Stanza 29

Of King On, Son of Jorund

On or Ane was the name of Jorund's son, who became king of the Swedes after his father. He was a wise man, who made great sacrifices to the gods; but being no warrior, he lived quietly at home. In the time when the kings we have been speaking of were in Upsal, Denmark had been ruled over by Dan Mikellati, who lived to a very great age; then by his son, Frode Mikellati, or the Peace-loving, who was succeeded by his sons Halfdan and Fridleif, who were great warriors. Halfdan was older than his brother, and above him in all things. He went with his army against King On to Sweden, and was always victorious. At last King On fled to Wester Gotland when he had been king in Upsal about twenty-five years, and was in Gotland twenty-five years, while Halfdan remained king in Upsal. King Halfdan died in his bed at Upsal, and was buried there in a mound; and King On returned to Upsal when he was sixty years of age. He made a great sacrifice, and in it offered up his son to Odin. On got an answer from Odin, that he should live sixty years longer; and he was afterwards king in Upsal for twenty-five years. Now came Ole the Bold, a son of King Fridleif, with his army to Sweden, against King On, and they had several battles with each other; but Ole was always the victor. Then On fled a second time to Gotland; and for twenty-five years Ole reigned in Upsal, until he was killed by Starkad the Old. After Ole's fall, On returned to Upsal, and ruled the kingdom for twenty-five years. Then he made a great sacrifice again for long life, in which he sacrificed his second son, and received the answer from Odin, that he should live as long as he gave him one of his sons every tenth year, and also that he should name one of the districts of his country after the number of sons he should offer to Odin. When he had sacrificed the seventh of his sons he continued to live; but so that he could not walk, but was carried on a chair. Then he sacrificed his eighth son, and lived thereafter ten years, lying in his bed. Now he sacrificed his ninth son, and lived ten years more; but so that he drank out of a horn like a weaned infant. He had now only one son remaining, whom he also wanted to sacrifice, and to give Odin Upsal and the domains thereunto belonging, under the name of the Ten Lands, but the Swedes would not allow it; so there was no sacrifice, and King On died, and was buried in a mound at Upsal. Since that time it is called On's sickness when a man dies, without pain, of extreme old age. Thjodolf tell of this: --

In Upsal's town the cruel king
Slaughtered his sons at Odin's shrine --
Slaughtered his sons with cruel knife,
To get from Odin length of life.
He lived until he had to turn
His toothless mouth to the deer's horn;
And he who shed his children's blood
Sucked through the ox's horn his food.
At length fell Death has tracked him down,
Slowly, but sure, in Upsal's town.