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Ice duels. Twin gods. Slayers and Saviors. An unbreakable sword. Saga Six Pack 3 presents another scintillating sextet of Scandinavian superhero stories:The Story of Burnt Njál The Saga of Magnus the Good The Song of Atli The Hell-Ride of Brynhild The Saga of Olaf Kyrre The Lay of Hamdir Also included is a Burnt Njál image gallery and an essay by Allen Mawer, ‘The Vikings in England.’
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SAGA SIX PACK 3
George W. DaSent
Saga Six Pack 3
Copyright © Enhanced Media 2015
The Story of Burnt Njál by Anonymous. Translated by George W. DaSent. First published in 1861.
The Saga of Magnus the Good by Snorri Sturluson. From The Heimskringla: or, Chronicle of the kings of Norway. Translated by Samuel Laing. First published in 1844.
The Song of Atli by Anonymous. From The Story of the Volsungs (Volsunga Saga); with Excerpts from the Poetic Edda. Translated by William Morris. First published in 1888.
The Hell-Ride of Brynhild by Anonymous. From The Story of the Volsungs (Volsunga Saga); with Excerpts from the Poetic Edda. Translated by William Morris. First published in 1888.
The Saga of Olaf Kyrre by Snorri Sturluson. From The Heimskringla: or, Chronicle of the kings of Norway. Translated by Samuel Laing. First published in 1844.
The Lay of Hamdir by Anonymous. From The Story of the Volsungs (Volsunga Saga); with Excerpts from the Poetic Edda. Translated by William Morris. First published in 1888.
The Vikings in England by Allen Mawer. First published in 1913.
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America.
First printing, 2015.
Enhanced Media Publishing.
THE STORY OF BURNT NJAL
Translated by George W. DaSent
Chapter 1 - Of Fiddle Mord
Chapter 2 - Hrut woos Unna
Chapter 3 - Hrut and Gunnhillda, kings mother
Chapter 4 - Of Hrut's cruise
Chapter 5 - Atli Arnvid son's slaying
Chapter 6 - Hrut sails out to Iceland
Chapter 7 - Unna separates from Hrut
Chapter 8 - Mord claims his goods from Hrut
Chapter 9 - Thorwald gets Hallgerda to wife
Chapter 10 - Hallgerda's wedding
Chapter 11 - Thorwald's slaying
Chapter 12 - Thiostolf's flight
Chapter 13 - Glum's wooing
Chapter 14 - Glum's wedding
Chapter 15 - Thiostolf goes to Glum's house
Chapter 16 - Glum's sheep hunt
Chapter 17 - Glum's slaying
Chapter 18 - Fiddle Mord's death
Chapter 19 - Gunnar comes into the story
Chapter 20 - Of Njal and his children
Chapter 21 - Unna goes to see Gunnar
Chapter 22 - Njal's advice
Chapter 23 - Huckster Hedinn
Chapter 24 - Gunnar and Hrut strive at the thing
Chapter 25 - Unna's second wedding
Chapter 26 - Of Asgrim and his children
Chapter 27 - Helgi Njal's son's wooing
Chapter 28 - Hallvard comes out to Iceland
Chapter 29 - Gunnar goes abroad
Chapter 30 - Gunnar goes a-sea-roving
Chapter 31 - Gunnar goes to king Harold Gorm's son and Earl Hacon
Chapter 32 - Gunnar comes out to Iceland
Chapter 33 - Gunnar's wooing
Chapter 34 - Of Thrain Sigfus' son
Chapter 35 - The visit to Bergthorsknoll
Chapter 36 - Kol slew Swart
Chapter 37 - The slaying of Kol, whom Atli slew
Chapter 38 - The killing of Atli the Thrall
Chapter 39 - The slaying of Brynjolf the Unruly
Chapter 40 - Gunnar and Njal make peace about Brynjolf's slaying
Chapter 41 - Sigmund comes out to Iceland
Chapter 42 - The slaying of Thord Freedsmanson
Chapter 43 - Njal and Gunnar make peace for the slaying of Thord
Chapter 44 - Sigmund mocks Njal and his sons
Chapter 45 - The slaying of Sigmund and Skiolld
Chapter 46 - Of Gizur the White and Geir the Priest
Chapter 47 - Of Otkell in Kirkby
Chapter 48 - How Hallgerda makes Malcolm steal from Kirkby
Chapter 49 - Of Skamkell's evil counsel
Chapter 50 - Of Skamkell's lying
Chapter 51 - Of Gunnar
Chapter 52 - Of Runolf, the son of Wolf Aurpriest
Chapter 53 - How Otkell rode over Gunnar
Chapter 54 - The fight at Rangriver
Chapter 55 - Njal's advice to Gunnar
Chapter 56 - Gunnar and Geir the Priest strive at the Thing
Chapter 57 - Of Starkad and his sons
Chapter 58 - How Gunnar's horse fought
Chapter 59 - Of Asgrim and Wolf Uggis' son
Chapter 60 - An attack against Gunnar agreed on
Chapter 61 - Gunnar's dream
Chapter 62 - The slaying of Hjort and fourteen men
Chapter 63 - Njal's counsel to Gunnar
Chapter 64 - Of Valgard and Mord
Chapter 65 - Of fines and atonements
Chapter 66 - Of Thorgeir Otkell's son
Chapter 67 - Of Thorgeir Starkad's son
Chapter 68 - Of Njal and those namesakes
Chapter 69 - Olaf the Peacock's gifts to Gunnar
Chapter 70 - Mord's counsel
Chapter 71 - The slaying of Thorgeir Otkell's son
Chapter 72 - Of the suits for manslaughter at the thing
Chapter 73 - Of the atonement
Chapter 74 - Kolskegg goes abroad
Chapter 75 - The riding to Lithend
Chapter 76 - Gunnar's slaying
Chapter 77 - Gunnar sings a song dead
Chapter 78 - Gunnar of Lithend avenged
Chapter 79 - Hogni takes an atonement for Gunnar's death
Chapter 80 - Of Kolskegg: how he was baptised
Chapter 81 - Of Thrain: how he slew Kol
Chapter 82 - Njal's sons sail abroad
Chapter 83 - Of Kari Solmund's son
Chapter 84 - Of Earl Sigurd
Chapter 85 - The battle with the Earls
Chapter 86 - Hrapp's voyage from Iceland
Chapter 87 - Thrain took to Hrapp
Chapter 88 - Earl Hacon fights with Njal's sons
Chapter 89 - Njal's sons and Kari come out to Iceland
Chapter 90 - The quarrel of Njal's sons with Thrain Sigfus' son
Chapter 91 - Thrain Sigfus' son's slaying
Chapter 92 - Kettle takes Hauskuld as his foster-son
Chapter 94 - Of Flosi Thord's son
Chapter 95 - Of Hall of the Side
Chapter 96 - Of the change of faith
Chapter 97 - Of Thangbrand's journeys
Chapter 98 - Of Thangbrand and Gudleif
Chapter 99 - Of Gest Oddleif's son
Chapter 100 - Of Gizur the White and Hjallti
Chapter 101 - Of Thorgeir of Lightwater
Chapter 102 - The wedding of Hauskuld, the priest of Whiteness
Chapter 103 - The slaying of Hauskuld Njal's son
Chapter 104 - The slaying of Lyting's brothers
Chapter 105 - Of Amund the Blind
Chapter 106 - Of Valgard the Guileful
Chapter 107 - Of Mord and Njal's sons
Chapter 108 - Of the slander of Mord Valgard's son
Chapter 109 - Of Mord and Njal's sons
Chapter 110 - The slaying of Hauskuld, the priest of Whiteness
Chapter 111 - Of Hildigunna and Mord Valgard's son
Chapter 112 - The pedigree of Gudmund the Powerful
Chapter 113 - Of Snorri the Priest, and his stock
Chapter 114 - Of Flosi Thord's son
Chapter 115 - Of Flosi and Hildigunna
Chapter 116 - Of Flosi and Mord and the sons of Sigfus
Chapter 117 - Njal and Skarphedinn talk together
Chapter 118 - Asgrim and Njal's sons pray men for help
Chapter 119 - Of Skarphedinn and Thorkel Foulmouth
Chapter 120 - Of the pleading of the suit
Chapter 121 - Of the award of atonement between Flosi and Njal
Chapter 122 - Of the judges
Chapter 123 - An attack planned on Njal and his sons
Chapter 124 - Of portents
Chapter 125 - Flosi's journey from home
Chapter 126 - Of portents at Bergthorsknoll
Chapter 127 - The onslaught on Bergthorsknoll
Chapter 128 - Njal's burning
Chapter 129 - Skarphedinn's death
Chapter 130 - Of Kari Solmund's son
Chapter 131 - Njal's and Bergthora's bones found
Chapter 132 - Flosi's dream
Chapter 133 - Of Flosi's journey and his asking for help
Chapter 134 - Of Thorhall and Kari
Chapter 135 - Of Flosi and the burners
Chapter 136 - Of Thorgeir Craggeir
Chapter 137 - Of Eyjolf Bolverk's son
Chapter 138 - Of Asgrim, and Gizur, and Kari
Chapter 139 - Of Asgrim and Gudmund
Chapter 140 - Of the declarations of the suits
Chapter 141 - Now men go to the courts
Chapter 142 - Of Eyjolf Bolverk's son
Chapter 143 - The counsel of Thorhall Asgrim's son
Chapter 144 - Battle at the Althing
Chapter 145 - Of Kari and Thorgeir
Chapter 146 - The award of atonement with Thorgeir Craggeir
Chapter 147 - Kari comes to Bjorn's house in the Mark
Chapter 148 - Of Flosi and the burners
Chapter 149 - Of Kari and Bjorn
Chapter 150 - More of Kari and Bjorn
Chapter 151 - Of Kari and Bjorn and Thorgeir
Chapter 152 - Flosi goes abroad
Chapter 153 - Kari goes abroad
Chapter 154 - Gunnar Lambi's son's slaying
Chapter 155 - Of signs and wonders
Chapter 156 - Brian's battle
Chapter 157 - The slaying of Kol Thorstein's son
Chapter 158 - Of Flosi and Kari
The Saga of
Magnus the Good
The Song of Atli
Translated by William Morris
The Hell-Ride of Brynhild
Translated by William Morris
The Saga of Olaf Kyrre
The Lay of Hamdir
Translated by William Morris
The Vikings in England
Njáll's son Skarp-Heðinn kills Þráinn on the ice
Excerpt from Njáls saga in the Möðruvallabók circa 1350
Gunnarr and Hallgerðr at the Althing
Gunnarr fights the ambushers, killing fourteen men
Gunnarr defends his home. He slays two attackers and wounds sixteen. Gunnarr is slain after collapsing from exhaustion.
Egill Skallagrímsson in a 17th-century manuscript of Egils Saga
Grettir is ready to fight in this illustration from a 17th-century Icelandic manuscript
Detail of a miniature from a 13th-century Icelandic manuscript
Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson (1179 – 1241)
Translator William Morris (1834-1896)
There was a man named Mord whose surname was Fiddle; he was the son of Sigvat the Red, and he dwelt at the "Vale" in the Rangrivervales. He was a mighty chief, and a great taker up of suits, and so great a lawyer that no judgments were thought lawful unless he had a hand in them. He had an only daughter, named Unna. She was a fair, courteous and gifted woman, and that was thought the best match in all the Rangrivervales.
Now the story turns westward to the Broadfirth dales, where, at Hauskuldstede, in Laxriverdale, dwelt a man named Hauskuld, who was Dalakoll's son, and his mother's name was Thorgerda. He had a brother named Hrut, who dwelt at Hrutstede; he was of the same mother as Hauskuld, but his father's name was Heriolf. Hrut was handsome, tall and strong, well skilled in arms, and mild of temper; he was one of the wisest of men - stern towards his foes, but a good counsellor on great matters. It happened once that Hauskuld bade his friends to a feast, and his brother Hrut was there, and sat next him. Hauskuld had a daughter named Hallgerda, who was playing on the floor with some other girls. She was fair of face and tall of growth, and her hair was as soft as silk; it was so long, too, that it came down to her waist. Hauskuld called out to her, "Come hither to me, daughter". So she went up to him, and he took her by the chin, and kissed her; and after that she went away.
Then Hauskuld said to Hrut, "What dost thou think of this maiden? Is she not fair?" Hrut held his peace. Hauskuld said the same thing to him a second time, and then Hrut answered, "Fair enough is this maid, and many will smart for it, but this I know not, whence thief's eyes have come into our race". Then Hauskuld was wroth, and for a time the brothers saw little of each other.
It happened once that those brothers, Hauskuld and Hrut, rode to the Althing, and there was much people at it. Then Hauskuld said to Hrut, "One thing I wish, brother, and that is, that thou wouldst better thy lot and woo thyself a wife."
Hrut answered, "That has been long on my mind, though there always seemed to be two sides to the matter; but now I will do as thou wishest; whither shall we turn our eyes?"
Hauskuld answered, "Here now are many chiefs at the Thing, and there is plenty of choice, but I have already set my eyes on a spot where a match lies made to thy hand. The woman's name is Unna, and she is a daughter of Fiddle Mord one of the wisest of men. He is here at the Thing, and his daughter too, and thou mayest see her if it pleases thee."
Now the next day, when men were going to the High Court, they saw some well-dressed women standing outside the booths of the men from the Rangrivervales, Then Hauskuld said to Hrut -
"Yonder now is Unna, of whom I spoke; what thinkest thou of her?"
"Well," answered Hrut; "but yet I do not know whether we should get on well together."
After that they went to the High Court, where Fiddle Mord was laying down the law as was his wont, and alter he had done he went home to his booth.
Then Hauskuld and Hrut rose, and went to Mord's booth. They went in and found Mord sitting in the innermost part of the booth, and they bade him "good day". He rose to meet them, and took Hauskuld by the hand and made him sit down by his side, and Hrut sat next to Hauskuld, So after they had talked much of this and that, at last Hauskuld said, "I have a bargain to speak to thee about; Hrut wishes to become thy son-in-law, and buy thy daughter, and I, for my part, will not be sparing in the mattes".
Mord answered, "I know that thou art a great chief, but thy brother is unknown to me".
"He is a better man than I," answered Hauskuld.
"Thou wilt need to lay down a large sum with him, for she is heir to all I leave behind me," said Mord.
"There is no need," said Hauskuld, "to wait long before thou hearest what I give my word he shall have. He shall have Kamness and Hrutstede, up as far as Thrandargil, and a trading-ship beside, now on her voyage."
Then said Hrut to Mord, "Bear in mind, now, husband, that my brother has praised me much more than I deserve for love's sake; but if after what thou hast heard, thou wilt make the match, I am willing to let thee lay down the terms thyself".
Mord answered, "I have thought over the terms; she shall have sixty hundreds down, and this sum shall be increased by a third more in thine house, but if ye two have heirs, ye shall go halves in the goods".
Then said Hrut, "I agree to these terms, and now let us take witness". After that they stood up and shook hands, and Mord betrothed his daughter Unna to Hrut, and the bridal feast was to be at Mord's house, half a month after Midsummer.
Now both sides ride home from the Thing, and Hauskuld and Hrut ride westward by Hallbjorn's beacon. Then Thiostolf, the son of Biorn Gullbera of Reykiardale, rode to meet them, and told them how a ship had come out from Norway to the White River, and how aboard of her was Auzur, Hrut's father's brother, and he wished Hrut to come to him as soon as ever he could. When Hrut heard this, he asked Hauskuld to go with him to the ship, so Hauskuld went with his brother, and when they reached the ship, Hrut gave his kinsman Auzur a kind and hearty welcome. Auzur asked them into his booth to drink, so their horses were unsaddled, and they went in and drank, and while they were drinking, Hrut said to Auzur, "Now, kinsman, thou must ride west with me, and stay with me this winter."
"That cannot be, kinsman, for I have to tell thee the death of thy brother Eyvind, and he has left thee his heir at the Gula Thing, and now thy foes will seize thy heritage, unless thou comest to claim it."
"What's to be done now, brother?" said Hrut to Hauskuld, "for this seems a hard matter, coming just as I have fixed my bridal day."
"Thou must ride south," said Hauskuld, "and see Mord, and ask him to change the bargain which ye two have made, and to let his daughter sit for thee three winters as thy betrothed, but I will ride home and bring down thy wares to the ship."
Then said Hrut, "My wish is that thou shouldest take meal and timber, and whatever else thou needest out of the lading". So Hrut had his horses brought out, and he rode south, while Hauskuld rode home west. Hrut came east to the Rangrivervales to Mord, and had a good welcome, and he told Mord all his business, and asked his advice what he should do.
"How much money is this heritage?" asked Mord, and Hrut said it would come to a hundred marks, if he got it all.
"Well," said Mord, "that is much when set against what I shall leave behind me, and thou shalt go for it, if thou wilt."
After that they broke their bargain, and Unna was to sit waiting for Hrut three years as his betrothed. Now Hrut rides back to the ship, and stays by her during the summer, till she was ready to sail, and Hauskuld brought down all Hrut's wares and money to the ship, and Hrut placed all his other property in Hauskuld's hands to keep for him while he was away. Then Hauskuld rode home to his house, and a little while after they got a fair wind and sail away to sea. They were out three weeks, and the first land they made was Hern, near Bergen, and so sail eastward to the Bay.
At that time Harold Grayfell reigned in Norway; he was the son of Eric Bloodaxe, who was the son of Harold Fairhair; his mother's name was Gunnhillda, a daughter of Auzur Toti, and they had their abode east, at the King's Crag. Now the news was spread, how a ship had come thither east into the Bay, and as soon as Gunnhillda heard of it, she asked what men from Iceland were aboard, and they told her Hrut was the man's name, Auzur's brother's son. Then Gunnhillda said, "I see plainly that he means to claim his heritage, but there is a man named Soti, who has laid his hands on it".
After that she called her waiting-man, whose name was Augmund, and said -
"I am going to send thee to the Bay to find out Auzur and Hint, and tell them that I ask them both to spend this winter with me. Say, too, that I will be their friend, and if Hrut will carry out my counsel, I will see after his suit, and anything else he takes in hand, and I will speak a good word, too, for him to the king."
After that he set off and found them; and as soon as they knew that he was Gunnhillda's servant, they gave him good welcome. He took them aside and told them his errand, and after that they talked over their plans by themselves. Then Auzur said to Hrut -
"Methinks, kinsman, here is little need for long talk, our plans are ready made for us; for I know Gunnhillda's temper; as soon as ever we say we will not go to her she will drive us out of the land, and take all our goods by force; but if we go to her, then she will do us such honour as she has promised."
Augmund went home, and when he saw Gunnhillda, he told her how his errand had ended, and that they would come, and Gunnhillda said -
"It is only what was to be looked for; for Hrut is said to be a wise and well-bred man; and now do thou keep a sharp look out, and tell me as soon as ever they come to the town."
Hrut and Auzur went east to the King's Crag, and when they reached the town, their kinsmen and friends went out to meet and welcome them. They asked, whether the king were in the town, and they told them he was. After that they met Augmund, and he brought them a greeting from Gunnhillda, saying, that she could not ask them to her house before they had seen the king, lest men should say, "I make too much of them". Still she would do all she could for them, and she went on, "tell Hrut to be outspoken before the king, and to ask to be made one of his body-guard"; "and here," said Augmund, "is a dress of honour which she sends to thee, Hrut, and in it thou must go in before the king". After that he went away.
The next day Hrut said -
"Let us go before the king."
"That may well be," answered Auzur.
So they went, twelve of them together, and all of them friends or kinsmen, and came into the hall where the king sat over his drink. Hrut went first and bade the king "good day," and the king, looking steadfastly at the man who was well-dressed, asked him his name. So he told his name.
"Art thou an Icelander?" said the king.
He answered, "Yes".
"What drove thee hither to seek us?"
Then Hrut answered -
"To see your state, lord; and, besides, because I have a great matter of inheritance here in the land, and I shall have need of your help, if I am to get my rights."
The king said -
"I have given my word that every man shall have lawful justice here in Norway; but hast thou any other errand in seeking me?"
"Lord!" said Hrut, "I wish you to let me live in your court, and become one of your men."
At this the king holds his peace, but Gunnhillda said -
"It seems to me as if this man offered you the greatest honour, for me thinks if there were many such men in the body-guard, it would be well filled."
"Is he a wise man?" asked the king.
"He is both wise and willing," said she.
"Well," said the king, "methinks my mother wishes that thou shouldst have the rank for which thou askest, but for the sake of our honour and the custom of the land, come to me in half a month's time, and then thou shalt be made one of my body-guard. Meantime, my mother will take care of thee, but then come to me."
Then Gunnhillda said to Augmund -
"Follow them to my house, and treat them well."
So Augmund went out, and they went with him, and he brought them to a hall built of stone, which was hung with the most beautiful tapestry, and there too was Gunnhillda's high-seat.
Then Augmund said to Hrut -
"Now will be proved the truth of all that I said to thee from Gunnhillda. Here is her high-seat, and in it thou shalt sit, and this seat thou shalt hold, though she comes herself into the hall."
After that he made them good cheer, and they had sat down but a little while when Gunnhillda came in. Hrut wished to jump up and greet her.
"Keep thy seat!" she says, "and keep it too all the time thou art my guest."
Then she sat herself down by Hrut, and they fell to drink, and at even she said -
"Thou shalt be in the upper chamber with me to-night, and we two together."
"You shall have your way," he answers.
After that they went to sleep, and she locked the door inside. So they slept that night, and in the morning fell to drinking again. Thus they spent their life all that half-month, and Gunnhillda said to the men who were there -
"Ye shall lose nothing except your lives if you say to any one a word of how Hrut and I are going on."
[When the half-month was over] Hrut gave her a hundred ells of household woollen and twelve rough cloaks, and Gunnhillda thanked him for his gifts. Then Hrut thanked her and gave her a kiss and went away. She bade him "farewell". And next day he went before the king with thirty men after him and bade the king "good-day". The king said -
"Now, Hrut, thou wilt wish me to carry out towards thee what I promised."
So Hrut was made one of the king's body-guard, and he asked, "Where shall I sit?"
"My mother shall settle that," said the king.
Then she got him a seat in the highest room, and he spent the winter with the king in much honour.
When the spring came he asked about Soti, and found out he had gone south to Denmark with the inheritance. Then Hrut went to Gunnhillda and tells her what Soti had been about. Gunnhillda said -
"I will give thee two long-ships, full manned, and along with them the bravest men. Wolf the Unwashed, our overseer of guests; but still go and see the king before thou settest off."
Hrut did so; and when he came before the king, then he told the king of Soti's doings, and how he had a mind to hold on after him.
The king said, "What strength has my mother handed over to thee?"
"Two long-ships and Wolf the Unwashed to lead the men," says Hrut.
"Well given," says the king. "Now I will give thee other two ships, and even then thou'lt need all the strength thou'st got."
After that he went down with Hrut to the ship, and said "fare thee well". Then Hrut sailed away south with his crews.
There was a man named Atli, son of Arnvid, Earl of East Gothland. He had kept back the taxes from Hacon Athelstane's foster child, and both father and son had fled away from Jemtland to Gothland. After that, Atli held on with his followers out of the Mælar by Stock Sound, and so on towards Denmark, and now he lies out in Öresound. He is an outlaw both of the Dane-King and of the Swede-King. Hrut held on south to the Sound, and when he came into it he saw many ships in the Sound. Then Wolf said -
"What's best to be done now, Icelander?"
"Hold on our course," says Hrut, "'for nothing venture, nothing have'. My ship and Auzur's shall go first, but thou shalt lay thy ship where thou likest."
"Seldom have I had others as a shield before me," says Wolf, and lays his galley side by side with Hrut's ship; and so they hold on through the Sound. Now those who are in the Sound see that ships are coming up to them, and they tell Atli.
He answered, "Then maybe there'll be gain to be got".
After that men took their stand on board each ship; "but my ship," says Atli, "shall be in the midst of the fleet".
Meantime Hrut's ships ran on, and as soon as either side could hear the other's hail, Atli stood up and said -
"Ye fare unwarily. Saw ye not that war-ships were in the Sound? But what's the name of your chief?"
Hrut tells his name.
"Whose man art thou?" says Atli.
"One of king Harold Grayfell's body-guard."
Atli said, "'Tis long since any love was lost between us, father and son, and your Norway kings".
"Worse luck for thee," says Hrut.
"Well," says Atli, "the upshot of our meeting will be, that thou shalt not be left alive to tell the tale;" and with that he caught up a spear and hurled it at Hrut's ship, and the man who stood before it got his death. After that the battle began, and they were slow in boarding Hrut's ship. Wolf, he went well forward, and with him it was now cut, now thrust. Atli's bowman's name was Asolf; he sprung up on Hrut's ship, and was four men's death before Hrut was ware of him; then he turned against him, and when they met, Asolf thrust at and through Hrut's shield, but Hrut cut once at Asolf, and that was his death-blow. Wolf the Unwashed saw that stroke, and called out -
"Truth to say, Hrut, thou dealest big blows, but thou'st much to thank Gunnhillda for."
"Something tells me," says Hrut, "that thou speakest with a 'fey' mouth."
Now Atli sees a bare place for a weapon on Wolf, and shot a spear through him, and now the battle grows hot: Atli leaps up on Hrut's ship, and clears it fast round about, and now Auzur turns to meet him, and thrust at him, but fell down full length on his back, for another man thrust at him. Now Hrut turns to meet Atli: he cut at once at Hrut's shield, and clove it all in two, from top to point; just then Atli got a blow on his hand from a stone, and down fell his sword. Hrut caught up the sword, and cut his foot from under him. After that he dealt him his death-blow. There they took much goods, and brought away with them two ships which were best, and stayed there only a little while. But meantime Soti and his crew had sailed past them, and he held on his course back to Norway, and made the land at Limgard's side. There Soti went on shore, and there he met Augmund, Gunnhillda's page; he knew him at once, and asks -
"How long meanest thou to be here?"
"Three nights," says Soti.
"Whither away, then?" says Augmund.
"West, to England," says Soti, "and never to come back again to Norway while Gunnhillda's rule is in Norway."
Augmund went away, and goes and finds Gunnhillda, for she was a little way off at a feast, and Gudred, her son, with her. Augmund told Gunnhillda what Soti meant to do, and she begged Gudred to take his life. So Gudred set off at once, and came unawares on Soti, and made them lead up the country, and hang him there. But the goods he took, and brought them to his mother, and she got men to carry them all down to the King's Crag, and after that she went thither herself.
Hrut came back towards autumn, and had gotten great store of goods. He went at once to the king, and had a hearty welcome. He begged them to take whatever they pleased of his goods, and the king took a third. Gunnhillda told Hrut how she had got hold of the inheritance, and had Soti slain. He thanked her, and gave her half of all he had.
Hrut stayed with the king that winter in good cheer, but when spring came he grew very silent. Gunnhillda finds that out, and said to him when they two were alone together -
"Art thou sick at heart?"
"So it is," said Hrut, "as the saying runs - 'Ill goes it with those who are born on a barren land'."
"Wilt thou to Iceland?" she asks.
"Yes," he answered.
"Hast thou a wife out there?" she asked; and he answers, "No".
"But I am sure that is true," she says; and so they ceased talking about the matter.
[Shortly after] Hrut went before the king and bade him "good day"; and the king said, "What dost thou want now, Hrut?"
"I am come to ask, lord, that you give me leave to go to Iceland."
"Will thine honour be greater there than here?" asks the king.
"No, it will not," said Hrut; "but every one must win the work that is set before him."
"It is pulling a rope against a strong man," said Gunnhillda, "so give him leave to go as best suits him."
There was a bad harvest that year in the land, yet Gunnhillda gave Hrut as much meal as he chose to have; and now he busks him to sail out to Iceland, and Auzur with him; and when they were all-boun, Hrut went to find the king and Gunnhillda. She led him aside to talk alone, and said to him -
"Here is a gold ring which I will give thee;" and with that she clasped it round his wrist.
"Many good gifts have I had from thee," said Hrut.
Then she put her hands round his neck and kissed him, and said -
"If I have as much power over thee as I think, I lay this spell on thee that thou mayest never have any pleasure in living with that woman on whom thy heart is set in Iceland, but with other women thou mayest get on well enough, and now it is like to go well with neither of us; - but thou hast not believed what I have been saying."
Hrut laughed when he heard that, and went away; after that he came before the king and thanked him; and the king spoke kindly to him, and bade him "farewell". Hrut went straight to his ship, and they had a fair wind all the way until they ran into Borgarfirth.
As soon as the ship was made fest to the land, Hrut rode west home, but Auzur stayed by the ship to unload her, and lay her up. Hrut rode straight to Hauskuldstede, and Hauskuld gave him a hearty welcome, and Hrut told him all about his travels. After that they sent men east across the rivers to tell Fiddle Mord to make ready for the bridal feast; but the two brothers rode to the ship, and on the way Hauskuld told Hrut how his money matters stood, and his goods had gained much since he was away. Then Hrut said -
"The reward is less worth than it ought to be, but I will give thee as much meal as thou needst for thy household next winter."
Then they drew the ship on land on rollers, and made her snug in her shed, but all the wares on board her they carried away into the Dales westward. Hrut stayed at home at Hrutstede till winter was six weeks off, and then the brothers made ready, and Auzur with them, to ride to Hrut's wedding. Sixty men ride with them, and they rode east till they came to Rangriver plains. There they found a crowd of guests, and the men took their seats on benches down the length of the hall, but the women were seated on the cross benches on the dais, and the bride was rather downcast. So they drank out the feast and it went off well. Mord pays down his daughter's portion, and she rides west with her husband and his train. So they ride till they reach home. Hrut gave over everything into her hands inside the house, and all were pleased at that; but for all that she and Hrut did not pull well together as man and wife, and so things went on till spring, and when spring came Hrut had a journey to make to the Westfirths, to get in the money for which he had sold his wares; but before he set off his wife says to him -
"Dost thou mean to be back before men ride to the Thing?"
"Why dost thou ask?" said Hrut.
"I will ride to the Thing," she said, "to meet my father."
"So it shall be," said he, "and I will ride to the Thing along with thee."
"Well and good," she says.
After that Hrut rode from home west to the Firths, got in all his money, and laid it out anew, and rode home again. When he came home he busked him to ride to the Thing, and made all his neighbours ride with him. His brother Hauskuld rode among the rest. Then Hrut said to his wife -
"If thou hast as much mind now to go to the Thing as thou saidst a while ago, busk thyself and ride along with me."
She was not slow in getting herself ready, and then they all rode to the Thing. Unna went to her father's booth, and he gave her a hearty welcome, but she seemed somewhat heavy-hearted, and when he saw that he said to her -
"I have seen thee with a merrier face. Hast thou anything on thy mind?"
She began to weep, and answered nothing. Then he said to her again, "Why dost thou ride to the Thing, if thou wilt not tell me thy secret? Dost thou dislike living away there in the west?"
Then she answered him -
"I would give all I own in the world that I had never gone thither."
"Well!" said Mord, "I'll soon get to the bottom of this." Then he sends men to fetch Hauskuld and Hrut, and they came straightway; and when they came in to see Mord, he rose up to meet them and gave them a hearty welcome, and asked them to sit down. Then they talked a long time in a friendly way, and at last Mord said to Hauskuld -
"Why does my daughter think so ill of life in the west yonder?"
"Let her speak out," said Hrut, "if she has anything to lay to my charge."
But she brought no charge against him. Then Hrut made them ask his neighbours and household how he treated her, and all bore him good witness, saying that she did just as she pleased in the house.
Then Mord said, "Home thou shalt go, and be content with thy lot; for all the witness goes better for him than for thee".
After that Hrut rode home from the Thing, and his wife with him, and all went smoothly between them that summer; but when spring came it was the old story over again, and things grew worse and worse as the spring went on. Hrut had again a journey to make west to the Firths, and gave out that he would not ride to the Althing, but Unna his wife said little about it. So Hrut went away west to the Firths.
Now the time for the Thing was coming on, Unna spoke to Sigmund Auzur's son, and asked if he would ride to the Thing with her; he said he could not ride if his kinsman Hrut set his face against it.
"Well!" says she, "I spoke to thee because I have better right to ask this from thee than from any one else."
He answered, "I will make a bargain with thee: thou must promise to ride back west with me, and to have no underhand dealings against Hrut or myself".
So she promised that, and then they rode to the Thing. Her father Mord was at the Thing, and was very glad to see her, and asked her to stay in his booth white the Thing lasted, and she did so.
"Now," said Mord, "what hast thou to tell me of thy mate, Hrut?"
Then she sung him a song, in which she praised Hrut's liberality, but said he was not master of himself. She herself was ashamed to speak out.
Mord was silent a short time, and then said -
"Thou hast now that on thy mind I see, daughter, which thou dost not wish that any one should know save myself, and thou wilt trust to me rather than any one else to help thee out of thy trouble."
Then they went aside to talk, to a place where none could overhear what they said; and then Mord said to his daughter -
"Now tell me all that is between you two, and don't make more of the matter than it is worth."
"So it shall be," she answered, and sang two songs, in which she revealed the cause of their misunderstanding; and when Mord pressed her to speak out, she told him how she and Hrut could not live together, because he was spell-bound, and that she wished to leave him.
"Thou didst right to tell me all this," said Mord, "and now I will give thee a piece of advice, which will stand thee in good stead, if thou canst carry it out to the letter. First of all, thou must ride home from the Thing, and by that time thy husband will have come back, and will be glad to see thee; thou must he blithe and buxom to him, and he will think a good change has come over thee, and thou must show no signs of coldness or ill-temper, but when spring comes thou must sham sickness, and take to thy bed. Hrut will not lose time in guessing what thy sickness can be, nor will he scold thee at all, but he will rather beg every one to take all the care they can of thee. After that he will set off west to the Firths, and Sigmund with him, for he will have to flit all his goods home from the Firths west, and he will be away till the summer is far spent. But when men ride to the Thing, and after all have ridden from the Dales that mean to ride thither, then thou must rise from thy bed and summon men to go along with thee to the Thing; and when thou art all-boun, then shalt thou go to thy bed, and the men with thee who are to bear thee company, and thou shalt take witness before thy husband's bed, and declare thyself separated from him by such a lawful separation as may hold good according to the judgment of the Great Thing, and the laws of the land; and at the man's door [the main door of the house] thou shalt take the same witness. After that ride away, and ride over Laxriverdale Heath, and so on over Holtbeacon Heath; for they will look for thee by way of Hrutfirth. And so ride on till thou comest to me; then I will see after the matter. But into his hands thou shalt never come more."
Now she rides home from the Thing, and Hrut had come back before her, and made her hearty welcome. She answered him kindly, and was blithe and forbearing towards him. So they lived happily together that half-year; but when spring came she fell sick, and kept her bed. Hrut set off west to the Firths, and bade them tend her well before he went. Now, when the time for the Thing comes, she busked herself to ride away, and did in every way as had been laid down for her; and then she rides away to the Thing. The country folk looked for her, but could not find her. Mord made his daughter welcome, and asked her if she had followed his advice; and she says, "I have not broken one tittle of it".
Then she went to the Hill of Laws, and declared herself separated from Hrut; and men thought this strange news. Unna went home with her father, and never went west from that day forward.
Hrut came home, and knit his brows when he heard his wife was gone, but yet kept his feelings well in hand, and stayed at home all that half-year, and spoke to no one on the matter. Next summer he rode to the Thing, with his brother Hauskuld, and they had a great following. But when he came to the Thing, he asked whether Fiddle Mord were at the Thing, and they told him he was; and all thought they would come to words at once about their matter, but it was not so. At last, one day when the brothers and others who were at the Thing went to the Hill of Laws, Mord took witness and declared that he had a money-suit against Hrut for his daughter's dower, and reckoned the amount at ninety hundreds in goods, calling on Hrut at the same time to pay and hand it over to him, and asking for a fine of three marks. He laid the suit in the Quarter Court, into which it would come by law, and gave lawful notice, so that all who stood on the Hill of Laws might hear.
But when he had thus spoken, Hrut said -
"Thou hast undertaken this suit, which belongs to thy daughter, rather for the greed of gain and love of strife than in kindliness and manliness. But I shall have something to say against it; for the goods which belong to me are not yet in thy hands. Now, what I have to say is this, and I say it out, so that all who hear me on this hill may bear witness: I challenge thee to fight on the island; there on one side shall be laid all thy daughter's dower, and on the other I will lay down goods worth as much, and whoever wins the day shall have both dower and goods; but if thou wilt not fight with me, then thou shalt give up all claim to these goods."
Then Mord held his peace, and took counsel with his friends about going to fight on the island, and Jorund the priest gave him an answer.
"There is no need for thee to come to ask us for counsel in this matter, for thou knowest if thou fightest with Hrut thou wilt lose both life and goods. He has a good cause, and is besides mighty in himself and one of the boldest of men."
Then Mord spoke out, that he would not fight with Hrut, and there arose a great shout and hooting on the hill, and Mord got the greatest shame by his suit.
After that men ride home from the Thing, and those brothers Hauskuld and Hrut ride west to Reykiardale, and turned in as guests at Lund, where Thiostolf, Biorn Gullbera's son, then dwelt. There had been much rain that day, and men got wet, so long-fires were made down the length of the hall. Thiostolf, the master of the house, sat between Hauskuld and Hrut, and two boys, of whom Thiostolf had the rearing, were playing on the floor, and a girl was playing with them. They were great chatterboxes, for they were too young to know better. So one of them said -
"Now, I will be Mord, and summon thee to lose thy wife because thou hast not been a good husband to her."
Then the other answered -
"I will be Hrut, and I call on thee to give up all claim to thy goods, if thou darest not to fight with me."
This they said several times, and all the household burst out laughing. Then Hauskuld got wroth, and struck the boy who called himself Mord with a switch, and the blow fell on his face, and graced the skin.
"Get out with thee," said Hauskuld to the boy, "and make no game of us;" but Hrut said, "Come hither to me," and the boy did so. Then Hrut drew a ring from his finger and gave it to him, and said -
"Go away, and try no man's temper henceforth."
Then the boy went away saying -
"Thy manliness I will bear in mind all my life."
From this matter Hrut got great praise, and after that they went home; and that was the end of Mord's and Hrut's quarrel.
Now, it must be told how Hallgerda, Hauskuld's daughter, grows up, and is the fairest of women to look on; she was tall of stature, too, and therefore she was called "Longcoat". She was fair-haired, and had so much of it that she could hide herself in it; but she was lavish and hard-hearted. Her foster-father's name was Thiostolf; he was a South islander by stock; he was a strong man, well skilled in arms, and had slain many men, and made no atonement in money for one of them. It was said, too, that his rearing had not bettered Hallgerda's temper.
There was a man named Thorwald; he was Oswif's son, and dwelt out on Middlefells strand, under the Fell. He was rich and well to do, and owned the islands called Bear-isles, which lie out in Broadfirth, whence he got meal and stock fish. This Thorwald was a strong and courteous man, though somewhat hasty in temper. Now, it fell out one day that Thorwald and his father were talking together of Thorwald's marrying, and where he had best look for a wife, and it soon came out that he thought there wasn't a match fit for him far or near.
"Well," said Oswif, "wilt thou ask for Hallgerda Longcoat, Hauskuld's daughter?"
"Yes! I will ask for her," said Thorwald.
"But that is not a match that will suit either of you," Oswif went on to say, "for she has a will of her own, and thou art stern-tempered and unyielding."
"For all that I will try my luck there," said Thorwald, "so it's no good trying to hinder me."
"Ay!" said Oswif, "and the risk is all thine own."
After that they set off on a wooing journey to Hauskuldstede, and had a hearty welcome. They were not long in telling Hauskuld their business, and began to woo; then Hauskuld answered -
"As for you, I know how you both stand in the world, but for my own part I will use no guile towards you. My daughter has a hard temper, but as to her looks and breeding you can both see for yourselves."
"Lay down the terms of the match," answered Thorwald, "for I will not let her temper stand in the way of our bargain."
Then they talked over the terms of the bargain, and Hauskuld never asked his daughter what she thought of it, for his heart was set on giving her away, and so they came to an understanding as to the terms of the match. After that Thorwald betrothed himself to Hallgerda, and rode away home when the matter was settled.
Hauskuld told Hallgerda of the bargain he had made, and she said -
"Now that has been put to the proof which I have all along been afraid of, that thou lovest me not so much as thou art always saying, when thou hast not thought it worth while to tell me a word of all this matter. Besides, I do not think the match as good a one as thou hast always promised me."
So she went on, and let them know in every way that she thought she was thrown away.
Then Hauskuld said -
"I do not set so much store by thy pride as to let it stand in the way of my bargains; and my will, not thine, shall carry the day if we fell out on any point."
"The pride of all you kinsfolk is great," she said, "and so it is not wonderful if I have some of it."
With that she went away, and found her foster-father Thiostolf, and told him what was in store for her, and was very heavy-hearted. Then Thiostolf said -
"Be of good cheer, for thou wilt be married a second time, and then they will ask thee what thou thinkest of the match; for I will do in all things as thou wishest, except in what touches thy father or Hrut."
After that they spoke no more of the matter, and Hauskuld made ready the bridal feast, and rode off to ask men to it. So he came to Hrutstede and called Hrut out to speak with him. Hrut went out, and they began to talk, and Hauskuld told him the whole story of the bargain, and bade him to the feast, saying -
"I should be glad to know that thou dost not feel hurt though I did not tell thee when the bargain was being made."
"I should be better pleased," said Hrut, "to have nothing at all to do with it; for this match will bring luck neither to him nor to her; but still I will come to the feast if thou thinkest it will add any honour to thee."
"Of course I think so," said Hauskuld, and rode off home.
Oswif and Thorwald also asked men to come, so that no fewer than one hundred guests were asked.
There was a man named Swan, who dwelt in Bearfirth, which lies north from Steingrimsfirth. This Swan was a great wizard, and he was Hallgerda's mother's brother. He was quarrelsome, and hard to deal with, but Hallgerda asked him to the feast, and sends Thiostolf to him; so he went, and it soon got to friendship between him and Swan.
Now men come to the feast, and Hallgerda sat upon the cross-bench, and she was a very merry bride. Thiostolf was always talking to her, though he sometimes found time to speak to Swan, and men thought their talking strange. The feast went off well, and Hauskuld paid down Hallgerda's portion with the greatest readiness. After he had done that, he said to Hrut -
"Shall I bring out any gifts beside?"
"The day will come," answered Hrut, "when thou wilt have to waste thy goods for Hallgerda's sake, so hold thy hand now."
Thorwald rode home from the bridal feast, and his wife with him, and Thiostolf, who rode by her horse's side, and still talked to her in a low voice. Oswif turned to his son and said -
"Art thou pleased with thy match? and how went it when ye talked together?"
"Well," said he, "she showed all kindness to me. Thou mightst see that by the way she laughs at every word I say."
"I don't think her laughter so hearty as thou dost," answered Oswif, "but this will be put to the proof by and by."
So they ride on till they come home, and at night she took her seat by her husband's side, and made room for Thiostolf next herself on the inside. Thiostolf and Thorwald had little to do with each other, and few words were thrown away between them that winter, and so time went on. Hallgerda was prodigal and grasping, and there was nothing that any of their neighbours had that she must not have too, and all that she had, no matter whether it were her own or belonged to others, she waited. But when the spring came there was a scarcity in the house, both of meal and stock fish, so Hallgerda went up to Thorwald and said -
"Thou must not be sitting indoors any longer, for we want for the house both meal and fish."
"Well," said Thorwald, "I did not lay in less for the house this year than I laid in before, and then it used to last till summer."
"What care I," said Hallgerda, "if thou and thy father have made your money by starving yourselves."
Then Thorwald got angry and gave her a blow on the face and drew blood, and went away and called his men and ran the skiff down to the shore. Then six of them jumped into her and rowed out to the Bear-isles, and began to load her with meal and fish.
Meantime it is said that Hallgerda sat out of doors heavy at heart. Thiostolf went up to her and saw the wound on her face, and said -
"Who has been playing thee this sorry trick?"
"My husband Thorwald," she said, "and thou stoodst aloof, though thou wouldst not if thou hadst cared at all for me."
"Because I knew nothing about it," said Thiostolf, "but I will avenge it."
Then he went away down to the shore and ran out a six-oared boat, and held in his hand a great axe that he had with a haft overlaid with iron. He steps into the boat and rows out to the Bear-isles, and when he got there all the men had rowed away but Thorwald and his followers, and he stayed by the skiff to load her, while they brought the goods down to him. So Thiostolf came up just then and jumped into the skiff and began to load with him, and after a while he said -
"Thou canst do but little at this work, and that little thou dost badly."
"Thinkest thou thou canst do it better?" said Thorwald.
"There's one thing to be done which I can do better than thou," said Thiostolf, and then he went on -
"The woman who is thy wife has made a bad match, and you shall not live much longer together."
Then Thorwald snatched up a fishing-knife that lay by him, and made a stab at Thiostolf; he had lifted his axe to his shoulder and dashed it down. It came on Thorwald's arm and crushed the wrist, but down fell the knife. Then Thiostolf lifted up his axe a second time and gave Thorwald a blow on the head, and he fell dead on the spot.
While this was going on, Thorwald's men came down with their load, but Thiostolf was not slow in his plans. He hewed with both hands at the gunwale of the skiff and cut it down about two planks; then he leapt into his boat, but the dark blue sea poured into the skiff, and down she went with all her freight. Down too sank Thorwald's body, so that his men could not see what had been done to him, but they knew well enough that he was dead, Thiostolf rowed away up the firth, but they shouted after him wishing him ill luck. He made them no answer, but rowed on till he got home, and ran the boat up on the beach, and went up to the house with his axe, all bloody as it was, on his shoulder. Hallgerda stood out of doors, and said -
"Thine axe is bloody; what hast thou done?"
"I have done now what will cause thee to be wedded a second time."
"Thou tellest me then that Thorwald is dead?" she said.
"So it is," said he, "and now look out for my safety."
"So I will," she said; "I will send thee north to Bearfirth, to Swanshol, and Swan, my kinsman, will receive thee with open arms. He is so mighty a man that no one will seek thee thither."
So he saddled a horse that she had, and jumped on his back, and rode off north to Bearfirth, to Swanshol, and Swan received him with open arms, and said -
"That's what I call a man who does not stick at trifles! And now I promise thee if they seek thee here, they shall get nothing but the greatest shame."
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