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 32 - Svein's Flight

King Magnus sailed with his fleet from the south after Svein to Seeland; but as soon as the king came there Svein fled up the country with his men, and Magnus followed them, and pursued the fugitives, killing all that were laid hold of.

So says Thiodolf: —

"The Seeland girl asks with fear,
'Whose blood-bespattered shield and spear —
The earl's or king's — up from the shore
Moved on with many a warrior more?'
We scoured through all their muddy lanes,
Woodlands, and fields, and miry plains.
Their hasty footmarks in the clay
Showed that to Ringsted led their way.

"Spattered with mud from heel to head,
Our gallant lord his true men led.
Will Lund's earl halt his hasty flight,
And try on land another fight?
His banner yesterday was seen,
The sand-bills and green trees between,
Through moss and mire to the strand,
In arrow flight, leaving the land."

Then Svein fled over to Fyen Island, and King Magnus carried fire and sword through Seeland, and burnt all round, because their men had joined Svein's troop in harvest.

So says Thiodolf: —

"As Svein in winter had destroyed
The royal house, the king employed
No little force to guard the land,
And the earl's forays to withstand.
An armed band one morn he found,
And so beset them round and round,
That Canute's nephew quickly fled,
Or he would have been captive led.

"Our Throndhjem king in his just ire
Laid waste the land with sword and fire,
Burst every house, and over all
Struck terror into great and small.
To the earl's friends he well repaid
Their deadly hate — such wild work made
On them and theirs, that from his fury,
Flying for life, away they hurry."

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