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The Saga of Grettir the Strong

The Saga of Grettir the Strong

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Published by Mikael de SanLeon
[OMACL release #9] The Saga of Grettir the Strong Originally written in Icelandic, sometime in the early 14th Century. Author unknown. Translation by G. H. Hight (London, 1914). the PUBLIC DOMAIN. This edition is in

This electronic edition was produced, edited, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), June 1995. Document scanning provided by David Reid and John Servilio. **************************************************************** CHAPTER I THE FAMILY AND EAR
[OMACL release #9] The Saga of Grettir the Strong Originally written in Icelandic, sometime in the early 14th Century. Author unknown. Translation by G. H. Hight (London, 1914). the PUBLIC DOMAIN. This edition is in

This electronic edition was produced, edited, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), June 1995. Document scanning provided by David Reid and John Servilio. **************************************************************** CHAPTER I THE FAMILY AND EAR

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Published by: Mikael de SanLeon on Nov 19, 2009
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[OMACL release #9]The Saga of Grettir the Strong<Grettir's Saga>Originally written in Icelandic, sometime in the early 14thCentury. Author unknown.Translation by G. H. Hight (London, 1914). This edition is inthe PUBLIC DOMAIN.This electronic edition was produced, edited, and prepared byDouglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), June 1995. Documentscanning provided by David Reid and John Servilio.****************************************************************CHAPTER ITHE FAMILY AND EARLY WARS OF ONUND THE SON OF OFEIGThere was a man named Onund, the son of Ofeig Clumsyfoot, who wasthe son of Ivar Horsetail. Onund was the brother of Gudbjorg,the mother of Gudbrand Knob, the father of Asta, the mother ofKing Olaf the Saint. His mother came from the Upplands, whilehis father's relations were mostly in Rogaland and Hordland. Hewas a great viking and used to harry away in the West over thesea. He was accompanied on these expeditions by one Balki, theson of Blaeing from Sotanes, and by Orm the Wealthy. Anothercomrade of theirs was named Hallvard. They had five ships, allwell equipped. They plundered the Hebrides, reaching the BarraIsles, where there ruled a king named Kjarval, who also had fiveships. These they attacked; there was a fierce battle betweenthem, in which Onund's men fought with the utmost bravery. Aftermany had fallen on both sides, the battle ended with the kingtaking to flight with a single ship; the rest were captured byOnund's force, along with much booty. They stayed there for thewinter, and spent the succeeding three summers harrying thecoasts of Ireland and Scotland, after which they returned toNorway.CHAPTER IITHE BATTLE OF HAFRSFJORDAt that time Norway was very disturbed. Harald Shockhead, theson of Halfdan the Black, till then king of the Upplands, wasaiming at the supreme kingship. He went into the North andfought many battles there, in which he was always victorious.Then he marched harrying through the territories to the South,bringing them into subjection wherever he came. On reachingHordland he was opposed by a motley multitude led by Kjotvi theWealthy, Thorir Long-chin, and Soti and King Sulki from SouthRogaland. Geirmund Swarthyskin was then away in the West, beyondthe sea, so he was not present at the battle, although Hordlandbelonged to his dominion.
 
Onund and his party had arrived that autumn from the westernseas, and when Thorir and Kjotvi heard of their landing they sentenvoys to ask for their aid, promising to treat them with honour.They were very anxious for an opportunity of distinguishingthemselves, so they joined Thorir's forces, and declared thatthey would be in the thickest part of the battle. They met KingHarald in a fjord in Rogaland called Hafrsfjord. The forces oneach side were very large, and the battle was one of the greatestever fought in Norway. There are many accounts of it, for onealways hears much about those people of whom the saga is told.Troops had come in from all the country around and from othercountries as well, besides a multitude of vikings. Onund broughthis ship alongside of that of Thorir Long-chin in the very middleof the battle. King Harald made for Thorir's ship, knowing himto be a terrible berserk, and very brave. The fighting wasdesperate on either side. Then the king ordered his berserks,the men called Wolfskins, forward. No iron could hurt them, andwhen they charged nothing could withstand them. Thorir defendedhimself bravely and fell on his ship fighting valiantly. Thewhole ship from stem to stern was cleared and her fastenings werecut, so that she fell out of the line of battle. Then theyattacked Onund's ship, in the forepart of which he was standingand fighting manfully. The king's men said: "He bears himselfwell in the forecastle. Let us give him something to remind himof having been in the battle." Onund was stepping out with onefoot on to the bulwark, and as he was striking they made a thrustat him with a spear; in parrying it he bent backwards, and atthat moment a man on the forecastle of the king's ship struck himand took off his leg below the knee, disabling him at a blow.With him fell the greater number of his men. They carried him toa ship belonging to a man named Thrand, a son of Bjorn andbrother of Eyvind the Easterner. He was fighting against KingHarald, and his ship was lying on the other side of Onund's.Then there was a general flight. Thrand and the rest of thevikings escaped any way they could, and sailed away westwards.They took with them Onund and Balki and Hallvard Sugandi. Onundrecovered and went about for the rest of his life with a woodenleg, wherefore he was called Onund Treefoot as long as he lived.CHAPTER IIIMEETING OF DEFEATED CHIEFS IN THE WEST AND MARRIAGE OF ONUNDThere were then in the western parts many distinguished men whohad fled from their homes in Norway before King Harald, for hedeclared all who fought against him outlaws, and seized theirproperty. As soon as Onund had recovered from his wound, Thrandwent with his party to Geirmund Swarthyskin, who was the mosteminent of the vikings in the West. They asked him whether hewas not going to try and regain his kingdom in Hordland, andoffered to join him, hoping by this means to do something fortheir own properties, for Onund was very wealthy and his kindredvery powerful. Geirmund answered that Harald had such a forcethat there was little hope of gaining any honour by fighting whenthe whole country had joined against him and been beaten. He hadno mind, he said, to become the king's thrall, and to beg for
 
that which he had once possessed in his own right. Seeing thathe was no longer in the vigour of his youth he preferred to findsome other occupation. So Onund and his party returned to theSouthern Islands, where they met many of their friends.There was a man named Ofeig, nicknamed Grettir. He was the sonof Einar, the son of Olvir the Babyman. He was a brother ofOleif the Broad, the father of Thormod Shaft. Another son ofOlvir was named Steinolf, the father of Una, whom Thorbjorn theSalmon-man married. A third son of Olvir was Steinmod, who wasthe father of Konal, the father of Alfdis of the Barra Isles.Konal's son was named Steimnod; he was the father of Halldora,whom Eilif, the son of Ketil the One-handed, married.Ofeig Grettir married Asny, the daughter of Vestar, the son ofHaeing. His sons were Asmund the Beardless and Asbjorn, and hisdaughters were named Aldis, Aesa, and Asvor. Ofeig had fled fromthe wrath of King Harald into the West over the sea, along withhis kinsman Thormod Shaft and all their families. They ravagedfar and wide in the western seas. Thrand and Onund Treefoot weregoing West to Ireland to join Thrand's brother, Eyvind theEasterner, who had command of the Irish defences. Eyvind'smother was named Hlif; she was the daughter of Hrolf, the son ofIngjald, the son of King Frodi, while Thrand's mother was Helga,the daughter of Ondott Crow. The father of Eyvind and Thrand wasBjorn, the son of Hrolf of Ar. He had had to leave Gautlandbecause he had burnt in his house Sigfast the father-in-law ofKing Solvi. Then he went to Norway and spent the winter withGrim the Hersir, a son of Kolbjorn the Sneak, who wanted tomurder him for his money. Thence Bjorn went to Ondott Crow, wholived in Hvinisfjord in Agdir. There he was well received,stayed the winter, and went campaigning with Ondott in the summeruntil his wife Hlif died. Eventually Ondott gave Bjorn hisdaughter Helga, and Bjorn then no longer went out to fight.Eyvind had taken over his father's ships and become a great chiefin the western parts. He married Rafarta, the daughter of theIrish king Kjarval. Their sons were Helgi the Lean andSnaebjorn.When Thrand and Onund came to the Southern Islands they foundthere Ofeig Grettir and Thormod Shaft, with whom they became veryfriendly, for each thought the others had risen from the dead,their last meeting having been in Norway when the war was at itsworst. Onund was very silent, and Thrand, when he noticed it,asked what was on his mind. Onund answered with a verse:"No joy is mine since in battle I fought.Many the sorrows that o'er me lower.Men hold me for nought; this thought is the worstof all that oppresses my sorrowing heart."Thrand said: "Why, you still seem as full of vigour as ever youwere. You may yet settle down and marry. You shall have my goodword and my interest if you will only tell me whom you fancy."Onund said he behaved nobly; but said there had once been a timewhen his chances of making a profitable marriage had been better.

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