ING HALFDAN lived in Norway long ago. One morning his
queen said to him:
"I had a strange dream last night. I thought that I
stood in the grass before my bower.
I pulled a thorn
from my dress. As I held it in my fingers, it grew into
a tall tree. The trunk was thick and red as blood, but
the lower limbs were fair and green, and the highest
ones were white. I thought that the branches of this
great tree spread so far that they covered all Norway
and even more."
"A strange dream," said King Halfdan. "Dreams are the
messengers of the gods. I wonder what they would tell
us," and he stroked his beard in thought.
Some time after that a serving-woman came into the
feast hall where King Halfdan was. She carried a little
white bundle in her arms.
 "My lord," she said, "a little son is just born to
"Ha!" cried the king, and he jumped up from the high
seat and hastened forward until he stood before the
"Show him to me!" he shouted, and there was joy in his
The serving-woman put down her bundle on the ground and
turned back the cloth. There was a little naked baby.
The king looked at it carefully.
"It is a goodly youngster," he said, and smiled. "Bring
Ivar and Thorstein."
They were captains of the king's soldiers. Soon they
"Stand as witnesses," Halfdan said.
Then he lifted the baby in his arms, while the old
serving-woman brought a silver bowl of water. The king
dipped his hand into it and sprinkled the baby, saying:
"I own this baby for my son. He shall be called Harald.
My naming gift to him is ten pounds of gold."
"I own this baby for my son. He shall be called Harald"
Then the woman carried the baby back to the queen's
 "My lord owns him for his son," she said. "And no
wonder! He is perfect in every limb."
The queen looked at him and smiled and remembered her
dream and thought:
"That great tree! Can it be this little baby of mine?"