Egil's Saga

Translated from the Egilssaga by William Morris

Transcription of Calligraphic Manuscript, Society of Antiquaries, M.S. 907

f. 1
There was a man named Wolf, the son of Bialfi and Halbera, daughter of Wolf the Unfeared, and sister of Halbiorn the Half-troll of Hrafivista, who was father of Ketil the Trout.

Wolf was a man so big and strong, that there was none like to him in those days in all the land; while he was yet but a youth he betook him to warring and the ways of a viking, and fell into company with Berdla-Kari, a noble man, and peerless of strength and daring and he was a bearsark: Wolf and he had one purse in common, and the greatest good liking there was between them; but when they went from warring Kari fared to his house at Berdla, and a very wealthy man was he. Kari had three children; two sons, Eyvind Lambi, and Olvir Hnufa, and a daughter, Salbiorg by name

f. 2
who was the fairest of women, and very high hearted: her Wolf wedded, and then he also went home to his own stead. Wolf was a wealthy man both of lands and chattels: he took a degree of a lord of land, even as his forefathers had done, and became a mighty man

As the tale tells Wolf was a man very busy in his household; his wont it was to rise up betimes, and go about among his bailiffs, or there whereas were his smiths, or look to his cattle or his cornfields; or whiles would he be holding talk with such as needed counsel of him; and good rede had he for all matters, for fore seeing was he. But every day when night came on he waxed so cross-grained, that few men might have speech of him; and he was heavy-headed a nights: wherefore men said that he was a skin-changer, and he was called Night-wolf.

Nightwolf had two sons by his wife, the elder was called Thorolf, and the younger Grim. So when

f. 3
they waxed up they were big men both, and strong, even as their father. Thorolf was the goodliest and the hopefullest; he was like his mother’s kin, a very joyous man, open-handed, exceeding eager in all matters, and a great chapman withal.        Grim was a black man and an ugly, like to his father both in aspect and mind, and he waxed right busy over his housekeeping he was a wellskilled man both in wood and iron, and became the greatest of smiths: oft a winter-tide he would fare to the herring-fishing in his yawl and many housecarles with him.

But when Thorolf was twenty years old he arrayed him for warfare, and Nightwolf gave him a longship; in fellowship with him herein were the sons of Berdla-Kari Eyvind and Olvir to wit: they had a great company, and another long-ship, and so they fared the summer long a warring, and gathered wealth, and gat a great booty

 

f. 4
So fared they certain years, being out a warring in the summer-tide, but in winter were at home with their fathers.       Thorolf had home with him many a goodly thing, which he brought to his father and his mother; and good store he had now both of wealth and worth.       Now was Nightwolf grown some-what old by then his sons were come to man’s estate.

Chapt. II Of Aulvir Hnufi

In those days was Audbiorn king of the Firths; Hroald was his earl, whose son was Thorer. Also there was an earl called Atli the Slender, who dwelt in Ganlar; his children were these Hallstein, Holmstein, Herstein, and Solveig the Fair.

Now on an autumntide when men were gathered to- gether at Gaular for the harvest feast of offering, Ol- vir Hnufa cast eyes on Solveig, and was taken wit desire for her, and wooed her; but Earl deemed him not good man enough for her, and said him nay

f. 5
So Olver made many love-lorn songs about her; and he loved her so sore, that for her sake he left warrings; and so were Thorolf and Eyvind Lambi left alone of that company.

Chap. III. Of the uprising of the dominion of Harald Fairhair.

Now Harald the son of Halfdan the Black had taken to him his father’s heritage, and had sworn oath therewith, that he would not let shear his hair nor comb it till he were sole king over Norway; so was he called Harald Shockhead.       Then fought he with those kings who were nighest him, and overcame them, w[h]ereof are the tales many.       Then he gat to him the uplands; and thence fared he north into Thrandheim, and had there many battles before he gat to be sole lord of Thrandheim.       Thence was he minded to go into Naumdale against those brethren Herlang and Hrollang, who were kings thereover

f. 6
But when the brethren heard of his goings, then went Herlang into a mound with twelve men of his, even that mound which he had let build up for three winters, and then was the mound shut on him; but Hrollang tumbled himself down from his kingly seat, and took an earl’s dignity; then went he unto King Harald, and gave up his kingdom to him; and so won Harald all Naum- dale and Halagoland, and set men over his domains. Thereafter departed King Harald from Thrandheim with an host of ships, and fared south to Mere; there had he battle with King Hunthiof and prevailed against him, and Hunthiof fell there; and so won King Harald North-mere and Raumsdale.

But Solfi Klofi son of King Hunthiof had escaped from the battle, and he fared to King Arnvid of the South-mere, and prayed help of him, speaking in his wise: Though on our hands this trouble be fallen as now, no long time will it be or on thee falleth the self-

f. 7
same trouble, for meseemeth Harald will speedily be here when he hath brought all to thralldom and servi- tude in Raumsdale and North-mere: then will ye have the same choice to deal with as we had: for either must ye defend your wealth and freedom, bidding all them to take part with you to whom ye look to helping; where- unto forsooth will I offer my strength for the meeting of this wrack and wrong; or else must ye een do as did they of Naumdale, and thrust yourselves under the yoke of your own will, and become the thralls of this Harald.       Greater gain seemed it to my father for- sooth to die amid honour a king yet, rather than at the end of his days to become a king’s servant.

And thus also meseems will ye think and all such as are of any account, and will be held for mighty men

By such like words was the king well determined to gather folk together and ward his realm; and he and Solvi made compact together, and sent word unto

f. 8
Audbiorn king of the Firths, bidding him come help them; so when the messengers came to King Audbiorn, they did their errand to him, and he took counsel thereof with his friends, and all they counseled him to gather folk, and fare to the meeting at Mere according to the word sent.       So King Audbiorn let shear up the war arrow, and send the war-bidding throughout all his realm and sent folk to his great men to bid them come to him: but when the King’s messengers came to Nightwolf, he heard their errand, and how the King would have him to him with all his housecarls; then answered Night- wolf: The King may well deem it his due of me that I should fare with him if he have to ward his land, and war be come into the Firth-country; but I deem me nowise bound to go north to Mere, and fight for the warding of that land. So short may be your tale when ye come to the King; to wit, that Nightwolf will sit at home amid this rush of war, and will

f. 9
neither gather warfolk, nor fare from home to fight against Harald Shockhead: for meseemeth that good-hap enough is with him, whereas our King hath never a handful thereof

Then fared the messengers home to the King, and told him of the speeding of their errand : but Night- wolf sat at home in his own place.

Chap: IV. The battle of King Harald with King Audbiorn.

King Audbiorn fared with his host north to Mere, and there met King Arnvid and Solvi klofi, and they had all together a great host.

And now was King Harald also come from the north with his host, and they met inward of Solskel: there befel a great battle, and fast fell men on either side: of King Harlad’s folk fell these; two earls Asgaut and Asbiorn, two sons also of Hakon the Ladar. Earl to wit Griot- gard and Herlang; and many other great men withal

f. 10
But of the Mere-folks company fell King Arnvid and King Audbiorn, but Solvi Klofi fled away, and was a great vik- ing thereafter, and oft wrought great scathe in the realm of King Harald; and was called Solvi Klofi

After these things King Harald laid South Mere under him but Vemund the brother of King Audbiorn held the Firths, and became king over them.       Now this befel in autumn, and men counseled King Harald not to sail south to the Stad at such a tide; so he set Earl Rognvald over both the Meres and Raumsdale, and the Earl had a great company with him.

That same harvest the sons of Atli set on Olver Hnufa to slay him, and so great a company they had that Olver might nowise withstand them, but fled away hastily: he fared north to Mere, and found King Harald there, and became his man, and fared north to Thrandheim with the King in the autumn-tide: Olvir grew to be full well beloved of the King, and became his skald

f. 11
That winter fared Earl Rognvald by the inner neck-sea into the Firth-country; he spied out the goings of King Vemund, and came a-night-tide to a stead called Naust dale, where Vemund was afeasting: there Earl Rogn- vald took the house over their heads, and burnt the King therein with ninety men.       Thereafter came Berdla- Lari to the Earl with a long-ship all manned, and they fared both together north to Mere: Rognvald took the ships that Vemund had had, and all his chattels. But Berdla Kari fared north to Thrandheim to King, and became his man.

The next spring King Harald fared south along the land with a navy, and laid the Firths and Fialir under him, and set men of his thereover: Earl Roald he set over the Firths.

King Harald was full wary when he took to him any country newly come into his power about the lords and wealthy bonders, and all such as he misdoubted that

f. 12
they might rise up against him: one of two things he would have them do, either become his servants or depart from the land; or else for a third choice indeed to take things hard and dreadful; as some lost life, some were maimed of hand or foot.

In every country King herald took for his own all odal rights, and all lands both tilled and waste; yea and the seas and waters also.       All bonders must be his lieges; yea and they who worked in the wood, and salt-carles, and all such as took prey either on sea or land, all these were his bounden men.

But from this bondage fled many men away from the land, so that in those days were the waste places peopled far and wide; Jamtaland to wit and Helsingialand; and in the West-countries the South-isles, Dublin-shire in Ireland; in Scotland Caithness and Shetland; Normandy in France; the Faroes withal. Also in those days was Iceland found.

f. 13
Chap: V. The King sendeth word to Nightwolf

King Harald lay with his host in the Firths, and sent men all through the land there to such as had not come to him, and with whom he deemed he had to do: so the King’s messengers come to Nightwolf, and have good wel- come of him. They set forth that errand with him, and say that the King would have Nightwolf come to him: He hath heard of thee, said they, that thou art a noble man and of great kin, and great honour wilt thou have of him for full eager is he to have with him such as he hath heard tell of for prowess of valiancy and strength.”

Nightwolf answered: saying that he was an old man as now, and no more meet for war or being abroad in war-ships. I must sit at home now, and let this serving of the King go by me.

Said the messenger: “Then let thy son fare to the King, who shall make him a lord of land if he will serve him.” Nought will I be a lord of land while my father lives,

f. 14
said Grim, for he alone shall be lord over me whiles he has life.

So the messengers go their ways and when they come to the King they tell him all that Nightwolf had spoken before them; and the King was wroth thereat, and spake certain words thereon, saying that these were men exceeding full of pride; what were they minded for then?

Olvir Hnufa was standing hard by, and he bade the King be not wrath: I will go see Nightwolf, and he will come to thee so soon as we wotteth that thou settest store on his coming”

So Olvir went to Nightwolf, and said that the King was wroth, and nought would do save that either father or son should fare to the King, and said withal that they should have great honour of the King if they would obey him; and that it was widely, and truly withal, told of that the King was a good king to his men both of wealth and worth.

f. 15
But Nightwolf answered: My heart forbodeth me that neither I nor my sons are like to be of good hap with this king, nor will I go to him; but if Thorolf come home this summer, then will he easily moved to this journey, and to the serving of the King: now go tell the King both that I would be his friend, and that all such as shall take account of my word shall hold to his friendship; and that I will hold the same rule and dominion at his hands as I held while agone from the king that was, if so the King will, now and from this time forward: let see then how the King and I shall accord together.

So Olvir Hnufa went back to the King and told him that Nightwolf would send him his son, but that he who was meetest thereto was not at home as now. So the King let the matter be. In the summer-tide he fared through Sogn; but when harvest was come arrayed him to go north away to Thrandheim.

f. 16
Chap: VI. Of the talk betwixt Thorolf and Nightwolf

Now Thorolf son of Nightwolf and Eyvind Lambi came home in harvest-tide from warring. Thorolf fared to his father; and the twain fell a talking together. Thorolf asked what had been the errand of those men whom King Harald had sent thither; and so Nightwolf said that the King had sent bidding that eith- er he himself or one of his sons should come to him and do him service. And how didst thou answer? said Thorolf       I said that it was not in my heart ever to go serve King Harald, and so would I have both ye think if I might rule; for I deem that the end of it will be; that the end of our life-days is the portion we shall get from this king

Clean otherwise it is with me, said Thorolf, for I deem that our portion from him will be the greatest fur- therance, and my mind is fast set to go to the King and become his man; for true tidings have I heard that his

f. 17
court is furnished with none but men of prowess, and meseem- eth it is a thing much to be desired to come into their company if so be they will take me to them, for they are holden for far better than any other in this land: moreover it is told of the King, that he is the most open-handed of Kings in the giving of gifts to his men, and no less free in fur- thering them and in giving dominion to such as he deemeth meet thereto; and of them who have turned their backs on him, and would not serve him in friendly wise have I heard but one tale told, to wit that they were some what less than men; for some have fled away from the land, and some have become hirelings: and wondrous I deem it, father, of so wise a man as thou, and one so desirous of honour, that thou wilt not take with thanks that hon- our that the King offereth thee. But and if thou deem- est thyself to be foreseeing herein, and lookest to getting ill from this King, and that he will become our foe, why didst thou not fare to the fight against him in the company

f. 18
of the king, whose man thou wert aforetime? most unworthy I deem it to be neither his friend nor his foe.” Said Nightwolf: It went even after my deeming, that they who fought against Harald Shockhead at Mere would never win the day, and in like manner shall it be true that Harald shall be great scathe to my kin: but thou Thorolf must do after thine own will in thine own matters; nor fear I aught that though thou come among Harald’s courtmen thou wilt fall short of them in any wise, or be worse than the fore- most in all valiancy: only look to it that thou lack not forbearance, and strive not with men too great for thee: yet will thou not give place overmuch belike:

So when Thorolf was arrayed for departure Night- wolf led him down to the ship and kissed him, and bade him farewell, and either prayed for happy meeting

Chap: VII. Of Biorgolf

Biorgolf was the name of a man of Hala-

f. 19
goland who dwelt at Torgir; he was a Lord of Land, a mighty man and a wealthy, and half a giant for strength and growth, yea and of giant-kin moreover: he had a son called Bryniolf, like to his father. Biorgolf was old in those days, his wife was dead, and he had given up all into his son’s hands, and would wed him; so Bryniolf had to wife Helga the daughter of Kenl Trout from Hrafnista, and their son was call ed Bard, a man great of growth from his youth up, fair of face, and of great prowess.

Now on an autumn was there a thronged feast, and thereat were Biorgolf and his son the noblest men, and in the evenings men sat paired as the wont was: but at that feast was a man named Hogni, who dwelt at Leak; he was a very wealthy man, and the good- liest of all men to look on, a wise man but of no great kin, for he had made himself: this man had a full fair daughter named Hildirid, and the lot fell

f. 20
to her to sit beside Biorgolf, and they talked much that night, and the maid seemed fair in his eyes. So a little after came the feast to an end.

But the self-same autumn old Biorgolf went his ways from home in a yawl of his with thirty men threon; so he came to Leak, and twenty of them went up to the house, while ten heeded the ship. But when they came to the stead Hogni came to meet him, and gave him good welcome, bidding him abide there with his fellows, and that he took, and went into the hall. So when they had done off their travelling clothes and set cloaks on them, Hogni let bear in the beaker with good drink, and Hildirid, the goodman’s daughter bore ale to the guests.

Now calleth Biorgolf goodman Hogni to him, and saith: This is my errand hither, that I will have thy daughter home with me, and wed her in the hand-fast wise       Now Hogni saw nought for it

f. 21
but to do as Biorgolf would: Biorgolf bought her for an ounce of gold, and they went into one bed together: and Hildirid went home to Torgar with Biorgolf. But Bryniolf was ill content with this wedding

Biorgolf and Hildirid had two sons, Harek and Hrae- rek: then died Biorgolf; and so soon as he was borne out to mound Bryniolf drave away Hildirid and her sons; and she fared to her fathers at Leak, and there were nourished the sons of Hildirid: they were men fair of face, little of stature, well furnished with wits like to their mother’s kin: they were called Hildirid’s sons.       Bryniolf made no account of them, nor would give them aught of their father’s heritage.

Hildirid was heir to Hogni, and she and her sons took the heritage after him, and dwelt there at Leak very wealthy folk.       Bard Bryniolfson and the sons of Hildirid were much of an age

Now Bryniolf and Biorgolf his father had long held

f. 22
the market with the Finns, and the gathering of scat from them.

North in Halagoland is a firth called Vefsnir, amidst whereof lieth an island called Alost, a great island and a good: therein is a stead called Sandness, where dwelt a man, Sigurd by name, the wealthiest of those northern parts, a lord of land, and a wise man withal. Sigrid was the name of his daughter; she was deemed the best match in Halagoland; she was his only child, and take the heritage after Sigurd her father

Now Bard the son of Bryniolf took his ways from home in a cutter manned with thirty men, and went north to Alost, and came to Sigurd at Sandness; there he set forth his errand, and wooed Sigrid; and the man- er was well taken and answered in likely wise, and so it fell out that the maid was promised to Bard, and the wedding was to be holden the next summer, and Bard was to come north thereto

f. 23
Chap: VIII Of Bard and Thorolf

That summer had King Harald sent word to the lords of Halagoland, and summoned to him all such as had not heretofore come to him; and Bryniolf betook him to this journey, and Bard his son with him. So they fared in harvest-tide south to Thandheil, and there met the King; and he welcomed them with great love, and Bryniolf became Lord of Land to the King; and the King gave him rule greater than he had afore; the Finn-journey withal, the King’s bailif- ry in the mountains, and the Finn-market. Then Bryni olf departed and went home to his house, but Bard abode behind, and became courtman to the King.

Of all his courtmen the King made most account of his skalds, and they manned the second high-seat: inner- most of them sat Andun the Ill-skald, the eldest of all, who had been skald of Halfdan the Black, the father of King Harald: next to him sat Thorbiorn the

f. 24
Horn-cleaver; and next again sat Olvir Hnufa; next to whom was Bard marshaled, and he was called Bard the White or the Strong; well accounted was he of every man; and great fellowship was there betwixt him and Olvir Hnufa.

That same harvest-tide came to the King Thorolf son of Nightwolf, and Eyvind Lambi son of Berdla Kari, and had right good welcome there; they had thither a long-ship of twenty benches well-manned, wherein they had afore sailed a-warring; and they were marshaled in the guesten-hall with their company. And so when they had abided there till they deemed it time to go see the King, Berdla Kari and Olvir Hnufa went with them, and they greeted the King: then spake Olvir Hnufa: Here is come the son of Night-wolf, where of I told thee in the summer that he would send him to thee; and so will all his promises to thee stand fast and now mayst thou see true tokens that he will be

f. 25
altogether thy friend, whereas he hath sent his son to thee to serve thee so doughty a man as ye may ever see. But now is it Nightwolf’s prayer, and the prayer of all of us, that thou wilt receive Thorolf with honour, and make him a great man in thine house.”

The King answered his word well, and said he would do even so: “If Thorolf is proven to be of as great prowess as he is manlike to behold.

So then Thorolf became the King’s man, and had the wages and service of a courtman; but Berdla Kari, and Eyvind Lambi his son fared back south in the ship that Thorolf had brought north, and Kari gat back to his house and Eyvind also.

So Thorolf abode with the King, and the King gave him place betwixt Olvir Hnufa and Bard, and the greatest good fellowship abode betwixt them. Men would be saying that Thorolf and Bard were equal in goodliness and growth, and strength, and all prowess

f. 26
So there abideth Thorolf full well beloved of the King, and Bard with him; but when winter was worn away, and summer come, Bard craved leave of the King to go see to the wedding he had given his troth to the summer before; so when the King wotted that Bard must needs go he gave him leave to go home; which gotten Bard bade Thorolf fare with him, and said, as was indeed sooth, that he would there meet many noble men of his own kin whom he had not seen erst or known.       Thorolf thought this a thing to be desired, and they get leave hereof of the King; so they arrayed them, and had a good ship and a company of men.       So when they came to Torgar they sent men to Sigurd, saying that Bard was come to see to the matter whereunto he had bound himself the summer before. Sigurd says that he will hold by all that he spake with him. Then they appoint a day for the wedding, and Bard and his folk are to come north

f. 27
to Sandness. So when it came to the day appointed Bryniolf and Bard fare thither, having with them a many great men of their kindred and alliance.

And so it fell as bard had said, that Thorolf fell in there with many of his kin whom he had not known heretofore.       So they fared till they came to Sandness, and there was the feast most glorious. But when the feast was done Bard fared home with his wife, and abode at home that summer, and Thor- olf with him; but in harvest- tide they went south to the King, and abode with him another winter; in which winter died Bryniolf. But when Bard heard how his heritage lay empty, he prayed leave to go home; and the King granted it: and before they parted Bard was made a Lord of Land, even as his father had been, and had from the King all those bailifries that Bryniolf had had.

So Bard fared home to his house, and speedily became

f. 28
a great lord. But Hidirid’s son gat no whit more of the heritage than afore.

Bard had a son by his wife called Grimr.

But Thorolf abode with the King, and had great honour there.

Chap: IX Battle in Hafursfirth:

King Harald had out a great host, and drew together a great company of ships, and summoned men to him from far and wide about the land: he sailed out from Thrandheim, and made south along the land.       For in sooth he had heard that a great host was drawn together from Agdir, and Rogaland and Hordaland, and was gathered wider yet, both east away in Wick, and down from the land; and that many great men were come together with intent to ward the land against King Harald.

So King Harald stood south with his host; he himself had a great ship manned with his courtmen; in the

 

f. 29
forecastle was Thorolf Nightwolf-son, and Bard the White, and the sons of Berdla-Kari, Olvir Hnufa, and Eyvind Lambi; but the twelve bearserks of the King were forward in the bows.

Their meeting was south off Rogaland in Hafursfirth: and there befel the greatest battle that King Harald had ever had, and great fall of men on either side

The King laid his ship in the fore-front of the fight, and there was the battle strongest; but the end of all was that King Harald won the day.

There fell Thorir Long-chin, king of Agdir; but Kiotvi the Wealthy fled away with all such as yet stood upon their feet; saving those that submitted them after the battle.

Then were King Haralds folk mustered, and many were fallen, and many sorely hurt.       Thorolf was wounded sore, and Bard yet worser; nor was any man unhurt of those forward of the mast, saving

f. 30
such as iron would not bite on, to wit the King’s bear- serks. So the King let bind the hurts of his men, and thanked them for their stout fighting, and gave them gifts and gave the most praise where he deemed it due, and promised to increase their honour: hereto he named the ship-masters, and next to them his forecastle men, and others who fought forward.

That was the last battle King Harald had in the land, nor was there any to withstand him thereafter, and he gat all the land to him thenceforward.

The King let heal such of his men as were fated to live, and the dead he let array after the manner of those days.

So Thorolf and Bard lay wounded, and Thorolf’s hurts began to heal, but Bard’s turned deadly: then Bard let call the King to him, and spake thus:

If so it be that I die from these hurts, then will I pray of thee to let me deal as I will with my heritage.

f. 31
So when the King had said yea thereto, Bard said: All mine heritage I will have Thorolf take, my fellow, and my kinsman, both land [and] chatels; and to him will I give my wife, and my son to be nourished; for herein do I trust him the most of all men

And this matter he bound fast according to law by the leave of the King.       Then died Bard, and he was duely arrayed, and much was he sorrowed for.

Thorolf grew whole of his hurts; he followed the King that summer, and had gotten very great glory

In harvest-tide the King fared north to Thrandheim; and then Thorolf prayed to go his ways to Halagoland, and look on those gifts he had gotten in the summer from Bard his kinsman: the King gave him thereto, and sent message by him, and tokens that Thorolf should have all that Bard had given him; and this went with the message that that gift was given by the King’s rede, and it was his will that so should it be.

f. 32
Then the King let make Thorolf a Lord of Land, and gave him all the bailifries which Bard had had, and the Finn-journey to boot, on the same terms as those whereon Bard had held it. Moreover the King gave Thorolf a long-ship right good with all her gear, and let array his journey in the best wise. So Thorolf went his ways, and he and the King parted in the greatest friendship

Now when Thorolf came north to Torgar there had he right good welcome: he told of the fall of Bard and of how withal Bard had made him heir to his lands, his chattels and his wife; then he showed forth the King’s own message and the tokens thereof.

Now when Sigrid heard the tidings, she deemed it great scathe of her husband, but Thorolf was well known to her from of old, and she knew that he was a man of the greatest note, and that the match was a right good one: she saw good therefore, she and her friends, since the King’s

f. 33
will it was, to give her word to Thorolf if so be it were not against her father’s will. So then Thorolf took the rule over all things there, and the King’s bailifries withal: then he took his ways from home, and had a long-ship, and on her hard on sixty men; and when he was ready he sailed north along the land, and came at ere of a day to Sand- ness in Alost, and laid his ship in the haven. But when they had pitched their tent and dight all things, Thorolf went up to the house with twenty men, and Sig- urd greeted him well and bade him abide there; for there had afore been much aquaintance between them since the wedding of Bard with Sigurd’s kin. So then Thor- olf went into the hall, and took guesting there, and Sigurd sat down by him and asked for tidings.

Then told Therolf of the battle foughten in the south-count- ry that summer, and of the fall of many whom Sigurd knew; and Thorolf told how Bard his son-in-law had died of wounds gotten in that battle; and to both of them

f. 34
great scathe that seemed. Then Thorolf tells Sigurd of what had been in the will of Bard before he died; and the King’s message also he laid before him, how he would have all that fulfilled, whereof he showed him tokens. Then fell Thorolf to wooing of Sigurd Sigrid his daughter. Sigurd took the matter well, saying that many things press- ed this on him; first that the King would have it so; and then that Bard had so bidden; and moreover that Thorolf was well known to him, and he deemed that his daughter were well wedded so. Thus Thorolf’s wooing sped smoothly, and the betrothals were done, and a day of wedding appointed at Torgar in the harvest-tide.

Then fared Thorolf and his fellows home to his house, and arrayed a great feast there, and bade much folk thereto; and thither came many noble kinsmen of Thorolf. And Sigurd also took his ways from the north with a great long-ship and a chosen company. And at that feast were there very many folk.

f. 35
Speedily was it seen of Thorolf that he was a bounteous man and great-hearted; he had a great following about him and soon waxed a man of costly life, and had need of great store; but the seasons were good in those days, and things needful lightly gotten

That same winter died Sigurd of Sandness, and Thorolf took the heritage after him: and full great was the wealth thereof.

Now the sons of Hildirid came to Thorolf, and put for- ward the claim they deemed they had on the goods once owned of Biorgolf their father; but Thorolf answered in this wise: Bryniolf I knew well, and Bard still better, that they were men so righteous, that they would have shared with you so much of Biorgolf’s heritage as they wotted was yours of right: now I was anigh when as ye brought this same claim against Bard, and heard how he deemed there was no right in it, for he called you sons of a concubine.

f. 36
Harek said that they could bring witness to show that their mother was bought with a dower: But true it is, that at the first we pushed not this case against Bryniolf our brother: with Bard also had we to do with our own folk, and of him we looked for honour in all places; yet were our dealings not overlong together: but now when our heritage is fallen to strangers we may no longer sit down quietly under our loss: yet it may be as heretofore that the odds of might are overgreat for us to be righted in this matter of thee, if thou wilt not hearken to the witness that we are ready to put forth to show that we be nobly born. Then answered Thorolf roughly: All the less do I deem you nobly born, whereas it hath been told me that your mother was taken by force, and had away as a prey of war.”

And therewith their converse ended.

Chap: X Thorolfs Finn journey

In the winter Thorolf set on foot his Finn journey,

f. 37
up into the mountains, having with him a great company, not less than ninety men; whereas the wont had been for the bailifs to have thirty men, or whiles less.

Great merchandize also he had with him

So he speedily made treaty with the Finns, and took seat of them, and held a market with them; and all went peacefully and with good-will, yet somewhat belike for fear’s sake.       Thorolf fared wide through the Mark, but when he made east for the fells he heard that the Kylfings were come from the east and were faring to the market of the Finns robbing some deal: so he set the Finns to spying on the Kylfings, and he himself fared after to seek them, and slew them all so that none escaped: and afterwards he came on fifteen or twenty together. In all they slew some hundred men, and took there a huge booty, and came back in spring with so much done. Then fared Thorolf to his house at Sandness, and abode

f. 38
there a long space of spring. He let build a great long-ship dragon-headed, and array it in the best wise; and had it from the north with him.

Thorolf drew together much of such goods as were to be gotten in Halagoland; he had men a herring fishing and a codfishing; seal-taking there was and egg-taking: and all that he let be brought to him.

Never had he fewer freedmen in his house than an hundred; a bounteous man he was, and an open-hand ed: and he became well-beloved of such great men as were anigh him: he grew to be a mighty man; and ever he had great heed of the array of his ships and weapons.

Chap: XI A feast at Thorolfs

King Harald fared to Halagoland that summer, and feasts were dight against his coming both at his manors, and at the Lords of Land, and wealthy bond- ers.       And Thorolf dight a feast for the King, and expended much thereon; and it was appointed when the

f. 39
King should come. Thorolf bid a many folk thither, and had there the most chosen men that might be gotten

The King came to the feast with nigh three hundred men, and Thorolf had there five hundred to meet him.

Thorolf had let array a great corn-barn that was there, and set benches therein, and there they drank; for no hall there was big enough to hold so great a company; many shields withal he let hang up round about that house.

So the King sat down in the high-seat; and all seats were filled, both upper and nether: so the King looked round about, and waxed red, and spake nought, and men thought they saw of him that he was wroth.

All glorious was the feast, and the cheer of the best: the King was somewhat unmerry; but he abode three nights, as he had been minded.

On the day whereon the King must away Thorolf came to him and prayed that he might go down with him

f. 40
to the strand; and the King assented: and lo there off the land floated the dragon that Thorolf had let make; tilted and all rigged; so Thorolf gave the ship to the King, and bade so account of him as his heart was, who had not brought together that multitude of men for mastery’s sake but for the honour and glory of the King. The King took Thorolf’s word well, and waxed kind and merry. Many also added good words thereto, say- ing, as was sooth, that the feast was most glorious, and the parting-gift full noble, and that the King was much strengthened by such men: so in all friendship they parted. The King fared north to Halagoland, as he had been minded, and turned back south again when summer was far spent: and still he went about to such feasts as men had arrayed for him.

Chap: XII. Of the Sons of Hildirid

Now the sons of Hildirid fared to meet the King, and bade him home to a three nights’

f. 41
feast: the King took their bidding, and told them of when he would come thither. So on the day appoint ed came the King and his folk: not many were come together to meet him, yet was the feast of the best, and the King was very merry.

Now Harek gat speech of the King, and therein asked him concerning his way-farings of that summer past; and the King told him whereof he asked, and said that all men had given him good welcome; each according to his own fortune

Such a difference will have been betwixt them, said Harek, that at Torgar was the concourse greatest?       The King said that so it was. Said Harek: Verily that was to have been look- ed for, since for that feast was the gathering great- est: but of thy great good hap it fell King that thou fellest not into risk of thy life, as matters turned out. Ah! it fell out, as was like to be, that thou wert

f. 42
the wisest and the luckiest: for didst misdoubt thee that all was not right there, when thou sawest that great multitude so gotten together; and, as they tell me, thou wouldst ever have all thy folk in arms, and close watch holden night and day

The King looked on him and said       Why speakest thou so Harek? what hast thou to tell me thereof? Harek said: Shall I speak freely, King what seem- eth good to me?

Speak, said the King.

Meseemeth, said Harek, thou wouldst scarce be pleased wert thou to hear the common speech of men, when each speaketh at home out of the fullness of his heart, what a thralldom they deem thou hast laid on the people; but most true it is to tell thee, King, that the whole people lacketh nought to rise up against thee saving good heart, and one to lead them; and nought marvelous it is, said he, of such a man as Thorolf

f. 43
that he should be deemed the first of men; for he lacketh neither strength nor goodliness; and a court he hath about him like a king; and plenteous wealth hath he though he had but his own; but he will more over be as free with other folks’ goods as his very own

Withal thou hast given him great bailifries; for the which thou wert like to have been but ill rewarded: for most sooth it is to say, that when he heard that thou wert coming north to Halagoland with no more folk than they whom thou hadst, to wit three hundred men, then was it the counsel here to gather an host to- gether, and take away thy life, O King, and slay all thy folk; and Thorolf was the chief of all this plot; and they offered him to be king over Halago- land and Naumdale.       So he went up and down every firth, and all about the isles, and drew together every man he might get, and every weapon; nor was it hidden that that host should go to meet King Ha-

f. 44
rald in battle. But true it is, King, that though ye were somewhat the fewer, yet when ye came together, fear fell upon the hearts of the bonder-carles, so soon as they saw the sailing of you. And then was the other counsel fallen on, to go meet thee kindly, and bid thee to a feast, being minded to fall upon thee with fire and sword when thou should be heavy with drink and laid asleep; whereof this is a token if I have heard aright, that ye were brought into a corn- barn, because Thorolf was loth to burn up his new hall full fairly dight. And another token; every chamber was full of weapons and war-gear. But now when they might not bring to pass any one of their wiles against thee, they took the only rede that was left them, and cut adrift all their plotting: and me- seemeth all are wise enough to hide the thing, where as none would be found utterly sackless if the sooth came out. And now my counsel is that thou take

f. 45
Thorolf to thee, and let him be in thy court and bear thy banner, and abide in the forecastle of thy ship; for of all men is he the meetest hereto: or if thou wilt have him a Lord of Land, then give him dominion south away in the Firths, where are all his kin and then thou thyself mayst see to it that he wax not overgreat. But thy bailifries here in Halagoland give unto men of forbearance, who will serve thee tru- ly; men whose kin are of these parts, and have had such-like office. Yea we brethren are ready and longing to do such work as thou wilt use us for; and our father long held the King’s bailifry hereabouts; and well he dealt with it: and thou, King art hard bestead for men to rule for thee here; because thou comest here but seldom; for there is little store in the land that thou shouldst come here with thine host; nor must thou ever again come hither with but a few folk, for here is a folk right untrusty.

f. 46
The King was exceeding wroth at this talk, yet he spoke in measured wise, as was his manner when he heard such tidings as were of import. He asked wether Thorolf were at home at Torgar as then. Harek said it was not to be looked for: Thorolf is wise enough not to fall in the way of thy folk, King; for he cer- tainly would look for some to be not so wary of speech but that thou shouldst get to know the thing: he went north to Alost so soon as he knew that thou wert on thy way back from the north.

The King spake little of these tidings before folk; yet it seemed of him that he trowed in the words so spoken to him.       So the King went his ways, and the sons of Hildirid saw him off in seemly wise with gifts, and he promised them his friendship.

Those brethren made for themselves errands down in Naumdale, and fetched a compass round about the King, so that they met him now and again; and

f. 47
ever they throve with him.

Chap. XIII. Of Thorgils Giallandi

There was a man named Thorgils Giall- andi, a home-man of Thorolf, and the best hold en of his house-carles; he had followed Thorolf in his warring, and was his forecastle-man and banner-bearer

Thorgils had been in the battle of Hafursfirth, and had steered that ship of Thorolfs which he had erst used in his warring. Thorgils was mighty of body, and a most valiant man: the King had given him friendly gifts after the battle, and promised him his good-will. Thorgils was head over the house at Torgar when Thorolf was from home, and ruled all the household.

Now when Thorolf had fared from home he had brought forth all the Finn-scat that he had gotten in the fells, and which the King owned, and gave it into the hands of Thorgils, and bade him bring it to the King

f. 48
if he himself came not home before the King came back from the north and passed through the south country. So Thorgils arrayed a ship of burden great and fair, which Thorolf owned, and laid the scat aboard her, and with a crew of near twenty men sailed south after the King, and found him inward in Naum- dale. So when Thorgils came before the King he gave him greeting from Thorolf, and said that he was come thither with the Finnscat which Thorolf had sent him. The King looked on him, and answered not a word, and men saw that he was wroth. But Thorgils gat him gone, and was minded to get a better day for his speaking with the King.       He came to Olvir Hnufa, and asked him, after he had told how all had gone with him if he knew at all what had brought it about.       I know not, said he, but this have I noted, that ever since we were at Leak the King is silent whensoever Thorolf is talked of; where-

f. 49
fore I deem that he will have been slandered: this much I know of the sons of Hildirid, that they had a long privy talk with the King; and it was easy to see by their words that they are foes of Thorolf’s: but I will make sure of it from the King

So then Olvir went to the King, and said: Thy friend Thorgils Giallandi is come hither with scat from Finnland which is thy due; and much more is that scat than heretofore it hath been, and the wares much better: now he is hurried to be gone; wherefore do so well, King, as to go and see them; for grey-fells so good have I never set eyes on.

The King answered nought, yet went he to where the ship lay: then Thorgils had up the wares, and showed them to the King: the King [saw] that the scat was verily more and better worth than they had been aforetime, and his countenance cleared somewhat, and now might Thorgils have speech of him: so he brought to the

f. 50
King certain beaver-skins which Thorolf sent to the King, and other good things besides which he had gotten in the fells. The King grew glad thereat, and asked what had happed to tell of in that journey of Thor- olfs: and Thorgils told all straight out.

Then said the King: Great pity it is of Thorolf that he will not be true to me, but must needs be my banesman.’

Then answered many who were thereby, and all in one- wise, saying, That it was but slander of evil men if the King had been told that Thorolf was untrue. So it came about that the King said he trowed in their wards somewhat.

So now was the King gracious in all his converse with Thorgils, and they parted in friendly wise. But when Thorgils met Thorolf he told him how he had sped in all wise.

Chap: XIV Of Thorolf.

f. 51
That same winter fared Thorolf up into the mark again, and had an hundred men with him

And again he did as in the winter before, holding a mark et with the Finns, and going wide through the Mark. But when he was come a long way east, and his goings were heard of, there came Kvens to him and said that they were come on behoof of Faravid King of Kven- land to say that the Kyrialar were harrying his lands, and to pray Thorolf to fare thither and help him: and they said withal that Thorolf should have equal share of the prey as the King, and each man of his as two of the King’s men; but it was law among the Kvens that the King should have a third of the prey, and his host two thirds; and moreover he should have all beaver pelts and sables and _______

So Thorolf laid the matter before his men, and bade them choose whether they would go or not; and the more part chose to risk it since there was such wealth

f. 52
for the getting, so it was determined that they should fare east with the messengers.

Now Finn-mark is right wide; a sea lieth on the west thereof, and great firths run up thence; so is it on the north side also, and all about the east; but south- ward lieth Norway; and the Mark reacheth as far southward on the east as doth Halagoland on the west. But east from Naumdale lieth Jamptaland, and then Helsingialand, then Kvenland, then Finnland, then Kyriarlaland; but Finn-mark lieth north of all these lands; and up in the Mark are there many mountain- steads, some in the dales, and some by the water’s sided. Wondrous great waters are there in Finn-mark, and great woods by the water’s side; and at the back lie fells full great, that going endlong of the Mark are called the Keel.

Now when Thorolf came east to Kvenland, and met King Faravid, they dight them for the journey; three

f. 53
hundred men, and the Northmen for the fourth hund- red. So they went into the upper Mark, and came to the fells whereas were those Kyrialar, who had afore harried the Kvens: so when they found war come upon them they gathered together, and went to meet the foe, looking for victory as heretofore. But when the battle was joined the Northmen went forth fiercely, and the fall of men turned on the host of the Kyria- lar, and many fell and some fled away. But King Faravid and Thorolf got a huge prey. So turned they back to Kvenland; and thence fared Thorolf and his folk into the Mark; and he and Faravid parted in all friendship

So Thorolf came from the fells down into Vefsni, and then fared to his house in Sandness, and abode there awhile; but in the Spring he fared north to Torgar with his company. And when he came there it was told him how the sons of Hildirid had been that winter

f. 54
in Thrandheim with King Harald, and withal that they would not have spared to slander Thorolf to the King; and much was told to Thorolf concerning the gist of their slander. But Thorolf answered thus: The King will take no heed to it though such lies be laid before him; for there is no ground for this, that I should betray him; whereas in many wise he hath wrought me great good, and in no wise any ill: and all the less would I do him any hurt, even if it lay in my way, that I had liefer be his lord of land than be called King, with another in the same land with me who might at his will make me his thrall.

Chap: XV Of King Harald and Harek

The sons of Hildirid had been that winter with King Harald, and had had eleven men with them and their homemen and neighbors: the brethren would oft be talking with the King, and ever thrust Thorolf’s matters down the same road. Harek asked: How liked ye the Finnscat, King, that Thorolf sent

f. 55
thee? Well, said the King.

Thou hadst thought great things of it, said Harek, hadst thou but gotten all thy due; but it was far enow from that: a long way the best share did Thorolf take to himself: he sent thee three beaver-skins as a gift; but I know for sure that he kept to himself thirty that were thine own; and belike it fared in the same way with other matters. Of a sooth, King, if thou wert to give thy bailifry into the hands of us brethren, then would we bring thee in more wealth.

And whatsoever they said against Thorolf their fellows bare witness to the same; so it came about that the King waxed exceeding wroth.

Chap: XVI Of the King and Thorolf

Now in the summer Thorolf fared south to Thrandheim to King Harald, and he had with all the scat and great wealth besides, and ninety men all well arrayed. So when he came to the King they

 

f. 56
were marshaled in the guesten hall, and had full noble entertainment. But the next day went Olvir Hnufa to Thorolf his kinsman, and they talked together: said Olvir that Thorolf was being sorely slandered, and that the King hearkened to this tale bearing. So Thorolf bade Olvir lay his case before the King; For, said he of few words shall I be with the King, if he will rather trow in the lies of evil men than in my proven truth and singleness of heart.

So the next day came Olvir to Thorolf, and said that he had shown the rights of his matter to the King: Yet, said he I wot no clearer than afore what is in the mind of him.

Then shall I go to him myself, said Thorolf.

So did he; and came to the King as he sat at table; and when he came in he greeted the King, and the King took his greeting, and bade give him drink. Thorolf said that he had brought the scat newcome

f.57
from Finnmark; And other things else have I to give thee King as tokens of my love: and meseemeth that so will they best be spent, if they be spent in the win- ning of thy thanks.

The King says: Nought may I look for from Thorolf save good alone; for of nought else am I worthy at his hands: yet tell men two tales as to how far thou art careful of my content.

Untruly am I accounted of, said Thorolf, if any shall say that I have dealt untruly by thee. And meseems these that have set forth such a tale to thee are more friends of thine than I be. And most plain and clear it is, that they have it in their hearts to be utterly my foes; wherefore most like it is that they shall pay a price for it if we alone have to do together.

And therewith Thorolf went his ways.

But the next day Thorolf paid the scat out of hand, while the King was standing by; and when all was

f. 58
paid Thorolf brought forth certain beaver-skins and sables, and said that he would give them to the King, and many of them that stood by said that it was well done, and worthy of friendship. But the King said that Thorolf had shapen a reward for himself.

Thorolf saith, that he had wrought trustily in all wise as he deemed the King’s will was: And now if it like him not nought may I amend it. Well knew the King of my ways whenas I was with him aforetime in his fellowship; and marvellous I deem it that the King should think me now another man than then he proved me to be.

The King answered: Yea Thorolf, well were thy ways when thou wert with us: and now mesemeth best it were that thou fare to my court, and bear my banner, and be captain of my courtmen. And then may no man slander thee, while I am beholding night and day in what wise thou farest

f. 59
Thorolf looked on his right hand and on his left, and there stood his housecarls. And he said; Lothe were I to let this fellowship fall from my hands: have thy way, King, in the giving me titles and rule; but these my fellows will I not put away from me, whiles I have wherewithal to keep them even if I myself by myself must work out mine own fortune. But this is my prayer and desire of thee, King, that thou come guest in mine house and hearken there to the words of men whom thou trust est, what witness they bear to me in this matter; and then do according to what thou findest sooth.

But the King answered and said that never again would he take guesting in Thorolf’s house.

Then Thorolf went his ways, and so arrayed him for going homeward. And when he was gone the King gave into the hands of the sons of Hildirid those bailif- ries in Halagoland which Thorolf had held afore, and the Finn-journey withal. Also he took to him the stead

f. 60
of Torgar, and all the lands of Bryniolf, and gave them into the keeping of the sons of Hildirid. Then sent the King men with tokens to Thorolf to tell him how he had ordered matters. So Thorolf took what ships he had, and laid therein all the chattels he might have away, and he took with him all his men, both freedmen and thralls, and so fared north to Sandness to his house there.

And there had Thorolf no fewer folk and no less costly housekeeping.

Chap: Of the Sons of Hildirid

So the sons of Hildirid took the bailifries in Ha- lagoland, nor was there any to gainsay the King’s will: yet were many evil content therewith, to wit the kindred and friends of Thorolf.

The brethren fared up into the fells that winter-tide, and had with thirty men; and the Finns thought lesser honour of these bailiffs than they did in the time of Thorolf’s journey: so all the dues that the Finns

 

f. 61
had to pay were paid much worse than afore.

That same winter fared Thorolf up into the fells with an hundred men; straightway he fared east into Kven- land, and met King Faravid; they took counsel together, and determined to fare again into the mountains as in the winter before, and they had four hundred men: so they came down into Kyrialaland, and fell on the town- ships such as seemed meetest because of the multitude of men, and they harried there, and got great wealth. Then they turned back up into the Mark as winter wore.

In spring-tide Thorol got him back to his own house; some men he had a cod-fishing in the Bays, and some a herring-fishing; and all kind of store he sought for his household.

Thorolf had a great ship all dight for sea; of all things was it arrayed in the best wise; much painted above the sea-mark, and had withal a sail striped

f. 62
with blue and red stripes, and all gear about the ship was much adorned; this ship Thorolf let array, and gave a crew of his house-carles for her, and let lade her with stock-fish and hides, and oil-wares, and with grey-fells good store withal and other peltries that he had gotten in the mountains; and a full wealthy lading it was: so he let sail that ship west for England to buy him cloth and other store that he needed. Then she stood south along the land, and thence into the main, and made England; and [they] had a good market there, and laded the ship with wheat and honey, and wine and cloth, and so stood back again in harvest-tide; wind had they at will, and came off Hordaland.

Now that same harvest fared Hildirid’s sons with the scatt, and brought it to the King; and when they paid it down, the King was standing by, and looked on; and he said       Is all paid out of hand that ye got in Finn- mark?       And they said yea.

f. 63
Said the King: The scatt is both worser and lesser than that which Thorolf brought in; and yet ye said that he had dealt ill with his bailifry.

It is well King, said Harek, that thou mindest thee of how great scat was wont to come from Finn-mark, because ye may wot the clearer how great is thy loss in that. Thorolf hath devoured the Finn-scat for thee: we were up in the Mark in winter-tide, thirty men in company, even as the wont of thy bailifs hath been aforetime. Then cometh Thorolf with an hundred men; and we heard this of his words, that he was minded to take the lives of us brethren, and of all those men who followed us: and this was the charge he laid against us, that thou, King hadst given into the hands of us that bailifry that he would have: so nought we had for it but to look to our- selves, and keep out of his way; wherefore came we at our speediest from the peopled parts into the fells; but Thorolf fared with an host of men through all the

f. 64
Mark; and he had all the chaffer with them, and the Finns paid him scat, but he bound himself to this, that thy bailifs should not come into the Mark. He is minded to be king of the north parts, both the Mark and Halagoland; and be sure that now thou hast lost all allegiance of him.       As to his getting of that money, thou mayst have sure token to witness to it; for a ship of burden, the biggest of Halagoland was arrayed at Sandness in the spring, and all her lading Thorolf called his own: and I deem it was well nigh laden with grey-fells, and that there thou wilt find more beaver-skins and sables than Thorolf brought to thee. Thorgils Giallandi is captain of that ship, and methinks he will have sailed west to England. But if thou wilt know the sooth of this, have Thorgils’ goings spied on when he comes east; for never in our days meseemeth hath so rich a merchant-ship sailed.

And I deem it most sooth to say, King, that every penny

f. 65
of her lading is thy due.

His fellows all held by him in this tale; and no man there knew aught to say against it.

Chap: XVII. The taking of Thorolfs ship.

There were two brethren Sygtrygg the Keen- faring, and Hallvard the Hard-faring, men of the Wick, who were of King Harald’s house; their mothers kin was of Westfold, and they were akin to King Har- ald: their father had kin on either side-the-Goth-elf: they had a house at Hising, which they inherited from their father, a very wealthy man: there were four breth- ren of them; the others hight Thord and Thorgeir, and were the younger; they abode at home, and looked to the household.       Sigtrygg and Hallvard went all errands for the King both at home and abroad; and a many errands had they sped, which were perilous enow; both the taking of men, and the [s]laying hands on the goods of such as the King would bring to nought. A great

f. 66
company had they about them. Nought were they be- loved of the folk, but the King set great store by them. They were the swiftest of all men, both afoot, and on snow-shoes; and speedier than other men also were they a- seafaring. Daring men were they, big of body and in most matters foreseeing. They were with the King when these things came to pass.

In the harvest-tide went the King a guesting in Horda- land; and on a day he let call to him those brethren Sig- trygg and Hallvard; and when they came to him, he bade them go their ways with their company, and hold espial on the ship that Thorgils Giallandi was sailing, and which he had in England that summer: Bring me the ship and that is therein, saving them men; but let them go their ways in peace if they defend not the ship

The brethren were all ready hereto, and they took each his long-ship, and so departed to seek Thorgils and his

f. 67
men; and they heard that he was come from the west, and had sailed north along the land. So they followed after him north-away, and came up with him in Fura- sound; they speedily knew the ship, and laid one of the long-ships on the seaward board of it, while some went ashore, and boarded the ship by the gangway: and Thor- gils and his men looked for no ill, and defended themselves in no wise; and the first they knew of it was that many men all-armed were come aboard the ship: so they were laid hands on, and led ashore weaponless, with nought but the clothes they stood up in.        But Hallvard cast off the gangway, cut the hawsers, and warped the ship out: then they turned about, and sailed south along till they came to the King; and they brought him the ship, and all that was therein.       And when the lading was borne forth from the ship, the King saw that it was very rich, and that it was no lie that Harek had told him

f. 68
But Thorgils and his fellows got them brought on their way to Nightwolf and Skallagrim, and told them how their journey had gone nought smoothly; and there they had good welcome.       Nightwolf said that things would draw on to what his heart had told him; to wit, that Thor olf’s good-hap in his dealings with the King would not last out to the end: Little would I account of this wealth that Thorolf hath lost now, if that loss would not drag more after it; but I fear me still as before, that Thorolf will not duly measure his might against that overbearing might wherewith he hath to do.

Also he he bade Thorgils say this to Thorolf: My rede is, saith he, that Thorolf go his ways from the land; for maybe he shall do better seeking his fortune of the English King, or the Dane-king, or the Swede.” Then he gave Thorgils a row-barge with all her gear, and tents and victuals, and all things needful for their journey.       So they went their ways, and made

f. 69
no stay till they came to Sandness, and told Thorolf the tidings: Thorolf took his loss well, saying that he lacked not for wealth: Good it is to have a king for ones part- ner.       So then he bought meal and malt, and other matters that he needed for the maintenance of his folk: and he said that his house-carles would not be so finely clad for a while as he had minded they should be. Some of his lands he sold, and some he pledged, and sustained all his costs as afore; nor had he fewer folk with him than in the last winter, but rather somewhat more. Also with his feasts and biddings was it in likewise, that he had greater store of all things than heretofore. All that winter he abode at home.

Chap: XIX. Of Thorolf’s warring.

When spring came, and the snow departed, and the ice, Thorolf let launch a great long-ship of his, and let array it, and manned it with his house- carles, and had with him more than an hundred men

f. 70
and of the goodliest was that company, and full well armed. So when the wind was fair, Thorolf sailed his ship south along the land, and so soon as he came south of Byrda they held their course outward of all the isles, yea whiles so that the sea showed half up the hill-sides. So made they south along the land, and had no tidings of men till they came east to the Wick: there heard they that King Harald was in the Wick, and was to fare to the Uplands in summer: nought knew the folk of the land of Thorolf’s goings. But he had wind at will, and held on south for Denmark, and thence into the East-sea, and harried there through the summer, yet won little wealth.       In harvest-tide he stood east for Denmark at the time of the sailing of the Ere- fleet; there had been there as wont was; a many ships from Norway, but Thorolf let them all go by, and showed himself not. At eve of a day he sailed into Most-sound, and there lay in the haven a great ship

 f. 71
of burden come from Ere, and Thorir the Moody was the man who steered her; he was a steward of King Harald’s, and ruled over the stead of Thruma; and a great house was that, whereat the King abode long when he was in the Wick: great store was needed for this house, for which cause had Thorir been a buying a heavy lading, malt and wheat and honey, and therewithal was there great wealth of the King’s.

Now Thorolf, he and his, fell on the ship, and bade Thorir and his folk defend them; but whereas they had no might to defend them against such a company, they gave themselves up; and Thorolf took the ship and all the lading and set Thorir ashore on the isle.

Then stood Thorolf with both ships north along the land till they came off the Elf, where they lay to and bided night: but when it was fallen mirk, they rowed the long-ship up into the river, and brought to at the house owned of Hallvard and Sigtrygg: they came thereto before the

f. 72
day-break, and drew a ring of men about the stead; then they cried their war-cry, and wakened them within, who ran straightway to their weapons; but Thorgeir fled away at once from out the sleeping chamber; there was a paling round about the house; and Thorgeir leapt at it, and caught hold at the post of the paling, and cast himself without; but Thorgils Giallandi was standing hard by, and he swept his sword round after Thorgeir, and smote him upon the hand, and took it off by the post.       So Thorgeir ran to the woods, but Thord his bro- ther was slain there, and more than twenty men. Then they reft thence all wealth, and burnt up the house, and so went their ways down the river to the sea: they had wind at will, and sailed north to the Wick. There they fell in with yet another great cheaping ship owned of Wick-folk, and laden with malt and meal. That ship they fell on; and her crew deemed they had no might to withstand them, and so gave themselves up;

f. 73
and went ashore stripped: but Thorolf and his folk took the ship with her lading and went their ways: and so now had Thorolf three ships, as he sailed west about Fold.       They sailed by the open sea to Lidandisness; Then fared they as speedily as they might, but took prey at the nesses as they made them, and had strand-slaught- erings. But when they came north from Lidandisness they stood more out to sea; yet drave they prey, whensover they made land.

But now when Thorolf was come off the Firths he turned landward and went to see Nightwolf his father, and gat good welcome there.       There Thorolf told his father what had befallen in his voyaging that summer; he abode there but a little while, and Nightwolf and Grim led him down to the ship: and before they part- ed they talked together, and Nightwolf said: Things have not gone far otherwise than as I said that time thou wentest to King Harald’s court, saying that

f. 74
such end would be of it, that no luck would come thereof either to thee or to us thy kindred: and now hast thou taken that rede which most I feared for thee to wit to brave it out with King Harald: for though thou be well stored with hardihood and all prowess, yet hast thou no luck to hold thine own a- gainst King Harald, as no other in the land might do to the end, whatsoever dominion they had, or mult itude of men.       And now is it my foreboding that this shall be the last meeting of us twain; though indeed for eld’s sake thou shouldest be fared to live the longest: but otherwise meseems will it be.

So Thorolf leaped a shipboard, and went his ways, nor is it said of his voyage that aught betid till he came home to Sandness, and let flit to the stead all the prey which he had gotten, and laid up his ships: and now lacked he no store for the sustenance of his folk through the winter-tide

f. 75
Thorolf abode ever at home, and had no fewer men with him than the winter before.

There was one named Yngvar, a mighty man, and a rich, who had been a lord of land to the former kings: but so soon as King Harald came to the realm Yngvar sat at home, and served no king

Yngvar was a wedded man, and had a daughter named Bera; he dwelt in the Firths; Bera was his only child, and his heir. Now Grim son of Night- wolf wooed Bera to wife, and the bargain was struck and Grim wedded Bera the winter after that summer wherein he parted from Thorolf; Grim was now five- and twenty years old, and was bald-head: and he was after-ward called Scald-grim: he had now all rule over his father’s house and in-comings; yet was Nightwolf a hale man and brisk enow.

Many freedmen had they with them, and many of

 

f. 76
such as had waxed up in the house there, and were nigh of an age with Scaldgrim: many of these were mighty men of strength; for Nightwolf and his son would choose men for their following very much for their strength, and then tamed them to their own minds. Scaldgrim was like his father in growth and in strength, in countenance also, and in mind.

King Harald was in the Wick while Thorolf was a warring; and he fared that harvest to the Uplands, and thence north to Thrandheim, and abode there that winter with a great company.

Sigtrygg and Hallvard were with him there, and had heard how Thorolf had dealt with their dwelling at Hising, and what scathe of men and goods he had wrought there. Oft they called it to the King’s mind and therewithal how Thorolf had robbed the King and his thanes, and fared with warfare in the very land.

f. 77
and they prayed the King’s leave to go with the company which was was to follow them, and set on Thorolf in his home; but the King answered: It may well be that ye have cause enow to compass the death of Thorolf, but I deem that ye will lack luck plenteously for the work: ye are no match for Thorolf, though ye deem yourselves stout men of good prowess.

The brethren said that it should speedily be tried if the King would give them leave, and that they had often run great risks with men to whom they owed less enmity, and oftest had gotten the victory.

So when spring-tide came men arrayed them for faring; and yet again gat those brethren on the talk aforesaid, how they would go and do Thorolf to death: so the King gave them leave: And I wot, said he, that if ye come back ye will bring me his head, and many another goodly thing: and yet say some, that if ye go a sailing to the north, ye shall come back south

f. 78
sailing and rowing both.

So they got them ready right eagerly with two ships and two hundred men; and when they were arrayed they sail- ed out of the firth with a north-east wind, which is foul for sailing north along the land

Ch

King Harald abode at Ladir till the brethren were gone, and thereupon he arrayed him and gat a ship-board, and rowed in along the firth, and so over the Beating-Sea in to the Eld-neck: there he left his ships, and fared across the neck north into Naumdale: there took the King ships of the bonders, and went aboard with his host; he had his court-guard with him, four hundred men to wit: six ships he had, all well array- ed with weapons and men. They had a gale in their teeth, and rowed all they might go both day and night: and the nights were then light for faring.

So came they to Sandness of an eve after sunset, and

f. 79
saw a tilted longship floating off the stead there, and they knew it for Thorolf’s ship: he had been minded to get him from the land, and had let brew the farewell ale.       So the King bade his men go ashore openly, and he let display his banner.       But a little way it was up to the stead.       The warders of Thorolf sat within at the drink, and were not gone to their watch, and there was no man without; all the folk sat by the drink

So the King let draw a ring of men about the hall, and they cried the war-cry, and the war-blast was winded on the King’s horn.       But when Thorolf and his folk heard that, they ran to their weapons, for every man’s war-gear hung up over his bed-head.

Then let the King call at the hall-doors, bidding the women come forth, and the children, the old men, and thralls, and bondservants.

So came forth Sigrid the good-wife, and with her the

f. 80
women that were within, and such other folk as had leave to come forth.       Then asked Sigrid if the sons of Berdla Kari were there, and they stood forth both, and asked what she would.       Bring me to the King, said she.       They did so, and when she came to the King she said:       Availeth it aught, lord, to pray for peace for Thorolf?

The King answered; Will Thorolf yield him to my mercy? then shall he be safe of life and limb, but his men shall pay such penalties as be due to their guilt

So therewith went Olvir Hnufa to the hall, and let call Thorolf to talk with him, and so telleth him of the choice the King giveth him.       Thorolf answered speedily that he would take no wretches choice nor have peace with the King so: Bid thou the King to let us come forth, and so try what fate hath shapen! Then went Olvir back to the King, and told him of Thorolf’s answer and what he bade.

f. 81
The King said: Lay fire to the hall; I will not lose my men in fighting him without: for belike Thorolf shall do us great hurt if he win out, though he have few er men than we.

So was fire laid to the hall, and it fell a blazing speedily, for the timber was dry, and the walls tarred, and the roof thatched with bark. Thorolf bade his men break down the paneling, and take the timbers thereof and so break down the shield-panel- ling: so when a beam was gotten as many men as might get hold on it, took it up, and drave the end thereof against a corner so hard that the gable-wall brake outwards, and the walls were riven, and great was the outgoing.

First of all men went Thorolf forth, and then Thorgils Giallandi, and so one after other

There then befel the hardest onset, so that for a while none might see betwixt them which should

 f. 82
prevail; for the hall was for a defence on their backs, and much folk the King lost or ever the hall burnt up. Then fell the fire upon them, and a many of their folk fell.

Therewith leapt forth Thorolf smiting on either hand; and little needed they who were before him to bind up their hurts. He thrust on to where the King’s banner was; and even in that while fell Thorgils Giallandi       But when Thorolf came up to the shield-burg he thrust through the banner-bearer, and said: Three foot too short have I gone

And therewithal drave both sword and spear on him, and the King himself gave him his death- blow, and Thorolf fell forward at the feet of the King

Then called the King aloud, and bade them leave slaying of folk, and so was it done; and the King bade his own men fare down to the ships

f. 83
Then spake the King to Olvir Hnufa and his brother: Take ye Thorolf your kinsman, and give him seemly burial; and lay in grave the other men who are fallen here, and let bind the hurts of them who are like to live: neither shall any rob here, for all this is mine own.

So the King went down to his ships with the more part of the folk: and when they were come a ship-board men fell to binding their hurts, and the King went about the ship looking on the hurts of men; so saw he where a man bound a flesh-wound; and the King said: This wound will be none of Thorolf’s doing; otherwise bite his weapons, and few meseems shall bind the wounds he giveth: great harm and pity it is of such a man!

So straightway at morn of the day let the King hoist sail, and sailed away south when the weather mended.       But toward ending of the day the

f. 84
King and his folk fell in with many rowing-keels in every isle-sound; and these were folk who were going to Thorolf’s helping; for spies of his had been out south away to Naumdale, and all about the isles, and they had gotten to know that Hallvard and his broth- er were come from the south with a great host to set on Thorolf: but Hallvard, he and his, had ever had the wind in their teeth, and had tarried at haven after haven, till espial of them had gone all about the upper country, and Thorolf’s spies had been ware of them, for which cause had this host arisen

So the King sailed on full sail till he came unto Naumdale; there he left his ships behind and went overland to Thrandheim, where he took his own ships that he had left afore, and made out thence to Ladir. These tidings speedily gat abroad, and came to the ears of Hallvard and his brother where they lay; so they turned back to the King, and their journey

f. 85
was deemed somewhat shameful

Olvir Hnufa and Eyvind Lambi abode awhile at Sandness; they buried the dead there, and arrayed the corpse of Thorolf in such wise as the wont then was to deal with noble men; and standing-stones they set over him. Moreover they let heal the sick men, and order- ed the household for Sigrid; and there was left what store there was; for the most had been burned in the hall with the table-gear and raiment.

But when the brethren were done there they went from the north, and came to King Harald at Thrandheim and abode with him awhile; silent were they, and of few words with men

Now on a day went those brethren before the King, and Olvir spake: We brethren would crave of thee, King to give us leave to go home to our houses; for here have such things betid that it goeth against our hearts to have drink and seat beside those men who laid

f. 86
weapon on Thorolf our kinsman.

The King looked on them, and answered somewhat shortly; I will not grant it you; here shall ye abide with me.       So they went back to their places

But the next day the King sat in his speech-hall; and he let call to him the brethren and said: Now shall ye wot of your errand in that ye craved leave of me to depart: ye have been here a while with me, and have [been] men of good manners, and doughty men ever; and in all matters have I deemed well of you: now for thee Eyvind, I will that thou fare north to Sandness in Halagoland; for I will give thee to wife Sigrid of Sandness whom Thorolf erst had, and all his wealth will I give thee; and there, with shalt thou have my friendship, if thou take heed to hold it. But for Olvir, he shall follow me; I will not let him go for his prowess’ sake.

The brethren thanked the King for the honour he gave them, and said that they would take it with a good will.

f. 87
So Eyvind arrayed him for departure, and gat to him a good ship of his own; and the King gave him tokens for his business: well went his journey: he came north to Alost of Sandness, and Sigrid gave him good welcome. Then put Eyvind forth the King’s tokens, and his errand to Sigrid, and fell a wooing her, saying how the Kings will it was that he should win her. But Sigrid saw nought for it as things went but that the King must rule; and so the bargain was struck and Eyvind wedded Sigrid: he took the dwelling at Sandness also, and all the wealth of Thorolf.       Eyvind was a noble man; these were the children of him and Sigrid; Finn the Squint er, the father of Eyvind Skald-spoiler, and Geirlang, who was wedded to Sigvat the Red: Finn the Squinter wedded Gunnhild, daughter of Earl Halfdan: her mother was Ingibiorg daughter of King Harald Fair- hair.       Eyvind Lambi held the friendship of King Harald whiles they both lived.

f. 88
There was a man called Ketil Trout, the son of Thorkel the Naumdale Earl and of Hrafnhild daughter of Ketil Trout of Hrafnista: Ketil was a noble man, and of good fame: he had been the greatest friend of Thorolf son of Nightwolf, and was nigh akin to him; and he was of that rising that was, as is afore writ, gathered in Halagoland for Thorolf’s helping. But when were ware that King Harald was come from the north, and that Thorolf was slain, then was the muster broken. The Trout had sixty men with him; so he turned aside to Torga, where he found the Sons of Hildirid with but a few men: so Ketil Trout came to the stead, and fell on them; and there died the Sons of Hildirid, and the more part of them that were there; but Ketil and his men took all the gear that they might come by: thereafter took the Trout the two biggest ships of burden he might get, and let bear

f. 89
out on to them all the gear he owned or might come by: he had with him also his wife and children, and all those men who had been at the work with him. One Baug the foster-brother of the Trout, a man of great kin and wealthy, steered the other ship.

So when they were arrayed, and the wind served they sailed out to sea.       A few winters before had Ingolf and Hiorleif fared out to people Iceland, a journey full oft talked of: for folk told of land good to choose there

So the Trout sailed west into the main, and sought for Iceland; and when they were ware of land they were come off the south of it: but whereas the weather was rough, and the land surf-beaten and haven-less, they sailed on west along the sands; and when the wind fell and the surf waned, lo a great river-mouth before them; so they brought their ships into the river, and lay off its western coast. That river is called Thiorsa today; but it ran far straiter and deeper than now it doth.

f. 90
They unladed the ship, and then fell to searching the land east of the river, and flitted their live-stock after them.       That first winter the Trout abode west of [west] outer Rang-river, but in spring-tide he looked to the land eastward, and took land betwixt Thiorsa and Mark- fleet from fell to foreshore, and dwelt at Hof by Rang- river the eastern I       Ingunn his wife bore a child to him in the spring after they had been there one winter, which lad was called Hrafir; and when the house was taken down, still was the place of it called Hrafas-tofts

The Trout gave land to Baug on Fleetlithe down from Merkia to a river on the west of Broadbolstead; and Baug dwelt at Lithend; from him is come a great stock in that country-side.       The Trout gave land to his ship-mates, or sold it them for little worth, and they are called Land-takers.       Storolf was a son of the Trout’s who held the Knowls and Storolf’s-meads: his son was Worm the Strong. Heriolf, another son of the

f. 91
Trout’s, held land on Fleetlithe marching on Baug, and west-thence to Knoll-brook; he dwelt under the Brents; his son was Summerlid father of Winterlid the Skald. Helgi was a third son of Trout’s, and had land from his brothers away to Outer Rang-river; he dwelt at the Meads.       A fourth son was Vestarr, who had land east of Rang-river, betwixt it and Thwart-water, and the nether parts of Storolfs-knolls; he had to wife Mo- eid, daughter of Hildis of Hildis-isle; their daughter was Asny, whom Ufeig Grettir wedded: Vestarr dwelt at Moeids-knolls.       Helgi Troutson wedded Mobil daughter of Hallgeir of Hallgeirs-isle; their daughter was Helga, whom Oddbiorn Ashsmith wedded, he who giveth name to Oddbiornsleid.       Hrafn was the fifth son of Trout’s; he was the first Lawman of Iceland, and dwelt at Hof after his father; Thorlaug the daughter of Hrafn was wedded to Jorund the Priest, and their son was Valgard of Hof. Hrafn was

f. 92
the noblest of the sons of the Trout.

Now heard Nightwolf of the fall of Thorolf his son: so sorry was he of these tidings that he lay abed for grief and eld. Scaldgrim came to [him] oft, and spake to him, bidding him be of better cheer; saying that all things were better to do than to lie bedridden and retchless: Better rede it were that we seek for some vengeance for Thor olf; maybe we shall come across some of those men who were at Thorolf’s slaying; but if that be not, yet may we get at some whose harm shall be heavy to the King

Nightwolf sang:

Heard I how north in the island
Under earths lid fared Thorolf;
Grim are the Norns; oer early
Is hiltrod’s Odin fallen;
Thors wrestling-fellow fettereth
My feet from battle-meeting

f. 93
For all my soul’s sore longing
Late our avenging waiteth.

King Harald fared that summer to the Uplands; and in harvest-tide went west to Valdres, and right away to Vors: Olvir Hnufa was with the King, and often had speech with him, as to whether he would atone at all for Thorolf, and give Nightwolf and Scaldgrim weregild or some other such honour as might content them. Which thing the King did not wholly deny, if the father and son would come to him. So then Olvir arrayed him to go north into the Firths, and made no stay till he came at eve of a day to Nightwolf and his son, who bade him welcome kindly; and there he abode a certain while. Nightwolf asked closely of Olvir concerning things that had happed at Sandness when Thorolf fell; and of what deeds of fame Thorolf had wrought or he died; and what weapons smote him, and where he was most wounded; and in what place his fall betid.

f. 94
[MISSING SCAN?]

f. 95
make many words a-craving atonement.

Olvir said that there would be no need thereof: We will say all that we may on thy behoof.

So whereas Olvir urged the matter much on him Grim gave his word to go when time seemed to serve; and Olvir and he appointed a time whereon he should come to the King

So then Olvir went his ways first to the King’s court.

Skaldgrim arrayed him for depart- ure as is aforesaid: he chose for himself from the homemen and neighbors such as were the strongest and stoutest-hearted: to wit, Ani, a wealthy bonder; Grani; Grimolf [the] third and Grim his brother, homemen of his own; the brethren Thorbiorn Crow and Thord the Ram, who were called the sons of Thora; a woman who a- bode but a little way from Scaldgrim, a witchwife: the Ram was a coalbiter: then there was Thorir the Giant, and his brother Thorgeir Earth-long; and a

f. 96
Olvir told him all he asked, and withal that it was King Harald who gave him that wound which had of itself been enough for his bane; and that Thorkel fell close by the King’s feet face foremost.

Then answered Nightwolf: Good words thou sayest; for ancient men have told that he shall be avenged who falleth face foremost, and that the vengeance shall come anigh him before whom he falleth: yet unlike it is that such fair fate shall befall us.

Then Olvir told those twain, that his hope it was that if they would fare to the King, and seek atonement of him, they would win honour by their journey; and he bade them try it, and spent many fair words thereon

Nightwolf said that for eld’s sake he might nowise go:

I will abide at home, said he.

Wilt thou go Grim? Said Olvir

Meseems I have nought to do there, said Grim, the King will scarce think me honey-tongued; nor will I

f. 97
So Olvir stood up straightway and went out, for he thought he knew what men were come: he greeted well Grim his kinsman, and bade him come into the hall with him. Said Grim to his fellows: It will be their ways here for men to go before the King weaponless; so we six shall go in, and ye other six shall abide without and watch our weapons. So they went in; Olvir went before the King, and Grim stood at the back of him: then took up the word [Olvir] and said:

Here is come Grim the son of Nightwolf, and all we were well pleased King if ye make this his journey a happy one, as we look well that ye shall do: for many get of thee great honour who are come of lesser folk than he, and who are nowise his peers in doughty deeds and all prowess: and all the more wilt thou do this, King, whereas I deem it a great matter that thou account him something worth.

And long and well spake Olvir, for a fair-spoken man he was. Many others also, friends of Olvir, went

f. 98
before the King, and furthered the matter.

The King looked round about, and saw a man stand- ing at Olvir’s back, bald-headed and higher by the head than other men: Is he Scaldgrim? said the King, that big man?       Grim said that he named him aright

Said the King: I will then, if thou cravest atone- ment for Thorolf, that thou become my man, and go into my court, and serve me; then may thy service so well please me that I may give thee boot for Thorolf, or do thee other honour no less than I did to Thorolf thy brother: yet must thou look to it to take better heed than he, if I make thee as great a man as he was made.

Scaldgrim answereth: Thou wottest, King, how Thorolf was in all wise a better man for thy service than I; yet lacked he luck to serve thee, King; nor will I ever do this thing, nor serve thee; because I wot that luck shall fail me to do thee service such as I would, or is

f. 99
aught worth; for I deem that I shall be nought so handy as was Thorolf

The King held his peace, but waxed blood-red to behold and Olvir turned away, and bade Grim go out, he and his; and they did so, and took their weapons: Olvir bade them go their ways at their speediest; he went on their way with them to the water-side, and many men with him; and before he and Scald- grim parted Olvir said: Otherwise has thy journey to the King gone than I would have had it, kinsman; I desired sore thy coming hither, but now I bid thee depart hence in all speed, and furthermore never to meet King Harald henceforward, but if thou bring about a better peace with him than meseemeth thou art like to do: and take heed to thyself of the King and the King’s men.

So Grim and his men fared over the water; but Olvir and his went w[h]ere the craft lay by the water-

f. 100
side, and hewed on them till they might not swim; because they saw men coming down from the King’s house, a many men and all-armed, and going in hot haste. Now these men had King Harald sent after them to the end that they should make an end of Grim: for the King had fallen to speech a little after Grim and his men had gone out, say- ing thus: That see I of yonder big bald-head, that he is fulfilled of wolfishness, and will yet do a mischief to some such as would be a loss to me if he may compass it: and look ye to it, ye whom he calleth guilty against him, that he will spare no one of you if he may come across you: go ye after him and slay him.

So they went and came to the water, and got never a ship that would swim there, and so went back and told the King thereof, and how that Grim would be come over the water, he and his.

f. 101
So Scaldgrim and his fellows went their ways home, and Scaldgrim told Nightwolf concerning his journey and Nightwolf was well content that Scaldgrim had not done the King’s will herein, to become his man: and he said once again as erst, that they should have hurt from the King, and not help.

Nightwolf and Scaldgrim took counsel together full oft now about their matters, and were of one accord that they would not abide in the land there, more than other men who were at enmity with King Har- ald; so they deemed it good to fare away from the land, and seek Iceland, for they heard good report of land to be had there; and thither also were gone their friends, and acquaintance, Ingolf Arnarson and his fellows, and had taken to them land and dwelling there: for there might men take land with- out price and choose a dwelling-place.

But chiefest of all their mind was fixed on this,

f. 102
that they would change their dwelling-place, and be- gone from the land.

Thorir Hroaldson had been fostered with Night- wolf from his youth up, and he and Scaldgrim were nigh of an age: dear was the foster-brother- hood between them; Thorir was now a Lord of Land of the King, but his friendship with Scaldgrim was ever fast.

Early in spring-tide Nightwolf and his house got ready their ships, whereof they had good and great. Two ships of burden they dight with thirty trusty men on each besides women and children: they had with them all the chattels they might get; but their lands durst no man buy in despite of the King’s might. So when they were ready they sailed away, and sail- ed into the isles called Solundir, great isles and many, and so scored with creeks, that few men, they say, may know all the havens there.

 f. 103
Guttorm was the son of Sigurd the Hart, and the mother’s brother of King Harald, and his foster-father, and captain of his host; for the King was but a child when first he came to his realm. Guttorm was duke of the Kings host when he won the land to him, and in all battles the King had in the win- ning of Norway: but when the King was gotten to be sole lord of all the land, and was set down in peace he gave to Guttorm his kinsman Westfold and East- Agdir, and Ringrik, and all the land that Halfdan the Black his father had had.       Guttorm had two sons, and two daughters; his sons were Sigurd and Ragnar and his daughters Ragnhild and Aslaug.       Now fell Guttorm sick, and when he drew nigh to his end he sent men to King Harald and bade him look to his children and their dominions; and so died a little after: but when the King heard of his death he let call to

f. 104
him Hallward Hardfaring and his brother, and says that they are to go an errand for him east into the Wick; and the King was as then abiding in Thrandheim: so the brethren arrayed them most gloriously, chose them folk, and had the best ship that might be gotten, even that one which Thorolf Nightwolfson had owned time agone.       So when they were dight the King telleth them their errand, to wit to go east to Tunsberg, where was a cheaping town, and where Guttorm’s dwelling-place had been: Ye shall bring me, said the King, the sons of Guttorm, but his daughters shall be nourished there till they be wedded: and ye shall get men to have heed of the realm, and give fostering to the maidens.

So when the brethren were ready, they went their ways, and had wind at will; they came east to the Wick in spring-tide, and set forth their errand there: and Hallward and his brother take the sons of Guttorm, and chattels good store; and so fare back when they

f. 105
are ready, and the wind served somewhat worser than afore; but there is nought to tell of their voyaging be- fore they sail north about Sogns-ile with a fair wind and bright weather full merry of heart.

Now Nightwolf and Scaldgrim held espial ever through the summer on the common course. Scaldgrim was the keenest eyed of men, and he saw the sailing of Hallward and his fellows, and knew the ship, for he had seen her before whenas Thorgils had sailed her: so he held watch over them what haven they would lay in that night: then he went back to his folk and told Nightwolf what he had seen, and how he had known the ship for that one which Hallward and his brother had taken from Thorgils whenas Thorolf owned it, and such a crew would be aboard her as would be a goodly prey. So they arrayed them, and dight both their boats with

f. 106
twenty men on either; and Nightwolf steered one, and Scaldgrim the other; then they fall a rowing, and seek the ships. But when they came where was the ship, it lay just off the land, and Hallward and his men had tilted over the ship and were laid down to sleep: but when Nightwolf and his fellows came on them the warders who sat by the bridge-end leapt up, and cried out to the ship, bidding men to stand up for that war was upon them; so Hallward and his folk ran to their weapons. But when Night wolf and his men came to the bridge-end, Night- wolf went by the after-gangway, and Scaldgrim by the gangway forward; and Nightwolf had a byrny-troll in his hand. So when they came up on to the ship he bade his men go outward by the bul- wark, and cut away the tilt from its hooks; but he himself strode aft to the poop; and, as tells the tale, he went beside himself then, yea, and the more part

 f. 107
of that fellowship; and all men they slew who were before them; and in like manner wrought Scaldgrim where he went through the ship; nor stayed the father and son till the ship was cleared. When Night- wolf came aft to the poop he hove up the byrny-troll, and smote Hallward through helm and head that the steel sank in right up to the shaft; then he plucked it so hard to him that he tossed Hallward aloft and slung him away outboard. Scaldgrim cleared the foreship, and slew Sigtrygg; and many leapt into the sea: but Scaldgrim’s men took the boat they had had thither, and rowed after them, and slew them all as they swam. And all they who died with Hallward were more than fifty men: but Nightwolf, he and his, took the ship that Hallward and Sigtrygg had brought thither with all the wealth that was therein: and they took hold of two or three men, such as they deemed were least of might, and gave them peace and

f. 108
had tidings of them, and heard what men had been aboard the ship, and what voyage they were on: but when they wotted of all the sooth they searched the slain that lay on the ship, whereby they found that more were they who had leapt overboard and been drowned, than they who had fallen aboard; and the sons of Guttorm had leapt overboard, and been lost: they were, the one twelve years old, and the other ten, the hopefullest lads that might be. Then let Scaldgrim those men go loose, to whom they had given peace, and bade them go to King Harald, and tell him carefully of all that had there betid, and who had brought it to pass.

And, said he, ye shall bear the King this little song:

For the hersir’s slaying
Is the high king paying;
Goeth wolf and erne
Oer the Yngling’s bairn,

f. 109
Hallward asunder
Newn drive the waves under
Wounds of Keen-faring
The grey fowl is tearing.

Then Grim and his fellows brought the ship out to their own ship with all its lading; and they changed ships, and laded the newgotten one, but the lesser of those they had afore they cleared, and laded her with stones and sank her; and so they sailed out to sea so soon as the wind served

Now folk say of such as are skin-changers, or who fall under Berserksgang, that while the mood is upon them they are so strong that nought may withstand them; but even so soon as it hath overpassed, then are they feeble beyond their wont; and so it fared now with Nightwolf, that so soon as his fury passed from him he felt aweary of the deeds that he had done, and was utterly feeble that he lay abed: but the wind bore

f. 110
them out into the main. Nightwolf was captain of the ship they had taken from Hallward.

They had a fair wind, and the ships kept company well, so that for long either knew of other. But when they were gotten far out into the main the sickness grew heavy on Nightwolf; and when it came to pass that he drew near his end, he called his shipmates to him, and told them that it was like their ways would soon part:

Said he, I have been no ailing man; and now if it fare, as is most like, that I give up the ghost, then make me a chest and let me go my ways overboard: then shall things go far otherwise than I deem if I come not unto Iceland and take land there: and if it come to pass that, as unlike as it seemeth, I see it before ye see it, then take ye up your abode as nigh as may be to where I have come aland.

A little after Nightwolf gave up the ghost, and his shipmates did as he had bidden them, and laid him

f. 111
in a chest, and so cast him overboard.

Now there was one hight Grim, the son of Thorir, the son of Ketil Keel-farer, a wealthy man and of great kin, and a shipmate of Nightwolf’s; he had been an old friend of that father and son, and had voyaged both with them, and with Thorolf; for which cause had he gotten the King’s enmity; he took the rule over the ship now that Nightwolf was dead

So when they made Iceland they sailed from the south toward the land, and sailed west along it, because they had heard that Ingolf had taken up his abode there: but when they came off Reekness, and saw the firth open before them they made in up the firth with both ships.

Then waxed the weather foul with store of rain and fog, and the ships parted company. Grim of Hala- goland sailed in up Burgfirth till all the skerries failed, and then cast anchor till the wind lulled and day broke; and they bided the flood-tide. Then they

f. 112
brought their ship into the mouth of a certain river called Gufa, and they warped the ship up along the river as it went, and they unladed the ship and abode there the first winter: they espied the land along the sea both up and down, and when they had gone a little way they found where Nightwolf’s chest was come ashore in a certain creek; so they bore it to a ness that was a- nigh thereto, and set it down there, and heaped stones up on it.

Scaldgrim came aland where a great ness goeth out into the sea, and a thin neck is above the neck: there they unladed, and called it Shipness. Then Scaldgrim searched the land, and it was a land of mires and woods wide about, a long way betwixt fell and foreshore, with seals and fish good store for catching. But when they searched the land south along the sea, lo a great firth before them

f. 113
and when they fared in along the firth they letted not till they had found their fellows, Grim of Halagoland and his company, and joyous was the meeting. They told to Scaldgrim how Nightwolf was come ashore, and how they had buried him: then they brought Scaldgrim thereto, and showed him how a little way thence would be a good abiding-place. Then fared Grim away and back to his shipmates; and either company abode that winter where they were gotten.

Then Scaldgrim took land betwixt fell and foreshore to wit all the marsh-land out to Selalon, and up to Burg- braun; on the south to Havenfell, and all the land about those waters that fall into the sea there.

The next spring he brought his ship south into the firth, and into the creek nighest to where Nightwolf had come aland; and there he set up his house, and called it Burg; and the firth called he Burgfirth; and all that country-side named they after the firth.

f. 114
To Grim of Halagoland gave he land south of Burg firth at a place called Hwanneyr; a little way out thence goeth a creek nought great; there found they many ducks, and called it Duckcreek, and the river that there goeth into the sea they called Duckcreek-water; up from that water to the water called Grim’s-river was the land Grim held.       In spring-tide whenas Scaldgrim let drive his live-stock out along the sea, they came upon a little ness, where on they took some swans; so they called it Swan-ness.

Scaldgrim gave land to his shipmates: to Ani gave he land betwixt Long-water and Goat-brook, and he dwelt at Anibrents; his son was Onund Sioni.

Grimolf dwelt first at Grimolf-stead; after him are named Grimolf’s-meads and Grimolf’s-brook; his son was Grim, who dwelt on the south side of the firth, and his son was Grimarr, who dwelt at Grimarr-stead: with him strove Thorstein and Odd of the Tongue.

Grani dwelt at Granistead in Digraness.

 

f. 115
To Thorbiorn Crow Scaldgrim gave land up by Gufa, and also to Thord Ram; Crow dwelt at Crow-knolls, and Thord at Ramtown.       To Thorir the Giant gave he land up from One-ken and out to Long-water

Thorir the Giant dwelt at Giantstead; his daughter was Thordis Staff, who dwelt at Staff-holt afterward.

Thorgeir dwelt at Earthlongstead

Scaldgrim searched the land also right up through that country-side, and first along Burg-firth till the firth failed, and east on up the river, which he called White-water, because those fellows had never before seen the waters that run from the Yokuls, and them seemed that water was marvelous of hue.        Then they went up White-water till a river was before them, which fell out of the mountains on the north; and that they called North-water, and went up along it till they came to yet another river with no great store of water; over that river they fared and still

f. 116
on up Northwater, and saw presently where the little river fell from amidst rifts, and so called it Rift- water: then they crossed over Northwater, and back to Whitewater, and up along it; and again was an other river before them across their way, and falling into Whitewater; and that called they Thwart-water. And they found all these waters full of fish.

So fared they out to Burg again.

Scaldgrim was a great husband- man; he had a many men ever with him, and let seek all such store as there was that men might lay hand on: for at the first they had but little live- stock there for the needs of so great a company; but such live-stock as there was went winter-long unfolded in the woods.       Scaldgrim was a great ship-smith, nor was drift-wood lacking west of the Mires: he let build a stead at Swan-ness, and had another dwell-

f. 117
ing there, whence he let row out for seal-fishing and egg- taking, of which matters was there good getting, and drift-wood also to be had home. Great plenty of whales also came thither, which he might shoot who would; for all wild things there were little shy, being unwont to man.       A third house had Scald- grim down by the sea on the east side of the Mires; which was set in a better place still for the watching of drift: there he let sow corn, and called it the Acres: isles lie off it amidst which they found a whale, and so they called them the Whale-isles.

Scaldgrim set men by the salmon-rivers also to look to the fishing: Odd-the-Lone-bider set he by Rift- water, to heed the salmonfishing, and he dwelt at Lone-bider’s Brent: Lone-biders-ness is named after him.       One named Sigmund Scaldgrim set by North water, and he dwelt at Sigmund-stead, which is now called the Howes: Sigmund-ness is called after him.

f. 118
He afterward shifted his dwelling to Mundness, for he deemed it handier for the salmon-fishing

Now as Scaldgrim’s live-stock increased the sheep went up to the fells all the summer; and he found great diversity between the beasts, so that they who fed on the heaths were far the fattest and best, and moreover that sheep not driven home sustained themselves winter long up in the mountain-dales: so he let build a house up by the fells, and set up a stead there for the heeding of his sheep: that stead Griss was warden of, and after him is Griss-tongue called: there throve Scaldgrim’s sheep exceedingly

Now a little while after Scaldgrim came out, a  ship came from the main into Burgfirth owned of one Oleif the Halt: he had with him his wife and children, and other kindred, and the end of his journey was to get him dwelling in Iceland; a wealthy man he was, of great kin and wise of wit: Scaldgrim bade him and all

f. 119
his folk home to his house; Oleif took that, and abode with Scaldgrim the first winter. But the next spring Oleif had choice of land from Scaldgrim south of White-water from Grimswater to Flockdalewater. Oleif took that, and fared thither to dwell, setting up house at Warmbrook: he was a noble man: his sons were Ragi of Bathdale, and Thorarin Ragi’s-brother, who was Lawman of Iceland next after Raven Trout- son: Thorarin dwelt at Warmbrook, and wedded Thordis daughter of Olaf Feilan and sister of Thord the Yeller.

King Harald Fairhair took to him all the lands that Thorolf and Nightwolf and Scald grim left behind in Norway, and all other goods of theirs that he might lay hand on; he sought closely also after all such as had been in the plot with them or privy to it, or had helped aught in that work

f. 120
which Nightwolf and Scaldgrim wrought or ever they gat them from the land; and to such a pitch ran the Kings enmity against that father and son, that he got to hate their kinsmen or other folk allied to them, or such as he wotted had been close friends of theirs: some had to pay penalty to him, and some fled away, whereof some there were who sought shelter in the land, and other some who fled clean away from it: of whom was Yngvar father-in-law of Scaldgrim: he took counsel, and turned such of his goods as he might into chattels, gat himself a sea-going ship, and men thereto, and wended his ways to Iceland, because he had heard that Scaldgrim had taken up his abode there, and that he would not lack land from him: so when he was ready and the wind served he sailed into the sea, and had a fair voyage. He made Iceland in the south country, and stood west about Reekness, and so sailed up into Bugfirth, and into Longwater right

f. 121
up to the Force, and there unladed the ship.

But when Scaldgrim heard of Yngvar’s coming he went to meet him straightway, and bade him to his house with as many men as he would: that Yngvar took, the ship was laid up, and Yngvar fared to Borg with many men, and abode that winter with Scaldgrim. But in spring-tide Scaldgrim offered Yngvar land, giving him his house of Swan-ness, and land in to Clay- brook, and out to Streamfirth. So to that house went Yngvar, and took it and was a prosperous man, and exceeding rich.

Scaldgrim was a great ironsmith, and had a found- ry at work in the winter-tide: he let make a stithy close by the sea and a long way from Burg at a place called Raufarness; for the woods were far a- way thence: now there he might get no stone so hard or so smooth as that he thought it good to beat iron thereon, for the beach was not of boulders, but

f. 122
small-grained sands went all along the sea: so on an evening when others slept Scaldgrim went down to the sea, and launched an eight-oared craft of his, and rowed out to the Midfirth-isles, and cast the grapnel overboard the stern; then he himself leapt overboard and dived down to the bottom, and had up thence a great stone, and brought it into the boat. Then he himself gat into the boat, and rowed to land, and bare the stone to his stithy, and laid it before the door thereof, and beat iron on it after- ward. There lieth that stone yet with store of cinders beside it; and one may see of the stone that it hath been beaten upon on the upper side; and it is a surf-ground stone, and unlike to the others thereby: four men now might lift nought heavier.

Scaldgrim was very eager with his smithying; and his house-carles took it ill of him, and deemed they rose up over early: so he made this stave:

f. 123

The iron-stem full early
Must rise up, if he prizeth
The gain of gold: how waileth
Wind-cloth of Vidi’s brother!
Great sledges sent I screaming
On gold of spark-enfolder,
While rush and roar of storm-wind
The house of heat was rousing.

Scaldgrim and Bera had many children, but at the first all died; then they gat a son who was sprinkled with water, and called Thorolf, who when he grew up was from early days great of growth and most fair to look on; and the word was in every man’s mouth, that he was most like to Thorolf Nightwolfson his namesake: Thorolf was far before them of like age for strength, and as he waxed up he became of prowess in those matters

f. 124
wherein valiant men of that time were wont to push them selves. Thorolf was a very joyous man; while yet a boy he was so ripe of strength that he was deemed a match for men: full soon was he well beloved of all folk; and both his father and his mother loved him well.

Scaldgrim and Bera had two daughters, Saeun and Thor- un, and they also were hopeful as they waxed up.

Yet again had Scaldgrim and Bera a sun: he was be- sprinked with water and a name was given him and he was called EGIL. But as he waxed up it might speedily be seen of him that he would be ill favoured and black-haired like his father. And when he was three winters old, he was as big and strong as other lads of six or seven winters: he was early well-spoken, and wise in words: somewhat ill to deal with was he when he played with other little ones

Now that spring fared Yngvar to Burg on this errand, to bid Scaldgrim to his house; and he named for this

f. 125
faring Bera his daughter, and Thorolf her son, and such other men as Scaldgrim would have go; so Scaldgrim promised to go, and Yngvar went home therewith, and arrayed him for the feast, and let heat the ale. So when it came round to the time that Scaldgrim should fare to the feast, and Bera with him, Thorolf got him ready to go, and housecarles therewith, so that they were fifteen in company. Now spake Egil to his father that he also would fare: There have I kin even as much as Thorolf, said he.

Thou shalt not go, said Scaldgrim, for nought hast thou to do to be in companies where the drink is deep, when even undrunken thou art deemed but ill to handle.

And therewith he leapt on his horse and rode away, and Egil was illcontent with his share. So he went from out the garth, and happened

f. 126
on a draught-horse of Scaldgrim’s, and backed him, and so rode after Scaldgrim and his company. He had no easy way over the mires, for he knew not the road, but oft enough he saw Scaldgrim where he went, he and his, when neither wood nor holt came between. So the tale of his journ ey is that late of the even-tide he came to Swan- ness whenas men sat at the drink, and went into the hall. But when Yngvar saw Egil he received him joyously, asking him why he was come so late; and Egil told how be and his father had talked.       So Yngvar set Egil beside him, and over against him sat Scaldgrim and Thorolf.       Then was the wont to rhyme rhymes amidst ale-glee, and Egil sang:

f. 127
Yngvar gave forth this stave, and thanked Egil well therefore. But the next day Yngvar gave to Egil as a rhyme-reward three periwinkles and a duck-egg; and so at the drink that eve sang Egil another rhyme concerning his rhyme reward:

f. 128
Great thank gat Egil of his rhyming with many men: nor is there more to tell concerning this journey; but Egil fared home with Scaldgrim.

Biorn was a hersir, a mighty man of Sogn who dwelt at Aurland, his son was Bryniolf who took the heritage after his father, and Bryniolf’s sons were Biorn and Thord, men young of years when these things were betiding; a great seafarer was Biorn, whiles a warring, and whiles a chaff ering, and a most manful man. Now on a summer it betid that Biorn was in the Firths at a feast of many men, and there he saw a fair maiden on whom he set great store; and he asked after her, of what kin she were, and it was told him that she was the sister of the hersir Thorir the son of Hroald, and that she was called Thora Gold-hand: so Biorn fell to his woo-

f. 129
ing, and craved Thora; but Thorir gainsaid him and so they parted. But that same autumn Biorn gat him folk, and fared north to the Firths in a keel fully manned, and came to Thorir’s house at such time as he was not at home, and took Thora away thence, and had her home with him to Aurland; there they abode that winter, and Biorn would wed her: but Bryniolf his father was illcontent with what Biorn had done, deeming it a shameful deed, whereas great had been the friendship aforetime betwixt Thorir and Bryniolf. Sayeth Bryniolf; So far shall it be Biorn, from thy wedding Thora here in my house without the leave of Thorir her brother, that she shall be as well looked to here as if she were my daughter and thy sister.

And so had it all to be in his house even as Bryniolf said, whether Biorn liked it better

f. 130
or worser: and Bryniolf sent men to Thorir to ask for peace, and offer atonement for those doings of Biorn’s; so Thorir bade him send home Thora, saying that so only would he be appeased: never the less in no wise would Biorn let her go, though Bryniolf bade it.       So wore the winter; and when spring was come Biorn and Bryniolf talked about matters on a day, and Bryniolf asked Biorn what he was minded to do: Biorn said that most like he would fare away from the land: And it has come into my head, said he, that thou wilt give me a long-ship and folk therewith, and I will fare a-warring

It is not to be looked for, said Bryniolf, that I should give thee a long-ship and a great company for I wot not but that then thou wilt be about that which is clean against my will, and there hath trouble enough come of thee already: a

f. 131
trading ship will I give thee, and money for chaffer and thou shalt fare south to Dublin, the most famous voyage that now is; and a goodly follow- ing will I get thee.

So Biorn saith that he will do as Bryniolf will; who let array a good merchant ship and gat men thereto, and Biorn dight him for the journey, but was not timely dight. But when he was all ready, and the wind blew fair, he leapt aboard a boat, and rowed in to Aurland with twelve men; and he went up to the house there, to the bower of his mother; therein she sat, and many women with her, and Thora was there. Saith Biorn that Thora should fare with him, and they led her away, but his mother bade the women be not so bold as to make them in the hall ware thereof, saying that Bryniolf would take it sore amiss if he heard thereof, and that then would

f. 132
there be montrous strife betwixt father and son. Thora’s raiment and gear were laid up handy to come at, and all these Biorn and his folk had away with them: then fared they by night out to their ship, and hoisted sail and sailed out along Sognsoe, and so out to sea. Foul weather they had and huge seas, and wandered long on the sea, but were full eager in this, to get them afar from Norway as far might be. So it befel on a day that they came west on Shetland, and ran their ship ashore on Mosisle amidst of hard weather, but bore the lading from it, and fared into a burg thereby, and had all their lading, and, having laid up their ship, amended what was broken of her

A little before winter came a ship north from the Orkneys to Shetland, which told these

f. 133
tidings, that a long-ship was come that autumn to the isles: these were messengers of King Harald with this errand to Earl Sigurd that the King would have Biorn Bryniolfson slain wheresoever he might be laid hands on; and suchlike message had he sent to the Southisles, and right away to Dublin. These tidings heard Biorn, and this withal that he was made outlaw in Norway. But so soon as he was come to Shetland he wedded Thora, and they abode that winter in the burg of Mos-isle: but when spring-tide was come and the sea grew calm Biorn put forth his ship, and arrayed him at his speediest, and when he was arrayed, and the wind served they put to sea. Great wind they had, and were but a little space out, and came on Iceland from the south: then came a wind from the land, and drave them west along the land, and so out into the sea:

f. 134
but when the wind served them to reach back they sailed toward land: no man there was aboard who had been in Iceland afore: they sailed into an ex- ceeding great firth, and made for the western strand thereof, but looking landward saw nought but a bank of reefs and a havenless shore: Then they beat up as near [as] they might to the wind east along the land till a firth was before them, and they sailed in up the firth till they had left behind all skerries and surf, and brought to at a certain ness, where an isle lay off it and there was a deep sound betwixt ness and isle: so there they moored the ship: and a creek ran up west thence, and up from the creek stood a great burg

So Biorn went into a boat with men of his, and he bade them beware of telling such things about their voy- age as might bring trouble on them: then he rowed, he and his up to the house, and met men to speak to; of

f. 135
whom they asked this first, where they were come aland: and the men told them that it was Burgfirth, and the house was Burg and the master thereof Scaldgrim: Biorn knew him straightway, and went to meet Scaldgrim, and they talked together, and Scaldgrim asked what men they were: Biorn named himself and his father, and there was good acquaintance between Scaldgrim and Bryniolf, so Scaldgrim offered Biorn all such service as he would, which thing Biorn took thankfully. Then Scaldgrim asked if there were any other folk of note aboard the ship; and Biorn said that there was Thora daughter of Hroald, and sister of Thorir the Hersir. Scaldgrim was full joyous thereat, saying that it was due and welcome to him of such an one as was Thora the sister of Thor[ir] his foster-brother to do her all the service that she might need or he might win; and he bade her and Biorn both to him with all their shipmates: this Biorn took, and the lading was flitted from ship up into the home-

f. 136
mead at Burg, and there they set up their booths; but the ship was laid up in a creek there. The place where Biorn and his folk had their booths is called Biorn’s-meads. So Biorn and his shipmates went all to questing with Scaldgrim, who had never fewer men with him than sixty defensible carles

Now in the autumn-tide came a ship to Ice- land from Norway, and therewith came the rumour that Biorn had stolen Thora away against the will of her kindred, and that the King had made him outlaw from Norway therefor: so when Scaldgrim heard thereof he called Biorn to him, and asked him how it had fared with his wedding, whether that had been done with the will of his wife’s kindred: I had not deemed it, said he, of the son of Bryniolf, that I should have been kept out of the truth hereof.

f. 137
Biorn answereth: Sooth have I told thee, Grim, nor mayst thou blame me though I have told thee no more than thou hast asked; yet now shall this be added, that true it is thou hast heard say aright how that this wedding came not about with Thorir her brother consenting.

Then spake Scaldgrim very wrath: Why wert thou so bold as to come hither to me? knewest not thou of the friendship betwixt me and Thorir?

Answered Biorn: I wotted that between you was fosterbrotherhood and dear friendship; but for this cause came I hither to thee that fate brought me to this land, and I wotted it would not avail me to escape thee. And now it all lieth with thee what fate I shall have; yet indeed I look for good of thee, whereas I am become thine home-man.

Then stood forth Thorolf the son of Scaldgrim, and laid many words thereto, bidding his father not

f. 138
to hold Biorn guilty since he had taken him into his house. Many others also added their word hereto; and so it came about that Scaldgrim was appeased, and said that Thorolf should have his way; “So take thou Biorn to thee, and do thou to him as it be- hoveth the best of good fellows to do.

Thora brought forth a child that summer, a maiden; it was sprinkled with water, and a name was given it, and it was called Asgerd; Bera got a woman to heed the maiden.

As for Biorn, he and all his shipmates were with Scaldgrim that winter. Thorolf got well liking with Biorn, and was ever in his fellowship. But when springtide was come Thorolf went on a day to talk to his father, and asked him what rede he had for Biorn his winter-guest, or what furtherance he would give him. Grim asked Thorolf what he would have for

f. 139
him.       My mind it is, said Thorolf, that he were liefest to fare to Norway if he might abide in peace there; and methought this meet rede, father, that thou send men to Norway to pray peace for Biorn; for Thorir will account thy word of much worth.       So much did Thorolf by his talk that Scaldgrim fell in with this, and gat him men to fare out that summer; and these men fared with words and tokens to Thorir Hroaldson, seeking for peace betwixt him and Biorn; and so soon as Bryniolf heard of this message he set all his heart to the bidding of atonement for Biorn. So it came about that Thorir took atonement for Biorn, whereas he saw that, as things had fallen out Biorn had nought to fear from him: so Bryniolf took peace for Biorn; and Scaldgrim’s messengers abode that [summer] winter with Thorir, and fared back next summer; But when they came back in the autumn-tide they

 

 

f. 140
told these tidings, that Biorn’s peace was made in Norway. Biorn abode the third winter yet with Scaldgrim, but the next spring he arrayed him for departure with that same fellowship of men who had followed him thither: but when he was fully dight then said Bera that she would have Asgerd left behind, her fosterling; so Biorn and his wife said yea thereto, and the little maid abode be- hind, and was cherished of Scaldgrim and Bera. Thorolf the son of Scaldgrim went with Biorn, and Scaldgrim gave him faring-goods, and he fared out with Biorn that summer. They had fair weather, and came from the main in to Sognsae; so Biorn sailed up to Sogn, and so home to his father, and Thorolf fared home with him, whenas Bryniolf welcomed them lovingly. Then was was word sent to Thorir Hroald- son, and Bryniolf and he appointed a day of meeting; and Bryniolf and Thorir gave pledges of peace each to each. Then Thorir paid out of hand the money that

 f. 141
Thora had had in her garth, and Biorn entered into full friendship and alliance with Thorir.

Thereafter Biorn abode at Aurland with Bryniolf, and there also was Thorolf well beloved of father and son.

King Harald had now for long taken up his abode in Hordaland or Rogaland at the great manors he owned a Utstein, or Ogvaldsness, or at Fitia or Alrek stead, or in Lygra of Seaham; but that winter where- of the tale now telleth was the King in the north country

But now when Biorn and Thorolf had been one winter in Norway, and spring was come, they dight their ship, and gathered men thereto, and fared a warring that summer into the East Sea, and home thence in the autumn tide with much wealth gotten. But when they came home, then heard they that King Harald was in Rogaland, and would abide there the winter long. Now was the King growing very old and spent, and his children were

f. 142
waxing up a many: Eric his son, who was called Blood- axe, then young of years was at fostering with Thorir the Hersir Hroaldson; the King loved Eric the best of all his sons, and Thorir was full well beloved of the King. So Biorn and Thorolf fared to Aurland first when they came home; then they went their ways north into the Firths to go see Thorir the Hersir: they had a cutter rowing twelve or thirteen oars a board, and nigh on thirty men. this ship had they gotten in their warring that summer: it was all fair painted above the water-line, and was the goodliest of ships.

Now when they came to Thorirs there had they good welcome, and abode there a while, and the ship lay all tilted before the house. Now on a day went Thor- olf and Biorn down to the ship, and they saw how the King’s son Eric was there, and would be whiles a- going out toward the ship, and whiles away landward, and then stood, and gazed on the ship. Then spake

f. 143
Biorn to Thornolf: The King’s son hath great wonder of the ship; bid thou him to take it of thee; for good sooth it will be great helping for us with the King if Eric be our furtherer to him; and I have heard say that he beareth heavy heart against thee because of thy father. Thorolf saith that this will be good rede; so they go down to the ship, and Thorolf sayeth: Thou lookest curiously on the ship, King’s son, what thinkest thou of her?

Well, said he, it is the goodliest of ships.

Then will I give thee the ship, said Thorolf, if thou wilt take her.

That will I, said Eric, and thou wilt think it but ill rewarded though I promise thee my friendship there- for; yet mayst thou look for that if I hold my life. Thorolf sayeth that this reward he deemeth worth far more than the ship. So they parted, and thereafter was the King’s son full loving to Thorolf and Biorn

Now Biorn and Thorolf fell to taking counsel

f. 144
with Thorir, asking him what he thought of it whether it were true that the King bore a grudge against Thorolf: Thorir hid it not that he had heard as much: said Biorn; Then would I have thee go the King, and further Thor- olf’s matters with him; for one fate shall befal him and me both, even as he did by me when I was in Iceland.

So it came about that Thorir promised to go to the King, and bade them try if Eric the King’s son would fare with him; and when Thorolf and Biorn spake hereof to Eric he promised to further them with the King his father.       So then Thorolf and Biorn went their ways to Sogn, but Thorir and Eric the King’s son manned the cutter newgiven, and fared south to meet the King, and found him in Hordaland, where he gave them good welcome. There abode there a certain while, and sought a good day to come at the King when he was blithe of heart: then they set forth this matter before the King, say- ing, that a man was come called Thorolf the son of

f. 145
Scaldgrim: And we will pray thee, King to bear in memory what good deeds his kindred have done to thee, and to let him not pay for that his father did, though he avenged his brother.       So spake Thorir meekly; but the King answered somewhat roughly , that great hurt had he gotten from Nightwolf and his sons, and that belike this same Thorolf would be no otherwise shapen of heart than they. They be all, said he, men exceeding masterful, so that they know no measure, and heed not with whom they have to do. Then took up Eric the word and said that Thorolf had made friends with him, and had given him a noble gift, the ship to wit that they had there; And I have promis- ed him my hearty friendship: and meseemeth few will be my friends if this avail him nothing: nay father, thou must not let this be with that man who hath been the first to give me a dear and good thing

And so it came to pass before he made an end that the King promised that Thorolf should abide in peace of him

f. 146
But let him not come before me, said he: yet mayest thou Eric hold him or others of his kin as dear as thou wilt; nevertheless either must the men be meeker to thee than they were to me, or thou wilt repent thee of this thy boon, and no less of letting them abide long with thee.

So Eric Bloodaxe and Thorir fared home to the Firths, and sent word thence, letting tell Thorolf how their errand had sped with the King.

Thorolf and Biorn abode that winter with Bryniolf; but for many summers lay they out a-warring, and in winter tides abode with Bryniolf, or whiles with Thorir.

And now came Eric Bloodaxe to his realm, and ruled over Hordaland and the Firths, and he took courtmen to him and had them with him

On a certain spring Eric Bloodaxe dight him to go to Biarm- aland, and chose much folk for that journey, and Thorolf fared with Eric, and was in the forecastle of his ship

f. 147
and bore his banner. Thorolf was now bigger and strong- er than any man, and therein like to his father.

Many things noteworthy befel in this journey: Eric had a great battle in Biarmaland on Vina side; there he won the victory as is told in the songs of him; also in that jour ney he wedded Gunhild daughter of Ozur Toti, and had her home with him: Gunnhild was the fairest of women, and the wisest, and very cunning in wizardry. Great good will there was betwixt Thorolf and Gunn- hild.       Now was Thorolf ever with Eric in the winter-tide but in the summer roved a-warring

There was a man hight Thorgeir Thornfoot who a- bode in Fenhring of Hordaland at a stead named Aski. he had three sons, to wit Haddr, Bergonund and Atli the Short: Bergonund was bigger and stronger than any man, grasping and unjust: Atli the Short was a man not high, but broad-shouldered and mighty of strength: Thorgeir was a very wealthy man, much given to blood

f. 148
offerings, and a wizard: Haddr was abroad awarring and seldom at home.

Now Thorolf Scaldgrimson arrayed him one summer for a trading, for he was minded to fare out to Iceland to see his father, which thing he fulfilled: he had been away a long while, and had gotten wondrous wealth and many goodly things.

So when he was dight for departure he went to see King Eric, and at their parting the King gave into Thorolf’s hand an axe, which he said he would give to Scaldgrim: the axe was crook-horned and great, gold-adorned, and the shaft inlaid with silver; and the best of good things

So Thorolf went his ways when he was dight, and had a fair voyage, and brought his ship into Burg- firth, and hastened home to see his father; so there was great joy at their meeting. Then fared Scald grim to the ship to see Thorolf, and let lay up the

f. 149
ship, but Thorolf fared home to Burg with eleven men: and when he came home he gave Scaldgrim the greeting of King Eric, and the axe withal that the King had sent him. Scaldgrim took the axe, held it up, and looked on it awhile, but said nought there- of. But on a day of autumn at Burg Scaldgrim let drive home a many oxen that he was minded to have slaughtered: he let lead two oxen together under the house-wall, and set them neck by neck; and he took a flag-stone full great, and cast it down under the necks of them: then he went up thereto with the axe, the King’s gift, and smote both the oxen together so that both their heads flew off; but the axe drave down on to the stone, whereby was all the edge broken, and the axe split right through the steel. Scaldgrim looked on the edge and said nought thereof: then went he into the fire-house, and stood on the panel-beam, and cast the axe up on to the door lintel; and there it

f. 150
lay through the winter

In the spring Thorolf said that he was minded to fare out that summer: Scaldgrim letted him, saying that good it was to drive home the waggon hale: said he: Thou hast fared a famous voyage, and it is said

Turn and turn about to him who trieth oft. Take thou here such share of wealth as thou deemest will make thee a man of estate.

Thorolf sayeth that he will fare yet again; And I have a needful errand in my voyage; but when I come again then will I abide here thenceforward: but Asgerd thy fosterling shall fare out with me to go see her father; for so he bade me when I departed from the east

Scaldgrim said he should have his way; so Thorolf went down to his ship and arrayed her: and when all was dight they brought the ship out to Digraness and there abode a wind. Then went Asgerd to the ship with Thorolf. But before he departed from Burg Scald-

f. 151
grim went and took the axe, the King’s-gift, down from the door-lintel, and went out with it: black was the shaft with the reek, and the axe all rusty: Scaldgrim looked on the axe-edge, and then gave the axe to Thorolf, and sang a stave:

 

 

 

Now it betid while Thorolf had been away that one summer came a merchant-ship from Norway into Burgfirth: and in those days was there great laying up of ships in the river and the brook-mouth and in the

f. 152
creek, but the man who owned that ship was the one Ketil called Ketil Blund, a man of Norway of great kin and wealthy. Geir his son, a man full-grown was on shipboard with him. Ketil was minded to get him dwelling-place in Iceland; he came late in the summer-tide; Scaldgrim wotted well of all his conditions, and he bade him guest with him, with all his fellows: Ketil took that, and was with Scaldgrim through the winter. That same winter Geir the son of Ketil wooed Thorun Scaldgrim’s daughter, and the match was made, and Geir wedded Thorun.

The next spring Scaldgrim gave land to Ketil up from Oleif’s land by Whitewater from Flokadal-water-mouth to Reekdale-water-mouth, and all the tongue between them up till Raudsgil, and all Flokadale below the brents. Ketil dwelt at Thrandholt, and Geir at Geirslithe: he had another stead at the upper Reeks in Reekdale, and was called Geir the Wealthy; his sons were Blund- ketil and Thorir Blund, and Thorod Hrisa-blund

f. 153
he who first dwelt at Hrisa.

Scaldgrim loved well trials of strength and games, and deemed it good to talk thereover; and ballplays were oft held then: in the country-side was good store of strong men, albeit none had might to match Scaldgrim, though he were now somewhat stricken in years. The son of Grani of Granistead was Thord, young of years, but of the greatest promise; he loved Egil son of Scaldgrim well. Egil was eager at wrestling; overbearing he was and wrathful; but all men had wit to teach their sons to give place to Egil.

Now a great-ballplay was set up in the beginning of winter on Whitewater-meads, and folk resorted thither from far and wide about those parts; and many home-men of Scald- grim’s went thither to the games, and Thord Granison was about the chiefest of them. So Egil prayed Thord to be let go with him to the games; and he was now of seven wint-

f. 154
-ers. Thord granted it to him and took him up a-horseback with him; so when they came to the play-stead, then were folk marshaled for the plays: there also were come many young lads, and they made for themselves another play, and were array ed against each other: Egil had to play with a lad hight Grim the son of Hegg of Heggstead: Grim was ten winters old or eleven, and strong for his age: so when they played together Egil was the weaker, and Grim made all he might of the difference. Then waxed Egil wroth, and hove up his bat, and smote Grim; but Grim took him by the hands and cast him down a great fall, and dealt somewhat hardly with him, saying that he would do him a mischief if he might not rule himself. But when Egil gat on to his feet he went from out the play, and the lads whooped after him: then he found Thord Granison, and told him what had betid; and Thord said: I shall fare with thee and we will be avenged on him. And he gave him a bearded axe which he had in his hand, which weapons were oft used in

f. 155
those days: then went they to the lad’s play, where Grim had now caught the ball, and gone away with it, while the others followed after him. Then ran Egil at Grim, and drave the axe into the head of him so that it stood in the brain withal: and Thord and Egil went away thereafter, and to their own folk: the Mire-men ran to their weapons, and the others withal; but Oleif the Halt ran to the men of Burg with such men as were with him, and then were they far the most.       Herewithal then they parted; but great contention arose thence betwixt Oleif and Hegg; and they fought on Laxfit by Grimswater: there fell seven men, and Hegg was hurt deadly, and Kvigr, his brother slain

So when Egil came home Scaldgrim said but little about it; but Bera his mother, said that Egil was such stuff as they make Vikings of, and that his fate would be to get a warship, so soon as he was of age thereto. Egil sang:

So my mother sayeth

f. 156
I shall some time buy me
Flying ships and fair oars,
Fare in ring of Vikings,
Stand up in the stem there,
Steer the cutter dear-bought,
Hold on for the haven,
H(N?)ew one man or two men.

Whenas Egil was twelve winters old he was so big-grown that few men were big enough or well enough, or well enough fur- nished of strength to overcome him. That winter wherein he was twelve he was very busy at the games: Thord Gra- nison was then twenty winters old, and a strong man.

Now oft it befel as the winter wore that Egil and Thord were matched against Scaldgrim; and on a time in the winter there was ball-play at Burg south away by Sand- wick, and Egil and Thord played against Scaldgrim, and he grew weary before them and they had the upper hand. But in the evening after sundown Egil and his

f. 157
fellow began to get the worst of it. Then waxed Grim so strong that he caught up Thord and cast him down so hard that he was all crushed, and so gat his bane; and then he caught up Egil: but there was a handmaid of Scaldgrim’s, Thorgerd Brak by name, who had foster- ed Egil in his younger days; she was exceeding handy, strong as a man, and wise in witch-craft: Said Brak: ‘Art thou turned skin-changer Scaldgrim against thine own son?

Scaldgrim let go Egil and caught hold of her; but she broke away from him, and ran off and Scaldgrim follow ed her; and so fared they outward of Digraness: there she leapt off the cliff into the sea; but Scaldgrim cast a stone after her that smote her between the shoulders, so that she never came up again; and that is now called Braksound.

Afterward when they came home to Burg that evening was Egil very wroth. Scaldgrim sat down to table along with all folk, but Egil was not in his place.

 


About the William Morris Archive | About William Morris | About the William Morris Society | Site Map