Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar

Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar is a Scandinavian legendary saga which was put to text in Iceland in the 13th century. It has a prequel in "Gautreks saga".

Gautrekr was a Geatish king who descended from Odin himself. He lost his wife Alfhild and went somewhat out of his mind, ignored all matters of state, and spent all his time on Alfhild's burial mound, flying his hawk.

He had two sons Ketill and Hrólfr Gautreksson, and Ketill became a great Viking who inherited his father's kingdom.

In Uppsala ruled Erik, the king of Sweden, who had only had one daughter, Þornbjörg. She was a shieldmaiden who would rather spend her days fighting and doing male sports instead of female activities. Due to this behaviour she was called "Þórbergr konungr", king Thorberg. Her father gave her the royal estate of Ulleråker, where she kept a retinue of housecarls who helped her chase away undesirable suitors.

Ketill suggested that Hrólfr make a try to woo the princess and after much hesitation, Hrólfr agreed. His brother said that "it would be the most noble marriage in the Northlands to have the daughter of the king at Uppsala for wife" and "many have little courage in a big body and it is a shame that you who are a man durst not speak to womenfolk".

Hrólfr summoned his courage and went to Ulleråker with his fosterbrother Ingjald of Denmark and sixty well-armed warriors, in order to woo the warrior princess of Sweden.

Þornbjörg was sitting on the throne full dressed in armour and proud. When Hrólfr proposed, she rushed up, grabbed her weapons and ordered her men to "fetch and bind the fool who offended king Þórbergr". Hrólfr put on his helmet and asked his housecarls to leave and then he manfully slew no less than twelve of Þórbergr's champions before he had to flee the overwhelming foe. Everybody in his company returned to Geatland alive.

After a Viking campaign in the West to both Scotland and Brittany, Hrólfr steered his fleet of six ships and a selected crew northwards and did not stop until he reached Uppsala. When the new peace agreement between Hrólfr and king Erik had been established, Hrólf went to Ulleråker to propose once more to the princess.

Þórbergr screamed that he'd become a shepherd in Geatland before he had any power over her. After a hard fight Þórbergr was captured and not long afterwards she married Hrólfr.

After some time Hrólfr succeeded his brother Ketill as the king of the Geats, but nobody wrote down that story.

Swedish tradition

According to a Swedish tradition, he is buried in Bälinge near Alingsås on "Rolfsborg" on "Rolf's hill". [http://www.school.alingsas.se/nolby/arkeolog/arkeolog.htm] .

External links

* [http://www.heimskringla.no/original/fornaldersagaene/hrolfssaga.php Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar in Old Norse from heimskringla.no]
* [http://www.snerpa.is/net/forn/hr-gaut.htm The original text in Old Norse]
* [http://runeberg.org/braundik/3/0054.html A more recent Swedish poem on Hrólf and Torborg by Wilhelm von Braun]


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