| Viking Tales|
|by Jennie Hall|
|We follow the fortunes of Harald from the time he is given his own thrall at the cutting of his first tooth, through his exploits as a viking adventurer, to his crowning as King of Norway. Then population pressures at home and eagerness for adventure and booty from other lands combine to drive some of the bolder Vikings to set forth from their native land. Sailing ever westward across the Atlantic, they hop along the chain of islands that loosely connects Norway with America in search of home and adventure. Ages 6-9 |
KING HARALD'S WEDDING
T had taken King Harald ten years to fight so many
battles. And all that time he had not cut his hair or
combed it. Now he was feasting one day at an earl's
house. Many people were there.
"How is it, friends?" Harald said "Have I kept my vow?"
His friends answered:
"You have kept your vow. There is no king but you in
"Then I think I will cut my hair," the king laughed.
So he went and bathed and put on fresh clothes. Then
the earl cut his hair and beard and combed them and put
a gold band about his head. Then he looked at him and
"It is beautiful, smooth, and yellow."
And all people wondered at the beauty of the king's
"I will give you a new name," the earl said. "You shall
no longer be called
 Shockhead. You shall be called
"It is a good name," everybody cried.
Then Harald said:
"But I have another thing to do now. Guthorm, you shall
take the same message to Gyda that you gave ten years
So Guthorm went and brought back this answer from Gyda:
"I will marry the king of all Norway."
So when the wedding time came, Harald rode across the
country to the home of Gyda's father, Eric. Many men
followed him. They were all richly dressed in velvet
For three nights they feasted at Eric's house. On the
next night Gyda sat on the cross-bench with her women.
A long veil of white linen covered her face and head
and hung down to the ground. After the mead-horns had
been brought in, Eric stood up from his high seat and
went down and stood before King Harald.
"Will you marry Gyda now?" he asked.
 Harald jumped to his feet and laughed.
"Yes," he said. "I have waited long enough."
Then he stepped down from his high seat and stood by
Eric. They walked about the hall. Before them walked
thralls carrying candles. Behind them walked many of
King Harald's great earls. Three times they walked
around the hall. The third time they stopped before the
cross-bench. King Harald and Eric stepped upon the
platform, where the cross-bench was.
Eric gave a holy hammer to Harald, and it was like the
hammer of Thor. Harald put it upon Gyda's lap, saying:
"With this holy hammer of Thor's, I, Harald, King of
Norway, take you, Gyda, for my wife."
"I, Harald, King of Norway, take you, Gyda, for my wife"
Then he took a bunch of keys and tied it to Gyda's
"This is the sign that you are mistress of my house."
After that, Eric called out loudly:
"Now are Harald, King of Norway, and Gyda, daughter of
Eric, man and wife."
 Then thralls brought meat and drink in golden dishes.
They were about to serve it to Gyda for the bride's
feast, but Harald took the dish from them and said:
"No, I will serve my bride."
So he knelt and held the platter. When he did that his
men shouted. Then they talked among themselves, saying:
"Surely Harald never knelt before. It is always other
people who kneel to him."
When the bride had tasted the food and touched the
mead-horn to her lips she stood up and walked from the
hall. All her women followed her, but the men stayed
and feasted long.
On the next morning at breakfast Gyda sat by Harald's
side. Soon the king rose and said:
"Father-in-law, our horses stand ready in the yard.
Work is waiting for me at home and on the sea. Lead out
So Eric took Gyda by the hand and led her out of the
hall. Harald followed close. When they passed through
the door Eric said:
 "With this hand I lead my daughter out of my house and
give her to you, Harald, son of Halfdan, to be your
wife. May all the gods make you happy!"
Harald led his bride to the horse and lifted her up and
set her behind his saddle and said:
"Now this Gyda is my wife."
Then they drank the stirrup-horn and rode off.
"Everything comes to King Harald," his men said; "wife
and land and crown and victory in battle. He is a lucky
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