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Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 169

This mention of his dead father aroused Horn, who now realized that he saw before him his father’s murderers. His anger was kindled, he looked at his ring and thought of Rymenhild, and then, drawing his sword again, he rushed at the heathen champion. The giant fell pierced through the heart, and his companions fled to their ships, hotly pursued by Horn and his company. Much fighting there was, and in the hot strife near the ships the king’s two sons, Harold and Berild, were both slain.

Horn Refuses the Throne

Sadly they were laid on a bier and brought back to the palace, their sorrowful father lamenting their early death; and when he had wept his fill the mournful king came into the hall where all his knights silently awaited him. Slowly he came up to Horn as he sat a little apart from the rest, and said: “Cuthbert, wilt thou fulfil my desire? My heirs are slain, and thou art the best knight in Ireland for strength and beauty and valour; I implore thee to wed Reynild, my only daughter (now, alas! my only child), and to rule my realm. Wilt thou do so, and lift the burden of my cares from my weary shoulders?” But Horn replied: “O Sir King, it were wrong for me to receive thy fair daughter and heir and rule thy realm, as thou dost offer. I shall do thee yet better service, my liege, before I die; and I know that thy grief will change ere seven years have passed away. When that time is over, Sir King, give me my reward: thou shalt not refuse me thy daughter when I desire her.” To this


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