Starkad And Bale

: The Swedish Fairy Book

Starkad, the hero of the legends, the bravest warrior in the army of

the North, had fallen into disgrace with the king because of a certain

princess, so he wandered up into Norland, and settled down at Rude in

Tuna, where he was known as the Thrall of the Alders or the Red


In Balbo, nine miles from Rude, dwelt another hero, Bale, a good

friend and companion-at-arms of Starkad.

br /> One morning Starkad climbed the Klefberg in Tuna, and called over to

Bale: "Bale in Balbo, are you awake?"

"Red Fellow!" answered Bale, nine miles away, "the sun and I wake

together! But how goes it with you?"

"None too well. I eat salmon morning, noon and night. Come over with a

bit of meat!"

"I'll come!" Bale called back, and in a few hours time he was down in

Tuna with an elk under each arm.

The following morning Bale in Balbo stood on a hill in Borgsjo and

called: "Red Fellow! Are you awake?"

"The sun and I wake together!" answered Starkad. "And how goes it with


"Alas, I have nothing to eat but meat! Elk in the morning, elk at noon

and elk at night. Come over and bring a fish-tail along with you!"

"I'm coming!" called out Starkad, and in a short time he had joined

his friend with a barrel of salmon under each arm.

In this fashion the two friends provided themselves with all the game

to be found in the woods and in the water, and spread terror and

destruction throughout the countryside. But one evening, when they

were just returning to the sea from an excursion, a black cloud came

up, and a tempest broke. They hurried along as fast as they could; but

got no further than Vattjom, where a flash of lightning struck Starkad

and flung him to the ground. His friend and companion-at-arms buried

him beneath a stone cairn, about which he set five rocks: two at his

feet, two at his shoulders, and one at his head; and that grave,

measuring twenty ells in length, may still be seen near the river.


In "Starkad and Bale" (Hofberg, p. 181. From Medelpad, after

ancient traditional sources) humorous feats of gigantic

strength are ascribed to the most famous hero of Northern

legend, Starkad, who was brought up by Odin himself.