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Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas

Page: 156

“Three miles extended around the fields of the homestead; on three sides

Valleys and mountains and hills, but on the fourth side was the ocean.

Birch-woods crowned the summits, but over the down-sloping hill-sides

Flourished the golden corn, and man-high was waving the rye-field.”

Tegnér, Frithiof Saga (Longfellow’s tr.). [307]

But although surrounded by faithful retainers, and blessed with much wealth and the possession of the famous treasures of his hero sire, the sword Angurvadel, the Völund ring, and the matchless dragon ship Ellida, Frithiof was unhappy, because he could no longer see the fair Ingeborg daily. All his former spirits revived, however, when in the spring, at his invitation, both kings came to visit him, together with their fair sister, and once again they spent long hours in cheerful companionship. As they were thus constantly thrown together, Frithiof found opportunity to make known to Ingeborg his deep affection, and he received in return an avowal of her love.

“He sat by her side, and he pressed her soft hand,

And he felt a soft pressure responsive and bland;

Whilst his love-beaming gaze

Was returned as the sun’s in the moon’s placid rays.”

Tegnér, Frithiof Saga (Longfellow’s tr.).

Frithiof’s Suit

When the visit was ended and the guests had departed, Frithiof informed his confidant and chief companion, Björn, of his determination to follow them and openly ask for Ingeborg’s hand. His ship was set free from its moorings and it swooped like an eagle over to the shore near Balder’s shrine, where the royal brothers were seated in state on Belé’s tomb to listen to the petitions of their subjects. Straightway Frithiof presented himself before them, and manfully made his request, adding that the old king had always loved him and would surely have granted his prayer.

“No king was my sire, not a jarl, ev’n—’tis true;

Yet Scald-songs his mem’ry and exploits renew;

The Rune-stones will tell

On high-vaulted cairn what my race hath done well.

[308]

“With ease could I win me both empire and land;—

But rather I stay on my forefathers’ strand;

While arms I can wield—

Both poverty’s hut and king’s palace I’ll shield.

“On Belé’s round barrow we stand; each word

In the dark deeps beneath us he hears and has heard;

With Frithiof pleadeth

The old Chief in his cairn: think! your answer thought needeth.”

Tegnér, Frithiof Saga (G. Stephens’s tr.).

Then he went on to promise lifelong fealty and the service of his strong right arm in exchange for the boon he craved.

Frithiof cleaves the Shield of          
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