Now when King Edward had read this letter, he replied thus:
"It is known to all men in this country that King Ethelred, my father, was udal-born to this kingdom, both after the old and new law of inheritance.
We were four sons after him; and when he by death left the throne my brother Edmund took the government and kingdom; for he was the oldest of us brothers, and I was well satisfied that it was so. And after him my stepfather, Canute the Great, took the kingdom, and as long as he lived there was no access to it.
After him my brother Harald was king as long as he lived; and after him my brother Hardaknut took the kingdoms both of Denmark and England; for he thought that a just brotherly division that he should have both England and Denmark, and that I should have no kingdom at all.
Now he died, and then it was the resolution of all the people of the country to take me for king here in England.
So long as I had no kingly title I served only superiors in all respects, like those who had no claims by birth to land or kingdom. Now, however, I have received the kingly title, and am consecrated king.
I have established my royal dignity and authority, as my father before me; and while I live I will not renounce my title. If King Magnus come here with an army, I will gather no army against him; but he shall only get the opportunity of taking England when he has taken my life.
Tell him these words of mine."
The ambassadors went back to King Magnus, and told him the answer to their message.
King Magnus reflected a while, and answered thus:
"I think it wisest, and will succeed best, to let King Edward have his kingdom in peace for me, and that I keep the kingdoms God has put into my hands."