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Édition d'Élite

Historical Tales
The Romance of Reality


By
CHARLES MORRIS

_Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales from the
Dramatists," etc._


IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES

Volume IX


Scandinavian


J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON




Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.



[Illustration: From Stereograph Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, N.Y.
OLD BRIDGE AT OEREBRO.]




_CONTENTS_
PAGE

HOW KING ROLF WON HIS BRIDE 9

RAGNAR LODBROK AND HIS WIVES AND SONS 19

HAROLD FAIR-HAIRED FOUNDS THE KINGDOM OF NORWAY 31

GORM THE OLD, DENMARK'S FIRST KING 42

ERIK BLOOD-AXE AND EGIL THE ICELANDER 49

THE SEA-KINGS AND THEIR DARING FEATS 60

HAAKON THE GOOD AND THE SONS OF GUNHILD 69

EARL HAAKON AND THE JOMSVIKINGS 78

HOW OLAF, THE SLAVE-BOY, WON THE THRONE 89

OLAF DETHRONES ODIN AND DIES A HERO 98

OLAF THE SAINT AND HIS WORK FOR CHRIST 108

CANUTE THE GREAT, KING OF SIX NATIONS 121

MAGNUS THE GOOD AND HAROLD HARDRULER 132

SVERRE, THE COOK'S SON, AND THE BIRCHLEGS 145

THE FRIENDS AND FOES OF A BOY PRINCE 160

KING VALDEMAR I. AND BISHOP ABSOLON 169

THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF VALDEMAR II 176

BIRGER JARL AND THE CONQUEST OF FINLAND 186

THE FIRST WAR BETWEEN SWEDEN AND RUSSIA 196

THE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT OF KING BIRGER 202

QUEEN MARGARET AND THE CALMAR UNION 211

HOW SIR TORD FOUGHT FOR CHARLES OF SWEDEN 217

STEN STURE'S GREAT VICTORY OVER THE DANES 226

HOW THE DITMARSHERS KEPT THEIR FREEDOM 236

THE BLOOD-BATH OF STOCKHOLM 241

THE ADVENTURES OF GUSTAVUS VASA 252

THE FALL OF CHRISTIAN II. THE TYRANT 271

THE WEST GOTHLAND INSURRECTION 283

THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF KING ERIK 296

GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS ON THE FIELD OF LEIPSIC 310

CHARLES X. AND THE INVASION OF DENMARK 319

CHARLES XII. THE FIREBRAND OF SWEDEN 326

THE ENGLISH INVADERS AND THE DANISH FLEET 343

A FRENCH SOLDIER BECOMES KING OF SWEDEN AND NORWAY 349

THE DISMEMBERMENT OF DENMARK 358

BREAKING THE BOND BETWEEN NORWAY AND SWEDEN 362




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


SCANDINAVIAN.

PAGE

THE OLD BRIDGE AT OEREBRO, ONE OF THE MOST
ANCIENT TOWNS OF SWEDEN. _Frontispiece._

HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, NORWAY 35

HOME OF PEASANTS, NORWAY 50

BUSY FARMERS IN A HILLSIDE FIELD ABOVE ARE, SWEDEN 80

A NORDFJORD BRIDE AND GROOM WITH GUESTS AND
PARENTS. BRIGSDAL, NORWAY 95

NORWEGIAN PEASANTS 115

NORWEGIAN FARM BUILDINGS 135

LINKOPING FROM TANNEFORS 165

VILLAGE LIFE AND HOMES IN SWEDEN 190

MORNING GREETINGS OF NEIGHBORS, SWEDEN 210

GRIPSHOLM CASTLE, MARI 220

SKURUSUND, STOCKHOLM 230

SKANSEN RIVER 242

THE FAMOUS XVI. CENTURY CASTLE AT UPSALA, SWEDEN 256

NORWEGIAN CARRIAGE CALLED STOLKJAEM 285

ARMORY AND COSTUME HALL OF THE ROYAL MUSEUM, SWEDEN 300

STATUE OF GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 312

THE RETURN OF CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN 340

KRONBERG CASTLE ON THE SOUND, DENMARK 348

THE BOURSE, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 360




_HOW KING ROLF WON HIS BRIDE._


At one time very many centuries ago, we cannot say just when, for this
was in the days of the early legends, there reigned over Upsala in Sweden
a king named Erik. He had no son and only one daughter, but this girl was
worth a dozen sons and daughters of some kings. Torborg she was named,
and there were few women so wise and beautiful and few men so strong and
valiant. She cared nothing for women's work, but was the equal of any man
of the court in riding, fighting with sword and shield, and other
athletic sports. This troubled King Erik very much, for he thought that
the princess should sit in her maiden chamber like other kings'
daughters; but she told him that when she came to succeed him on the
throne she would need to know how to defend her kingdom, and now was the
time for her to learn.

That she might become the better fitted to rule, she asked him to give
her some province to govern, and this he did, making her queen of a third
of his kingdom, and giving her an army of stout and bold warriors. Her
court was held at Ulleraker in Upland, and here she would not let any one
treat her as a woman, dressing always in men's clothing and bidding her
men to call her King Torborg. To fail in this would be at risk of their
heads. As her fame spread abroad, there were many who came to court her,
for she was at once very beautiful and the heiress of a great kingdom.
But she treated all such with laughter and contempt. It is even said that
she put out the eyes of some, and cut off the hands and feet of others,
but this we do not like to believe. At any rate, she drove away those who
troubled her too much with lance and spear. So it was plain that only a
strong and bold man could win this warlike maiden for his wife.

At that time King Götrik who ruled in Gothland, a country in southern
Sweden, had sent his younger son Rolf to be brought up at the court of
his foster-brother King Ring of Denmark. His elder son Kettil he kept at
home, but did not love him much on account of his pride and obstinacy. So
it happened that when Götrik was very old and like to die, he decided
that Rolf, who was very tall and strong, and very fit and able, should
succeed him, though he was the younger son. All agreed to this, even
Kettil, so Rolf was sent for and made king of Gothland, which he ruled
with skill and valor.

One day Rolf and Kettil, who loved each other as brothers should, were
talking together, and Kettil said that one thing was wanting to the glory
and honor of Rolf's rule, and that was a queen of noble birth and goodly
presence.

"And whom have you in mind?" asked Rolf.

"There is Torborg, the king of Upsala's daughter. If you can win her for
wife it will be the greatest marriage in the north."

To this advice Rolf would not listen. He had heard of how the shrewish
Torborg treated her suitors, and felt that wooing her would be like
taking a wild wolf by the ears. So he stayed unmarried for several years
more, though Kettil often spoke of the matter, and one day said to him
contemptuously:

"Many a man has a large body with little courage, and I fear you are such
a one; for though you stand as a man, you do not dare to speak to a
woman."

"I will show you that I am a man," said Rolf, very angry at these words.

He sent to Denmark for his foster-brother Ingiald, son of King Ring, and
when he came the two set out with sixty armed men for the court of King
Erik in Upsala.

One morning, about this time, Queen Ingerd of Upsala awoke and told King
Erik of a strange dream she had dreamed. She had seen in her sleep a
troop of wolves running from Gothland towards Sweden, a great lion and a
little bear leading them; but these, instead of being fierce and shaggy,
were smooth-haired and gentle.

"What do you think it means?" asked the king.

"I think that the lion is the ghost of a king, and that the white bear is
some king's son, the wolves being their followers. I fancy it means that
Rolf of Gothland and Ingiald of Denmark are coming hither, bent on a
mission of peace, since they appear so tame. Do you think that King Rolf
is coming to woo our daughter, Torborg?"

"Nonsense, woman; the king of so small a realm would show great assurance
to seek for wife so great a princess as our daughter."

So when Rolf and his followers came to Upsala King Erik showed his
displeasure, inviting him to his table but giving him no seat of honor at
the feast. Rolf sat silent and angry at this treatment, but when Erik
asked him why he had come, he told him courteously enough the reason of
his visit.

"I know how fond you Goths are of a joke," said Erik, with a laugh. "You
have a way of saying one thing when you mean another. But I can guess
what brings you. Gothland is little and its revenues are small and you
have many people to keep and feed. Food is now scarce in Gothland, and
you have come here that you may not suffer from hunger. It was a good
thought for you to come to Upsala for help, and you are welcome to go
about my kingdom with your men for a month; then you can return home
plump and well fed."

This jesting speech made Rolf very angry, though he said little in reply.
But when the king told Queen Ingerd that evening what he had said she was
much displeased.

"King Rolf may have a small kingdom," she said, "but he has gained fame
by his courage and ability, and is as powerful as many kings with a wider
rule.



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