seventy years that he gave over the kingdom into the hands of his son Eric. At that time Gunnhilda bare a son, whom Harold the king sprinkled with water, giving him his own name; and he added this that he should be king after his father if he lived long enough. King Harold then settled down in retirement, being mostly in Rogaland or Hordaland. But three years later king Harold died in Rogaland, and a mound was raised to his memory by Haugasound.
After the death of the king there was great strife between his sons, for the men of Vik took Olaf for their king, but the Thronds Sigurd. But these two, his brothers, Eric slew at Tunsberg, one year after king Harold's death. All these things happened in one and the same summer, to wit, king Eric's going with his army eastwards to Vik to fight with his brothers, and (before that) the strife of Egil and Bergonund at the Gula-thing, with the other events that have just been related.
Bergonund remained at home on his estate when the king went to the war, for he thought it unsafe for him to leave home while Egil was still in the land. Hadd, his brother, was now there with him. There was a man named Frodi, a kinsman of king Eric, very handsome, young in years, but a man grown. King Eric left him behind to protect Bergonund. Frodi was staying at Alrekstead, a royal farm, and had some men there. A son of Eric and Gunnhilda there was named Rognvald, who was then ten or eleven years old, and had the makings of a very handsome man. He was with Frodi when these things happened. But before king Eric rowed forth to this war, he made Egil an outlaw through all Norway, and free for any man to slay. Arinbjorn was with the king in the war; but before he left home Egil took his ship to sea, and made for the outlying fishing station called Vitar, over against Aldi. It is on the high road of the seas: fishermen were there, and 'twas a good place for hearing tidings. Then he heard that the king had made him an outlaw. Whereupon Egil sang a stave:
Long voyage lays on me;
He bane of his brothers,
Beguiled by his bride.
Gunnhilda the guilt bears
(Grim queen) of my exile:
Fain am I full swiftly
Her frauds to repay.'
The weather was calm, a fell-wind blew by night, a sea breeze by day. One evening Egil sailed out to sea, but the fishermen were then rowing in to land, those, to wit, who had been set as spies on Egil's movements. They had this to tell, that Egil had put out and sailed to sea, and was gone. This news they carried to Bergonund. And when he knew these tidings, then he sent away all those men that he had had before for protection. Thereafter he rowed in to Alrekstead, and bade Frodi to his house, for he had a great ale-drinking there. Frodi went with him, taking some men. They were feasted well there, and they made merry, with no fear of danger. Rognvald, the king's son, had a pinnace, rowed by six men on either side, painted all above the sea line. He had with him ten or twelve who constantly followed him; and when Frodi had left home, then Rognvald took the pinnace and they rowed out to Herdla twelve in number. A large farm of the king's was there, whereof the manager was named Skegg-Thorir. Rognvald in his childhood had been fostered there. Thorir received the king's son joyfully. There too was no lack of drink.
Next: CHAPTER LX. The slaying of Bergonund and Rognvald the king's son.