Stanza 31

Of King Ottar

Ottar was the name of King Egil's son who succeeded to the domains and kingdom after him. He did not continue friendly with King Frode, and therefore King Frode sent messengers to King Ottar to demand the scatt which Egil had promised him. Ottar replied, that the Swedes had never paid scatt to the Danes, neither would he; and the messengers had to depart with this answer. Frode was a great warrior, and he came one summer with his army to Sweden, and landed and ravaged the country. He killed many people, took some prisoners, burned all around in the inhabited parts, made a great booty, and made great devastation. The next summer King Frode made an expedition to the eastward; and when King Ottar heard that Frode was not at home in his own country, he went on board his own ships, sailed over to Denmark, and ravaged there without opposition. As he heard that a great many people were collected at Sealand, he proceeds westward to the Sound, and sails north about to Jutland; lands at Lymfjord; plunders the Vend district; burns, and lays waste, and makes desolate the country he goes over with his army. Vatt and Faste were the names of the earls whom Frode had appointed to defend the country in Denmark while he was abroad. When the earls heard that the Swedish king was laying Denmark waste, they collected an army, hastened on board their ships, and sailed by the south side to Lymfjord. They came unexpectedly upon Ottar, and the battle began immediately. The Swedes gave them a good reception, and many people fell on both sides; but as soon as men fell in the Danish army other men hastened from the country to fill their places, and also all the vessels in the neighborhood joined them. The battle ended with the fall of Ottar and the greater part of his people. The Danes took his body, carried it to the land, laid it upon a mound of earth, and let the wild beasts and ravens tear it to pieces. Thereafter they made a figure of a crow out of wood, sent it to Sweden, and sent word with it that their king, Ottar, was no better than it; and from this he was called Ottar Vendelcrow. Thjodolf tells so of it: --

By Danish arms the hero bold,
Ottar the Brave, lies stiff and cold.
To Vendel's plain the corpse was borne;
By eagles' claws the corpse is torn,
Spattered by ravens' bloody feet,
The wild bird's prey, the wild wolf's meat.
The Swedes have vowed revenge to take
On Frode's earls, for Ottar's sake;
Like dogs to kill them in their land,
In their own homes, by Swedish hand.