King Harald remained all winter at Nidaros (A.D. 1062) and had a vessel built out upon the strand, and it was a buss. The ship was built of the same size as the Long Serpent, and every part of her was finished with the greatest care. On the stem was a dragon-head, and on the stern a dragon-tail, and the sides of the bows of the ship were gilt. The vessel was of thirty-five rowers benches, and was large for that size, and was remarkably handsome; for the king had everything belonging to the ship's equipment of the best, both sails and rigging, anchors and cables. King Harald sent a message in winter south to Denmark to King Svein, that he should come northwards in spring; that they should meet at the Gaut river and fight, and so settle the division of the countries that the one who gained the victory should have both kingdoms.
King Harald during this winter called out a general levy of all the people of Norway, and assembled a great force towards spring. Then Harald had his great ship drawn down and put into the river Nid, and set up the dragon's head on her. Thiodolf, the skald, sang about it thus: --
"My lovely girl! the sight was grand When the great war-ships down the strand Into the river gently slid, And all below her sides was hid. Come, lovely girl, and see the show! -- Her sides that on the water glow, Her serpent-head with golden mane, All shining back from the Nid again."
Then King Harald rigged out his ship, got ready for sea, and when he had all in order went out of the river. His men rowed very skilfully and beautifully. So says Thiodolf: --
"It was upon a Saturday, Ship-tilts were struck and stowed away, And past the town our dragon glides, That girls might see our glancing sides. Out from the Nid brave Harald steers; Westward at first the dragon veers; Our lads together down with oars, The splash is echoed round the shores.
"Their oars our king's men handle well, One stroke is all the eye can tell: All level o'er the water rise; The girls look on in sweet surprise. Such things, they think, can ne'er give way; The little know the battle day. The Danish girls, who dread our shout, Might wish our ship-gear not so stout.
"'Tis in the fight, not on the wave, That oars may break and fail the brave. At sea, beneath the ice-cold sky, Safely our oars o'er ocean ply; And when at Throndhjem's holy stream Our seventy cars in distance gleam, We seem, while rowing from the sea, An erne with iron wings to be."
King Harald sailed south along the land, and called out the levy everywhere of men and ships. When they came east to Viken they got a strong wind against them and the forces lay dispersed about in the harbour; some in the isles outside, and some in the fjords. So says Thiodolf: --