The Sagas tells it like this: The Queen Ragnhild had great dreams, she was a wise woman. Once she dreamt that she was in her garden, and pulled a thorn from her dress. The thorn fell to the ground and a tree started sprouting. At the roots the tree was blood red, the trunk and lower branches were green, but the upper branches were white. The tree was so great and large that it seemed to the Queen it stretched out over all over Norway.
That story appears in Halvdan the Black's Saga, one of the first sagas in Heimskringla, or kringla heimsins meaning the circle of the world. It was written by Snorri Sturlason around 1230 and is a compilation of the Old Norse Kings' Sagas.
During the peak of the Norwegian independence movement, from around 1890 to cessation from Sweden in 1905 - these old sagas became a focal point in the emerging national sentiment. As a result of that a special edition of the saga was published - lavishly illustrated by the who's who of Norwegian artists at the time.
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