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Northland Heroes

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In Hilding's Garden

So they grew up in joy and glee,And Frithiof was the young oak tree;Unfolding in the vale serenelyThe rose was Ingeborg the queenly.

In the garden of Hilding, the teacher, were two young children. Ingeborg was a princess, the daughter of a King of Norway. The boy, Frithiof, was a viking's son. Their fathers, King Bele and Thorsten, were good friends, and the children were brought up together in the home of Hilding, their foster-father and teacher.

Hilding was very fond of them both. He called the boy Frithiof an oak, for he was straight and strong. The little Ingeborg he called his rose, she was so rosy and sweet.

All day roaming over field and grove the strong lad cared for the little maid. If they came to a swift-flowing brook he would carry her over. When the first spring flowers showed their pretty heads Frithiof gathered them for Ingeborg. For her he found the red berries and the golden-cheeked apples.

In the evening they sat at the feet of their kind teacher and together they learned to read. Often they danced on the sward at twilight, when they looked like golden-haired elves in a fairy dance.

When Frithiof had grown into a sturdy youth he often hunted in the forests. He was so strong that he needed neither spear nor lance. When he met the wild bear they struggled breast to breast. Both bear and youth fought bravely, but at last Frithiof won. Home he went gaily, carrying the great bear-skin, which he gave to Ingeborg. She praised his bravery and strength, for every woman loves courage.

While Frithiof roamed the forest for game, Ingeborg, at the loom, wove beautiful tapestries. Pictures of sea and grove, blue waters and waving trees, grew under her deft fingers. Then she wove warriors on horseback, with their shining shields and their bright red lances. Soon the face of the leader was seen; 'twas the face of her brave playmate, Frithiof.

In the long winter evenings around the fire, Ingeborg heard the story of the gods. The light shining upon her fair face made her lovely as one of the goddesses. Frithiof thought her hair as golden as Freya's treasure.

When darkness held the quiet earthThey gathered round the welcome hearth,And Hilding told them stories oldOf gods and kings and heroes bold.

So Frithiof and the lovely Ingeborg grew to love each other. But when Hilding saw that the viking's son dared to love the daughter of a king, he said: "Frithiof, my dear foster-son, in vain are your hopes. Ingeborg is a king's daughter. Your reason should tell you that you cannot marry her. Proud is King Bele of his family descended from the great god Odin. He will have his daughter marry a prince, not a yeoman. Well do I love you; brave and handsome are you and strong as any prince, but you must forget your love for Ingeborg."

Then the brave youth smiled and said: "I am free-born, and never will I yield. I killed the forest chief, and honour is mine for the deed. All power is noble—Thor who hurls the thunderbolts is noble, although Odin is king of the gods....