In Sweden ruled a mighty king named Budli. Before him once came two men who gave their names as Olius and Alius; they boasted of their superior skill as smiths, and the king therefore bade them forge for him one sword each, swords that would cut anything they touched. The sword made by Alius met all tests imposed by the king; but the edge of Olius's sword bent a little under trial. Budli accordingly bade Olius forge a better one; the smith did so, but against his will, and foretold when he had finished that the sword should be the death of the two sons of the king's daughter. The king in anger struck at him with the sword, but in a twinkling the two smiths had disappeared. Budli, intent on bringing the prophecy to nothing, caused the swords to be sunk in Lake Mälaren near Agnafit.
King Hildebrand in Hunaland had a warlike son named Helgi, who paid court to Budli's daughter Hild. Budli looked with favor on his suit and later found in Helgi a staff for his old age in times when it was hard for him to defend his realm. Helgi and Hild got a son who was named Hildebrand; the boy, put under the fostering charge of his father's father, gave early promise of becoming a great warrior. Once while Helgi was absent at the wars in which he lost his life, [240} Budli's land suffered an inroad by enemies; the Danish king Alf with a large army entered Sweden and slew the old king. The king's daughter Hild was bestowed on Alf's bravest warrior, Aki, as a reward for his valor; they had a son, Asmund by name, who even in early youth became known as a famous Viking. Asmund's half brother Hildebrand had by that time fared far and wide and by mighty deeds had earned the name of Hun-Champion. Having learned of the death of his mother's father Budli, he set out for Denmark to wreak vengeance on Alf. Aki and Asmund chanced to be off on a Viking foray just when the king most needed their aid; for no one could resist the doughty Hildebrand. In Berserk rage he broke the ranks of Alf. The king himself fell in battle, leaving a daughter named Æsa. When Aki and Asmund returned, Hildebrand had already departed. All was now quiet for a time.
Asmund soon paid court to Æsa but found a powerful rival in Eyvind Skinnhall, a rich and mighty man. Æsa promised to wed that one who the next autumn should be able to show her the fairest hands. Eyvind during the summer took his ease and never removed his gloves from his hands; but Asmund spent the time in Viking raids that brought him both honour and booty. In the autumn they both presented themselves before Æsa for the purpose of showing her their hands. Eyvind's were white and fair: Asmund's, on the contrary, were filled with scars and gashes, but his arms were adorned with rings up to the very shoulders. Æsa decreed that Asmund had the fairer hands and [241} promised to wed him if he would avenge her father's death on Hildebrand Hun-Champion. To do so, she said, he must find the sword that had been sunk in the waters at Agnafit, for this weapon alone would prevail against Hildebrand's. Asmund set forth on his quest; at Agnafit he met an aged peasant who still remembered the spot where the sword had been submerged, and with the old man's help he fetched it up from the deep.
In the meantime Hildebrand had brought the counts of Saxony to a sorry pass. Each year he bade his Berserks challenge the counts' men to combat, the penalty being a landed estate each time the Saxons were worsted. In this way they were losing both their men and their lands; at last they had but twelve estates left. In the nick of time Asmund came to their aid, promising to take up the battle against Hildebrand. When the day set for the combat drew near, Hildebrand sent one of his Berserks out against Asmund; but Asmund promptly shore him through the middle. The next day Hildebrand sent two Berserks out against him, but they met the same fate. Hildebrand gradually raised the number to eight, but Asmund continued to carry away the victory. In a fury of rage Hildebrand despatched against him the remaining eleven Berserks all at once; these too Asmund succeeded in cutting down. When this news reached Hildebrand, his Berserk madness came over him, so that he even slew his own son. Afterward he advanced up along the banks of the Rhine to meet Asmund himself, bearing on his shield the tally of all [242} the men he had killed during his whole life. Asmund came out to the onslaught, and a long and fierce combat ensued. At last Hildebrand's sword was shattered on Asmund's helmet. Hildebrand himself, stricken with many wounds, then chanted a lay revealing to Asmund that they two were brothers, born of one and the same mother. Praying that he might be buried in Asmund's clothing, Hildebrand died. Little joy did Asmund take in what he had done. He at once returned to Denmark and there found that Æsa had a new suitor. She was glad to see him; and when he had laid his rival low, he took her to wife. In the course of time he added still more to his renown.
A certain wealthy husbandman named Greip and his wife Gunnlod, a daughter of Rok the Black, had nine stalwart sons, of whom the most stalwart bore the name Romund. Once on a time they all went out on a Viking expedition with king Olaf of Garder. Near the Wolf Skerries they encountered six warships under the command of a redoubtable Viking named Rongvid. A furious battle followed. The king's men were on the point of losing courage; but when Romund at length succeeded in felling Rongvid, the enemy was compelled to give in. Rongvid's brother, Helgi the Brave, accepted quarter from Romund and healing for his wounds; Helgi then went to Sweden and there joined the forces defending the land. After the victory king Olaf sailed westward to the Southern Isles, where [243} his men landed and took booty. An old man, whose cattle they had seized, ridiculed their action as cowardly and mean, and directed them to riches that were really worth taking. He told them that a powerful Berserk named Thrain, who once was king of Valland, lay buried in a mound in the midst of a vast treasure; he was brooding over his wealth in the shape of a Sprite, but they might nevertheless be able to gain possession of it. Romund, having thanked him for his counsel and besought his guidance for the journey, sailed away for Valland. They found the cairn easily enough, but Romund alone had the courage to enter it. After a furious struggle with the Sprite, he emerged victorious from the cairn with untold treasure and with Thrain's sword Misteltein. Having won renown through this exploit, after his return home he cast his eyes on the king's sister Swanwhite. But his enemies spread such evil rumors about him that he and his brothers were finally forced to leave the king's bodyguard and seek safety in flight.
Not long afterward king Olaf was challenged to a combat on the ice of Lake Vänaren by a Swedish king named Hadding, one of whose retainers at the time was Helgi the Brave. Swanwhite, mistrusting her brother's success in the struggle, sought out Romund in secret and begged him to come without delay to the aid of the king. Romund promised to do as she bade him. He and his eight brothers set forth at once. Over the heads of the Swedish hosts there flew a Troll woman named Kara in the likeness of a swan, who by her magic spells brought great harm to king Olaf's men; [244} she was Helgi's beloved. Helgi had the good fortune to slay all of Romund's brothers. At last Romund and Helgi met face to face; as Helgi lifted his sword, he happened to strike the swan on the foot so that it fell to earth dead. "Now your luck is at an end, Helgi!" Romund shouted, and therewith clove his enemy's head with Misteltein. Romund himself had suffered fourteen wounds; notwithstanding he continued the battle till his foes fled. Swanwhite sewed up his gashes and sent him to a husbandman named Hagal, whose wife, as it chanced, had skill in sundry arts and crafts. In their house he was healed of his wounds.
King Hadding had a counselor named Blind the Bad. Blind having learned that Romund was in hiding in Hagal's house, told the news to the king, who at once gave commands to seize the dangerous enemy. Blind made a search of Hagal's house, but his wife had hidden Romund under a huge kettle, so that Blind saw nothing of him. As the messengers were on their homeward way, it occurred to Blind that he had forgotten to look beneath the kettle, and so he promptly retraced his steps. But Hagal's wife, having foreseen something of the sort, had dressed Romund in the clothing of a woman and had set him to work grinding at the mill. Although Romund cast sharp glances at them while they searched for him, a spell was on them so that they failed to recognize him. Not before they were homeward bound once more did Blind realize who the handmaiden was; but he understood as well that he could not cope with the craft of the old woman and so returned home with his errand unfulfilled. The [245} next year king Olaf again mustered an army to invade Hadding's realm, and Romund followed in his train. They surprised Hadding as he lay abed. Hadding was slain by Romund. Blind was hanged. Romund took Swanwhite to wife. From them famous families count their descent.
Herrod, earl of Gautland, had a fair daughter named Thora, with the surname of Borgarhjort. From her father she got as a present a small grass snake, which she kept in a box and under which she laid a bed of gold. As the snake grew, the gold grew too; but the snake at length became so large that it could no longer find room in her bower but curled itself in a circle about the house. It now showed such bad temper that no one dared approach it except the man who gave it food, and he was compelled to bring it an ox for each meal. The earl, thinking that matters were taking an ill turn, promised his daughter to any man who should kill it, and the gold besides by way of dowry; yet no man dared attempt the task.
In Sweden there ruled a king named Eystein, a man most zealous in offering sacrifices. In preference to all other deities he worshipped a cow, Sibilja, that [248} walked before his army in battle, filling the enemy with fear. King Eystein and Ragnar Lodbrok were the best of friends and paid frequent visits to each other. Once on a time, when Ragnar was feasting at the court of Eystein, Eystein's fair daughter filled the beakers for the kings; Ragnar's retainers persuaded him to make her his bride and to put away the humble peasant's daughter Kraka. King Eystein too favored the match, and so it was agreed that Ragnar was to return later to claim the princess. Ragnar bade his men say nothing about the plan to Kraka; but three birds revealed the secret to the queen, and when he came home she upbraided him with what he purposed doing. Not till that moment had she disclosed to him her true descent and her right name. She was about to give birth to a child, she told him, and it was to be a son who should be marked with the image of a serpent in his eye; this token would prove her to be the daughter of Sigurd Fafnirsbane. It all happened just as she had foretold, and the boy got the name of Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye. But king Eystein's wrath was kindled because Ragnar had broken his troth with the princess, and from that time Eystein was Ragnar's enemy. Ragnar's eldest sons Erik and Agnar therefore mustered an army to carry the combat within the confines of Sweden, but luck was against them; Agnar fell, and Erik, who would not owe his life to Eystein, chose to die by being thrown on a spear fixed in the earth. One of his men carried his ring to queen Aslaug, who without delay egged her sons on to avenge his death. With an army they sailed for Sweden and  slew king Eystein in battle, Ivar Lackbones having succeeded meanwhile in killing Sibilja. After finishing this enterprise, they continued to make war throughout the south, gaining renown on every hand. They destroyed the powerful stronghold of Vivilsborg, captured Luna, and had no thought of halting their course till they should have reached Rome. From an old man who came to them in Luna they sought to learn how long was the road to Rome. He showed them a pair of iron boots on his feet and another pair slung across his back; both pairs, he declared, he had worn out on the journey from Rome to Luna. The sons of Lodbrok now realized that they would have to give up their plan of pushing on against Rome.
In the meantime Ragnar had remained quietly at home. He soon heard of the renown his sons were winning and determined not to be outdone by them. He gave orders for the building of two great merchant vessels, so large that with them he could transport a whole army overseas to England. Aslaug advised him to divide his host among several smaller ships so as to make landing more easy; but Ragnar would not heed her good counsel. She then gave him at his departure a shirt capable of protecting him against all kinds of wounds, and he set forth on his expedition. On the coasts of England, however, his two ships ran aground; although he effected the landing of his men, he was thus cut off from retreat. Ella was king in England at the time. When the news of Ragnar's invasion reached him, he gathered a large army and with it destroyed the enemy by force of numbers. [250} Ragnar himself was taken prisoner and cast by Ella's orders into a den of serpents. But the shirt protected him from their stings; only when it was stripped from his back did he succumb to their venom. Before he died he sang a lay, in which were these words: "The pigs would grunt if they knew what pains the boar suffers."
Ragnar's sons having meanwhile returned to Denmark, Ella sent couriers to acquaint them with the death of their father, with instructions to note carefully how each of them received the tidings. The messengers found Ivar sitting in the high seat, while Whitesark and Sigurd were playing chess, and Bjorn was busied in shaping a spear shaft. As the heralds were delivering their message, Bjorn shook the shaft till it broke in two, Whitesark crushed a chessman in his hands so that the blood sprang from under his nails, while Sigurd, who was paring his nails, cut his finger to the bone without giving the least sign. Ivar alone questioned the messengers closely and spoke quietly with them, the only mark of his agitation being a change of color, from flushed cheeks to paleness. When Ella was told all these things, he said, "Ivar we have to fear, and none other." The brothers now deliberated on taking vengeance for their father; but Ivar lifted his voice against such a course, advising instead that they accept wergild from Ella. The others, incensed at his speech, mustered an army. Although Ivar went with them to England, he led no armed force and took no part in the battle, in which the brothers were defeated. He sought the presence of [251} Ella by himself to demand a small forfeit for his father: only as much land as he might be able to encompass with an ox hide. Ella deemed this a most reasonable demand; but crafty Ivar cut a softened hide in strips, by means of which he encompassed a large plain. There he built a house and a stronghold and gave the place the name of Lundunaborg (London). He had bound himself by an oath not to make war against Ella; but he used his patrimony to entice the mightiest men of the land away from Ella. When he judged that all things fitted his purpose, he sent word to his brothers that they should muster a large army. They did as he bade them and crossed over to England. Ella found himself unable to put a sufficient force in the field because his liege men had forsworn their faith. In a decisive battle he was taken captive, and at Ivar's orders the bloody eagle was carved on his back. Thus he died. Ivar now permitted his brothers to maintain their sway over Ragnar's realm; he took England for himself and ruled there till his death. Whitesark was taken prisoner on an expedition to the shores of the Baltic, and chose as his mode of death to be burned on a pyre of human skulls. Bjorn later ruled in Sweden, and Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye in Denmark.
Tradition relates that in the time of Vikar, who is mentioned in the legend of Starkad, there lived as ruler of Rogaland a king named Hjorr. His son Hjorleif in his turn held dominion over both Rogaland [252} and Hordaland. Hjorleif, by reason of his many marriages, got the nickname of "woman-lover." First he was wedded to Æsa the Bright of Valdres; some time later, on a voyage to Bjarmiland, he took to wife Hild the Slender from Njardey (now Nærøy) near Namdalen. He became after a season a fast friend to Heri in Kongehelle, a son of Reidar, king of Zealand. Reidar invited Hjorleif to visit his house, and the sojourn ended with a marriage between Hjorleif and the king's daughter Ringja. On the voyage to Norway Ringja fell sick and died; her body, sunk into the sea, drifted back to her father's shipyard. There Heri found the coffin and came to the conclusion that Hjorleif had put her to death. That same autumn two fishermen, having caught a merman, brought him before Hjorleif. The king saw to it that the merman was well treated by the royal retinue, but no one could draw a word from his lips. Once queen Hild had the mischance to spill a horn filled with liquor over Æsa's cloak; when the king struck her, she laid the blame on the dog Floki, that had come in her way, and the king likewise beat the dog. The merman burst into laughter; on the king's asking him why, he answered: "Because you have played the fool; these two shall in good time save your life." The king promised him liberty if he would only make other prophecies of like import; and as they walked down toward the sea, the merman chanted verses foretelling that before long the king of Denmark would make his appearance, bringing bloody battles with him. Hjorleif now sought to gather an army; but Reidar, intent on [253} avenging his daughter, came on Hjorleif by stealth during the night and surrounded the house. Floki began to bark as was his wont when he sensed danger. Hjorleif rushed out and hurled a spear at his enemies which brought Heri to earth. Hjorleif escaped to the forest but had to stand looking on while his estates were burned. Reidar carried off the two queens and much booty. Afterward during the same autumn Hjorleif stole alone into Reidar's house, where he asked his own wife Æsa to help him in taking his revenge; but she, having no love for him, betrayed his design to Reidar, who ordered him to be hung up by his own shoe strings between two fires. In his worst need his other wife Hild came to his aid. She moderated the heat by pouring ale on the flames; and when Reidar had fallen asleep over his cups, she loosed the bands with which Hjorleif was bound. Hjorleif then killed his enemy and hung the body up in the same cords from which he himself had been saved. He now returned home with his two wives. The people assembled in judgment doomed Æsa to a death by drowning in a morass; but Hjorleif contented himself with sending her home with her dowry to Valdres. King Hjorleif lost his life on a Viking foray. His son by Æsa was named Oblaud; by Hild he had two sons, Hjorolf and Half.
Hild later wedded a king named Asmund, under whose tutelage her two sons grew up When Hjorolf had reached thirteen years of age, he was taken with a desire to try his luck as a Viking. He gathered about him as many men as he could find; but he took account [254} of numbers alone and paid no heed to whether his retainers were able men or fitly armed. Soon he met with misfortune and had to return home in disgrace.
The following spring Half reached his twelfth year, and he too determined to seek his fortune as a freebooter. He had but one ship; but it was new and uncommonly well provided, and he was most hard to please in the choosing of his men. No man was to be younger than eighteen years, and to be accepted he had to be able to lift a huge stone that lay in the courtyard; no man was to complain or to move a muscle in case he happened to be wounded. Half's foremost counselor was Stein, a son of earl Alf the Old of Hordaland. This Stein had a brother, twelve years of age, of the same name; but he was too young to be one of the warriors. Stein's cousins, Rok the White and Rok the Black, were among the champions, the number of whom all told was only twenty-three. On the first evening that they lay in harbor, a hard rain was falling, wherefore Stein meant to raise the tents; but the king put him aback with the words, "Are you still going to raise tents, as if you were at home?" Thenceforth Stein bore the nickname of In-Stein. The next day, as they were rounding a headland in a stiff gale, they saw some one standing there making signs that he wanted to be taken aboard ship They granted his wish but, so the king decreed, only on his promising to man the rudder till evening. The stranger looked with favor on the proposal, since in that case he would have his station near the king. It soon appeared that it was the younger brother [255} Stein who had boarded the ship; he was dubbed Out-Stein.
Half's men, who were called Half's Champions, never numbered more than sixty. They were governed by strict laws. No one of them was to bear a sword of more than two feet in length, since they had orders to close with the enemy at short range. They were forbidden to carry off women or children. No man was to bind up his wounds before a day had passed. They were not to raise their tents aboard ship They were never to reef their sails in a storm; if they were compelled to lay by, they were not to seek harborage but to ride out the storm, even off the most forbidding headlands. With champions such as these Half led his Viking life for eighteen years, always victorious. Once on a time when they encountered a terrific gale, they agreed to cast lots to determine which of them was to leap overboard to lighten the ship; but the lots were never cast, for the men vied with one another in jumping into the sea, with the shout, "There is no straw outside the gunwales" (that is to say, they should not die on beds of straw if they dived over the side). Half then sailed to Hordaland, where his stepfather king Asmund acknowledged him as overlord, swore fealty, and then invited Half and one half of his force home for a festival. In-Stein had no faith in Asmund; having dreamed foreboding dreams, he begged Half to take all of his men with him; but the king, refusing to listen to this prudent counsel, went off with only one half of his band. It was a most splendid feast, and the drink was so strong that [256} Half's Champions fell asleep King Asmund promptly set fire to the hall. One of Half's Champions waked and cried out, "Smoke wreathes the hawks in the king's hall." Then he lay down to sleep again. Another waked and called out, "Wax drips from our swords" (an intimation that the wax used in the setting of the swords was melting with the heat). Finally In-Stein waked and shouted to Half. The king rose and roused all of his men, and they all ran together against the wall with such force that the corner timbers sprang apart, and they made their escape. But Asmund's greater numbers bore them down, and Half himself fell. The men from the ships now rushed into the fray, and In-Stein kept up the battle till nightfall; then he fell, and by that time many of Half's Champions had met a like fate. Out-Stein was wounded, but recovered and fled to Denmark; he and Rok the Black later killed Asmund and thus avenged their liege lord. Half's son Hjorr now became king of Hordaland.
King Bell in Sogn had three children, two sons named Halfdan and Helgi, and a daughter named Ingeborg. Over against king Beli's castle of Syrstrand lay the farm Framnes, where the king's good friend, the chieftain Thorstein Vikingsson had his abode. Thorstein's son was called Fridthjof; by reason of his skill in all manner of manly pursuits he had won the surname, the Brave. Bell's queen died at an early age, and Ingeborg was accepted as a foster daughter by a [257} mighty farmer of Sogn, named Hilding. Since Fridthjof also was under his tutelage, the two foster children soon became very fond of each other. When Beli had grown old, Thorstein and Fridthjof were his chief support; and as the king noted the approach of death, he urged his inexperienced sons to put their faith in these tried and true friends. Not long afterward Thorstein died, having prayed his son to be governed by the wishes of the princes, for they were above him in lineage. In accordance with his wish he was laid in a barrow just opposite to the burial mound that housed his old friend Beli.
Fridthjof soon won a name for himself by his courage and his amiability; the youthful princes, on the contrary, were not well liked, and therefore bore him no good will. Their ill will grew when they discovered that Ingeborg looked on him with favor; and when Fridthjof in due course asked for her hand, they returned a curt refusal. Fridthjof then declared that they need expect aid from him no more, and they soon found that he was in earnest. Rumors of the increasing disagreement between the kings and their chief retainer came to the ears of the mighty king Ring of Ringerike. He accordingly sent messengers to Sogn demanding that the brothers recognize him as their overlord and pay him tribute. They gave him, to be sure, a defiant answer and armed their forces to meet him in Jæren; but finding themselves deprived of Fridthjof's aid, they quailed before Ring's greater numbers and composed their differences with him rather than risk the issue of battle. They were compelled [258} to bow to Ring's demands and to promise him the hand of Ingeborg in marriage. At Baldershagi, not far from Syrstrand, there was a place of sacrifice where many gods were worshipped, Balder most of all; this temple had the utmost sanctity. The kings, therefore, before they took their departure, placed Ingeborg there to keep her in safety from Fridthjof. Notwithstanding, Fridthjof, holding the love of Ingeborg far above the anger of the gods, rowed across the fjord to visit her. They now repeated their vows to each other; Fridthjof gave Ingeborg a precious ring, an heirloom from his father, and from her he received another ring in return. When the kings came home from Jæren and heard all that had taken place, their wrath was kindled; but they dared not attack him, since he had gathered his men about him. They sought therefore to be rid of him by guile. They sent Hilding to him with the proposal that he should make a voyage to the Orkneys to demand the tribute that earl Angantyr had withheld since the death of Beli; by way of recompense they promised him their pardon. Fridthjof was willing to undertake the mission provided only that his lands and chattels were left unmolested during his absence. But no sooner had he set out on the voyage than the kings burned his estates and seized his goods; moreover, they bought the services of two witches, who were to bring on him such a storm that he could not but perish. In the meantime Fridthjof and his men had sailed out of the Sognefjord on his splendid ship Ellidi, which had the virtue of being able to understand the speech of [259} men. Near the Sulen Islands so violent a storm broke over them that even Fridthjof himself gave up all hope of safety. Presently he caught sight of a whale that had bent itself about the ship in a circle and on the back of which sat two witches. He, now bade his ship sail straight over the whale. Ellidi obeyed his command and broke the back of one of the women; Fridthjof himself killed the other. Therewith the evil spell was broken, the storm was stilled, and they made land in Evjesund in the Orkneys. Earl Angantyr, an old friend of Thorstein Vikingsson, received Fridthjof with great hospitality and promised to give him a sum of money; he might call it tribute if he were so minded. They sojourned at the house of Angantyr during that winter. Meanwhile king Ring, according to arrangement, had come to Sogn and there celebrated his marriage with Ingeborg. When he saw Fridthjof's ring, he forbade her to wear it; so she gave it to Helgi's wife with the request that it be returned to Fridthjof. Ring thereupon carried his wife home and loved her with a great love.
The following spring Fridthjof, on coming home again, found his estates burned to the ground. Learning that the kings were about their sacrifices at Baldershagi, he determined on vengeance. He gave orders to his men to cut holes. in the bottoms of all the ships lying in the harbor, while he went alone into the temple, where he found the kings sitting over their beakers in the company of a small number of their retainers. Men and women were sitting there anointing the images of the gods and drying them with cloths; others were [260} warming the images over the fire. Fridthjof stepped up before king Helgi, and said, "Would you not like to receive your tribute?" With these words he struck the king in the face with the purse so hard that two teeth fell from his mouth. Helgi toppled from his high seat bereft of his senses, and Halfdan had to grasp hold of him to prevent his falling into the fire. As Fridthjof was about to walk out, he caught sight of his ring on the finger of Helgi's wife, who sat warming the image of Balder at the fire. He seized her by the hand so that the image fell into the flames, and dragged her toward the door for the purpose of taking the ring away from her. Halfdan's wife took hold of her on the other side to draw her back; at that the image she was holding likewise fell among the coals. Both of the anointed images began to burn, and the whole house burst into flames. Fridthjof in the meantime had regained his ring and so sailed away; but when the kings set out in pursuit, they found themselves unable to make use of their ships. They now declared Fridthjof an outlaw. Halfdan rebuilt Framnes and made his own abode there; Helgi remained at Syrstrand.
Fridthjof now spent three years as a Viking, gathering much booty. At the end of that time he left his men in Viken and made his way to the Uplands, to the court of king Ring, for the purpose of seeing Ingeborg again. Disguised as an old man, he drew a broad-brimmed hat over his face, and thus apparelled entered the palace and took his station at the lower end of the hall. Ring asked who the old man might be. "Thjof is my name; I dwelt with Wolf last night; I am the [261} foster son of Anger,"  the stranger answered Ring was surprised at the enigmatic reply, bade the man draw near, and inquired where he made his home. "My wish brought me here, and my home is nowhere," answered the singular guest, adding that he was by calling a cooker of salt. "You have spent the night in the forest," said Ring; "for there is no husbandman in the neighborhood by the name of Wolf. Since you say that you have no home, it may be that your desire to visit us surpasses your longing for home." The queen offered him a seat among the guests, but the king asked him to take a place at his own side. The stranger did so, and in a trice stood before them splendidly dressed, with a sword by his side and a large ring on his finger. On seeing the ring, the queen became red as blood, but said never a word. The king said in merry mood, "You must have cooked salt a long while for a ring like that." Thjof sojourned there during the whole of the winter and gained the good will of all men. The queen seldom addressed him, but the king always spoke with him in friendly fashion.
One day the king bade his retinue go with him out into the forest so that he might gladden his heart amidst the beauty of nature. It so befell that king Ring and Fridthjof found themselves alone together. The king said that he was drowsy and wished to lie down for a while to sleep "Turn homeward then, king!" said Fridthjof; "that were more seemly." The king refused, and lay down to rest; soon he gave signs of being fast asleep Thjof, seated near him, drew his sword from the scabbard and hurled it far away. The king presently rose and said: "Is it not true, Fridthjof, that many thoughts even now coursed through your mind, and that you gained mastery over them? You shall henceforth remain with me and enjoy such honors as I can bestow. I knew you the first night, as soon as you stepped into the hall."
"I must take my leave before long," answered Fridthjof. When they returned home, it was promptly noised abroad that it was Fridthjof the Brave who had sojourned there throughout the winter.
Early one morning a knock came at the door of the chamber where the king and queen lay asleep The king asked who was there, and got the answer that it was Fridthjof, who was on the point of taking his departure. He came into the room and thanked them for the kind treatment he had received at their hands; [263} finally, handing his ring to Ingeborg, he asked her to wear it. The king smiled and said: "In that case she gets more thanks than I, though she has shown you no greater friendship." They drank to each other, and then the king said: "It would please me if you were to remain here, Fridthjof; for my sons are small, and I am an old man, little fitted to undertake the defense of the realm if need should arise." Fridthjof regretfully declined. Ring now offered him all that he possessed, and the queen into the bargain; for, he declared, he felt the approach of death. Fridthjof could no longer refuse; he was dubbed an earl and clothed with authority to rule the kingdom till Ring's sons should be grown to man's estate. King Ring lived but a short while thereafter. His death brought great grief to the land. His funeral ale was drunk with the utmost pomp, and at the same time Fridthjof and Ingeborg celebrated their marriage. But king Helgi and king Halfdan were filled with ire to think that the son of a local chieftain should wed their sister. So they mustered a large army against their new kinsman; but he defeated them both and slew Helgi. To Halfdan he made offers of peace provided only that Halfdan would acclaim him as overlord; and Halfdan had no other choice. Fridthjof thus became king of Sogn, where he continued to govern after Ring's sons had taken over the rule in Ringerike. Later he brought Hordaland as well under his sway. Among the children of Fridthjof and Ingeborg mention is made only of the sons Gunnthjof and Hunthjof. Hunthjof had three sons, named Herthjof, Geirthjof, and Fridthjof; but the family is not often referred to in the ancient annals.