The Northern Way

Valdemar and Tove

1157

Gay went the dance in King Valdemar´s hall,
By my troth
There danced the Queen with her ladies all.
King Valdemar needs must love them both.

There danced the Queen with ladies fair,
There danced Tove with waving hair.

"Harken now, Tove, my play-fellow sweet,
Gird up thy silk skirts around thy feet."

"Small praise from me the King would gain
If I might not trail a silken train."

"Tove, my play-fellow, tell thou me
How first the King got his will of thee."

"Askest thou, I will tell thee why,
Because the King was stronger than I.

"I was but a maiden small
Dwelling in my father's hall.

"So little and fair by the gate stood I,
The King and all his merry men they came a-riding by.

"By one, by two, his knights he sent,
But never for their commands I went.

"The King he came himself with all his merry men,
And I, Tovelille, must follow then."

"Tove, my play-fellow, tell thou me
What morning-gift did he gift to thee?"

"He gave me a casket of golden sheen,
Better was never in Denmark seen.

"Nine rings he gave me of red, red gold
That Sweden's Queen did have and hold.

"He clad me in silk and scarlet gay,
Thou and all thy maidens ne'er go in such array."

Up spake the Queen in anger wild:
" 'Twas enough, I vow, for a peasant's child!"

"By god the Lord, if I breathe and live,
Less by half to thee shall he give!"

The Queen she wrapped her in cloak of vair,
To speak with King Valdemar did she fare.

"Now answer what I ask of thee,
Why lovest thou Tove more than me?"

"For this Tovelille to me is so dear,
Because she hath two sons that serve my person near.

"When Flensborg Town I first rode by
Christopher bore my banner so high.

"When first I rode to Holsterland
Knud bore my banner in his right hand."

Winters twain were gone and past
Ere the Queen got her will at last.

All on holy Christmas Day
Tove went in kirk to pray.

Tovelille fared forth in the street
Golden silk and samite floated round her feet.

Forth from her window the Queen did spy,
She saw proud Tovelille passing by.<

The Queen she spake to her ladies three:
"Now bid proud Tovelille hither to me!"

Tove wrapped her in cloak of vair,
To seek the Queen she did repair.

"Lithe now and listen, Tove, to me,
I would fain seek the bath tonight with thee."

"Ne'er of the bath can I have my fill,
I'll do thy bidding with right good-will!"

The Queen she spake to her pages three:
"Take heed that the bath is hot for me.

"Heat it hot, and heat it red!
There shall Tovelille lie dead."

Tovelille she went in before,
The Queen herself she locked the door.

"Here is not water, here is no lye,
Let me out for the sake of God on high!"

Christopher went riding by,
He heard his mother wail and cry.

He struck the door a blow so stout
That bolt and nail came leaping out.

In rue and wrath he burst the door,
His mother from the bath he bore.

He bore her into the garden green,
But she was dead ere day was seen.

© 2000 Hringari Oðinssen

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