The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

Pridleif seems to have lain in ambush, as it were, in this hollow channel, and to have attacked the creature from beneath, where its armour was less proof against assault; in this way he slew it, unearthed the money, and had it taken off in his ships.
The second story concerns another King, called Eagnar Lodbrog, which means Eagnar ' Shaggy-Breeches.' This is how he came to be known by his nickname, which was bestowed upon him by Herodd, King of the Swedes : Eagnar was in love with Thora, Herodd's daughter, who had received from her father two snakes to rear as pets. They had given to them daily a whole ox upon which to gorge themselves, so they ate and ate, and grew and grew, until at length they became a public nuisance, so huge were they, and so venomous withal that they poisoned the whole country-side with their breath. The Swedish King repented his unlucky gift, and proclaimed that whosoever should remove the pests should marry his daughter. Many tried and perished; but Eagnar was now to prove himself the hero. He asked his nurse for a woollen mantle, and for some thigh-guards that were very hairy ; he also put on a dress stuffed with hair, not too cumber­some, but one in which he could easily move about. He took a sword and spear, and, thus accoutred, fared forth to Sweden. When he arrived, he plunged into some water, clothes and all, and allowed the frost to fashion for him, as it were, a coat of mail, impervious to the venom of the snakes. Leaving his companions, he went on to the palace alone ; then the combat began. An enormous snake met him, and another, as big, crawled up to help its companion : they belaboured Eagnar with their tails, and spat venom at him from poisonous jaws. Meantime, the King and his courtiers ' betook themselves to safer hid ing, watching the struggle from afar, like affrighted little girls.' Eagnar, however, persevered, his frozen dress protecting him from the poison, and with his shield he repelled the attacks of the snakes' teeth ; at last, though
Previous Contents Next