Hakon The Good's Saga

Haakon Haraldsson (c. 920–961), also Haakon the Good (Old Norse: Hákon góði, Norwegian: Håkon den gode) and Haakon Adalsteinfostre (Old Norse: Hákon Aðalsteinsfóstri, Norwegian: Håkon Adalsteinsfostre), was the king of Norway from 934 to 961. He was noted for his attempts to introduce Christianity into Norway.

Contents ;

  1. Hakon Chosen King
  2. King Hakon’s Progress Through The Country
  3. Eirik’s Departure From The Country
  4. Eirik’s Death
  5. Gunhild And Her Sons
  6. Battle In Jutland
  7. Battle In Eyrarsund
  8. King Hakon’s Expedition To Denmark
  9. Of King Trygve
  10. Of Gunhild S Sons
  11. King Hakon As A Law-giver
  12. The Birth Of Earl Hakon The Great
  13. Of Eystein The Bad
  14. Jamtaland And Helsingjaland
  15. Hakon Spreads Christianity
  16. About Sacrifices
  17. The Frosta-thing
  18. King Hakon Offers Sacrifices
  19. Feast Of The Sacrifice At More
  20. Battle At Ogvaldsnes
  21. King Hakon’s Laws
  22. Concerning Eirik’s Sons
  23. Of Egil Ulserk
  24. Battle At Fredarberg
  25. Of King Gamle
  26. King Gamle And Ulserk Fall
  27. Egil Ulserk’s Burial-ground
  28. News Of War Comes To King Hakon
  29. The Armament Of Eirik’s Sons
  30. King Hakon’s Battle Array
  31. Fall Of Skreyja And Askman
  32. Hakon’s Death

Preliminary Remarks:

Of Eirik Blood-axe’s five years’ reign Snorre has no separate saga. He appears not to have been beloved by the people and his queen Gunhild seems to have had a bad influence on him.

Other accounts of Hakon may be found in

  • “Fagrskinna” (chaps. 25-34),
  • “Agrip”,
  • “Historia”,
  • “Norvegiae”,
  • and in “Thjodrek” (chap. 4).

The reader is also referred to

  • “Saxo”,
  • “Egla”,
  • “Laxdaela”,
  • “Kormaks Saga”,
  • “Gisle Surssons Saga”,
  • “Halfred’s Saga”,
  • “Floamanna Saga”,
  • “Viga Glum’s Saga”,
  • and to “Landnamabok”.

Skald mentioned in this Saga are:

  • Glum Geirason,
  • Thord Sjarekson,
  • Guthorm Sindre,
  • Kormak Ogmundson,
  • and Eyvind Skaldaspiller.

In the “Egla” are found many poems belonging to this epoch by Egil Skallagrimson.

In “Fagrskinna” is found a poem (not given by Snorre) which Gunhild (his wife) had made on King Eirik after his death, telling how Odin welcomed him to Valhal. The author or skald who composed it is not known, but it is considered to be one of the gems of old Norse poetry, and we here quote it in Vigfusson’s translation in his “Corpus Poeticum“, vol. i. pp. 260, 261.

Gudbrand Vigfusson has filled up a few gaps from “Hakonarmat”, the poem at the end of this Saga. We have changed Vigfusson’s orthography of names, and brought them into harmony with the spelling used in this work: .

“Odin wakes in the morning and cries, as he opens his eyes, with his dream still fresh in his mind: `What dreams are these? I thought I arose before daybreak to make Valhal ready for a host of slain. I woke up the host of the chosen. I bade them ride up to strew the benches, and to till up the beer-vats, and I bade valkyries to bear the wine, as if a king were coming. I look for the coming of some noble chiefs from the earth, wherefore my heart is glad.’

“Brage, Odin’s counsellor, now wakes, as a great din is heard without, and calls out:

'What is that thundering? 
as if a thousand men or some great host were tramping on  
the walls and the benches are creaking withal
as if Balder was coming back to the ball of Odin?'

“Odin answers:

'Surely thou speakest foolishly, 
good Brage, 
although thou art very wise. 
It thunders for Eirik the king, 
that is coming to the hall of Odin.'

“Then turning to his heroes, he cries:

'Sigmund and Sinfjotle, 
rise in haste and go forth to meet the prince! 
Bid him in if it be Eirik, 
for it is he whom I look for.'

“Sigmund answers:

'Why lookest thou more for Eirik, 
the king, 
to Odin's hall, 
than for other kings?'

“Odin answers:

'Because he has reddened his brand, 
and borne his bloody sword in many a land.'

“Quoth Sigmund:

'Why didst thou rob him, 
the chosen king of victory then, 
seeing thou thoughtest him so brave?'

“Odin answered:

'Because it is not surely to be known, 
when the grey wolf shall come upon the seat of the god.'

SECOND SCENE.

Without Valhal. Sigmund and Sinfjotle go outside the hall and meet Eirik.

“Quoth Sigmund:

'Hail to thee, 
Eirik, 
be welcome here, 
and come into the hall, 
thou gallant king! 
Now I will ask thee, 
what kings are these that follow thee 
from the clash of the sword edges?'

“Eirik answers:

'They are five kings; 
I will tell thee all their names; 
I myself am the sixth 
(the names followed in the song, whereof the rest is lost.)

“Fagrskinna” says “Hakonarmal” was the model of this poem.

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