Havelok the Dane eBook

Ian Serraillier
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about Havelok the Dane.

Then the chief said, “Little cargo have you, friend Grim, and therefore I am the more sure that you have store of money with you.  Even flight from Hodulf would not prevent you from taking that wherewith to trade.  So I must have it; and it rests with you whether we tear your ship to splinters in hunting for your hiding place or not.”

“I suppose there is no help for it, but I will say that the most of what I have is not mine,” said my father.

“Why, what matter?  When one gives gold into the hands of a seafarer, one has to reckon with such chances as this.  You must needs hand it over.”

So, as there was naught else to do, Grim brought out the jarl’s heavy bag, and gave it to the chief, who whistled to himself as he hefted it.

“Grim,” he said, “for half this I would have let you go without sending a man on board.  What is this foolishness?  You must have known that.”

“The gold is not mine,” my father answered; “it was my hope that you would have been content with the cargo.”

“Well, I have met with an honest man for once,” the Viking said; and he called his men, and they cast off and left us.

But we were in no happy plight when he had gone away to the eastward on his old course.  Half our men were gone, for the wounded were of no use, and the loss of the queen weighed heavily on us.  And before long it began to blow hard from the north, and we had to shorten sail before there was real need, lest it should be too much for us few presently, as it certainly would have been by the time that darkness fell, for the gale strengthened.

Then, added to all this, there was trouble in the cabin under the after deck, for since his mother was lost, Havelok had spoken no word.  I had brought him down to my mother from the deck, and had left him with her, hoping that he did not know what had happened; but now he was in a high fever, and sorely ill.  Perhaps he would have been so in any case, after the long days of Hodulf’s cruelty, but he had borne them well.  A child is apt, however, to give up, as it were, suddenly.

So, burdened with trouble, we drove before the gale, and the only pleasant thing was to see how the good ship behaved in it, while at least we were on our course all the time.  Therefore, one could not say that there was any danger; and but for these other things, none would have thought much of wind or sea, which were no worse than we had weathered many a time before.  We had sea room, and no lee shore to fear, and the ship was stanch, and no sailor can ask for more than that.

CHAPTER V. STORM AND SHIPWRECK.

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Havelok the Dane from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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