260. OF KING OLAF'S AGE AND REIGN.
It is reckoned by those who have kept an exact account, that Olaf the Saint was king of Norway for fifteen years from the time Earl Svein left the country; but he had received the title of king from the people of the Uplands the winter before. Sigvat the skald tells this: --
"For fifteen winters o'er the land King Olaf held the chief command, Before he fell up in the North: His fall made known to us his worth. No worthier prince before his day In our North land e'er held the sway, Too short he held it for our good; All men wish now that he had stood."
Saint Olaf was thirty-five years old when he fell, according to what Are Frode the priest says, and he had been in twenty pitched battles. So says Sigvat the skald: --
"Some leaders trust in God -- some not; Even so their men; but well I wot God-fearing Olaf fought and won Twenty pitched battles, one by one, And always placed upon his right His Christian men in a hard fight. May God be merciful, I pray, To him -- for he ne'er shunned his fray."
We have now related a part of King Olaf's story, namely, the events which took place while he ruled over Norway; also his death, and how his holiness was manifested. Now shall we not neglect to mention what it was that most advanced his honour. This was his miracles; but these will come to be treated of afterwards in this book.
King Svein, the son of Canute the Great, ruled over Norway for some years; but was a child both in age and understanding. His mother Alfifa had most sway in the country; and the people of the country were her great enemies, both then and ever since. Danish people had a great superiority given them within the country, to the great dissatisfaction of the people; and when conversation turned that way, the people of the rest of Norway accused the Throndhjem people of having principally occasioned King Olaf the Holy's fall, and also that the men of Norway were subject, through them, to the ill government by which oppression and slavery had come upon all the people, both great and small; indeed upon the whole community. They insisted that it was the duty of the Throndhjem people to attempt opposition and insurrection, and thus relieve the country from such tyranny; and, in the opinion of the common people, Throndhjem was also the chief seat of the strength of Norway at that time, both on account of the chiefs and of the population of that quarter. When the Throndhjem people heard these remarks of their countrymen, they could not deny that there was much truth in them, and that in depriving King Olaf of life and land they had committed a great crime, and at the same time the misdeed had been ill paid. The chiefs began to hold consultations and conferences with each other, and the leader of these was Einar Tambaskelfer. It was likewise the case with Kalf Arnason, who began to find into what errors he had been drawn by King Canute's persuasion. All the promises which King Canute had made to Kalf
had been broken; for he had promised him the earldom and the highest authority in Norway: and although Kalf had been the leader in the battle against King Olaf, and had deprived him of his life and kingdom, Kalf had not got any higher dignity than he had before. He felt that he had been deceived, and therefore messages passed between the brothers Kalf, Fin, Thorberg, and Arne, and they renewed their family friendship.