Heimskringla

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....

Part 260 - Of King Olaf's Age And Reign

It is reckoned by those who have kept an exact account, that Olaf the Saint was king of Norway for fifteen years from the time Earl Svein left the country; but he had received the title of king from the people of the Uplands the winter before.

Sigvat the skald tells this: —

"For fifteen winters o'er the land
King Olaf held the chief command,
Before he fell up in the North:
His fall made known to us his worth.
No worthier prince before his day
In our North land e'er held the sway,
Too short he held it for our good;
All men wish now that he had stood."

Saint Olaf was thirty-five years old when he fell, according to what Are Frode the priest says, and he had been in twenty pitched battles.

So says Sigvat the skald: —

"Some leaders trust in God — some not;
Even so their men; but well I wot
God-fearing Olaf fought and won
Twenty pitched battles, one by one,
And always placed upon his right
His Christian men in a hard fight.
May God be merciful, I pray,
To him — for he ne'er shunned his fray."

We have now related a part of King Olaf's story, namely, the events which took place while he ruled over Norway; also his death, and how his holiness was manifested. Now shall we not neglect to mention what it was that most advanced his honour. This was his miracles; but these will come to be treated of afterwards in this book.

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