"Accompanied only by one of his most faithful adherents, [Alfred] entered the tent of the Danish king under the disguise of a minstrel; and being admitted, as a professor of the mimic art, to the banqueting room, there was no object of secrecy that he did not minutely attend to both with eyes and ears. Remaining there several days, till he had satisfied his mind on every matter which he wished to know, he returned to Athelney ..."The story of Alfred's surreptitious visit was very popular in the Middle Ages and became attached to a number of later figures.
In Book II, chapter 6, William tells a similar story of the Scandinavian king Anlaf, son of Sihtric, who visited the camp of Alfred's illustrious grandson Athelstan in the year 924. Anlaf is probably the "Aulaff" to whom Tupper alludes. William writes:
"Perceiving at length what danger hung over him when he assumed the character of a spy, laying aside his royal ensigns, and taking a harp in his hand, he proceeded to our king's tent: singing before the entrance, and at times touching the trembling strings in harmonious cadence, he was readily admitted, professing himself a minstrel, who procured his daily sustenance by such employment. Here he entertained the king and his companions for some time with his musical performance, carefully examining everything while occupied in singing. When satiety of eating had put an end to their sensual enjoyments, and the business of war was resumed among the nobles, he was ordered to depart, and received the recompense of his song; but disdaining to take it away, he hid it beneath him in the earth ..."