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.

This province lies very low, and whenever the fury of the ocean bursts the dykes that bar its waves, it is wont to receive the whole mass of the deluge over its open plains.  On this country Gotrik imposed a kind of tribute, which was not so much harsh as strange.  I will briefly relate its terms and the manner of it.  First, a building was arranged, two hundred and forty feet in length, and divided into twelve spaces; each of these stretching over an interval of twenty feet, and thus making together, when the whole room was exhausted, the aforesaid total.  Now at the upper end of this building sat the king’s treasurer, and in a line with him at its further end was displayed a round shield.  When the Frisians came to pay tribute, they used to cast their coins one by one into the hollow of this shield; but only those coins which struck the ear of the distant toll-gatherer with a distinct clang were chosen by him, as he counted, to be reckoned among the royal tribute.  The result was that the collector only reckoned that money towards the treasury of which his distant ear caught the sound as it fell.  But that of which the sound was duller, and which fell out of his earshot, was received indeed into the treasury, but did not count as any increase to the sum paid.  Now many coins that were cast in struck with no audible loudness whatever on the collector’s ear, so that men who came to pay their appointed toll sometimes squandered much of their money in useless tribute.  Karl is said to have freed them afterwards from the burden of this tax.  After Gotrik had crossed Friesland, and Karl had now come back from Rome, Gotrik determined to swoop down upon the further districts of Germany, but was treacherously attacked by one of his own servants, and perished at home by the sword of a traitor.  When Karl heard this, he leapt up overjoyed, declaring that nothing more delightful had ever fallen to his lot than this happy chance.

Endnotes:  (1) Furthest Thule—­The names of Icelanders have thus crept into the account of a battle fought before the discovery of Iceland.


After Gotrik’s death reigned his son Olaf; who, desirous to avenge his father, did not hesitate to involve his country in civil wars, putting patriotism after private inclination.  When he perished, his body was put in a barrow, famous for the name of Olaf, which was built up close by Leire.

He was succeeded by Hemming, of whom I have found no deed worthy of record, save that he made a sworn peace with Kaiser Ludwig; and yet, perhaps, envious antiquity hides many notable deeds of his time, albeit they were then famous.

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