An excursion into Norwegian life has for the student all the charm of the traveler's real journey through the pleasant valleys of the Norse lands. Much of this charm is explained by the tenacity of the people to the homely virtues of honesty and thrift, to their customs which testify to their home-loving character, and to their quaint costumes. It is a genuine delight to study and visit these lands, because they are the least, perhaps in Europe, affected by the leveling hand of cosmopolitan ideas. Go where you will,--to England, about Germany, down into Italy,--everywhere, the same monotonous sameness is growing more oppressive every year. But in Norway and Sweden there is still an originality, a type, if you please, that has resisted the growth of an artificial life, and gives to students a charm which is even more alluring than modern cities with their treasures and associations.
Yngve, from which the family derived the name Ynglings. King Halfdan was a wise man, a lover of truth and justice. He made good laws, which he observed himself and compelled others to observe. He fixed certain penalties for all crimes committed. His code of laws, called the Eidsiva Law, was adopted at a common Thing at Eidsvol, where about a thousand years later the present constitution of Norway was adopted.
One day in the spring of 860, when Halfdan the Swarthy was driving home from a feast across the Randsfjord, he broke through the ice and was drowned. He was so popular that, when his body was found, the leading men in each Fylki demanded to have him buried with them, believing that it would bring prosperity to the district. They at last agreed to divide the body into four parts, which were buried in four different districts. The trunk of the body was buried in a mound at Stien, Ringerike, where a little hill is still called Halfdan's Mound. And this Halfdan became the ancestor of th