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By the light of the vanishing fire he was certain that he saw the back, hugely looming, of Big Olaf, and at the south-western corner Big Olaf and he drove their stakes side by side. It was no light work, this preliminary obstacle race. The boundaries of the claim totalled nearly a mile, and most of it was over the uneven surface of a snow-covered, niggerhead flat.

Again and again, many times, Smoke forced his leader to the other's sled-trail, and each time Big Olaf let out another link and drew away. Smoke contented himself with taking the pace, and hung on grimly. The race was not lost until one or the other won, and in fifteen miles many things could happen. Three miles from Dawson something did happen.

Save for his greater tallness and strength he looked not very different from any of the workmen about him; and indeed Kolbiorn Stallare, who stood near him in courtly apparel, might well have been mistaken for the king and the king for the servant. Olaf had paused in his work, and was talking with Kolbiorn concerning some matter of state.

Big Olaf and Smoke made flying changes, and their fresh teams immediately regained what had been lost to the Baron. Big Olaf led past, and Smoke followed into the narrow trail beyond. "Still good, but not so good," Smoke paraphrased Spencer to himself. Of Von Schroeder, now behind, he had no fear; but ahead was the greatest dog-driver in the country. To pass him seemed impossible.

Then Olaf pushed up the creek a little further, hoping to be able to land or else reach some Marsh Wrens' nests from the boat. But one nest was all they could find a ball of grasses fastened between two cat-tail flags. Olaf cut the stalks carefully and presented it to Dodo, much to her delight.

Olaf, who led the Norwegians against England, afterwards became king of Norway, and with the Danes used to ever and anon sack Great Britain, i.e., eat everybody out of house and home, and then ask for a sack of silver as the price of peace. Ethelred was a cowardly king, who liked to wear the implements of war on holidays, and learn to crochet and tat in time of war.

We're three to his one, and we have all his hardware and cutlery. But also we can do better with him than without him just as he can do better with us than without us. It's an even break for a while. But once he gets that information he's looking for, then look out. You and Olaf and I are the wolves and the flies and the midges again and the strafing will be about due.

But there is one good thing that your thoughtlessness has done: it has brought us again under one master, so it will go ill if, working together, we cannot contrive to run away, and join some viking ship." "That will not be easy if our new master should take us to an inland place," said Olaf. "None of his men have the marks of the sea upon them; they are landmen."

Rani was on the right wing, and Biorn the marshal on the left; and Ottar the scald bore Olaf's banner beside the king. There were six of the best warriors of the crew before Olaf as his shield wall, and six of the best English warriors had been named by Prat to act in the same way for me.

However, literary history must be built on the evidence before it, and the actual text of The Feast at Solhoug, and of Olaf Liljekrans must be taken in spite of anything their author chose to say nearly thirty years afterwards. Great poets, without the least wish to mystify, often, in the cant phrase, "cover their tracks."