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.

We are told by historians of old, that Ingild had four sons, of whom three perished in war, while Olaf alone reigned after his father; but some say that Olaf was the son of Ingild’s sister, though this opinion is doubtful.  Posterity has but an uncertain knowledge of his deeds, which are dim with the dust of antiquity; nothing but the last counsel of his wisdom has been rescued by tradition.  For when he was in the last grip of death he took thought for his sons Frode and harald, and bade them have royal sway, one over the land and the other over the sea, and receive these several powers, not in prolonged possession, but in yearly rotation.  Thus their share in the rule was made equal; but Frode, who was the first to have control of the affairs of the sea, earned disgrace from his continual defeats in roving.  His calamity was due to his sailors being newly married, and preferring nuptial joys at home to the toils of foreign warfare.  After a time Harald, the younger son, received the rule of the sea, and chose soldiers who were unmarried, fearing to be baffled like his brother.  Fortune favoured his choice; for he was as glorious a rover as his brother was inglorious; and this earned him his brother’s hatred.  Moreover, their queens, Signe and Ulfhild, one of whom was the daughter of Siward, King of Sweden, the other of Karl, the governor of Gothland, were continually wrangling as to which was the nobler, and broke up the mutual fellowship of their husbands.  Hence Harald and Frode, when their common household was thus shattered, divided up the goods they held in common, and gave more heed to the wrangling altercations of the women than to the duties of brotherly affection.

Moreover, Frode, judging that his brother’s glory was a disgrace to himself and brought him into contempt, ordered one of his household to put him to death secretly; for he saw that the man of whom he had the advantage in years was surpassing him in courage.  When the deed was done, he had the agent of his treachery privily slain, lest the accomplice should betray the crime.  Then, in order to gain the credit of innocence and escape the brand of crime, he ordered a full inquiry to be made into the mischance that had cut off his brother so suddenly.  But he could not manage, by all his arts, to escape silent condemnation in the thoughts of the common people.  He afterwards asked Karl, “Who had killed Harald?” and Karl replied that it was deceitful in him to ask a question about something which he knew quite well.  These words earned him his death; for Frode thought that he had reproached him covertly with fratricide.

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