Sacred Texts  Legends & Sagas  Iceland  Index  Previous  Next 



         Harold the son of Sigurd Swine then ruled over Norway when this Saga was made;  he was king over Norway twenty winters;  he had two winters on to forty when he became king.  He had to wife Ellisif, daughter of Jaroslaf, king in Novgorod, he left her there behind him when he fared to Norway, and said he would send and fetch her ere fifteen winters were spent;  he left behind with her a skin flayed from the biggest he goat full of gold and pure silver, and tells her she was to have that for her own if he did not come back, or if he were lost.  Each of them swore to the other oaths of faithfulness.  Their daughter's name was Maria, who has been the fairest woman in Norway.  Now after Harold became king over Norway then he took him a wife and got Thora, daughter of Thorberg Arni's son and Ragnhilda, daughter of Erling Skjalg's son of Sole;  their son hight Magnus, the father of Hacon the foster-child of Thorir of Steig.  He was five ells high and the most courteous of men;  a mighty warrior and the wisest of men.  He had many brisk men with him;  Nicholas his brother in law, the son of Thorberg, was the most esteemed.  There were also Icelanders with the king.  Bodvar and Asbjorn, the sons of Eldjarn, the son of Arnor carline-nose;  and Odd Ofeig's son;  Finn Kjartan's son and Thorarin Nefjulf's son;  these all were well esteemed by the king.  It was his wont to fare to feasts over the land in time of peace.

2.      It chanced one autumn that the king went to a feast in Helgeland;  he went to the house of a freeman hight Aslak with one hundred men.  That was at the homestead called Torgir.  Aslak was a sage in wit and a great chief in Torgir.  Bjorn was his son's name, a tall man and strong.  At that feast the king sits three nights;  the feast was of the best.  It was served in a hall, and it ws all decked in the upper part with shields and war-gear, and there were many sports;  and all who were there said they had never accepted a better feast.    And the second day of the feast just after the mass had been sung, the king calls Aslak the goodman (to him).  Then the king said, "Pray are the laws known to thee which the king Saint Olaf my brother, set up;  thou art said to be much of a lawyer."  Aslak answers, "I am not able to say much about that."  The king answers, "Whereabouts is it in the law about a man if he brings up his son in secret?"  Aslak answers, "That is not known to me that a man shall not bring up his children just as he will."  "It stands another way in my book" said the king.  "What is that" answers Aslak;  the king answers, "Whoever does so has forfeited goods and peace."  "Why" answers Aslak, "shall such hard measure be dealt him."  The king answers, "He may not defend the land on the king's side who is concealed;  and he may also plot secret treason against the king who is hidden."  "That cannot be laid at my door" says Aslak.  "Nicholas Thorberg's son told it me" says the king.  Aslak answers, "Say'st thou that Nicholas?"  He answers, "Tis hard for me to lay a lie at the king's door, when after all I have said something about it;  I mind this that I was here at Torgir ten winters old, and many men called me rather stout for my years, but thou hadst a son hight Heming six winters old, and we two played at childish games, and he was in everything stronger than I, and I never saw any one his match;  I left him behind me here;  and since I have never heard of him;  and now that was all I said to the king."  The king asked, "Where is that man now?"  Aslak answers, "Sooth it is that Nicholas says, that I had a son hight Heming.  And when he was seven months old he lost his wits, and after that  sent him to the Finns, and since I have never heard of him, and I know not whether he be alive or dead."  The king answers, "We will fare away hence now;  but next year at this time thou shalt let thy son be come hither whether he have more or less wit;  and though he be dead then I will see his bones."  "As for that," answers Aslak, "I ween I shall not be able to do it."  And now they part for that time, and the king fares away.  But at the same season in the next autumn the king goes to the feast at Torgir to Aslak's house, and did not lack a good banquet.  And when one night was spent then Aslak was called to the king.  Then the king said, "Mindest thou Aslak what we spoke about the last time I was here?"  Aslak answers "I have not thought about it."  The king said, "Here should now be come thy son, him whom thou hast long kept hid."  Alsak answers, "I have never paid any heed to it, and I cannot get him brought hither now."  The king said, "I will not lay on thee such strong wrath as thou art worthy of;  we will fare away hence and be away two months;  after that I will come here, and then let thy son Heming be come hither."  Aslak says, "You have no need to show so much passion on this for I will willingly do your bidding."  All men see a very wrathful look on the king's face and so they parted for that time.  And when that time was passed which the king had laid down, he came to Torgir.  Aslak had then got ready for a feast and greeted the king most kindly.  The king said to Aslak, "Is thy son Heming now here?"  Aslak says, "Again I have paid no heed to your words."  The king said, "Send thou for him no sooner than thou likest;  but here we will stay till he comes, or till thy stores fail thee;  then thou wilt make no more feasts, or thy son Bjorn." "That is in thy power," says Aslak.  Now they part for that time.

3.            Aslak calls to him a man called Kalf.  "Thou shalt" says Aslak "get on board ship at once and fourteen men with thee, and fare north to Snasar, and land at the place called Framness.  There thou shalt go on land with four men.  There thou wilt fall on a little path in the wood;  that path will get broader and broader as ye fare futher along it.  Ye must fare four days, and ye shall still fare on the fourth day till even.  Then there will be before you a dale shut in between crags and woods, so that ye cannot see the dale till ye come up to it.  Then you will see a cottage;  go up to it.  There you will find no more folk than a man and a woman;  tell him the truth as to whence and what ye are.  There ye shall be that night.  One of you shall watch, and that man shalt be thou.  Thou wilt see a man come into the cot and rather big.  I do not hide from you that he is not so silly as I have told the king.  Then thou shalt stand up Kalf, and greet Heming;  and tell him my message, and beg him to fare home to me.  But if he does not yield quickly, then bid him do as he pleases;  but tell him that my life is at stake and my son Bjorn's.  But methinks there is more hope that he will get to come somehow.  But tell him still that his life is at stake, if he comes, if it be so as I ween.  Bid him choose that course which he thinks best."  After that he bids them farewell.  Then they fared on the way which was pointed out to them, and came at last to the house of the carle;  and they were well treated, as soon as the carle knew whence they were.  They went to bed at night all but Kalf, he was in a hidden spot;  but they the master and mistress sit up by the fire.  Then the carline said, "Methinks our foster child is late in coming home."  The carle said, "All the goods that I have I would give that he might not come home this week."  "What is at the bottom of that," says the carline.  The carle answers, "I am afraid that these men have come to take Heming away."  "I don't know" said the carline "which way I should turn if I have to part with my foster child."  "I should be well content" says the carle "if I knew that he would take the better course;  but I very much doubt that I shall have to part with him."

4.            They had not long to wait ere a man comes in a red kirtle, and he had a fillet of gold round his brow, but his hair lay down on his shoulders.  Kalf thought he had never seen a bigger or a brisker man.  They stand up and greet their foster child Heming.  Heming asks what had come.  The carline says, "Men have come from thy father, and we two are afraid that they have come after thee."  Heming says, "It must be said that they have not come too soon."  Kalf stands up and greets Heming, and tells him that his father sends him a message, and along with it "that he begged thee to come home."  "There must be something great when a message has to be sent to me and I will not go."  Kalf answers, "I have no need to hide from thee that he bade thee settle for thyself," and then he tells him what his father had said.  Heming answers, "Go away in the morning;  ye have no need to bide for me, if I do not come."  Then they slept out the night.  But in the morning they fared to their ship.  And then when they were ready to sail they saw where Heming was, running down the country on snow-shoon, and he gets on shipboard with them.  Kalf asked "When didst thou leave home?"  "This morn" says Heming.  Nothing is told of their doings before they get to Torgir.  It was then so far on in the morning that men were going to prayers.  But after prayers when the king had taken his seat, Heming went in before the king and hailed him.  The king took his greeting well, and asked who he might be.  Heming told his name.  "Well!" said the king "I would not care to see the hide of which thou art one of the shanks."  Heming answers, "Every one is not as he is called;  but I am come hither because I wished to offer you all things in which I can be of service to you, and which you will take of me, though there is little furtherance in me;  but all that I may, and all that I can do, will I offer to get peace for my father;  but if you had it in your mind to kill me, then I will not flee from that."  The king answers, "Art thou any man for feats of strength."  Heming answers, "So that carle and carline thought who brought me up, as though I knew some feats;  but you will think them little or nothing;  but if I am to pick out one before the rest, then I think I may tell you of one."  The king asks, "What is that?"  Heming answers, "On snow-shoon I care not with whom I strive."  The king answers, "I will first see thy sports, and know what worth there may be in them."  Heming answers, "You must let others play first, but I will try to play after them."

5.            Then the king goes out of doors with his men.  The isle was much overgrown with wood.  The king goes to the wood;  he sets a spear on its point down into the field, but the shaft stood up.  The king took a bow, and shot an arrow up into the air.  The arrow turned in the air and came down in the middle of the spearshaft, and the arrow stood up straight in the air out of it.  Heming laid an arrow on the string, and shot it up into the air, and it came down into the notch of the king's arrow.  Then the king takes the spear, and hurls it both far and true, so that all men spoke about it.  The king bade Heming to hurl after him;  Heming did so;  and hurled just so far beyond him that the felloe of the point of his spear lay on the point of the king's spear.  Now the king takes the spear a second time, and hurls it beyond Heming's spear by a whole shaft's length.  Then Heming said "I need not hurl after for I cannot reach up to this throw."  The king said, "Thou shalt hurl, and along with it have the boldness to hurl farther, if thou canst."  Then Heming hurled and far beyond the king's shot.  The king took a knife and stuck it into a log, and shot down into the haft of the knife, so that the arrow stood fast in it.  Then Heming took his arrows.  The king said, "Thou art a mighty famous man Heming, when thou hast thy arrows bound with gold."  Heming answers, "They were given to me, but I did not let them be made, and I have not taken my garb from them."  Heming shoots after the king, and struck the haft of the knife, and split it asunder, but the point of the arrow stuck in the tang of the blade which went into the haft.  The king said, "Now we two will shoot further," and takes an arrow, and was very wrath;  the king drew his bow so that the tips seem to come together.  The arrow struck a little twig very slender.  Then all said that this was the most famous shot.  Then Heming shot someway further, and the point pierced a nut.  This all wondered at who were by.  Then the king said,  "Now shall be taken another nut and lay it on Bjorn's head, thy brother;  and there thou shall strike the nut, and yet shoot not less far than before;  but if thou missest, then thy life shall be at stake."  Heming said, "You may settle as to my life, but this shot I will not shoot."  Bjorn said, "Nay, but thou shalt shoot rather than lose thy life, for it belongs to every man to lengthen his life while he may."  Heming answers, "Canst thou make up thy mind to stand still, and not swerve away, if I shoot at the nut."  "Without doubt I can," says Bjorn.  Heming answers, "Stand by lord, and see what befalls the nut."  The king says, "By thee will I stand."  But he bade Odd Ofeig's son to look at the shot.  Heming went thither where the king bade him stand and marks himself with the cross, and said, "It is known to you that I have no wish to do my brother any hurt;  but I lay all the blame on the king if it happen otherwise."  After that Heming shot and hit the nut and it rolled off Bjorn's head;  but he was not hurt.  The king came up and asked, "Whether he had hit the nut?"  Odd said how it had been struck.  The king said, "We will now leave off shooting for this once, but thou bearest one-sided witness."  Now they go home, and sleep out the night.

6.            After the morning-draught next day the king goes to sea with his men.  Then the king said to Halldor Snorri's son, "I mean thee to overcome Heming today in swimming."  Halldor answered, "They must be caught who are better able to do that."  Then the king called out Bodvar Eldjarn's son.  Bodvar answered "Though I had all the feats of strength of all the men who are here I would not for anything try my hand here, and least of all, when I know that I fall short of Heming in everything."  Then the king spoke to Nicholas Thorberg's son:  "Thou shalt strive in swimming with Heming."  Nicholas answers, "I know not how it will go;  but I will try if you will."  Then the king ordered them both off to swim.  Heming said, "With him will I ratherest try, if I am to try my strength with any one."  They take off their clothes and set off to swim.  Nicholas asked, "What wilt thou sooner try, diving or long-swimming?"  Heming answers, "Then there will be a choice of trying diving when thou hast overcome me at the other first."  Then Heming struck out thwart away from the land.  And when they had swum a long time Nicholas asked "Won't it be wise to turn back?"  Heming said, "Further on I thought you king's brothers in law must mean to make the turning point of your path."  And when they had swum a while, then Nicholas said, "Is thy mind made up, Heming, to strike out further?"  "I thought thou wouldst be able to take care of thyself though thou rolledst back before the billow;  but I mean to fare further."  Nicholas answers, "I must turn back."  And so he did.  And when he had not swum long then his swimming grew dead;  and when Heming sees that he swam to him, and asked "How goes the swimming?"  Nicholas answers, "That is no business of thine, so go thy way."  Heming answers, "This has served thee right, but still we two will bear one another up together to the land."  Nicholas answers, "I will not say nay to that."  Then Nicholas laid hold with his hands on his belt.  And so they got both to land.  Then Nicholas went on shore;  and he is very weary and stiff.  But Heming sat him down on a stone out between high and low water mark, and the king asked Nicholas how Heming had behaved in swimming.  Nicholas answers, "I had brought no tidings to land had Heming not been a better fellow to me than I deserved."  Then the king throws off his clothes.  But Aslak goes to find Heming, and said, "Get thee away, and save thyself, for the king will have thee dead;  but there is shelter in the wood."  "I will fare nowhither," says Heming, "let the king come if he will;  'the ernes shall claw one another face to face."  Now the king plunges out a swimming, and Heming goes to meet him.  The king pulled him under water at once, so that other men could not see their struggle.  But the sea was very unquiet over them.  Then it began to grow dark at nightfall.  And at last the king struck out for land;  he was so wrath that no one dared to speak to him.  No man saw Heming, and all thought he was dead;  no one dared to ask after him.  The king went home after he had put on his clothes;  there was little merriment.  The king was both wrath and mute, but Aslak was rueful with grief.  Fires were lit in the hall.  And when all had taken their seats then Heming walks into the hall before the king, and lays a strap-knife on his knee which the king had had on his neck when he plunged out a swimming.  Now all thought they knew that he must have taken the knife (from the king).

7.            Now the night passed.  And next morning the king busked him to go away.  He said that Heming shall fare with him to the mainland and be with the king.  And so it was.  On the land was a high fell.  But their road lay forward along the hillside by a byepath.  There were crags sheer down below and high fells above;  and the slope was no broader than one man might ride on straight along.  The king said, "Now shalt thou Heming sport before us on snow-shoon."  Heming said, "Now the ground does not lie well for it;  for it is very rough with ice, and there is little snow,"  and it was very hard on the fell.  The king says there was no feat of skill in running if the going were good.  Heming said, "You must have your way."  Heming gets on his snow-shoon and runs foward along the slope up and down by turns;  and most men said that they had never seen any one run so lightly.  After that he ran to the king and said, "I should like to leave off running."  The king said, "Thou shalt not run but once more;  thou shalt go across up here to the top of the fell, and run straight down and stop thyself, if thou canst, at the edge of the crags."  Heming said, "That I see that you will have my life, and so you need not put it off any longer."  The king answers, "If thou doest not this as I bid thee, then thou shalt take death on the spot."  Heming answers,  "There is little putting off of death between this and that.  But every man is told to lengthen his life while he may, and so I will do."  Then Aslak goes before the king and offers him all his property to get Heming peace;  but the king he would not have it.  "After all he would not spare me, and so he must set off and do this."  Heming prayed that no one would beg him off.  And he goes away at once and Odd Ofeig's son with him.  He said, In an ill hour here we part with a fine fellow;  and I will show thee that I wished thee to live.  And here I have a linen cloth which Saint Stephen had before his eyes when he was stoned;  this I will tie round thee;  for that I know no living thing since Saint Stephen had the cloth, over which it has been thrown, that did not get back its health, whatever hurt it may have had.  But if thou runnest over the rocks, and art lost, then the cloth is no better than any other linen.  But if life is fated to thee, though we two do not meet again, then I will that thou takest good care of it, for I do not give it thee."  Heming says, "May be that thou wilt not have a good return;  but it shall not be worse than none."  After that they parted.  No man knew of their converse.  The king goes up on the hill, and all his men.  The king had a red kirtle and a scarlet cloak with straps over him, and a spear in his hand.  He loosed the straps of his cloak, and drove the point of his spear into the earth.  Nicholas Thorberg's son stood at his back, and propped him up with his hands round his waist, and so on the rest of them one after the other, who stood by.  Now Heming goes up on the fell and gets on his snow-shoon, and ran straight down the fell.  He never ran at such a great pace that he could not steady himself;  and next of all he came about to where the king stood.  But when he came towards the edge of the crags, he shook off the straps of his snow-shoon and sprung up into the air, and the snow-shoon glide down from the fell, but he came down on his feet at the very edge.  He sways about much.  He clutched the king's cloak, but the king bowed down his head and strips off the cloak.  Then Heming slides down over the rocks.  Then the king said, "There now parted the dead and the living."  Odd said, "Ye two would not get the same lodging though ye had both died here."  The king said, "What lodging dost thou mean that each of us, I and Heming, would have had?"  Odd said "Willingly would I get so worthy a lodging as I think is in store for Heming;  but I think that Christ could not wish that the Fiend should be so glad of thee that he should take thee in this evening."  "I may not grant thee less," says the king, "than that thou shouldst get that good lodging to which Heming is already gone."  And he bids them take him and throw him over the cliff.  Then Halldor Snorri's son answers, "Either all we Icelanders who are now here will die in one way, or no one of us;  but we will have something to show for our lives."  The king said, "It shall be done for thy sake Halldor, that Odd shall have peace this winter;  and fare to Iceland next summer;  and as soon as he is gone then he shall be made an outlaw over all Norway."  Odd says, "Let bygones be bygones;  for the king has done well by me in many things;  but I shall think it no loss, though now we part here."  Odd fared away at once.  But the king fared at once to that feast which was prepared for him.  And we have not to speak of him first.  But Odd fared out to Iceland the summer after.

8.            Now it is to be told of Heming that he dashed down over the rocks;  and he fared, as Odd guessed, like those who tumble off crags so that all his clothes blew out away from him, but one end of the cloth got caught in a jutting point of the rock and held fast.  There hung Heming on the crag, and then knew nothing of what had befallen him.  A little after he came to his senses, and was all full of fear and dread.  But as his wits grew so fear passed from his breast.  Then he spoke to himself thus:  "For this must I have caught fast here, than to have placed me here with life and health.  Now I will vow this to God that I will share my goods into three parts.  A third I will give to the Saint king Olaf, another third to pilgrims and poor men;  but the third to Saint Stephen;  and that I will give into the hands of Odd Ofeig's son.  For myself I mean to go south to Saint Peter, if God lets me come hence.  I pray God this that I may stand as close at king Harold's death as he now thought he was to my death."  It was then dark night.  He saw a great light over him, and a man walking to him down the crag, and he draws him up to him on the crag.  He said "Here is come king Olaf Harold's son to find thee and to help thee;  for I would not that thou wert lost, so that king Harold's guilt might be increased.  But thou shalt keep thy vow to go south.  But if thou comest among unknown men then thou shalt call thyself Leif while king Harold lives.  That shall also be granted when thou prayedst that thou shalt be close by when king Harold dies;  but methinks thou wilt not repay me well if thou takest much part in that quarrel."  After that it seems to Heming that Saint Olaf the king faded away from him up aloft with the light;  but he sees a boat and rows out to Torgir.  He goes to the church, and sees many tapers burning, and there at their prayers lay Aslak and Bjorn.  Then Bjorn said when he saw Heming come to the church door, "Father," says he, "a muckle wonder.  Here is come Heming, my brother."  Heming answers, "No wonders are these for I am alive as ye see," and tells them all that had happened.  They were more glad than tongue can tell.  Heming was there in hiding that winter.  But in the spring he shared his goods as he had vowed.  After that Heming fared to England, and had with him that third of the goods which belonged to Saint Stephen, and caused it to be kept there while he went south to Rome.

9.            There was a king called Edward who ruled over England;  he was the son of king Ethelred, his mother's name was Emma whom Canute the mighty had to wife.  The king was a wise man and had many friends.  He had no children.  To him Leif came, and the king received him well.  But when he had been there a while then he sent word secretly to Odd Ofeig's son that he should come to him as soon as he might.  But when Odd heard those tidings then he fitted out his ship and sails first to the Orkneys, and so to England, and finds Leif there in London, and he welcomed Odd well, and he was there that winter.  He let two bells be cast.  Along with that he took the money which Heming gave to Saint Stephen for his life, and he also took the cloth;  and Heming begged Odd to build a church with the money.  And a little while before Odd was boun for sea, he was at a crowded meeting which the king held there.  There he saw a tall man in a cloak, with a sword garnished with gold in his hand.  Odd went up to this man and asked his name;  but he said his name was Adalbrigt.  Odd said, "Whence gottest thou these treasures, thy cloak and sword?  for I know that my brother owned these precious things, and he sailed from Iceland in a ship, and was never heard of since."  He said he had bought those precious things.  Leif came up and said "Thou must tell the truth, for the king has a sword called 'Touchtine,' and from it thou shalt have a stroke.  But that is the nature of it, that it becomes every man's bane who lies;  but it will not bite on one who tells the truth."  Adalbrigt says, "It will bite on me then, for we were many of us on board ship;  and we took a ship;  and those men defended themselves manfully, but we murdered them all.  And I do not hide that I am this man's bane of whom you speak;  and I will give myself up to God's power and yours."  Odd said, "I will not have thy life, but the king has power to decide on your stay in the land, but one hundred marks of burnt silver shalt thou pay me."  Adalbrigt agrees to this gladly.  After that Odd busked him to go;  and he got great honours from the king and Leif.  He sails off to sea.  Weather drove him into Norway;  and there he made that haven called Eikunda-Sound, and they lay there some nights.  One evening late king Harold came there with five ships.  The king became aware that Odd had come thither.  It was then dark at night.  The king made them lay his ships across the sound further out than Odd's ship, and made them lash the ships together;  but he himself had a tent on shore, and Odd was shut in.  Men became unhappy.  Odd said, "Be not unhappy for I tell you sooth;  Heming is alive, and he had got into more risk than we are;  and we will look for our help where he looked, and that is where God Almighty is.  I will vow this to let a church be built at Mel, as has been prayed me, and to lay out money there;  and to make there a monastery, and give to it all the goods which we have here on board.  Ye shall all also vow something."  And so they did.  And when this was done then the wind fell.  Odd bade them heave up the anchor and hoist the sail.  Then a breeze sprang up.  They laugh who are on land, and asked whether Oddr meant to sail up on land, or out towards the ships.  Oddr steers out over the lashings between the ships, and sails away to sea;  and comes with his ship to Midfirth, and fared home to Mel, and bade them build a church there;  and it was hallowed to Saint Stephen.  And that cloth is still there to this day which Heming had about him. (1)

10.       Now we must take up our story and say that an earl ruled in Northumberland, hight Guddin (Godwin) Ulfnad's son;  he had to wife Ingirid, a daughter of earl Thorgils crackle-leg;  she was sister of earl Ulf, the father of king Sweyn.  Guddin had many children.  One son of his hight Harold;  he was the most courteous of men.  The second hight Tosti;  he was a tall man and a strong, scowling-browed, a great man for words, and the most warlike of men;  he had not many friends.  The third hight Kari, he was called Muru-Kari (Morcar), Valtheof hight the youngest.  But his daughter's name was Velgerda;  she was given away to that man hight Aki nicknamed Aki the tall;  they were in Scarborough.  One autumn king Edward came to Scarborough on horseback.  He rode with a spear which Harold wished eagerly to have.  But Tosti his brother hit on that plan, that he takes the spearhead from the shaft of his spear, and cuts on it (the shaft) a point of wood, and afterwards rides up to the king and said, "See, lord, my spear;  it has no iron on it."  The king said, "I see what thou wilt, and now I will give thee my spear and this name along with it, that thou shalt be called Tosti wooden-spear;  and methinks it more likely that thou wilt not lack greed, if thou seest others more powerful than thyself."  The king bade Harold to him, and he followed the king, and he parted lovingly from his men.  But when the king came home, then he showed Harold a seat on the other high-seat by Leif.  "He knows" he says, "most feats of skill and strength, and he shall teach thee them all."  Harold thanked the king mightily for that.  And Leif took all pains to teach Harold such feats, and he alone in England knew all about Leif's life.  And when five winters were spent, then Harold fell only short of Leif in this one thing that he was not so strong.  And when Harold showed his feats before men, then all wondered where he could have learnt such craft;  for no one knew that Leif knew so many feats.

Harold was eighteen year old when he fared out of England west to France with twelve ships.  There Robert the Rouen-earl ruled the land;  he had a son high William, and he was called the bastard;  he bade Harold to his house;  he was taller in growth than most other men.  William had to wife a woman, called Molde (Maude);  their sons were Henry and Robert, he was most courtly and a tall man.  William invited Harold to him and he was there the winter.  But in the spring they went into fellowship with all the goods that they had, gotten or ungotten;  and also to whichever of them a realm fell or was inherited, then it should belong to both of them, and each was to back the other in all matters, and each to avenge the other as his brother.  So they fared to warfare with twentyfive ships;  and they followed that calling six years.  Harold was the one of them that had more friends.

11.  There was an earl in England hight Henry of Gloucester;  his son hight Helgi, a tall and strong man;  he was a wise man and grasping.  He gathers a host together, and harries king Edward's realm.  The king gathers a host against him.  That man was over the king's host whose name was John.  They met at Bonolfstone (sic).  And there was a hard battle;  and the earl got the victory, but John fell, and the runaways sought the king.  Then the king put that leader over the host whose name was Otti.  He was the son of Birgir the Welsh-champion;  he fared against the earl.  They met at Hrutsark;  and they fought for two days.  There Otti fell, and the earl laid the land under him.  That the king heard.  He sent men after Harold Godwin's son and Leif;  but meanwhile he gathers force.  The messengers came to Harold and tell him the king's words.  Harold says to William that he will yield the king help, but William says, "I will not part with my host."  "Then" William says, "I will not part with my host."  "Then" answers Harold, "we will share our goods and warriors between us."  William says, "Thou mayst fare if thou likest, but the sharing of our goods shall not be brought about now."  Harold says, "One thing or the other shall be, that we shall part the goods or we two shall come to fight for them."  It came about at last that the sharing of the goods was carried out.  It is said that too much knowledge was between those two, Harold and queen Molde;  butwhen William brought this against Harold he denied it.  And afterwards the plan of Molde and Harold was that he asked for the hand of the daughter of William and herself.  And that matter was settled that he plighted his troth to her ere he fared to England;  and their bridal was to be at Rouen after twelve months space.  And then they parted friends for that once.  Harold held on to England, and goes to find king Edward.  Now the king gets together a host, and fares against earl Henry, and they meet at that river which is called Lodda (Loddon).  And then they fell to the greatest battle.  The king had so drawn up his host that Harold was to take the earl in flank with his men.  And when the battle had stood for a little while, Harold came with a great force at the back of the earl's array and there was great slaughter.  And next to that flight broke out among the earl's men;  and that earl was taken prisoner, and a hundred men with him.  After that the earl was slain and thirty men with him, but the rest were enthralled.  A freeman came before the king, and said, "Here is a young and strongman, I would, lord, that you gave him to me, and I will make him my thrall."  The king answers, "He looks to me so that it will hardly be in thy power to use force to him;  but if he runs away thou wilt have to smart for it;  but if thou gettest no work out of him then bring him back to me."  The freeman said he had no fear that he could not tame him.  After that they fared away home.  The farmer said to that man, "We two will strike a bargain;  I will treat thee well, but thou shalt work hard."  The Guest says, "I will not work."  The farmer said, "Thou shalt be put into a house by thyself, and be starved to death then, if thou wilt not work."  "Thou must have thy way,"  said Guest.  So the farmer puts him into a house and starves him.  At the same time he beats Guest so that he can hardly walk, and sometimes he flogs him so that blood lay on the earth.  Between whiles he offers him money to work.  Guest would not hear of it.  And one time Guest said to the farmer, "Leave off torturing me to work, for I tell thee henceforth once for all that thou wilt not enthrall me so with all thy household."  The farmer says, "Then I will take thee to the king."  Guest answers, "The king will no more enthrall me than thou, though there is more hope of his doing so than of thee."  "His boons thou shalt soon get," says the farmer.  "I had meant," says Guest, "to beg little of thee;  but I would like to settle what time we two are to come before the king."  The farmer agrees to that.  Guest says, "Then it shall be on Yule day as the king goes to high-mass."  And so they do.  The farmer greets the king, and said, "Here is that man whom ye gave me last autumn;  but I cannot get him enthralled;  for a hard stone is better to soften than his heart."  The king said, "Then kill him."  Guest said, "Peace I must have on this day."  The king goes to church, and Guest says, "Fare thou home, master, and be well pleased that we two part as things are."  But when the mass was sung then Guest goes before the king, and said, "It has been told me that ye give to every man Yule-peace though thou hast great cause against him."  The king says, "Have thou peace, if any one will take thee into his keeping."  Guest goes into the hall with the king, and walks up to Heming, and bids him set him free with the king.  And so he does, that he gets, peace for Guest on over Yule.

12.    But when Yule was out, Guest bade Heming give him his help.  Heming says, "I cannot set my heart on begging for thee if I do not know whom thou art."  Guest says, "If there is little hope of thy yielding me help when thou dost not know, there is none at all after thou knowest what man I am."  Heming says, I would not yield it thee, if thou thinkest thyself too good to tell me whom thou art."  Then Guest said, "Thou must have thy way;  but my name is Helgi earl Henry's son;  but I changed arms with my shieldbearer in the flight, but he fell;  and they thought they had slain me."  Heming goes before the king, and asks for leave for Guest to stay in the country, and taht the king granted him for Heming's sake.

13.   After the death of king Edward, Harold Godwin's son took the kingdom in England in that wise as is said in the Saga of king Harold Sigurd's son.  There it is said also that Tosti and the other brothers of Harold Godwin's son would have the rule in England with him, and did not get it.  Then Tosti fared to Denmark to meet king Sweyn his kinsman, and he was well treated there.  Tosti asked king Sweyn whether he had any claim to the realm in England.  The king answers:  "I do not hide this, that I once thought I had;  but methinks it is now well bestowed when my kinsman king Harold rules over it, for we two are cousin's sons on the mother's side."  Tosti answers:  "Many men say there in the land and in his council, that I and my brothers own a third of the land."  The king answers:  "Methinks then that Harold is not sole king in England if ye have a trithing."  Tosti said, "If you would fare now to win the land, I and my brothers will yield you strength, and all our means, if thou wilt take the lead.  On these terms, if we win the land that thou shalt make us kings over the land;  and we shall pay thee skatt, and give over the land to you if you need it."  The king answers:  "I will think over my answer about this,"  and said he should be there with him that winter.  Tosti wished to know how his errand had sped as soon as ever he could.

14.  It happened once in the autumn that the king rode to a feast and Tosti with him.  And so it was that they baited out by a bridge and ate.  The king had a herd-hound, which fared with them;  and the hound had given him one small loaf of bread.  The hound runs on the bridge and sees his shadow in the water; and it seemed to him as though there was another hound in it, and that he had another loaf in his mouth.  So he leapt off from the bridge into the river, and dived down into the water, and thought he would get the loaf from the other hound.  Now when he comes into the water then he loses all, and so fares back empty to land.  Now the king said to Tosti, "Sawest thou how my hound fared just now?"  Tosti said "I did not pay close heed to it."  The king said "The hound thought he saw another hound in the water which had a loaf in its mouth, and thought he must get and take away the loaf.  But he leapt after his shadow, and brought neither loaf to land.  So I know it will fare with me if I fare now to England;  then I shall see my shadow.  But though I get back hither, then it may be that king Harold (of Norway) will be here before me, and then I shall not get this realm either.  So now I give thee my decision on thy business, that I do not come to England because I will be king in Denmark so long as God wills;  for it behoves me now never to covet anything more.  But thou Tosti must fare to king Harold."  And so he did.

15.  That autumn before Tosti came to Norway, Thorir of Steig dreamed a dream, and told it to his men and bade them interpret it.  He said he thought he was standing at a Thing which king Harold was at.  He sat on so great a chair that it filled all Norway;  but the king was so big that his body reached out on all sides away from the chair.  "Methought a man went up to him and kissed him;  but so methought a big fly flew out of that man's mouth into the king's mouth just like a raven.  At that methought the king got a raven's neb and with it he smote on the head all those who were at the Thing save us men of Steig;  of that methought many died, but all took harm of it.  I was then afraid that he would smite us men of Steig.  At that I woke.  Now will I myself interpret it.  When we were standing at the Thing and the king sat in the chair;  that was his throne of might.  But when he stretched every way beyond the chair then his greed grew in every way out of his realm.  But when methought he had a raven's neb;  then I am afraid that he will be a prey to raven's nebs, and that the ravens will suck his blood.  When methought he smote men on the head with his neb;  that I guess will fall on their pates, so that many will get their death from it, but it will go hard with all those who are with him."  But we men of Steig will not follow him."  ............ become wise of witnesses that another is king over England.  Now when it comes to Yule .............. Tosti might now take such fiefs of Harold, as of Sweyn, if the land were won.  Tosti also tells him that king Sweyn would not turn towards his business.  The king says that he will take counsel with his men how this shall be answered.  Now Tosti was with the king over the winter.  That winter earlier king Harold had sent Thorarin Nefjulf's son and Hjort east to Holmgard after that goat-skin which he left behind him there with queen Ellisif, as was said before, and they were not to come back unless they got the skin and the goods which were in it.  They came back when Tosti had been a little while with the king.  Hjort went in before the king and greeted him and says that Ellisif sent her greeting to the king.  But he was so eager in his talk with Tosti that he took no heed of those who had come.  Then Hjort sang a stave:

"The prince his gold

Piles fast together;

But never a word

Will the sow's son (2) utter:

Gey little land

Should lap-Hamdir (3) have,

Then perhaps Harold

Would answer a man."

            "How little?" says the king.  "No more" says Hjort "than thou mightiest lie upon."  The king smiles and asks "How has it fared Icelander?"  Hjort sang:

"Outside (4) in the 'toun'

Is a billy-goat white,

He glares with his eyes,

And has a long beard;

He stamps with his hoofs

And will carry off bairns,

This nanny-goat's son

Is madly ye-made."

            The king bade them bear in the money.  Then the goat-skin is borne in before the king.  Then he asks whether she gave it without a word who handed the money over.  Thorarin said she said never a word.  The king said "He shall be asked who is more right-worded.  "What sayest thou about it Hjort?"  He answers, "This I say, that she sang a stave."  The king said "What was that?"  Hjort sang:

"Never next spring,

With longships west,

Shall hare-hearted Harold,

O'er salt-sea sail:

For long shall be

That quaking king

Quite without hope

Of England and fame."

            Then said Tosti, "This is a spaedom when they bid you fare to England;  is there no hope of your coming thither?"  The king said, "Thou shalt go to the shrine of the Saint king Olaf, and thou shalt swear an oath that thou shalt speak the truth of the power *  *  *  *  * but I will raise an host out of the land to win England, but I alone will have the whole rule over the host."  Tosti said he would take the oaths, "But if anything thwarts your expedition, then these oaths shall fall back on you."  The king said so it should be.  After that the king sends letters over all Norway, and ordered out the whole strength of the people.  Then came to him Eystein the gorcock, the son of Thorberg Arni's son, and betrothed to Maria the daughter of king Harold and Ellisif the daughter of king Jaroslaf of Holmgard.  Her mother was Ingigerd daughter of king Olaf the Swede.  Nicholas Thorberg's son had then the stewardship in the nearest Thing (district) in Helgeland.  This host gathered together in the Solunds.  There was come the king and earl Tosti, and fifty liegemen.  And one morning as the king lay waiting for a fair wind he tells Tosti his dream;  that he thought a man boarded his ship, and he thought he knew it was his brother king Olaf.  "He was very wrathful" he said and sang a stave:

"I, the king so stout in story,

Famous for all time to come,

Battles won and gathered glory,

Fell a saint --- but died at home:

But this fleet to ruin wending,

Rends my soul with woe-unending,

Doomed to death and heaven-hated,

Ogre-steeds (5) will soon be sated."

            Tosti answers, "King Olaf cannot have sung this stave;  I rather think it is the witchcraft of Englishmen."  "I ween," says the king "that no one is so skilled in witchcraft that he can take the likeness of king Olaf on him."  "A good man was king Olaf," says Tosti, "But yet wizards have shown themselves in the bodies of those men who were not less holy than he."  The king answers, "I will fare to England with thee for the sake of seeking atonement, but for naught else."  Tosti answers, "On thee shall fall the oaths if thou breakest up the levies."  The king says, "I will not run the risk of that."

16.  It is so said when the king sailed out through Dontheim firth, and he *  *  *  *  *  * a man (came) in a boat to his ship and bade the king run into the land and help his sick wife.  The king asked what sickness she had.  The freeman said that she had fallen asleep by a well;  it was thought that some snake had got into her mouth, and it will ever since drink water."  The king says the ship shall run into land.  "Then ye shall know that ye have a haughty king, though he be called hard and stingy."  The king goes on land and Thiodolf skald with him.  They come to the woman, and the king bade them bear the woman to the same well whence she got her sickness.  He bade them turn her on her face and lay her lips down close to the well.  The king sat by and had a pair of pincers in his hand.  He made them kindle by him a little fire.  The woman wept sore;  and begged they would give her to drink;  but for all that the king would not let her have the water.  Then her pain presses up into her throat;  and her mouth bursts open and out comes a snake's head.  The king took the pincers and caught the snake's head and drew out of her a living snake, and cast it into the fire.  The woman is carried home after that and she was soon made whole.  After that the king goes to his ship and sails south along the land with all that host that had then come to him from the north of the land.

17.  It is so said that as the king lay in the Solunds there sailed in then off the main a Greenland ship.  The captain of that ship was a man called Corpse-Lodin, for that he had brought the body of Finn fain and his crew from the Finnbooths, east of the Jokuls in Greenland at the bidding of Saint Olaf the king;  for Finn was the son of Kettle Calf of Ringness in Heidmark, and Gunnhilda the sister of king Olaf.  They put off a boat and row to the king's ship, and Lodin greets the king.  The king asked how long they had been at sea?  "Seven nights."  The king asked, "Were ye ware of any new thing on the voyage?"  "I can think of nothing new now" Lodin answers.  "Then his companions launched the boat."  Then the king said, "Thy men do not think thou tellest the truth;  so tell it now."  Lodin answers, "When we had sailed two nights away from the land, then we saw a fire burning;  it was so long that we could not see the end on either side;  it was as blue as flame;  we had the fairest wind, but we could in no wise sail by it.  My plan was to sail right for the fire where it was lowest.  We felt the heat of the fire, and the sheets on both sides were burnt and *  *  *  *  *  * the sheets and bodies with fresh Greenland (tar).  And when we had sailed three half days a pack of clouds came over our ship;  there followed such great darkness that men could not see their hands.  Then we heard a great crash;  I looked up;  then the pack of clouds was broken asunder, and blood fell out of it all around us  *  *  *  *  *  * as it were a great waterfall, and this stream of blood came down on our ship and I made them set (buckets) under it, and that blood may still be seen here, and it is now clotted after it cooled;  for it was warm when it came down.  And when we had sailed still three half days, then we heard a great roar.  We saw then many birds flying, the names of which I knew in Norway;  those flew nearest us who were the greatest.  They crew and clucked with mickle glee.  This flight lasted about three hours, so that we could not see clear sky for it, and yet the same birds never flew by us again.  After that we sailed two days still ere we came to land yester even.  Then we saw the same birds flying from the west across the sea;  and then all the biggest birds were away.  Then they all flew in silence, and as it were sorrowful.  And when they came to land they scattered and each lit by itself.  And now I have naught more to tell you."  The king said, "Thou wishedst to keep this from me when thou saidest thou hadst seen nothing."  Lodin answers, "I said so, Lord, because I thought this now no wonder after you had resolved on your expedition from the land."  "Why?" said the king.  Lodin said, "Because you will not come back;  but it is to be looked for that there will be great wonders before the falling away of such chiefs."  The king said, "Wilt thou follow me?"  "You must settle that" answers Lodin, "but I will seek the bodies of those of your men who lose their lives."  The king answers, "I stand more in need of men when I am alive;  but this is why you must fare with me, because thou sayst thou knowest all about our doings."  Then the king said, "Thinkest thou Tosti this any wonder?"  "Had it happened" says Tosti "to a truthful man it would have been something new."  "It would be worth much" says Lodin, "that thou Tosti lyest no more lies between land and land than I."  The king gave Lodin leave to depart.

18.    Hugi was the name of a priest who sang mass at Avallsnes in Körmt.  He dreamed one night that he thought he looked into the churchyard, and it seemed that all the folk who were buried there were up and stirring.  They had a man among them, and tossed him about the one to the other;  but on the other side of the church they had another man, and him they tugged each to the other.  Thence there came forward a woman to the priest.  She was stark-naked.  The priest asked what the pother meant.  She answers, "A corpse will come to church tomorrow when the sun is in the southeast which neither side will touch;  but one will come at midday which all will drag towards them;  but that corpse that comes first I wish to be buried on the east of the churchyard;  but that which comes later I wish buried on the north, where the nave and choir meet;  and there ye shall find bones of a man, and those I wish to be piled all round outside the corpse, for they are my bones."  "Then tell me," says the priest, "how will our king fare when he leaves the land?"  She answers, "He will fall."  The priest asked, "Who will then rule the realm?"  "Peaceful," she says.  "How long will he reign?"  says the priest "Seven winters and twenty" she says.  "What will come after him?"  he says.  "Strifeful will come then."  "How long will he reign?"  says the priest.  "Ten winters," she says.  "What comes after that?"  he says.  "Good-rede and Goodwill and Hardrede," she says.  "Which of them will be longest lived?"  "Hardrede," she says.  "How long will he reign?" says the priest.  "Five and twenty winters," she says, "but after him there will be many ill deeds.  But now I must tell thee nothing more."  The priest awakes, and next day the corpses came just as she said.  But it was Olaf the quiet whom she called "Peaceful," but Magnus barelegs whom she called "Strifeful";  Eystein whom she named Goodrede, but Olaf whom she called Goodwill, but Jewry-Sigurd who was Hardrede.  But God forbade that she should tell those ill deeds which were done afterwards.

19.    Now we must turn to that that king Harold sails out to sea with his host;  he came first to the Orkneys, and left there behind him his daughter Maria and much other folk.  Thence the king sails to England;  and they came to Scarborough.  Then the weather fell calm, and they lay there the night over.  Men awoke at something that was sung in the air;  and each thought as though it were over his own ship.  All look up aloft to see a witch riding on a wolf in the air.  She had a trough on her knees filled with blood and limbs of men.  She sang these three staves:

"Westward Ho" with noise and rattle

Rushes on the king to battle;

Helter skelter, hurry-scurry,

T'is for me they waste and worry!

Soon my raven's darling brood

Will fatten on their dainty food,

Titbits torn from sailors stricken,

Where I am disasters thicken:

Where I am disasters thicken.

Mighty fells shall veil their head,

Sickness o'er mankind be spread,

Peace be broke and hatred rise

'Twixt land and land beneath the skies:

On you, as on the folk of yore,

I will lay my burden sore,

South my wolf wends men to swallow,

My weird is spoke, your doom will follow:

My weird is spoke, your doom will follow.

The Ogre-bride that scatters ruin,

Kens the king's misfortunes brewing:

What avails his fame in field,

If she shows her blood-red shield!

Lo!  she plies the monster's maw

Piling flesh 'twixt either jaw,

Till from out her loathsome store,

All his fangs are red with gore:

All his fangs are red with gore."

            The king asked Tosti whether he is awake;  Tosti answers, "I have waked just now at this strain."  The king said, "Thinkest thou this is of any worth?"  "Naught," says Tosti.  "Then art thou dead at heart," "never saw I such tokens before."  They take the shore and land at the district called Cleveland.  The king asks Tosti "What is the name of yon height north there in the land?"  "Every hillock," says Tosti, "has not a name given it."  "This, though," says the king, "must have a name, and thou shalt tell it me."  "That," says Tosti, "is the 'how' of Ivar the boneless."  "Few are they," answers the king, "who have conquered England who have come first to his 'how'."  "Tis to believe in old wives' tales," says Tosti, "to put faith in such things now."

20. They go on land with the host, but some watch the ships.  Those brothers Morcar and earl Voltheof, and Aki their brother in law, gather a host together as soon as they hear of the Norwegian host.  They met at that river which is hight Ouse, and there the hardest fight arises, and is kept up till nones.  Then Eystein had gone through the array of the English and slain Aki the tall.  Then he sees that Morcar has got at the back of Tosti's battle;  and so he turns with his men at the back of Morcar's battle.  And when earl Morcar sees that he bids his men face about and defend themselves well and manfully.  And at last flight broke out among his men, and they flee out into the river and earl Morcar is there slain and the most part of his folk.  Many too sunk beneath the stream.  By that time king Harold had taken earl Valtheof prisoner.  Then Tosti goes to the king and said, "Let those brothers both fare one journey."  "Thou shalt slay," says the king, "those whom thou takest, but I will have my way as to him."  (Then) the king said to Valtheof, "I will give thee peace if thou wilt swear never to fight against me, and to send me word if thou knowest that treachery is plotted against me the same day."  "I will not swear that" says Valtheof; "and I will not to save my life cease to stand by my brother Harold, so long as I may;  but I will send thee word if I know that treachery is plotted against thee, and I will do that to save my life;  but I will swear no oath;  for it looks to me as though Tosti does not mean me to have much inheritance."  The king left Valtheof quite free to fare whithersoever he would.  Tosti says, "A senseless deed!  to let that man loose whom ye think too good to take an oath."  "I ween" said the king, "that his word is better than thy handsel."  Tosti said, "Let us fare with our host to London, and let us waste the land with fire and sword, and give no peace to any man, neither women nor bairns."  And so it was done.  And after that they fare to their ships and south along the coast, and run their ships into Ravensaire.  There they find in their way neither man nor cattle in the thorpes, everything so flies before them.  And one day when the king lay in a haven, then a woman rode down from the country and asked for the king of Norway.  The king said he was there.  She said, "I have a land-tent which I will give you."  "Take the tent," says Tosti, "and let it be burnt afterwards."  "Burn," said the king, "what is given to thee, but I am not aware that thy countrymen offer thee any honour."  He bids them set up the tent;  and all said with one mouth that no man had ever seen so fair a tent.  The king asks what return she will have for the tent.  "Sons twain I have," she answers, "and I would beg for life for them both."  The king said, that both her men and her cattle should have peace if he knew where they were.  After that she rode away.  But the king sleeps in the tent that night.  But next morning the king says to Thiodolf the skald that he thinks Tosti said sooth that the tent was uncanny.  "For methought up to this time I saw seven plans for whatever might happen, but now I seem to know no plan at all."  "But on your plans," answers Thiodolf, "we must after all rest."  The king said, "We will now change our plans;  we will go on shore with twenty hundred men, but sixty hundred shall be by the ships;  and their leaders shall be those brothers Eystein and Nicholas.  Tosti shall follow me."  So the king carries that out;  he lands and burns.  And when he comes to that town hight York, then the townsmen send him word that they will give themselves up to his power, and they bind that with oaths.  That the king accepts.  Afterwards he fares to his ships;  but the next morning he was to go on land to hold the town with his men, and the king lay at his ships that night.

21.   But as soon as day came the king busked him to go on land to the town.  They had shields and helms, but no byrnies, except a hundred men that were most lissom.  "This is the greatest foolishness," said Tosti, "to go nearly weaponless into the hands of one's foes;  for ye need not trust the English men if they get power over you, and a bad change has come over thee king since the gift of that woman's land tent."  "At what art thou afraid now, Tosti," said the king.  "This," he says, "methinks is much more fearful that thou hast been reft of thy wits than that songs have been sung over and against us."  "For all that I will have my way," says the king.  Tosti was so unbeloved by the Norwegians that no one would listen to him.  That same even when king Harold fared to his ships with the Norwegian host, Harold Godwin's son came with an overwhelming host from the south of England to York, and learnt there true tidings of the Norwegians.  But as soon as the townsmen knew that the king was come, then they broke altogether their word to the Norwegians, and went along with the host of king Harold.  And straightway in the morning he rowed (sic) his host down to Stoneford-bridge, which now is called Stamford, and now each fare against the other.  King Harold Sigurd's son said, "What is that to be seen up in the country (is it) a whirlwind or the dust of horsemen?"  "Of a surety it is the dust of horsemen," says Tosti, "and you will now see the faith of my countrymen."  The king halts the host and waits;  and soon sees that an overwhelming host in arms is faring against him.  Just then came a man riding, and asked for king Harold.  He was told where he was.  "There now is Valtheof my brother,"  said Tosti, "slay him."  The king forbids that.  Valtheof rides up before the king, and greets him, and bids him turn back as quick as he can to his ships, "for king Harold my brother fares against thee with an overwhelming host;  and you have not force to withstand him were ye armed, and all the less now."  The king said, "Farewell, Valtheof, and back thy brother well.  Thou has kept thy word well."  The king asked then what plan they should take;  and they were the most that bade the king fare to the ships to meet his folk.  The king answers, "Never yet fled I without a flight, and I will not now;  for I grudge this victory to the Englishmen that I be both chased and slain."  Then he sends men to the ships to tell Eystein the gorcock that he needed men.  But he let the trumpets sound, and sets his battle in array.  Then the English host also halts, and draws up its array.  And then there was little more than two arrow-flights between them.  And at that time three men ride up to the array of the Norwegians and asked if earl Tosti could hear their voice.  One of them, he that spoke, was not a big man but slender-grown, and the most courteous of all men.  He had a gilded helm and a red shield, and a hawk drawn on it in gold.  The second man was the biggest and tallest of all men, and the strongest and the most comely.  The third was a tall man and slim-waisted, and broad shouldered.  He rode last.  Tosti bade him say what he would.  The knight said, "Harold thy brother sent thee God's greeting and offered thee an atonement."  "What more," says Tosti, "does he offer now than before."  "He thinks," says the knight, "it less worth to offer now when such things have been done."  "We will not make that good with money," says Tosti;  "but what is now offered?"  "He offered," said the knight, that thou shouldst have a fifth of England, but he would have no atonement for his brother;  but what you have done in scathe to the land, that," he said, "must be made good."  "That I will not take," says Tosti.  (Then) the knight spoke "I will not hide this which he said should be offered last, that he would rather offer thee half England, than that ye two should strive for it in battle, and along with it the title of king."  "Then what will he offer to Harold king of Norway?"  "Because," says the knight, "he was not content with his realm;  then I will give him three ells and a half of England in length, and so much more as he is of more than middle height;  but no more will he get here, for I care little for him."  "Too late," said Tosti, "have these offers been put forward;  but this I have often heard the Norwegians say that if a good offer were made I would straightway sunder myself from their quarrel;  but now that shall not be."  "Then," said the knight, "the king bade thee take the whole blame on thine own head."  And after that he turns away.  King Harold Sigurd's son rode on a black horse with a white blaze on his brow, and was telling how they should stand in array while they were talking.  Just then the horse fell under the king, and so it fares thrice running.  The king said, "Why shall it be so now brother Olaf?"  he says, Tosti laughs and said "Thinkest thou that king Olaf makes the horse fall under thee."  He says, "I shall have to thank no other man more for it than thee if he turns away from me."  He gets off the horse and goes into the array.  The king said to Tosti, "Who was this knight who spoke with thee."  "King Harold my brother," says Tosti.  "Why saidst thou that so late," says the king.  "I would not," says Tosti, "betray him when he rode trusting in my good faith."  "He is a stately man," said the king, and a goodly, and he stands now well in his stirrups, but yet he will not rule the lands long.  But who was on either side of him?"  "Helgi Henry's son was one,"  says Tosti, "but the other is called Bjarleif."  "I little thought," says the king, "to see that man here;  for I know the man;  and I would not have fared hither on this warfare, if I had known he was alive."  "That is no business of ours," says Tosti.  Then king Harold Godwin's son, asked Leif, "Who was that tall man under whom the horse fell."  "That was the Norwegian king,"  answers Leif.  "He is a grim looking man," says the king, "but not likely to live long;  for I guess his days are now spent."  The king of Norway had so drawn up his array that his men who had shields were to stand in a ring, and all look outwards.  But those who have no shields shall stand inside and fight out beyond them.  But when the two battles were joined, then the Englishmen threw a ring round the Norwegian array.  Heming had told his name and all that had befallen him ere he went into the battle.  Then the Englishmen shout their war cry.  Then King Harold Sigurd's son, sang a stave:                                                                                                                                "Onward we go

In battle array,

Byrnieless meeting

Blue steel today:

Bright helms are blinking,

But Emma (6) I lack;

Our war-weeds lie wasted,

Down by the sea-wrack."

            "Now that is ill sung," says the king, "and it shall be mended."

"Come each warrior to the field,

Never creep behind your shield!

Where the onslaught rageth highest

Odin's arm is ever nighest.

She the maid that winneth battles (7)

Bade me bear my head on high,

When on brain-pan sword-blade rattles

There to win the day or die."

            King Harold Sigurd's son, bade his men not fight too hotly, but to stand fast and not to quail.  The Englishmen then begin the onslaught, but the Norwegians defend themselves so well that naught came of it.  Then king Harold Godwin's son, said to Helgi, Henry's son, "What plan shall be now taken to break their stand;  for it is to be looked for soon that help will come to them from the ships, and then we shall not attack them so well when we can do nothing with them now, and they are but a handful of men."  "We shall" says Helgi "fall on them as stoutly as we can;  and if we take no hold of them, then we will turn away from the, and may be they will think that we are flying, and then they will break their array and follow us up, and after that we will turn on them again as quickly as we can."  And so they did.  And when the Norwegians saw that they turned away then they pursued them, but when the others turned on them, then they could not get into their array and make a stand a second time.  And now the battle was deadly;  but where they, king Harold and Tosti, stood their was no yielding.  Then king Harold Godwin's son said to Heming, "What is the good now of thy cunning and thy sharp-shooting when thou dost not shoot the king;  thou alone canst pick him out."  "I do not hide it" says Heming "that I have marked down the king, but I dare not shoot him because of king Olaf."  "I know not" says king Harold "for what thou faredst to the battle, if thou wilt take no part in it.  Shoot now so that I may know him, because I dare shoot him in spite of king Olaf."  Then Heming shot at the king with a loose arrow, (8) and hit him on the cheek, and the arrow hung in the flesh.  The king cut the arrow out at once, but he was easily known by that.  Then Harold Godwin's son, shoots at king Harold and hits him in the throat.  Then the king sat him down.  He said to Thiodolf the skald, "Come thou hither and sit under my head.  I have long held up thy head."  Tosti went to the king and asked whether he was wounded.  The king answers, "A little bit of iron was sent me;  but this I ween that it was not for nothing that it was borne out of the forge.  I will that thou takest an atonement from thy brother, but as for me I will take that portion of the realm which was offered me this morning."  Tosti says,  "One carle shall be the host of us twain tonight."  There thou speakest," says the king, "of that carle of whom I would ask never to take lodging."  And after that the king died.  Then the Englishmen shouted their warcry;  and say that the king of the Norwegians is fallen, and offer Tosti an atonement.  Then Tosti grasps the banner;  and says that they shall find that all the Norwegian leaders are not fallen, "So long as I am able to fight."  And now Tosti keeps up the battle for a while.  Then said Heming, "Why, lord, dost thou not now egg me on to shoot."  "Because," says the king, "I will not do my brother to death."  "It is wondrous" says Heming, "that you should like to let your men be killed down; and I will send him one keepsake if ye do not forbid it."  "I will not" says the king, "let any vengeance be now taken though any hurt be wrought on him."  Then Heming shoots into Tosti's eye.  Then Tosti said, when he got the shot, "This marked me for God," and died at once.  King Harold then offered the Norwegians peace.  Just then came Eystein gorcock and asked Thiodolf skald what tidings had happened there.  Thiodolf chanted ----

"The host has had a heavy blow,

Entrapped I call this army now;

For no good end did Harold call

His lieges from the East to fall:

The clever captain's life is sped,

And we are left in evil stead."

            Eystein said, "Let us go forward manfully;  we will not fight under our shields, as though we thought we were going to get anything else here than our graves."  They rush so hard on that all the English array goes back.  They tell the king that now they have not to do with mere men.  The king answers, "Men they are, and lives they have."  But when they had fought long, then Nicholas said, "We may not keep up this onslaught any longer, for the sake of weariness."  "Sooth is that," answers Eystein, "and so we must seek out a plan.  We will spring to the wood, but the Englishmen will not follow us up much, for they will be glad of any rest that befalls them;  then we will throw off our armour and afterwards renew the attack:  and each man of us shall fight for fame and not for length of days."  That, they said, they were all willing to do.  And so they took that plan.  Now the Englishmen shout and offer peace to the Norwegians.  Then Eystein and the Norwegians rush forward and say that they shall find that the Norwegians would have no peace.  Then the battle begins anew;  then the Englishmen run away by hundreds from the king.  Nicholas, Thorberg's son, fights with Helgi, Heming's son, and Nicholas presses on so fast that Helgi can do naught else than fall back and defend himself;  but Eystein gorcock attacks the king and Valtheof.  So hard was that fight, that ever since in England "Gorcock's Bout" is used to mean great peril of men.  Then great loss of life happens, and more on the Norwegian side, for they were bare of weapons.  Then Heming sees that Helgi is overcome by Nicholas.  Then Heming shoots Nicholas in the small ribs, so that the arrow came out on the other side.  Then Nicholas and Thiodolf skald, and a great crowd of the Norwegians fell.  Eystein kept up the battle, and went so near the king that he slew his standard bearer.  That Heming sees, and shoots an arrow under Eystein's arm, and into his heart, and he fell with great glory.  All the Norwegians fled as soon as Eystein was fallen, those who could compass it.  But the Englishmen did not chase the fleers.  Then king Harold rode to London with no more company than five hundred men.  He got men to bear to church the bodies of those men who had fallen, as well Norwegians as his own men.  He also gave leave to Olaf, Harold's son, to go away from Ravensaire, and all those Norwegians who were left alive.

22. William the bastard ruled over France as was before said.  He hears of the warfare of king Harold to England;  and he sends word over his realm, and summons to him a great host.  Then he speaks to them and says, "It is known to you how the partnership of us two, mine and Harold Godwin's son's fared;  now it is told me that a host is attacking his realm.  Now I will fare with this host to avenge him if anything has befallen him.  But besides at no other time will it be easier to avenge on Harold that shame which he has put on me, and to claim England;  even though he may have gained the day, for all his bravest and briskest folk will be either wounded or war-weary."  But on that day with William rode out of Rouen;  then his wife went up to him when he had got on horseback, and took hold on his stirrup, and wished to speak to him;  but he smote the horse with his spurs and she fell down before the horse, and the horse trod her down and she got her death there and then.  He said, "When bale is highest bote is nighest, (9) and it is now more likely that our journey will be good."  After that they get on board ship and sail to England, and he harries as soon as he comes into the land.  It is so said that he made them burn Ivar the boneless ere he began to harry.  That king Harold hears, and summons men to him;  then his folk were very sore of their wounds.  The king offers them to leave the land if they thought they were unable to follow him;  but all said that they would follow him.  The king says, "Give me up if ye will not follow me truly."  They said they would never part from him.  He marches with his host against William.  And there a hard battle arose.  That was nineteen nights later than that on which king Harold Sigurd's son fell.  Then there was a great slaughter of the Englishmen because there were many in that battle who were fit for nothing.  They fought all day.  And about even king Harold Godwin's son fell, but Heming and Helgi and Valtheof threw their men into swine-snout array (10) and nothing could touch them.  Then said William, "I will give thee peace, Valtheof, if thou wilt swear fealty to me;  then shalt thou have the inheritance of thy fathers' and the earldom."  "I will swear thee no oaths," answers Valtheof, "but I will give my word to be true to thee if thou grantest that."  "On these terms we two will be atoned," says William.  "What lot," asked Valtheof, "shall they have, Heming and Helgi, if they come into the atonement?"  "Helgi," answers William, "shall have his inheritance and his earldom;  he shall swear fealty to me, and tell me all those plans which he can see better than I can;  but Heming shall be with me;  and if he be true to me then I will honour him most of all men."  Then Valtheof asks, "What plan will ye two take?"  "Heming shall settle,"  says Helgi.  "I know," answers Heming, "that it will seem worth while to you Englishmen to stay this war;  but methinks there is no joy in living after this battle;  but still I will no longer keep you in peril than ye wish;  but this I ween that Valtheof's peace will be short."  "Better is it," answers Valtheof, "that we should be overthrown than to trust no one;  nor shall any more men lose their lives for my sake."  They gave up the battle, and go into the king's peace.  Then William is chosen to be king, and they ride thence to London.  Valtheof begged leave to go home, and got it, and rode away with ten men.  The king looked after them, and said, "It is unwise to let that man ride away free who will swear us no oaths;  and ride after him, and slay him."  And so they did.  Valtheof got off his horse, and forbade his men to defend themselves.  He went to a church, and was there slain;  and there he is buried, and men think he is a good man.

23.   That night after king Harold Godwin's son, had fallen, then there drove to the field of carnage a cotter and his wife to strip the slain and get themselves fee;  they saw there great heaps of dead, and they see there a bright light.  They spake together and say that there must be some holy man among the slain, and they fall to clearing away the dead where they saw the light;  they see that a man's arm came up out of the slain, and on it was a great gold ring.  The goodman took the arm in his hand, and asked whether that man lived.  He answers, "I live."  The carline said, "Clear away the corpses, I think this is the king."  They raise up the man and asked if he were to be healed.  The king says, "I do not gainsay that I might be healed, but that ye two will not be able to do."  "We will run the risk of that," said the carline.  They lifted him up and laid him on the wain and drive home with him.  The carline said, "Thou shalt cut the thews out of the draught beast, and the ears off his head;  and if men come to thy house to look for the king's body, then thou shalt say that I am out of my wits, but that wolves have torn thy horse."  They cleanse and bind up the king's wounds and hide him in their cottage.  A little after king William's men come thither, and ask whether he had borne to his house king Harold alive or dead.  The carle answers, "That I have not done."  "It is not to be gainsaid," they answer, "for the trail of blood lies toward thy house."  "As to your king," says the carle, "methinks he is no loss;  more loss methinks is there in my draught horse which the wolves tore the night before the battle happened."  "This must be sooth," they answered, "for we saw here the horse torn, but still we will go in here and search and see what is to be found here."  "There is no end to my woes," said the carle, "my wife has lost her wits, in that she heard the horns and the shouts of battle."  Still, for all that, they will go indoors;  but when they came inside there the carline sat by the hearth and ate charcoal;  and when she sees the men she jumps up and snatches a pitchfork and swore at them, and says she will slay them.  They go out and laugh at her and go home as things stood, and told the king they could not find king Harold's body.  But the carline and her husband had the king in hiding till he was quite whole;  then the king sends the carline to Heming, and she tells him where the king was.  "Now foster-mother" says Heming "it stood you in good stead that thou hadst something in thy head."  "I was not mad at any rate," answers the carline.  The day after Heming came to the king and there was a very joyful meeting;  they talk together all that day.  Heming offers the king to go through the whole land, and gather a host together.  "And then" (he says) "you will soon get the land away from William."  "I see," said the king, "that this may come about, but there would be far too many oaths broken, and I am not willing that such wickedness should spring from me.  Now I will go after the pattern of king Olaf, Tryggvi's son, who after he lost the day off Wendland would not come back to his realm, but rather fared out to Greece, and there served God while he lived.  Now I will let a hermit's cell be made for me at Canterbury, where I may very often see king William in the church;  but that food alone will I have which thou bringest to me."  To this Heming agreed.  The king gives the carle and his wife good store of money, but goes afterwards into a hermitage.  There he is three winters, so that no one knew what manner of man he is beside Heming and the priest who shrove him.  And one day that Heming came to Harold then he tells him he has taken that sickness which will bring him to his death.  And on a day when king William sat at the board then a ringing of bells was heard over the whole town.  The king asks why there was such a pretty peal.  "I guess," says Heming, "that a monk is dead whose name was Harold."  "What Harold is that?"  says the king.  "Godwin's son," says Heming.  "Who has harboured him?"  says the king.  "I have done that," answers Heming.  "If that be sooth," says the king, "then it shall be thy death;  but we will see his body."  After that they go into the cell where the body lay;  and then it was stripped, and then all knew king Harold.  The body was fair and comely, and men smelt there a sweet savour, so that all who were by understood that he was a truly saintly man.  Then the king asked Heming what he would do to save his life.  "What do you ask?"  ask Heming.  "That," says the king, "thou swearest me this oath that thou shalt be to me as true in all things as (thou wast) to king Harold, and back me as thou backedst him."  "Rather will I die with him," says Heming, "than live with thee; but I might have betrayed thee long ago if I had wished it."  "Most true it is," said the king, "that there will be one brave man the less in England if thou art slain;  I will now offer thee to make thee the foremost baron in England, and to be at my court and rule it all;  or I will give thee, if thou wilt not choose that, three pounds income every twelvemonths, and be wherever in England it seems good to thee."  Heming thanked the king for his offers, and said, "I will take that, to be in England, but goods I have no lust to have henceforth;  but this I will beg of you, that you give me leave and give me this same cell, and here will I end my days."  The king was silent a long time, and said "For that this is asked of a clean heart, then shall it be granted thee."  After that William let them clothe the body of king Harold with royal robes, and made his burial the most seemly, and he was buried with the greatest honour.  A little after Heming went into the above named cell and served God till his old age, and at last he was sightless and died in that hermitage.

     And there now ends what is to be said of Heming.



1.                  "Cujus etiam reliquiæ in eadem æde nostro tempore visæ sunt" says Arngrim the learned in his MS.  Supplement written in 1593.  Barthol. Collect.  No. 26, P. 199.

2.                  Sow's son an allusion to Harold's father Sigurd, who was called "sow" or "swine" from his stingy ways in farming.

3.                  The meaning of "Laf-Hamdir" in the text is very doubtful.

4.                  In these verses the skin of the he-goat is represented as a bug-bear in a nursery tale.

5.                  Ogre-steeds, i.e. "wolves."

6.                  Emma was the name of Harold's favourite "byrnie" or shirt of mail.

7.                  i.e. the Valkyrie.

8.                  An arrow with a loose head which would mark but not kill.

9.                  This old North-country proverb exactly expresses the meaning of the Icelandic original.  See Icel. Dict. s.v. Bysna.

10.             The wedge-shaped phalanx of the Northmen.




Next: Appendix F. The Saga of Edward the Confessor