King Magnus afterwards ordered the people to be summoned to Viborg to a Thing. Both in older and later times, the Danes elected their kings at the Viborg Thing. At this Thing the Danes chose Magnus Olafson to be king of all the Danish dorninions. King Magnus remained long in Denmark during the summer (A.D. 1042); and wherever he came the people received him joyfully, and obeyed him willingly. He divided the country into baronies and districts, and gave fiefs to men of power in the land. Late in autumn he returned with his fleet to Norway, but lay for some time at the Gaut river.
There was a man, by name Svein, a son of Earl Ulf, and grandson of Thorgils Sprakaleg. Svein's mother was Astrid, a daughter of King Svein Forkbeard. She was a sister of Canute the Great by the father's side, and of the Swedish King Olaf Eirikson by the mother's side; for her mother was Queen Sigrid the Haughty, a daughter of Skoglar Toste. Svein Ulfson had been a long time living with his relation the Swedish king, ever since King Canute had ordered his father Ulf to be killed, as is related in the saga of old King Canute, that he had his brother-in-law, Earl Ulf, murdered in Roskilde; and on which account Svein had not since been in Denmark. Svein Ulfson was one of the handsomest men that could be seen; he was very stout and strong, and very expert in all exercises, and a well-spoken man withal. Every one who knew him said he had every quality which became a good chief. Svein Ulfson waited upon King Magnus while he lay in the Gaut river, as before mentioned, and the king received him kindly, as he was by many advised to do; for Svein was a particularly popular man. He could also speak for himself to the king well and cleverly; so that it came at lasf to Svein's entering into King Magnus's service, and becoming his man. They often talked together afterwards in private concerning many affairs.
24. SVEIN ULFSON CREATED AN EARL.
One day, as King Magnus sat in his high-seat and many people were around him, Svein Ulfson sat upon a footstool before the king. The king then made a speech: "Be it known to you, chiefs, and the people in general, that I have taken the following resolution. Here is a distinguished man, both for family and for his own merits, Svein Ulfson, who has entered into my service, and given me promise of fidelity. Now, as ye know, the Danes have this summer become my men, so that when I am absent from the country it is without a head; and it is not unknown to you how it is ravaged by the people of Vindland, Kurland, and others from the Baltic, as well as by Saxons. Therefore I promised them a chief who could defend and rule their land; and I know no man better fitted, in all respects, for this than Svein Ulfson, who is of birth to be chief of the country. I will therefore make him my earl, and give him the government of my Danish dominions while I am in Norway; just as King Canute the Great set his father, Earl Ulf, over Denmark while he was in England."
Then Einar Tambaskelfer said, "Too great an earl -- too great an earl, my foster-son!"
The king replied in a passion, "Ye have a poor opinion of my judgment, I think. Some consider that ye are too great earls, and others that ye are fit for nothing."
Then the king stood up, took a sword, and girt it on the earl's loins, and took a shield and fastened it on his shoulders, put a helmet upon his head, and gave him the title of earl, with the same fiefs in Denmark which his father Earl Ulf had formerly held. Afterwards a shrine was brought forth containing holy relics, and Svein laid his hand hereon, and swore the oath of fidelity to King Magnus; upon which the king led the earl to the highseat by his side. So says Thiodolf: --
"Twas at the Gaut river's shore, With hand on shrine Svein Ulfson swore. King Magnus first said o'er the oath, With which Svein Ulfson pledged his troth. The vows by Svein solemnly given, On holy bones of saints in heaven, To Magnus seemed both fair and fast; He found they were too fair to last."