Search the Northvegr™ Site

Powered by
Visit WordGumbo.
  Home | Site Index | Heithinn Idea Contest |
The Saga of Half and His Heroes

16. Of Rook the Black

Rook the black stayed with King Haki. The king's daughter was called Brynhild. A king called Svein the Victorious asked for Brynhild's hand in marriage, but Haki refused. Svein swore he'd kill the man who got her, and her father too. King Haki had a jarl called Hedin, and Weevil was his son. He asked for Brynhild's hand, and this was promised him, if he would defend the land from Svein.

Rook the Black was unknown there, and no one thought anything of him. He sat in the guest's seat. One day, the men of the court went deer hunting, and the women went gathering nuts. Brynhild saw a big man standing alone by an oak tree. She heard him say:

“Now Hamund's son
will say something
of the brothers Rook,
their birth and line.
More doughty I deem
my dad to have been,
a keen falcon
compared to your father.

No one would want
to be like Weevil,
not even the herdsmen
of Hamund's flock.
I didn't find
any swine-herd with feebler
heart than Hedin's
gutless son has.

My station was higher
when we stood by Half,
warred with the wise king
the world over,
with single mind
we marched as one,
always fighting
far and wide.

Hawkish the heart
we had, each man of us,
wherever the chief chose
to chance his luck.
Great lands were they:
with grey helmets
through nine countries
we cut a swathe.

Half I saw hew
two-handed there,
no shield sheltered
our chief that day.
A worthier warrior
you wouldn't find,
though hard you hunt,
or stouter-hearted.

Some men who know
no better than this,
they think our king
had a fool's courage.
But they never knew
that noble ruler,
Half, Haloga-king,12
if that's all they've heard.

His boys were forbidden
to blanch at death
or to utter but one
word out of worry.
None were allowed
to enlist with that lord
unless his destiny
they dared to share.

None were allowed
to let out a groan
at cuts incurred
in the clash of war,
or bind a sore,
bandage up wounds,
until an entire
day's time was done.

He commanded that no man
in manacles be harmed,
nor any woman
by his warriors attacked.
Honourably he ordered
should all girls be bought,
with fairest gold
and fathers' leave.13

We never met
so many enemies
in all our time
that we turned and fled,
even when eleven
eager hostile
warriors awaited
each one of us.

The upper hand
we had always
where shields crashed
in combat together.
One prince alone
was the peer of my lord,
hard-knit Sigurd
in the halls of Gjuki.

Many I could mention
who marched with us,
who battled for the boss,
brave men and good:
Bork and Brynjolf,
Bolverk and Haki,
Egil and Erling,
Aslak's sons.

The finest of friends
I found these to be:
Rook, my brother,
and bold King Half,
Styr and Steinar,
strong men both,
Lady Gunnlod's
gallant boys.

Hring and Halfdan
hawks the both of them,
Dag the Dashing,
no doubting their judgement.
Stari and Steingrim,
Styr and Gauti--
you'll hear nowhere
of more handsome lads.

Hawk and Falcon,
on harrying raids,
fine fellows marched,
at their master's side.
Those king's fighters would find
few fit for much
here in Haki's
humble land.

Nor was I deemed
a nobody there,
a wretch in the ranks
of the royal troop.
Keenest of comrades
they called me indeed,
for each one sought
to gain honour
and glory for all the others.

In the vanguard Vemund
advanced with the standard
(Bjorn and Bersi
bore all before them),
dared fight in front
of a fine leader,
who formed up his legions
while life lasted.


12. King of Halogaland, a coastal region of northwest Norway, but poetically standing for Norway in general.
13. See “dowry” in Glossary.

© 2004-2007 Northvegr.
Most of the material on this site is in the public domain. However, many people have worked very hard to bring these texts to you so if you do use the work, we would appreciate it if you could give credit to both the Northvegr site and to the individuals who worked to bring you these texts. A small number of texts are copyrighted and cannot be used without the author's permission. Any text that is copyrighted will have a clear notation of such on the main index page for that text. Inquiries can be sent to Northvegr™ and the Northvegr symbol are trademarks and service marks of the Northvegr Foundation.

> Northvegr™ Foundation
>> About Northvegr Foundation
>> What's New
>> Contact Info
>> Link to Us
>> E-mail Updates
>> Links
>> Mailing Lists
>> Statement of Purpose
>> Socio-Political Stance
>> Donate

> The Vík - Online Store
>> More Norse Merchandise

> Advertise With Us

> Heithni
>> Books & Articles
>> Trúlög
>> Sögumál
>> Heithinn Date Calculator
>> Recommended Reading
>> The 30 Northern Virtues

> Recommended Heithinn Faith Organizations

>> Transcribe Texts
>> Translate Texts
>> HTML Coding
>> PDF Construction

> N. European Studies
>> Texts
>> Texts in PDF Format
>> NESP Reviews
>> Germanic Sources
>> Roman Scandinavia
>> Maps

> Language Resources
>> Zoëga Old Icelandic Dict.
>> Cleasby-Vigfusson Dictionary
>> Sweet's Old Icelandic Primer
>> Old Icelandic Grammar
>> Holy Language Lexicon
>> Old English Lexicon
>> Gothic Grammar Project
>> Old English Project
>> Language Resources

> Northern Family
>> Northern Fairy Tales
>> Norse-ery Rhymes
>> Children's Books/Links
>> Tafl
>> Northern Recipes
>> Kubb

> Other Sections
>> The Holy Fylfot
>> Tradition Roots

Search Now:

Host Your Domain on Dreamhost!

Please Visit Our Sponsors

Web site design and coding by Golden Boar Creations