The Chronicle of The Kings of Norway

by Snorri Sturlson | c.1179-1241 | 320,198 words

The "Heimskringla" of Snorri Sturlason is a collection of sagas concerning the various rulers of Norway, from about A.D. 850 to the year A.D. 1177....

Chapter IV - Hakon The Good's Saga

- Sub-Contents: (+ / -)

Preliminary Remarks:

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 edges?'

"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.

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