The Danish History, Books I-IX eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 572 pages of information about The Danish History, Books I-IX.

After Dan, Fridleif, surnamed the Swift, assumed the sovereignty.  During his reign, Huyrwil, the lord of Oland, made a league with the Danes and attacked Norway.  No small fame was added to his deeds by the defeat of the amazon Rusila, who aspired with military ardour to prowess in battle:  but he gained manly glory over a female foe.  Also he took into his alliance, on account of their deeds of prowess, her five partners, the children of Finn, named Brodd, Bild, Bug, Fanning, and Gunholm.  Their confederacy emboldened him to break the treaty which he made with the Danes; and the treachery of the violation made it all the more injurious, for the Danes could not believe that he could turn so suddenly from a friend into an enemy; so easily can some veer from goodwill into hate.  I suppose that this man inaugurated the morals of our own day, for we do not account lying and treachery as sinful and sordid.  When Huyrwil attacked the southern side of Zealand, Fridleif assailed him in the harbour which was afterwards called by Huyrwil’s name.  In this battle the soldiers, in their rivalry for glory, engaged with such bravery that very few fled to escape peril, and both armies were utterly destroyed; nor did the victory fall to either side, where both were enveloped in an equal ruin.  So much more desirous were they all of glory than of life.  So the survivors of Huyrwil’s army, in order to keep united, had the remnants of their fleet lashed together at night.  But, in the same night, Bild and Brodd cut the cables with which the ships were joined, and stealthily severed their own vessels from the rest, thus yielding to their own terrors by deserting their brethren, and obeying the impulses of fear rather than fraternal love.  When daylight returned, Fridleif, finding that after the great massacre of their friends only Huyrwil, Gunholm, Bug, and Fanning were left, determined to fight them all single-handed, so that the mangled relics of his fleet might not again have to be imperilled.  Besides his innate courage, a shirt of steel-defying mail gave him confidence; a garb which he used to wear in all public battles and in duels, as a preservative of his life.  He accomplished his end with as much fortune as courage, and ended the battle successfully.  For, after slaying Huyrwil, Bug, and Fanning, he killed Gunholm, who was accustomed to blunt the blade of an enemy with spells, by a shower of blows from his hilt.  But while he gripped the blade too eagerly, the sinews, being cut and disabled, contracted the fingers upon the palm, and cramped them with life-long curvature.

While Fridleif was besieging Dublin, a town in Ireland, and saw from the strength of the walls that there was no chance of storming them, he imitated the shrewd wit of Hadding, and ordered fire to be shut up in wicks and fastened to the wings of swallows.  When the birds got back in their own nesting-place, the dwellings suddenly flared up; and while the citizens all ran up to quench them, and paid more heed to abating

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The Danish History, Books I-IX from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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