King Harald's fleet assembled at the Solunds. When King Harald was ready to leave Nidaros he went to King Olaf's shrine, unlocked it, clipped his hair and nails, and locked the shrine again, and threw the keys into the Nid. Some say he threw them overboard outside of Agdanes; and since then the shrine of Saint Olaf, the king, has never been opened. Thirty-five years had passed since he was slain; and he lived thirty-five years here on earth (A.D. 1080-1066). King Harald sailed with his ships he had about him to the south to meet his people, and a great fleet was collected; so that. according to the people's reckoning, King Harald had nearly 200 ships beside provision-ships and small craft.
While they lay at the Solunds a man called Gyrd, on board the king's ship, had a dream. He thought he was standing in the king's ship and saw a great witch-wife standing on the island, with a fork in one hand and a trough in the other. He thought also that he saw over all the fleet, and that a fowl was sitting upon every ship's stern, and that these fowls were all ravens or ernes; and the witch-wife sang this song: --
"From the east I'll 'tice the king, To the west the king I'll bring; Many a noble bone will be Ravens o'er Giuke's ship are fitting, Eyeing the prey they think most fitting. Upon the stem I'll sail with them! Upon the stem I'll sail with them!"
There was also a man called Thord, in a ship which lay not far from the king's. He dreamt one night that he saw King Harald's fleet coming to land, and he knew the land to be England. He saw a great battle-array on the land; and he thought both sides began to fight, and had many banners flapping in the air. And before the army of the people of the country was riding a huge witch- wife upon a wolf; and the wolf had a man's carcass in his mouth, and the blood was dropping from his jaws; and when he had eaten up one body she threw another into his mouth, and so one after another, and he swallowed them all. And she sang thus: --
"Skade's eagle eyes The king's ill luck espies: Though glancing shields Hide the green fields, The king's ill luck she spies. To bode the doom of this great king, The flesh of bleeding men I fling To hairy jaw and hungry maw! To hairy jaw and hungry maw!"
King Harald also dreamt one night that he was in Nidaros, and met his brother, King Olaf, who sang to him these verses: --
"In many a fight My name was bright; Men weep, and tell How Olaf fell. Thy death is near; Thy corpse, I fear, The crow will feed, The witch-wife's steed."
Many other dreams and forebodings were then told of, and most of them gloomy. Before King Harald left Throndhjem, he let his son Magnus be proclaimed king and set him as king over Norway while he was absent. Thora, the daughter of Thorberg, also remained behind; but he took with him Queen Ellisif and her two daughters, Maria and Ingegerd. Olaf, King Harald's son, also accompanied his father abroad.