Starkad and Bale
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 Fellow.
In Balbo, nine miles from Rude, dwelt another
hero, Bale, a good friend and companion-at-arms of
One morning Starkad climbed the Klefberg in
Tuna, and called over to Bale: "Bale in Balbo, are
"Red Fellow!" answered Bale, nine miles away,
"the sun and I wake together! But how goes it with
"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
The following morning Bale in Balbo stood on a
hill in Borgsjo and called: "Red Fellow! Are you
"The sun and I wake together!" answered Starkad.
"And how goes it with you?"
"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.