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King Olaf crossed himself and said:
“I know that Odin the Great is dead;
Sure is the triumph of our Faith,
The one-eyed stranger was his wraith.”

Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.


OLAF the King, one summer morn,

Blew a blast on his bugle-horn,
Sending his signal through the land of Drontheim.

And to the Hus-Ting held at Mere

Gathered the farmers far and near,
With their war weapons ready to confront him.

Ploughing under the morning star,

Old Iron-Beard in Yriar
Heard the summons, chuckling with a low laugh.

He wiped the sweat-drops from his brow,

Unharnessed his horses from the plough, And clattering came on horseback to King Olaf.

He was the churliest of the churls;

Little he cared for king or earls; Bitter as home-brewed ale were his foaming passions.

Hodden-gray was the garh he wore,

And by the Hammer of Thor he swore; Ho hated the narrow town, and all its fashions.

But he loved the freedom of his farm,

His ale at night, by the fireside warm, Gudrun his daughter, with her flaxen tresses.

He loved his horses and his herds,

The smell of the earth, and the song of birds, His well-filled barns, his brook with its water-cresses.

Huge and cumbersome was his frame;

His beard, from which he took his name, Frosty and fierce, like that of Hymer the Giant.

So at the Hus-Ting he appeared,

The farmer of Yriar, Iron-Beard, On horseback, with an attitude defiant.

And to King Olaf he cried aloud, -, Out of the middle of the crowd, That tossed about him like a stormy ocean :

“Such sacrifices shalt thou bring,

To Odin and to Thor, O King,
As other kings have done in their devotion !".


King Olaf answered: “I command

This land to be a Christian land; Here is my Bishop who the folk baptizes !

“But if you ask me to restore

Your sacrifices, stained with gore, Then will I offer human sacrifices !

“Not slaves and peasants shall they be,

But men of note and high
Such men as Orm of Lyra and Kar of Gryting!"

Then to their Temple strode he in,

And loud behind him heard the din Of his men-at-arms and the peasants fiercely fighting

There in the Temple, carved in wood,

The image of great Odin stood,
And other gods, with Thor supreme among them.

King Olaf smote them with the blade

Of his huge war-axe, gold-inlaid, And downward shattered to the pavement flung them.

At the same moment rose without,

From the contending crowd, a shout,
A mingled sound of triumph and of wailing.

And there upon the trampled plain

The farmer Iron-Beard lay slain,
Midway between the assailed and the assailing.

King Olaf from the doorway spoke:

“Choose ye between two things, my folk, To be baptized or given up to slaughter!”

And seeing their leader stark and dead,

The people with a murmur sa “O King, baptize us with thy holy water!”

So all the Drontheim land became

A Christian land in name and fame,
In the old gods no more believing and trusting.

And as a blood-atonement, soon

King Olaf wed the fair Gudrun;
And thus in peace ended the Drontheim Hus-Ting!


On King Olaf's bridal night
Shines the moon with tender light,
And across the chamber streams

Its tide of dreams.

At the fatal midnight hour,
When all evil things have power,
In the glimmer of the moon

Stands Gudrun.
Close against her heaving breast,
Something in her hand is pressed;
Like an icicle, its sheen

Is cold and keen.
On the cairn are fixed her eyes
Where her murdered father lies,
And a voice remote and drear

She seems to hear.
What a bridal night is this !
Cold will be the dagger's kiss;
Laden with the chill of death

Is its breath.
Like the drifting snow she sweeps
To the couch where Olaf-sleeps;
Suddenly he wakes and stirs,

His eyes meet hers.
“What is that,” King Olaf said,
“Gleams so bright above thy head?
Wherefore standest thou so white

In pale moonlight?"
"'Tis the bodkin that I wear
When at night I bind my hair;
It woke me falling on the floor;

'Tis nothing more. “Forests have ears, and fields have eyes; Often treachery lurking lies Underneath the fairest hair!

Gudrun beware!"
Ere the earliest peep of morn
Blew King Olaf's bugle-horn;
And forever sundered ride

Bridegroom and bride!


SHORT of stature, large of limb,

Burly face and russet beard, All the women stared at him, When in Iceland he appeared.

“Look!" they said,

With nodding head, "There goes Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest." All the prayers he knew by rote,

He could preach like Chrysostome,
From the Fathers he could quote,
He had even been at Rome.

A learned clerk,

A man of mark,
Was this Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
He was quarrelsome and loud,

And impatient of control,
Boisterous in the market crowd,
Boisterous at the wassail-bowl,


Would drink and swear,
Swaggering Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
In his house this malecontent

Could the King no longer bear,
So to Iceland he was sent

To convert the heathen there,

And away

One summer day
Sailed this Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
There in Iceland, c'er their books

Pored the people day and night,
But he did not like their looks,
Nor the songs they used to write.

“ All this rhyme

Is waste of time!"
Grumbled Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
To the alehouse, where he sat,

Came the Scalds and Saga-men;
Is it to be wondered at,
That they quarrelled now and then,

When o'er his beer

Began to leer
Drunken Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest?
All the folk in Alftafiord

Boasted of their island grand;
Saying in a single word,
“Iceland is the finest land

That the sun

Doth shine upon!".
Loud laughed Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
And he answered: “What's the use

Of this bragging up and down,
When three women and one goose

Make a market in your town!"


Every Scald

Satires scrawled
On poor Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
Something worse they did than that;

And what vexed him most of all
Was a figure in shovel hat,
Drawn in charcoal on the wall ;

With words that go

Sprawling below, “ This is Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest." Hardly knowing what he did,

Then he smote them might and main, Thorvald Veile and Veterlid Lay there in the alehouse slain.

“To-day we are gold,

To-morrow mould !"
Muttered Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
Much in fear of axe and rope,

Back to Norway sailed he then.
O, King Olaf! little hope
Is there of these Iceland men !”.

Meekly said,

With bending head,
Pious Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.


“ALL the old gods are dead,
All the wild warlocks fled;
But the White Christ lives and reigus,
And throughout my wide domains
His Gospel shall be spread !”

On the Evangelists

Thus swore King Olaf.
But still in dreamıs of the night
Beheld he the crimson light,
And heard the voice that defied
Him who was crucified,
And challenged him to the fight.

To Sigurd the Bishop

King Olaf confessed it. And Sigurd the Bishop said, “ The old gods are not dead, For the great Thor still reigns, And among

the Jarls and Thanes The old witchcraft still is spread.”

Thus to King Olaf
Said Sigurd the Bishop.

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