The Danish History, Books I-IX
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #28a
Dear to Erik was his wife's fears; presently he embraced her and said: "I wished to know how loyal thou wert to me. Nought but death has the right to sever us, but Gotar means to steal thee away, seeking thy love by robbery. When he has committed the theft, pretend it is done with thy goodwill; yet put off the wedding till he has given me his daughter in thy place. When she has been granted, Gotar and I will hold our marriage on the same day. And take care that thou prepare rooms for our banqueting which have a common party-wall, yet are separate: lest perchance, if I were before thine eyes, thou shouldst ruffle the king with thy lukewarm looks at him. For this will be a most effective trick to baffle the wish of the ravisher." Then he bade Brak (one of his men), to lie in ambush not far from the palace with a chosen band of his quickest men, that he might help him at need.
Then he summoned Roller, and fled in his ship with his wife and all his goods, in order to tempt the king out, pretending panic: So, when he saw that the fleet of Gotar was pressing him hard, he said: "Behold how the bow of guile shooteth the shaft of treachery;" and instantly rousing his sailors with the war-shout, he steered the ship about. Gotar came close up to him and asked who was the pilot of the ship, and he was told that it was Erik. He also shouted a question whether he was the same man who by his marvellous speaking could silence the eloquence of all other men. Erik, when he heard this, replied that he had long since received the surname of the "Shrewd-spoken", and that he had not won the auspicious title for nothing. Then both went back to the nearest shore, where Gotar, when he learnt the mission of Erik, said that he wished for the sister of Frode, but would rather offer his own daughter to Frode's envoy, that Erik might not repent the passing of his own wife to another man. Thus it would not be unfitting for the fruit of the mission to fall to the ambassador.
Erik, he said, was delightful to him as a son-in-law, if only he could win alliance with Frode through Gunwar.
Erik lauded the kindness of the king and approved his judgment, declaring he could not have expected a greater thing from the immortal gods than what was now offered him unasked. Still, he said, the king must first discover Gunwar's own mind and choice. She accepted the flatteries of the king with feigned goodwill, and seemed to consent readily to his suit, but besought him to suffer Erik's nuptials to precede hers; because, if Erik's were accomplished first, there would be a better opportunity for the king's; but chiefly on this account, that, if she were to marry again, she might not be disgusted at her new marriage troth by the memory of the old recurring. She also declared it inexpedient for two sets of preparations to be confounded in one ceremony. The king was prevailed upon by her answers, and highly approved her requests.
Gotar's constant talks with Erik furnished him with a store of most fairshapen maxims, wherewith to rejoice and refresh his mind. So, not satisfied with giving him his daughter in marriage he also made over to him the district of Lither, thinking that their connection deserved some kindness. Now Kraka, whom Erik, because of her cunning in witchcraft, had brought with him on his travels, feigned weakness of the eyes, and muffled up her face in her cloak, so that not a single particle of her head was visible for recognition. When people asked her who she was, she said that she was Gunwar's sister, child of the same mother but a different father.
Now when they came to the dwelling of Gotar, the wedding-feast of Alfhild (this was his daughter's name) was being held. Erik and the king sat at meat in different rooms, with a party-wall in common, and also entirely covered on the inside with hanging tapestries. Gunwar sat by Gotar, but Erik sat close between Kraka on the one side and Alfhild on the other. Amid the merrymaking, he gradually drew a lath out of the wall, and made an opening large enough to allow the passage of a human body; and thus, without the knowledge of the guests, he made a space wide enough to go through. Then, in the course of the feast, he began to question his betrothed closely whether she would rather marry himself or Frode: especially since, if due heed were paid to matches, the daughter of a king ought to go to the arms of one as noble as herself, so that the lowliness of one of the pair might not impair the lordliness of the other. She said that she would never marry against the permission of her father; but he turned her aversion into compliance by promises that she should be queen, and that she should be richer than all other women, for she was captivated by the promise of wealth quite as much as of glory. There is also a tradition that Kraka turned the maiden's inclinations to Frode by a drink which she mixed and gave to her.
Now Gotar, after the feast, in order to make the marriage-mirth go fast and furious, went to the revel of Erik. As he passed out, Gunwar, as she had been previously bidden, went through the hole in the party-wall where the lath had been removed, and took the seat next to Erik. Gotar marvelled that she was sitting there by his side, and began to ask eagerly how and why she had come there. She said that she was Gunwar's sister, and that the king was deceived by the likeness of their looks. And when the king, in order to look into the matter, hurried back to the royal room, Gunwar returned through the back door by which she had come and sat in her old place in the sight of all. Gotar, when he saw her, could scarcely believe his eyes, and in the utmost doubt whether he had recognized her aright, he retraced his steps to Erik; and there he saw before him Gunwar, who had got back in her own fashion. And so, as often as he changed to go from one hall to the other, he found her whom he sought in either place. By this time the king was tormented by great wonder at what was no mere likeness, but the very same face in both places. For it seemed flatly impossible that different people should look exactly and undistinguishably alike. At last, when the revel broke up, he courteously escorted his daughter and Erik as far as their room, as the manner is at weddings, and went back himself to bed elsewhere.
But Erik suffered Alfhild, who was destined for Frode, to lie apart, and embraced Gunwar as usual, thus outwitting the king. So Gotar passed a sleepless night, revolving how he had been apparently deluded with a dazed and wandering mind: for it seemed to him no mere likeness of looks, but sameness. Thus he was filled with such wavering and doubtful judgment, that though he really discerned the truth he thought he must have been mistaken. At last it flashed across his mind that the wall might have been tampered with. He gave orders that it should be carefully surveyed and examined, but found no traces of a breakage: in fact, the entire room seemed to be whole and unimpaired. For Erik, early in the night, had patched up the damage of the broken wall, that his trick might not be detected. Then the king sent two men privily into the bedroom of Erik to learn the truth, and bade them stand behind the hangings and note all things carefully. They further received orders to kill Erik if they found him with Gunwar. They went secretly into the room, and, concealing themselves in the curtained corners, beheld Erik and Gunwar in bed together with arms entwined. Thinking them only drowsy, they waited for their deeper sleep, wishing to stay until a heavier slumber gave them a chance to commit their crime. Erik snored lustily, and they knew it was a sure sign that he slept soundly; so they straightway came forth with drawn blades in order to butcher him. Erik was awakened by their treacherous onset, and seeing their swords hanging over his head, called out the name of his stepmother, (Kraka), to which long ago he had been bidden to appeal when in peril, and he found a speedy help in his need. For his shield, which hung aloft from the rafter, instantly fell and covered his unarmed body, and, as if on purpose, covered it from impalement by the cutthroats. He did not fail to make use of his luck, but, snatching his sword, lopped off both feet of the nearest of them. Gunwar, with equal energy, ran a spear through the other: she had the body of a woman, but the spirit of a man.
Thus Erik escaped the trap; whereupon he went back to the sea and made ready to sail off by night. But Roller sounded on his horn the signal for those who had been bidden to watch close by, to break into the palace. When the king heard this, he thought it meant that the enemy was upon them, and made off hastily in a ship. Meanwhile Brak, and those who had broken in with him, snatched up the goods of the king, and got them on board Erik's ships. Almost half the night was spent in pillaging. In the morning, when the king found that they had fled, he prepared to pursue them, but was advised by one of his friends not to plan anything on a sudden or do it in haste. His friend, indeed, tried to convince him that he needed a larger equipment, and that it was ill-advised to pursue the fugitives to Denmark with a handful. But neither could this curb the king's impetuous spirit; it could not bear the loss; for nothing had stung him more than this, that his preparations to slay another should have recoiled on his own men. So he sailed to the harbour which is now called Omi. Here the weather began to be bad, provision failed, and they thought it better, since die they must, to die by the sword than by famine. And so the sailors turned their hand against one another, and hastened their end by mutual blows. The king with a few men took to the cliffs and escaped. Lofty barrows still mark the scene of the slaughter. Meanwhile Erik ended his voyage fairly, and the wedding of Alfhild and Frode was kept.
Then came tidings of an inroad of the Sclavs, and Erik was commissioned to suppress it with eight ships, since Frode as yet seemed inexperienced in war. Erik, loth ever to flinch from any manly undertaking, gladly undertook the business and did it bravely. Learning that the pirates had seven ships, he sailed up to them with only one of his own, ordering the rest to be girt with timber parapets, and covered over with pruned boughs of trees. Then he advanced to observe the number of the enemy more fully, but when the Sclavs pursued closely, he beat a quick retreat to his men. But the enemy, blind to the trap, and as eager to take the fugitives, rowed smiting the waters fast and incessantly. For the ships of Erik could not be clearly distinguished, looking like a leafy wood. The enemy, after venturing into a winding strait, suddenly saw themselves surrounded by the fleet of Erik. First, confounded by the strange sight, they thought that a wood was sailing; and then they saw that guile lurked under the leaves. Therefore, tardily repenting their rashness, they tried to retrace their incautious voyage: but while they were trying to steer about, they saw the enemy boarding them; Erik, however, put his ship ashore, and slung stones against the enemy from afar. Thus most of the Sclavs were killed, and forty taken, who afterwards under stress of bonds and famine, and in strait of divers torments, gave up the ghost.
Meantime Frode, in order to cross on an expedition into Sclavia, had mustered a mighty fleet from the Danes, as well as from neighbouring peoples. The smallest boat of this fleet could carry twelve sailors, and be rowed by as many oars. Then Erik, bidding his men await him patiently went to tell Frode the tidings of the defeat he had inflicted. As he sailed along he happened to see a pirate ship aground on some shallows; and being wont to utter weighty words upon chance occurrences, he said, "Obscure is the lot of the base-born, and mean is the fortune of the lowly." Then he brought his ship up close and destroyed the pirates, who were trying to get off their own vessel with poles, and busily engrossed in saving her. This accomplished, he made his way back to the king's fleet; and wishing to cheer Frode with a greeting that heralded his victory, he said, "Hail to the maker of a most prosperous peace!" The king prayed that his word might come true, and declared that the spirit of the wise man was prophetic. Erik answered that he spoke truly, and that the petty victory brought an omen of a greater one; declaring that a presage of great matters could often be got from trifles. Then the king counselled him to scatter his force, and ordered the horsemen of Jutland to go by the land way, while the rest of the army went by the short sea-passage. But the sea was covered with such a throng of vessels, that there were not enough harbours to take them in, nor shores for them to encamp on, nor money for their provisions; while the land army is said to have been so great that, in order to shorten the way, it levelled mountains, made marshes passable, filled up pits with material, and the hugest chasms by casting in great boulders.
Meanwhile Strunik the King of the Sclavs sent envoys to ask for a truce; but Frode refused him time to equip himself, saying that an enemy ought not to be furnished with a truce. Moreover, he said, he had hitherto passed his life without experience of war, and now he ought not to delay its beginning by waiting in doubt; for the man that conducted his first campaign successfully might hope for as good fortune in the rest. For each side would take the augury afforded by the first engagements as a presage of the combat; since the preliminary successes of war were often a prophecy of the sequel. Erik commended the wisdom of the reply, declaring that the game ought to be played abroad just as it had been begun at home: meaning that the Danes had been challenged by the Sclavs. After these words he fought a furious battle, slew Strunik with the bravest of his race, and received the surrender of the rest. Then Frode called the Sclavs together, and proclaimed by a herald that any man among them who had been trained to theft or plunder should be speedily given up; promising that he would reward the character of such men with the highest honours. He also ordered that all of them, who were versed in evil arts should come forth to have their reward. This offer pleased the Sclavs: and some of them, tempted by their hopes of the gift, betrayed themselves with more avarice than judgment, before the others could make them known. These were misled by such great covetousness, that they thought less of shame than lucre, and accounted as their glory what was really their guilt. When these had given themselves up of their own will, he said: "Sclavs! This is the pest from which you must clear your land yourselves." And straightway he ordered the executioners to seize them, and had them fixed upon the highest gallows by the hand of their own countrymen. The punishers looked fewer than the punished. And thus the shrewd king, by refusing to those who owned their guilt the pardon which he granted to the conquered foe, destroyed almost the entire stock of the Sclavic race. Thus the longing for an undeserved reward was visited with a deserved penalty, and the thirst for an undue wage justly punished. I should think that these men were rightly delivered to their doom, who brought the peril on their own heads by speaking, when they could have saved their lives by the protection of silence.
The king, exalted by the honours of his fresh victory, and loth to seem less strong in justice than in battle, resolved to remodel his army by some new laws, some of which are retained by present usage, while others men have chosen to abolish for new ones. (a) For he decreed, when the spoil was divided, that each of the vanguard should receive a greater share than the rest of the soldiery: while he granted all gold that was taken to the generals (before whom the standards were always borne in battle) on account of their rank; wishing the common soldiers to be content with silver. He ordered that the arms should go to the champions, but the captured ships should pass to the common people, as the due of those who had the right of building and equipping vessels. (b) Also he forbade that anyone should venture to lock up his household goods, as he would receive double the value of any losses from the treasury of the king; but if anyone thought fit to keep it in locked coffers, he must pay the king a gold mark. He also laid down that anyone who spared a thief should be punished as a thief. (d) Further, that the first man to flee in battle should forfeit all common rights. (e) But when he had returned into Denmark he wished to amend by good measures any corruption caused by the evil practices of Grep; and therefore granted women free choice in marriage, so that there might be no compulsory wedlock. And so he provided by law that women should be held duly married to those whom they had wedded without consulting their fathers. (f) But if a free woman agreed to marry a slave, she must fall to his rank, lose the blessing of freedom, and adopt the standing of a slave. (g) He also imposed on men the statute that they must marry any woman whom they had seduced. (h) He ordained that adulterers should be deprived of a member by the lawful husbands, so that continence might not be destroyed by shameful sins. (I) Also he ordained that if a Dane plundered another Dane, he should repay double, and be held guilty of a breach of the peace. (k) And if any man were to take to the house of another anything which he had got by thieving, his host, if he shut the door of his house behind the man, should incur forfeiture of all his goods, and should be beaten in full assembly, being regarded as having made himself guilty of the same crime. (l) Also, whatsoever exile should turn enemy to his country, or bear a shield against his countrymen, should be punished with the loss of life and goods. (m) But if any man, from a contumacious spirit, were slack in fulfilling the orders of the king, he should be punished with exile. For, on all occasion of any sudden and urgent war, an arrow of wood, looking like iron, used to be passed on everywhere from man to man as a messenger. (n) But if any one of the commons went in front of the vanguard in battle, he was to rise from a slave into a freeman, and from a peasant into a nobleman; but if he were nobly-born already, he should be created a governor. So great a guerdon did valiant men earn of old; and thus did the ancients think noble rank the due of bravery. For it was thought that the luck a man had should be set down to his valour, and not his valour to his luck. (o) He also enacted that no dispute should be entered on with a promise made under oath and a gage deposited; but whosoever requested another man to deposit a gage against him should pay that man half a gold mark, on pain of severe bodily chastisement. For the king had foreseen that the greatest occasions of strife might arise from the depositing of gages. (p) But he decided that any quarrel whatsoever should be decided by the sword, thinking a combat of weapons more honourable than one of words. But if either of the combatants drew back his foot, and stepped out of the ring of the circle previously marked, he was to consider himself conquered, and suffer the loss of his case. But a man of the people, if he attacked a champion on any score, should be armed to meet him; but the champion should only fight with a truncheon an ell long. (q) Further, he appointed that if an alien killed a Dane, his death should be redressed by the slaying of two foreigners.
Meanwhile, Gotar, in order to punish Erik, equipped his army for war: and Frode, on the other side, equipped a great fleet to go against Norway. When both alike had put into Rennes-Isle, Gotar, terrified by the greatness of Frode's name, sent ambassadors to pray for peace. Erik said to them, "Shameless is the robber who is the first to seek peace, or ventures to offer it to the good. He who longs to win must struggle: blow must counter blow, malice repel malice."
Gotar listened attentively to this from a distance, and then said, as loudly as he could: "Each man fights for valour according as he remembers kindness." Erik said to him: "I have requited thy kindness by giving thee back counsel." By this speech he meant that his excellent advice was worth more than all manner of gifts. And, in order to show that Gotar was ungrateful for the counsel he had received, he said: "When thou desiredst to take my life and my wife, thou didst mar the look of thy fair example. Only the sword has the right to decide between us." Then Gotar attacked the fleet of the Danes; he was unsuccessful in the engagement, and slain.
Afterwards Roller received his realm from Frode as a gift; it stretched over seven provinces. Erik likewise presented Roller with the province which Gotar had once bestowed upon him. After these exploits Frode passed three years in complete and tranquil peace.
Meanwhile the King of the Huns, when he heard that his daughter had been put away, allied himself with Olmar, King of the Easterlings, and in two years equipped an armament against the Danes. So Frode levied an army not only of native Danes, but also of Norwegians and Sclavs. Erik, whom he had sent to spy out the array of the enemy, found Olmar, who had received the command of the fleet, not far from Russia; while the King of the Huns led the land forces. He addressed Olmar thus:
"What means, prithee, this strong equipment of war? Or whither dost thou speed, King Olmar, mighty in thy fleet?"
Olmar. "We are minded to attack the son of Fridleif. And who art thou, whose bold lips ask such questions?"
Erik. "Vain hope of conquering the unconquered hath filled thy heart; over Frode no man can prevail."
Olmar. "Whatsoever befalls, must once happen for the first time; and often enough the unexpected comes to pass."
By this saying he let him know that no man must put too much trust in fortune. Then Erik rode up to inspect the army of the Huns. As it passed by him, and he in turn by it, it showed its vanguard to the rising and its rear to the setting sun. So he asked those whom he met, who had the command of all those thousands. Hun, the King of the Huns, happened to see him, and heard that he had undertaken to reconnoitre, and asked what was the name of the questioner. Erik said he was the man who came everywhere and was found nowhere. Then the king, when an interpreter was brought, asked what work Frode was about. Erik replied, "Frode never waits at home for a hostile army, nor tarries in his house for his foe. For he who covets the pinnacle of another's power must watch and wake all night. No man has ever won a victory by snoring, and no wolf has ever found a carcase by lying asleep."
The king, perceiving that he was a cunning speaker of choice maxims, said: "Here, perchance, is that Erik who, as I have heard, accused my daughter falsely."
But Erik, when they were bidden to seize him instantly, said that it was unseemly for one man to be dragged off by really; and by this saying he not only appeased the mind of the king, but even inclined him to be willing to pardon him. But it was clear that this impunity came more from cunning than kindness; for the chief reason why he was let go was that he might terrify Frode by the report of their vast numbers. When he returned, Frode bad him relate what he had discovered, and he said that he had seen six kings each with his fleet; and that each of these fleets contained five thousand ships, each ship being known to hold three hundred rowers. Each millenary of the whole total he said consisted of four wings; now, since the full number of a wing is three hundred, he meant that a millenary should be understood to contain twelve hundred men. When Frode wavered in doubt what he could do against so many, and looked eagerly round for reinforcements, Erik said: "Boldness helps the righteous; a valiant dog must attack the bear; we want wolf-hounds, and not little unwarlike birds." This said, he advised Frode to muster his fleet. When it was drawn up they sailed off against the enemy; and so they fought and subdued the islands lying between Denmark and the East; and as they advanced thence, met some ships of the Ruthenian fleet. Frode thought it shameful to attack such a handful, but Erik said: "We must seek food from the gaunt and lean. He who falls shall seldom fatten, nor has that man the power to bite whom the huge sack has devoured." By this warning he cured the king of all shame about making an assault, and presently induced him to attack a small number with a throng; for he showed him that advantage must be counted before honour.
After this they went on to meet Olmar, who because of the slowness of his multitude preferred awaiting the enemy to attacking it; for the vessels of the Ruthenians seemed disorganized, and, owing to their size, not so well able to row. But not even did the force of his multitudes avail him. For the extraordinary masses of the Ruthenians were stronger in numbers than in bravery, and yielded the victory to the stout handful of the Danes.
When Frode tried to return home, his voyage encountered an unheard-of difficulty. For the crowds of dead bodies, and likewise the fragments of shields and spears, bestrewed the entire gulf of the sea, and tossed on the tide, so that the harbours were not only straitened, but stank. The vessels stuck, hampered amid the corpses. They could neither thrust off with oars, nor drive away with poles, the rotting carcases that floated around, or prevent, when they had put one away, another rolling up and driving against the fleet. You would have thought that a war had arisen with the dead, and there was a strange combat with the lifeless.
So Frode summoned the nations which he had conquered, and enacted (a) that any father of a family who had fallen in that war should be buried with his horse and all his arms and decorations. And if any body-snatcher, in his abominable covetousness, made an attempt on him, he was to suffer for it, not only with his life, but also with the loss of burial for his own body; he should have no barrow and no funeral. For he thought it just that he who despoiled another's ashes should be granted no burial, but should repeat in his own person the fate he had inflicted on another. He appointed that the body of a centurion or governor should receive funeral on a pyre built of his own ship. He ordered that the bodies of every ten pilots should be burnt together with a single ship, but that every earl or king that was killed should be put on his own ship and burnt with it. He wished this nice attention to be paid in conducting the funerals of the slain, because he wished to prevent indiscriminate obsequies. By this time all the kings of the Russians except Olmar and Dag had fallen in battle. (b) He also ordered the Russians to conduct their warfare in imitation of the Danes, and never to marry a wife without buying her. He thought that bought marriages would have more security, believing that the troth which was sealed with a price was the safest. (d) Moreover, anyone who durst attempt the violation of a virgin was to be punished with the severance of his bodily parts, or else to requite the wrong of his intercourse with a thousand talents. (e) He also enacted that any man that applied himself to war, who aspired to the title of tried soldier, should attack a single man, should stand the attack of two, should only withdraw his foot a little to avoid three, but should not blush to flee from four. (f) He also proclaimed that a new custom concerning the pay of the soldiers should be observed by the princes under his sway. He ordered that each native soldier and housecarl should be presented in the winter season with three marks of silver, a common or hired soldier with two, a private soldier who had finished his service with only one. By this law he did injustice to valour, reckoning the rank of the soldiers and not their courage; and he was open to the charge of error in the matter, because he set familiar acquaintance above desert.
After this the king asked Erik whether the army of the Huns was as large as the forces of Olmar, and Erik answered in the following song:
"By Hercules, I came on a countless throng, a throng that neither earth nor wave could hold. Thick flared all their camp-fires, and the whole wood blazed up; the flame betokened a numberless array. The earth sank under the fraying of the horse-hoofs; creaking waggons rattled swiftly. The wheels rumbled, the driver rode upon the winds, so that the chariots sounded like thunder. The earth hardly bore the throngs of men-at-arms, speeding on confusedly; they trod it, but it could not bear their weight. I thought that the air crashed and the earth was shaken, so mighty was the motion of the stranger army. For I saw fifteen standards flickering at once; each of them had a hundred lesser standards, and after each of these could have been seen twenty; and the captains in their order were equal in number to the standards."
Now when Frode asked wherewithal he was to resist so many, Erik instructed him that he must return home and suffer the enemy first to perish of their own hugeness. His counsel was obeyed, the advice being approved as heartily as it was uttered. But the Huns went on through pathless deserts, and, finding provisions nowhere, began to run the risk of general starvation; for it was a huge and swampy district, and nothing could be found to relieve their want. At last, when the beasts of burden had been cut down and eaten, they began to scatter, lacking carriages as much as food. Now their straying from the road was as perilous to them as their hunger. Neither horses nor asses were spared, nor did they refrain from filthy garbage. At last they did not even spare dogs: to dying men every abomination was lawful; for there is nothing too hard for the bidding of extreme need. At last when they were worn out with hunger, there came a general mortality. Bodies were carried out for burial without end, for all feared to perish, and none pitied the perishing. Fear indeed had cast out humanity. So first the divisions deserted from the king little by little; and then the army melted away by companies. He was also deserted by the prophet Ygg, a man of unknown age, which was prolonged beyond the human span; this man went as a deserter to Frode, and told him of all the preparations of the Huns.
Meanwhile Hedin, prince of a considerable tribe of the Norwegians, approached the fleet of Frode with a hundred and fifty vessels. Choosing twelve out of these, he proceeded to cruise nearer, signalling the approach of friends by a shield raised on the mast. He thus greatly augmented the forces of the king, and was received into his closest friendship. A mutual love afterwards arose between this man and Hilda, the daughter of Hogni, a chieftain of the Jutes, and a maiden of most eminent renown. For, though they had not yet seen one another, each had been kindled by the other's glory. But when they had a chance of beholding one another, neither could look away; so steadfast was the love that made their eyes linger.
Meanwhile, Frode distributed his soldiers through the towns, and carefully gathered in the materials needed for the winter supplies; but even so he could not maintain his army, with its burden of expense: and plague fell on him almost as great as the destruction that met the Huns. Therefore, to prevent the influx of foreigners, he sent a fleet to the Elbe to take care that nothing should cross; the admirals were Revil and Mevil. When the winter broke up, Hedin and Hogni resolved to make a roving- raid together; for Hogni did not know that his partner was in love with his daughter. Now Hogni was of unusual stature, and stiff in temper; while Hedin was very comely, but short. Also, when Frode saw that the cost of keeping up his army grew daily harder to bear, he sent Roller to Norway, Olmar to Sweden, King Onef and Glomer, a rover captain, to the Orkneys for supplies, each with his own forces. Thirty kings followed Frode, and were his friends or vassals. But when Hun heard that Frode had sent away his forces he mustered another and a fresh army. But Hogni betrothed his daughter to Hedin, after they had sworn to one another that whichever of them should perish by the sword should be avenged by the other.
In the autumn, the men in search of supplies came back, but they were richer in trophies than in food. For Roller had made tributary the provinces Sundmor and Nordmor, after slaying Arthor their king. But Olmar conquered Thor the Long, the King of the Jemts and the Helsings, with two other captains of no less power, and also took Esthonia and Kurland, with Oland, and the isles that fringe Sweden; thus he was a most renowned conqueror of savage lands. So he brought back 700 ships, thus doubling the numbers of those previously taken out. Onef and Glomer, Hedin and Hogni, won victories over the Orkneys, and returned with 900 ships. And by this time revenues had been got in from far and wide, and there were ample materials gathered by plunder to recruit their resources. They had also added twenty kingdoms to the sway of Frode, whose kings, added to the thirty named before, fought on the side of the Danes.
Trusting in their strength, they engaged with the Huns. Such a carnage broke out on the first day of this combat that the three chief rivers of Russia were bestrewn with a kind of bridge of corpses, and could be crossed and passed over. Also the traces of the massacre spread so wide that for the space of three days' ride the ground was to be seen covered with human carcases. So, when the battle had been seven days prolonged, King Hun fell; and his brother of the same name, when he saw the line of the Huns giving way, without delay surrendered himself and his company. In that war 170 kings, who were either Huns or fighting amongst the Huns, surrendered to the king. This great number Erik had comprised in his previous description of the standards, when he was giving an account of the multitude of the Huns in answer to the questions of Frode. So Frode summoned the kings to assembly, and imposed a rule upon them that they should all live under one and the same law. Now he set Olmar over Holmgard; Onef over Conogard; and he bestowed Saxony on Hun, his prisoner, and gave Revil the Orkneys. To one Dimar he allotted the management of the provinces of the Helsings, of the Jarnbers, and the Jemts, as well as both Laplands; while on Dag he bestowed the government of Esthonia. Each of these men he burdened with fixed conditions of tribute, thus making allegiance a condition of his kindness. So the realms of Frode embraced Russia on the east, and on the west were bounded by the Rhine.
Meantime, certain slanderous tongues accused Hedin to Hogni of having tempted and defiled his daughter before the rites of betrothal; which was then accounted an enormous crime by all nations. So the credulous ears of Hogni drank in this lying report, and with his fleet he attacked Hedin, who was collecting the king's dues among the Slavs; there was an engagement, and Hogni was beaten, and went to Jutland. And thus the peace instituted by Frode was disturbed by intestine war, and natives were the first to disobey the king's law. Frode, therefore, sent men to summon them both at once, and inquired closely what was the reason of their feud. When he had heard it, he gave judgment according to the terms of the law he had enacted; but when he saw that even this could not reconcile them (for the father obstinately demanded his daughter back), he decreed that the quarrel should be settled by the sword -- it seemed the only remedy for ending the dispute. The fight began, and Hedin was grievously wounded; but when he began to lose blood and bodily strength, he received unexpected mercy from his enemy. For though Hogni had an easy chance of killing him, yet, pitying youth and beauty, he constrained his cruelty to give way to clemency. And so, loth to cut off a stripling who was panting at his last gasp, he refrained his sword. For of old it was accounted shameful to deprive of his life one who was ungrown or a weakling; so closely did the antique bravery of champions take heed of all that could incline them to modesty. So Hedin, with the help of his men, was taken back to his ship, saved by the kindness of his foe.
In the seventh year after, these same men began to fight on Hedin's isle, and wounded each other so that they died. Hogni would have been lucky if he had shown severity rather than compassion to Hedin when he had once conquered him. They say that Hilda longed so ardently for her husband, that she is believed to have conjured up the spirits of the combatants by her spells in the night in order to renew the war.
At the same time came to pass a savage war between Alrik, king of the Swedes, and Gestiblind, king of the Goths. The latter, being the weaker, approached Frode as a suppliant, willing, if he might get his aid, to surrender his kingdom and himself. He soon received the aid of Skalk, the Skanian, and Erik, and came back with reinforcements. He had determined to let loose his attack on Alrik, but Erik thought that he should first assail his son Gunthion, governor of the men of Wermland and Solongs, declaring that the storm-weary mariner ought to make for the nearest shore, and moreover that the rootless trunk seldom burgeoned. So he made an attack, wherein perished Gunthion, whose tomb records his name. Alrik, when he heard of the destruction of his son, hastened to avenge him, and when he had observed his enemies, he summoned Erik, and, in a secret interview, recounted the leagues of their fathers, imploring him to refuse to fight for Gestiblind. This Erik steadfastly declined, and Alrik then asked leave to fight Gestiblind, thinking that a duel was better than a general engagement. But Erik said that Gestiblind was unfit for arms by reason of old age, pleading his bad health, and above all his years; but offered himself to fight in his place, explaining that it would be shameful to decline a duel on behalf of the man for whom he had come to make a war. Then they fought without delay: Alrik was killed, and Erik was most severely wounded; it was hard to find remedies, and he did not for long time recover health. Now a false report had come to Frode that Erik had fallen, and was tormenting the king's mind with sore grief; but Erik dispelled this sadness with his welcome return; indeed, he reported to Frode that by his efforts Sweden, Wermland, Helsingland, and the islands of the Sun (Soleyar) had been added to his realm. Frode straightway made him king of the nations he had subdued, and also granted to him Helsingland with the two Laplands, Finland and Esthonia, under a yearly tribute. None of the Swedish kings before him was called by the name of Erik, but the title passed from him to the rest.
At the same time Alf was king in Hethmark, and he had a son Asmund. Biorn ruled in the province of Wik, and had a son Aswid. Asmund was engaged on an unsuccessful hunt, and while he was proceeding either to stalk the game with dogs or to catch it in nets, a mist happened to come on. By this he was separated from his sharers on a lonely track, wandered over the dreary ridges, and at last, destitute of horse and clothing, ate fungi and mushrooms, and wandered on aimlessly till he came to the dwelling of King Biorn. Moreover, the son of the king and he, when they had lived together a short while, swore by every vow, in order to ratify the friendship which they observed to one another, that whichever of them lived longest should be buried with him who died. For their fellowship and love were so strong, that each determined he would not prolong his days when the other was cut off by death.
After this Frode gathered together a host of all his subject nations, and attacked Norway with his fleet, Erik being bidden to lead the land force. For, after the fashion of human greed, the more he gained the more he wanted, and would not suffer even the dreariest and most rugged region of the world to escape this kind of attack; so much is increase of wealth wont to encourage covetousness. So the Norwegians, casting away all hope of self- defence, and losing all confidence in their power to revolt, began to flee for the most part to Halogaland. The maiden Stikla also withdrew from her country to save her chastity, proferring the occupations of war to those of wedlock.
Meanwhile Aswid died of an illness, and was consigned with his horse and dog to a cavern in the earth. And Asmund, because of his oath of friendship, had the courage to be buried with him, food being put in for him to eat.
Now just at this time Erik, who had crossed the uplands with his army, happened to draw near the barrow of Aswid; and the Swedes, thinking that treasures were in it, broke the hill open with mattocks, and saw disclosed a cave deeper than they had thought. To examine it, a man was wanted, who would lower himself on a hanging rope tied around him. One of the quickest of the youths was chosen by lot; and Asmund, when he saw him let down in a basket following a rope, straightway cast him out and climbed into the basket. Then he gave the signal to draw him up to those above who were standing by and controlling the rope. They drew in the basket in the hopes of great treasure; but when they saw the unknown figure of the man they had taken out, they were scared by his extraordinary look, and, thinking that the dead had come to life, flung down the rope and fled all ways. For Asmund looked ghastly and seemed to be covered as with the corruption of the charnel. He tried to recall the fugitives, and began to clamour that they were wrongfully afraid of a living man. And when Erik saw him, he marvelled most at the aspect of his bloody face: the blood flowing forth and spurting over it. For Aswid had come to life in the nights, and in his continual struggles had wrenched off his left ear; and there was to be seen the horrid sight of a raw and unhealed scar. And when the bystanders bade him tell how he had got such a wound, he began to speak thus: --
"Why stand ye aghast, who see me colourless? Surely every live man fades among the dead. Evil to the lonely man, and burdensome to the single, remains every dwelling in the world. Hapless are they whom chance hath bereft of human help. The listless night of the cavern, the darkness of the ancient den, have taken all joy from my eyes and soul. The ghastly ground, the crumbling barrow, and the heavy tide of filthy things have marred the grace of my youthful countenance, and sapped my wonted pith and force. Besides all this, I have fought with the dead, enduring the heavy burden and grievous peril of the wrestle; Aswid rose again and fell on me with rending nails, by hellish might renewing ghastly warfare after he was ashes.
"Why stand ye aghast, who see me colourless? Surely every live man fades among the dead.
"By some strange enterprise of the power of hell the spirit of Aswid was sent up from the nether world, and with cruel tooth eats the fleet-footed (horse), and has given his dog to his abominable jaws. Not sated with devouring the horse or hound, he soon turned his swift nails upon me, tearing my cheek and taking off my ear. Hence the hideous sight of my slashed countenance, the blood-spurts in the ugly wound. Yet the bringer of horrors did it not unscathed; for soon I cut off his head with my steel, and impaled his guilty carcase with a stake.
"Why stand ye aghast who see me colourless? Surely every live man fades among the dead."
Frode had by this taken his fleet over to Halogaland; and here, in order to learn the numbers of his host, which seemed to surpass all bounds and measure that could be counted, he ordered his soldiers to pile up a hill, one stone being cast upon the heap for each man. The enemy also pursued the same method of numbering their host, and the hills are still to be seen to convince the visitor. Here Frode joined battle with the Norwegians, and the day was bloody. At nightfall both sides determined to retreat. As daybreak drew near, Erik, who had come across the land, came up and advised the king to renew the battle. In this war the Danes suffered such slaughter that out of 3,000 ships only 170 are supposed to have survived. The Northmen, however, were exterminated in such a mighty massacre, that (so the story goes) there were not men left to till even a fifth of their villages.
Frode, now triumphant, wished to renew peace among all nations, that he might ensure each man's property from the inroads of thieves and now ensure peace to his realms after war. So he hung one bracelet on a crag which is called Frode's Rock, and another in the district of Wik, after he had addressed the assembled Norwegians; threatening that these necklaces should serve to test the honesty which he had decreed, and threatening that if they were filched punishment should fall on all the governors of the district. And thus, sorely imperilling the officers, there was the gold unguarded, hanging up full in the parting of the roads, and the booty, so easy to plunder, a temptation to all covetous spirits. (a) Frode also enacted that seafarers should freely use oars wherever they found them; while to those who wished to cross a river he granted free use of the horse which they found nearest to the ford. He decreed that they must dismount from this horse when its fore feet only touched land and its hind feet were still washed by the waters. For he thought that services such as these should rather be accounted kindness than wrongdoing. Moreover, he ordained that whosoever durst try and make further use of the horse after he had crossed the river should be condemned to death. (b) He also ordered that no man should hold his house or his coffer under lock and key, or should keep anything guarded by bolts, promising that all losses should be made good threefold. Also, he appointed that it was lawful to claim as much of another man's food for provision as would suffice for a single supper. If anyone exceeded this measure in his takings, he was to be held guilty of theft. Now, a thief (so he enacted) was to be hung up with a sword passed through his sinews, with a wolf fastened by his side, so that the wicked man might look like the savage beast, both being punished alike. He also had the same penalty extended to accomplices in thefts. Here he passed seven most happy years of peace, begetting a son Alf and a daughter Eyfura.
It chanced that in these days Arngrim, a champion of Sweden, who had challenged, attacked, and slain Skalk the Skanian because he had once robbed him of a vessel, came to Frode. Elated beyond measure with his deed, he ventured to sue for Frode's daughter; but, finding the king deaf to him, he asked Erik, who was ruling Sweden, to help him. Erik advised him to win Frode's goodwill by some illustrious service, and to fight against Egther, the King of Permland, and Thengil, the King of Finmark, since they alone seemed to repudiate the Danish rule, while all men else submitted. Without delay he led his army to that country. Now, the Finns are the uttermost peoples of the North, who have taken a portion of the world that is barely habitable to till and dwell in. They are very keen spearmen, and no nation has a readier skill in throwing the javelin. They fight with large, broad arrows; they are addicted to the study of spells; they are skilled hunters. Their habitation is not fixed, and their dwellings are migratory; they pitch and settle wherever they have caught game. Riding on curved boards (skees or snow-skates), they run over ridges thick with snow. These men Arngrim attacked, in order to win renown, and he crushed them. They fought with ill success; but, as they were scattering in flight, they cast three pebbles behind them, which they caused to appear to the eyes of the enemy like three mountains. Arngrim's eyes were dazzled and deluded, and he called back his men from the pursuit of the enemy, fancying that he was checked by a barrier of mighty rocks. Again, when they engaged and were beaten on the morrow, the Finns cast snow upon the ground and made it look like a mighty river. So the Swedes, whose eyes were utterly deluded, were deceived by their misjudgment, for it seemed the roaring of an extraordinary mass of waters. Thus, the conqueror dreading the unsubstantial phantom of the waters, the Finns managed to escape. They renewed the war again on the third day; but there was no effective means of escape left any longer, for when they saw that their lines were falling back, they surrendered to the conqueror. Arngrim imposed on them the following terms of tribute: that the number of the Finns should be counted, and that, after the lapse of (every) three years, every ten of them should pay a carriage-full of deer-skins by way of assessment. Then he challenged and slew in single combat Egther, the captain of the men of Permland, imposing on the men of Permland the condition that each of them should pay one skin. Enriched with these spoils and trophies, he returned to Erik, who went with him into Denmark, and poured loud praises of the young warrior into the ear of Frode, declaring that he who had added the ends of the world to his realms deserved his daughter. Then Frode, considering his splendid deserts, thought it was not amiss to take for a son-in-law a man who had won wide-resounding fame by such a roll of noble deeds.
Arngrim had twelve sons by Eyfura, whose names I here subjoin: Brand, Biarbe, Brodd, Hiarrande; Tand, Tyrfing, two Haddings; Hiortuar, Hiartuar, Hrane, Anganty. These followed the business of sea-roving from their youth up; and they chanced to sail all in one ship to the island Samso, where they found lying off the coast two ships belonging to Hialmar and Arvarodd (Arrow-Odd) the rovers. These ships they attacked and cleared of rowers; but, not knowing whether they had cut down the captains, they fitted the bodies of the slain to their several thwarts, and found that those whom they sought were missing. At this they were sad, knowing that the victory they had won was not worth a straw, and that their safety would run much greater risk in the battle that was to come. In fact, Hialmar and Arvarodd, whose ships had been damaged by a storm, which had torn off their rudders, went into a wood to hew another; and, going round the trunk with their axes, pared down the shapeless timber until the huge stock assumed the form of a marine implement. This they shouldered, and were bearing it down to the beach, ignorant of the disaster of their friends, when the sons of Eyfura, reeking with the fresh blood of the slain, attacked them, so that they two had to fight many; the contest was not even equal, for it was a band of twelve against two. But the victory did not go according to the numbers. For all the sons of Eyfura were killed; Hialmar was slain by them, but Arvarodd gained the honours of victory, being the only survivor left by fate out of all that band of comrades. He, with an incredible effort, poised the still shapeless hulk of the rudder, and drove it so strongly against the bodies of his foes that, with a single thrust of it, he battered and crushed all twelve. And, so, though they were rid of the general storm of war, the band of rovers did not yet quit the ocean.
This it was that chiefly led Frode to attack the West, for his one desire was the spread of peace. So he summoned Erik, and mustered a fleet of all the kingdoms that bid him allegiance, and sailed to Britain with numberless ships. But the king of that island, perceiving that he was unequal in force (for the ships seemed to cover the sea), went to Frode, affecting to surrender, and not only began to flatter his greatness, but also promised to the Danes, the conquerors of nations, the submission of himself and of his country; proffering taxes, assessment, tribute, what they would. Finally, he gave them a hospitable invitation. Frode was pleased with the courtesy of the Briton, though his suspicions of treachery were kept by so ready and unconstrained a promise of everything, so speedy a surrender of the enemy before fighting; such offers being seldom made in good faith. They were also troubled with alarm about the banquet, fearing that as drunkenness came on their sober wits might be entangled in it, and attacked by hidden treachery. So few guests were bidden, moreover, that it seemed unsafe for them to accept the invitation; and it was further thought foolish to trust their lives to the good faith of an enemy whom they did not know.
When the king found their minds thus wavering he again approached Frode, and invited him to the banquet with 2,400 men; having before bidden him to come to the feast with 1,200 nobles. Frode was encouraged by the increase in the number of guests, and was able to go to the banquet with greater inward confidence; but he could not yet lay aside his suspicions, and privily caused men to scour the interior and let him know quickly of any treachery which they might espy. On this errand they went into the forest, and, coming upon the array of an armed encampment belonging to the forces of the Britons, they halted in doubt, but hastily retraced their steps when the truth was apparent. For the tents were dusky in colour, and muffled in a sort of pitchy coverings, that they might not catch the eye of anyone who came near. When Frode learned this, he arranged a counter-ambuscade with a strong force of nobles, that he might not go heedlessly to the banquet, and be cheated of timely aid. They went into hiding, and he warned them that the note of the trumpet was the signal for them to bring assistance. Then with a select band, lightly armed, he went to the banquet. The hall was decked with regal splendour; it was covered all round with crimson hangings of marvellous rich handiwork. A curtain of purple dye adorned the propelled walls. The flooring was bestrewn with bright mantles, which a man would fear to trample on. Up above was to be seen the twinkle of many lanterns, the gleam of lamps lit with oil, and the censers poured forth fragrance whose sweet vapour was laden with the choicest perfumes. The whole way was blocked by the tables loaded with good things; and the places for reclining were decked with gold-embroidered couches; the seats were full of pillows. The majestic hall seemed to smile upon the guests, and nothing could be noticed in all that pomp either inharmonious to the eye or offensive to the smell. In the midst of the hall stood a great butt ready for refilling the goblets, and holding an enormous amount of liquor; enough could be drawn from it for the huge revel to drink its fill. Servants, dressed in purple, bore golden cups, and courteously did the office of serving the drink, pacing in ordered ranks. Nor did they fail to offer the draught in the horns of the wild ox.
The feast glittered with golden bowls, and was laden with shining goblets, many of them studded with flashing jewels. The place was filled with an immense luxury; the tables groaned with the dishes, and the bowls brimmed over with divers liquors. Nor did they use wine pure and simple, but, with juices sought far and wide, composed a nectar of many flavours. The dishes glistened with delicious foods, being filled mostly with the spoils of the chase; though the flesh of tame animals was not lacking either. The natives took care to drink more sparingly than the guests; for the latter felt safe, and were tempted to make an orgy; while the others, meditating treachery, had lost all temptations to be drunken. So the Danes, who, if I may say so with my country's leave, were seasoned to drain the bowl against each other, took quantities of wine. The Britons, when they saw that the Danes were very drunk, began gradually to slip away from the banquet, and, leaving their guests within the hall, made immense efforts, first to block the doors of the palace by applying bars and all kinds of obstacles, and then to set fire to the house. The Danes were penned inside the hall, and when the fire began to spread, battered vainly at the doors; but they could not get out, and soon attempted to make a sally by assaulting the wall. And the Angles, when they saw that it was tottering under the stout attack of the Danes, began to shove against it on their side, and to prop the staggering pile by the application of large blocks on the outside, to prevent the wall being shattered and releasing the prisoners. But at last it yielded to the stronger hand of the Danes, whose efforts increased with their peril; and those pent within could sally out with ease. Then Frode bade the trumpet strike in, to summon the band that had been posted in ambush; and these, roused by the note of the clanging bugle, caught the enemy in their own trap; for the King of the Britons, with countless hosts of his men, was utterly destroyed. Thus the band helped Frode doubly, being both the salvation of his men and the destruction of his enemies.
Meantime the renown of the Danish bravery spread far, and moved the Irish to strew iron calthrops on the ground, in order to make their land harder to invade, and forbid access to their shores. Now the Irish use armour which is light and easy to procure. They crop the hair close with razors, and shave all the hair off the back of the head, that they may not be seized by it when they run away. They also turn the points of their spears towards the assailant, and deliberately point their sword against the pursuer; and they generally fling their lances behind their back, being more skilled at conquering by flight than by fighting. Hence, when you fancy that the victory is yours, then is the moment of danger. But Frode was wary and not rash in his pursuit of the foe who fled so treacherously, and he routed Kerwil (Cearbal), the leader of the nation, in battle. Kerwil's brother survived, but lost heart for resistance, and surrendered his country to the king (Frode), who distributed among his soldiers the booty he had won, to show himself free from all covetousness and excessive love of wealth, and only ambitious to gain honour.
After the triumphs in Britain and the spoiling of the Irish they went back to Denmark; and for thirty years there was a pause from all warfare. At this time the Danish name became famous over the whole world almost for its extraordinary valour. Frode, therefore, desired to prolong and establish for ever the lustre of his empire, and made it his first object to inflict severe treatment upon thefts and brigandage, feeling these were domestic evils and intestine plagues, and that if the nations were rid of them they would come to enjoy a more tranquil life; so that no ill-will should mar and hinder the continual extention of peace. He also took care that the land should not be devoured by any plague at home when the enemy was at rest, and that intestine wickedness should not encroach when there was peace abroad. At last he ordered that in Jutland, the chief district of his realm, a golden bracelet, very heavy, should be set up on the highways (as he had done before in the district of Wik), wishing by this magnificent price to test the honesty which he had enacted. Now, though the minds of the dishonest were vexed with the provocation it furnished, and the souls of the evil tempted, yet the unquestioned dread of danger prevailed. For so potent was the majesty of Frode, that it guarded even gold that was thus exposed to pillage, as though it were fast with bolts and bars. The strange device brought great glory upon its inventor. After dealing destruction everywhere, and gaining famous victories far and wide, he resolved to bestow quiet on all men, that the cheer of peace should follow the horrors of war, and the end of slaughter might be the beginning of safety. He further thought that for the same reason all men's property should be secured to them by a protective decree, so that what had been saved from a foreign enemy might not find a plunderer at home.
About the same time, the Author of our general salvation, coming to the earth in order to save mortals, bore to put on the garb of mortality; at which time the fires of war were quenched, and all the lands were enjoying the calmest and most tranquil peace. It has been thought that the peace then shed abroad so widely, so even and uninterrupted over the whole world, attended not so much an earthly rule as that divine birth; and that it was a heavenly provision that this extraordinary gift of time should be a witness to the presence of Him who created all times.
Meantime a certain matron, skilled in sorcery, who trusted in her art more than she feared the severity of the king, tempted the covetousness of her son to make a secret effort for the prize; promising him impunity, since Frode was almost at death's door, his body failing, and the remnant of his doting spirit feeble. To his mother's counsels he objected the greatness of the peril; but she bade him take hope, declaring, that either a sea-cow should have a calf, or that the king's vengeance should be baulked by some other chance. By this speech she banished her son's fears, and made him obey her advice. When the deed was done, Frode, stung by the affront, rushed with the utmost heat and fury to raze the house of the matron, sending men on to arrest her and bring her with her children. This the woman foreknew, and deluded her enemies by a trick, changing from the shape of a woman into that of a mare. When Frode came up she took the shape of a sea-cow, and seemed to be straying and grazing about the shore; and she also made her sons look like calves of smaller size. This portent amazed the king, and he ordered that they should be surrounded and cut off from returning to the waters. Then he left the carriage, which he used because of the feebleness of his aged body, and sat on the ground marvelling. But the mother, who had taken the shape of the larger beast, charged at the king with outstretched tusk, and pierced one of his sides. The wound killed him; and his end was unworthy of such majesty as his. His soldiers, thirsting to avenge his death, threw their spears and transfixed the monsters, and saw, when they were killed, that they were the corpses of human beings with the heads of wild beasts: a circumstance which exposed the trick more than anything.
So ended Frode, the most famous king in the whole world. The nobles, when he had been disembowelled, had his body kept embalmed for three years, for they feared the provinces would rise if the king's end were published. They wished his death to be concealed above all from foreigners, so that by the pretence that he was alive they might preserve the boundaries of the empire, which had been extended for so long; and that, on the strength of the ancient authority of their general, they might exact the usual tribute from their subjects. So, the lifeless corpse was carried away by them in such a way that it seemed to be taken, not in a funeral bier, but in a royal carriage, as if it were a due and proper tribute from the soldiers to an infirm old man not in full possession of his forces. Such splendour did his friends bestow on him even in death. But when his limbs rotted, and were seized with extreme decay, and when the corruption could not be arrested, they buried his body with a royal funeral in a barrow near Waere, a bridge of Zealand; declaring that Frode had desired to die and be buried in what was thought the chief province of his kingdom.
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