Sagnet om Kong Augvald og Kong Ferking

   (The Legend of King Augvald  and King Farthegn)  

When the Norwegian archaeologist Marit Synnove Vea saw that my surname was Farthing she wrote:  "I can see why you are interested in Farking.  Originally his name was Farthegn.  In the Old Norse language this meant 'traveling lord'.  The name developed into Farthing which later developed into Farking.  Ferkingstad is my homeplace.  My parents still live there.  They pronounce the place name "Farthingstad" with t instead of k, and so does most of the older generation."  She cited the renown authority on the Old Norse language, professor Magnus Olsen, as stating in his published research that Farthing was derived from Farthegn.  The following account of this 1,400 year old legend is taken from the pamphlet that Marit generously sent to me entitled The Viking Trail Through Rogaland:

"Legends still circulate in Ferkingstad which tell of the mighty 'King Ferking' who is supposed to have founded the place.  There are several places around the harbor which are said to be connected with him.
     "It is just a short walk down to Hop from Ferkingstadhamn.  Beyond a small tarn, which was an enclosed bay during the Viking Age, lie the remains of two huge boathouses with clear traces of stone walls.  A stone-paved path leads from the site down to the water.
     "We can imagine 'King Ferking' as a local chieftain under the royal seat at Avaldsnes.  This chieftain may have had the task of arresting trade ships who defied the order to sail through Karmsundet."
...(the strait separating the island from the mainland)..."In order to enforce this, he would have needed a good harbor from which he could rapidly launch ships into the dangerous waters west of Karmoy.  He would also have needed good, large boathouses for storage and maintenance of the warships."

Another pamphlet that Marit mailed to me entitled Ferkingstad-Akra Kultur-og naturst, contains the following:

"The legend claims that King Farking"... (the spellings Farking and Ferking are both acceptable)..."lived at Ferkingstad, where he had built large houses of stones.  The banquet halls were so huge that 5-600 men could dance in honour of the gold calf, which Farking worshipped.  To prevent anyone from taking the gold calf, Farking buried it somewhere in this area.  The hiding place is said to have been marked on a map that was destroyed when the vicarage of Falnes burned down in 1842.
     "King Farking was a ruler of the sea, a wild Viking who spent most of his time on board a ship, and he brought home with him many treasures.  The most beautiful treasure was some pearls that his queen wore during feasts in the King's manor."   

     King Farking (or Farthegn, as he was known then), was fighting King Augvald over the sovereignty of Karmoy. 
"The last battle between the two kings took place in a field about 500 meters from here at Stava.  It was a fierce battle with a great loss of men, and King Augvald was deadly wounded.
"King Augvald had several daughters.  Two of them were female warriors or 'shieldmaidens'.  When they saw their father was killed, they screamed, leaped into the river and drowned.  They were buried here at Stava, and stones were erected on their graves.  These stones are called the 'Shieldmaidens'.  The two stones (0.75m and 1.25m of height) were once part of a triangular cluster of stones.
"The Legends don't tell us how King Farking died, but some people say that he was buried in a mound at Kvilhaug not far away from his manor.  According to legend, his manor was burnt down, but '200 years later' a descendant also called 'Farthegn' rebuilt the manor." 

Ms. Vea went on to write that up to the turn of the century, the ruins of this manor were called "King Farking's Castle" and there are still traces of this manor in the soil. For a map of what Farthegn's ancient manor looked like over 1,000 years ago please click on a Map of Farthegn's Manor, or go to the Previous Page. Ms Vea kindly provided me a copy of this map which was based on sketches that were done more than 160 years ago. Please allow a few minutes for downloading.

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