Follow two literary selections to honor Raud's Day. The first is Longfellow's version of the events recorded in the Heimskringla. The second is a translation of that record in which the defiant Heathen, Raud the Strong, is martyred for his gods.
RAUD THE STRONG
"All the old gods are dead,
All the wild warlocks fled;
But the White Christ lives and reigns,
And throughout my wide domains
His Gospel shall be spread!"
On the Evangelists
Thus swore King Olaf.
But still in dreams of the night
Beheld he the crimson light,
And heard the voice that defied
Him who was crucified,
And challenged him to the fight.
To Sigurd the Bishop
King Olaf confessed it.
And Sigurd the Bishop said,
"The old gods are not dead,
For the great Thor still reigns,
And among the Jarls and Thanes
The old witchcraft still is spread."
Thus to King Olaf
Said Sigurd the Bishop.
"Far north in the Salten Fiord,
By rapine, fire, and sword,
Lives the Viking, Raud the Strong;
All the Godoe Isles belong
To him and his heathen horde."
Thus went on speaking
Sigurd the Bishop.
"A warlock, a wizard is he,
And lord of the wind and the sea;
And whichever way he sails,
He has ever favoring gales,
By his craft in sorcery."
Here the sign of the cross
Made devoutly King Olaf.
"With rites that we both abhor,
He worships Odin and Thor;
So it cannot yet be said,
That all the old gods are dead,
And the warlocks are no more,"
Flushing with anger
Said Sigurd the Bishop.
Then King Olaf cried aloud:
"I will talk with this mighty Raud,
And along the Salten Fiord
Preach the Gospel with my sword,
Or be brought back in my shroud!"
So northward from Drontheim
Sailed King Olaf!
BISHOP SIGURD AT SALTEN FIORD
Loud the angry wind was wailing
As King Olaf's ships came sailing
Northward out of Drontheim haven
To the mouth of Salten Fiord.
Though the flying sea-spray drenches
Fore and aft the rowers' benches,
Not a single heart is craven
Of the champions there on board.
All without the Fiord was quiet,
But within it storm and riot,
Such as on his Viking cruises
Raud the Strong was wont to ride.
And the sea through all its tide-ways
Swept the reeling vessels sideways,
As the leaves are swept through sluices,
When the flood-gates open wide."
'T is the warlock! 't is the demonRaud!"
cried Sigurd to the seamen;
"But the Lord is not affrigted
By the witchcraft of his foes.
"To the ship's bow he ascended,
By his choristers attended,
Round him were the tapers lighted,
And the sacred incense rose.
On the bow stood Bishop Sigurd,
In his robes, as one transfigured,
And the Crucifix he planted
High amid the rain and mist.
Then with holy water sprinkled
All the ship; the mass-bells tinkled;
Loud the monks around him chanted,
Loud he read the Evangelist.
As into the Fiord they darted,
On each side the water parted;
Down a path like silver molten
Steadily rowed King Olaf's ships;
Steadily burned all night the tapers,
And the White Christ through the vapors
Gleamed across the Fiord of Salten,
As through John's Apocalyspe,
---Till at last they reached Raud's dwelling
On the little isle of Gelling;
Not a guard was at the doorway,
Not a glimmer of light was seen.
But at anchor, carved and gilded,
Lay the dragon-ship he builded;
'T was the grandest ship in Norway,
With its crest and scales of green.
Up the stairway, softly creeping,
To the loft where Raud was sleeping,
With their fists they burst asunder
Bolt and bar that held the door.
Drunken with sleep and ale they found him,
Dragged him from his bed and bound him,
While he stared with stupid wonder,
At the look and garb they wore.
Then King Olaf said: "O Sea-King!
Little time have we for speaking,
Choose between the good and evil;
Be baptized, or thou shalt die!
But in scorn the heathen scoffer
Answered: "I disdain thine offer;
Neither fear I God nor Devil;
Thee and thy Gospel I defy!"
Then between his jaws distended,
When his frantic struggles ended,
Through King Olaf's horn an adder,
Touched by fire, they forced to glide.
Sharp his tooth was as an arrow,
As he gnawed through bone and marrow;
But without a groan or shudder,
Raud the Strong blaspheming died.
Then baptized they all that region,
Swarthy Lap and fair Norwegian,
Far as swims the salmon, leaping,
Up the streams of Salten Fiord.
In their temples Thor and Odin
Lay in dust and ashes trodden,
As King Olaf, onward sweeping,
Preached the Gospel with his sword.
Then he took the carved and gilded
Dragon-ship that Raud had builded,
And the tiller single-handed,
Grasping, steered into the main.
Southward sailed the sea-gull's o'er him,
Southward sailed the ship that bore him,
Till at Drontheim haven landed
Olaf and his crew again.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(from the Saga of King Olaf)
The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway
BySnorri Sturluson(c. 1179 - 1241)
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #15b
Originally written in Old Norse, app. 1225 A.D., by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson. English translation by Samuel Laing (London, 1844).
87. OF RAUD'S BEING TORTURED.
Bishop Sigurd took all his mass robes and went forward to the bow
of the king's ship; ordered tapers to be lighted, and incense to
be brought out. Then he set the crucifix upon the stem of the
vessel, read the Evangelist and many prayers, besprinkled the
whole ship with holy water, and then ordered the ship-tent to be
stowed away, and to row into the fjord. The king ordered all the
other ships to follow him. Now when all was ready on board the
Crane to row, she went into the fjord without the rowers finding
any wind; and the sea was curled about their keel track like as
in a calm, so quiet and still was the water; yet on each side of
them the waves were lashing up so high that they hid the sight of
the mountains. And so the one ship followed the other in the
smooth sea track; and they proceeded this way the whole day and
night, until they reached Godey. Now when they came to Raud's
house his great ship, the dragon, was afloat close to the land.
King Olaf went up to the house immediately with his people; made
an attack on the loft in which Raud was sleeping, and broke it
open. The men rushed in: Raud was taken and bound, and of the
people with him some were killed and some made prisoners. Then
the king's men went to a lodging in which Raud's house servants
slept, and killed some, bound others, and beat others. Then the
king ordered Raud to be brought before him, and offered him
baptism. "And," says the king, "I will not take thy property
from thee, but rather be thy friend, if thou wilt make thyself
worthy to be so." Raud exclaimed with all his might against the
proposal, saying he would never believe in Christ, and making his
scoff of God. Then the king was wroth, and said Raud should die
the worst of deaths. And the king ordered him to be bound to a
beam of wood, with his face uppermost, and a round pin of wood
set between his teeth to force his mouth open. Then the king
ordered an adder to be stuck into the mouth of him; but the
serpent would not go into his mouth, but shrunk back when Raud
breathed against it. Now the king ordered a hollow branch of an
angelica root to be stuck into Raud's mouth; others say the king
put his horn into his mouth, and forced the serpent to go in by
holding a red-hot iron before the opening. So the serpent crept
into the mouth of Raud and down his throat, and gnawed its way
out of his side; and thus Raud perished. King Olaf took here
much gold and silver, and other property of weapons, and many
sorts of precious effects; and all the men who were with Raud he
either had baptized, or if they refused had them killed or
tortured. Then the king took the dragonship which Raud had
owned, and steered it himself; for it was a much larger and
handsomer vessel than the Crane. In front it had a dragon's
head, and aft a crook, which turned up, and ended with the figure
of the dragon's tail. The carved work on each side of the stem
and stern was gilded. This ship the king called the Serpent.
When the sails were hoisted they represented, as it were, the
dragon's wings; and the ship was the handsomest in all Norway.
The islands on which Raud dwelt were called Gylling and Haering;
but the whole islands together were called Godey Isles, and the
current between the isles and the mainland the Godey Stream.
King Olaf baptized the whole people of the fjord, and then sailed
southwards along the land; and on this voyage happened much and
various things, which are set down in tales and sagas, -- namely,
how witches and evil spirits tormented his men, and sometimes
himself; but we will rather write about what occurred when King
Olaf made Norway Christian, or in the other countries in which he
advanced Christianity. ...