Vol. 24 (2017) pp.90-106.

Title: A Normalized Edition and English Translation of the Miracles about St. Olaf in AM 325 IV α 4to (“The Seventh and Eighth Fragment”)

Author: Susanne M. Arthur
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Marked up by
Martin Holmes
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Helga Thorson University of Victoria
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Book Review Editor/Rédactrice des comptes rendus
Natalie M. Van Deusen University of Alberta
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Martin Holmes University of Victoria

Marked up to be included in the Scandinavian-Canadian Studies Journal
Source(s): Arthur, Susanne M. 2017. A Normalized Edition and English Translation of the Miracles about St. Olaf in AM 325 IV α 4to (‘The Seventh and Eighth Fragment’). Scandinavian-Canadian Studies Journal / Études scandinaves au Canada 24: 90-106.
Text classification:
  • St. Olaf
  • translation
  • MDH: entered editor's proofing corrections 21st August 2017.
  • MDH: Added French abstract 19th June 2017
  • MDH: entered author's proofing corrections; reconfigured build process to allow for non-numbered table rows; moved notes from English to original text 17th March 2017
  • MDH: started markup 1st March 2017

A Normalized Edition and English Translation of the Miracles about St. Olaf in AM 325 IV α 4to (“The Seventh and Eighth Fragment”)

Susanne M. Arthur

ABSTRACT: This article provides a brief introduction to as well as a normalized edition and an English translation of the miracles about St. Olaf preserved in AM 325 IV α 4to—sometimes referred to as the seventh and eighth fragment. The edition is based on that of Jonna Louis-Jensen (1970). The translation is to be understood as an addendum to the English translation of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson and six fragments from The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint (translated by Scholz and Schach and published by Arthur and Wolf).
RÉSUMÉ: Cet article fournit une brève introduction, ainsi qu’une édition normalisée et une traduction anglaise des miracles concernant St. Olaf conservés dans AM 325 IV α 4to, parfois appelés les septième et huitième fragments. Cette édition est basée sur celle de Jonna Louis-Jensen (1970). La traduction doit être comprise comme un addenda à la traduction anglaise de The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson (en français, « La saga légendaire du Roi Olaf Haraldsson ») et aux six fragments de la saga de The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint (en français, l’« Ancienne saga de Saint Olaf ») (traduits en anglais par Scholz et Schach et publiés par Arthur et Wolf).


In July 2013, Professor John Karl Scholz of the University of Wisconsin at Madison entrusted Professor Kirsten Wolf with an unpublished English translation of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson and six fragments from The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint, which his mother, Joyce Scholz, and Professor Paul Schach of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln had undertaken. Both passed away before their translation was submitted for publication. Kirsten Wolf and I reviewed and edited the translation, revised it where necessary, and published it in 2014 as part of the WITS II series of the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Scholz and Schach’s translation had no introduction, but it was easily detectable that it was based on the Old Norse-Icelandic text in the first volume of Konunga sögur edited by Guðni Jónsson (1957). The translators appear to have also consulted a newer edition published by Heinrichs et al. (1982). While Guðni Jónsson (420–26) included the text of two additional fragments—sometimes referred to as the seventh and eighth fragment of The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint—Scholz and Schach’s translation omitted the two fragments. The omission was presumably a result of Jonna Louis-Jensen’s (1970) analysis of the two fragments, preserved in the manuscript AM 325 IV α 4to, which revealed that they were not actually part of The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint, as previous research had suggested (see particularly Storm 9).
Even though the fragments in AM 325 IV α 4to have been wrongfully identified as belonging to The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint, they are certainly textually closely related to The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson and other texts preserving the life and miracles of St. Olaf. For this reason, the fragments could have been included in the publication of Scholz and Schach’s English translation. Kirsten Wolf and I, however, decided that the integrity of Scholz and Schach’s translation should be kept intact so that the publication represented their work and legacy with only minor revisions to ensure consistency. Nonetheless, providing an English translation of these two fragments as well as a normalized edition of Louis-Jensen’s diplomatic transcription of the text seemed a desirable addendum to allow scholars and students with no or limited knowledge of Old Norse-Icelandic to compare the surviving sources about St. Olaf.

About the Edition

Even though Guðni Jónsson (420–26) prints the text of AM 325 IV α 4to, basing his edition on Storm (12–16), Louis-Jensen (1970) read the fragments anew under ultraviolet light, revising previous readings and offering a more accurate transcription. The normalized edition as well as English translation of AM 325 IV α 4to are, therefore, based primarily on her readings and annotations.
As with the six fragments of The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint in Scholz and Schach’s translation, the edition and translation below indicate parallel text passages between AM 325 IV α 4to and The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson by adding in parentheses corresponding chapter numbers and chapter titles from Guðni Jónsson’s (1957) edition. Exact references to corresponding text passages in The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson (in Old Norse-Icelandic and English) as well as to other texts about St. Olaf (in Old Norse-Icelandic) are added in endnotes to each chapter. Following Louis-Jensen’s (34) practice, an equals sign (=) indicates that parallel texts stem from the same redaction as the text in AM 325 IV α 4to, whereas a not equal to sign (≠) denotes text passages preserving a different redaction of a miracle. Louis-Jensen (35) points out that all but one of the miracles in AM 325 IV α 4to are also preserved in an excerpt of Snorri’s separate Saga of Olaf the Saint, preserved in AM 235 fol., which has been published by Unger (II:159-82). The wording of the miracles in AM 235 fol. often differs significantly from the other versions. The miracle not included in AM 235 fol. corresponds with “(118. Jartegn við kryppling einn)” / “(118. The miracle of the cripple)” below. Louis-Jensen (35) also notes that the final miracle on fol. 2 of AM 325 IV α 4to, “(122. Jartegn við syndugan mann)” / “(122. The miracle of the sinful man),” is heavily abridged in AM 235 fol.
Since the present article is to be understood as an addendum to Scholz and Schach’s English translation of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson, which is based on Guðni Jónsson’s edition, the current normalized edition follows the spelling conventions utilized by Guðni Jónsson. Words such as ok, þat, and netit maintain, for example, final unvoiced stops in low-stressed syllables. Pre-epenthesis –r is preserved, such as in masculine, singular nouns and adjectives in the nominative (e.g. digr) or personal Names such as Óláfr. Both <æ> and <œ> are represented as <æ> in this edition. Similarily, <ö> is used for both <ǫ> and <ø>. The middle voice ending is rendered –st. In instances where Louis-Jensen’s readings of the text are identical with those of Storm and Guðni Jónsson, I follow Guðni Jónsson’s normalized text verbatim.
Conjectured letters or words in places where the fragments are illegible (indicated in Louis-Jensen’s edition by replacing letters with zeros) as well as words that are missing in the fragments but are needed to achieve a comprehensive text have been placed in square brackets in the edition and generally also in the translation below. Endnotes have been added to the edition as well as the translation to elaborate on these uncertain passages as well as to point out differences in readings between Louis-Jensen (1970) and Storm (1893), in cases where different readings lead to a change in meaning. As noted above, Guðni Jónsson’s (1957) readings coincide with Storm (1893), who offered a more diplomatic transcription and facsimile edition of the fragments. Louis-Jensen (32) mentions that a later user of the manuscript “opfrisket” [refreshed] the text—or attempted to—by writing over words that are difficult to read. She points out, however, that these “opfriskningerne” [refreshed readings], which she lists in notes within her transcription, are often erroneous. Since these “corrections” do not represent the original text, they have been omitted in this article.

About the Translation

In order to allow readers to directly compare Scholz and Schach’s English translation of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson with the translation of miracles in AM 325 IV α 4to, I used their translation for passages that are identical in Old Norse-Icelandic in both texts and decided to imitate Scholz and Schach’s translation style, even though their preferences may not always coincide with my personal preferences (such as the omission of historical present tense). Scholz and Schach’s translators’ choices have been outlined in the introduction to their translation as follows:
Joyce Scholz and Paul Schach’s goal was to present a coherent and readable English translation. They did not attempt to imitate Old Norse-Icelandic syntax and style. Very long sentences are in the translation sometimes broken up into shorter sentences, and the order of clauses is occasionally reversed for clarity or emphasis. The translators also sometimes changed the beginnings or endings of direct speech, where Guðni Jónsson’s choice with regard to the placement of quotation marks seems questionable. The historical present tense has generally not been retained in the translation, and personal names now and then replace pronouns. Personal names have been Anglicized, and the Old Norse-Icelandic characters ð, þ, and æ have been replaced with d, th, and ae. Bynames have been translated, unless their meaning is unclear. Unidentified place names have been treated similarly to personal names, but Scandinavian letters, such as æ, ø, and å, have been retained. Some place names have been translated. In the case of known place names, the Scandinavian term or a known English version has been used. (Arthur and Wolf v)

A Note on Style

The two fragments differ quite significantly in style, which consequently is also notable in the English translation. Analyzing these differences in style is not the aim of this article, but it can briefly be noted that the style of the seventh fragment is somewhat paratactic, with shorter sentences strung together. The style of the eighth fragment, conversely, is more flourished and hypotacic. The text of this fragment has, as Storm (14) points out, “Karakter af Prædiken” [the characteristics of a sermon], even addressing an intended audience as “minir godo vinir” [my good friends].

AM 325 IV α 4to, fol. 1; “The Seventh Fragment”

(100. Kom upp helgi Óláfs konungs)
(100. King Olaf’s holiness is revealed)
– – hlaupa í netit.”
– – leap into the net.”
Hann svaraði: “Ei er digr minn háls, en ef margir hlaupa slíkir í netit, þá vættir mik, at rifni möskvarnir þínir.” Þetta fór eigi fram sem hon beiddi.
He answered, “My neck is not very thick, but if many such men leap into the net, then I expect that your meshes will rip.” This did not happen as she had requested.
(101. Tekinn upp helgr dómr Óláfs konungs)
(101. The translation of the holy relics of King Olaf)
Síðan var Óláfr í skrín lagiðr með mikilli dýrð ok fagrligum jarteinum. Þar fengu blindir menn sýn [en] líkþ[ráir] menn heilsu.
Afterward King Olaf was laid in a shrine with great ceremony and magnificent miracles. The blind men took sight, [and the lepers] were healed.
(104. Frá Guthormi hertoga)
(104. Of Duke Gudthorm)
Sá atburðr gerðist í Öngulseyjarsundi [at Guthormr], Gunnhildar sonr, systursonr Óláfs, hét á hann til fulltings, at hann mætti halda fé sínu ok fjörvi, er hann barðist við Margað jarl. Hann hafði sextán skip, en Guthormr fimm, ok fekk Guth[ormr] sigr af ör[leik] ok heilagleik Óláfs. Síðan lét hann gera róðuna miklu.
It happened in the Anglesey Sound that [Gudthorm], the son of Gunnhild, nephew of Olaf, called upon him for assistance that he might keep his booty and his life when he fought against Earl Margad. He had sixteen ships, but Gudthorm only five. But Gudthorm gained victory because of Olaf’s [generosity] and holiness. Then he had a large crucifix built.
(105. Jartegn í Miklagarði)
(105. The miracle in Constantinople)
Þau stórmerki gerðust út í Miklagarði, at Bolgar gerðust til Miklagarðs at herja. Garðskonungr bauð liði út í móti ok fundust á Pekinavöllum ok váru þeir sextíu of einn. Grikkja lið reið fyrst fram, ok fengu ósigr. Þá riðu Frakkir fram ok fengu eigi síðr.
These miracles happened abroad in Constantinople that Bulgars came to Constantinople to harry. The Greek emperor ordered his troops against them, and they met at the Pekina fields. They were sixty to one. The Greek troops rode forth first and were defeated. Then the Franks rode forth and achieved no more.
Þá hermdist konungr mjök við ok lagði reiði á þá. Þeir svöruðu: “Tak nú til vínbelgja, væringja þinna.”
This enraged the emperor greatly, and he became angry with them. They answered, “Get your wine guzzlers ready, your Varangians.”
“Eigi þori ek at leiða svá góða menn í svá mikinn háska.”
“I do not dare to lead such good men into such great danger.”
Þórir helsingr, er þ[ar] var formælandi væringja, svaraði: “Þ[ótt] væri eldr brennandi, þá myndim vér í ráðast, ef þú værir í friði.”
Thorir Helsingr, who was the spokesman of the Varangians there, replied, “We would attack [even if] a fire was burning, if it meant peace for you.”
“Heit,” sagði konungr, “á Óláf, konung yðarn, til fulltings.”
“Call,” said the emperor, “upon Olaf, your king, for assistance.”
Þeir heita því. Þá fylktu væringjar liði ok ri[ð]u á mót heiðingjum.
They did that. Then the Varangians assembled their troops and rode against the heathens.
Konungrinn heiðni mælti: “Hve mikit lið hafa þeir?” [Þei]r sögðu hönd fulla manna.
The heathen king said, “How big is their army?” They said a handful of men.
“Hverr [er] sá,” sagði hann, “inn ítarligi ok inn göfugligi, er ríðr fyrir liði þeira hvítum hesti?”
“Who [is],” said he, “the glorious and magnificent one who rides in front of their troops on a white horse?”
En þeir létust engan sjá. Þá varð ótti í liði þeira ok hræðsla, ok lögðu þeir á flótta, en væringjar eftir ok með þeim Grikkir ok Frakkir ok drápu af þeim þats þeir vildu, en væringjar höfðu konung blindan ok tók hann skírn ok sagði þeim vitruna. Síðan var Óláfi þar kirkja ger.
They declared that they did not see anyone. Then dread and fear spread among them, and they fled. But the Varangians, Greeks, and Franks went after them and killed as many of them as they wanted. The Varangians had a blind king, and he was baptized and told them the vision. Then a church was built there for Olaf.
(119. Jartegnir við tunguskorna menn)
(119. The miracles of the tongue-excised men)
Þóra Guthormsdóttir, móðir Sigurðar konungs, lét [s]kera tungu ór höfði manni, er Kolbeinn hét, of eigi meiri sakar en hann hafði tekit af krásadiski hennar. Hann fór til Óláfs ok sofnaði of óttus[ö]ng. Síðari Óláfsmessu sá konung ok tók í tungustúfinn ok togaði, ok var heill, er hann vaknaði.
Thora Gudthormsdottir, the mother of King Sigurd, had the tongue cut out of the head of a man named Kolbein for no other reason than that he had taken something from her plate of delicacies. He went to Olaf and fell asleep during matins. On the later Saint Olaf’s Mass Day he saw the king, who grasped the stump of the tongue and tugged. As soon as he awoke, he was healed.
Vindr tóku mann, er Halldórr hét, á þeim degi, er Nikulás kardináli kom í Noreg, hálfum mánuði fyrir Óláfsmessu fyrri, vildu fyrst hengja hann, en virgillinn slitnaði [á]vallt, drógu út tung[u of] kverkina, skáru þar af, ætluðu, at leynast skyldi. Hann varð heill at Óláfs. Þessa menn sá Hallr munkr báða heila.
The Wendlanders took captive a man named Halldor on the day when Cardinal Nicholas came to Norway, half a month before the first Saint Olaf’s Mass Day. They first wanted to hang him, but the noose [always] broke. They pulled his tongue [out from] his throat and cut it off there. They thought that it should be hidden. He became healed through Olaf. The monk Hall saw both these men healed.
(118. Jartegn við kryppling einn)
(118. The miracle of the cripple)
Alvaldr hét krypplingr, er Óláfr græddi. Hann sofnaði úti of dag. Maðr kom at honum göfugligr ok spurði, hvert hann vildi fara. Hann nefndi bæinn. “Far til Óláfskirkju í Lundunum ok mundu þar heill verða.”
Alvald was the name of a crippled man whom Olaf healed. He fell asleep outside one day. A distinguished-looking man came toward him and asked where he wanted to go. He named the city. “Travel to Olaf’s Church in London, and there you will be healed.”
Síðan fór hann ok kom of síð[ir] til Lundabryggju. Hann spurði, hvar Óláfskirkja væri. Honum var sagt, at miklu váru kirkjur þar fleiri en menn vissi, hver Óláfskirkja væri. Þá kom at maðr ok mælti við kryppilinn: “Förum báðir saman, ok kann ek leið til Óláfskirkju.” Þresköldr var þar hár, ok varð Alvaldr at veltast yfir inn ok varð heill ok sá hvergi förunaut sinn.
Then Alvald set out and came [at last] to London Bridge. He asked where Olaf’s Church was. He was told that there were so many churches there that people did not know which one was Olaf’s Church. A man came toward him and said to the cripple, “Let’s go together. I know the way to Olaf’s Church.” The threshold there was high, but Alvald was able to roll himself over it inside and became healed, but nowhere did he see his travel companion.
(109. Jartegn við Ríkarð prest)
(109. The miracle with priest Rikard)
Sú jartein gerðist á Upplöndum, at bræðr tveir, synir Guðorms grábaks, Einarr ok Andrés, móðurbræðr Sigurðar, unga konungs, ábrýddu of systur sína at saklausu, en þó nokkut af hennar orðum, at presti enskum, er Ríkarðr hét, heimtu hann braut frá öðrum mönnum, ok vissi enskis ótta ván, fóru á skipi hjá vatnsströndu, er Rönd heitir, ok lendu at Skiptisandi. Þeir báru sakar á hönd honum. Hann synjaði. Síðan bundu þeir hann ok mæltu við þjón sinn, at hann skyldi ljósta hann öxarhamarshögg, svá at hann ómætti af. Þá tóku þeir hæl ok veltu út augunum.
This miracle happened in Oppland that Einar and Andres, two brothers, the sons of Gudthorm Grayback, [uncles of the young King Sigurd], were jealous of an English priest called Rikard over their sister, without just cause, and yet somewhat because of things she said. They called him away from other men. He apprehended no danger. They embarked on a ship by the bank of the lake called Rønd and landed at Skiptisand. They brought charges against him. He pleaded not guilty. They tied him up and told their servant to strike him a blow with the back of his axe so that he would pass out. Then they took a peg and gouged out his eyes.
Hann spurði, hví svá hart skyldi við hann leika. “Verðr ertu þess,” sögðu þeir.
He asked why he was treated so harshly. “You deserve this,” said they.
“Skipti almáttigr guð milli vár,” sagði hann, “ok inn helgi Óláfr konungr.”
“May God Almighty,” said he, “and King Olaf the Saint decide between us.”
Síðan drógu þeir út tungu hans ok skáru af mikit ok spurðu, ef hann mætti mæla, en hann leitaði við at mæla. Þá tóku þeir í tungustúfinn ok skáru af tysvar þaðan af ok í tungurótum it síðasta sinn ok brutu fótlegg hans ok köstuðu honum í naust nokkurt við Askeimsherað ok gerðu orð til bæjarins, hvat títt var, en húsfreyja ok dóttir hennar fóru eftir honum ok báru hann heim í möttli sínum ok leituðu honum hægenda, en hann vissi löngum ekki til sín, ok er náttaði, rann á hann ómeginshöfgi.
Then they pulled out his tongue, cut much of it off, and asked if he could speak. He tried to speak. They took the stump of the tongue and again cut off more of it and lastly the root of the tongue. They broke his legs and threw him in a boathouse in the Askeim-district. They sent word of what had happened to the farm. The housewife and her daughter went to get him and carried him home in their mantle. They cared for him, but for a long time he was not conscious. When night came, he fell into a lethargic sleep.
Þá sá hann at sér koma mann þekkiligan ok mælti: “Illa ertu leikinn, Ríkarðr félagi. Sé ek, at eigi er nú málit mikit.”
Then he saw a handsome man come towards him, who said, “You have been treated badly, Rikard comrade. I can see that you can hardly speak.”
Þá tók hann í tungustúfinn ok heimti svá hart, at honum varð sárt við. Þá tók hann þegar mál sitt ok mælti: “Sæll em ek, guði þökk ok inum helga Óláfi.”
He took the stump of the tongue and pulled it so hard that it was painful for Rikard. Then Rikard regained his speech and exclaimed, “I am blessed! Thank God and Olaf the Saint.”

AM 325 IV α 4to, fol. 2; “The Eighth Fragment”

(122. Jartegn við syndugan mann)
(122. The miracle of the sinful man)
[M]argt hefi ek sagt frá jarteinum þeim, er várr dróttinn hefir gert fyrir sakar ins helga Óláfs konungs, en þetta sýndist allháleitt vera, er nú vekrir hug várn ok margra guðs vina at sönnu. Svá sem sál hvers kristins manns er ágætari at eðlisskepnu en líkaminn, svá er ok hennar dauði hættari ok þyngri ok svá heilsan dýrri. En óvinr alls mannkyns léttir aldregi slíkt at vinna nú á hverjum degi við oss sem hann vann forðum í Paradísu. Hug hvers manns vill hann æ spilla ok tæla hvern mann með svikfullri flærð, því skrokki biðr hann trúa, er hann telr fyrir, ok guðs reiði ok boðorðabrot segir hann lítilvert. Veraldar virðing heitir hann ok svíkr með því margan, en guðs dóm ok helvítis píslir kveðr hann engan mann hræðast þurfa. Með þeiri villu sveik hann inn fyrsta mann. Þar með blekkir hann hvern hans afsprengi.
[Much] I have told of the miracles, those our Lord has worked for the sake of King Olaf the Saint, but this one, which now indeed stirs our heart and the hearts of many of God’s friends, appears to be the most sublime. Just as the soul of every Christian man is more noble in its nature than the body, so also its death is more dangerous and perilous, and thus salvation is more glorious. But the enemy of all mankind never ceases to work against us each day as he worked once in Paradise. He wants to corrupt the mind of every person and entice every person with treacherous deceit. He asks the body to believe what he proclaims, and he says God’s anger and the breaking of God’s commandments are of little significance. He promises great worldly honour, and thus he betrays many with this promise. God’s judgment and the torments of Hell no man need fear, he declares. With this heresy he betrayed the first man; therewith he deceives each of his offspring.
Þess bragðs neytti hann við mann nokkurn, þann er hann sveik með svá banvænum drykk, at hann gleymdi allra guðs boðorða ok fylgdi villtr ok ofdrambsfullr íblást fjandans, en sá vesli maðr var ór heraði því, er [Ýtrey] heitir. Svá aumliga hafði óvinrinn hann blindaðan, at hann virði enskis annars heims píslir móti munúð sinni ok veraldargirnd, eða hví var hann þá eigi sárliga svikinn, er hann gafst í fjandans veldi til þessa heims sæmðar ok nítaði sínum skapara ok sagðist ór samneyti ok fagnaði allra heilagra manna? Síðan fylgdi hann fjandans ráðum ok fór því einu jafnan fram, er ferligt var.
He used a crafty scheme against a certain man whom he deceived with such deadly drink that the man forgot all of God’s commandments, and the falsely directed and arrogant man followed the devil’s suasion. That wretch was from the district called [Ytterøy]. So miserably had the Enemy blinded him that he deemed another world’s tortures insignificant against his lust and worldly desires. Was he then not sorely deceived when for the vainglory of this world he gave himself into the devil’s power, denied his Creator, and declared himself out of the communion and joy with all holy men? Afterward he followed the devil’s advice and pursued his abominable activities.
Nú á móti Óláfsmessu of sumarit þá sótti fjöldi mikill til miskunnar þangat, sem sá helgi konungr hvílir. Þá fór sá vesli maðr þangað fyrir þess eins sakar, at hann mætti sjá ok heyra, mæla ok gera nokkurt þess s[aurl]ífis er hann fengi fastligar sik bundit á fjandans föruneyti. En várr dróttinn er svá aumhjar[taðr], mínir góðu vinir, at honum þykkir því öllu aumligra of þann aumingja, er hann sér hann sárligar svikinn en hvern kristinn mann.
Now as the day of Saint Olaf’s Mass drew near during the summer, a great crowd of people went forth to the place where that holy king rests to seek mercy. That wretched man went there for only one reason: that he might be able to see, hear, speak, and lead the [unclean life] in which he had so firmly ensnared himself through the devil’s companionship. But our Lord is so [charitable], my good friends, that to Him this pitiful man seemed all the more pitiable, whom he found more sorely deceived than any Christian man.
Nú of daginn þá var líkamr þess helga manns út borinn með háleitri tign, þá tók sjá vesli maðr at hugleiða dýrð þessa dýrliga konungs ok sína vesöld ok eilífan ófarnað, er hann þóttist vita sér fyrir höndum, þegars hann skildist við þessa veröld. Því næst vitraði hans svá háleit miskunn ins helga anda fyrir návista sakar þess guðs mildings ok sendi honum svá mikla iðran, at utan þóttust menn þat mega á honum sjá, hve [h]ann þóttist ok hve mjök hann þóttist syndgast hafa. Ok er skrínit var flutt ór stað ok til annars, þá þokaðist hann til miskunnar þangat, sem sá helgi maðr hafði áðr hvílst, tók þá kalla á þann milda mann með sárum styn ok andvarpan, bað aumliga með miklum grát þann milda konung með guðs fulltingi leysa synd sína ok af sér þau seigu bönd, [sem hann] hafð[i] ha[nn] fest ok fjandinn hann í vafðan. Nú lét guð hann njóta ins helga árnaðarorðs Óláfs konungs ok leysti hann til sín háleitliga af and[skotans].
Now, during the day, the body of this holy man was carried out with stately ceremony. Then that wretched man began to reflect on the glory of this glorious king and his own misery and the eternal sorrow that he knew was in hand for him when he parted from this world. After that, because of the presence of this prince of God, the sublime mercy of the Holy Spirit came upon him and evoked in him such great remorse that people thought they could tell from his outward appearance [what he] thought and how miserably he thought he had sinned. When the shrine was moved out of one place and to another, he moved to find mercy at the site where this holy man had earlier rested and began to call upon that compassionate man with sorrowful groans and heavy sighs. The wretched one prayed with much crying to the generous king that with God’s assistance he would free him from his sin and loosen from him the unyielding bonds in which he had chained [himself] and in which the devil had entangled him. God then granted him the benefit of the holy intercession of King Olaf and redeemed him in a sublime fashion from Sat[an].


  1. This series offers English translations of Scandinavian texts to be used in Literature in Translation classes.
  2. In his analysis of the various texts preserving the life of St. Olaf, Sigurður Nordal (1914) agreed with Storm’s (1893) assumption that AM 325 IV α 4to had been copied from the original codex to which the remaining six fragments of The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint (NRA 52) belonged. Nordal (1914) places The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint at the top of his stemma, largely basing his decision on the assumed date of the miracles in AM 325 IV α 4to. Louis-Jensen (59) points out that since AM 325 IV α 4to does not preserve The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint, and the redaction of miracles in AM 325 IV α 4to is quite possibly older (c1155-65) than those in NRA 52, the position of The Oldest Saga of Olaf the Saint within the stemma must be revisited.
  3. I would like to thank Jonna Louis-Jensen as well as her publisher for granting me permission to publish this normalized edition of her transcription.
  4. The Old-Norse Icelandic editions of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson referenced are Johnsen (1922) and Guðni Jónsson (1957).
  5. The English translation referenced is the one by Scholz and Schach, cited as Arthur and Wolf (2014).
  6. The referenced editions are Gamal norsk homiliebok. Cod. AM. 619 4° (Indrebø 1966); Saga Olafs konungshins helga. Den store saga om Olav den Hellige (Johnsen and Helgason 1930); Heimskringla (Finnur Jónsson 1893); and Heilagra manna søgur (Unger 1877).
  7. Corresponding text passages (Chapters 100 and 101) = Arthur and Wolf (104); G. Jónsson (I:371-72); Johnsen (90); Johnsen and Helgason (833); ≠ Johnsen and Helgason (601); F. Jónsson (II:518); Unger (II:172-73).
  8. See n. 7 regarding corresponding text passages.
  9. The passage in the manuscript is defective. Louis-Jensen (35) only offers a partial reading, “000licþ000” (zeros represent illegible characters), mentioning that Storm (12) has “en licþrair menn,” which also corresponds with the parallel passage in The Legendary Saga of Olaf the Saint (see Arthur and Wolf 104; G. Jónsson I:372; Johnsen 90).
  10. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 104) ≠ Arthur and Wolf (106); G. Jónsson (I:375-77,8); Johnsen (92–93); Indrebø (112–13); Johnsen and Helgason (631–03; 833–34); F. Jónsson (III:149–51); Unger (II:175).
  11. Storm (12) transcribes “at Gothoꝛmr son,” but Louis-Jensen (35) cannot confirm the reading [“000000000”] and considers his reading of “son” improbable, since the noun follows Gunnhild’s name in her transcription. It seems likely, however, that the defective passage preserved the name of Gunnhild’s son.
  12. Louis-Jensen (35) reads “Goth,” but this is presumably simply a shortening of Gudthorm’s name. Storm (12)) expands to “Gothormr.”
  13. Louis-Jensen (35) only provides the beginning of the word as “ꜹʀ0000.” Storm (12) reads “ꜵrleik.”
  14. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 105) ≠ Arthur and Wolf (107–8); G. Jónsson (I:377-78); Johnsen (94); Indrebø (114); Johnsen and Helgason (633-35; 834); F. Jónsson (III:429-31), Unger (II:175-76).
  15. Louis-Jensen (35) reads “heṛ[m]diz.” Storm (12) reads “harmadiz” [he lamented] but Louis-Jensen (35) points out that the second letter in the manuscript is certainly not an a.
  16. Both Louis-Jensen (35) and Storm (12) transcribe the word as “ꝩinbelgia,”a masculine noun in the accusative plural. Most dictionaries, such as Cleasby and Vigfússon (717), suggest that the word is a compound of vín [wine] and belgr [skin, belly] and should be translated as“wine-skin.” Stefán Karlsson (215), however, argues that the nominative singular of this noun should be vínbelgir and that belgir is an agent noun (nomen agentis) derived from the verb belgja to [gulp, to guzzle]. He draws comparison to the noun vínsvelgur [drunkard], an agent noun derived from the verb svelgja [to gulp]. Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog lists vínbelgir as the main entry but vínbelgr as an alternative in their online wordlist. In either case (vínbelgur/vínbelgir), the term is used as an insult by the Franks against the Varangians, implying that they were sitting around drinking wine rather than defending the Byzantine Empire.
  17. Louis-Jensen (35) transcribes “þ0000 ꝩer0.” Storm (12) reads “þott ꝩeri.”
  18. Louis-Jensen (35) reads “fyldo,” while Storm (12) has “fylcdu.” The meaning, however, seems to be the same: to assemble.
  19. Louis-Jensen (35) transcribes “ri[d]o,” mentioning that only part of the d is legible. Storm (12) has “rvnno” [they ran] .
  20. Louis-Jensen (36) has “hverʀ sa.” Similarly, Storm (12) reads “hverr ſa,” but mentions in a footnote that the verb er should follow hverr. Since the following adjectives, ítarlegi [glorious] and göfugligi [magnificent], appear to be in the nominative in the manuscript, it seems indeed probable that the verb er is omitted.
  21. Both Storm (13) and Louis-Jensen (36) suggest that even though the manuscript clearly refers to Varangians, this must be a scribal error and should more correctly read “heidingiar” [the heathens].
  22. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 119, 1st paragraph) = Arthur and Wolf (117); G. Jónsson (I:393); Johnsen (103–4); ≠ Arthur and Wolf (109); G. Jónsson (I:379-80); Johnsen (95–96); Indrebø (115–16); Johnsen and Helgason (648–49); F. Jónsson (III:308-9); Unger (II:179).
  23. Louis-Jensen (36) mentions that the word is written k (possibly with a crossbar) in AM 325 IV α 4to and that the passage is so heavily abridged that the text loses its sense. She transcribes “konung” (in the accusative). Storm (13) reads “konvngr” (in the nominative). In The Legendary Saga of Olaf the Saint it is clear that Kolbein sees the king walking towards him and then grasping the stump of the tongue (cf. Johnsen 103; G. Jónsson 393; Arthur and Wolf 117). Louis-Jensen’s reading of the corresponding passage in AM 325 IV α 4to (with konung in the accusative) gives the same meaning. Storm’s reading (with konungr in the nominative) implies instead that the king sees Kolbein.
  24. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 119, 2nd paragraph) = Arthur and Wolf (117); G. Jónsson (I:393); Johnsen (104); ≠ Arthur and Wolf (115); G. Jónsson (I:390); Johnsen (102); Indrebø (116); Johnsen and Helgason (649–50); F. Jónsson (III:381-82); Unger (II:179).
  25. Storm (13) and Louis-Jensen (36) both read “ꝩalt,” but Storm (13 n. 2) suggests that this is a scribal error and should correctly be “avalt” [always].
  26. The word for tongue (Old Norse-Icelandic: tunga) is the final word on fol. 1r of AM 325 IV α 4to. It is written “tung.” Storm (13 n. 3) notes that the ending of the word (o in his opinion) as well as a (necessary) preposition (oꝼ [out of]) to go with “kverkina” [the throat] are missing from the manuscript. Louis-Jensen (36) adds that there are no visible traces in the manuscript that suggest that the ending or the (necessary) preposition were ever actually written in the manuscript.
  27. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 118) = Arthur and Wolf (117); G. Jónsson (I:392-93); Johnsen (103); Johnsen and Jón Helgason (835); ≠ Johnsen and Helgason (637–38); F. Jónsson (III:152-53).
  28. Storm (13) transcribes “Alꝩaldr,” whereas Louis-Jensen (36) spells the name “Ꜹlꝩaldr.” While Ølvald (=Ꜹlvald) can be found, Alvald is far more common as a normalized version and was, therefore, used for this edition and translation.
  29. Louis-Jensen (36) notes that the word is indicated with a k with a crossbar. She mentions that this abbreviation is used elsewhere in the fragment for konungr [king] (in any of the four cases) and that this could also be the meaning here. The passages may, therefore, also be translated as “Go to King Olaf in London.”
  30. Storm (13) reads “ilund,” which Guðni Jónsson (422) normalizes to “í Lund.” According to Louis-Jensen’s (36) transcription of the fragment, the word is abbreviated “lund + ir-abbreviatur,” which she expands to “lundunum.” The abbreviation of personal and place names is obviously not an uncommon scribal practice. Louis-Jensen (36) suggests that the word could possibly also be expanded to “lundir.” The Old Norse terms Lundr [Lund] and Lundúnir [London] begin with identical syllables and it is possible that Storm and/or Guðni Jónsson mistook an abbreviated London for Lund. All parallel texts preserving this miracle, however, have London in Great Britain (G. Jónsson I:392; Johnsen 103; Johnsen and Helgason 637, 835; F. Jónsson III:152). It is, therefore, highly unlikely that the text in AM 325 IV α 4to refers to Lund in Sweden.
  31. Louis-Jensen (36) writes “sid,” pointing out that there is no evidence of a crossbar through the ascender of d. She also notes that Storm (13) transcribes “ſidir.” Contextually, “of síðir” [at last] fits better than “of síð” [too late].
  32. Louis-Jensen (36) has “hver” [which one], Storm (13) reads “hꝩar” [where]. Another possible translation is, therefore, “people did not know where Olaf’s Church was.”
  33. As before (see n. 29), Louis-Jensen (36) notes that word is abbreviated and could also be expanded to konungs. Another possible translation is, therefore, “He was told that there were so many churches there that people did not know which one was King Olaf’s.”
  34. See n. 29 and n. 33. Another possible translation is “I know the way to King Olaf’s.”
  35. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 109) ≠ Arthur and Wolf (110–11); G. Jónsson (I:381-82); Johnsen (96–97); Indrebø (117–18); Johnsen and Helgason (650–54); F. Jónsson (III:382-85); Unger (II:179-81).
  36. The text seems to refer to Gudthorm Greybeard, father of King Sigurd Munn’s mother Tora, who is mentioned in chapter “(119. The miracle of the tongue-excised men.)”
  37. Storm (13) has “modor brodr sigvrdar ins unga konungs,” which Guðni Jónsson (423) normalizes to “móður-bræðr Sigurðar ins unga konungs.” Louis-Jensen (36–37) transcribes “modor brodr ing sigvrdar unga konungs.” She mentions in a note regarding ing that the letter g is only partially written and assumes that the scribe began to write inga (possibly looking ahead at unga) and realized his mistake before completing the word. Considering that King Sigurd’s nickname is munn [The Mouth] and not The Young, it makes sense that there should not be a definite article (ins) in the sentence. It must also be noted that even though brodr—in both Storm’s (13) and Louis-Jensen’s (36) editions—could be interpreted as a singular (implying that Gudthorm is the uncle of King Sigurd), Guðni Jónsson’s normalization to bræðr (plural) can be considered accurate, since Gudthorm is said to have been Sigurd’s grandfather.
  38. Lake Rønd is modern-day Randsfjorden.
  39. Corresponding text passages (Chapter 122) = Arthur and Wolf (118–20); G. Jónsson (I:395-97); Johnsen (105–6); Indrebø (125–26); Johnsen and Helgason (848–50); Unger (II:182).
  40. Storm (14) transcribes “Þatt” (normalized þat by G. Jónsson 424), suggesting the miracle begins “I have told this of the miracles.” Louis-Jensen (37), however, reads “Þart” and points out that comparison with other texts preserving this miracle (e.g., Indrebø 125; Johnsen and Helgason 848) suggests that the initial should have been an M, thus beginning the chapter with the word “Mart” (= margt [much]). She also points out that the scribe of The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson, where the chapter begins with “Ðat” (cf. Johnsen 105) made the same mistake.
  41. Louis-Jensen (38) transcribes “heitari,” compared with Storm (14) “hettari” (which G. Jónsson [424] normalizes to “hættari”). Louis-Jensen (38) mentions in a note “Storm læser, næppe med rette, hettari, jfr. Leg. saga, Glno. hom., St. saga OH” [Storm reads—hardly rightfully so—hettari, cf. Leg. saga, Glno. hom., St. saga OH]. Johnsen (105 = Leg. saga), Indrebø (125 = Glno. hom.), and Johnsen and Helgason (848 = St. saga OH) all have “hættare” or “hættari.” Louis-Jensen seems to suggest that Storm’s reading of “hettari” is incorrect and that the manuscript spells the word “heitari.” Nonetheless, her references to other texts preserving the same miracle implies that the word’s meaning remains “hættari” [more dangerous], rather than suggesting that “heitari” should be normalized as “heitari” [more fervent].
  42. According to Storm (15), the manuscript reads “hverɴ hanſ aꝼſpringi.” Similarly, Louis-Jensen (38) has “hverʀɴ hans af springi.” She suggests however, that comparison with other texts that preserve this miracle (cf. Johnsen 105; Indrebø 126; Johnsen and Helgason 849) indicates that the word dag should follow hvern. In this case, the translation should be “Therewith every day he deceives his offspring.”
  43. Storm (15) transcribes the name of the district “ytrey.” He states in a footnote that the word is written “ytkrey” with a dot under the k (which presumably indicates that scribe realized a scribal error). Guðni Jónsson (425) normalizes in accordance with Storm to “Ytrey.” Louis-Jensen (38), who transcribes the name as “yckrey,” says that there is no visible trace of the dot that Storm mentions. In The Legendary Saga of King Olaf Haraldsson, the district is named as “Yrjar” (G. Jónsson 395; Johnsen 105). In the Gamal norsk homiliebok the name is given as “Ytri-øy” (Indrebø 126), similar to Storm. Den store saga om Olav den Hellige (Johnsen and Helgason 849) and Snorri’s separate Saga of Olaf the Saint (Unger 182) do not preserve the name of the district. It seems likely that the manuscript refers to Ytterøy, a former municipality in Nord-Trøndelag, which in Old Norse-Icelandic was generally referred to as Ýtriøy or Øyin ýtri. (My thanks go to Natalie van Deusen for her assistance in determining the correct placename.)
  44. Louis-Jensen (39) transcribes “s0000ifis.” She points out that Storm (15) reads “ſꜹrliꝼiſ,” which also corresponds with the text preserved in Johnsen (105); Indrebø (126); and Johnsen and Helgason (849).
  45. Louis-Jensen (39) transcribes “avmhiar0000.” She points out that Storm (15) reads “ꜹmhiartadr.” She notes that the ending -hiartadr also corresponds with the text preserved in Indrebø (126) and Johnsen and Helgason (849 = “miukhiartadr”).
  46. Louis-Jensen (39) reads “nu of dagiɴ þa ꝩar lickamr þess helga manz ut boꝛiɴ med haleitri tign þa toc sia ꝩesli ᴍadr at hugleida.” Storm (15), however, adds er to the first part of the sentence (“nu oꝼ daginn þa erar”). Following Storm’s transcription of the manuscript, the passage could also be translated as “Now, during the day when the body of this holy man was carried out with stately ceremony, that wretched man began to reflect.”
  47. Louis-Jensen (39) transcribes “hve00aɴ,” suggesting that the word may have been misspelled, but it is difficult to determine what the two illegible letters may have been. Storm (15) reads “hve hann.”
  48. Storm (16) has “leysa ſyndſina oc aꝼ ſer þꜹ ſeigo bꜵnd ſem hann hafdi ſic i ꝼest oc ꝼiandinn hann i ꝩaꝼð.” Louis-Jensen (39), however, reads the passage “leysa synd sina oc af ser þꜹ seigo bꜹnd 000h hafd0 ha fest oc fiandiɴ hann i ꝩafdan.” She points out that her reading of ha is definite, although there could be a faint crossbar through the h (= hann, possibly hann á). She considers Storm’s reading of ſic in this case impossible. The meaning, however, seems to be basically the same in both cases.
  49. Only the first syllable (and) of the word andskoti [Satan] is preserved in the fragment.


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