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 Of Eirik Blood-axe's five years' reign Snorre has no separate
 saga.  He appears not to have been beloved by the people and his
 queen Gunhild seems to have had a bad influence on him.
 Other accounts of Hakon may be found in "Fagrskinna" (chaps.
 25-34), "Agrip", "Historia", "Norvegiae", and in "Thjodrek"
 (chap. 4).
 The reader is also referred to "Saxo", "Egla", "Laxdaela",
 "Kormaks Saga", "Gisle Surssons Saga", "Halfred's Saga",
 "Floamanna Saga", "Viga Glum's Saga", and to "Landnamabok".
 Skald mentioned in this Saga are: -- Glum Geirason, Thord
 Sjarekson, Guthorm Sindre, Kormak Ogmundson, and Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller.  In the "Egla" are found many poems belonging to
 this epoch by Egil Skallagrimson.
 In "Fagrskinna" is found a poem (not given by Snorre) which
 Gunhild (his wife) had made on King Eirik after his death,
 telling how Odin welcomed him to Valhal.  The author or skald who
 composed it is not known, but it is considered to be one of the
 gems of old Norse poetry, and we here quote it in Vigfusson's
 translation in his "Corpus Poeticum", vol. i. pp. 260, 261.
 Gudbrand Vigfusson has filled up a few gaps from "Hakonarmat",
 the poem at the end of this Saga.  We have changed Vigfusson's
 orthography of names, and brought them into harmony with the
 spelling used in this work: -- Ed.
 "Odin wakes in the morning and cries, as he opens his eyes, with
 his dream still fresh in his mind: -- `What dreams are these?  I
 thought I arose before daybreak to make Valhal ready for a host
 of slain.  I woke up the host of the chosen.  I bade them ride up
 to strew the benches, and to till up the beer-vats, and I bade
 valkyries to bear the wine, as if a king were coming.  I look for
 the coming of some noble chiefs from the earth, wherefore my
 heart is glad.'
 "Brage, Odin's counsellor, now wakes, as a great din is heard
 without, and calls out: -- `What is that thundering?  as if a
 thousand men or some great host were tramping on -- the walls and
 the benches are creaking withal -- as if Balder was coming back
 to the ball of Odin?'
 "Odin answers: -- `Surely thou speakest foolishly, good Brage,
 although thou art very wise.  It thunders for Eirik the king,
 that is coming to the hall of Odin.'
 "Then turning to his heroes, he cries: -- `Sigmund and Sinfjotle,
 rise in haste and go forth to meet the prince!  Bid him in if it
 be Eirik, for it is he whom I look for.'
 "Sigmund answers: -- `Why lookest thou more for Eirik, the king,
 to Odin's hall, than for other kings?'
 "Odin answers: -- `Because he has reddened his brand, and borne
 his bloody sword in many a land.'
 "Quoth Sigmund: -- `Why didst thou rob him, the chosen king of
 victory then, seeing thou thoughtest him so brave?'
 "Odin answered: -- `Because it is not surely to be known, when
 the grey wolf shall come upon the seat of the god.'
 SECOND SCENE. -- Without Valhal.
 Sigmund and Sinfjotle go outside the hall and meet Eirik.
 "Quoth Sigmund: -- `Hail to thee, Eirik, be welcome here, and
 come into the hall, thou gallant king!  Now I will ask thee, what
 kings are these that follow thee from the clash of the sword
 "Eirik answers: -- `They are five kings; I will tell thee all
 their names; I myself am the sixth (the names followed in the
 song, whereof the rest is lost.)
 "Fagrskinna" says "Hakonarmal" was the model of this poem.
 Hakon, Athelstan's foster-son, was in England at the time (A.D.
 934) he heard of his father King Harald's death, and he
 immediately made himself ready to depart.  King Athelstan gave
 him men, and a choice of good ships, and fitted him out for his
 journey most excellently.  In harvest time he came to Norway,
 where he heard of the death of his brothers, and that King Eirik
 was then in Viken.  Then Hakon sailed northwards to Throndhjem,
 where he went to Sigurd earl of Hlader who was the ablest man in
 Norway.  He gave Hakon a good reception; and they made a league
 with each other, by which Hakon promised great power to Sigurd if
 he was made king.  They assembled then a numerous Thing, and
 Sigurd the earl recommended Hakon's cause to the Thing, and
 proposed him to the bondes as king.  Then Hakon himself stood up
 and spoke; and the people said to each other, two and two, as
 they heard him, "Herald Harfager is come again, grown and young."
 The beginning of Hakon's speech was, that he offered himself to
 the bondes as king, and desired from them the title of king, and
 aid and forces to defend the kingdom.  He promised, on the other
 hand, to make all the bondes udal-holders, and give every man
 udal rights to the land he lived on.  This speech met such joyful
 applause, that the whole public cried and shouted that they would
 take him to be king.  And so it was that the Throndhjem people
 took Hakon, who was then fifteen years old, for king; and he took
 a court or bodyguard, and servants, and proceeded through the
 country.  The news reached the Uplands that the people in
 Throndhjem had taken to themselves a king, who in every respect
 was like King Harald Harfager, -- with the difference, that
 Harald had made all the people of the land vassals, and unfree;
 but this Hakon wished well to every man, and offered the bondes
 to give them their udal rights again, which Harald had taken from
 them.  All were rejoiced at this news, and it passed from mouth
 to mouth, -- it flew, like fire in dry grass, through the whole
 land, and eastward to the land's end.  Many bondes came from the
 Uplands to meet King Hakon.  Some sent messengers, some tokens;
 and all to the same effect -- that his men they would be: and the
 king received all thankfully.
 Early in winter (935), the king went to the Uplands, and summoned
 the people to a Thing; and there streamed all to him who could
 come.  He was proclaimed king at every Thing; and then he
 proceeded eastward to Viken, where his brother's sons, Trygve and
 Gudrod, and many others, came unto him, and complained of the
 sorrow and evil his brother Eirik had wrought.  The hatred to
 King Eirik grew more and more, the more liking all men took to
 King Hakon; and they got more boldness to say what they thought.
 King Hakon gave Trygve and Gudrod the title of kings, and the
 dominions which King Harald had bestowed on their fathers. 
 Trygve got Ranrike and Vingulmark, and Gudrod, Vestfold; but as
 they were young, and in the years of childhood, he appointed able
 men to rule the land for them.  He gave them the country on the
 same conditions as it had been given before, -- that they should
 have half of the scat and revenues with him.  Towards spring King
 Hakon returned north, over the Uplands, to Throndhjem.
 King Hakon, early in spring, collected a great army at
 Throndhjem, and fitted out ships.  The people of Viken also had a
 great force on foot, and intended to join Hakon.  King Eirik also
 levied people in the middle of the country; but it went badly
 with him to gather people, for the leading men left him, and went
 over to Hakon.  As he saw himself not nearly strong enough to
 oppose Hakon, he sailed (A.D. 935) out to the West sea with such
 men as would follow him.  He first sailed to Orkney, and took
 many people with him from that country; and then went south
 towards England, plundering in Scotland, and in the north parts
 of England, wherever he could land.  Athelstan, the king of
 England, sent a message to Eirik, offering him dominions under
 him in England; saying that King Harald his father was a good
 friend of King Athelstan, and therefore he would do kindly
 towards his sons.  Messengers passed between the two kings; and
 it came to an agreement that King Eirik should take
 Northumberland as a fief from King Athelstan, and which land he
 should defend against the Danes or other vikings.  Eirik should
 let himself be baptized, together with his wife and children, and
 all the people who had followed him.  Eirik accepted this offer,
 and was baptized, and adopted the right faith.  Northumberland is
 called a fifth part of England.  Eirik had his residence at York,
 where Lodbrok's sons, it was said, had formerly been, and
 Northumberland was principally inhabited by Northmen. Since
 Lodbrok's sons had taken the country, Danes and Northmen often
 plundered there, when the power of the land was out of their
 hands.  Many names of places in the country are Norwegian; as
 Grimsby, Haukfliot, and many others.
 King Eirik had many people about him, for he kept many Northmen
 who had come with him from the East; and also many of his friends
 had joined him from Norway.  But as he had little land, he went
 on a cruise every summer, and plundered in Scotland, the
 Hebrides, Ireland, and Bretland, by which he gathered property.
 King Athelstan died on a sick bed, after a reign of fourteen
 years, eight weeds, and three days.  After him his brother
 Jatmund was king of England, and he was no friend to the
 Northmen.  King Eirik, also, was in no great favour with him; and
 the word went about that King Jatmund would set another chief
 over Northumberland.  Now when King Eirik heard this, he set off
 on a viking cruise to the westward; and from the Orkneys took
 with him the Earls Arnkel and Erlend, the sons of Earl Torfeinar.
 Then he sailed to the Hebrides, where there were many vikings and
 troop-kings, who joined their men to his.  With all this force he
 steered to Ireland first, where he took with him all the men he
 could, and then to Bretland, and plundered; and sailed thereafter
 south to England, and marauded there as elsewhere.  The people
 fled before him wherever he appeared.  As King Eirik was a bold
 warrior, and had a great force, he trusted so much to his people
 that he penetrated far inland in the country, following and
 plundering the fugitives.  King Jatmund had set a king, who was
 called Olaf, to defend the land; and he gathered an innumerable
 mass of people, with whom he marched against King Eirik.  A
 dreadfu1 battle ensued, in which many Englishmen fell; but for
 one who fell came three in his place out of the country behind,
 and when evening came on the loss of men turned on the side of
 the Northmen, and many people fell.  Towards the end of the day,
 King Eirik and five kings with him fell.  Three of them were
 Guthorm and his two sons, Ivar and Harek: there fell, also,
 Sigurd and Ragnvald; and with them Torfeinar's two sons, Arnkel
 and Erlend.  Besides these, there was a great slaughter of
 Northmen; and those who escaped went to Northumberland, and
 brought the news to Gunhild and her sons (A.D. 941).
 When Gunhild and her sons knew for certain that King Eirik had
 fallen, after having plundered the land of the King of England,
 they thought there was no peace to be expected for them; and they
 made themselves ready to depart from Northumberland, with all the
 ships King Eirik had left, and all the men who would go with
 them.  They took also all the loose property, and goods which
 they had gathered partly as taxes in England, partly as booty on
 their expeditions.  With their army they first steered northward
 to Orkney, where Thorfin Hausakljufer was earl, a son of
 Torfeinar, and took up their station there for a time.  Eirik's
 sons subdued these islands and Hjaltland, took scat for
 themselves, and staid there all the winter; but went on viking
 cruises in summer to the West, and plundered in Scotland and
 Ireland.  About this Glum Geirason sings: --
      "The hero who knows well to ride
      The sea-horse o'er the foamingtide, --
      He who in boyhood wild rode o'er
      The seaman's horse to Skanea's shore.
      And showed the Danes his galley's bow,
      Right nobly scours the ocean now.
      On Scotland's coast he lights the brand
      Of flaming war; with conquering hand
      Drives many a Scottish warrior tall
      To the bright seats in Odin's hall.
      The fire-spark, by the fiend of war
      Fanned to a flame, soon spreads afar.
      Crowds trembling fly, -- the southern foes
      Fall thick beneath the hero's blows:
      The hero's blade drips red with gore,
      Staining the green sward on the shore."
 When King Eirik had left the country, King Hakon, Athelstan's
 foster-son, subdued the whole of Norway.  The first winter (A.D.
 936) he visited the western parts, and then went north, and
 settled in Throndhjem.  But as no peace could be reasonably
 looked for so long as King Eirik with his forces could come to
 Norway from the West sea, he set himself with his men-at-arms in
 the middle of the country, -- in the Fjord district, or in Sogn,
 or Hordaland, or Rogaland.  Hakon placed Sigurd earl of Hlader
 over the whole Throradhjem district, as he and his father had
 before had it under Harald Harfager.  When King Hakon heard of
 his brother Eirik's death, and also that his sons had no footing
 in England, he thought there was not much to fear from them, and
 he went with his troops one summer eastward to Viken.  At that
 time the Danes plundered often in Viken, and wrought much evil
 there; but when they heard that King Hakon was come with a great
 army, they got out of the way, to Halland; and those who were
 nearest to King Hakon went out to sea, and over to Jotland
 (Jutland).  When the king heard of this, he sailed after them
 with all his army.  On arriving in Jutland he plundered all
 round; and when the country people heard of it, they assembled in
 a great body, and determined to defend their land, and fight.
 There was a great battle; and King Hakon fought so boldly, that
 he went forward before his banner without helmet or coat of mail.
 King Hakon won the victory, and drove the fugitives far up the
 country.  So says Guthorm Sindre, in his song of Hakon: --
      "Furrowing the deep-blue sea with oars,
      The king pursues to Jutland's shores.
      They met; and in the battle storm
      Of clashing shields, full many a form
      Of goodly warrior on the plain,
      Full many a corpse by Hakon slain,
      Glutted the ravens, who from far,
      Scenting the banquet-feast of war,
      Came in black flocks to Jutland's plains
      To drink the blood-wine from the veins."
 Then Hakon steered southwards with his fleet to seek the vikings,
 and so on to Sealand.  He rowed with two cutters into the
 Eyrarsund, where he found eleven viking ships, and instantly
 attacked them.  It ended in his gaining the victory, and clearing
 the viking ships of all their men.  So says Guthorm Sindre: -- 
      "Hakon the Brave, whose skill all know
      To bend in battle storm the bow,
      Rushed o'er the waves to Sealand's tongue,
      His two war-ships with gilt shields hung,
      And cleared the decks with his blue sword
      That rules the fate of war, on board
      Eleven ships of the Vindland men. --
      Famous is Hakon's name since then."
 Thereafter King Hakon carried war far and wide in Sealand;
 plundering some, slaying others, taking some prisoners of war,
 taking ransom from others, and all without opposition.  Then
 Hakon proceeded along the coast of Skane, pillaging everywhere,
 levying taxes and ransome from the country, and killing all
 vikings, both Danish and Vindish.  He then went eastwards to the
 district of Gautland, marauded there, and took great ransom from
 the country.  So says Guthorm Sindre: --
      "Hakon, who midst the battle shock
      Stands like a firmly-rooted oak,
      Subdued all Sealand with the sword:
      From Vindland vikings the sea-bord
      Of Scania swept; and, with the shield
      Of Odin clad, made Gautland yield
      A ransom of the ruddy gold,
      Which Hakon to his war-men bold
      Gave with free hand, who in his feud
      Against the arrow-storm had stood."
 King Hakon returned back in autumn with his army and an immense
 booty; and remained all the winter (A.D. 946) in Viken to defend
 it against the Danes and Gautlanders, if they should attack it.
 In the same winter King Trygve Olafson returned from a viking
 cruise in the West sea, having before ravaged in Ireland and
 Scotland.  In spring (A.D. 946) King Hakon went north, and set
 his brother's son, King Trygve, over Viken to defend that country
 against enemies.  He gave him also in property all that he could
 reconquer of the country in Denmark, which the summer before
 King Hakon had subjected to payment of scat to him.  So says
 Guthorm: --
      "King Hakon, whose sharp sword dyes red
      The bright steel cap on many a head,
      Has set a warrior brave and stout
      The foreign foeman to keep out, --
      To keep that green land safe from war
      Which black Night bore to dwarf Annar (1).
      For many a carle whose trade's to wield
      The battle-axe, and swing the shield,
      On the swan's ocean-skates has come,
      In white-winged ships, across the foam, --
      Across the sea, from far Ireland,
      To war against the Norseman's land."
 (1)  The dwarf Annar was the husband of Night, and Earth was
      their daughter. -- L.
 King Harald Gormson ruled over Denmark at that time.  He took it
 much amiss that King Hakon had made war in his dominions, and the
 report went that he would take revenge; but this did not take
 place so soon. When Gunhild and her sons heard there was enmity
 between Denmark and Norway, they began to turn their course from
 the West.  They married King Eirik's daughter, Ragnhild, to
 Arnfin, a son of Thorfin Hausakljufer; and as soon as Eirik's
 sons went away, Thorfin took the earldom again over the Orkney
 Islands.  Gamle Eirikson was somewhat older than the other
 brothers, but still he was not a grown man.  When Gunhild and her
 sons came from the westward to Denmark, they were well received
 by King Harald.  He gave them great fiefs in his kingdom, so that
 they could maintain themselves and their men very well.  He also
 took Harald Eirikson to be his foster-son, set him on his knee,
 and thereafter he was brought up at the Danish king's court. 
 Some of Eirik's sons went out on viking expeditions as soon as
 they were old enough, and gathered property, ravaging all around
 in the East sea.  They grew up quickly to be handsome men, and
 far beyond their years in strength and perfection.  Glum Geirason
 tells of one of them in the Grafeld song: --
      "I've heard that, on the Eastland coast,
      Great victories were won and lost.
      The king, whose hand is ever graced
      With gift to skald, his banner placed
      On, and still on; while, midst the play
      Of swords, sung sharp his good sword's sway
      As strong in arm as free of gold,
      He thinn'd the ranks of warriors bold."
 Then Eirik's sons turned northwards with their troops to Viken
 and marauded there; but King Trygve kept troops on foot with
 which he met them, and they had many a battle, in which the
 victory was sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other.
 Sometimes Eirik's sons plundered in Viken, and sometimes Trygve
 in Sealand and Halland.
 As long as Hakon was king in Norway, there was good peace between
 the bondes and merchants; so that none did harm either to the
 life or goods of the other.  Good seasons also there were, both
 by sea and land.  King Hakon was of a remarkably cheerful
 disposition, clever in words, and very condescending.  He was a
 man of great understanding also, and bestowed attention on law-
 giving.  He gave out the Gula-thing's laws on the advice of
 Thorleif Spake (the Wise); also the Frosta-thing's laws on the
 advice of Earl Sigurd, and of other Throndhjem men of wisdom.
 Eidsiva-thing laws were first established in the country by
 Halfdan the Black, as has before been written.
 King Hakon kept Yule at Throndhjem, and Earl Sigurd had made a
 feast for him at Hlader.  The night of the first day of Yule the
 earl's wife, Bergljot, was brought to bed of a boy-child, which
 afterwards King Hakon poured water over, and gave him his own
 name.  The boy grew up, and became in his day a mighty and able
 man, and was earl after his father, who was King Hakon's dearest
 Eystein, a king of the Uplands, whom some called the Great, and
 some the Bad, once on a time made war in Throndhjem, and subdued
 Eyna district and Sparbyggia district, and set his own son Onund
 over them; but the Throndhjem people killed him.  Then King
 Eystein made another inroad into Throndhjem, and ravaged the land
 far and wide, and subdued it.  He then offered the people either
 his slave, who was called Thorer Faxe, or his dog, whose name was
 Saur, to be their king.  They preferred the dog, as they thought
 they would sooner get rid of him.  Now the dog was, by
 witchcraft, gifted with three men's wisdom; and when he barked,
 he spoke one word and barked two.  A collar and chain of gold and
 silver were made for him, and his courtiers carried him on their
 shoulders when the weather or ways were foul.  A throne was
 erected for him, and he sat upon a high place, as kings are used
 to sit.  He dwelt on Eyin Idre (Idre Isle), and had his mansion
 in a place now called Saurshaug.  It is told that the occasion of
 his death was that the wolves one day broke into his fold, and
 his courtiers stirred him up to defend his cattle; but when he
 ran down from his mound, and attacked the wolves, they tore him
 into pieces.  Many other extraordinary things were done by this
 King Eystein against the Throndhjem people, and in consequence of
 this persecution and trouble, many chiefs and people fled and
 left their udal properties.
 Ketil Jamte, a son of Earl Onund of Sparabu, went eastward across
 the mountain ridge, and with him a great multitude, who took all
 their farm-stock and goods with them.  They cleared the woods,
 and established large farms, and settled the country afterwards
 called Jamtaland.  Thorer Helsing, Ketil's grandson, on account
 of a murder, ran away from Jamtaland and fled eastward through
 the forest, and settled there.  Many people followed, and that
 country, which extends eastward down to the seacoast, was called
 Helsingjaland; and its eastern parts are inhabited by Swedes. 
 Now when Harald Harfager took possession of the whole country
 many people fled before him, both people of Throndhjem and of
 Naumudal districts; and thus new settlers came to Jamtaland, and
 some all the way to Helsingjaland.  The Helsingjaland people
 travelled into Svithiod for their merchandise, and thus became
 altogether subjects of that country.  The Jamtaland people,
 again, were in a manner between the two countries; and nobody
 cared about them, until Hakon entered into friendly intercourse
 with Jamtaland, and made friends of the more powerful people.
 Then they resorted to him, and promised him obedience and payment
 of taxes, and became his subjects; for they saw nothing but what
 was good in him, and being of Norwegian race they would rather
 stand under his royal authority than under the king of Sweden:
 and he gave them laws, and rights to their land.  All the people
 of Helsingjaland did the same, -- that is, all who were of
 Norwegian race, from the other side of the great mountain ridge.
 King Hakon was a good Christian when he came to Norway; but as
 the whole country was heathen, with much heathenish sacrifice,
 and as many great people, as well as the favour of the common
 people, were to be conciliated, he resolved to practice his
 Christianity in private.  But he kept Sundays, and the Friday
 fasts, and some token of the greatest holy-days.  He made a law
 that the festival of Yule should begin at the same time as
 Christian people held it, and that every man, under penalty,
 should brew a meal of malt into ale, and therewith keep the Yule
 holy as long as it lasted.  Before him, the beginning of Yule, or
 the slaughter night, was the night of mid-winter (Dec. 14), and
 Yule was kept for three days thereafter.  It was his intent, as
 soon as he had set himself fast in the land, and had subjected
 the whole to his power, to introduce Christianity.  He went to
 work first by enticing to Christianity the men who were dearest
 to him; and many, out of friendship to him, allowed themselves to
 be baptized, and some laid aside sacrifices.  He dwelt long in
 the Throndhjem district, for the strength of the country lay
 there; and when he thought that, by the support of some powerful
 people there, he could set up Christianity he sent a message to
 England for a bishop and other teachers; and when they arrived in
 Norway, Hakon made it known that he would proclaim Christianity
 over all the land.  The people of More and Raumsdal referred the
 matter to the people of Throndhjem.  King Hakon then had several
 churches consecrated, and put priests into them; and when he came
 to Throndhjem he summoned the bondes to a Thing, and invited them
 to accept Christianity.  They gave an answer to the effect that
 they would defer the matter until the Frosta-thing, at which
 there would be men from every district of the Throndhjem country,
 and then they would give their determination upon this difficult
 Sigurd, earl of Hlader, was one of the greatest men for
 sacrifices, and so had Hakon his father been; and Sigurd always
 presided on account of the king at all the festivals of sacrifice
 in the Throndhjem country.  It was an old custom, that when there
 was to be sacrifice all the bondes should come to the spot where
 the temple stood and bring with them all that they required while
 the festival of the sacrifice lasted.  To this festival all the
 men brought ale with them; and all kinds of cattle, as well as
 horses, were slaughtered, and all the blood that came from them
 was called "hlaut", and the vessels in which it was collected
 were called hlaut-vessels.  Hlaut-staves were made, like
 sprinkling brushes, with which the whole of the altars and the
 temple walls, both outside and inside, were sprinkled over, and
 also the people were sprinkled with the blood; but the flesh was
 boiled into savoury meat for those present.  The fire was in the
 middle of the floor of the temple, and over it hung the kettles,
 and the full goblets were handed across the fire; and he who made
 the feast, and was a chief, blessed the full goblets, and all the
 meat of the sacrifice.  And first Odin's goblet was emptied for
 victory and power to his king; thereafter, Niord's and Freyja's
 goblets for peace and a good season.  Then it was the custom of
 many to empty the brage-goblet (1); and then the guests emptied a
 goblet to the memory of departed friends, called the remembrance
 goblet.  Sigurd the earl was an open-handed man, who did what was
 very much celebrated; namely, he made a great sacrifice festival
 at Hlader of which he paid all the expenses.  Kormak Ogmundson
 sings of it in his ballad of Sigurd: --
      "Of cup or platter need has none
      The guest who seeks the generous one, --
      Sigurd the Generous, who can trace
      His lineage from the giant race;
      For Sigurd's hand is bounteous, free, --
      The guardian of the temples he.
      He loves the gods, his liberal hand
      Scatters his sword's gains o'er the land-"
 (1)  The brage-goblet, over which vows were made. -- L.
 King Hakon came to the Frosta-thing, at which a vast multitude of
 people were assembled.  And when the Thing was seated, the king
 spoke to the people, and began his speech with saying, -- it was
 his message and entreaty to the bondes and householding men, both
 great and small, and to the whole public in general, young and
 old, rich and poor, women as well as men, that they should all
 allow themselves to be baptized, and should believe in one God,
 and in Christ the son of Mary and refrain from all sacrifices and
 heathen gods; and should keep holy the seventh day, and abstain
 from all work on it, and keep a fast on the seventh day.  As soon
 as the king had proposed this to the bondes, great was the murmur
 and noise among the crowd.  They complained that the king wanted
 to take their labour and their old faith from them, and the land
 could not be cultivated in that way.  The labouring men and
 slaves thought that they could not work if they did not get meat;
 and they said it was the character of King Hakon, and his father,
 and all the family, to be generous enough with their money, but
 sparing with their diet.  Asbjorn of Medalhus in the Gaulardal
 stood up, and answered thus to the king's proposal: --
 "We bondes, King Hakon, when we elected thee to be our king, and
 got back our udal rights at the Thing held in Throndhjem, thought
 we had got into heaven; but now we don't know whether we have
 really got back our freedom, or whether thou wishest to make
 vassa1s of us again by this extraordinary proposal that we should
 abandon the ancient faith which our fathers and forefathers have
 held from the oldest times, in the times when the dead were
 burnt, as well as since that they are laid under mounds, and
 which, although they were braver than the people of our days, has
 served us as a faith to the present time.  We have also held thee
 so dear, that we have allowed thee to rule and give law and right
 to all the country.  And even now we bondes will unanimously hold
 by the law which thou givest us here in the Frosta-thing, and to
 which we have also given our assent; and we will follow thee, and
 have thee for our king, as long as there is a living man among us
 bondes here in this Thing assembled.  But thou, king, must use
 some moderation towards us, and only require from us such things
 as we can obey thee in, and are not impossible for us.  If,
 however, thou wilt take up this matter with a high hand, and wilt
 try thy power and strength against us, we bondes have resolved
 among ourselves to part with thee, and to take to ourselves some
 other chief, who will so conduct himself towards us that we can
 freely and safely enjoy that faith that suits our own
 inclinations.  Now, king, thou must choose one or other of these
 conditions before the Thing is ended."
 The bondes gave loud applause to this speech, and said it
 expressed their will, and they would stand or fall by what had
 been spoken.  When silence was again restored, Earl Sigurd said,
 "It is King Hakon's will to give way to you, the bondes, and
 never to separate himself from your friendship."  The bondes
 replied, that it was their desire that the king should offer a
 sacrifice for peace and a good year, as his father was want to
 do; and thereupon the noise and tumult ceased, and the Thing was
 concluded.  Earl Sigurd spoke to the king afterwards, and advised
 him not to refuse altogether to do as the people desired, saying
 there was nothing else for it but to give way to the will of the
 bondes; "for it is, as thou hast heard thyself, the will and
 earnest desire of the head-people, as well as of the multitude.
 Hereafter we may find a good way to manage it."  And in this
 resolution the king and earl agreed (A.D. 950).
 The harvest thereafter, towards the winter season, there was a
 festival of sacrifice at Hlader, and the king came to it.  It had
 always been his custom before, when he was present at a place
 where there was sacrifice, to take his meals in a little house by
 himself, or with some few of his men; but the bondes grumbled
 that he did not seat himself in his high-seat at these the most
 joyous of the meetings of the people.  The earl said that the
 king should do so this time.  The king accordingly sat upon his
 high-seat.  Now when the first full goblet was filled, Earl
 Sigurd spoke some words over it, blessed it in Odin's name, and
 drank to the king out of the horn; and the king then took it, and
 made the sign of the cross over it.  Then said Kar of Gryting,
 "What does the king mean by doing so?  Will he not sacrifice?"
 Earl Sigurd replies, "The king is doing what all of you do, who
 trust to your power and strength.  He is blessing the full goblet
 in the name of Thor, by making the sign of his hammer over it
 before he drinks it."  On this there was quietness for the
 evening.  The next day, when the people sat down to table, the
 bondes pressed the king strongly to eat of horse-flesh (1); and
 as he would on no account do so, they wanted him to drink of the
 soup; and as he would not do this, they insisted he should at
 least taste the gravy; and on his refusal they were going to lay
 hands on him.  Earl Sigurd came and made peace among them, by
 asking the king to hold his mouth over the handle of the kettle,
 upon which the fat smoke of the boiled horse-flesh had settled
 itself; and the king first laid a linen cloth over the handle,
 and then gaped over it, and returned to the high-seat; but
 neither party was satisfied with this.
 (1)  This eating of horse-flesh at these religious festivals was
      considered the most direct proof of paganism in the
      following times, and was punished by death or mutilation by
      Saint Olaf.  It was a ceremony apparently commemorative of
      their Asiatic origin and ancestors.
 The winter thereafter the king prepared a Yule feast in More, and
 eight chiefs resolved with each other to meet at it.  Four of
 them were from without the Throndhjem district -- namely, Kar of
 Gryting, Asbjorn of Medalhus, Thorberg of Varnes, and Orm from
 Ljoxa; and from the Throndhjem district, Botolf of Olvishaug,
 Narfe of Staf in Veradal, Thrand Hak from Egg, and Thorer Skeg
 from Husaby in Eyin Idre.  These eight men bound themselves, the
 four first to root out Christianity in Norway, and the four
 others to oblige the king to offer sacrifice to the gods.  The
 four first went in four ships southwards to More, and killed
 three priests, and burnt three churches, and then they returned.
 Now, when King Hakon and Earl Sigurd came to More with their
 court, the bondes assembled in great numbers; and immediately, on
 the first day of the feast, the bondes insisted hard with the
 king that he should offer sacrifice, and threatened him with
 violence if he refused.  Earl Sigurd tried to make peace between
 them, and brought it so far that the king took some bits of
 horse-liver, and emptied all the goblets the bondes filled for
 him without the sign of the cross; but as soon as the feast was
 over, the king and the earl returned to Hlader.  The king was
 very ill pleased, and made himself ready to leave Throndhjem
 forthwith with all his people; saying that the next time he came
 to Throndhjem, he would come with such strength of men-at-arms
 that he would repay the bondes for their enmity towards him. 
 Earl Sigurd entreated the king not to take it amiss of the
 bondes; adding, that it was not wise to threaten them, or to make
 war upon the people within the country, and especially in the
 Throndhjem district, where the strength of the land lay; but the
 king was so enraged that he would not listen to a word from
 anybody.  He went out from Throndhjem, and proceeded south to
 More, where he remained the rest of the winter, and on to the
 spring season (A.D. 950); and when summer came he assembled men,
 and the report was that he intended with this army to attack the
 Throndhjem people.
 But just as the king had embarked with a great force of troops,
 the news was brought him from the south of the country, that
 King Eirik's sons had come from Denmark to Viken and had driven
 King Trygve Olafson from his ships at Sotanes, and then had
 plundered far and wide around in Viken, and that many had
 submitted to them.  Now when King Hakon heard this news, he
 thought that help was needed; and he sent word to Earl Sigurd,
 and to the other chiefs from whom he could expect help, to hasten
 to his assistance.  Sigurd the earl came accordingly with a great
 body of men, among whom were all the Throndhjem people who had
 set upon him the hardest to offer sacrifice; and all made their
 peace with the king, by the earl's persuasion.  Now King Hakon
 sailed south along the coast; and when he came south as far as
 Stad, he heard that Eirik's sons were come to North Agder.  Then
 they advanced against each other, and met at Kormt.  Both parties
 left their ships there, and gave battle at Ogvaldsnes.  Both
 parties had a great force, and it was a great battle.  King Hakon
 went forward bravely, and King Guthorm Eirikson met him with his
 troop, and they exchanged blows with each other.  Guthorm fell,
 and his standard was cut down.  Many people fell around him.  The
 army of Eirik's sons then took flight to their ships and rowed
 away with the loss of many a man.  So says Guthorm Sindre: --
      "The king's voice waked the silent host
      Who slept beside the wild sea-coast,
      And bade the song of spear and sword
      Over the battle plain be heard.
      Where heroes' shields the loudest rang,
      Where loudest was the sword-blade's clang,
      By the sea-shore at Kormt Sound,
      Hakon felled Guthorm to the ground."
 Now King Hakon returned to his ships, and pursued Gunhild's sons.
 And both parties sailed all they could sail, until they came to
 East Adger, from whence Eirik's sons set out to sea, and
 southwards for Jutland (A.D. 950).  Guthorm Sindre speaks of it
 in his song: --
      "And Guthorm's brothers too, who know
      So skilfully to bend the bow,
      The conquering hand must also feel
      Of Hakon, god of the bright steel, --
      The sun-god, whose bright rays, that dart
      Flame-like, are swords that pierce the heart.
      Well I remember how the King
      Hakon, the battle's life and spring,
      O'er the wide ocean cleared away
      Eirik's brave sons.  They durst not stay,
      But round their ships' sides hung their shields
      And fled across the blue sea-fields."
 King Hakon returned then northwards to Norway, but Eirik's sons
 remained a long time in Denmark.
 King Hakon after this battle made a law, that all inhabited land
 over the whole country along the sea-coast, and as far back from
 it as the salmon swims up in the rivers, should be divided into
 ship-raths according to the districts; and it was fixed by law
 how many ships there should be from each district, and how great
 each should be, when the whole people were called out on service.
 For this outfit the whole inhabitants should be bound whenever a
 foreign army came to the country.  With this came also the order
 that beacons should be erected upon the hills, so that every man
 could see from the one to the other; and it is told that a
 war-signal could thus be given in seven days, from the most
 southerly beacon to the most northerly Thing-seat in Halogaland
 Eirik's sons plundered much on the Baltic coasts and sometimes,
 as before related, in Norway; but so long as Hakon ruled over
 Norway there was in general good peace, and good seasons, and he
 was the most beloved of kings.  When Hakon had reigned about
 twenty years in Norway (A.D. 954), Eirik's sons came from Denmark
 with a powerful army, of which a great part consisted of the
 people who had followed them on their expeditions; but a still
 greater army of Danes had been placed at their disposal by King
 Harald Gormson.  They sailed with a fair wind from Vendil, and
 came to Agder; and then sailed northwards, night and day, along
 the coast.  But the beacons were not fired, because it had been
 usual to look for them lighted from the east onwards, and nobody
 had observed them from the east coast; and besides King Hakon had
 set heavy penalties for giving false alarm, by lighting the
 beacons without occasion.  The reason of this was, that ships of
 war and vikings cruised about and plundered among the outlying
 islands, and the country people took them for Eirik's sons, and
 lighted the beacons, and set the whole country in trouble and
 dread of war.  Sometimes, no doubt, the sons of Eirik were there;
 but having only their own troops, and no Danish army with them,
 they returned to Denmark; and sometimes these were other vikings.
 King Hakon was very angry at this, because it cost both trouble
 and money to no purpose.  The bondes also suffered by these false
 alarms when they were given uselessly; and thus it happened that
 no news of this expedition of Eirik's sons circulated through the
 land until they had come as far north as Ulfasund, where they lay
 for seven days.  Then spies set off across Eid and northwards to
 More.  King Hakon was at that time in the island Frede, in North
 More, at a place called Birkistrand, where he had a dwelling-
 house, and had no troops with him, only his bodyguard or court,
 and the neighbouring bondes he had invited to his house.
 The spies came to King Hakon, and told him that Eirik's sons,
 with a great army, lay just to the south of Stad.  Then he called
 together the most understanding of the men about him, and asked
 their opinion, whether he should fight with Eirik's sons,
 although they had such a great multitude with them, or should set
 off northwards to gather together more men.  Now there was a
 bonde there, by name Egil Ulserk, who was a very old man, but in
 former days had been strong and stout beyond most men, and a
 hardy man-at-arms withal, having long carried King Harald
 Harfager's banner.  Egil answered thus to the king's speech, --
 "I was in several battles with thy father Harald the king, and he
 gave battle sometimes with many, sometimes with few people; but
 he always came off with victory.  Never did I hear him ask
 counsel of his friends whether he should fly -- and neither shalt
 thou get any such counsel from us, king; but as we know we have a
 brave leader, thou shalt get a trusty following from us."  Many
 others agreed with this speech, and the king himself declared he
 was most inclined to fight with such strength as they could
 gather.  It was so determined.  The king split up a war-arrow,
 which he sent off in all directions, and by that token a number
 of men was collected in all haste.  Then said Egil Ulserk, -- "At
 one time the peace had lasted so long I was afraid I might come
 to die the death of old age (1), within doors upon a bed of
 straw, although I would rather fall in battle following my chief.
 And now it may so turn out in the end as I wished it to be."
 (1)  In all the sagas of this pagan time, the dying on a bed of
      sickness is mentioned as a kind of derogatory end of a man
      of any celebrity. -- L.
 Eirik's sons sailed northwards around Stad; as soon as the wind
 suited; and when they had passed it, and heard where King Hakon
 was, they sailed to meet him.  King Hakon had nine ships, with
 which he lay under Fredarberg in Feeysund; and Eirik's sons had
 twenty ships, with which they brought up on the south side of the
 same cape, in Feeysund.  King Hakon sent them a message, asking
 them to go upon the land; and telling them that he had hedged in
 with hazel boughs a place of combat at Rastarkalf, where there is
 a flat large field, at the foot of a long and rather low ridge.
 Then Eirik's sons left their ships, and went northwards over the
 neck of land within Fredarberg, and onward to Rastarkalf.  Then
 Egil asked King Hakon to give him ten men with ten banners, and
 the king did so.  Then Egil went with his men under the ridge;
 but King Hakon went out upon the open field with his army, and
 set up his banner, and drew up his army, saying, "Let us draw up
 in a long line, that they may not surround us, as they have the
 most men."  And so it was done; and there was a severe battle,
 and a very sharp attack.  Then Egil Ulserk set up the ten banners
 he had with him, and placed the men who carried them so that they
 should go as near the summit of the ridge as possible, and
 leaving a space between each of them.  They went so near the
 summit that the banners could be seen over it, and moved on as if
 they were coming behind the army of Eirik's sons.  Now when the
 men who stood uppermost in the line of the troops of Eirik's sons
 saw so many flying banners advancing high over the edge of the
 ridge, they supposed a great force must be following, who would
 come behind their army, and between them and their ships.  They
 made each other acquainted with what was going on in a loud
 shout, and the whole took to flight; and when the king saw it,
 they fled with the rest.  King Hakon now pushes on briskly with
 his people, pursuing the flying, and killing many.
 When Gamle Eirikson came up the ridge of the hill he turned
 round, and he observed that not more people were following than
 his men had been engaged with already, and he saw it was but a
 stratagem of war; so he ordered the war-horns to be blown, his
 banner to be set up, and he put his men in battle order.  On
 this, all his Northmen stood, and turned with him, but the Danes
 fled to the ships; and when King Hakon and his men came thither,
 there was again sharp conflict; but now Hakon had most people.
 At last the Eirik's sons' force fled, and took the road south
 about the hill; but a part of their army retreated upon the hill
 southwards, followed by King Hakon.  There is a flat field east
 of the ridge which runs westward along the range of hills, and is
 bounded on its west side by a steep ridge.  Gamle's men retreated
 towards this ground; but Hakon followed so closely that he killed
 some, and others ran west over the ridge, and were killed on that
 side of it.  King Hakon did not part with them till the last man
 of them was killed.
 Gamle Eirikson fled from the ridge down upon the plain to the
 south of the hill.  There he turned himself again, and waited
 until more people gathered to him.  All his brothers, and many
 troops of their men, assembled there.  Egil Ulserk was in front,
 and in advance of Hakon's men, and made a stout attack.  He and
 King Gamle exchanged blows with each other, and King Gamle got a
 grievous wound; but Egil fell, and many people with him.  Then
 came Hakon the king with the troops which had followed him, and a
 new battle began.  King Hakon pushed on, cutting down men on both
 sides of him, and killing the one upon the top of the other. So
 sings Guthorm Sindre: --
      "Scared by the sharp sword's singing sound,
      Brandished in air, the foe gave ground.
      The boldest warrior cannot stand
      Before King Hakon's conqueringhand;
      And the king's banner ever dies
      Where the spear-forests thickest rise.
      Altho' the king had gained of old
      Enough of Freyja's tears of gold (1),
      He spared himself no more than tho'
      He'd had no well-filled purse to show."
 When Eirik's sons saw their men falling all round, they turned
 and fled to their ships; but those who had sought the ships
 before had pushed off some of them from the land, while some of
 them were still hauled up and on the strand.  Now the sons of
 Eirik and their men plunged into the sea, and betook themselves
 to swimming.  Gamle Eirikson was drowned; but the other sons of
 Eirik reached their ships, and set sail with what men remained.
 They steered southwards to Denmark, where they stopped a while,
 very ill satisfied with their expedition.
 (1)  Freyja's husband was Od; and her tears, when she wept at the
      long absence of her husband, were tears of gold.  Od's
      wife's tears is the skald's expression here for gold --
      understood, no doubt, as readily as any allusion to Plutus
      would convey the equivalent meaning in modern poetry. -- L.
 King Hakon took all the ships of the sons of Eirik that had been
 left upon the strand, and had them drawn quite up, and brought on
 the land.  Then he ordered that Egil Ulserk, and all the men of
 his army who had fallen, should be laid in the ships, and covered
 entirely over with earth and stones.  King Hakon made many of the
 ships to be drawn up to the field of battle, and the hillocks
 over them are to be seen to the present day a little to the south
 of Fredarberg.  At the time when King Hakon was killed, when Glum
 Geirason, in his song, boasted of King Hakon's fall, Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller composed these verses on this battle: --
      "Our dauntless king with Gamle's gore
      Sprinkled his bright sword o'er and o'er:
      Sprinkled the gag that holds the mouth
      Of the fell demon Fenriswolf (1).
      Proud swelled our warriors' hearts when he
      Drove Eirik's sons out to the sea,
      With all their Guatland host: but now
      Our warriors weep -- Hakon lies low!"
 High standing stones mark Egil Uslerk s grave.
 (1)  The Fenriswolf. one of the children of Loke. begotten with a
      giantess, was chained to a rock, and gagged by a sword
      placed in his mouth, to prevent him devouring mankind.
      Fenriswolf's gag is a skaldic expression for a sword. -- L.
 When King Hakon, Athelstan's foster-son, had been king for
 twenty-six years after his brother Eirik had left the country, it
 happened (A.D. 960) that he was at a feast in Hordaland in the
 house at Fitjar on the island Stord, and he had with him at the
 feast his court and many of the peasants.  And just as the king
 was seated at the supper-table, his watchmen who were outside
 observed many ships coming sailing along from the south, and not
 very far from the island.  Now, said the one to the other, they
 should inform the king that they thought an armed force was
 coming against them; but none thought it advisable to be the
 bearer of an alarm of war to the king, as he had set heavy
 penalties on those who raised such alarms falsely, yet they
 thought it unsuitable that the king should remain in ignorance of
 what they saw.  Then one of them went into the room and asked
 Eyvind Finson to come out as fast as possible, for it was very
 needful.  Eyvind immediately came out and went to where he could
 see the ships, and saw directly that a great army was on the way;
 and he returned in all haste into the room, and, placing himself
 before the kind, said, "Short is the hour for acting, and long
 the hour for feasting."  The king cast his eyes upon him, and
 said, "What now is in the way?"  Eyvind said --
      "Up king!  the avengers are at hand!
      Eirik's bold sons approach the land!
      The Judgment of the sword they crave
      Against their foe.  Thy wrath I brave;
      Tho' well I know 'tis no light thing
      To bring war-tidings to the king
      And tell him 'tis no time to rest.
      Up!  gird your armour to your breast:
      Thy honour's dearer than my life;
      Therefore I say, up to the strife!"
 Then said the king, "Thou art too brave a fellow, Eyvind, to
 bring us any false alarm of war."  The others all said it was a
 true report.  The king ordered the tables to be removed, and then
 he went out to look at the ships; and when it could be clearly
 seen that these were ships of war, the king asked his men what
 resolution they should take -- whether to give battle with the
 men they had, or go on board ship and sail away northwards along
 the land.  "For it is easy to see," said he, "that we must now
 fight against a much greater force than we ever had against us
 before; although we thought just the same the last time we fought
 against Gunhild's sons."  No one was in a hurry to give an answer
 to the king; but at last Eyvind replied to the king's speech: --
      "Thou who in the battle-plain
      Hast often poured the sharp spear-rain!
      Ill it beseems our warriors brave
      To fly upon the ocean wave:
      To fly upon the blue wave north,
      When Harald from the south comes forth,
      With many a ship riding in pride
      Upon the foaming ocean-tide;
      With many a ship and southern viking, --
      Let us take shield in hand, brave king!"
 The king replied, "Thy counsel, Eyvind, is manly, and after my
 own heart; but I will hear the opinion of others upon this
 matter."  Now as the king's men thought they discerned what way
 the king was inclined to take, they answered that they would
 rather fall bravely and like men, than fly before the Danes;
 adding, that they had often gained the victory against greater
 odds of numbers.  The king thanked them for their resolution, and
 bade them arm themselves; and all the men did so.  The king put
 on his armour, and girded on his sword Kvernbit, and put a gilt
 helmet upon his head, and took a spear (Kesja) in his hand, and a
 shield by his side.  He then drew up his courtmen and the bondes
 in one body, and set up his banner.
 After Gamle's death King Harald, Eirik's son, was the chief of
 the brothers, and he had a great army with him from Denmark.  In
 their army were also their mother's brothers, -- Eyvind Skreyja,
 and Alf Askman, both strong and able men, and great man slayers.
 The sons of Eirik brought up with their ships off the island, and
 it is said that their force was not less than six to one, -- so
 much stronger in men were Eirik's sons.
 When King Hakon had drawn up his men, it is told of him that he
 threw off his armour before the battle began.  So sings Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller, in Hakmarmal: --
      "They found Blorn's brother bold
      Under his banner as of old,
      Ready for battle.  Foes advance, --
      The front rank raise the shining lance:
      And now begins the bloody fray!
      Now!  now begins Hild's wild play!
      Our noble king, whose name strikes fear
      Into each Danish heart, -- whose spear
      Has single-handed spilt the blood
      Of many a Danish noble, -- stood
      Beneath his helmet's eagle wing
      Amidst his guards; but the brave king
      Scorned to wear armour, while his men
      Bared naked breasts against the rain
      Of spear and arrow, his breast-plate rung
      Against the stones; and, blithe and gay,
      He rushed into the thickest fray.
      With golden helm, and naked breast,
      Brave Hakon played at slaughter's feast."
 King Hakon selected willingly such men for his guard or court-men
 as were distinguished for their strength and bravery, as his
 father King Harald also used to do; and among these was Thoralf
 Skolmson the Strong, who went on one side of the king.  He had
 helmet and shield, spear and sword; and his sword was called by
 the name of Footbreadth.  It was said that Thoralf and King Hakon
 were equal in strength.  Thord Sjarekson speaks of it in the poem
 he composed concerning Thoralf: --
      "The king's men went with merry words
      To the sharp clash of shields and flame swords,
      When these wild rovers of the sea
      At Fitlar fought.  Stout Thoralf he
      Next to the Northmen's hero came,
      Scattering wide round the battle flame
      For in the storm of shields not one
      Ventured like him with brave Hakon."
 When both lines met there was a hard combat, and much bloodshed.
 The combatants threw their spears and then drew their swords.
 Then King Hakon, and Thoralf with him, went in advance of the
 banner, cutting down on both sides of them.  So says Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller: --
      "The body-coats of naked steel,
      The woven iron coats of mail,
      Like water fly before the swing
      Of Hakon's sword -- the champion-king.
      About each Gotland war-man's head
      Helm splits, like ice beneath the tread,
      Cloven by the axe or sharp swordblade,
      The brave king, foremost in the fight,
      Dyes crimson-red the spotless white
      Of his bright shield with foemen's gore. --
      Amidst the battle's wild uproar,
      Wild pealing round from shore to shore."
 King Hakon was very conspicuous among other men, and also when
 the sun shone his helmet glanced, and thereby many weapons were
 directed at him.  Then Eyvind Finson took a hat and put it over
 the king's helmet.  Now Eyvind Skreyja called out, "Does the king
 of the Norsemen hide himself, or has he fled?  Where is now the
 golden helmet?"  Then Eyvind, and his brother Alf with him,
 pushed on like fools or madmen.  King Hakon shouted to Eyvind,
 "Come on as thou art coming, and thou shalt find the king of the
 Norsemen."  So says Eyvind Skaldaspiller: --
      "The raiser of the storm of shields,
      The conqueror in battle fields, --
      Hakon the brave, the warrior's friend,
      Who scatters gold with liberal hand,
      Heard Skreyja's taunt, and saw him rush,
      Amidst the sharp spears' thickest push,
      And loudly shouted in reply --
      `If thou wilt for the victory try,
      The Norseman's king thou soon shall find!
      Hold onwards, friend!  Hast thou a mind!"
 It was also but a short space of time before Eyvind did come up
 swinging his sword, and made a cut at the king; but Thoralf
 thrust his shield so hard against Eyvind that he tottered with
 the shock.  Now the king takes his sword Kvernbit with both
 hands, and hewed Eyvind through helm and head, and clove him down
 to the shoulders.  Thoralf also slew Alf Askman.  So says Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller: --
      "With both his hands the gallant king
      Swung round his sword, and to the chin
      Clove Eyvind down: his faithless mail
      Against it could no more avail,
      Than the thin plank against the shock
      When the ship's side beats on the rock.
      By his bright sword with golden haft
      Thro' helm, and head, and hair, was cleft
      The Danish champion; and amain,
      With terror smitten, fled his men."
 After this fall of the two brothers, King Hakon pressed on so
 hard that all men gave way before his assault.  Now fear came
 over the army of Eirik's sons, and the men began to fly; and King
 Hakon, who was at the head of his men, pressed on the flying, and
 hewed down oft and hard.  Then flew an arrow, one of the kind
 called "flein", into Hakon's arm, into the muscles below the
 shoulder; and it is said by many people that Gunhild's shoe-boy,
 whose name was Kisping, ran out and forwards amidst the confusion
 of arms, called out "Make room for the king-killer," and shot
 King Hakon with the flein.  Others again say that nobody could
 tell who shot the king, which is indeed the most likely; for
 spears, arrows, and all kinds of missiles flew as thick as a
 snow-drift.  Many of the people of Eirik's sons were killed, both
 on the field of battle and on the way to the ships, and also on
 the strand, and many threw themselves into the water.  Many also,
 among whom were Eirik's sons, got on board their ships, and rowed
 away as fast as they could, and Hakon's men after them.  So says
 Thord Sjarekson: --
      "The wolf. the murderer, and the thief,
      Fled from before the people's chief:
      Few breakers of the peace grew old
      Under the Northmen's king so bold.
      When gallant Hakon lost his life
      Black was the day, and dire the strife.
      It was bad work for Gunhild's sons,
      Leading their pack of Hungry Danes
      From out the south, to have to fly,
      And many a bonde leave to die,
      Leaning his heavy wounded head
      On the oar-bench for feather-bed.
      Thoralf was nearest to the side
      Of gallant Hakon in the tide
      Of battle; his the sword that best
      Carved out the raven's bloody feast:
      Amidst the heaps of foemen slain
      He was named bravest on the plain."
 When King Hakon came out to his ship he had his wound bound up;
 but the blood ran from it so much and so constantly, that it
 could not be stopped; and when the day was drawing to an end his
 strength began to leave him.  Then he told his men that he wanted
 to go northwards to his house at Alreksstader; but when he came
 north, as far as Hakonarhella Hill, they put in towards the land,
 for by this time the king was almost lifeless.  Then he called
 his friends around him, and told them what he wished to be done
 with regard to his kingdom.  He had only one child, a daughter,
 called Thora, and had no son.  Now he told them to send a message
 to Eirik's sons, that they should be kings over the country; but
 asked them to hold his friends in respect and honour.  "And if
 fate," added he, "should prolong my life, I will, at any rate,
 leave the country, and go to a Christian land, and do penance for
 what I have done against God; but should I die in heathen land,
 give me any burial you think fit."  Shortly afterwards Hakon
 expired, at the little hill on the shore-side at which he was
 born.  So great was the sorrow over Hakon's death, that he was
 lamented both by friends and enemies; and they said that never
 again would Norway see such a king.  His friends removed his body
 to Saeheim, in North Hordaland, and made a great mound, in which
 they laid the king in full armour and in his best clothes, but
 with no other goods.  They spoke over his grave, as heathen
 people are used to do, and wished him in Valhal.  Eyvind
 Skaldaspiller composed a poem on the death of King Hakon, and on
 how well he was received in Valhal.  The poem is called
 "Hakonarmal": --
      "In Odin's hall an empty place
      Stands for a king of Yngve's race;
      `Go, my valkyries,' Odin said,
      `Go forth, my angels of the dead,
      Gondul and Skogul, to the plain
      Drenched with the battle's bloody rain,
      And to the dying Hakon tell,
      Here in Valhal shall he dwell.'
      "At Stord, so late a lonely shore,
      Was heard the battle's wild uproar;
      The lightning of the flashing sword
      Burned fiercely at the shore of Stord.
      From levelled halberd and spearhead
      Life-blood was dropping fast and red;
      And the keen arrows' biting sleet
      Upon the shore at Stord fast beat.
      "Upon the thundering cloud of shield
      Flashed bright the sword-storm o'er the field;
      And on the plate-mail rattled loud
      The arrow-shower's rushing cloud,
      In Odin's tempest-weather, there
      Swift whistling through the angry air;
      And the spear-torrents swept away
      Ranks of brave men from light of day.
      "With batter'd shield, and blood-smear'd sword
      Slits one beside the shore of Stord,
      With armour crushed and gashed sits he,
      A grim and ghastly sight to see;
      And round about in sorrow stand
      The warriors of his gallant band:
      Because the king of Dags' old race
      In Odin's hall must fill a place.
      "Then up spake Gondul, standing near
      Resting upon her long ash spear, --
      `Hakon!  the gods' cause prospers well,
      And thou in Odin's halls shalt dwell!'
      The king beside the shore of Stord
      The speech of the valkyrie heard,
      Who sat there on his coal-black steed,
      With shield on arm and helm on head.
      "Thoughtful, said Hakon, `Tell me why
      Ruler of battles, victory
      Is so dealt out on Stord's red plain?
      Have we not well deserved to gain?'
      `And is it not as well dealt out?'
      Said Gondul. `Hearest thou not the shout?
      The field is cleared -- the foemen run --
      The day is ours -- the battle won!'
      "Then Skogul said, `My coal-black steed,
      Home to the gods I now must speed,
      To their green home, to tell the tiding
      That Hakon's self is thither riding.'
      To Hermod and to Brage then
      Said Odin, `Here, the first of men,
      Brave Hakon comes, the Norsemen's king, --
      Go forth, my welcome to him bring.'
      "Fresh from the battle-field came in,
      Dripping with blood, the Norsemen'a king.
      `Methinks,' said he, great Odin's will
      Is harsh, and bodes me further ill;
      Thy son from off the field to-day
      From victory to snatch away!'
      But Odin said, `Be thine the joy
      Valhal gives, my own brave boy!'
      "And Brage said, `Eight brothers here
      Welcome thee to Valhal's cheer,
      To drain the cup, or fights repeat
      Where Hakon Eirik's earls beat.'
      Quoth the stout king, 'And shall my gear,
      Helm, sword, and mail-coat, axe and spear,
      Be still at hand!  'Tis good to hold
      Fast by our trusty friends of old.'
      "Well was it seen that Hakon still
      Had saved the temples from all ill (1);
      For the whole council of the gods
      Welcomed the king to their abodes.
      Happy the day when men are born
      Like Hakon, who all base things scorn. --
      Win from the brave and honoured name,
      And die amidst an endless fame.
      "Sooner shall Fenriswolf devour
      The race of man from shore to shore,
      Than such a grace to kingly crown
      As gallant Hakon want renown.
      Life, land, friends, riches, all will fly,
      And we in slavery shall sigh.
      But Hakon in the blessed abodes
      For ever lives with the bright gods."
 (1)  Hakon, although a Christian, appears to have favoured the
      old religion, and spared the temples of Odin, and therefore
      a place in Valhal is assigned him. -- L.