A study of the relations of the text's manuscripts was undertaken by Ludvig Holm-Olsen, underpinning his 1983 edition, which is presently the standard one. The most important manuscript is AM 243 a fol., copied in Norway (probably Bergen), around 1275.
The seventy chapters of the text consist of a prologue and two main parts, of which the second may perhaps be subdivided into two sections, one focused on the king's court, the other (more specifically) on the king's justice. In the prologue, the speaker sets out to deal with merchants, kingsmen, the clergy and peasants, but his discussion does not extend much beyond the first two classes. It seems possible that the last two chapters were originally intended for a separate treatment of the clergy.
1. The son states the purpose of the work, useful as he considers it to be both as a King's Mirror and as a handbook for a wider audience.
First part. The merchant and the natural world
2. The dialogue between father (himself a kingsman) and son begins.
3-4. The business and customs of the merchant
5. The sun and the winds
6-7. The sun's course
8. The marvels of Norway
9. Scepticism about the genuineness of marvels
10-1. Marvels of Ireland
12-5. Marvels of the Icelandic sea (e.g. whales) and of Iceland (e.g. volcanoes, springs)
16-20. Marvels of Greenland, its waters, animals, products, climate, etc.
21. Cold and hot zones of the earth
22-3. Navigation, winds and seasons
Second part. (1) The king and his court 24. The king and his court
25. The importance of courtesy () in the royal service
26. Advantages from serving in the king's household
27. Classes among the kingsmen (konungsmenn): hirdmenn, gestir, general officials and officials who serve the king abroad
28. Honoured position of kingsmen
29. The hirð, top layer of kingsmen
30. How to approach the king for a post in the hirð
31. Why not to wear a mantle in the king's presence
32-4. Rules of speech and conversation in the king's hall
35-6. Relation between the quality of crops and the moral standard of government
37. Duties, activities and entertainments of royal guardsmen
38. Weapons of offence and defence
39. Military engines
40-1. Proper manners and customs at the royal court