8

Ragnar had set his ships towards Norway and at some point during the journey he brought his ships into a little harbor to rest for some time. In the morning, a few men went onto the land to bake bread. They saw that there was a farm nearby and decided to go there and ask to do their work in the house. So they went to the little farm and met the poor woman called Grima. The men said that they were the liege-men of Ragnar Lodbrok and that they wished to carry out their work in the house and that she should help them in their work.

Grima responded that her hands were too stiff for such work, but her daughter would be home soon and could work with them. And when Aslaug (who was at the time known as Kraka) entered the house, the men were shocked by her beauty, for she was the most beautiful of all women. They agreed that Aslaug should work with them and said that she should knead the bread and they would bake it. She went about her work and did it well, but the men were constantly turning to gaze at her and so they did not mind their work and the bread burned.

When they returned to the ship, they brought out the meal and everyone agreed that they had never tasted anything so terrible. They told Ragnar that they saw a woman so beautiful they did not mind their work, they said there was not a more beautiful woman in the entire world. Ragnar decreed that messengers would be sent to her, with an invitation to come and meet with him. However he issued a riddle with this invitation, that he wanted her to come neither dressed nor undressed, neither fed nor unfed and not alone, yet with no man to accompany her.

When Aslaug heard this message, she told the messengers that she would go down to the ship early in the morning. The next day, she went down to the ships and she was fair to see, with hair that looked like gold. And she had also answered the riddle, for she had wrapped a fish-net around herself, tasted nothing but one leek and was accompanied only by her dog.

Ragnar and Aslaug’s first meeting ~ The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok