The king of the English, King Harald, died (A.D. 1040) five years after his father King Canute, and was buried beside his father at Winchester. After his death his brother Hardaknut, the second son of the old King Canute, was king of England, and was thus king both of Denmark and England. He ruled these kingdoms two years, and then died of sickness in England, leaving no children. He was buried at Winchester beside his father. After his death Edward the Good, a son of the English king Ethelred (and Emma, a daughter of Richard earl of Rouen), was chosen king in England. King Edward the Good was, on his mother's side, a brother of Harald and Hardaknut, the sons of Canute the Great; and the daughter of Canute and Queen Emma was Gunhild, who was married to the Emperor Henry of Germany, who was called Henry the Mild. Gunhild had been three years in Germamy when she fell sick, and she died five years after the death of her father King Canute the Great.
When King Magnus Olafson heard of Hardaknut's death, he immediately sent people south to Denmark, with a message to the men who had bound themselves by oath to the peace and agreement which was made between King Magnus and Hardaknut, and reminded them of their pledge. He added, as a conclusion, that in summer (A.D. 1042.) he would come with his army to Denmark to take possession of his Danish dominions, in terms of the agreement, or to fall in the field with his army. So says Arnor, the earls' skald: --
"Wise were the words, exceeding wise, Of him who stills the hungriest cries Of beasts of prey -- the earl's lord; And soon fulfilled will be his word: `With his good sword he'll Denmark gain, Or fall upon a bloody plain; And rather than give up his cause, Will leave his corpse to raven's claws.'"
Thereafter King Magnus gathered together a great army, and summoned to him all lendermen and powerful bondes, and collected war-ships. When the army was assembled it was very handsome, and well fitted out. He had seventy large vessels when he sailed from Norway. So says Thiodolf the skald: --
"Brave king! the terror of the foe, With thee will many a long-ship go. Full seventy sail are gathered here, Eastward with their great king to steer. And southward now the bright keel glides; O'er the white waves the Bison rides. Sails swell, yards crack, the highest mast O'er the wide sea scarce seen at last."
Here it related that King Magnus had the great Bison, which his father King Olaf had built. It had more than thirty banks of rowers; and forward on the bow was a great buffalo head, and aft on the stern-post was its tail. Both the head and the tail, and both sides of the ship, were gilded over. Of this speaks Arnor, the earls' skald: --
"The white foam lashing o'er the deck Oft made the glided head to shake; The helm down, the vessel's heel Oft showed her stem's bright-glacing steel. Around Stavanger-point careering, Through the wild sea's white flames steering, Tackle loud singing to the strain, The storm-horse flies to Denmark's plain."
King Magnus set out to sea from Agder, and sailed over to Jutland. So says Arnor: --