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his duchy and his other lands, which were at once granted by the king to his own nephew, Albert of Orlamunde, who under the title of Duke of North-Albingia ruled over the Slesvig-Holstein dominions, and kept the Danish frontiers well protected from German invaders. Valdemar also subdued and annexed Pomerania, and in 1217 the German emperor with the sanction of the pope rewarded the Danish king's devotion, by giving to him and future kings of Denmark all the territories north of the Elbe and the Elde, and thus made him actual master of great part of Northern Germany.
The princes of the German Empire were indignant with the emperor for thus extending the power of the Danish king at their expense, and they formed conspiracies against him and tried to oppose him, but without effect, and one by one the different princes were forced to submit. The most vindictive of Valdemar's many enemies was his kinsman and namesake, Valdemar, Bishop of Slesvig, who after being defeated when heading a rebellion in Knud's reign, and having been kept in close captivity for fourteen years, had been released in 1206 at the earnest entreaties of Valdemar's gentle queen, Dagmar. This man, who had become archbishop of Bremen after his release, although for a time subdued, and coinpelled by the victorious Valdemar to retreat to the monastery of Loccum in Hanover, was concerned in every plot against the Danish king, and never ceased to labour against the prosperity of Denmark.
Valdemar's success in Germany had led him early in his reign to attempt to extend his power to Norway and Sweden, but in neither kingdom were his efforts followed by any lasting results, and after having taken part with the banished prince, Sverker Karlsson, against Erik Knudsson, he had to withdraw his troops from Sweden after a signal defeat, and ended by making peace with King Erik, and giving him his sister Rikissa in marriage. His zeal for the Church and his love of adventure led him in 1219 to set on foot, with the pope's special sanction, a crusade against the pagans in Esthonia. Armed with a papal bull which gave him the sovereignty of all lands which he might convert, Valdemar entered upon this undertaking with an army of 60,000 men and a fleet of 1,400 ships, and soon completely overran the whole of Esthonia, and caused great numbers of the people to be baptized. The Danes, however, found powerful rivals in the Livonian Knights of the Sword, who declared that no other Christians had the right of converting these pagans, and soon fierce battles were fought and much blood shed in the effort made by each party to secure the greater number of converts. It is to these religious wars in Esthonia that the Danes refer the first appearance and use among them of the Dannebrog, or national standard, which, according to the legend, suddenly fell down from heaven while the primate Andreas Suneson, Absalon's successor, was praying on a high hill with uplifted hands for victory. It is not improbable that the pope may have sent a consecrated banner bearing the white cross on a blood-red field to King Valdemar as a token of his favour, and that its sudden appearance, when the Danes were beginning to waver before the pagan ranks, gave the victory, which in later times was believed to have been gained through the primate's prayers.
Valdemar's Downfall. When Valdemar returned with the victorious Dannebrog from Esthonia, he was at the very summit of his power, and could not have dreamed of the terrible vengeance which one of his least dreaded enemies would inflict upon him.
Fear alone kept his vassals submissive, and it was believed that even the pope and the emperor, who seemed to favour him, would rejoice in seeing the downfall of the supremacy of Denmark in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. Some among the German princes whose lands he had seized never concealed their hatred of him, but others, disguising their feelings of anger and jealousy, pretended to be on friendly terms with him, took favours from him, and shared in his wars abroad and his amusements at home, at the very time that they were helping in every secret plot that was made against him. Amongst these false friends there was no one who seemed more attached to King Valdemar than the CountDuke of Schwerin, and no one who hated him more strongly. The king was of an open frank nature, and although he had often been warned against the count, who, both on account of his complexion and his evil nature, was known in his own country as “ Black Henry,” he would not listen to any such warnings, and went on treating him like a faithful friend. Count Henry was, therefore, able to learn all that he wished to know of the king's habits and mode of life, and often gave secret help to some traitor who wanted to injure Valdemar; but after a time, when he saw that all the plots laid for the Danish monarch's ruin failed, he resolved to act for himself. The king's trust in him soon gave him the chance of carrying out his evil purposes; and when Valdemar in the spring of the year 1233 invited him to come and hunt for two days with him in the woods of Lyö, he said he much regretted that he could not join him, as he was lamed by a fall and could not rise off his couch. But instead of keeping his bed, Count Henry.was scouring the country over by night to prepare all things for the plot he had in hand, which was no less than to make a prisoner of his trusting friend the king. This was easier for him to accomplish than it would have been for many others, as he knew the island well. Accordingly, when he learnt from his spies that the king, with his eldest son, Valdemar, had landed at Lyö with only a few servants, he prepared to carry out the design he had long had in view.
At the close of a hard day's hunt, when Valdemar and his son were sleeping within the rude unguarded tent that had been put up for their use, and the few attendants and huntsmen were scattered about, lying under the shelter of trees and rocks, Count Henry's men landed and crept cautiously into the midst of the tired sleepers. Then, entering the royal tent, they gagged and disabled their victims while they were yet buried in profound sleep, and before either could utter a sound or make any effort to resist them, they drew sacks of wool and straw over their heads and faces, nearly choking them, and passed strong cords round their bodies to compress their legs and arms. Thus gagged and crippled, the tall and strong king and his young son were carried through the midst of their own people to the strand, and laid like helpless logs in the bottom of the boat which was waiting for them, and which, with muffled oars, shot quickly across the narrow strait to the opposite shore of Fyen. There the men transferred their precious freight to the fast-sailing yacht which was to carry the captives to a German port. The wind favoured their passage, and on the following day, almost before the royal attendants at Lyö had discovered
their loss, the lately dreaded and powerful King of Denmark was landed in Germany at a lonely part of the coast, and, still gagged and bound, was placed on a horse and tightly secured to the saddle, after which he was hurried on at full gallop, with no longer stoppage than was necessary to change the armed escort. In this manner father and son were conveyed to the castle of Danneberg in Hanover, which had been lent for the purpose to Count Henry, as he himself had no fortress which was deemed by the conspirators strong enough to receive the royal captives. Prince Valdemar, who was the only son of King Valdemar's first queen, Margrete of Bohemia, and who resembled his mother both in her feebleness and her beauty, was nearly killed by the rough treatment he had received, and when his bonds were removed on his arrival at Danneberg, the blood flowed from every part of his body. But without paying any regard to his tender youth and sufferings, Count Henry caused him and his al father to be shut up in a cold, dark dungeon, fed on the poorest and coarsest food, and left without a change of clothing
VALDEMAR'S CLOSING YEARS.
Valdemar's Fate.— It gives us a very striking idea of the cruelty and lawless state of those times when we think of poor King Valdemar's fate, and bear in mind that for three years he was left to endure the pangs of hunger and cold and the bonds of a felon, although the pope and emperor threatened Count Henry with all the penalties that the church and empire had decreed against those who raised their hands against a prince, anointed by the Bishops of Rome and holding lands under the imperial crown. Count Henry gave ready promises that he would without delay attend to the commands which he had received to release King Valdemar and his son ; but he evaded the fulfilment of his promises, knowing that Rome and Ratisbon were too far from Danneberg to give him real cause for alarm, and feeling that all the other princes of Northern Germany would help him to keep their common enemy safe in prison as long as there was anything to dread from him. From Denmark there was not much to be feared either, for although the Danish nation thirsted for vengeance, and eagerly demanded to be led to the rescue of their beloved king, there was no prince among them able or willing to do anything to deliver the captives. The king's sons were children in age, and all the more distant kinsmen of the royal family had been banished, or were dead; and thus there was no one with the power or right to take the control of public affairs. For some time even the people remained ignorant of the fate of their king, but at lergth the whole sad story became known, and then Valdemar's nephew Albert, Count of Orlamunde, who had been on his way to Rome when the news of his uncle's capture reached him, returned in haste to Denmark, and collecting an army marched into Hanover and gave battle to the German princes who had brought their forces to aid Count Henry in defending Danneberg. The poor Danes, who had not been well prepared for the war, were, however, very soon defeated by the Germans, while their leader Count Albert was taken prisoner and thrown into the same dungeon as the king and prince.
The poor captives were now in a worse state than before any attempt had been made for their rescue ; and King Valdemar, seeing no other chance of escape from captivity, agreed to the terms of release offered him by Black Henry, which were that he should pay a ransom of 45,000 silver marks for himself and his son Valdemar, and let his three younger sons be brought to Danneberg and kept in prison with Count Albert till all the money was paid.
On these terms the royal captives were set. free, and they at once returned to Denmark, where the kingdom was in a fearful state, while the people of almost all King Valdemar's former dominions in Germany had thrown off their allegiance to him, and done homage to their own princes. Poor Valdemar, humbled and crushed in spirit, found himself thus deprived
Count Henry also required that the king should give him all the jewels of the late Queen Berangaria whi:h had not already been bestowed on churches and monasteries, and send him 100 men-at-arms, with horses and weapons for their use.