Harald Fair-hair, son of Halfdan the Black, was sole King of Norway in the days of this story; and young he was when he gat the kingdom.The wisest of all men was Harald, and well furnished of all prowess that befitted the kingly dignity.The king had a great court, and chose therefor men of fame, even such as were best proven for hardihood and many doughty deeds: and whereas the king was fain to have with him the best men that might be chosen, so also were they held in more account than other men in the land; because the king was niggard to them neither of wealth nor furtherance if they knew how to bear themselves.Nor, on the other hand, did this thing go for little, that none of those who were against the king's will throve ever; for some were driven from the land and some slain; but the king stretched his hand out over all the wealth they left behind.But many men of account fled from Norway, and would not bear the burden of the king, even men of great kin; for rather would they forego the free lands their fathers owned, their kin and their friends, than lie under the thraldom of the king and the hard days he laid upon them.These went from land to land; and in those days was Iceland peopled, for many fled thither who might not abide the lordship of King Harald.
There was a lord named Thorir, a man of mighty power in Norway, a man of fame, and wedded to a noble wife: this earl begat on his wife a woman-child, Olof by name, who was wondrous fair-mannered from her youth up; and she was the fairest fashioned of all women of Norway, so that her name was lengthened and she was called Olof Sunbeam.The earl loved his daughter much, and was so jealous of her that no son of man might speak with her.He let build a bower of her, and let adorn that house with all kinds of craft.Wide about was it carven and fretted, with gold run through the carving; roofed with lead was this dwelling, and fair bepainted within; round about it was a wall of pales, and therein a wicket iron-bolted strongly: neither was the house adorned in meaner wise without than within.
So in this bower dwelt the earl's daughter, and her serving-women; and the earl sent after those women whom he knew to be the most courteous, and let them teach his daughter all the deeds of women which it befitted high-born maidens to know: for the earl had mind, as indeed it came to pass, that his daughter should excel all other women in skill and learning as she did in fairness.
But as soon as she was of age thereto, many noble men fell to wooing her.But the earl was hard to please concerning her, and so it came to pass that he gave her to none, but turned them away with courteous words; and for her, she mocked none either by word or deed.So slipped away a while and she had the praise of all men.
Now must the tale tell of other folk.There was a man named Ketil, who bare sway over Raum-realm; he was a mighty man and a wealthy, wise and well befriended.Ketil was wedded, and Ingibiorg was the name of his wife, and she was come of noble blood: two sons they had, Gunnlaug and Sigurd; bynames had those brethren, for Gunnlaug was called the Masterful, and Sigurd the Sage.Ketil let learn his sons all the craft that it was the wont of those days to learn, for he himself was better furnished with such things than most other men.So the brethren had playmates, and they gave them gold and other good things; and ever they rode out with their men to shoot the wild things and fowls of the air, for of the greatest prowess and craft were they.
Goodman Ketil was a great fighting man, four-and-twenty holmgangs had he fought, and had won the victory in all.
There was good friendship between King Harald and Ketil.
This Ketil was so great a lawyer, that he never had to do in any case, with whomsoever he dealt, that he did not prevail; for so soon as he began to talk, all folk deemed that so it must be as he said.
The king bade Ketil take a higher dignity, saying, that it well befitted him, both for his wealth's sake and for many other matters; but Ketil would not, and said he had liefer be just a very franklin, and hold himself none the less equal to folk of higher dignity.
Ketil loved his wife so well, that he would not have her know a sorrow.
Thus wore the time away.
It befell on a time that King Harald called out his sea-folk, with the mind to go south along the land, and arrayed his journey well, both with ships and men.Ketil got his sons to go with a very fair company in the king's fellowship, but he himself sat at home, for he was now sunken into eld.
Now when the king was ready he sailed south along the land; but when he came south to Rogaland, there was an earl held sway there called Eric; a great chieftain, and well beloved of his men: who, when he heard of the king's coming, let array a fair feast and bade the king thereto with all his company; that the king took, and went ashore with his host, and the earl led him home to his hall, with all his court and all kinds of minstrelsy and songs and harp-playing, and every disport that might be.With such welcoming the earl brought the king to his hall, and set him in the high seat, and there befell the fairest feast, and the king was exceeding joyous, and all his men, because the earl spared in nought to serve the king with all loving-kindness; and the best of drink was borne forth, and men were speedily merry with drink.
The king ever set Ketil's sons beside him, and they had great honour of him: the earl stood before the king, and served himself at his board, and great grew the glee in the hall.Then the king caused those brethren to pour out, and set the earl in the high seat beside him; and the brethren did straightway as the king bade, and gat great praise of men for their courtesy.But when the boards were taken up, the earl let bear forth good things which he had chosen for the king, yea, and to all his men he gave some good gift or other; and at the end of this gift-giving the earl let bear forth a harp, whose strings were this one of gold and that one of silver, and the fashion of it most glorious; and the king stretched forth his hand to meet it, and began to smite it; and so great and fair a voice had this harp, that all wondered, and thought they had never heard the like before.
Then spake the earl: “I would, lord, that thou wentest with me for thy disport, and then will I show thee all I have, within and without, and both cornfield and orchard.”
So the king did as the earl bade, and went and beheld all about, and made much of it; and they came to a certain apple-orchard wherein was a fair grove, and under the grove three lads a-playing: fair were they all, but one much the most fair.So they sat a-playing at tables, and that one played against the twain; then these deemed that their game was coming to nought before him, and so they cast the board together; thereat was the better one wroth, and he smote each of them with his fist: then they fell to and wrestled, the two against him alone, and he prevailed no less in the wrestling than in the table-play.
Then the earl bade them forbear and be at one, and they did so, and played at tables as before.And the king and his company went home to the hall, and sat them down; and it was well seen of the king that he thought much of that youngling; and he asked the earl concerning what those lads were.
“They are my sons,” said the earl.
“Are they of one mother? ”said the king.
“Nay,” said the earl.
Then the king asked what they hight, and the earl said, “Sigmund and Helgi, but Thorgrim is the third, and love-born is he.”
So a little after came all those brethren into the hall, and Thorgrim went the hindermost; for in this, as in other matters, was he less honoured.
The earl called the boys to him, and bade them go before the king; and they did so, and greeted him: but when they came before him, Thorgrim put a hand on each of his brethren, and pushed them from him, and passed forth betwixt them, and stood up on the footpace and greeted the king, and kissed him: but the king laughed and took the lad, and set him down beside him, and asked him of his mother; but he said he was the sister's son of Hersir Thorir of Sogn.Then the king, pulled a gold ring off his arm, and gave it to Thorgrim.
Then Thorgrim went back to his brethren, and the feast endured with the greatest honour till the king declared his will to depart.
“Now,” said he, “because of the great-heartedness thou hast shown to me, shalt thou thyself choose thy reward.”
The earl was glad thereat, and said, that he would have the king take Thorgrim his son of him: “Better,” saith he, “do I deem that than store of pennies, because that everything that thou wouldst do to me, I shall deem so much the better if thou doest it to him; and for that cause am I fain he should go with thee, because I love him the best of all my sons.”
So the king said yea thereto, and departed, and Thorgrim with him, who right soon grew to be most gentle of manner in all service to the king; wherefore began many of the king's men to envy him.
The tale tells, that on a time the king went a-guesting to a man named Sigurd, and the feast was well arrayed with all things needful: and the king bade Thorgrim stand forth that day, and pour out for him and his chosen friends.Now many men misliked the great honour in which the king held Thorgrim: and Sigurd had a kinsman called Grim, a man wealthy of money; a man of such dignity, that he accounted all men nought beside him: this man was at the feast, and sat on the dais at the higher bench.So Thorgrim served that day; and as he bare a great beaker of drink before Grim, the liquor was spilt out of it because Thorgrim stumbled, and it fell on Grim's raiment.He grew wroth thereat, and sprang up with big words, saying, that it was well seen that the son of a whore was more wont to herding swine, and giving them their wash, than to serving any men of account.
Thorgrim waxed wroth at his words, and drew his sword and thrust him through, and men pulled him dead from under the board.Then Sigurd called on his men and bade them stand up and lay hands on Thorgrim: but the king said: “Nay, Sigurd, do it not!for Grim should fall unatoned because of his word; yet will I atone him with a full weregild, if thou wilt that I deal with the matter as I will: for thus will our friendship be better holden.”
So it must be as the king would, and he paid so much money that Sigurd was well content; and the feast wore away, and there is nought more to tell of it.
Then the king went his way home: and now he bade the great men to him, and first of these Earl Thorir, and Master Ketil of Raum-realm; who now lacked a wife, because Ingibiorg had died in child-bed, when she had born a daughter, who was called Ingibiorg after her mother: but after these the king bade many men and a great company, for there was no lack of all things needful.
So men came as they were bidden to the feast; and Olof Sunbeam came thereto with her father.So men were marshalled to their seats and noble drink was borne forth.
Thorgrim went a-serving, and folk heeded much what a sprightly and goodly man he was: he was seemly clad, for the king honoured him exceedingly, and that misliked many of his men, and they hated Thorgrim therefor; and a byname was given him, and he was called Thorgrim the Proud.
But when Thorgrim saw Olof his heart yearned toward her, and even so it fared with her toward him, for she loved him; but folk noted it not, though as time served them they met together, and either was well-liking to other: so Thorgrim asked her how she would answer if he bade her in wedlock; and she said that for her part she would not gainsay it, if her father would have it so.So at the end of the feast Thorgrim set forth his wooing and craved Olof Sunbeam.Earl Thorir was not swift in assenting thereto, and they parted with so much done.
A little after Thorgrim gat speech of the king, and craved leave to go see Earl Thorir, and the king granted the same; and when Thorgrim came to Earl Thorir's he had good welcome there.
Then again Thorgrim fell to his wooing, and would now know for sure what answer the earl would give; but the earl said he would not wed his daughter to him.
Thorgrim was there three nights, and he and Olof met lovingly; and some folk say that at that tide they plighted their troth.And so Thorgrim went back to the king for that time.
Now he went on warfare, and was fully come to man's estate; so he was a-warring through the summer, and was accounted the stoutest of men in all dangers, and he gat to him in this journey both riches and renown.
But after these things it befell that Ketil of Raumarik came a-riding to Earl Thorir's with thirty men, and King Harald also was a-guesting there.Then Ketil fell a-wooing Olof Sunbeam to wed her, and with the furtherance of the king Earl Thorir gave his daughter Olof to Ketil: but Olof neither said yea thereto nor thought it in her heart: and when the betrothals were to be fulfilled she sang a stave: ---
“Sure glad ring-warder singeth
Sweeter than any other;
O Voice amid Earth's voices
Henceforth but woe unto me!
No ring-warder so white is
That he may win look from me:
One man have I made oath for,
And well beloved is he.”
Now most men held it for sooth that Olof had been fain to wed Thorgrim, but it behoved to go the other way.
So the day was appointed whereon the wedding was to be, and that was at winter-nights in the house of Earl Thorir: so wore away the summer.
But in the autumn came Thorgrim back from warfare, and heard that Olof was betrothed; so he went straightway to the king, and craved help of him to get the woman, whether Earl Thorir liked it better or worse, or Ketil either.But the king utterly gainsayed all help to Thorgrim, saying that Ketil was his best friend.
“And I will give thee this counsel,” said the king, “that thou raise no strife with Ketil: I will woo Ingibiorg his daughter for thee, and in such wise shall ye make good peace between you!”
Thorgrim said he would not have it so: “I will hold,” says he, “to my words, and the oaths that Olof and I swore betwixt us; and her will I have or no woman else.And since thou wilt help me not, I will serve thee no longer.”
Said the king: “Thou must even rule the matter as thou wilt; but methinks it is most like that thy honour shall wax no greater in another place than with me.”
So Thorgrim took leave of the king, and the king gave him a gold ring at parting which weighed a mark; and so he went to his own men.
Now it lacked three nights of the wedding-day; so Thorgrim went up a-land alone for any of his own men, and went till he came to the house of Earl Thorir.
Thither he came by then that the bride was set on the bench, and all the drinking-hall was full of men, and the king was set in the highseat, and the feast was at its full height.
So Thorgrim went into the drinking-hall, yea, unto the midst of the floor, and stood there; and so many lights were there in the hall, that no shadow fell from aught.All men knew Thorgrim, and to many, forsooth, he was no unwelcome guest.
So he spake: “Hast thou, Ketil, wooed and won Olof? ”
Ketil said that so it was.
“Was it aught with her assent? ” said he.
Says Ketil: “I am minded to think that Earl Thorir might give his daughter away himself, and that the match so made would be lawful forsooth.”
“This is my word,” says Thorgrim, “that Olof and I have sworn oath each to each that she should have no man but me.Let her say if it be so.”
And Olof said it was true.
“Then meseemeth the woman is mine,” said Thorgrim.
“Thou shalt never have her,” said Ketil.“I have striven with greater men than thou, and prevailed against them.”
Said Thorgrim: “Well, meseems thou dost these things in trust of the king's furtherance; so here I bid thee to holm.Let us fight it out and he shall have the woman who winneth her on holm.”
“Nay, I am minded to make the most of it that I have more men than thou,” said Ketil.
But lo, while they were a-talking thus, all lights died out throughout the hall, and there was a mighty uproar and jostling; but when lights were brought again the bride was gone, and Thorgrim withal; and all men deemed it clear that he had brought it about: and true it was that Thorgrim had taken the bride and brought her to his ship.His men had made all ready even as he had aforetime appointed them, and now they were arrayed for sea; so they hoisted sail as soon as Thorgrim was ready, for the wind blew from off the land.
These things befell in the thick of the land-settling-time of Iceland; and Thorgrim thought sure enough that he might not hold himself in Norway after this business: so he made for Iceland.They put forth into the sea and had a fair wind, and made Snowfellness, and went a-land at Hraunhaven.
But the king and the earl heard of Thorgrim's journey, and Ketil was deemed to have won the greatest shame, in that he had lost his wife, and it was not well seen that he would have right of Thorgrim.The king made Thorgrim an outlaw for this deed at Ketil's urging: but turn we from these a while.
There was a man named Holmkel, who dwelt at Foss on Snowfellness, by Holmkel's River: he had to wife Thorbiorg, the daughter of Einar of Bath-brent, and they had two sons together, one named Jokul and the other Einar.Holmkel was the son of Alfarin, who was the son of Vali; his brothers were Ingiald ofIngialdsknoll, and Hauskuld of Hauskuldstead, and Goti of Gotisbrook.
So Thorgrim the Proud bought the lands of Ingialdsknoll, and Ingiald on the other hand went a-trading, and comes not into our tale.Thorgrim soon became a great chieftain, and a most bounteous man; and he got to be great friends with Holmkel of Foss.
Now tells the tale that he made a wedding for Olof, and the winter after they set up house at Ingialdsknoll Olof bore a child, a man-child that had to name Trusty; the next winter she bore another boy, who was called Viglund, and he soon grew both strong and fair.
The same year Thorbiorg bore a woman-child, and it was named Ketilrid; so she and Viglund were of an age: but Trusty was one winter older.
So they grew up in that country, and all would be saying thereabout that there was neither man nor maid of fairer promise or of better conditions in all things than were Viglund and Ketilrid.
Holmkel loved his daughter so much that he would do nought against her will, but Thorbiorg loved her little.
Now whenas Viglund was ten and Trusty eleven winters old, there were none of that age as strong as they in all the country side, and Viglund was the stronger; their other conditions were according to this, and moreover Thorgrim spared in nought to teach his sons.
But Thorbiorg of Foss would learn her daughter no skill, and Holmkel thought it great pity of that; so he took the rede at last to ride to Ingialdsknoll with his daughter; and Thorgrim greeted him well, for great was the friendship between them.Holmkel was seeking fostering there for his daughter with Olof, that she might teach her skill, for Olof was accounted the most skilled of all women of Iceland; she took her rejoicing and got to love her exceeding well.
By this had Olof a young daughter named Helga, a year younger than Ketilrid; and so these young folk drew together in all joyance and glee: but in all games betwixt them it ever so befell that Viglund and Ketilrid would fall into company together, and the brother and sister Trusty and Helga.And now great love grew up between Viglund and Ketilrid, and many would be saying that it would make an even match for many causes.But ever when they were together would either gaze at other and turn to nought else.And on a time Viglund spoke and said that he was fain they should bind their love with oath and troth; but Ketilrid was slow thereover.
Said she: “There are many things against it: first, that thou mayest not be in the same mind when thou art fully come to man's estate; for about such things are ye men's minds nought steadfast.And again, it is not meet, neither will I have it, that we go against my father's counsels herein.And a third thing I see that may fret it all away is, that I am of no might in my matters; for so it is that these things go mostly after my mother's will, and she has little love for me: yet, indeed, I know none that I would rather have than thee, if I might rule matters; but my heart tells me that troubles great and sore lie in the way of it, however it may be in the end.”
Full oft got Viglund's talk on to the same road, and ever she answered in like wise; and yet men deem indeed that they must have sworn troth each to each.
Now must we tell of the brethren Jokul and Einar, how they became exceeding ill-ruled in the country-side, treading herein in the footsteps of their mother.Holmkel was ill-content therewith, but might not better it, and they got to be hated because of their goings on.
Now on a time Einar fell to speech with his mother, and said: “I am ill-content with the honour of Thorgrim the Proud has in the countryside; and I am minded to try if I may not do my will on Olof his wife; and then it would either be that he would strive to avenge it, or else would his honour lie alow: neither is it all so sure that he would get the better of it, if he strove to get the thing avenged.”
She said it was well spoken and just her very mind.So on a certain day, when Holmkel was from home, rode Einar to Ingialdsknoll, and Jokul his brother with him.
Olof the good-wife had bidden a home-woman of hers to lock the men's door every morning whenas the men were gone to work; and in such wise did she the morning those twain came to the stead.So the home-woman was ware of their coming, and went to Olof's bedchamber and told her that the Foss-dwellers were come thither.So Olof arose and clad herself, and went to her sewing-bower, and set down on the dais there a handmaiden, casting her own mantle over her, and saying: “Take it nought strange though they think thee to be me, and I shall look to it that thou get no shame of them.”
Therewith she sent another home-woman to the door, for there was no man in the house.So Einar asked where Olof was, and it was told him that she was in her sewing-bower.Thither turned both those brethren, and when they came into the chamber, they beheld how Olof sat on the dais; so Einar sat down by her and began his talk with her.
But therewith came one into the hall clad in blue and with a drawn sword in hand, not great of growth, but exceeding wroth of aspect.
They asked of his name, and he called himself Ottar; they knew him not, and yet they waxed somewhat adrad of the man.
Now he took up the word and spake: “All must out, and welcome home Thorgrim the goodman, who is a-riding to the garth.”Then up sprang the brethren, and went out, and beheld where the goodman rode with a great company; so they leapt on their horses and rode away home.
But it turned out that that great company was but the beasts being driven home; yea, and the blue-clad man was even Olof herself: and when the Foss-folk knew that, they thought their journey but pitiful: so ever waxed great hatred betwixt the houses.
But when goodman Thorgrim came home Olof told him all that was befallen, and he spake: “Let us tell nought hereof abroad, because of Holmkel my friend: for Einar did it not with his consenting.”
Now those brethren had a stallion, brown of colour and a savage beast; every horse he dealt with he drave away: and two tusks he had, so huge that they were like no teeth of horses.Viglund also had a stallion, light-dun of colour, the best and fairest of horses, and held of great account amongst them.Thorgrim the Proud withal had two oxen, blaze-faced, and with horns like polished bone, and these oxen he liked well.
Now on a day the brethren Einar and Jokul rode to Ingialdsknoll, and there found the father and sons all three standing without the door: so Jokul asked Viglund to give him his light-dun horse.Viglund said he had scarce made up his mind to that; then said Jokul that it was niggardly done: but Viglund said he took no keep thereof.
“Then let us fight the horses,” said Jokul.
“That meseems maybe,” quoth Viglund.
“And that,” said Jokul, “I deem better than the gift of thine to me.”
“Good,” says Viglund; “let the thing go as it will.”
Therewith they appoint a day for the horsefight.So when the day was came the brown of those brethren was led forth, and devilish was his demeanour; so both the brethren got ready to follow him.Then in came Viglund's light-dun, and when he came into the ring he went about circling, till he reared up and smote both his forefeet on the brown's muzzle so that the tusks were driven from out him; thereafter he made at the brown with his teeth, and smote him in the belly, and tore him through, and the brown fell down dead.But when the Foss-folk saw that, they ran to their weapons, and so did the others, and there they fought till Holmkel and Thorgrim gat them parted; and by then was fallen one man of Viglund's, but two of the brethren's men; and in such wise man departed.
But still held the friendship between Holmkel and Thorgrim; and Holmkel withal got to know of the love between Ketilrid and Viglund, and did nought to hinder it: but Thorbiorg and her sons were exceeding ill-content therewith.
So wore away the time, till it was the talk of all men, that none of that day in Iceland were as fair as Viglund and Ketilrid, or as good in all skill and courtesy.
The tale tells, that on a time those brethren, Einar and Jokul, went from home a nighttide when it was bright and clear and came to the fell-common whereas dwelt Viglund's light-dun: they went up to the horses and would drive them home, but might not in anywise, for the dun warded the horses from their driving, but they had been minded to drive all the horses about him to impound him.
So when they might not bring it about they waxed exceeding wroth, and set on the stallion with weapons to slay him; but he defended himself with hoofs and teeth so mightily, that the night was far spent and nothing done: but it came to pass in the end that they got within spear-thrust of him and slew him so.
But when they had done it they were loth to drive the horses home, for they deemed that then it would be clearly seen that they had slain the stallion, and they were fain to hide the same; so they dragged him over a shear rock, with the intent that it should be thought that he had tumbled over of himself: then they fared home, and made as if nought had happened.
Again a little after went the brethren Einar and Jokul to a hill-common of Thorgrim the Proud wherein went his gelded beasts: and there had he a herd of fifty oxen.
So the brethren knew the goodly blaze-faced oxen, and took them and cast halters over them and led them along to Foss, and there slew them both, and then went and hung them up in an outhouse.This was a-night time, and they had made an end of their work before the home-men arose.
Their mother knew all about it, and was, forsooth, exceeding busy in helping her sons over this work of theirs.
Now must it be told, how that the brethren, Viglund and Trusty, went one day to their horses; and when they came to the hill-common to them, they missed their stallion, and, seeking him far and wide, found him at last stark dead under a great cliff; many and great wounds they found on him, and he had been thrust clean through.
So Viglund and his brother thought it clear that the Foss-folk had done it; so they went home and told how their horse was dead, and how it must have been done by the Foss-folk.
Thorgrim bade them keep it quiet; says he, “They were the first to lose their horse; and ye will have your turn again, if things go as I deem, even though ye let this pass over.”
So for that time they let it pass at first: but not long after Thorgrim was told that his goodly blaze-faced oxen were gone, even those that he held in most account, and withal that folk deemed it the work of men.
Thorgrim made few words thereover, but said that it was most like that thieves who dwelt abroad in the mountains would have done such a deed; neither did he let any search be made for the oxen.
So this was heard far and wide, and men deemed that those of Ingialdsknoll had great scathe hereby.
Thorbiorg of Foss made plentiful mocking about this, and let eat the slaughtered oxen: but when goodman Holmkel came to know where the oxen were gotten to, he takes his horse and rides off to Ingialdsknoll: but when he finds goodman Thorgrim he tells him that he thinks his goodly oxen have gotten to his house, and that his sons must have done it.“And now,” says he, “I will pay for the oxen out and out, even as much as thou thyself wilt, if thou bring not their guilt home to them by law.”
Thorgrim says that so it shall be; and so he took as much money as made him well content, and he and Holmkel parted with great friendship.
A woman named Kiolvor dwelt at Hraunskard, a great witch-wife of very ill conditions and hateful to all folk; and there was great friendship between her and Thorbiorg of Foss.So the mother and sons, Thorbiorg to wit, Einar and Jokul, bargained with Kiolvor and gave her a hundred in silver, so that she should overcome those brethren, Viglund and Trusty, by some such manner of witchcraft as she might see her way to.For the greatest envy beat about the hearts of these; and they had heard withal of the true love of Viglund and Ketilrid, and grudged that they should have joy one of the other, as was well proven afterwards.
But they twain loved ever hotter and hotter, with secret love and desire enfolded in their breasts, even from the time they first grew up; so that the roots of love and the waxing of desire were never torn up from the hearts of them; even as the nature of love is, that the fire of longing and flame of desire burneth ever the hotter, and knitteth the more together the breast and heart of the lovers, as folk stand more in the way thereof, as kith and kin cast greater hindrances before those betwixt whom sweet love and yearning lieth.Even so it fared with these folk, Viglund and Ketilrid; for ever all the days while they both lived they loved so hotly, that neither might look away from the other, from the time they first looked each on each, if they might but do as their hearts' yearning was.
Now there was a man named Biorn, a homeman of Thorgrim the Proud, and he was called Biorn of the Billows, because he was such a sea-dog that he deemed no weather unmeet to put to sea in; and he would ever say that he heeded nought the idle tricks of the billows.He had come out with Thorgrim, and his business it was to look to his craft; and there was good fishing off the ness.He never rowed out with more than two men, though he had a stout ten-oared yawl; but now this autumn it befell by Kiolvor's witchcraft that both his fellows lay sick, and all men else were busy about the hay.So Biorn would row a-fishing, wherefore he bade Viglund and Trusty go with him that day.They did so, because the weather was fair, and they all good friends together.But Kiolvor knew all this, and went up on to her witch-house, and waved her veil out toward the east quarter, and thereby the weather grew thick speedily.
So when they were gotten on to the fishing-banks there was fish enough under them, till they beheld how a cloud-fleck came up from the east and north-east.Then said Viglund: “Meseems it were good to make for land, for I like not the look of the weather.”
Says Biorn: “Nay, let us wait till the ship is laden.”
“Thou shalt be master,” said Viglund.
Therewith the cloud-fleck drew all over the sky, and brought with it both wind and frost, and such an ill sea, that the waters were nowhere still, but drave about like grains of salt.
And now Biorn said they would make for land.“Better before,” said Viglund; “but I will say nought against it now.”So Biorn and Trusty rowed, and made no way forward; but they drove south-west out to sea; and the craft began to fill under them.
Then Viglund bade Biorn bale and Trusty steer, but he himself took the oars, and rowed so mightily that they made land at Daymealness.There dwelt Thorkel Skinhood, who came out with Bardi the Snowfell-sprite, and was now old.
Now when it was told Ketilrid that they had been driven out to sea and were dead, she fell into a faint; but when she came to herself she sang this stave as she looked out toward the sea.:
“No more now may my eyes
meet the sea ungreeting,
Since the day my speech-friend
Sank below the seabanks.
I loathe the sea-flood's swartness
And the swallowing billow,
Full sore for me the sorrow
Born in sea-wave's burden.
But Thorkel gave the brethren a good welcome, and the next day they went home; and sweet and joyful was the meeting betwixt Viglund and Ketilrid
Now must we take up the story whereas we left it awhile agone; for Ketil Ram was ill-content with such an ending of his case with Thorgrim the Proud; but he was fast getting old now, and he deemed it not easy to get aught done.His sons Sigurd and Gunnlaug were become hardy men and goodly, and Ingibiorg his daughter was the fairest of all women.
Now there was a man named Hakon, a Wickman of kin, wealthy and warlike: this man went his ways to Ketil of Raum-realm, and craved his daughter in wedlock; and Ketil gave this answer to his asking: “I will give thee my daughter on these wise; thou wilt first fare out to Iceland and slay Thorgrim the Proud, and bring me the head of him.”
Hakon said he thought that no great matter; and so they struck the bargain.Hakon fared to Iceland that summer, and brought his ship into Frodaroyce; and the Foss-folk Jokul and Einar came first to the ship: the ship-master gave them good welcome, and asked them many things; and they were free of tidings to him.
Then he asked concerning lodging, and they said there was none better than at their father's house at Foss.
“A sister we have,” said they, “so fair and courteous, that her like is not to be found; and we will do for thee which thou wilt; either give her to thee as a wife, or let thee have her as a concubine: so come, we bid thee thither to guest with us.”
The master thought this a thing to be desired, so he said he would go thither; and tells them withal what errand he had in Iceland; and they liked the thing well: and now all bind themselves as fellows in the plot.
A little after went the ship-master home to Foss; forsooth clean against the will of Holmkel the goodman: but so it had to be.In a little while withal the ship-master got to be great friends with Thorbiorg; for he gave her many goodly things.
So on a time this Hakon fell to talk with the mother and sons, and asked where the woman was whereof the brethren had told him; “for I would see her,” says he.
They said she was being fostered with Olof at Ingialdsknoll; so he bade them see to it and have her home: “For,” said he, “I trust full well to have thy furtherance in the getting of my will of her, because of our friendship.”
So a little after this Thorbiorg fell a-talking with goodman Holmkel.“I will,” she said, “that my daughter Ketilrid come home to me.”
“Well,” said the goodman, “I deem it better that she be left in peace where she is gotten to.”
“Nay, it shall not be,” says she; “rather will I go fetch her msyelf, then that she should have such rumour from Viglund as now lieth on her: yea, I will rather wed her to Hakon; for that methinks were a seemly match.”
Therewith they make an end of talking; and Holmkel thought he could see, that Thorbiorg would send after Ketilrid, and he deems it better to go fetch her himself.So he rode to Ingialdsknoll, and had good welcome there.
But when he was come thither Viglund went to Ketilrid and spake thus with her: “Thy father is come hither; and methinks he is come after thee to bring thee home with him, and he must needs have his will.But now, Ketilrid, I am full fain that thou keep in memory all the privy talk we have had together, for indeed I know that thou wilt never be out of my mind.”
Then said Ketilrid, sore weeping: “Long have I seen that we might not long have this joy in peace; and now belike it were better that we had not said so much: but not all so sure it is that thou lovest me better than I love thee; though my words be less than thine.But now herein do I see the redes of my mother; because for a long while I have had but little love of her; and most like it is that the days of our bliss are over and done if she may have her will of me: nevertheless should I be well content if I wist that all went well with thee.But howsoever it be, we shall never come together in bliss, but if the will of my father prevail; and a heavy yoke he has to drive, whereas my mother and brothers are afield, for in all things will they be against me.But thou, let all these things slip from off thee!”
Then went Viglund to Ketilrid and kissed her; and it was easily seen of her, yea and of both of them, how hard it was for them to part as at that time.
Moreover, Viglund sang a stave: ----
“Young now I shall not ever
Love any silken goddess,
That son of man shall say it,
Save thee alone, O Sweetling!
Therefore fair maid remember
The oath we swore aforetime,
Howso that women wilful
Would waste the love between us.”
Then Ketilrid went into the house to her father, who straightway told her that she must away home with him.Ketilrid says that he must have his will; “But good,” says she, “would I deem it to abide here ever: yet must it be even as it must.”
A great matter it was to all to part with Ketilrid, for she was a joy to the heart of every man.
But now they ride home to Foss: and the shipmaster was wondrous fain of her coming home: but Thorbiorg her mother appointed her to serve Hakon; which thing she would in nowise do,but told her father thereof weeping; and he said: “Thou shalt not serve Hakon but if thou wilt: yea that alone shalt thou do which thou willest, and thou shalt be by me both day and night.”
She said she was right glad of that: and so the time wore away a space, in such wise that Hakon got never a word with her.
Now was ball-play set up on Esja-tarn, and the Foss-men were the setters forth of the sport: and the first day when men came home from these games, Ketilrid asked if none had come thither from Ingialdsknoll; and she was told that they had all been there, both the father and sons, and Olof and her daughter Helga: so Ketilrid craved of her father next day that she might go to the play; he said yea thereto; and so they went all together that day, and great was the glee: for Thorgrim's sons were come and none other from Ingialdsknoll.
So the brethren went up on to the bank whereas the women sat; and Ketilrid stood up to meet them, and greeted them lovingly, and they sat down on either hand of her, Viglund and Trusty.
Then spake Ketilrid: “Now will I be just as kind to one of you as the other, and hoodwink folk thereby.”
Therewith she gazed ever on Viglund and said: “Thy name will I lengthen this day, and call thee Viglund the Fair: and this ring I will give thee, which my father gave me as a toothing-token, and it shall be to thee a naming-token.”
So he took the ring and drew it on to his hand; and gave her again the ring Harald's-gift, for his father had given it to him.And so, long was their talk drawn out: but when the Foss-men saw that, they took it sore to heart.
So either fare home that evening; and Hakon fell to speech with Thorbiorg, and bade her forbid her daughter to go to any more such meetings of men-folk, in such a mood as she was.She assented thereto, and told Holmkel the goodman not to let his daughter go to any play; but let her abide at home in peace rather: and he did so and Ketilrid's gladness departed from her.Then her father said, she should be ever by him at home if she thought it better so; and she said it pleased her well.
But men go to the play as aforetime; and one had one side, one the other in the play, the Foss-folk and Thorgrim's sons.And on a time Viglund drave the ball out beyond Jokul.Jokul waxed wroth thereat, and when he got the ball, he took it and drave it into Viglund's face, so hard that the skin of his brow fell down over his eyes.Then Trusty ripped a rag from his shirt, and bound up his brother's brow, and when that was done the Foss-folk were departed.
So the brethren went home; and when they came into the hall, Thorgrim cried out as he sat on the dais, “Welcome, dear son and daughter!”
“Why dost thou make women of us, father? ” said Trusty.
“Belike,” said Thorgrim, “a coif-wearer should be a woman.”
“No woman am I,” said Viglund.“Yet may happen I am not so far short of it.”
“Why didst thou not pay Jokul back? ”said Thorgrim.
“They were gone,” said Trusty, “by then I had bound up his face.”And so the talk came to an end.
The next day both the brethren went to the play; and so when it was least to be looked for, Viglund drave the ball right into Jokul's face, so that the skin burst.Then Jokul went to smite Viglund with his bat, but Viglund ran in under the blow and cast Jokul down on the ice, so that he lay long swooning; and therewith were they parted, and either side went home.Jokul had no might to get a-horseback, and was borne home betwixt the four corners of a cloth: but he mended speedily, and the play was set up at Foss.So Thorgrim's sons arrayed them for the play.Thorgrim would have stayed them, saying that he deemed sore troubles would come of it; but they went none the less.
So when they came into the hall at Foss the play was begun, but folk were all in their seats in the hall.So Viglund went in and up to the dais, whereon sat the goodman and his daughter; and Ketilrid greeted him well.
He took her up from her seat, and sat himself down therein, and set her on his knee.But when the goodman saw that, he edged away and gave place, and then Ketilrid sat her down between them, and they fell to talk together.
Then let the goodman get them a pair of tables, and there they played daylong.
Hakon was ill at ease at that; and ever that winter had he been talking to goodman Holmkel and craving his daughter; but Holmkel answered ever in one wise, and said it might not be.
So wore the day till the brethren got them ready to go; but when they were on the causeway, lo, Ketilrid was in the path before them, and bade them not fare home that night.“Because,” quoth she, “I know that my brethren will waylay you.”
But Viglund said he would go as he had been minded afore, and they did so; and each of them had his axe in his hand.But when they came to a certain stackgarth, lo the Foss-folk, twelve in company.
Then said Jokul: “Good that we have met, Viglund; now shall I pay thee back for the stroke of ball and felling on the ice.”
“I have nought to blame my luck herein,” said Viglund.
So they fell on the two brethren, who defended themselves well and manly.Viglund fought no great while before he had slain a man, and then another, and Trusty slew a third.
Then said Jokul: “Now let us hold our hands, and lay all these feuds on those brethren.”
So did they, and either side went their ways home; and Jokul tells his father that Viglund and Trusty had slain three of his home-men.“But we,” quoth he, “would do nought against them till we had seen thee.”
Now Holmkel was exceeding wroth at this tale.
Jokul kept on egging his father to wed Ketilrid his daughter to Hakon; so, what with the urging of those brethren, Holmkel did betroth her to him, but utterly against her will.Hakon was well minded to abide in Iceland, whereas he saw he could not bring to pass the slaying of Thorgrim the Proud.
So this was heard of at Ingialdsknoll, and Viglund took it much to heart.
But when Holmkel knew the very sooth about the waylaying of the brethren, he deemed he had done overmuch in giving Ketilrid to Hakon.
Now still came the sons of Thorgrim to the games at Foss as heretofore; and Viglund had speech of Ketilrid, and blamed her much with hard words in that she was betrothed.But when they arrayed them to go that night, lo, Hakon had vanished, and the sons of Holmkel, and many others with them.Then spake the goodman with Viglund: “I would,” said he, “that ye went not home tonight: for meseemeth the departure of those brethren looks untrustworthy.”
But Viglund said he would go, as he had afore been minded: but when they came out a-doors, there was Ketilrid in the way before them, who prayed Viglund to go another road.“No great things will I do for thy word,”said he; and he sang withal: ----
“Stem where the gathered gold meets,
All trust I gave unto thee:
Last thought of all thoughts was it
That thou couldst wed another.
But now no oaths avail us,
Nought are our many kisses;
Late learn we of women: ----
Her word to me is broken.”
“I think not that I have done any such thing,” said Ketilrid; “but indeed I would that thou wentest not!”
“It shall not be,” said Viglund; “for I have more mind to try the matter out with Hakon, than to let him cast his arms about thee, while I am alive to see it.”And he sang: ---
“I would abide the bale-fire,
Or bear the steel-tree's smiting,
As other men may bear it;
But heavy maidens' redes are:
Sorely to me it seemeth,
Gold spoilers' shoulder-branches,
The sweet that was my maiden
Other than mine entwining.”
So they went on their way till they came to the stackgarth, whereas they had had to do before: and there were the Foss-folk, twelve in company.
Then the sons of Thorgrim gat them up on to the hay, which was in the garth, so that the others were not ware of them, till they had torn up great store of the frozen turf.
But when they had so done, they saw Thorgrim's sons, and fell on them, and there befell the fiercest of fights: till the Foss-folk saw that they made way slowly against Thorgrim's sons whiles they were up on the hay: then cried Jokul----
“Thou wert well counselled, Viglund, not to slink away; and we shall hold for certain that thou art no good man and true, but if thou come down from the hay there, and try the matter to its end.”
So, because of Jokul's egging on, Viglund leapt down from the hay with Trusty his brother, and they met fiercely; and all the men of Hakon and those brethren fell, so that of the Foss-dwellers these alone stood on their feet, Jokul, Einar, and Hakon, with two men more who were hurt and unmeet for fight.
Thus said Jokul: “Now let us set to work in manly and generous wise; let Trusty and Einar fight together, and Viglund and Hakon, and I will sit beside the while.”
Now Trusty was both sore and weary; and they fought, Trusty and Einar, till either fell.
Then fell to fight Viglund and Hakon; and Viglund was exceeding weary, but unwounded.
The fight was both hard and long, because Hakon was strong and stout-hearted, but Viglund strong of hand, and skilled in arms and eager of heart: but the end of their dealings was, that Hakon fell dead to earth, while Viglund was sore hurt.
Then up sprung Jokul, fresh, and without a hurt, and turned against Viglund, and they fell to fight: and a long space they fought, and hard enow, till none could see which would win the day; when Viglund sees that it is a hard matter to prevail against Jokul to the end because of his wounds and weariness; and so being as good with one hand as the other, he cast aloft axe and shield, and caught his shield with his right hand and his axe with his left, in such wise that Jokul noted it not, and then smote the right arm off him at the crook of the elbow.Then Jokul took to flight, nor might Viglund follow after him; but he caught up a spear from the ground, wheras many lay beside him, and cast it after Jokul; and that spear smote him, and went in at the shoulders and out at the breast of him; and Jokul fell down dead.
But Viglund was grown faint with the flow of blood, and he fell swooning and lay there as one dead.
Then the two Foss-men who were left, crawled away to their horses and rode home to Foss, and got into the hall; and there sat the goodman, with his wife on one side and his daughter on the other: then they tell out the tidings: that Hakon is fallen and the brethren, and seven other men besides, and the sons of Thorgrim withal.
When Ketilrid heard that, she fell fainting, and when she came to herself, her mother laid heavy words on her.“Now,” quoth she, “is thy light-o'-love well seen, and the desire thou hadst toward Viglund: ---good it is that ye must needs be parted now.”
Then said the goodman: “Why must thou needs turn this blame on her? She loved her brethren so well, that she may well be astonied at hearing of their fall.”
“Maybe that it is so,” said Thorbiorg; “yet surely I think not.But now the business in hand is to gather a company of men and go slay Thorgrim the Proud, as swiftly as may be.”
“Yea, is that our due business? ”said Holmkel.“Meseems he at least is sackless of the slaying of those brethren; and as for his sons, they can lose no more than their lives; and soothly, it was but their due to defend themselves.”
Now Viglund and Trusty lay among the slain, till Viglund came to himself, and sought after his brother, and found there was yet life in him; wherefore he was minded to do what he might for him there, for he looked not to be of might to bear him to a dwelling: but now he heard the sound of ice breaking on the way, and lo, their father coming with a sledge.So Thorgrim brought Trusty into the sledge and drave him home to Ingialdsknoll; but Viglund rode unholpen.So he set them into an earthdug house under his bed, and there Olof awaited them, and bound their wounds: there they abode privily, and were fully healed in the end, though they lay full a twelvemonth wounded.
Holmkel let set his sons in mound, and those men who had fallen with them, and that place is now called Mound-knowes.
These things were now told of far and wide, and all thought it great tidings, deeming it wellnigh sooth that Thorgrim's sons were slain.
Thorgrim and Holmkel met, nor did this matter depart their friendship, and they made peace on such terms that the case should not be brought to law or judgment.But when Thorbiorg wist thereof, she sent privily to her father Einar, and bade him take up the feud after her sons; and follow up the sons of Thorgrim for full penalty, if yet they lived: and albeit Einar were old, yet he threw himself into this case, and beguilted the sons of Thorgrim to the full at the Thorsness-thing.
And all this came home to the ears of the countryside.
Now Hakon's shipmates sailed away in the summer when they were ready, and made Norway, and coming to Ketil told him throughout how all things had gone: wherefore it seemed to him that the revenge on Thorgrim and his sons was like to be tardy.Gunnlaug and Sigurd, the sons of Ketil, were come from a viking cruise in those days, and were grown most famous men: Gunnlaug the Masterful had sworn this oath, never to deny to any man a berth in his ship, if so be his life lay theron; and Sigurd the Sage had sworn never to reward good with evil.
So Ketil told his sons of the fall of Hakon, and bade them fare to Iceland and revenge his shame, and slay Thorgrim the Proud.
They came into this tardily, yet for the prayer's sake of their father they went; but as soon as they came into the main sea there drave a storm down on them, and a mighty wind, and they weltered about right up to winter-nights.They came on Snowfellness amidst a great fog, and struck on Onverdaness, and were wrecked; so all men got a-land alive, but of the goods was little saved.
Now Thorgrim heard hereof, and who the men were, and rode to meet them, and they took that joyfully, and abode the winter through.
And now Sigurd began to think much of Helga, though he said but little to her.
And they knew nought of Thorgrim's sons.
But on a time got Gunnlaug a-talking with Sigurd his brother, and said, “Were it not meet that we should seek revenge on Thorgrim, for certes we may have a right good chance against him? ”
Sigurd answered: “It had been better unspoken; for thus meseems should I reward good with evil, if I were to slay the man who has taken me from shipwreck; and in every wise doth better and better to me: nay, rather would I defend him than do him a mischief if it should come to such a pass.”
So they made an end of talking, and Gunnlaug never got on this talk again with Sigurd.So the winter wears, and those brethren let array their ship, being desirous to be ready to depart against summer-tide.
And some men would be saying that things went sweetly between Helga and Sigurd; howbeit, it was scarce known openly to all folk.
Now turns the tale to Earl Eric, who became an old man, and died of eld; but Sigmund his son took his possessions after him, but gat no dignity from King Harald, because the King bore all the kin of Thorgrim something of a grudge for his friendship's sake with Ketil.
Helgi had wedded in Norway, but his wife was dead before the tale gets so far as this: he had a daughter called Ragnhild, the fairest of women.So Helgi was weary of Norway, and went to Iceland, and came thither late in the land-settling time, and bought land in Gautwick of that Gaut who had settled the land there; and there he dwelt till old age.
Now tells the tale of more folk: Steinolf, to wit, who dwelt in Hraundale, who had a son hight Thorleif, a big man and a proper.This Thorleif wooed Ketilrid, but she would nought of him.Then Thorleif made many words about it, to the end that he should get her, howsoever she might gainsay it; and Thorbiorg was utterly of his way of thinking.
But now, when Thorgrim's sons were clean healed of their hurts, they asked their father what he would counsel them to do.He said, “I deem it good rede for you to take berth in the ship of the brethren Gunnlaug and Sigurd, and pray a passage of them over the Iceland sea, saying that your lives lie thereon, as the sooth is, keeping your names hidden meanwhile.Then shall Sigurd keep to his oath, and grant you passage: for this Sigurd is a good man and true, and ye will get but good at his hands: and soothly ye will need it, for over there ye will have to answer for me.”
So it was settled that this was to be done.Men say that Ketilrid was weighed down with sorrow that winter; that oft she slept little, and sat awake in her sewing-bower nightlong.But that same night before the day whenas Viglund should fare to the ship, for now Ketil's sons were all ready for sea, Viglund and Trusty went to Foss, and into the chamber whereas sat Ketilrid awake, while her handmaids slept.
Sweetly she welcomed the brethren.“It is long since we met,” said she; “but right good it is that ye are whole and about on your feet again.”
So the two brethren sat down beside her, and talked a long while; and Viglund told her all he was minded to do, and she was glad thereat.
“All is right well,” she said, “so long as thou art well, howsoever it fare with me.”
“Let thyself not be wedded whiles I am away,” said Viglund.
“My father must rule that,” she said, “for I have no might herein; moreover, I will not be against him: but belike it will be no happier for me than for thee, if things go otherwise: yet all must needs go its own ways.”
Then Viglund bade her cut his hair and wash his head, and she did so; and when it was done, Viglund said: “This I swear, that none shall cut my hair or wash my head but thou only while thou art alive.”
Then they all went out together, and parted without in the home-mead: and Viglund kissed Ketilrid weeping sore; and it was well seen of them, that their hearts were sore to part thus: but so must it be: and she went into her bower, but they went on their way.
And Viglund, or ever he parted from Ketilrid, sang this stave: ----
“Maiden, my songs remember,
Fair mouth, if thou mayst learn them;
For, clasp-mead, they may gain thee
At whiles some times beguiling.
Most precious, when thou wendest
Abroad, where folk are gathered,
Me, O thou slender isle-may,
Each time shalt thou remember.”
But when they were come a little way from the garth Viglund sang another stave: ----
“Amid the town we twain stood,
And there she wound around me
Her hands, the hawk-eyed woman,
The fair-haired, greeting sorely.
Fast fell tears from the maiden,
And sorrow told of longing;
Her cloth the drift-white dear one
Over bright brows was drawing.”
A little after, when Ketilrid came into her bower, thither came the goodman Holmkel, and saw his daughter weeping sorely: then he asked her why she was so sleepless: but for all answer she sang: ---
“A little way I led him,
The lord of sheen, from green garth;
But farther than all faring,
My heart it followeth after.
Yea, longer had I led him,
If land lay off the haven,
And all the waste of Ægir
Were into green meads waxen.”
Then spake Ketilrid and answered her father: “My brothers' death was in my mind.”
“Wilt thou have them avenged? ” said he.
“That should be soon seen,” she said, “if I were as much a man and of might in matters, as I am now but a woman.”
The goodman said: “Daughter, know in good sooth, that it is for thy sake that I have done nought against those brethren; for I wot well that they are alive: so come now, hide not from me how thou wouldst have the matter go; for I will get them slain if that is thy will.”
“So far from having them slain,” said she, “if I might rule, I would never have made themoutlaws if I might have ruled; and, moreover, I would have given them money for their journey if I had had it; and never would I have any other but Viglund, if I might choose.”
Then Holmkel arose and went forth, and took his horse and rode after the brethren.But when they saw him, then said Trusty, “There rideth Holmkel alone; and if thou wilt get Ketilrid, there is one thing to be done----nought good though it be----to slay Holmkel and carry off Ketilrid.”
Said Viglund: “Though it were on the board that I should never see Ketilrid from this time henceforward, yet rather would I have it so than that I do Holmkel any hurt, and forget the trustiness he hath dealt me withal, when he hath had such sorrow to pay me back for: yea, moreover, Ketilrid hath grief enow to bear though she see not her father slain, who hath ever wished all things good for her.”
“Yea, so it is best,” said Trusty.
“Now shall we,” said Viglund, “ride into our home-mead to meet him, for the increasing of his honour.”
They did so; but Holmkel rode on past them and then turned back: so the brethren went back to the road, and found money there, and a gold ring, and a rune-staff: and on the rune-staff were cut all those words of Ketilrid and Holmkel, and this withal, that she gave that money to Viglund.
Thereafter they went to the ship, and Gunnlaug and his brother were ready for sea, and the wind blowing off shore: so Viglund hailed the ship, and asked whether Gunnlaug were aboard, and whether he would give them passage over the Iceland seas.He asked who they were: They said one was named Troubleman, and the other Hardfellow.Then Gunnlaug asked what dragged them toward the outlands; and they said, very fear for their lives.So he bade them come out to the ship, and they did so.Then they hoisted sail, and sailed out to sea; and when they had made some way Gunnlaug said, “Big fellow, why art thou named Troubleman? ”
“Well,” said he, “I am called Troubleman, because I have troubles enough and to spare of my own; but I am also called Viglund, and my brother here is Trusty, and we are the sons of Thorgrim the Proud.”
Then Gunnlaug was silent, but spake at last: “What do we, brother Sigurd? ”said he; “for now have we a hard matter to get out of, seeing that I wot well that Ketil our father will let slay them as soon as they come to Norway.”
Said Sigurd: “Thou didst not ask me this when thou tookest them in; but I knew Viglund when I saw him, by Helga his sister.But meseems thou hast might to bring it about that our father Ketil have no more power over them than thou wilt; and a most meet reward will that be for that wherein Thorgrim has done well to us.”
“It is well spoken,” said Gunnlaug: “let us do so.”
Now they had a fair wind and made Norway, and fared home to Raumsdale, and Ketil was from home; and when he came home, there were his sons in the hall, with Thorgrim's sons sitting in their midst; and they were a company of four-and-twenty.
Now they greeted not their father when he set him down in the high seat; but he knew his sons, but not the sons of Thorgrim: so he asked why they greeted him not, or who the stranger men were.
And Sigurd said, “One is called Viglund, and the other Trusty, the sons of Thorgrim the Proud.”
Said Ketil: “Stand up, all ye my men, and take them!And I would that Thorgrim the Proud also were come hither; and then should they all fare by one road.”
Sigurd the Sage answered and said: “Great is the difference between us here and Thorgrim the Proud; for he took us brethren from shipwreck, and did to us ever better and better, when he had us utterly at his will: but thou wilt slay his sons sackless: and belike, good fellows, we may do you a mischief before Thorgrim'' sons be slain: and one fate shall be over us all.”
Then Ketil says that it is unmeet for him to fight against his own sons, and the wrath runs off him.
Then spake Sigurd: “This is my counsel, that my brother Gunnlaug take the whole matter in hand, for he is well proven in rightfulness.”
“Well, it must be so,” said Ketil, “rather than that we, father and sons, begin an ill strife together.”
So this was settled to be; and Gunnlaug spake: “This is my doom: Thorgrim shall keep the woman himself; but withal she shall forego the heritage of Earl Thorir her father, and my father shall duly take the said heritage; and my father shall give his daughter Ingibiorg to Trusty, Thorgrim's son; and Sigurd the Sage shall wed Helga, Thorgrim's daughter.And this my doom I hold to firmly.”
All thought it done well and wisely, and Ketil was well pleased with matters having come hereto.
So there they abode in good entertainment, the winter through, and Trusty wedded Ingibiorg: but in the summer they went a-warring, all the foster-brethren together, and became the most renowned of men, but Viglund bare away the prize from them all: and they were close upon three winters in this warfare.
But Viglund was never in more joyous mood than at the first; for Ketilrid was never out of his mind.
Now must the story be taken up, whereas goodman Holmkel sat at home at Foss.And on a day he rode to Ingialdsknoll, and no man knew what he spake to Thorgrim: and thereafter he went home.Still Thorleif Steinolfson was importunate in the wooing of Ketilrid; but she was slow enough over it.
A little after Thorgrim sent three of his men from home, and they were away three weeks, and when they came home none knew what their errand had been.
Now this befell one day at Foss, that thither came thirty men.Holmkel asked their leader to name himself; and he said he was called Thord, and had his abode in the Eastfirths, and that his errand thither was the wooing of Ketilrid.The goodman put the matter before his daughter, and she was asked thereof, and she said it was as far as might be from her mind, for she deemed the man old, and she said she had no heart to be wedded at all.
Thorbiorg was exceeding eager that the bargain should be struck, and the end of it was, that Holmkel betrothed her to Thord, whether she were lieve or loth; and she went away with Thord at once, and the wedding was to be in the Eastfirths.So they made no stay till they got home, and Ketilrid took the rule of all things there; yet men never saw her glad.
But Thord wedded her not; they both lay in one bed, but in such wise that there was a curtain between them.
So wore away a long space.
Thorlief was ill content that Ketilrid was wedded; but thought it not easy to do aught, whereas she was a long way off.
Thord did well to Ketilrid in all wise, but no gain that seemed to Ketilrid, because of the love she had for Viglund: for ever she bare about the flame of desire in her breast for his sake.
Viglund and all the foster-brethren came home that summer from warfare, and Ketil gave them good welcome.
On a day were folk called to head-washing, but Viglund answered thereto: “Nay, I will have nought of this head-washing, nor havesince we parted, Ketilrid and I.”Then he sang a stave: ----
“The linen-oak bath-lovely
Laid last on me the lather:
So nought have I to hurry
Unto another head-bath.
And me no more shall any
Gold glittering of the maidens
Henceforth, in all my life-days,
In ashen bath bewash me.”
Nor would Viglund let himself be bathed.
So there they abode in peace that winter; but in summer they made ready for Iceland, each company in their own ship; so they sailed into the sea, and parted company at sea; and Ketil's sons made White-water, and went to quarters at Ingialdsknoll, and told Thorgrim of the peace made twixt him and Ketil, and also that his sons were soon to be looked for: and Thorgrim was glad at all these things.But Viglund and his brother sailed on till they saw Snowfell-Jokul; then sang Viglund a stave: ----
“Behold the hill whereunder
My bond of love high-hearted,
My well-beloved one sitteth:
Lo Love's eyes turn I to her.
Sweet, sing I of the gold-brent,
The proud by proud that sitteth.
O hill-side among hill-sides,
Beloved, if any have been!”
And again he sang: ---
“Leek-bearer, bright the looking
Over the heaths sun-litten,
The sun sinks slow thereunder:
How sore I long to be there!
Lovesome she makes the mountains;
Sweet, therefore must I hush me:
The goodliest goddess have I
To greet, who sits thereunder.”
And therewith there came a wind down from the ness so great, that they drave out into the sea; and a west wind fell on them, and the weather became exceeding stormy, and men must ever stand a-baling.And on a day, as Viglund sat on the bulk amid weather of the roughest, he sang: ---
“Ketilrid her carle bade
Quail not mid swift sailing,
Though the beat of billows
Overboar the foredeck.
Still her word is with me,
Be we wight now, Trusty!
Stormy heart of sorrow
I have for Ketilrid.”
“A mighty matter, forsooth,” said Trusty, “whenas thou must needs name her first and last in thy singing.”
“Yea, kinsman, thinkest thou so? ”said Viglund.
So they were out at sea many days, and at last amid great danger and pain made Gautwick in the Eastfirths.
Then said Viglund, “Whereas we have a feud on us, methinks it were well, brother, that thou shouldst call thyself Raven, and I should call myself Erne.”
So the goodman from the stead of Gautwick came to the ship; and the shipmen gave him good welcome, and bade him take what he would of the lading.The goodman said he had a young wife.“She,” quoth he, “shall come to the ship and take of your lading what she will.”So the goodman rode home now, and the mistress came thither the next morning; and she knew Viglund as soon as she saw him, but made little of it; but Viglund was much astonished when he knew her.
So she took what she would of the lading, for all things were at her will.
The bonder had bidden the ship-masters home, and when they came thither, the master and mistress went to meet them: then stumbled the goodman, for he was stiff with eld: then the mistress said, somewhat under her breath, “An evil mate is an old man.”
“It was so slippery, though,” said the master.
So they were brought in with all honour; but Viglund deemed that Ketilrid knew him not.But she sang: ----
“The fight-grove of Van's fire,
The fair, I knew at even---
Marvel that he would meet me!
I knew gold-master Trusty.
The ship of gold all slender
To such an one is wedded,
That ne'er another older
In all the world one findeth.”
So they abode there that winter, and Viglund was exceeding heavy-hearted, but Trusty as blithe as might be, and the goodman exceeding blithe, who served them with all kindness.
But it is told that Ketilrid had a veil ever before her face, for she would not that Viglund should know her, and that Viglund also for his part was not all so sure that it was she.
On a day Ketilrid was standing without, and she was exceeding warm, and had rent the veil from her face: and in that nick of time Viglund came out and saw her visage clearly; and thereat was he much astonished, and flushed red as blood.He went into the hall, wherein was Trusty sitting, who asked him what was toward and what he had seen that he was so changed.Then Viglund sang a stave: ----
“Nought shall I say thee lie now:
Ne'er saw I eyen sweeter
Since when we twain were sundered,
O sweet one of the worm-lair.
This craven carle her clippeth;
Shall I not carve from off him
His head? all grief go with him!---
Grief from the gold one gat I.”
Now Ketilrid never had a veil before her face from that time forward that she wotted that Viglund knew her.
So Trusty said, “The last thing to be done I deem is to do the goodman any harm, as well as he has done to us; a luckless deed it will be to slay her husband sackless: let it be far from thee!”And he sang: ---
“Never, burnt-rings breaker,
Shall ye be brought together.
If felon's deed thou doest
On Fafnir's-land's good dealer.
Not ever, nor in all things,
Availeth shielded onset;
Aright must we arede us,
O brother wise in trials.”
So the day wears away to evening, and folk go to rest.But in the night Viglund arose and went to the bed wherein slept Ketilrid and the goodman; the light was drawn up into the hall roof, so that aloft it was light, but all below was dim.So he lifted up the curtains and saw Ketilrid lying turned towards the wall, and the goodman turned away thence towards the bedstock, with his head laid thereon, handy to be smitten off.
Then was Viglund at the point to draw his sword, but therewith came Trusty to him, and said, “Nay, beware of thyself, and do no such fearful and shameful deed as to slay a sleeping man.Let none see in thee that thy heart is in this woman!bear thyself like a man!”And he sang: ---
“My friend, mind here the maiden
Who murdereth all thy gladness;
See there thy fair fame's furtherer,
Who seemeth fain of saying:
Though one, the lovely woman,
Hath wasted all thy life-joy,
Yet keep it close within thee,
Nor cry aloud thereover.”
Therewith was Viglund appeased, and he wondered withal that there was so wide a space in the bed betwixt them.
So the brethren went to their beds; but Viglund slept but little that night, and the next morning was he exceeding downcast; but the goodman was very joyous, and he asked Viglund what made him so sorrowful.
Then Viglund, whom all deemed was called Erne, sang a stave: ----
“The white hands' ice-hill's wearer
Hath wasted all my joyance:
O strong against me straineth
The stream of heaped-up waters!
This sapling oak thy wife here
From out my heart ne'er goeth;
Well of tormenting wotteth
The woman mid her playing.”
“Like enough it is so,” said the master; “but come, it were good that we disported us and played at the chess.”
And they did so; but little heed had Erne of the board because of the thought he had of the goodwife, so that he was like to be mated: but therewith came the mistress thither, and looked on the board, and sang this half-stave: ----
“O battles' thunder-bearer
Be glad and shift thy board-piece
On to this square thou seest;
So saith the staff of hangings.”
Then the master looked on her and sang: ---
“Again to-day gold-goddess
Against her husband turneth,
Though I the wealth-god owe thee
For nought but eld meseemeth.”
So Erne played as he was bidden, and the game was a drawn game.
The goodwife talked little with Erne; but on a day when they met without alone, they two, Viglund and Ketilrid, they did talk together somewhat; yet not for long; and when they had made an end of talking, Viglund sang: ----
“O slender sweet, O fair-browed,
Meseemeth this thy husband
As ferry-boat all foredone
Amid the Skerries floating.
But thee, when I behold thee
Go forth so mighty waxen,
'Tis as a ship all stately
O'er sea-mews' pasture sweeping.”
Then they left off talking, and Ketilrid went in; but Erne fell to talk with the goodman, who was joyous with the shipmaster; but Erne sang: ---
“Friend, watch and ward now hold thou
Of this thy wife, the fair one;
And heed lest that spear-Goddess
Should go about to waste me.
If oft we meet without doors,
I and the twined-thread's Goddess,
Who knows whose most she should be,
Or mine or thine, that gold-wife? ”
And another stave he sang: ----
“Fight-grove full fain would not
Be found amidst of man-folk,
So tame to maids' enticing
To take a man's wife wedded.
But if amid the mirk-tide
She came here made as woman,
I cannot soothly swear it
But soft I should enfold her.”
Said the master; “O, all will go well enough if she sees to it herself.”And so they left this talk.
Ever did the goodman do better and better to the shipmaster, but it availed him nought; a sorrowful man he was ever, and never spake one joyous word.But Trusty, his brother, thought such harm of this, that he talked to him full oft, bidding him put it from his mind and take another woman.But Erne said, “It may not be; I should not love her; yea, moreover, I could not set the thing afoot.”And he sang: ----
“Another man's wife love I,
Unmanly am I holden,
Though old, and on her beam-ends,
Fallen is the fallow oak-keel.
I wot not if another,
At any time hereafter,
Shall be as sweet unto me----
The ship drave out of peril.”
“It may be so,” said Raven.So they went together into the hall: and there sat the master with the goodwife on his knees, and he with his arms about her middle: but Erne saw that she was not right glad thereat.
Now she slipped from his knees, and went and sat down on the bench, and wept.Erne went thither, and sat down by her, and they talked together softly.And he sang: ----
“Sweet linen-bride, full seldom
In such wise would I find thee,
An hoary dotard's hand-claws
Hanging about thee, bright one.
Rather, O wristfires' lady,
Would I around thy midmost
Cast as my longing led me,
These lands of gold light-shinging.”
“Mayhappen,” said the goodwife, “it will never be.”Therewith she arose and went away: but the master was exceeding joyous and said: “Now, Erne, I will that thou have care of my household, and all else that concerns me, whiles I am away, because I am going from home and shall be away for a month at the least; and thee I trust best of all in all matters that concern me.”
Erne said little to this.
Then the master went from home with fourteen men; and when he was gone Erne spake to his brother and said: “Methinks it were well if we went from home, and abode not here whiles the master is away; for otherwise folk will deem that I am about beguiling his wife; and then would a mighty difference be seen betwixt me and the master.”
So they rode from home, and abode by their shipmates till the goodman came home on the day named.
And now were there many more with him than before: for in his company were Thorgrim the Proud, and Olof his wife, and Helga his daughter, and Sigurd the Sage, and Gunnlaug his brother, and Holmkel the master of Foss: and they were fifty all told.Therewith also came home the two mariners.
And now Ketilrid had arrayed all things as the goodman had commanded her, with the intent to hold his wedding.
But when they were all set down in the hall the master stood up and said: “So stands the case, Shipmaster Erne, that thou hast abided here through the winter, and thy brother with thee, and I know that thou art called Viglund and thy brother Trusty, and that ye are the sons of Thorgrim the Proud: no less I know all thy mind toward Ketilrid; and with many trials and troubles have I tried thee, and all hast thou borne well: nevertheless thy brother hath holden thee that thou hast not fallen into any dreadful case or done any dreadful thing: and I myself indeed had ever something else to fall back upon.For now will I no longer hide from thee that I am called Helgi, and am the son of Earl Eric, and thine own father's brother: therefore wooed I Ketilrid, that I might keep her safe for thee, and she is a clean maiden as for me.Ketilrid hath borne all well and womanly: for I and the others hid these things from her: forsooth we have lain never under one sheet, for the bedstock cometh up between the berths we lay in, though we had one coverlet over all: and I deem indeed that it would be no trial nor penance to her though she knew no man whiles thou wert alive.But all these things were done by the rede of Master Holmkel, and methinks it were well that thou pray him for peace, and crave his daughter of him thereafter: and surely he will give thee peace, for things better and nobler than this he hath done to thee in your dealings together.”
Then went Viglund to Master Holmkel, and laid his head on his knee, and bade him do therewith whatso he would; and he answered in this wise---
“That shall be done with thine head which shall please my daughter Ketilrid best, and assuredly we will be at peace together.”
So Holmkel gave his daughter Ketilrid to Viglund, and Thorgrim gave Helga his daughter to Sigurd the Sage, and Helgi gave Ragnhild his daughter to Gunnlaug the Masterful; and folk sat down to all these weddings at one and the same time.
Then each went to his own house: Viglund and Ketilrid loved their life exceeding well now, and dwelt at Foss after Holmkel, Ketilrid's father: but Gunnlaug the Masterful and Sigurd his brother fared abroad and set up house in Norway: but Trusty abode at Ingialdsknoll after Thorgrim his father.
So here endeth the tale.
“Whoso thinketh this good game,
God keep us all from hurt and grame;
And may all things have such an end
That all we unto God may wend.
He who to tell this tale hath will,
No needeth no long time be still;
For here we cast off pain and woe,
Here noble deeds may Champions know,
Manners and tales and glorious lore,
And truth withal that shall endure,
Thanks to him who hearkened it,
Yea and unto him who writ,
And Thorgeir that engrossed it fair.
God's and Mary's grace be here!”
Two sons and a father did write this book: pray ye to God for them all. Amen.