Wisdom Library Logo

The Chronicle of The Kings of Norway

Part 100 - Of The Earls Einar And Bruse

The brothers Einar and Bruse were very unlike in disposition. Bruse was a soft-minded, peaceable man, — sociable, eloquent, and of good understanding. Einar was obstinate, taciturn, and dull; but ambitious, greedy of money, and withal a great warrior. Sumarlide, the eldest of the brothers, was in disposition like Bruse, and lived not long, but died in his bed.

After his death Thorfin claimed his share of the Orkney Islands. Einar replied, that Thorfin had the dominions which their father Sigurd had possessed, namely, Caithness and Sutherland, which he insisted were much larger than a third part of Orkney; therefore he would not consent to Thorfin's having any share.

Bruse, on the other hand, was willing, he said, to divide with him.

"I do not- desire,"

he said,

"more than the third part of the land, and which of right belongs to me."

Then Einar took possession of two parts of the country, by which he became a powerful man, surrounded by many followers. He was often in summer out on marauding expeditions, and called out great numbers of the people to join him; but it went always unpleasantly with the division of the booty made on his viking cruises.

Then the bondes grew weary of all these burdens; but Earl Einar held fast by them with severity, calling in all services laid upon the people, and allowing no opposition from any man; for he was excessively proud and overbearing. And now there came dearth and scarcity in his lands, in consequence of the services and money outlay exacted from the bondes; while in the part of the country belonging to Bruse there were peace and plenty, and therefore he was the best beloved by the bondes.

first previous index next last