370. A God's Will
King Bjarngeir did not feel confident as he slowly strapped on his sword,
For the great ruler had been challenged to a duel known as a Holmgang .
Bjarngeir's bastard son Tassi wished to steal the kingdom from his lord,
And the old king was quite certain that the battle would be fierce and long .
Three lengthy decades had gone by since the king won his crown in war,
And the years had not been kind to the man who now sat on the throne.
His energy was now diminished, his muscles had gone flabby and sore,
And he suffered greatly from arthritis that cut down deep to the bone.
Tassi had grown restless, a leader who was both young, and quite bold,
A warrior who was admired as a great fighter, with a sword very skilled.
He was tired of watching and waiting, while his father grew weak and old,
If Tassi truly wanted the crown he knew his father would have to be killed.
The Holmgang was held on the hill of an island, not far off Norway's coast,
Tassi was incredibly confident, told his father that he would soon be dead.
King Bjarngeir, who was much older and wiser, saw no reason to boast
He told his son that this was most regretful, and that was all the king said.
Tassi attacked with much energy and vigor, slashed away with his blade,
Bjarngeir blocked the mighty blows with the strong wood of his shield.
But he was old and it did not take long for his strength to begin to fade,
And the king became resigned to the fact that he would die on this field.
Many years before Great Odin had chosen Bjarngeir for Vestfold's crown,
And Valfather was not about to allow His choice to be taken by a bastard son.
As Tassi reached high over head, and his mighty sword came crashing down,
The blade broke as it hit Bjarngeir's shield, and the battle was practically done.
The king apologized to his only son, when with his sword he ran Tassi through,
For he never intended that one day, by his own hand, his son would have died.
He had been challenged to a Holmgang, so there was nothing else he could do,
When the battle was over, he dropped his weapon, and held his son as he cried.
King Bjarngeir was heralded as a great fighter, and skalds spoke of his deed,
And to this day it is still written that these duels were won by a superior skill.
It is thought that only those who were strongest and wisest were allowed to lead,
Sometimes, however, these battles were won by kings because of a God's will.
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.