You have graciously conveyed to me the intelligence that during the weary weeks spent far from his home—in alternate hope and fear, in suffering and mortal trial—a Prince whose memory all men must reverence, the Emperor Frederick, found pleasure in the reading of my stories: that “they interested and fascinated him.”
While the world was watching daily at the bedside of your Majesty’s Imperial husband, while many were endeavouring to learn courage in our supremest need from the spectacle of that heroic patience, a distant writer little knew that it had been his fortune to bring to such a sufferer an hour’s forgetfulness of sorrow and pain.
This knowledge, to an author, is far dearer than any praise, and it is in gratitude that, with your Majesty’s permission, I venture to dedicate to you the tale of Eric Brighteyes.
The late Emperor, at heart a lover of peace, though by duty a soldier of soldiers, might perhaps have cared to interest himself in a warrior of long ago, a hero of our Northern stock, whose days were spent in strife, and whose latest desire was Rest. But it may not be; like the Golden Eric of this Saga, and after a nobler fashion, he has passed through the Hundred Gates into the Valhalla of Renown.
To you, then, Madam, I dedicate this book, a token, however slight and unworthy, of profound respect and sympathy.
I am, Madam,
Your Majesty’s most obedient servant,
H. Rider Haggard.
November 17, 1889.
To H.I.M. Victoria, Empress Frederick of Germany.