604 THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
allow this, and she therefore determined that the Viking should never see the child except by daylight.
One morning the wings of storks were heard rushing over the roof; more than a hundred pairs of those birds had rested from their exercise during the previous night, and now they soared aloft, to travel southwards.
1 All males here, and ready,' they cried ; ' and the wives and children too.'
1 How light we feel! ' screamed the young Storks in chorus : ' it seems to be creeping all over us, down into our very toes, as if we were filled with living frogs. Ah, how charming it is, travelling to foreign lands !'
' Mind you keep close to us during your flight,' said papa and mamma. ' Don't use your beaks too much, for that tires the chest.'
And the Storks flew away.
At the same time the sound of the trumpets rolled across the heath, for the Viking had landed with his warriors ; they were returning home, richly laden with spoil, from the Gallic coast, where the people, as in the land of the Britons, sang in their terror :
' Deliver us from the wild Northmen !'
And life and tumultuous joy came with them into the Viking's castle on the moorland. The great mead-tub was brought into the hall, the pile of wood was set ablaze, horses were killed, and a great feast was to begin. The officiating priest sprinkled the slaves with the warm blood ; the fire crackled, the smoke rolled along beneath the roof, soot dropped from the beams, but they were accustomed to that. Guests were invited, and received handsome gifts : all feuds and all malice were forgotten. And the company drank deep, and threw the bones of the feast in each other's faces, and this was considered a sign of good humour. The bard, a kind of minstrel, who was also a warrior and had been on the expedition with the rest, sang them a song in which they heard all their warlike deeds praised, and everything remarkable was specially noticed. Every verse ended with the burden :
Goods and gold, friends and foes will die ; every man must one day die; But a famous name will never die J