“Thine was the strong arm
That Ethelred sought for;
Back to his lost land
Thou the king leddest.
Then was the war storm
Waged when thou earnest
Safe to his high seat
Leading that king’s son,
Throned by thy help
On the throne of his fathers.”
He ended, and our warriors rose and cheered both hero and singer, and when the noise ceased Ethelred gave Ottar his own bracelet; but to Olaf he gave his hand, and there in the presence of all the company thanked him for what he had wrought, giving more praise to him than Ottar had sung.
Then sang the English gleemen of the deeds of Eadmund the Atheling, and all were well pleased. Now those songs have bided in our minds while Ottar’s song is forgotten, and maybe that is but natural. But Olaf was my kinsman and very dear to me, and I am jealous for his fame.
Chapter 4: Earl Wulfnoth Of Sussex.
Cnut the new Danish king was at Gainsborough with all the force that had followed Swein his father, and he had made a pact with the Lindsey folk, who were Danes of the old settlement, and of landings long before the time of Ingvar, that they should fight for him and find provision and horses for his host.
So it seemed most likely that the next thing would be that he would march on us, and Ethelred gathered all the forces to him here in London that he could, against his coming. At once the English thanes came in, and even Sigeferth and Morcar, the powerful lords of the old Danish seven boroughs in Mercia, brought their men to his help, and that was almost more than could have been hoped. Then too came Edric Streone, the great Earl of Mercia, Eadmund’s uncle by marriage and his foster father, praying for and gaining full forgiveness for having seemed to side with Swein, as he said. With these was Ulfkytel, our East Anglian earl, and many more, while word came from Utred of Northumbria that he would not hold back.
So it was not long before Ethelred and Eadmund rode away north towards Gainsborough at the head of as good a force as they had ever led, in order to be beforehand with the Danes, who as yet had made no move. It seemed as though they feared this new rising of all England against them, although all Swein’s men who had been victors before were there with their new king.
But Olaf, who knew more of Denmark and what might happen there than we, said that Cnut waited for news from thence. It might be that some trouble would arise at home, for seldom did a king come to his throne there without fighting against upstarts who would take it.
“So he holds his force in readiness in the Humber to fall on either Denmark or England. If things go ill at home, he will go over sea first, and return here. But if all is well, we shall have fighting enough presently.”
Now when the court of Ethelred had gathered again, it was not long before he grew more cold in his way with Olaf, and one might easily see that this grew more so with the coming of Edric Streone. So that when the march to Lindsey was spoken of, Olaf thought well to stay in the Thames with the ships, and when Eadmund asked him to come north with the levies he said: