But though Sigvald sailed away with thirty-five ships, there were some of his men who scorned to flee even from fiends. Twenty-five ships stayed behind to continue the fight.
The viking Bui was commander of one of these. His ship was boarded by Hakon’s men, whereupon he took one of his treasures-chests in either hand and jumped into the sea. As he jumped he cried, “Overboard, all Bui’s men,” and neither he nor those who followed him were ever seen again.
Before the day was ended, Sigvald’s brother had also sailed away with twenty-four boats, so that there was left but one boat out of all the Jomsvikings’ fleet. It was commanded by the viking Vagn.
Earl Hakon sent his son Eric to board this boat, and after a brave fight it was captured, for Vagn’s men were stiff and weary with their wounds, and could scarce wield their battle-axes or spears.
With thirty-six of his men Vagn was taken prisoner and brought to land, and thus Earl Hakon had defeated the famous vikings of Jomsburg. The victory was due, as Hakon at least believed, to the aid of the goddess Thorgerd.
When the weapons and other booty which they had taken had been divided among the men, Earl Hakon and his chiefs sat down in their warbooths and appointed a man named Thorkel to behead the prisoners.
Eighteen were beheaded ere the headsman came to Vagn. Now, as he had a dislike to this brave viking, Thorkel rushed at him, holding his sword in both hands. But Vagn threw himself suddenly at Thorkel’s feet, whereupon the headsman tripped over him. In a moment Vagn was on his feet, Thorkel’s sword in his hand, and before any one could stop him he had slain his enemy.
Then Earl Eric, Hakon’s son, who loved brave men, said, “Vagn, wilt thou accept life?”
“That I will,” said the bold viking, “if thou give it to all of us who are still alive.”
“Loose the prisoners!” cried the young earl, and it was done. Thus of the famous band of Jomsvikings twelve yet lived to do many a valiant deed in days to come.
HERO OF GERMANY
ADAPTED BY MARY MACGREGOR
MIMER THE BLACKSMITH
Siegfried was born a prince and grew to be a hero, a hero with a heart of gold. Though he could fight, and was as strong as any lion, yet he could love too and be as gentle as a child.
The father and mother of the hero-boy lived in a strong castle near the banks of the great Rhine river. Siegmund, his father, was a rich king, Sieglinde, his mother, a beautiful queen, and dearly did they love their little son Siegfried.
The courtiers and the high-born maidens who dwelt in the castle honored the little Prince, and thought him the fairest child in all the land, as indeed he was.