A while back, I read that in the middle ages, or even thousands of years ago, in Europe (I think around Netherlands), someone asked for a lady's hand in marriage (I think she was daughter of some King minister).

The lady refused. Then the man began conquering nearby lands and formed a Kingdom (I'm not sure if it's modern-day Norway), then went back and asked for lady's hand in marriage, and she said yes.

I am not able to find any reference to it on Internet, but I know it happened in history.

Kindly point me in the right direction.

  • 4
    I don't think it was usually up to “the lady“.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 16:39
  • @relaxed Ok, then maybe the lady's father. I'd be happy to have an exact count of this historical occurrence. Somehow I was thinking it's the Ancient Kingdom of Norway, but I couldn't find anything.
    – Rhonda
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 16:48
  • 2
    I can't think of any such event. It sounds like the form of a Medieval romantic tale to me. One similar story I know of is the Welsh Culwch and Olwen, where the protagonist had to find the one lady he was destined to marry, and then perform a series of quests to appease her father.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 16:56
  • 8
    This is the story of Harald Fairhair, supposedly the first king of a united Norway. It's told in Snorri Sturlason's Heimkringla, old translations of which are widely available on the internet. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


It was Norway.

This is the story of Harald Fairhair in the late 9th century. Harald inherited one of a number of petty kingdoms west of modern Oslo. He proposed marriage to Gyda, the daughter of King Erik of a nearby kingdom of similar size. She wanted to be queen of Norway, so she refused to marry anyone who was not king of "all" Norway.

She had created a monster, because Harald took an oath not to cut his hair until he won her. He went to war and conquered several other Norwegian kingdoms, making him the strongest king in Norway. Finally, the remaining Norwegian kings, including Gyda's own father, Erik, banded together against him for self-protection. Harald won the resulting battle of Hafrsfjord in which Erik was killed. He then sent for Gyda, who conceded that he had met the conditions, and married him.

  • 3
    Holy Cow! He killed his would-be father-in-law? Goodness!
    – Rhonda
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 14:42
  • 5
    @SohniMahiwal: Actually, the "Holy Cow" should be for the girl, who put him up to it, and was more loyal to him than to her own father.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 16:23
  • Ahhhhhh, now I understand .....
    – Rhonda
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 17:45
  • 2
    @Rhonda That was actually pretty tame. Check out this case: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alboin#Skull_cup Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 19:38

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