THE Danish occupation of England has left a very strong mark on our country in various ways--on its place-names, its racial characteristics, its language, its literature, and, in part, on its ideals. The legend of Havelok the Dane, with its popularity and widespread influence, is one result of Danish supremacy. It is thought that the origin of the legend, which contains a twofold version of the common story of the cruel guardian and the persecuted heir, is to be found in Wales; but, however that may be, it is certain that in the continual rise and fall of small tribal kingdoms, Celtic or Teutonic, English or Danish, the circumstances out of which the story grew must have been common enough. Kings who died leaving helpless heirs to the guardianship of ambitious and wicked nobles were not rare in the early days of Britain, Vales, or Denmark; the murder of the heir and the usurpation of the kingdom by the cruel regent were no unusual occurrences. The opportunity of localising the early legend seems to have come with the growing fame of Anlaf, or Olaf, Sihtricson, who was known to the Welsh as Abloec or Habloc. His adventurous life included a threefold expulsion from his inheritance of Northumbria, a marriage with the daughter of King Constantine III. of Scotland, and a family kinship with King Athelstan of England. In Anlaf Curan (as he was called) we have an historical hero on whom various romantic stories were gradually fathered, because of his adventurous life and his strong personality. These stories finally crystalized in a form which shows the English and Danish love of physical prowess (Havelok is the strongest man in the
kingdom), as well as a certain cruelty of revenge which is more peculiarly Danish. There is resentment of the Norman predominance to be found in the popularity of a story which shows the kitchen-boy excelling all the nobles in manly exercises, and the heiress to the kingdom wedded in scorn, as so many Saxon heiresses were after the Conquest, to a mere scullion. There can be no doubt, however, that Havelok stood to mediæval England as a hero of the strong arm, a champion of the populace against the ruling race, and that his royal birth and dignity were a concession to historic facts and probabilities, not much regarded by the common people. The story, again, showed another truly humble hero, Grim the fisher, whose loyalty was supposed to account for the special trading privileges of his town, Grimsby. In Grim the story found a character who was in reality a hero of the poor and lowly, with the characteristic devotion of the tribesman to his chief, of the vassal to his lord, a devotion which was handed on from father to son, so that a second generation continued the services, and received the rewards, of the father who risked life and all for the sake of his king's heir.
The reader will not fail to notice the characteristic anachronisms which give to life in Saxon England in the tenth century the colour of the Norman chivalry of the thirteenth.
In Denmark, long ago, lived a good king named Birkabeyn, rich and powerful, a great warrior and a man of mighty prowess, whose rule was undisputed over the whole realm. He had three children--two daughters, named Swanborow and Elfleda the Fair, and one young and goodly son, Havelok, the heir to all
his dominions. All too soon came the day that no man can avoid, when Death would call King Birkabeyn away, and he grieved sore over his young children to be left fatherless and unprotected; but, after much reflection, and prayers to God for wisdom to help his choice, he called to him Jarl Godard, a trusted counsellor and friend, and committed into his hands the care of the realm and of the three royal children, until Havelok should be of age to .be knighted and rule the land himself. King Birkabeyn felt that such a charge was too great a temptation for any man unbound by oaths of fealty and honour, and although he did not distrust his friend, he required Godard to swear,
Jarl Godard took this most solemn oath at once, with many protestations of affection and whole-hearted devotion to the dying king and his heir, and King Birkabeyn died happy in the thought that his children would be well cared for during their helpless youth.
When the funeral rites were celebrated Jarl Godard assumed the rule of the country, and, under pretext of securing the safety of the royal children, removed them to a strong castle, where no man was allowed access to them, and where they were kept so closely that the royal residence became a prison in all but name. Godard, finding Denmark submit to his government without resistance, began to adopt measures to rid
himself of the real heirs to the throne, and gave orders that food and clothes should be supplied to the three children in such scanty quantities that they might die of hardship; but since they were slow to succumb to this cruel, torturing form of murder, he resolved to slay them suddenly, knowing that no one durst call him to account. Having steeled his heart against all pitiful thoughts, he went to the castle, and was taken to the inner dungeon where the poor babes lay shivering and weeping for cold and hunger. As he entered, Havelok, who was even then a bold lad, greeted him courteously, and knelt before him, with clasped hands, begging a boon.
"Why do you weep and wail so sore?" asked Godard.
"Because we are so hungry," answered Havelok. "We have so little food, and we have no servants to wait on us; they do not give us half as much as we could eat; we are shivering with cold, and our clothes are all in rags. Woe to us that we were ever born! Is there in the land no more corn with which men can make bread for us? We are nearly dead from hunger."
These pathetic words had no effect on Godard, who had resolved to yield to no pity and show no mercy. He seized the two little girls as they lay cowering together, clasping one another for warmth, and cut their throats, letting the bodies of the hapless babies fall to the floor in a pool of blood; and then, turning to Havelok, aimed his knife at the boy's heart. The poor child, terrified by the awful fate of the two girls, knelt again before him and begged for mercy:
Jarl Godard was touched by Havelok's piteous speech, and felt some faint compassion, so that he could not slay the lad himself; yet he knew that his only safety was in Havelok's death.
"If I let him go," thought he, "Havelok will at last work me woe! I shall have no peace in my life, and my children after me will not hold the lordship of Denmark in safety, if Havelok escapes! Yet I cannot slay him with my own hands. I will have him cast into the sea with an anchor about his neck: thus at least his body will not float."
Godard left Havelok kneeling in terror, and, striding from the tower, leaving the door locked behind him, he sent for an ignorant fisherman, Grim, who, he thought, could be frightened into doing his will. When Grim came he was led into an ante-room, where Godard, with terrible look and voice, addressed him thus:
"Grim, thou knowest thou art my thrall." "Yea, fair lord," quoth Grim, trembling at Godard's stern voice. "And I can slay thee if thou dost disobey me." "Yea, lord; but how have I offended you?" "Thou hast not yet; but I have a task for thee, and if thou dost it not, dire punishment shall fall upon thee." "Lord, what is the work that I must do?" asked the poor fisherman. "Tarry: I will show thee." Then Godard went into the inner room of the tower, whence he returned leading a fair boy, who wept bitterly. "Take this boy secretly to thy house, and keep him there till dead of night; then launch thy boat, row out to sea, and fling him therein with an anchor round his neck, so that I shall see him never again."
Grim looked curiously at the weeping boy, and said: "What reward shall I have if I work this sin for you?"
Godard replied: "The sin will be on my head, as I am thy lord and bid thee do it; but I will make thee a freeman, noble and rich, and my friend, if thou wilt do this secretly and discreetly."
Thus reassured and bribed, Grim suddenly took the boy, flung him to the ground, and bound him hand and foot with cord which he took from his pockets. So anxious was he to secure the boy that he drew the cords very tight, and Havelok suffered terrible pain; he could not cry out, for a handful of rags was thrust into his mouth and over his nostrils, so that he could hardly breathe. Then Grim flung the poor boy into a horrible black sack, and carried him thus from the castle, as if he were bringing home broken food for his family. When Grim reached his poor cottage, where his wife Leve was waiting for him, he slung the sack from his shoulder and gave it to her, saying, "Take good care of this boy as of thy life. I am to drown him at midnight, and if I do so my lord has promised to make me a free man and give me great wealth."
When Dame Leve heard this she sprang up and flung the lad down in a corner, and nearly broke his head with the crash against the earthen floor. There Havelok lay, bruised and aching, while the couple went to sleep, leaving the room all dark but for the red glow from the fire. At midnight Grim awoke to do his lord's behest, and Dame Leve, going to the living-room to kindle a light, was terrified by a mysterious gleam as bright as day which shone around the boy on the floor and streamed from his mouth. Leve hastily called Grim to see this wonder, and
together they released Havelok from the gag and bonds and examined his body, when they found on the right shoulder the token of true royalty, a cross of red gold.
"God knows," quoth Grim, "that this is the heir of our land. He will come to rule in good time, will bear sway over England and Denmark, and will punish the cruel Godard." Then, weeping sore, the loyal fisherman fell down at Havelok's feet, crying, "Lord, have mercy on me and my wife! We are thy thralls, and never will we do aught against thee. We will nourish thee until thou canst rule, and will hide thee from Godard; and thou wilt perchance give me my freedom in return for thy life."
At this unexpected address Havelok sat up surprised, and rubbed his bruised head and said: "I am nearly dead, what with hunger, and thy cruel bonds, and the gag. Now bring me food in plenty!" "Yea, lord," said Dame Leve, and bustled about, bringing the best they had in the hut; and Havelok ate as if he had fasted for three days; and then he was put to bed, and slept in peace while Grim watched over him.
However, Grim went the next morning to Jarl Godard and said: "Lord, I have done your behest, and drowned the boy with an anchor about his neck. He is safe, and now, I pray you, give me my reward, the gold and other treasures, and make me a freeman as you have promised." But Godard only looked fiercely at him and said: "What, wouldst thou be an earl? Go home, thou foul churl, and be ever a thrall! It is enough reward that I do not hang thee now for insolence, and for thy wicked deeds. Go speedily, else thou mayst stand and palter with me too long." And Grim shrank quietly away, lest Godard should slay him for the murder of Havelok.
Now Grim saw in what a terrible plight he stood, at the mercy of this cruel and treacherous man, and he took counsel with himself and consulted his wife, and the two decided to flee from Denmark to save their lives. Gradually Grim sold all his stock, his cattle, his nets, everything that he owned, and turned it into good pieces of gold; then he bought and secretly fitted out and provisioned a ship, and at last, when all was ready, carried on board Havelok (who had lain hidden all this time), his own three sons and two daughters; then when he and his wife had gone on board he set sail, and, driven by a favourable wind, reached the shores of England.
Meanwhile in England a somewhat similar fate had befallen a fair princess named Goldborough. When her father, King Athelwold, lay dying all his people mourned, for he was the flower of all fair England for knighthood, justice, and mercy; and he himself grieved sorely for the sake of his little daughter, soon to be left an orphan. "What will she do?" moaned he. "She can neither speak nor walk! If she were only able to ride, to rule England, and to guard herself from shame, I should have no grief, even if I died and left her alone, while I lived in the joy of paradise!"
Then Athelwold summoned a council to be held at Winchester, and asked the advice of the nobles as to the care of the infant Goldborough. They with one accord recommended Earl Godrich of Cornwall to be made regent for the little princess; and the earl, on being appointed, swore with all solemn rites that he would marry her at twelve years old to the highest, the best, fairest, and strongest man alive, and in the meantime would train her in all royal virtues and
customs. So King Athelwold died, and was buried with great lamentations, and Godrich ruled the land as regent. He was a strict but just governor, and England had great peace, without and within, under his severe rule, for all lived in awe of him, though no man loved him. Goldborough grew and throve in all ways, and became famous through the land for her gracious beauty and gentle and virtuous demeanour. This roused the jealousy of Earl Godrich, who had played the part of king so long that he almost believed himself King of England, and he began to consider how he could secure the kingdom for himself and his son. Thereupon he had Goldborough taken from Winchester, where she kept royal state, to Dover, where she was imprisoned in the castle, and strictly secluded from all her friends; there she remained, with poor clothes and scanty food, awaiting a champion to uphold her right.
When Grim sailed from Denmark to England he landed in the Humber, at the place now called Grimsby, and there established himself as a fisherman. So successful was he that for twelve years he supported his family well, and carried his catches of fish far afield, even to Lincoln, where rare fish always brought a good price. In all this time Grim never once called on Havelok for help in the task of feeding the family; he reverenced his king, and the whole household served Havelok with the utmost deference, and often went with scanty rations to satisfy the boy's great appetite. At length Havelok began to think how selfishly he was living, and how much food he consumed, and was filled with shame when he realized how his foster-father toiled unweariedly while he did nothing to help. In his remorseful meditations it became clear to him that,
though a king's son, he ought to do some useful work. "Of what use," thought he, is my great strength and stature if I do not employ it for some good purpose? There is no shame in honest toil. I will work for my food, and try to make some return to Father Grim, who has done so much for me. I will gladly bear his baskets of fish to market, and I will begin to-morrow."
On the next day, in spite of Grim's protests, Havelok carried a load of fish equal to four men's burden to Grimsby market, and sold it successfully, returning home with the money he received; and this he did day by day, till a famine arose and fish and food both became scarce. Then Grim, more concerned for Havelok than for his own children, called the youth to him and bade him try his fortunes in Lincoln, for his own sake and for theirs; he would be better fed, and the little food Grim could get would go further among the others if Havelok were not there. The one obstacle in the way was Havelok's lack of clothes, and Grim overcame that by sacrificing his boat's sail to make Havelok a coarse tunic. That done, they bade each other farewell, and Havelok started for Lincoln, barefooted and bareheaded, for his only garment was the sailcloth tunic. In Lincoln Havelok found no friends and no food for two days, and he was desperate and faint with hunger, when he heard a call: "Porters, porters! hither to me!" Roused to new vigour by the chance of work, Havelok rushed with the rest, and bore down and hurled aside the other porters so vigorously that he was chosen to carry provisions for Bertram, the earl's cook; and in return he received the first meal he had eaten for nearly three days.
On the next day Havelok again overthrew the porters, and, knocking down at least sixteen, secured the work. This time he had to carry fish, and his basket
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''Havelok again overthrew the porters''
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'''Welcome, dear lord!'''
was so laden that he bore nearly a cartload, with which he ran to the castle. There the cook, amazed at his strength, first gave him a hearty meal, and then offered him good service under himself, with food and lodging for his wages. This offer Havelok accepted, and was installed as cook's boy, and employed in all the lowest offices--carrying wood, water, turf; hewing logs, lifting, fetching, carrying--and in all he showed himself a wonderfully strong worker, with unfailing good temper and gentleness, so that the little children all loved the big, gentle, fair-haired youth who worked so quietly and played with them so merrily. When Havelok's old tunic became worn out, his master, the cook, took pity on him and gave him a new suit, and then it could be seen how handsome and tall and strong a youth this cook's boy really was, and his fame spread far and wide round Lincoln Town.
At the great fair of Lincoln, sports of all kinds were indulged in, and in these Havelok took his part, for the cook, proud of his mighty scullion, urged him to compete in all the games and races. As Earl Godrich had summoned his Parliament to meet that year at Lincoln, there was a great concourse of spectators, and even the powerful Earl Regent himself sometimes watched the sports and cheered the champions. The first contest was "putting the stone," and the stone chosen was so weighty that none but the most stalwart could lift it above the knee--none could raise it to his breast. This sport was new to Havelok, who had never seen it before, but when the cook bade him try his strength he lifted the stone easily and threw it more than twelve feet. This mighty deed caused his fame to be spread, not only among the poor servants
with whom Havelok was classed, but also among the barons, their masters, and Havelok's Stone became a landmark in Lincoln. Thus Godrich heard of a youth who stood head and shoulders taller than other men, and was stronger, more handsome--and yet a mere common scullion. The news brought him a flash of inspiration: "Here is the highest, strongest, best man in all England, and him shall Goldborough wed. I shall keep my vow to the letter, and England must fall to me, for Goldborough's royal blood will be lost by her marriage with a thrall, the people will refuse her obedience, and England will cast her out."
Godrich therefore brought Goldborough to Lincoln, received her with bell-ringing and seemly rejoicing, and bade her prepare for her wedding. This the princess refused to do until she knew who was her destined husband, for she said she would wed no man who was not of royal birth. Her firmness drove Earl Godrich to fierce wrath, and he burst out: "Wilt thou be queen and mistress over me? Thy pride shall be brought down: thou shalt have no royal spouse: a vagabond and scullion shalt thou wed, and that no later than to-morrow! Curses on him who speaks thee fair!" In vain the princess wept and bemoaned herself: the wedding was fixed for the morrow morn.
The next day at dawn Earl Godrich sent for Havelok, the mighty cook's boy, and asked him: "Wilt thou take a wife?"
"Nay," quoth Havelok, "that will I not. I cannot feed her, much less clothe and lodge her. My very garments are not my own, but belong to the cook, my master." Godrich fell upon Havelok and beat him furiously, saying, "Unless thou wilt take the wench I give thee for wife I will hang or blind thee"; and so, in great fear, Havelock agreed to the wedding. At
once Goldborough was brought, and forced into an immediate marriage, under penalty of banishment or burning as a witch if she refused. And thus the unwilling couple were united by the Archbishop of York, who had come to attend the Parliament.
Never was there so sad a wedding! The people murmured greatly at this unequal union, and pitied the poor princess, thus driven to wed a man of low birth; and Goldborough herself wept pitifully, but resigned herself to God's will. All men now acknowledged with grief that she and her husband could have no claim to the English throne, and thus Godrich seemed to have gained his object. Havelok and his unwilling bride recognised that they would not be safe near Godrich, and as Havelok had no home in Lincoln to which he could take the princess, he determined to go back to his faithful foster-father, Grim, and put the fair young bride under his loyal protection. Sorrowfully, with grief and shame in their hearts, Havelok and Goldborough made their way on foot to Grimsby, only to find the loyal Grim dead; but his five children were alive and in prosperity. When they saw Havelok and his wife they fell on their knees and saluted them with all respect and reverence. In their joy to see their king again, these worthy fisherfolk forgot their newly won wealth, and said: "Welcome, dear lord, and thy fair lady! What joy is ours to see thee again, for thy subjects are we, and thou canst do with us as thou wilt. All that we have is thine, and if thou wilt dwell with us we will serve thee and thy wife truly in all ways! "This greeting surprised Goldborough, who began to suspect some mystery, and she was greatly comforted when brothers and sisters busied themselves in lighting fires, cooking meals, and waiting on her hand and foot, as if she had been indeed a king's wife. Havelok, however,
said nothing to explain the mystery, and Goldborough that night lay awake bewailing her fate as a thrall's bride, even though he was the fairest man in England.
As Goldborough lay sleepless and unhappy she became aware of a brilliant light shining around Havelok, and streaming from his mouth; and while she feared and wondered an angelic voice cried to her:
This angelic, message so gladdened Goldborough that she kissed, for the first time, her unconscious husband, who started up from his sleep, saying, "Dear love, sleepest thou? I have had a wondrous dream. I thought I sat on a lofty hill, and saw all Denmark before me. As I stretched out my arms I embraced it all, and the people clung to my arms, and the castles fell at my feet; then I flew over the salt sea with the Danish people clinging to me, and I closed all fair England in my hand, and gave it to thee, dear love! Now what can this mean?"
Goldborough answered joyfully: "It means, dear heart, that thou shalt be King of Denmark and of England too: all these realms shall fall into thy power, and thou shalt be ruler in Denmark within one year. Now do thou follow my advice, and let us go to Denmark, taking with us Grim's three sons, who will accompany
thee for love and loyalty; and have no fear, for I know thou wilt succeed."
The next morning Havelok went to church early, and prayed humbly and heartily for success in his enterprise and retribution on the false traitor Godard; then, laying his offering on the altar before the Cross, he went away glad in heart. Grim's three sons, Robert the Red, William Wendut, and Hugh the Raven, joyfully consented to go with Havelok to Denmark, to attack with all their power the false Jarl Godard and to win the kingdom for the rightful heir. Their wives and families stayed in England, but Goldborough would not leave her husband, and after a short voyage the party landed safely on the shores of Denmark, in the lands of Jarl Ubbe, an old friend of King Birkabeyn, who lived far from the court now that a usurper held sway in Denmark.
Havelok dared not reveal himself and his errand until he knew more of the state of parties in the country, and he therefore only begged permission to live and trade there, giving Ubbe, as a token of good-will and a tribute to his power, a valuable ring, which the jarl prized greatly. Ubbe, gazing at the so-called merchant's great stature and beauty, lamented that he was not of noble birth, and planned to persuade him to take up the profession of arms. At first, however, he simply granted Havelok permission to trade, and invited him and Goldborough to a feast, promising them safety and honour under his protection. Havelok dreaded lest his wife's beauty might place them in jeopardy, but he dared not refuse the invitation, which was pointedly given to both; accordingly, when they went to Ubbe's hall, Goldborough was escorted by Robert the Red and William Wendut.
Ubbe received them with all honour, and all men marvelled at Goldborough's beauty, and Ubbe's wife loved Goldborough at first sight as her husband did Havelok, so that the feast passed off with all joy and mirth, and none dared raise a hand or lift his voice against the wandering merchant whom Ubbe so strangely favoured. But Ubbe knew that when once Havelok and his wife were away from his protection there would be little safety for them, since the rough Danish nobles would think nothing of stealing a trader's fair wife, and many a man had cast longing eyes on Goldborough's loveliness. Therefore when the feast was over, and Havelok took his leave, Ubbe sent with him a body of ten knights and sixty men-at-arms, and recommended them to the magistrate of the town, Bernard Brown, a true and upright man, bidding him, as he prized his life, keep the strangers in safety and honour. Well it was that Ubbe and Bernard Brown took these precautions, for late at night a riotous crowd came to Bernard's house clamouring for admittance. Bernard withstood the angry mob, armed with a great axe, but they burst the door in by hurling a huge stone; and then Havelok joined in the defence. He drew out the great beam which barred the door, and crying, "Come quickly to me, and you shall stay here! Curses on him who flees!" began to lay about him with the big beam, so that three fell dead at once. A terrible fight followed, in which Havelok, armed only with the beam, slew twenty men in armour, and was then sore beset by the rest of the troop, aiming darts and arrows at his unarmoured breast. It was going hardly with him, when Hugh the Raven, hearing and understanding the cries of the assailants, called his brothers to their lord's aid, and they all joined the fight so furiously that, long ere day, of the sixty men who had attacked the inn not one remained alive.
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''With great joy they fell on their knees''
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''On a miserable jade with his face to the tail''
In the morning news was brought to Jarl Ubbe that his stranger guest had slain sixty of the best of his soldiery.
"What can this mean?" said Ubbe. "I had better go and see to it myself, for any messenger would surely treat Havelok discourteously, and I should be full loath to do that." He rode away to the house of Bernard Brown, and asked the meaning of its damaged and battered appearance.
"My lord," answered Bernard Brown, "last night at moonrise there came a band of sixty thieves who would have plundered my house and bound me hand and foot. When Havelok and his companions saw it they came to my aid, with sticks and stones, and drove out the robbers like dogs from a mill. Havelok himself slew three at one blow. Never have I seen a warrior so good! He is worth a thousand in a fray. But alas! he is grievously wounded, with three deadly gashes in side and arm and thigh, and at least twenty smaller wounds. I am scarcely harmed at all, but I fear he will die full soon."
Ubbe could scarcely believe so strange a tale, but all the bystanders swore that Bernard told nothing but the bare truth, and that the whole gang of thieves, with their leader, Griffin the Welshman, had been slain by the hero and his small party. Then Ubbe bade them bring Havelok, that he might call a leech to heal his wounds, for if the stranger merchant should live Jarl Ubbe would without fail dub him knight; and when the leech had seen the wounds he said the patient would make a good and quick recovery. Then Ubbe offered Havelok and his wife a dwelling in his own castle, under his own protection, till Havelok's grievous wounds were healed. There, too, fair Goldborough would be under the care of Ubbe's wife, who would
cherish her as her own daughter. This kind offer was accepted gladly, and they all went to the castle, where a room was given them next to Ubbe's own.
At midnight Ubbe woke, aroused by a bright light in Havelok's room, which was only separated from his own by a slight wooden partition. He was vexed, suspecting his guest of midnight wassailing, and went to inquire what villainy might be hatching. To his surprise, both husband and wife were sound asleep, but the light shone from Havelok's mouth, and made a glory round his head. Utterly amazed at the marvel, Ubbe went away silently, and returned with all the garrison of his castle to the room where his guests still lay sleeping. As they gazed on the light Havelok turned in his sleep, and they saw on his shoulder the golden cross, shining like the sun, which all men knew to be the token of royal birth. Then Ubbe exclaimed: "Now I know who this is, and why I loved him so dearly at first sight: this is the son of our dead King Birkabeyn. Never was man so like another as this man is to the dead king: he is his very image and his true heir." With great joy they fell on their knees and kissed him eagerly, and Havelok awoke and began to scowl furiously, for he thought it was some treacherous attack; but Ubbe soon undeceived him.
Now Havelok knew that his worst danger was over,
and he thanked God for the friend He had sent him, and left to the good Jarl Ubbe the management of his cause. Ubbe gathered an assembly of as many mighty men of the realm, and barons, and good citizens, as he could summon; and when they were all assembled, wondering what was the cause of this imperative summons, Ubbe arose and said:
"Gentles, bear with me if I tell you first things well known to you. Ye know that King Birkabeyn ruled this land until his death-day, and that he left three children--one son, Havelok, and two daughters--to the guardianship of Jarl Godard: ye all heard him swear to keep them loyally and treat them well. But ye do not know how he kept his oath! The false traitor slew both the maidens, and would have slain the boy, but for pity he would not kill the child with his own hands. He bade a fisherman drown him in the sea; but when the good man knew that it was the rightful heir, he saved the boy's life and fled with him to England, where Havelok has been brought up for many years. And now, behold! here he stands. In all the world he has no peer, and ye may well rejoice in the beauty and manliness of your king. Come now and pay homage to Havelok, and I myself will be your leader!"
Jarl Ubbe turned to Havelok, where he stood with Goldborough beside him, and knelt before him to do homage, an example which was followed by all present. At a second and still larger assembly held a fortnight later a similar oath of fealty was sworn by all, Havelok was dubbed knight by the noble Ubbe, and a great festival was celebrated, with sports and amusements for the populace. A council of war and vengeance was held with the great nobles,
Havelok, now acknowledged King of Denmark, was unsatisfied until he had punished the treacherous Godard, and he took a solemn oath from his soldiers that they would never cease the search for the traitor till they had captured him and brought him bound to judgment. After all, Godard was captured as he was hunting. Grim's three sons, now knighted by King Havelok, met him in the forest, and bade him come to the king, who called on him to remember and account for his treatment of Birkabeyn's children. Godard struck out furiously with his fists, but Sir Robert the Red wounded him in the right arm. When Godard's men joined in the combat, Robert and his brothers soon slew ten of their adversaries, and the rest fled; returning, ashamed at the bitter reproaches of their lord, they were all slain by Havelok's men. Godard was taken, bound hand and foot, placed on a miserable jade with his face to the tail, and so led to Havelok. The king refused to be the judge of his own cause, and entrusted to Ubbe the task of presiding at the traitor's trial. No mercy was shown to the cruel Jarl Godard, and he was condemned to a traitor's death, with torments of terrible barbarity. The sentence was carried out to the letter, and Denmark rejoiced in the punishment of a cruel villain.
Meanwhile Earl Godrich of Cornwall had heard with great uneasiness that Havelok had become King of Denmark, and intended to invade England with a mighty army to assert his wife's right to the throne. He recognised that his own device to shame Gold-borough had turned against him, and that he must
now fight for his life and the usurped dominion he held over England. Godrich summoned his army to Lincoln for the defence of the realm against the Danes, and called out every man fit to bear weapons, on pain or becoming thrall if they failed him. Then he thus addressed them:
The army was inspired with valour by these courageous words, and the march to Grimsby began at once, with Earl Godrich in command. Havelok's men marched out gallantly to meet them, and when the battle joined many mighty deeds of valour were done, especially by the king himself, his foster-brothers, and Jarl Ubbe. The battle lasted long and was very fierce and bloody, but the Danes gradually overcame the resistance of the English, and at last, after a great hand-to-hand conflict, King Havelok captured Godrich. The traitor earl, who had lost a hand in the fray, was sent
bound and fettered to Queen Goldborough, who kept him, carefully guarded, until he could be tried by his peers, since (for all his treason) he was still a knight.
When the English recognised their rightful lady and queen they did homage with great joy, begging mercy for having resisted their lawful ruler at the command of a wicked traitor; and the king and queen pardoned all but Godrich, who was speedily brought to trial at Lincoln. He was sentenced to be burnt at the stake, and the sentence was carried out amid general rejoicings.
Now that vengeance was satisfied, Havelok and his wife thought of recompensing the loyal helpers who had believed in them and supported them through the long years of adversity. Havelok married one of Grim's daughters to the Earl of Chester, and the other to Bertram, the good cook, who became Earl of Cornwall in the place of the felon Godrich and his disinherited children; the heroic Ubbe was made Regent of Denmark for Havelok, who decided to stay and rule England, and all the noble Danish warriors were rewarded with gifts of gold, and lands and castles. After a great coronation feast, which lasted for forty days, King Havelok dismissed the Danish regent and his followers, and after sad farewells they returned to their own country. Havelok and Goldborough ruled England in peace and security for sixty years, and lived together in all bliss, and had fifteen children, who all became mighty kings and queens.