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On the day of the battle King Æthelstan sent messengers to King Olaf. The messengers said that the English did not want the blood of slaughter on their hands. If King Olaf would return to Scotland then King Æthelstan would pay one silver shilling for every plough in Scotland. If this would be agreed to then their relationship would be sealed.
King Olaf and his men had a meeting and after two days Olaf told the messengers that if King Æthelstan wanted to pay tribute it would have to be much larger. The messengers asked for one day to ride to Æthelstan, one day to discuss it, and one day to return. Olaf agreed.
They returned with an offer of one shilling for every free-born in Olaf’s army, a silver mark for every captain in charge of twelve or more men, a gold mark for every head man and five marks in gold for every earl.
Olaf countered with agreement to all that – – – plus all of Northumberland and its tributes.
Once again King Æthelstan’s messengers asked for one day to ride, one day to meet with their king and one day to return. It was suggested that King Olaf may wish to send his own messengers to hear the results.
The combined group of messengers rode back to King Æthelstan with the counter-offer.
All of this riding back and forth was nothing more than a delay until King Æthelstan had actually arrived at the battle site with all of his soldiers.