One year after King Harald's fall his body was transported from England north to Nidaros, and was buried in Mary church, which he had built. It was a common observation that King Harald distinguished himself above all other men by wisdom and resources of mind; whether he had to take a resolution suddenly for himself and others, or after long deliberation. He was, also, above all other men, bold, brave, and lucky, until his dying day, as above related; and bravery is half victory. So says Thiodolf: --
"Harald, who till his dying day Came off the best in many a fray, Had one good rule in battle-plain, In Seeland and elsewhere, to gain -- That, be his foes' strength more or less, Courage is always half success."
King Herald was a handsome man, of noble appearance; his hair and beard yellow. He had a short beard, and long mustaches. The one eyebrow was somewhat higher than the other. He had large hands (1) and feet; but these were well made. His height was five ells. He was stern and severe to his enemies, and avenged cruelly all opposition or misdeed. So says Thiodolf: --
"Severe alike to friends or foes, Who dared his royal will oppose; Severe in discipline to hold His men-at-arms wild and bold; Severe the bondes to repress; Severe to punish all excess; Severe was Harald -- but we call That just which was alike to all."
King Harald was most greedy of power, and of all distinction and honour. He was bountiful to the friends who suited him. So says Thiodolf: --
"I got from him, in sea-fight strong, A mark of gold for my ship-song. Merit in any way He generously would pay."
King Harald was fifty years old when he fell. We have no particular account of his youth before he was fifteen years old, when he was with his brother, King Olaf, at the battle of Stiklestad. He lived thirty-five years after that, and in all that time was never free from care and war. King Harald never fled from battle, but often tried cunning ways to escape when he had to do with great superiority of forces. All the men who followed King Harald in battle or skirmish said that when he stood in great danger, or anything came suddenly upon him, he always took that course which all afterwards saw gave the best hope of a fortunate issue.
ENDNOTES: (1) It is a singular physical circumstance, that in almost all the swords of those ages to be found in the collection of weapons in the Antiquarian Museum at Copenhagen, the handles indicate a size of hand very much smaller than the hands of modern people of any class or rank. No modern dandy, with the most delicate hands, would find room for his hand to grasp or wield with case some of the swords of these Northmen. -- L.