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Harald Hardrada Saga

Harald Hardrada Saga



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Published by Manuel Velasco
The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway
The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway

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Published by: Manuel Velasco on Apr 05, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway
Saga of Harald Hardrade
Harald, son of Sigurd Syr, was born in the year A.D. 1015, and left Norway A.D.1030. He was called Hardrade, that is, the severe counsellor, the tyrant, though theIcelanders never applied this epithet to him. Harald helped the Icelanders in thefamine of A.D. 1056, and sent them timber for a church at Thingvol. It was theNorwegians who gave him the name tyrant in contrast to the "debonairete" of Magnus. He came to Norway in A.D. 1046, and became sole king in A.D. 1047. Hedied in A.D. 1066, and his son and successor Magnus died in A.D. 1069.
1. HARALD ESCAPES FROM THE BATTLE OF STIKLESTAD.Harald, son of Sigurd Syr, brother of Olaf the Saint, by the samemother, was at the battle of Stiklestad, and was fifteen yearsold when King Olaf the Saint fell, as was before related. Haraldwas wounded, and escaped with other fugitives. So says Thiodolf:--"At Haug the fire-sparks from his shieldFlew round the king's head on the field,As blow for blow, for Olaf's sake,His sword and shield would give and take.Bulgaria's conqueror, I ween,Had scarcely fifteen winters seen,When from his murdered brother's side
His unhelmed head he had to hide."Ragnvald Brusason led Harald from the battle, and the night afterthe fray took him to a bonde who dwelt in a forest far from otherpeople. The peasant received Harald, and kept him concealed; andHarald was waited upon until he was quite cured of his wounds. Then the bonde's son attended him on the way east over the ridgeof the land, and they went by all the forest paths they could,avoiding the common road. The bonde's son did not know who itwas he was attending; and as they were riding together betweentwo uninhabited forests, Harald made these verses:"My wounds were bleeding as I rode;And down below the bondes strode,Killing the wounded with the sword,The followers of their rightful lord.From wood to wood I crept along,Unnoticed by the bonde-throng;`Who knows,' I thought, `a day may comeMy name will yet be great at home.'"He went eastward over the ridge through Jamtaland andHelsingjaland, and came to Svithjod, where he found RagnvaldBrusason, and many others of King Olaf's men who had fled fromthe battle at Stiklestad, and they remained there till winter wasover.
2. HARALD'S JOURNEY TO CONSTANTINOPLE. The spring after (A.D. 1031) Harald and Ragnvald got ships, andwent east in summer to Russia to King Jarisleif, and were withhim all the following winter. So says the skald Bolverk: --"The king's sharp sword lies clean and bright,Prepared in foreign lands to fight:Our ravens croak to have their fill,The wolf howls from the distant hill.Our brave king is to Russia gone, --Braver than he on earth there's none;His sharp sword will carve many feastTo wolf and raven in the East."King Jarisleif gave Harald and Ragnvald a kind reception, andmade Harald and Ellif, the son of Earl Ragnvald, chiefs over theland-defence men of the king. So says Thiodolf: --"Where Ellif was, one heart and handThe two chiefs had in their command;In wedge or line their battle orderWas ranged by both without disorder.The eastern Vindland men they droveInto a corner; and they moveThe Lesians, although ill at ease,To take the laws their conquerors please."Harald remained several years in Russia, and travelled far and

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