THE STORY OF DALE-GUDBRAND.

There was a man called Dale-Gudbrand, who was like a king in the valley (Gudbrandsdal), but was only herse in title. Sigvat the skald compared him for wealth and landed property to Erling Skjalgson. Sigvat sang thus concerning Erling: --

"I know but one who can compare
With Erling for broad lands and gear
-- Gudbrand is he, whose wide domains
Are most like where some small king reigns.
These two great bondes, I would say,
Equal each other every way.
He lies who says that he can find
One by the other left behind."

Gudbrand had a son, who is here spoken of. Now when Gudbrand received the tidings that King Olaf was come to Lear, and obliged people to accept Christianity, he sent out a message-token, and summoned all the men in the valley to meet him at a farm called Hundthorp. All came, so that the number could not be told; for there is a lake in the neighbourhood called Laugen, so that people could come to the place both by land and by water. There Gudbrand held a Thing with them, and said, "A man is come to Loar who is called Olaf, and will force upon us another faith than what we had before, and will break in pieces all our gods. He says that he has a much greater and more powerful god; and it is wonderful that the earth does not burst as under under him, or that our god lets him go about unpunished when he dares to talk such things. I know this for certain, that if we carry Thor, who has always stood by us, out of our temple that is standing upon this farm, Olaf's god will melt away, and he and his men be made nothing so soon as Thor looks upon them." Then the bondes all shouted as one person that Olaf should never get away with life if he came to them; and they thought he would never dare to come farther south through the valley. They chose out 700 men to og northwards to Breida, to watch his movements. The leader of this band was Gudbrand's son, eighteen years of age, and with him were many other men of importance. When they came to a farm called Hof they heard of the king; and they remained three nights there. People streamed to them from all parts, from Lesjar, Loar, and Vagar, who did not wish to receive Christianity. The king and Bishop Sigurd fixed teachers in Loaf and in Vagar. From thence they went round Vagarost, and came down into the valley at Sil, where they stayed all night, and heard the news that a great force of men were assembled against them. The bondes who were in Breida heard also of the king's arrival, and prepared for battle. As soon as the king arose in the morning he put on his armour, and went southwards over the Sil plains, and did not halt until he came to Breida, where he saw a great army ready for battle. Then the king drew up his troops, rode himself at the head of them, and began a speech to the bondes, in which he invited them to adopt Christianity. They replied, "We shall give thee something else to do to-day than to be mocking us;" and raised a general shout, striking also upon their shields with their weapons. Then the king's men ran forward and threw their spears; but the bondes turned round instantly and fled, so that only few men remained behind. Gudbrand's son was taken prisoner; but the king gave him his life, and took him with him. The king was four days here. Then the king said to Gudbrand's son, "Go home now to thy father, and tell him I expect to be with him soon.

"He went accordingly, and told his father the news, that they had fallen in with the king, and fought with him; but that their whole army, in the very beginning, took flight. "I was taken prisoner," said he, "but the king gave me my life and liberty, and told me to say to thee that he will soon be here. And now we have not 200 men of the force we raised against him; therefore I advise thee, father, not to give battle to that man. "Says Gudbrand, "It is easy to see that all courage has left thee, and it was an unlucky hour ye went out to the field. Thy proceeding will live long in the remembrance of people, and I see that thy fastening thy faith on the folly that man is going about with has brought upon thee and thy men so great a disgrace. "But the night after, Gudbrand dreamt that there came to him a man surrounded by light, who brought great terror with him, and said to him, "Thy son made no glorious expedition against King Olaf; but still less honour wilt thou gather for thyself by holding a battle with him. Thou with all thy people wilt fall; wolves will drag thee, and all thine, away; ravens wilt tear thee instripes." At this dreadful vision he was much afraid, and tells it to Thord Istermage, who was chief over the valley. He replies, "The very same vision came to me." In the morning they ordered the signal to sound for a Thing, and said that it appeared to them advisable to hold a Thing with the man who had come from the north with this new teaching, to know if there was any truth in it. Gudbrand then said to his son, "Go thou, and twelve men with thee, to the king who gave thee thy life." He went straightway, and found the king, and laid before him their errand; namely, that the bondes would hold a Thing with him, and make a truce between them and him. The king was content; and they bound themselves by faith and law mutually to hold the peace so long as the Thing lasted. After this was settled the men returned to Gudbrand and Thord, and told them there was made a firm agreement for a truce. The king, after the battle with theson of Gudbrand, had proceeded to Lidstad, and remained there for five days: afterwards he went out to meet the bondes, and hold a Thing with them. On that day there fell a heavy rain. When the Thing was seated, the king stood up and said that the people in Lesjar, Loaf, and Vagar had received Christianity, broken down their houses of sacrifice, and believed now in the true God who had made heaven and earth and knows all things.

Thereupon the king sat down, and Gudbrand replies, "We knownothing of him whom thou speakest about. Dost thou call him God, whom neither thou nor any one else can see? But we have a god who call be seen every day, although he is not out to-day, because the weather is wet, and he will appear to thee terribleand very grand; and I expect that fear will mix with your veryblood when he comes into the Thing. But since thou sayest thy God is so great, let him make it so that to-morrow we have acloudy day but without rain, and then let us meet again."

The king accordingly returned home to his lodging, taking Gudbrand's son as a hostage; but he gave them a man as hostage in exchange. In the evening the king asked Gudbrand's son what like their god was. He replied, that he bore the likeness of Thor; had a hammer in his hand; was of great size, but hollow within;and had a high stand, upon which he stood when he was out. "Neither gold nor silver are wanting about him, and every day he receives four cakes of bread, besides meat." They then went to bed, but the king watched all night in prayer. When day dawned the king went to mass, then to table, and from thence to the Thing. The weather was such as Gudbrand desired. Now the bishop stood up in his choir-robes, with bishop's coif upon his head, and bishop's staff in his hands. He spoke to the bondes of the true faith, told the many wonderful acts of God, and concluded his speech well.Thord Istermage replies, "Many things we are told of by this horned man with the staff in his hand crooked at the top like aram's horn; but since ye say, comrades, that your god is so powerful, and can do so many wonders, tell him to make it clear sunshine to-morrow forenoon, and then we shall meet here again, and do one of two things, -- either agree with you about this business, or fight you." And they separated for the day.


DALE-GUDBRAND IS BAPTIZED.

There was a man with King Olaf called Kolbein Sterke (thestrong), who came from a family in the Fjord district. Usually he was so equipped that he was girt with a sword, and besides carried a great stake, otherwise called a club, in his hands. The king told Kolbein to stand nearest to him in the morning; and gave orders to his people to go down in the night to where the ships of the bondes lay and bore holes in them, and to set loose their horses on the farms where they were; all which was done. Now the king was in prayer all the night, beseeching God of His goodness and mercy to release him from evil. When mass wasended, and morning was grey, the king went to the Thing. When hecame there some bondes had already arrived, and they saw a greatcrowd coming along, and bearing among them a huge man's image glancing with gold and silver. When the bondes who were at theThing saw it they started up, and bowed themselves down beforethe ugly idol. There upon it was set down upon the Thing-field; and on the one side of it sat the bondes, and on the other theking and his people.

Then Dale-Gudbrand stood up, and said, "Where now, king, is thy god? I think he will now carry his head lower; and neither thou, nor the man with the horn whom ye call bishop, and sits there beside thee, are so bold to-day as on the former days; for now our god, who rules over all, is come, and looks on you with anangry eye; and now I see well enough that ye are terrified, and scarcely dare to raise your eyes. Throw away now all your opposition, and believe in the god who has all your fate in hishands.

"The king now whispers to Kolbein Sterke, without the bondes perceiving it, "If it come so in the course of my speech that the bondes look another way than towards their idol, strike him ashard as thou canst with thy club."The king then stood up and spoke. "Much hast thou talked to us this morning, and greatly hast thou wondered that thou canst not see our God; but we expect that he will soon come to us. Thou wouldst frighten us with thy god, who is both blind and deaf, andcan neither save himself nor others, and cannot even move about without being carried; but now I expect it will be but a shorttime before he meets his fate: for turn your eyes towards the east, -- behold our God advancing in great light. "The sun was rising, and all turned to look. At that moment Kolbein gave their god a stroke, so that the idol burst asunder; and there ran out of it mice as big almost as cats, and reptiles, and adders. The bondes were so terrified that some fled to theirships; but when they sprang out upon them they filled with water, and could not get away. Others ran to their horses, but couldnot find them. The king then ordered the bondes to be called together, saying he wanted to speak with them; on which the bondes came back, and the Thing was again seated.

The king rose up and said, "I do not understand what your noise and running mean. Ye see yourselves what your god can do, -- the idol ye adorned with gold and silver, and brought meat and provisions to. Ye see now that the protecting powers who used it were the mice and adders, reptiles and paddocks; and they do ill who trust to such, and will not abandon this folly. Take now your gold and ornaments that are lying strewed about on the grass, and give them to your wives and daughters; but never hang them hereafter upon stock or stone. Here are now two conditions between us to choose upon, -- either accept Christianity, or ight this very day; and the victory be to them to whom the God we worship gives it. "Then Dale-Gudbrand stood up and said, "We have sustained greatd amage upon our god; but since he will not help us, we will believe in the God thou believest in. "Then all received Christianity. The bishop baptized Gudbrand and his son. King Olaf and Bishop Sigurd left behind them teachers, and they who met as enemies parted as friends; and Gudbrand built a church in the valley.