Fridthjof's Saga, by Esaias Tegnér

XVIII.

The Ride on the Ice.

King Ring to a banquet his queen would take,

The ice like a mirror o’erspread the lake.

“Go not on the ice,” said the stranger bold,

“It may break, and the bath is too deep and cold.”

“The king,” answered Ring, “is not easily drowned,

Whoever is fearful let him go round.”

The stranger was angered and sullen frowned, —

Then quickly his skates to his feet he bound.

The sledge-horse sets out, he is strong and free, —

His nostrils are flaming, so glad is he.

“Strike out,” cried the monarch, “my charger good,

And show if you are of the Sleipner blood.”

As swift as a storm on the sea his speed;

The prayers of the queen does the king not heed.

The stranger in mail on his skates is not still,

But passes them swiftly whenever he will.

He writes many runes on the ice besides, —

And over her name lovely Ingeborg rides.

They swiftly speed onward, the lake to span,

But under them lurketh the treacherous Ran.

Her silvery roof in a trice she breaks,

And catches the sled in the hole she makes.

The cheeks of the beautiful queen turn pale;

Then comes like a whirlwind the skater in mail.

He buries his skate in the ice, to clasp

The steed’s flowing mane in his iron grasp.

With one single effort his arm the swings,

And charger and sled to the firm ice brings.

“That stroke,” said Ring, “was a noble one, —

Not Fridthjof, the strong, could have better done.”

So they all returned to the house of the king, —

The stranger remaining until the spring.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/t/tegner/esaias/fridthjof/canto18.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:12