Frithiof and Ingeborg (Nordic Mythology)

Frithiof was a Norwegian hero, son of a great adventurer Thorsten and grandson of Viking, the largest and strongest man of his time, who sailed in a dragon ship and had a lot of adventures. When his father and grandfather were away, Hilding looked after Frithiof and three other children – Halfdan and Helgé, who were King Bélé’s sons, and their sister Ingeborg. Frithiof and Ingeborg became true friends. Hilding saw that they liked each other and he called Frithiof to speak with him.

”I know what you think, my boy. But don’t forget that you are just an ordinary boy. You can never hope to become Ingeborg’s husband. She is the king’s daughter.”

But the warning came too late. Frithiof already loved Ingeborg and wanted to marry her at any cost.

Soon after this the king died and left the kingdom to his two sons. Ingeborg went to live with her brothers and Frithiof returned to his home at Framnas near the mountains and the sea. He was a very wealthy man and owned a lot of land.

In the spring he had a great party. Halfdan, Helgé and Ingeborg also came to the party. There at the party they learned that they loved each other. So Frithiof decided to ask for her hand.

”You?”, said Ingeborg’s brother Helgé. ”You are just an ordinary man. Ingeborg is not for you. She will marry a man of royal blood.”

Frithiof was very angry and attacked Helgé with his sword. But he didn’t want to kill him. Only cut his shield in two to show his strength.

Soon another man appeared to ask for Ingeborg’s hand – the old King Ring of Norway. But he was also refused. Ring became very angry. He collected an army and prepared to make war on Helgé and Halfdan. The two brothers needed help. They sent a messenger to Frithiof and asked him for help. The hero was still angry, so he refused. But he went to Ingeborg.

She said: ”Please, help us, Frithiof. I refused to marry King Ring because I love you. And if you love me, you must help my brothers.”

So Frithiof went to her brothers and said: ”I will help you fight your enemy. But for my help I want to marry Ingeborg.”
But the brothers were stubborn and refused again. They wanted to punish him, so they sent him to the Orkney Islands to collect taxes from the king Angantyr. Frithiof departed in his best ship.

Then Ingeborg’s brothers sent for two witches and told them to make storm in the see. They wanted to kill Frithiof. But Frithiof’s ship was very good and he was very brave. He encouraged his sailors. Then suddenly he saw the two witches on a big whale in the sea. He moved his ship directly towards them, ran them over and the two witches died in the sea. Immediately after this, the sea was calm again and the sun appeared in the sky.

When they safely arrived at the Orkney Islands, king Angantyr told him:
”I am glad to see such a great sailor on my island. Please accept some of my treasures, but I don’t owe anything to Halfdan and Helgé.”

So Frithiof sailed back. He wanted to marry Ingeborg, no matter what. But he was very sad when he heard that Ingeborg was already married to King Ring. He ordered his men to destroy all the ships in the harbour and went to see Helgé. He met him in a temple with his wife. He saw an engagement ring on her finger.

”Why do you have the ring that I once gave Ingeborg?” he asked.

”Ingeborg is married to another man,” said Helgé with a wicked smile. ”She doesn’t belong to you.”

Frithiof was angry and wanted to take the ring. Helgé started to fight to protect his wife. In the fight Frithiof knocked over a lamp. The temple started to burn. Frithiof ran to his ship and left the land.

For many years Frithiof lived the life of a pirate. He attacked ships and stole money from them. But he always thought about Ingeborg. Once he decided to go to King Ring to see if Ingeborg is really happy.

When he arrived to King Ring’s kingdom, he dressed like a beggar and went to the royal palace. But when one officer insulted him, he became angry. He punched the officer so hard, that he fell on the ground unconscious.

King Ring told him to take the ragged clothes. He was very surprised to see a strong warrior. Immediately, Ingeborg knew who he was.

”Who are you and why are you here?” asked King Ring.

”I am Thiolf,a thief. I came here to start a better life.”

King Ring started to like this young man. After some time he liked him so much that he became his companion.

One day they rode away on a hunting trip. The king became tired, so he stopped to get some sleep. When he woke up, he told Frithiof:
”I know who you are. You are Frithiof. I knew it from the first time I saw you. I like your courage and I appreciate your loyalty. I am too old. When I die, I would like you to marry Ingeborg.”

And so he did. After the marriage, people wanted Frithiof to be their king. But Frithiof took King Ring’s little son and showed him to the people:
”This is your king. And I will stand beside him until he is old enough to rule.”

So Frithiof finally married his beloved Ingeborg. After some time they returned to their homeland and built a new temple. They lived happily for many years.


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