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very islands where the Treaty of the Burnt Islands had been struck between Magnus and Hardicanute. At first, says the Norwegian accounts, the Danes nade such moan for all the wrongs they had suffered at the hands of the Norsemen, that things for some time looked very unlike peace; but at last, by the help of wise heads and true hearts, peace was made between the kings.” The terms were that each king should hold his kingdom so far as its old boundaries stretched, that neither should strive after any part of the other's realm, that there should be no claims for compensation or atonement for harm done during the war, and that each should hold the luck or scathe that he had got. The peace was to last so long as the kings lived, and it was ratified by oaths and hostages on either side. Thus this long-standing feud came to an end. Sweyn returned home, glad at heart to rule his realm in peace; Harold down-hearted at having spent so much blood and treasure in vain, and at the prospect of new strife in the heart of his kingdom with one of his unruly provinces.
After the treaty was concluded Harold returned to “the Bay," taking up his quarters at Oslo, the town which he had founded, where he spent the rest of the summer. As soon as he came back, he sent again to the Uplands to demand his taxes, but the freemen sent back much the same answer: “They had already paid their taxes to Earl Hacon, and now they would wait till Earl Hacon came, and they heard what he had to say." As for Hacon, he was not idle. As soon as he heard of the peace, he assured himself of King Sweyn's friendship, who, though he could not break the treaty just made with Harold by giving him open help, still backed his cause with King Steinkel of Sweden so well, that the Swedish monarch made him Earl of West Gothland as well as Wermeland. So that Hacon had now three earldoms, one Danish and two Swedish, besides exercising an earl's power in the Uplands. Such wide-spread influence must have gladdened the haughty heart of Ragnhilda, who brought with her, as part of her dowry, the banner of her father Magnus, well known to many of Harold's men, who had followed it under the leadership of the good and blameless king. Hacon was no despicable enemy, but Harold was more than his match. Instead of waiting, like the Uplanders, until Hacon came to him, he resolved to go to Hacon in his Swedish earldom, and stifle his force in the bud, before it had time to ripen into deadly fruit. But 'his plans were deeply laid. All the summer of 1064 was spent in amusement in “
the Bay, but one day as winter drew on, Harold suddenly went to the King's Crag, a royal residence on the east side of “ the Bay” at the mouth of the Gottenburg river. Here he seized sixty Harold's Expedition to Sweden.
ships of light draught, manned them with picked warriors, and rowed
the river with them ; when they came to a rapid or a fall, the ships were dragged over them by a portage ; and so they came safe and sound into the great Vener Lake in the enemy's country. There he crossed to the east side of the lake, where he knew that Earl Hacon lay with an army of Goths. It was cold and snowing when the King landed, but Harold thought that rather a gain, as the soft snow hindered the peasants from flying with their goods, and as the Norwegians were better able, being more warmly clad, to bear the cold than their enemy. Leaving some of his men behind to guard the ships, with the rest he advanced against the Earl. After going some way they came to a hill, from the brow of which they saw Earl Hacon's force down on the other side of a valley, at the bottom of which was a moor. Here Harold made his men sit down on the brow, and wait till Hacon's impatience or the pinching cold drove him to attack, when their favourable position would give the Norsemen a great advantage. On his side too, Hacon bade his men wait for the onslaught of their foe. He had with him Thorvid, the Lawman of West Gothland, who made a speech to his men sitting on his horse, which was tethered to a spike in the ground. “We have a great and fine host,” he said, “and here are many brave men; in the Earl we have a doughty leader ; let King Steinkel hear that we stood by this good earl as we ought.” So he went on, but just as he was speaking, up rose all the Norwegian host and shouted their war-cry, and smote their shields with sword and axe. The Goths, who thought the foe were about to fall on them, shouted in their turn; and all this uproar so scared the Lawman's horse that he started, and pulled the spike out of the earth. It flew at the end of the tether about the Lawman's ears. As for him, he thought it was a Norse shaft, forgot on the spot all his brave words, struck spurs into his horse, and fled from the field, bellowing “ Bad luck to thee for thy shot.” But it had not been Harold's purpose to begin the onslaught; he only wished to scare the Goths, and provoke them to move. In this he was quite successful. As soon as he heard the war-cry,
the Earl Hacon advanced with his banner and crossed the moor. When they got well under the brow of the hill, Harold and his men rushed down on them, and routed them utterly. The Earl himself, and a chosen band who had followed him from home, fought well, but the Goths fled to the woods, and at last Hacon had to turn too. Worst of all, the banner of King Magnus fell into Harold's hands, who had it borne by the side of his own, and called it the fairest prize of victory. It was now getting dark, and Harold made for his ships after following the enemy a little way. All thought the Earl had fallen. But as they went through a narrow pass in the wood—so narrow that but one man could pass abreast of it-lo! when they were least aware, a man leapt his horse across the path, and, all at one and the same time he drove a javelin through the man that bore the banner, and clutched the banner by the pole, and rode off with it into the wood on the other side. But when the King was told this, he said, “Get me my byrnie; the Earl lives still ! I know my kinswoman Ragnhilda's temper well enough to feel sure she would never let Hacon come near her bed, if he lost that banner.” So the King rode about nightfall to his ships, and many said that the Earl had avenged himself, even though he had fled.
It was not Harold's purpose to penetrate further into Sweden after striking this blow; but a strong frost, which came on soon after he got back to his ships, forced him to stay till he could cut them out of the lake, and get them into the river again. While he waited he made raids through the country to get food, but though, from time to time, some of his men were cut off, neither Earl Hacon nor his Goths made any serious efforts to attack him. Nor indeed do we hear anything more of Earl Hacon except that he lived long and prosperously in Sweden and Denmark.
While Harold's men were busy cutting his ships out of the ice, an event occurred which is worth telling, as showing how long a blood-feud lasted in the North, and with what stubbornness of purpose it was followed up. "King Harold lay that night aboard his ships, but next morning when it was light there was ice taken about his ships so thick that one might walk round them. Then the King bade tell the men that they should cut a way out for the ships; and so they fell to and were busy at hewing the ice. Magnus the King's son was captain of that ship that lay outmost and nearest to the open water, but when men had nearly cut through all the ice, and there was only a bridge left, there came a man running along it to where they were hewing, and began to hew as though he were mad. Then a man spoke and said: 'Now, as oft, it is proved that no man is so good at need as Hall Kodran's bane yonder. See how he hews away at the ice !' But there was a man on board the ship of Magnus whose name was Thormod, he was the son of Eindridi; but as soon as ever Thormod heard Hall called 'Kodran's bane,' he rushed on him, and smote him his death-blow; for Jorunna, the mother of Thormod, was Kodran's cousin. Thormod was but a year old when Kodran was slain, and he had never seen Hall that he knew before that day. Just then the ice was hewn through, and Magnus ran his ship through Harold chastises the Uplanders.
the break in the ice, hoisted sail and sailed west across the lake; but the king's ship lay furthest in, and so it ran last of all out. Hall had been in the King's company, and very dear to him, and the King was very.wroth. When he came into harbour at night, Magnus had packed the manslayer off into the wood, and offered an atonement for him ; but the King would not hear of such a thing, and was on the very point of falling on Magnus his son, if their friends had not come between them.”
After this bold stroke dealt in the heart of his enemy's country, Harold had his hands free to chastise the rebellious Uplanders. At the head of a great host he marched into those provinces. First he turned to Raumarike, Hacon's country, where the chief offenders dwelt. In vain the freemen pleaded the privileges which Saint Olaf had granted them, privileges which Harold as one of themselves ought to cherish rather than lessen. King Harold,” says the Saga, “would have naught else than that all men in Norway of equal birth should have equal rights." In a word, he would hear of no privileges for this or that province; all should be equal in the eyes of the law; he had come to break down, not to build up special rights and privileges; to make Norway one country under one king. The first part of his reign had been spent in putting down the great chiefs, especially those about Drontheim; the last two years were spent in curbing the freemen in Upland. So that chiefs and freemen alike, not in Drontheim or the Uplands alone, should feel and know that the privileges of the provinces and the private rights of the freemen must yield to the superior rights of the kingdom at large, and the prerogative of the King as Lord Paramount. But besides these theoretical questions of right, Harold had his own wrongs to avenge on those who had refused him his dues and mocked at his messengers; on the men who had waited for Hacon to help them, and on Hacon whom he had already tracked and routed in his Swedish lair. Harold did his work well. His path was marked by blood and fire. The unruly freemen paid for their rebellion by life and limb. Some were slain, others maimed, others again lost all their goods.
“ Fruitless then was freemen's flouting,
Harold's 'hest they must obey," says Thiodolf, who went with Harold on this bloody progress as his Skald. And again,
"Harold's liegemen learnt a lesson,
Flame leapt fierce from roof to roof.” From Raumarike he passed into Hedemark, Hadeland, and Ringe
rike, everywhere showing the same sternness; wasting, slaying, and burning as he went.
“ Fire as judge sat on the freemen,
Flame to slake or life to save." When Harold thought he had done enough in the way of punishment, he still stayed in the Uplands for a year and a half
, passing from house to house and from feast to feast; in most cases we may be sure no very welcome guest, though Arni, a rich freeman to whom he came, declared that it gladdened all men's hearts to see the King sitting quietly among his loving friends. That this was not always the case is well shown by the following story, which adventurous as it seems may well be founded on truth. At any rate, as Munch says, it was reduced to writing a little more than a century after Harold's death, and shows the mark made by his Upland progress on the minds of the next two or three generations. "Among the Upland freemen was a man named Ulf the Wealthy, for he had fourteen or fifteen farms in the district. His wife bade him ask the King to a feast, as many other wealthy men did. He will be sure to take it well,' she said, “and show thee honour in return.' 'Well,' answered Ulf, this king doesn't do by all men as they think they deserve. I have little mind to bid him to my house, for I think he will be jealous of my wealth and be greedy of my goods more than is right. Methinks his hand will fall heavier on me than on the rest, rather than show me favour as is meet, and that in spite of all the good-will I may show him.' But though Ulf's words were on this wise, yet for the love he bare his wife he gave in, and bade King Harold to a feast when he left Arni's house. The King said he would come, and Ulf went home and made ready for a great feast. The King came when he was looked for, and found all of the best, furniture, hangings, and ale-stoups. In a word, everything was old and precious, and no feast could be better set out. So one day of the feast, for they lasted several days, when men had taken their seats, the King was merry and his followers, and he said it would be good if the feast were gladdened with a little fun. All said with one mouth 'twas well spoken, adding it would be great honour if such a man as he took the lead in making merriment. Well,' said the King, ‘I will tell you a little story, and this is how it begins :-Once on a time there was a king named Sigurd the Giant, and he was a son of Harold Fairhair. This Sigurd had a son whose name was Halfdan, and an earl under Sigurd was called Halfdan also; so there were two Halfdans. One of the King's thralls was named Almstein.