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King Olaf crossed himself and said:
Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.
OLAF the King, one summer morn,
Blew a blast on his bugle-horn,
And to the Hus-Ting held at Mere
Gathered the farmers far and near,
Ploughing under the morning star,
Old Iron-Beard in Yriar
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,
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
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,
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,
And there upon the trampled plain
The farmer Iron-Beard lay slain,
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,
And as a blood-atonement, soon
King Olaf wed the fair Gudrun;
On King Olaf's bridal night
Its tide of dreams.
At the fatal midnight hour,
Is cold and keen.
She seems to hear.
Is its breath.
His eyes meet hers.
In pale moonlight?"
'Tis nothing more. “Forests have ears, and fields have eyes; Often treachery lurking lies Underneath the fairest hair!
Bridegroom and bride!
IX. -TIIANGBRAND THE PRIEST,
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,
A learned clerk,
A man of mark,
And impatient of control,
Would drink and swear,
Could the King no longer bear,
To convert the heathen there,
One summer day
Pored the people day and night,
“ All this rhyme
Is waste of time!"
Came the Scalds and Saga-men;
When o'er his beer
Began to leer
Boasted of their island grand;
That the sun
Doth shine upon!".
Of this bragging up and down,
Make a market in your town!"
And what vexed him most of all
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 !"
Back to Norway sailed he then.
With bending head,
X.--RAUD THE STRONG.
“ALL the old gods are dead,
On the Evangelists
Thus swore King Olaf.
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