“And know, O Frithiof,” said the aged man, “that Baldur is better pleased when the heart grows soft and injuries are forgiven, than with the most costly sacrifices. Lay aside forever all thoughts of hatred and revenge, and stretch out to Halfdan the hand of friendship.”
Joy had softened all Frithiofs feelings of anger, and, advancing to Halfdan, who was standing near the altar, he spoke out manfully.
“Halfdan,” he said, “let us forget the years that have gone by. Let all past evil and injury be buried in the grave. Henceforth let us be as brothers, and once more I ask thee, give me Ingebjorg to be my wife.”
And Halfdan made answer, “Thou shalt be my brother.”
And as he spoke, an inner door flew open, and a sweet chorus of youthful voices was heard. A band of maidens issued forth, and at their head walked Ingebjorg, fairer than ever.
Then Halfdan, leading her to Frithiof, placed her hand within that of the viking.
“Behold thy wife,” said Halfdan. “Well hast thou won her. May the gods attend upon your bridal.”
So Ingebjorg became the wife of Frithiof at last.
Thus steps of sorrow had but led them to a height of happiness that poets love to sing. Paths thick with thorns had blossomed into roses, and wreaths of everlasting flowers had crowned the winter snows. And midst the lights and shadows of the old Northland, their lives flowed on like to two united streams that roll through quiet pastures to the ocean of eternity.
ADAPTED BY GEORGE W. COX AND E.H. JONES
There was once a King of England named Athelwold. Earl, baron, thane, knight, and bondsman, all loved him; for he set on high the wise and the just man, and put down the spoiler and the robber. At that time a man might carry gold about with him, as much as fifty pounds, and not fear loss. Traders and merchants bought and sold at their ease without danger of plunder. But it was bad for the evil person and for such as wrought shame, for they had to lurk and hide away from the King’s wrath; yet was it unavailing, for he searched out the evil-doer and punished him, wherever he might be. The fatherless and the widow found a sure friend in the King; he turned not away from the complaint of the helpless, but avenged them against the oppressor, were he never so strong. Kind was he to the poor, neither at any time thought he the fine bread upon his own table too good to give to the hungry.
But a death-sickness fell on King Athelwold, and when he knew that his end was near he was greatly troubled, for he had one little daughter of tender age, named Goldborough, and he grieved to leave her.
“O my little daughter, heir to all the land, yet so young thou canst not walk upon it; so helpless that thou canst not tell thy wants and yet hast need to give commandment like a queen! For myself I would not care, being old and not afraid to die. But I had hoped to live till thou shouldst be of age to wield the kingdom; to see thee ride on horseback through the land, and round about a thousand knights to do thy bidding. Alas, my little child, what will become of thee when I am gone?”