En 19d Idolatry and Superstition

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    19d. Idolatry and Superstition

    [205] As soon as Askar learned from Reintia’s messengers how the Jutters were inclined, he promptly sent messengers on his behalf to the king of Hals. The ship of the messengers was laden with maidens’ jewelry, and there was a golden shield on which an image of Askar was depicted. These messengers were instructed to ask on behalf of Askar for the king’s daughter, Frethogunsta, as his wife.

    Frethogunsta came to Staveren one year later. Among her followers was a Magy, for the Jutters had long been corrupted.

    Shortly after the marriage of Askar and Frethogunsta, a temple was built at Staveren, in which abhorrent idols were placed, with gold embroidered clothing. There were also rumors that, at night and at ungodly times, Askar would bow down to them with Frethogunsta. But so much is certain: The burg Stavia was never rebuilt!

    Reintia had already returned and went angrily to Prontlik, the mother at Texland, to report what was happening. Prontlik responded by sending messengers to all corners of the land, declaring that Askar was given over to idolatry. Askar feigned indifference, but, without warning, a [206] fleet came in from Hals. In the night, the maidens were driven out of the burg and, by morning, only a smoldering heap remained. Prontlik and Reintia came to me for shelter. When later I weighed the matter in my mind, it seemed to me that this could bode ill for my country. Therefore, we forged a plot together which might benefit us all. This is what we did:

    In the middle of the thicket wood to the east of Liudwerd is our refuge;[1] our bastion, which can only be reached by a maze-like path. In this stronghold, I had long ago placed young guards, all of whom had a potent dislike for Askar and kept all other folk at a distance. Now, among our people, it had also come to be that many women — and even men — whispered about ghosts, elves, and gnomes, like the Danes. Askar had used all of this foolishness to his advantage. And now we, too, intended to do the same — to our advantage. On a dark night, I brought the burgmaids to the bastion, whereupon they went about with their maidens to haunt the maze of paths dressed in white cloth, so that thereafter none dared come there again.

    When Askar thought that he had all in his grip, he allowed the Magyars — under various names — to travel throughout [207] his states. And, except in Greanega and my state, they were nowhere gainsaid.

    Once Askar had thus become allied with the Jutters and the other Danes, they went out together plundering. But they reaped only bitter fruits. They brought home various treasures from foreign lands, yet for precisely this reason the young folk lost their ambition to learn a craft or work in the fields, so that in the end they had to use slaves. But this was all very much against Wralda’s will and against Frya’s advice. Thus, punishment was inevitable.


    1. 'thicket wood' (KRÍLWALD) — if this refers to the Creil Woods, Liudwerd may have been where (the current shoal in the Wadden Sea) Lutjeswaard is; compare: ch.11c [087/06] and ch. 13d [096/31].

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.247 cont.] As soon as Askar heard from Reintja's messengers how the Jutlanders were disposed, he immediately, on his side, sent messengers to the King of Hals. The ship in which the messengers went was laden with women's ornaments, and took also a golden shield on which Askar's portrait was artistically represented. These messengers were to ask the King's daughter, Frethogunsta, in marriage for Askar. Frethogunsta came a year after that to Staveren. Among her followers was a Magy, for the Jutlanders had been long ago corrupted. Soon after Askar had married Frethogunsta, a church was built at Staveren. In the church were placed monstrous images, bedecked with gold-woven dresses. It is also said that Askar, by night, and at unseasonable times, kneeled to them with Frethogunsta; but one thing is certain, the citadel of Stavia was never rebuilt. Reintja was already come back, and went angrily to Prontlik the mother, at Texland, to complain. Prontlik sent out messengers in all directions, who proclaimed that Askar is gone over to Idolatry. Askar took no notice of this, but unexpectedly a fleet arrived from Hals. In the night the maidens were driven out of the citadel, and in the morning there was nothing to be seen of the citadel but a glowing heap of rubbish. Prontlik and Reintja came to me for shelter. When I reflected upon it, I thought that it might prove bad for my state. Therefore, we hit upon a plan which might serve us all. This is the way we went to work. In the middle of the Krijlwood, to the east of Liudwerd, lies our place of refuge, which can only be reached by a concealed path. A long time ago I had [p.249] established a garrison of young men who all hated Askar, and kept away all other people. Now it was come to such a pitch among us, that many women, and even men, talked about ghosts, white women, and gnomes, just like the Denmarkers. Askar had made use of all these follies for his own advantage, and we wished to do the same. One dark night I brought the Maagden to the citadel, and afterwards they went with their serving-maids dressed in white along the path, so that nobody dare go there any more. When Askar thought he had his hands free, he let the Magyars travel through his states under all kinds of names, and, except in my state, they were not turned away anywhere. After that Askar had become so connected with the Jutlanders and the Denmarkers, they all went roving together; but it produced no real good to them. They brought all sorts of foreign treasures home, and just for that reason the young men would learn no trades, nor work in the fields; so at last he was obliged to take slaves; but that was altogether contrary to Wr-alda's wish and to Frya's counsel. Therefore the punishment was sure to follow it.

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