"The fairest cargo ship e'er bore, From Russia's distant eastern shore The gallant Harald homeward brings -- Gold, and a fame that skald still sings. The ship through dashing foam he steers, Through the sea-rain to Svithjod veers, And at Sigtuna's grassy shores His gallant vessel safely moors."
18. THE LEAGUE BETWEEN KING HARALD AND SVEIN ULFSON.
Harald found there before him Svein Ulfson, who the autumn before (A.D. 1045) had fled from King Magnus at Helganes; and when they met they were very friendly on both sides. The Swedish king, Olaf the Swede, was brother of the mother of Ellisif, Harald's wife; and Astrid, the mother of Svein, was King Olaf's sister. Harald and Svein entered into friendship with each other and confirmed it by oath. All the Swedes were friendly to Svein, because he belonged to the greatest family in the country; and thus all the Swedes were Harald's friends and helpers also, for many great men were connected with him by relationship. So says Thiodolf:
"Cross the East sea the vessel flew, -- Her oak-keel a white furrow drew From Russia's coast to Swedish land. Where Harald can great help command. The heavy vessel's leeward side Was hid beneath the rushing tide; While the broad sail and gold-tipped mast Swung to and fro in the hard blast."
Then Harald and Svein fitted out ships and gathered together a great force; and when the troops were ready they sailed from the East towards Denmark. So says Valgard: --
"Brave Yngve! to the land decreed To thee by fate, with tempest speed The winds fly with thee o'er the sea -- To thy own udal land with thee. As past the Scanlan plains they fly, The gay ships glances 'twixt sea and sky, And Scanian brides look out, and fear Some ill to those they hold most dear."
They landed first in Seeland with their men and herried and burned in the land far and wide. Then they went to Fyen, where they also landed and wasted. So says Valgard: --
"Harald! thou hast the isle laid waste, The Seeland men away hast chased, And the wild wolf by daylight roams Through their deserted silent homes. Fiona too could not withstand The fury of thy wasting hand. Helms burst, shields broke, -- Fiona's bounds. Were filled with death's terrific sounds.