“That will do well,” said Sigurd; and the chief went back, and at once the host sat down.
Then Havelok rode to them, and with him went we three and Sigurd and Biorn.
There was a murmur of wonder as he came, and it grew louder as he unhelmed and stayed before them.
And then one shouted, “Skoal to Havelok Gunnarsson!” and at once the shout was taken up along the line. And that shout grew until the chiefs joined in it, for it was the voice of the host, which cannot be gainsaid; and without more delay, one by one the leaders pressed forward and knelt on one knee to their king, and did homage to him. Only the Norsemen held back; and presently, when we were talking to the Danish chiefs in all friendly wise, they drew apart with their men, and formed up into a close-ranked body that looked dangerous.
“Surely they do not mean to fight!” said Withelm.
Then one of them shouted that he must speak to the king, and that seemed as if they owned him at least, so Havelok went to them.
“You have heard my terms,” he said, “and I think that they are all that you could ask. What is amiss?”
“Your terms are good enough,” the speaker said, “and we know that our time is come. But we must have surety that the people will not fall on us, for we are flying, as it were. And we want the body of our king. We would not have him buried any wise, as if he was a thrall.”
“He shall be given to you, and as for the rest none shall harm you. Moreover, for that saying about your king I will add this: that if there are any of you who hold lands to which there is no Danish heir, he shall take service with me if he will, and so keep them.”
So there was no man in all the host who was not content; and that was the second king-making of Havelok, as it were, for now there was no man against him. The hosts were disbanded then and there, and we went that day to Hodulf’s town, and took possession of all that had been in his hands. Then was rejoicing over all the land, for a king of the old line was on the throne once more, and his way was full of promise.
CHAPTER XXII. KING ALSI’S WELCOME.
Now there was one thing that was in the minds of all of us, and that was the winning of Goldberga’s kingdom for her; but that was a matter which was not to be thought of yet for a long while. Two years were we in Denmark, and well loved was Havelok by all, whether one speaks of the other kings who owned him as Gunnar’s heir at once, or the people over whom he and Goldberga reigned. But we sent messages to Arngeir and to Ragnar to say that all was well, and we heard from them in time how Alsi feared what was to come, and had rather make friends with the Anglians than offend them. So he had not given out anything that was against the princess, but had told all how she had wedded the heir of Denmark, and that she had given up her land to himself, and followed her husband across the sea. It was not hard for him to feign gladness in her well-doing; and Berthun counselled Ragnar to let things be thus, and yet prepare for her return.