Stanza 53

Of Gudrod, the Hunter

Gudrod, Halfdan's son, succeeded. He was called Gudrod the Magnificent, and also Gudrod the Hunter. He was married to Alfhild, a daughter of King Alfarin of Alfheim, and got with her half the district of Vingulmark. Their son Olaf was afterwards called Geirstad-Alf. Alfheim, at that time, was the name of the land between the Glommen and Gotha rivers. Now when Alfhild died, King Gudrod sent his men west to Agder to the king who ruled there, and who was called Harald Redbeard. They were to make proposals to his daughter Aasa upon the king's account; but Harald declined the match, and the ambassadors returned to the king, and told him the result of their errand. Soon after King Gudrod hove down his ships into the water, and proceeded with a great force in them to Agder. He immediately landed, and came altogether unexpectedly at night to King Harald's house. When Harald was aware that an army was at hand, he went out with the men he had about him, and there was a great battle, although he wanted men so much. King Harald and his son Gyrd fell, and King Gudrod took a great booty. He carried away with him Aasa, King Harald's daughter, and had a wedding with her. They had a son by their marriage called Halfdan; and the autumn that Halfdan was a year old Gudrod went upon a round of feasts. He lay with his ship in Stiflesund, where they had been drinking hard, so that the king was very tipsy. In the evening, about dark, the king left the ship; and when he had got to the end of the gangway from the ship to the shore, a man ran against him, thrust a spear through him, and killed him. The man was instantly put to death, and in the morning when it was light the man was discovered to be Aasa's page-boy: nor did she conceal that it was done by her orders. Thus tells Thjodolf of it: --

Gudrod is gone to his long rest,
Despite of all his haughty pride --
A traitor's spear has pierced his side:
For Aasa cherished in her breast
Revenge; and as, by wine opprest,
The hero staggered from his ship,
The cruel queen her thrall let slip
To do the deed of which I sing:
And now the far-descended king,
At Stiflesund, in the old bed
Of the old Gudrod race, lies dead.