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Translation: William Morris & Eirikr Magnusson
The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Rafn the Skald . . . . . . . . Chapter 1 - Of Thorstein Egilson and his Kin . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 2 - Of Thorstein’s Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 3 - Of the birth and fostering of Helga The Fair . . . . . . . . . Chapter 4 - Of Gunnlaug Worm-Tongue and his kin . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 5 - Of Raven and his kin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 6 - How Helga was vowed to Gunnlaug, and of Gunnlaug’s faring abroad . . . Chapter 7 - Of Gunnlaug in the East and the West . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 8 - Of Gunnlaug in Ireland . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 9 - Of the quarrel between Gunnlaug and Raven before the Swedish King . . . Chapter 10 - How Raven came home to Iceland, and asked for Helga to wife . . . . Chapter 11 - Of how Gunnlaug must needs abide away from Iceland . . . . . . Chapter 12 - Of Gunnlaug’s landing, and how he found Helga wedded to Raven . . . Chapter 13 - Of the winter-wedding at Skaney, and how Gunnlaug gave the king’s cloak to Helga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 14 - Of the holmgang at the Althing . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 15 - How Gunnlaug and Raven agreed to go East To Norway, to try the matter again . Chapter 16 - How the two foes met and fought at Dingness . . . . . . . . Chapter 17 - The news of the fight brought to Iceland . . . . . . . . . Chapter 18 - The death of Helga the Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 1 3 4 5 6 8 11 13 14 16 17 18 20 22 23 25 26
who was Thorstein’s tenant. who was brought up at Thorstein’s at Burg. the son of Kveldulf the Hersir of Norway. priest Einar Skulison. so that day they rode. Now. yet. Asgerd was the mother of Thorstein. a wise man. Chapter 1 . The Eastman said he had good will to go. and a great chief. the son of Olaf Peacock. Some have been great bards. flaxen-haired. Bergfinn was of few words throughout the winter. the son of Hlifar. There dwelt a man of small wealth called Atli. he was rich of fee. Chapter 2 . Their daughter was Hungerd. the champion of Hitdale. and this he did now. but Steinthor of Ere was the third. she and Thorstein had many children betwixt them. but Thorstein took the master to himself. Snorri Sturluson. she was the daughter of Biorn Hold. for thither he prayed to go. Skuli was the eldest of their sons. Jofrid was eighteen winters old when Thorstein wedded her. Hath told it. as it was his wont mostly to rule the market.The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Rafn the Skald Even as Ari Thorgilson the Learned. Thorstein dwelt at Burg in Burgfirth. this kindred have differed much herein. where at that time was the Thing-stead of the Burg-firthers. Now.Of Thorstein’s Dream One summer. and a wise man he was withal. Thorstein bade him come and work with them. goodman Thorstein rode to the ship.Of Thorstein Egilson and his Kin There was a man called Thorstein. have been the goodliest folk. This he did. till they came up under Hawkfell to a farmstead called Foxholes. Thorstein had to wife Jofrid. Kollsvein the second. This Gunnar was the best skilled in weapons. a Northman of kin. and so say men of lore that many of the kin of the Mere-men. some three together. The Eastmen got housed. who was the man of all Iceland Most learned in tales of the land’s inhabiting And in lore of time agone. too. rich in goods. the son of Skallagrim. He was nought of such wondrous growth and strength as his father Egil had been. but few of them come into this tale. and Slaying-Bardi. the second was Gunnar of Lithend. it is said. for all that. Thorstein was goodly to look on. but Thorstein treated him well. One day in spring-tide Thorstein asked Bergfinn if he would ride with him up to Hawkfell. the Priest. and the house-carles of Thorstein withal. the son of Egil. meek and of measure in all wise. as Biorn. and the best-eyed of men. from home. in that kin. the son of Thorstein. and much beloved of all folk. yet was he a right mighty man. The Eastman had great joy of dreams. had had her to wife aforetime. she was a widow. the daughter of Gunnar. a ship came from over the main into Gufaros. for Thorodd. and many others. for Thorstein had been told that the walls of his booth had fallen in. Bergfinn was he hight who was the master thereof. and somewhat stricken in years. Egil the third. for it is said that some of them have been accounted the most ill-favoured of men: but in that ken have been also many men of great prowess in many wise. and Skuli. son of Odd of Tongue. such as Kiartan. and the lithest of limb of all bonder-folk who have been in Iceland. who are come of Egil. and bring with him hoe and spade. Jofrid was a very stirring woman. and 1 .
then. he says. and Thorstein and the Eastman grew heavy. as he had had such an ill time of it in his sleep. and I think things will befall as I have said. then shalt thou unriddle it to me. as it verily is. and there they lay both dead. and he sat beside the swan and made fondly towards her. that was a falcon. what seemeth likest to thee. But the swan sat left alone. The weather was hot with sunshine that day. and he. and would fain be fond with her. Thorstein answered: In evil and unfriendly wise is the dream interpreted. and did out the walls. 2 . The Eastman said he would risk it. and. and shall fight about her. Then Thorstein said: This was my dream. that they shall meet in the air from those quarters whence I deemed the fowl flew. I have unravelled thy dream. this I saw that they both bled. Now. for methought I was at home at Burg. and fly thitherward and alight beside the swan. and sad of semblance. and they flew away both together into one and the same quarter. and sat down on the house beside the swan. shall woo her and to that man shall she be wedded. from the quarter whence came the falcon. and shall lover her with overweening love. and let me hear. and chuckle over her lovingly. drooping much. If I tell thee the dream. and dearly thou wilt love her. After this I thought I saw another fowl come flying from the south quarter. and I thought it was mine own. Thorstein said. that each tumbled either way down from the house-roof. and that on him were iron claws: valiant he seemed to me. they set to work all of them. Then they fought fiercely and long. and when he awoke he was much wearied. and Thorstein slept. but I noted that the eagle was black-eyed. and fared ill in his sleep. Make of the dream. nor do I deem thee fit for the work of unriddling dreams. and she will give birth to a woman-child fair and lovely.when they came to the tofts of the booth. Then the Eastman asked him what he had dreamt. and deemed it good beyond all things. Then I saw a great eagle sweep down from the mountains. and therewith I awoke. and will in all likelihood betoken gales. standing outside the men’s-door. Thou shalt find how it will come to pass. The Eastman sat beside him. and such was the end of their play. and let him have his dream fully out. but high born men shall woo thy daughter. and on the ridge I saw a swan. and methought the swan seemed well content thereat. coming from such quarters as the eagles seemed to fly from. and I looked up at the house-roof. Then said the Eastman: These birds are like to be fetches of men: but thy wife sickens now. Thorstein said. But soon I thought that the eagle first-come ruffled up at the coming of the other. those two sat down within the tofts. too. The Eastman spake: I deem it nowise such. came hither to Burg. Then I saw a fowl fly from the west. But a dream of no mark this is. This also was a mighty eagle. saith he. goodly and fair. And thereafter a third man. The Eastman said. and when they had moved out the walls. and both lose their lives thereby.
Olaf Peacock. the Mere-men. but west there Thorgerd will get thee fare and food over the sea. Thorgerd answered: Surely this is true. and gave it into Thorgerd’s hands. but she got fare for Thorvard north in Steingrims-firth. but the goodliness of Olaf Peacock she has not got. Then said Thorgerd. Then Thorvard did her bidding. but on the bench right over against them sat three little maidens. For with such looks of love do I behold this child. he rode with the child to Herdholt. and spake to him: Thou shalt take my horse and saddle it. but one is by far the fairest. to Thorgerd. and were like to have many young children on their hands. Here are three marks of silver. it was somewhat the wont of such men as had little wealth.he answers. Good cheer was made Thorstein.Of the birth and fostering of Helga The Fair This summer Thorstein got ready to ride to the Thing. at this time when all the land was heathen. So is it. and bring this child west to Herdholt. such a man as thou art. and is now out of the story. and now he is out of the tale. Egil’s daughter. and she had it nourished at a tenant’s of hers who dwelt at Freedmans-stead up in Hvamfirth. Now. and pray her to nourish it secretly. and gave him meet outfit for his sea-faring: he went thence abroad. he says. So six winters passed and this matter was nowise wotted of. for she is not his daughter. while Olaf was talking to other men. but while he was gone Jofrid gave birth to a woman-child wondrous fair. but thy child shall be cast forth if thou bear a woman. in Shell-creek. but had her shepherd Thorvard called to her. So he rode to the Thing. like the look of these three little maidens sitting straight before us? Right well. and that no good will hap if my will be thwarted. so that Thorstein may not know thereof. and surely to a wealthy man like thee it will not seem good that this should be done. and got himself another herdsman. have them in reward of thy work. the son of Hoskuld. Jofrid told him that the child had been cast forth according to his word. to have them cast forth. Now in those days Thorstein rode to Herdholt. that surely I cannot bear to have it cast forth. and spake to Jofrid his wife before he went from home. brother. but an evil deed it was always deemed to be. she has all the goodliness of Olaf. when Thorstein had said this. Jofrid answers. The woman would fain show her to the mother. but that the herdsman had fled away and stolen her horse. And now. Chapter 3 . but the whiteness and the countenance of us. who was then deemed to be the chief highest of worth among all men west there. This is a word all unlike thee. brother. but nourished if it be a man. being bidden there as guest of his brother-in-law.--How dost thou. she said there was little need thereof. Thorstein answered: Thou knowest my mind. and one day at the feast it is said that Thorgerd sat in the high seat talking with her brother Thorstein. as was like to be. 3 . and he left that summer. wherein thou sayest that she has the fairness and countenance of us Mere-folk. Thorstein said she had done well. that thou art with child now.But Thorstein estranged himself from the Eastman thenceforward. Now when Thorstein came home from the Thing.
Now. thin of flank he was. Helga the Fair. he was dark-eyed. and at this time of ripe growth. up in White-water-side. but thine. being thy daughter none the less? She answered: To say sooth. The children of Illugi and Ingibiorg were many. says Thorgerd. but few of them have to do with this story. When Gunnlaug was fifteen winters old he prayed his father for goods to fare abroad withal.Of Gunnlaug Worm-Tongue and his kin Now at this time there dwelt at Gilsbank. On a morning but a very little afterwards it happened that Illugi came out early. he was a great skald. daughter of Gunnlaug Worm-tongue. the son of Hrosskel. Hermund was the best beloved of the two brothers. The mother of Illugi was Thurid Dandle. and broad of shoulder. 4 . kinsman. quoth she. had been brought out into the road. It is told of Gunnlaug that he was quick of growth in his early youth. and had the mien of a great man. and prayed him to forgive her and his own wife that trespass. yet of lovesome countenance. what is her name? Helga she is called. and that some sacks of wares. and Thorstein was led out with good gifts. this fair maiden is not my daughter. Master Illugi was slow to take the matter up. the mother of Ingibiorg was Thorgerd. says Thorstein. Illugi the Black. his hair was light red. and strong. and saw that his storehouse was opened. He was a man of broad lands and hardy of mood. the daughter of Midfirth-Skeggi. But now shalt thou make her ready to come home with me. both were hopeful men. Illugi was the next greatest chief in Burg-firth after Thorstein Egilson. he had to wife Ingibiorg. from Ornolfsdale. She did go. and the best-wrought of men. and was brought up there with much honour and great love from father and mother and all her kin. Then said he: I it was who brought out the sacks. and said he was unlike to be deemed good in the out-lands when I can scarcely shape thee to my own liking at home. there came up a man leading four horses. and in all wise unsparing and hardy. and therefore was he called Gunnlaug Worm-tongue. eager was he from his youth up. his whole mind was very masterful.How can that be. and Helga rode with him to his home. as he wondered at this. Thorstein said: I cannot blame you two for having done this. and well have ye covered over my folly: so look I on this maiden that I deem it great good luck to have so fair a child. son of Hallkel. somewhat ugly-nosed. and wont to do well to his friends. and Gunnlaug another. but somewhat bitter in his rhyming. Chapter 4 . six of them. most things will fall as they are fated. says Thorstein. and said he had will to travel and see the manners of other folk. and who should it be but his son Gunnlaug. Hermund was one of their sons. and therewithal too some pack-gear. And therewith she told him all as it had befallen. But now. big. and very goodly of fashion. the daughter of Asbiorn Hordson.
Their sons were Raven. and Skapti and the sons of Onund were sisters’ sons. That is but a small matter. who was then the spokesman-at-law in Iceland. that men of lore say that she was the fairest woman of Iceland. Nay. as came to be proven well enough afterwards: they were very nigh of an age.Illugi asked him why he had done so. who were all the hopefullest of men. and they were all the greatest men out there. He was married. 5 . The mother of Skapti was Ranveig. nor was there any so good to choose as Helga the Fair in all Burgfirth. with Skapti his son. Thorstein said that it was well. and his wife was called Geirny. Gunnlaug. Eyjolf. and was well accounted of wherever he came. Helga was so fair. dwelt at Red-Mel. She was the daughter of Gnup. and of them were these---Thorgils. and Gunnlaug was fain of that proffer. however. says Thorstein. Thorod the Sage. Then said Gunnlaug. I see no need of that. He was a big man and strong. and very soon each found favour with the other. Now one day. the sightliest of men and a good skald. grant me this though. Thorstein said. daughter of Gnup. Now shalt thou try if I have understand all: I shall take thee by the hand and make as if I were wooing thy daughter Helga. then or since. and far and wide elsewhere. they were all hopeful men. her hair was so plenteous and long that it could cover her all over. but be it known to all who are hereby that this shall be as if it had been unspoken. but Raven was in all wise the first of them.Of Raven and his kin There was a man called Onund. nor shall any guile follow herein. Illugi said: In nowise shalt thou thwart my will. and Thorir. south in Olfus. and betrothed Helga to him. Do as thou wilt. and asked thereafter if it would stand good thus. then. He said that they should make his faring goods. Gunnlaug spake to Thorstein: One thing in law there is which thou hast not taught me. and for some seasons Gunnlaug abode there. and seizing it said. and that is how to woo me a wife. who dwelt in the south at Mossfell: he was the wealthiest of men. and therewith taught him how to go about it. and had seven sons. and Eindridi. Then Gunnlaug named for himself witnesses. the son of Selthorir. and Thorarin. who settled at Grindwick. Then Gunnlaug rode thence and came in the evening down to Burg. Chapter 5 . and when he was fully grown he fared between sundry lands. groped then and there after his hand. Between these kinsmen was much friendship as well as kinship. said Thorstein. nor fare anywhere sooner than I like! and in again he swung the ware-sacks therewith. and Thorstein offered to let him bide there as long as he liked. Now Gunnlaug and Helga would be always at the chess-playing together. son of Mold-Gnup. then dwelt at Hjalli. He told Thorstein how things had gone betwixt him and his father. and had a priesthood south there about the nesses. the son of Eyvind. At this time Thorfin. and all men accounted well of him. in the south country. and learned law-craft of Thorstein. and those who were present were mightily pleased at all this. as men sat in the hall at Burg. the son of Mold-Gnup. and it was as fair as a band of gold. and goodman Thorstein asked him to bide there.
So the peace was made as Gunnlaug bade. Then Gunnlaug sang: Bade I the middling mighty To have a mark of waves’ flame. and of Gunnlaug’s faring abroad Gunnlaug Worm-Tongue was. four of them together. To him fell an heritage north as As. and so they rode. at a rich bonder’s who dwelt there. Now shalt thou have thy will. and near akin to him. three winters together. as is told in the story of the Laxdalemen. This gift shalt thou make shift with. There they got the fee. O waster of the worm’s bed. So Illugi rode hastily from home. a little while after. and claimed boot therefore. There were stud-horses of Thorstein. as is aforesaid. from Audun Festargram -. The bonder thought it too little. the best that ever have befallen here in Iceland. Then Gunnlaug smote the herdsman. But as they rode from the north they guested at Grimstongue. and bought for Gunnlaug half a ship which lay in Gufaros. whiles with his father Illugi at Gilsbank. and stunned him. but in the morning a herdsman took Gunnlaug’s horse. mostly because of Gunnlaug’s furtherance. Gunnlaug offered to pay him one mark. but the bonder would in nowise bear this. There was a man called Thorkel the Black. and had been brought up in his house. and was by now eighteen winters old. and found more cheer in talk with Helga than in toiling with chapmen. and in such wise the two rode south. that the whole land became Christian. after the slaying of Kiartan Olafson. but Gunnlaug was at Burg while they made her ready. and father and son were now much more of a mind. If the elf-sun of the waters From out of purse thou lettest. Gunnlaug said he would. Next to this befell those tidings. all red of 6 . and their wares were brought to the ship. and that all folk cast off the old faith. Awaits thee sorrow later.But these men who have now been named lived all at one and the same time. Thorkel the Black betook himself to seafaring with Gunnlaug. Chapter 6 . called Thorgilsstead. and he prayed Gunnlaug to go with him thither.this Audun was he who would not flit abroad the sons of Oswif the Wise. to As. So they ride both together till they come to the mountain-dairies of Thorstein. Now. Now one day Thorstein asked Gunnlaug if he would ride to his horses with him up to Longwater-dale. Giver of grey seas’ glitter. which thing though betid later than this. Illugi says. for thou hast wrought thyself into something better than thou wert. And when Illugi came home Gunnlaug thanked him well. and it had sweated much by then he got it back. in Water-dale. he was a house-carle of Illugi. it was given up to them by those who had the keeping of it. the two together.How Helga was vowed to Gunnlaug. whiles at Burg with Thorstein. This he did. Gunnlaug asked his father a second time for goods for going abroad.
7 . to end all. for down here. Gunnlaug says. where he carried all that was in debate? Thorstein answers. which was deemed somewhat of a deed. as he was going away from the country. He said he was in no need of horses. too. Thou shouldst first know thine own will. thou wouldst not be turned away. Neither art thou an even match for Helga while thou art so unsettled. thou thyself clearly fallest short of him---or what hast thou to set against his strife with Thorgrim the Priest. I must needs know what thou wilt answer me about the wooing. Where lookest thou for a match for thy daughter. thy daughter. and therefore this cannot so much as be looked at. And now they ride homewards down along Longwater. Art thou not bound to fare abroad? and yet thou makest as if thou wouldst go marry. said Thorstein. Gunnlaug says. I desire these in no wise more than the others. being bound for faring abroad. Thorstein offered to give Gunnlaug. There was one horse very goodly. Neither Onund nor Thorfin are men as good as my father. but little tried: this horse Thorstein offered to give to Gunnlaug.hue. Thorstein answers: I need not thy vain talk. at Thorsness Thing. Carry thy cowing away to the fellows up yonder at the mountains. To whom wilt thou give thy daughter rather than to me? Said Thorstein. and so much do I know. This is my whole mind. Illugi answered. Thou art an unsettled man. Nay. but why dost thou not bid me what I will take? What is that? said Thorstein. the son of Kiallak. Gunnlaug answers. This one. if thou wilt not give her to the son of Illugi the Black. Now in the evening they come home. and therewithal got on other talk. says he. that this is not to Thorstein’s mind. it shall avail thee nought. says Gunnlaug. Thorstein says. There was a grey horse with four mares. Gunnlaug says. Said Thorstein. and all of them men of good manners. but next morning Gunnlaug rode up to Gilsbank. says he. That rede is not to be settled so hastily. I drave away Steinar. Thorfin of Red-Mel hath seven sons. and his sons. and he was the best of horses in Burgfirth. and prayed his father to ride with him a-wooing out to Burg. but makest now as if thou wouldst busy thyself with wife-wooing. Gunnlaug said. and no vain words. the son of Onund Sioni. Hereabout are many good men to choose from. but he said. Helga the Fair. or who are they throughout Burg-firth who are of more note than he? Thorstein answered: I will not play at men-mating. Therein thou wast holpen by thy father Egil. and so they ride to other stud-horses. it is for few bonders to cast away my alliance. and. on the Meres. Then said Gunnlaug. but if thou wert such a man as he is.
he had a boil on his foot by the instep. And yet thou wentest not halt. and his brother Svein. and well esteemed. and seven of them together. and made the northern part of Norway. His kin is known to thee. but not betrothed. and asked him tidings from Iceland. and Gunnlaug told him his name and kin. Herein alone Gunnlaug pleases me not. Let us go. Chapter 7 . So after this Illugi rode with eleven men from home down to Burg. and my foster-brother withal. and shall bide for him three winters: but Gunnlaug shall go abroad and shape himself to the ways of good men. to Gunnlaug. Thorstein said. Then the earl asked Gunnlaug who he was. lord. but Gunnlaug rode to his ship. Then the earl said: Skuli Thorstein’s son. and greeted him well. but I shall be free from all these matters if he does not then come back. the son of Hakon. to the top of the Burg. then. there they rode in the harbour. The earl knew Audun.Gunnlaug answers. that I find him an unsettled man. little would I hang back. Illugi said. and Gunnlaug went with them. Illugi the Black of Gilsbank. Skuli. Illugi rode home. My kinsman Gunnlaug tells me that he has begun a talk with thee on his own behalf. and talk together there. and sailed landward along Thrandheim to Nidaros. the son of Thorstein. and so they did. Earl Eric abode as then at Hladir. said Thorstein. Helga shall be vowed. Audun told him what there was toward. Now they say that Gunnlaug and Audun Festargram. or if his ways are not to my liking. from my hand shall be spared neither land nor rule over men. what manner of man is this in Iceland? Lord. for he is the son of the best man in Iceland. and unshipped their goods. give him good welcome. said he. and was one of his court. which was left to him by his father. The earl asked. Gunnlaug was so clad that he had on a grey kirtle and white long-hose. but now I would fain know what is like to come of this matter. and Thorstein greeted him well. says he. But when they had wind at will they sailed for the main. It will cut our friendship across if thou gainsayest me and my son an equal match. went up to Hladir to the earl. What ails thy foot. nor shall I be well pleased but if thou further this. if such things might perchance further matters. I shall go abroad all the same. Then said Illugi. was with the earl at that time. Thereat they parted. For thy words and our friendship then.Of Gunnlaug in the East and the West In those days Earl Eric. Early in the morning Illugi said to Thorstein. and a mighty lord he was. Thorstein answers. ruled in Norway. praying that he might woo thy daughter Helga. I would speak to thee. but if he were of a mind like thine. 8 . and our possessions. Icelander? A boil. In this guise he went before the earl with Audun and the rest of them. and from this oozed blood and matter as he strode on.
Gunnlaug looked at him and sang: A courtman there is Full evil I wis. for thenceforward French went current there. so that he depart at his swiftest. thy father. but Skuli stepped up to the earl. Now sail Gunnlaug and his fellows into the English main. and was a good lord. But now. said he. What prayers. says he. where there was an England-bound ship ready to put out. and never let him come again within my realm. and greeted him well and worthily. The king said it should be so. and Gunnlaug told him all as it was. lord. Then would Thorir seize an axe. his kinsman. The earl asked thereat. but for thyself rather. that thou shouldst bid no prayers against me. That thou mightest not meet thy death after the manner of Earl Hakon. for that I have made a song on thee. What I thought well befitting. Now at that time King Ethelred. where they hauled ashore their ship. I have come to meet thee. this winter he sat in London. Gunnlaug said. But. The earl spake: Let it be. What didst thou say.Gunnlaug answers. The earl answered. called Thorir: He swaggereth hugely. Why go halt while both legs are long alike? Then said one of the earl’s men. but pray well for thyself rather. A bad man and black. lord. the son of Edgar. therein Skuli got for Gunnlaug a berth. somewhat under his breath: Pray not against me. and Gunnlaug gave forth the song well and proudly. this Icelander!It would not be amiss to try him a little. and this is the burden thereof: --- 9 . The earl turned red as blood. At his swiftest let him be off then. and I would that it might please thee to hearken to that song. Then Skuli went out with Gunnlaug down to the bridges. Belief let him lack. The king asked him from what land he came. and so much of his goods as he did not take with him. Icelander. Gunnlaug went presently to the king. and bade them take the rascal in haste. and said: Do this for my words. but the tongues changed when William the Bastard won England. if he will have peace. says he. how old a man art thou? Gunnlaug answers: I am eighteen winters old as now. and give this man peace. But in those days there was the same tongue in England as in Norway and Denmark. but Gunnlaug gave his ship into Audun’s ward. then? says the earl. as well as for Thorkel. Then says Earl Eric. My spell is that thou shalt not live eighteen winters more. to such things men should pay no heed. for he was of French kin. and come at autumntide south to London Bridge. ruled over England. Icelander? Gunnlaug answers.
But some time afterwards Gunnlaug met the king. but I will give thee money as much as thine was. and Thororm was the name of their leader. Soon after he met Thororm and claimed the fee of him. I will pay it thee back on a named day. Nay. your men. and was well accounted for. Wot ye what? they called me. do after a sorry sort. Northman. Pricking on with tricking. Kin of all kings and all folk. and Gunnlaug was with him all the winter. in the morning early. that shall never be. Gunnlaug answered. Now is time to show it! Now I will make an offer good in law. for this is the greatest robber and reiver. Nor for nought so hight I. Gunnlaug told the king what had befallen. Then shall it be risked. Gold from us withholding. have things taken a right hopeless turn. Then do we. indeed. That we’re ill counselled to lend one’s money to unknown men. for this man’s eyes can dull any weapon.As God are all folk fearing The free lord King of England. lend me some money. that thou either pay me my money. Gunnlaug met three men in a certain street. yet a youngling. The king answered. if. and right evil to deal with. But thou shalt follow my rede. and he said. Worm-tongue. and made him his man. One day. treading sackless folk under foot. says Gunnlaug. Before thee none have come to that. Now. we let such fellows as this deal us out our lot. says Gunnlaug. I am ready to go. He said. he was big and strong.with that thou shalt fight. or else that thou go on holm with me in three nights’ space. Well. 10 . To Ethelred the head bow. He said he was not going to pay it. and he lent him the fee withal. Then sang Gunnlaug: Evil counselled art thou. Gunnlaug said. Now hast thou thriven little. here is a sword I will give thee -. Thereon they parted for that time. The reddener of the edges. to call me to holm. and golden-broidered down to the hem. He said. Then laughed the viking. despite of all the ruin that many a man has had to take at my hands. and gave him as song-reward a scarlet cloak lined with the costliest of furs. deal with him in no wise. and told him of the money-lending. The king thanked him for the song. but before the battle show him another. and said.
Gunnlaug said. By war-lord’s son.Gunnlaug thanked the king well therefor. thinking he had the same weapon he had shown him. So be it. The king thanked him for his work. the bearserk looked on the sword. I would fulfil what I have given my word to do. and greeted them well and worthily. and surely will I hearken to thine. one by one--Lo here. both in England and far and wide elsewhere. thou shalt give me thy word to come back next autumn. Gunnlaug went before the king. as I promised Erewhile to land-sharers. the king asks what he was about then. For work done gift well given. but had a loop round the handle of the king’s sword. said he. And earls twain. I have made a song on thee. Thororm asked what sort of sword it was that he had. and withal he gave him a ring that weighed six ounces. Gunnlaug prayed King Ethelred for leave to sail somewhither.Of Gunnlaug in Ireland Thereafter Gunnlaug sailed from England with chapmen north to Dublin. but Gunnlaug smote him his deathblow then and there. and he got much fame therefor. In the spring. skald. Chapter 8 . Then Gunnlaug said. because of thy great prowess. Neither will I wend me Back. The king answered. and he had then borne sway but a little while. And this is therein also: Praise-worth I can Well measure in man. said the king. the bearserk stood shieldless before him. and sang this stave withal: My ways must I be wending Three kings’ walls to see yet. whereof this is the burden: Swaru’s steed Doth Sigtrygg feed. The king received him as was meet. No men have before now come forward with songs for me. and cut off from him nigh all his shield. but. Gunnlaug unsheathed it and showed him. and slipped it over his hand. for I will not let thee go altogether. Kvaran’s son! Grudgeth the king Gift of gold ring? 11 . the worms’-bed lacking. when ships sailed from land to land. and said. Then Gunnlaug brought the song. In those days King Sigtrygg Silky-beard. Gunnlaug smote in turn with the king’s gift. and I would fain have silence therefor. then. I fear not that sword. And kings. son of King Olaf Kvaran and Queen Kormlada. the wealth-free. ruled over Ireland. Now when they were ready for the holm. But now he dealt a blow on Gunnlaug with his sword.
till they both took Gunnlaug to be umpire in the matter. but said he was bound east for Sweden. How shall the song be rewarded? What hast thou will to give. How on sleek-side sea-horse Oft this earl hath proven 12 . his kinsman. which was a shorter lay. and came upon a cheaping-stead. Then he sang this stave: Tell ye. and told him he had made a song on him. So the king gave him his own raiment of new scarlet. The earl gave him for lay-reward a broad axe. Then said the treasurer. and bade him abide with him. He dwelt a short time here. lord? says he. Earl Sigurd had a great Yule-feast in the winter. being with him all the time. and there was great mirth at drinks. Now Gunnlaug greeted the earl well. This is too much. lord. but the Norwegians thought that Earl Eric was by far the foremost of the two. and then went thence to the Orkneys. it was a shorter lay. The earl made them good cheer. The king thanked him for the song. and bade them sit by Gunnlaug through the Yule-tide. Then was lord in Orkney. all inlaid with silver. a gold-embroidered kirtle. and rewarded the song well. Hereon would they bandy words. Thorkel. Gunnlaug thanked him both for his gift and his offer.I. and on Yule-eve came thither men sent from Earl Eric of Norway. called Skarir: there ruled an earl called Sigurd. From King’s Cliff they got a guide up to West Gothland. Let the high king say. twelve of them together. and Gunnlaug brought the song. the son of Hlodver: he was friendly to Icelanders. Gunnlaug went before him. a man stricken in years. and bade him abide there that winter. fair swords. or golden rings. The earl said he would listen thereto. The earl thanked him. and brought gifts to Earl Sigurd. and said he had a song to bring him. the earl gave a willing ear hereto. since he was of such great kin in Iceland. Heard he or this day. Earl Sigurd. Then Gunnlaug brought the song. and called his treasurer to him. In the autumn they came east to King’s Cliff. How will it be rewarded if I give him two ships for it? said the king. singer. and thereafter he went on board ship with chapmen who sailed to Norway. other kings give in reward of songs good keepsakes. Song drapu-measure Dearer a treasure. Gunnlaug thanked him well. and well done. Now the Gothlanders said that no earl was greater or of more fame than Earl Sigurd. and a gold ring which weighed a mark. know His wont to bestow. staves of spear-din. and a cloak lined with choice furs. and said.
and full fain of fame. says the king. lord. I would that thou shouldst hear the song. victory’s ash-tree. and himself the most stalwart of men. Go ye first. and sit ye down. he is of good kin.Of the quarrel between Gunnlaug and Raven before the Swedish King In those days King Olaf the Swede. That I may do now. Then Gunnlaug said. which Earl Sigurd sent to Earl Eric. son of King Eric the Victorious. So they did as he bade them. and had come east to Sweden in the forepart of winter. says he. said the king. and sit beside thee. Oft hath seen in east-seas More of high blue billows Before the bows a-roaring. But after Yule-tide those messengers left with gifts of goodly things. Now they told Earl Eric of Gunnlaug’s finding: the earl thought that he had shown upright dealing and friendship to him herein. and spake: Lord. for there is no leisure now to sit listening to songs. a big man and a stalwart. he greeted him. and I would fain have peace while thou hearkenest thereto. Raven said that he had gone the summer before from Iceland to Norway. daughter of Skogul Tosti. Now.Over-toppling billows. and each told each of his travels. Chapter 9 . then. and stepped up before the king. But now Earl Sigurd gave Gunnlaug a guide east to Tenthland. Gunnlaug and Raven. 13 . Then the king called out: Raven. Now Gunnlaug and Raven fell a-talking together. He said he was an Iceland-man. I have a song to set forth before thee. as he had asked. what man is he in Iceland? Then one stood up from the lower bench. Let him go. saying Gunnlaug should have good peace throughout his land. but the Norwegians the best. But Eric. and asked who he was. But one day. says he. in Sweden. king. They soon got friendly together. He was a mighty king and renowned. Gunnlaug came to Upsala towards the time of the Thing of the Swedes in spring-tide. they were both before the king. and Sigrid the High-counselled. said the king. The king took his greetings well. What the earl had said came thereafter to the ears of Gunnlaug. and let out some words. when the Thing was over. Then spake Gunnlaug. ruled over Sweden. and when he got to see the king. Both sides were content with his finding.
and asked him leave to go away. for he will not be at peace till he has his will. Let us be courteous enough not to make this a matter of bandying of words. Raven answered. Whereto came our fathers forth. though it be later. and thereafter he went away.My song too willset forth now. below the Heath. a somewhat rugged song. Raven? Didst thou perchance deem him unworthy of a long one? Raven answered. says he. for I myself came first to thee. so that my father was the little boat towed behind? Whereto. for that thou must needs shame me here before great men. and sailed in the summer to Iceland. How is this song made. And in likewise shall it be with us. said the king. said the king. Raven. Soon after Raven became a man of King Olaf’s. king. Nay. lord. Let the king rule here. I will set forth mine first if thou wilt have it so. how is the song done? Right well. But why didst thou make a short song on the king. This the king granted him. and asked for Helga to wife Now this spring Raven came from the east to Thrandheim. Raven gave it forth. it behoveth me to be first. Now shall our friendship be ended. this is a pretty song. and fitted out his ship. said Raven. and when it was at an end the king spake. And when Raven was ready to go. Well. and said. He brought his ship to Leiruvag. matters will be taken up again. Then Gunnlaug said. 14 . lord. Raven.How Raven came home to Iceland. he said. and when it was done the king said. and delicate of countenance. That winter he was at home with his father. Let us not talk longer on this. Chapter 10 . as is Gunnlaug’s own mood. says Raven. he spake to Gunnlaug. King Olaf gave to Raven good gifts at parting. The king said. but the summer after he met at the Althing his kinsman. Skapti the law-man. Gunnlaug answers: Thy threats grieve me nought. but in time to come I shall cast on thee no less shame than thou hadst will to cast on me here. Thou mayst do so. and his friends and kinsmen were right fain of him. Gunnlaug? Well it is. thy song. Let Gunnlaug set forth his song first. but nowhere? says Gunnlaug. it is a song full of big words and little beauty. he answered. Then Gunnlaug set forth the song which he had made to King Olaf. Nowhere are we likely to come where I shall be thought less worthy than thou. And thereat they parted. as is Raven himself to behold.
is minded to woo thy daughter Helga. Then Skapti said. Thine aid would I have to go a-wooing to Thorstein Egilson. Dost thou not think that I am free from all troth with thy son Gunnlaug? Illugi said. my kinsman. And when they met. he said to Illugi. Thereon they parted. and with him shall I hold all words spoken. and he greeted them well. but the summer is not yet worn. about winter-nights. and then may we see what may wisely be done. Then Thorstein went to Skapti. and his good manners. and fain am I that they should not be the cause of strife to any man. Skapti and his folk pushed the wooing eagerly. 15 . his many mighty kinsmen and friends. his wealth. and Gunnlaug’s coming was long drawn out. Thorstein answered. Skapti said. as I do not know clearly what Gunnlaug is about. said Thorstein. Thorstein said. what hope may we have of the matter then? Thorstein answered. I have few daughters to see to. and a bargain was struck that the wedding should be at Burg. and he may still come out this summer. at the Althing. Skapti answered. if Gunnlaug did not come out that summer. and said that Thorstein was free as to all matters with Gunnlaug. said Skapti. After this men rode home from the Thing. but that Thorstein should be free from all troth with Raven if Gunnlaug should come and fetch his bride. But this talk of Raven’s wooing of Helga was nought hidden. Now I will first see Illugi the Black. to bid Helga his daughter. Let us then do as thou wouldst. She is already the vowed maiden of Gunnlaug. Surely. but it will not do to speak hereof longer as at this time. Are not the three winters worn now that were named between you? Yes. The next summer. that he should hold or heed it aught.Then said Raven to him. Is not the appointed time of waiting between them passed by? And far too wanton is he withal. We are like to come here next summer. But if he cometh not this summer. But Helga thought evilly of all these redes. Thou knowest well his blood. That summer Gunnlaug came not out. And so he did. Thereafter they went with many men to the booth of Thorstein Egilson. And men rode home from the Althing. But is she not already vowed to Gunnlaug Worm-tongue? Said Raven. Then Skapti spoke: Raven. Little can I say herein. if thou willest it.
And at that time there was a great army of Danish men west there. Hallfred tells him all he knew of it. and they were right merry. It ill beseems that thou. too. The earl said. Then Earl Eric and Gunnlaug rowed out to Hallfred. but he said. Now in the spring Gunnlaug asked the king for leave to go away. Now all ships bound for Iceland have sailed. he sailed hence five nights ago. and went thence east to Norway. King Ethelred welcomed Gunnlaug worthily.Chapter 11 . out under Agdaness. Gunnlaug thanked him for his offer.Of how Gunnlaug must needs abide away from Iceland Now it is to be told of Gunnlaug that he went from Sweden the same summer that Raven went to Iceland. if the Danes come not. shouldst go away now. and the earl greeted him well. wild upon us Little were I recking. who greeted him with joy. ruled in Denmark. and brother to Earl Sigvaldi. the son of Onund. More this word I mind of Me with Raven mated. 16 . at Hladir. whose chief was Heming. Then said one of the court: Here lay. the son of Earl Strut-Harald. and therewith. Thou shalt rule. and was held in great favour. and the next winter. and after midsummer Gunnlaug got his leave to depart from the king. Then Gunnlaug sang this stave: Light the weather wafteth. and bade him abide with him. that it was the talk of many men that Raven was in nowise less brave a man than Gunnlaug. and had new-taken his father’s heritage. to look to his promised maiden. and good gifts he had from King Olaf at parting. for that his father had won a great realm there before he died west in that same land. Hallfred Troublous-Skald. but no Danes came. and that winter he was with the king. son of Svein. but dimly. The king answered. and found Earl Eric in Thrandheim. Gunnlaug said. yesterday. That may be well. This was late in the summer: but now Hallfred said to Gunnlaug: Hast thou heard of how Raven. But if this east wind drifted Week-long. Now this summer went by. The earl answered. lord. but said he would first go out to Iceland. In those days Knut the Great. Then we shall see. my man. and forthwith a fair wind bore them from land. is wooing Helga the Fair? Gunnlaug said he had heard thereof. when all bodes such mighty war in the land. but give me leave next summer to depart. and he vowed ever to wage war on England. and he held for King Knut that land that Svein had won.
But Gunnlaug was then unfit to walk. when they met. though he would not let that be seen. He fell to wrestling with the chapmen. Chapter 12 . Well. Then Hallfred said. Now there was a man called Thord. and gave him a great fall. Then a wrestling was settled between him and Gunnlaug. half a month before winter. and we were bound for a wreck. Never love shall let him Hold the linen-folded. I was anigh at the Thing when that was settled last summer. but the foot that Gunnlaug stood on was put out of joint. and how he found Helga wedded to Raven They made land north by Fox-Plain in Hraunhaven. and Gunnlaug fell together with Thord. Illugi was fain of his son Gunnlaug and his fellows.Of Gunnlaug’s landing. Therefore there was no faring to Burg. and she was driven up on the shallows. Then I had to give selfdoom to Raven. in Burg-firth. I brought my ship some winters ago into Leiruvag. but I held it back from him. and to all but Gunnlaug that seemed good. and a whole mark I had to pay. So Raven rode at us with sixty men. there. but he and Hallfred ride twelve in company till they come to Gilsbank. Then they two talked together alone of Helga the Fair. 17 . and put into joint again. Gunnlaug answered naught thereto. they fell-to wrestling. What then? says Gunnlaug. and Gunnlaug sang: He who brand of battle Beareth over-wary. fellow. Then Gunnlaug tripped both feet from under Thord. may’st thou fare better in thy strife with Raven than I did in mine. the very Saturday night when folk sat at the wedding at Burg. and Gunnlaug praised her much for her goodliness. if he wed Helga the Fair at winter-nights. Now the foot was swathed. Illugi said it was not wise to do so.Than gain for me the gold-foe Of days to make me grey-haired. and cut the moorings of the ship. because of his foot. and that is the tale of my dealings with him. Thy dealings with Raven. but Gunnlaug said he would ride then and there down to Burg. a bonder’s son of the Plain. For we when we were younger In many a way were playing On the outward nesses From golden land outstanding. The night before Thord made vows to Thor for the victory. and had to pay a half-mark in silver to a house-carle of Raven’s. and there unshipped their goods. but the next day. and they mostly got worsted at his hands. and it swelled mightily. Then said Thord: Maybe that other things go no better for thee. Well sung! said Hallfred.
and the mother of Torfi was Thorodda. Thorkel of Skaney bade Illugi the Black and his sons. And therewith she wept much. the sister of Odd of the Tongue. But when master Illugi got ready. Bed of thine was reddened. so dreamed I. and even so it was with her now. And when he woke Helga asked him what he had dreamt. and Gunnlaug has surely come out. was wooed by a man named Sverting. a kinsman of Hungerd. the son of Hafr-Biorn. I have no mind to go. and how Gunnlaug gave the king’s cloak to Helga Tells the tale of Raven. quoth she. so they came to the wedding. When they had been there a little while. but certes thou shalt go. Oft she turned her eyes on Gunnlaug. says he. Now Gunnlaug did as his father bade him. so that back they had to go to Burg. one morning early before they rose up. and Helga the Fair sat next to the bride. for true is the saw that saith. Long we remember what youth gained us. Then Raven sang: In thine arms. But this new thing befell at the feast. that he could not keep her at home at Mossfell. and Raven got small share of her company. and Illugi and his sons were set down in the high seat. Bind my gashes bloody--Lind-leek-bough thou lik’st it. a little after. Now Raven went home to Mossfell with Helga his wife. Says Illugi. Eyes will betray if maid love man. ye have evilly beguiled me. his brother and a brisk man. for women thou wilt never lack. Nay. were set in the other high seat. where Galti. kinsman? Gunnlaug answered. Gunnlaug sat in the hall. that he sat at his wedding-feast at Burg. and fared ill in his sleep. and stirred not to go. thereby proving the saw. the son of Mold-Gnup. managed their matters. Never more then mightst thou. Illugi went up to him and said. and the wedding was to come off that winter after Yule. The women sat on the dais. Why dost thou not get ready. 18 . Now men get ready for the winter-wedding. in North-water dale. gold island! Bride. that Hungerd. and cast thou not grief over thee by yearning for one woman. Helga was awake. at Skaney. but Raven slept. where dwelt Thorkel. and son of Torfi Valbrandsson. the daughter of Thorod and Jofrid. and Raven his son-in-law. But. in blood I bled there.On the morrow Hallfred rode to Hreda-water.Of the winter-wedding at Skaney. and it was the talk of most men that the bridge was but drooping. and the bride-groom’s following. Chapter 13 . Make as if thou knewest nought of it. over against Illugi. and Helga became so hard with Raven. Gunnlaug’s coming was bruited about. Helga spake: Never shall I weep therefor. Hewn was I. kinsman. Mead-bowls’ pourer speedy. but Thorstein Egilson.
and had on him that goodly raiment that King Sigtrygg had given him. Then went Gunnlaug to talk to Helga. and long they talked together: but Gunnlaug sang: Light-heart lived the Worm-tongue All day long no longer In mountain-home. O wine-may. for I threaten thee nought as at this time. but thou knowest forsooth. Then Gunnlaug said: No need to slink aback. sweet field of sea-flame. that they made thee So fair beneath thy maid-gear. loveliest E’er made of lord and lady! And therewith Gunnlaug gave Helga the cloak. Raven. Lo. Glorier of fight-goddess. There was little mirth among folk at this wedding. Must we fall a-fighting For fairest kirtle-bearer? Death-staff. All joy hast slain within me. and rides a hand-gallop along the homefield up to a place where Raven happened to stand just before him. Nought foresaw thy father. and among them were many very good ones. 19 . take it. many such-like Fair as she is are there In south-lands o’er the sea-floods. Ethelred’s gift. and goodliness. Raven answered and sang: God of wound-flames glitter. and she thanked him well for the gift. Gunnlaug leaps on to a horse. ---The maid to gold was wedded. Sooth saith he who knoweth. which was the fairest of things. and by that time riding-horses had been brought home and saddled. and they were all tied up in the road. And again he sang: Worst reward I owe them. and growth. what thou hast earned. and now he was thought far above all other men. Hardener white of fight-thaw. because of the many things. For thou. And mother. both strength. and Raven had to draw out of his way. Then Gunnlaug went out. since Helga Had name of wife of Raven. here.Gunnlaug was well arrayed. What my words should come to. Father thine. But on the day when all men were making ready to go away the women stood up and got ready to go home.
at that time it was lawful for him who thought himself wronged by another to call him to fight on the holm. Chapter 14 . of Mossfell. as men went thronging to the Hill of Laws. in the holm of the Axe-water. then Gunnlaug craved silence and said: Is Raven. and for this I am ready. and Sverting. as was to be looked for of thee.Maybe there are many such. (Raven my match as men say) While the mighty isle-king. Raven answers. O God. and his father and other kinsmen of his. 20 . said Gunnlaug. Thou well knowest that thou hast got to wife my avowed bride. and his sons all. the lawman. but they do not seem so to me. Hafr-Biorn’s son. Wherefore to gold-waster Waneth tongue’s speech-hunger. Therewith Illugi and Thorstein ran up to them and would not have them fight. Now the kin of each deemed this a very ill thing. This is well bidden. Now before Gunnlaug went upon the holm he sang: Out to isle of eel-field Dight am I to hie me: Give. Now for this I bid thee to holm here at the Thing. and his sons with him. in England From eastward way delayed me. Then Gunnlaug sang: The fair-hued golden goddess For gold to Raven sold they. thy singer With glaive to end the striving. here? He said he was. But. whenever thou willest it. the son of Onund. One day at the Thing. Hereafter both rode home. when three nights are gone by. and Illugi the Black followed his son thither with a great following.Of the holmgang at the Althing Now in summer men ride a very many to the Althing: Illugi the Black. Ethelred. but Raven had nought of Helga’s fellowship after her meeting with Gunnlaug. So when three nights had gone by they got ready for the holmgang. Then spake Gunnlaug. and when the matters of the law were done there. Onund. Thorstein Egilson and Kolsvein his son. followed Raven. But Skapti. and thus hast thou made thyself my foe. and all was quiet and tidingless that winter through. Gunnlaug and Hermund. Skapti yet held the spokesmanship-at-law. Here shall I the head cleave Of Helga’s love’s devourer.
father. as the brothers Hermund and Gunnlaug went to Axe-water to wash. Hafr-Biorn’s son. Illugi. the first was after Njal’s burning. Now. and all men went back to their booths. as he is weaponless. The fair young maid shall hear it. and withal he sang: 21 . Then said Hermund: Dost thou see thy friend Helga there on the other side of the river? Surely. with that their fathers ran in between them. In whatso-wise we wound us. was Raven’s shield-bearer. this. singer. and the sword brake asunder just beneath the hilt. With edge for leg-swathe eager. as he was the challenged man. since thou art wounded. Now. Beyond all things I desire that I might in such wise meet Raven again. and said it was not tried out yet. Gunnlaug was nigh mad. the second after the Heath-slaughters. But on the second day after this it was made law in the law-court that. Now. his father. And thereat they parted for that time. and very wrathful. And this was the last holmgang fought in Iceland. He hewed at the upper part of Gunnlaug’s shield. were all the men of most counsel in the land. Here are the wound-scythes bare now. said Raven. but Sverting. said Gunnlaug. Gunnlaug said. knowest not surely Which of us twain shall gain it. on the other side went many women towards the river. and in that company was Helga the Fair. indeed. Then Raven answered and sang: Thou. but the point of the sword flew up from the shield and struck Gunnlaug’s cheek. henceforth. and this was done by the counsel of all the wisest men that were at the Thing. The tidings from the Thing here. whereby he got just grazed. says Gunnlaug. and many other men. But I say that thou art vanquished. I see her. said they should try no more for that time. And fame of thanes’ fair doings. with so great might he smote. Whoso should be wounded was to ransom himself from the holm with three marks of silver. all holmgangs should be forbidden. But this Thing was the third most thronged Thing that has been held in Iceland. wert not anight to part us. I call Raven overcome. Hermund held shield for his brother. Now. wherein Gunnlaug and Raven fought. and there. Raven’s part it was to deal the first blow. that thou.At last my bright sword bringeth Sundering of head and body. Gunnlaug. one morning.
All the kinsmen of Raven thought it great scathe when he went away. that we both fare away from Iceland. Chapter 15 . and go abroad next summer. after all. two men are named that went with him. that one must fall 22 . Gunnlaug answered. Raven. But that eyelid’s moonbeam Of gold-necklaced goddess Her hath all undoing Wrought. all full armed. to try the matter again Now after these things were gone by men rode home from the Thing. It is well offered. that must betide that drew towards. but this time we shall first have to ride away. doughty men both. To me then. This golden land’s beholding. sisters’ sons of his father Onund. he lay in a shut-bed behind the seats. withal. and here. and. and he said. but he said he had challenged Gunnlaug to the holmgang because he could have no joy soever of Helga.How Gunnlaug and Raven agreed to go East To Norway. for there our kinsmen are not like to stand in our way. and got to his weapons. quoth he. Therewith the crossed the river. and as the brothers crossed the river eastward back again. now I will offer thee this. uneedful This looking on the dark-eyed. On a morning when he awoke all men had risen up. one hight Grim. Onund’s son. Now into the hall came twelve men. Now it is to be said of Raven that he fitted out his ship in Leiruvag. Helga stood and gazed long after Gunnlaug. Thou art in risk of no hurt this time. but could in no wise undo it. and go on holm in Norway. Leek-sea-bearing goddess. me destroyer Of swan-mead’s flame. but he alone still lay abed. Hawk-keen out of heaven Shone all bright upon me. stoutest of men! this thine offer I take gladly. but my errand hither is what thou shalt now hear: Thou didst call me to a holmgang last summer at the Althing. and thou didst not deem matters to be fairly tried therein. Hail to thy words. and who should be there but Raven. said Raven. mayest thou have cheer as good as thou mayest desire. and me made nought of. Thereon they parted. the other Olaf. because of the wrath of Gunnlaug and Raven. Then Gunnlaug looked back and sang: Moon of linen-lapped one. But Raven spake.Born was she for men’s bickering: Sore bale hath wrought the war-stem. and Gunnlaug dwelt at home at Gilsbank. and Helga and Gunnlaug spake awhile together. Now the kinsmen of both sore misliked them of this. And I yearned every madly To hold that oak-tree golden. Gunnlaug sprang up forthwith.
Earl Sigurd went back home early in the summer.How the two foes met and fought at Dingness But on a day in spring Gunnlaug was walking abroad. and he told Gunnlaug that he laid ban on their fighting within his realm. and. Thence Gunnlaug went to Vera-dale. Raven had left Lifangr with four men. the other Gunnlaug. therefore. and dwelt there through the early winter. So a little while after he said to the earl that he had no mind to bear any longer the jeers and mocks of his courtiers about his dealings with Raven. when he had wind at will. and made Orkney a little before the winter. ever heavy of mood. and the hardiest of men wherever they came. Gunnlaug fared north to Thrandheim. and Gunnlaug made ready to go with him. and came always in the evening to where Raven had been the night before. So Raven put to sea. and much jeering was brought into the play. while they who stood by said that Icelanders smote light. sailing for Norway. they were very late ready for sea. at a place called Lifangr. 23 . to Hladir. Gunnlaug saw the great mocking hereunder. he granted Gunnlaug leave to go. and Gunnlaug agreed thereto. they walked away from the town. and withal he went away silent. in the north at The Plain. to see Earl Eric. the earl welcomed him gladly. and the earl held him of much account. In the spring the earl would go on warfare. Gunnlaug Worm-tongue took ship with Hallfred Troublous-Skald. till on the meads before them they saw a ring of men. there he abode him the summer following: and still another winter was he in Thrandheim. The earl had heard already how all had befallen between Gunnlaug and Raven. Earl Sigurd Lodverson was still lord over the isles. Chapter 16 . They sailed into the main when they had a fair wind. and his kinsman Thorkel with him. Now Gunnlaug went from Hladir with six men to Lifangr. and made offer to Gunnlaug to stay with him.before the other. and had many fights. and brought his ship to Thrandheim. and in that ring were two men with weapons fencing. and were slow to remember their words. but Gunnlaug took ship with chapmen. and that summer they harried wide about the South-isles and Scotland’s firths. and therewith he prayed the earl to give him a guide to Lifangr: now before this the earl had been told that Raven had left Lifangr and gone east to Sweden. and Gunnlaug always showed himself the bravest and doughtiest of fellows. and he and Earl Sigurd parted in great friendship. on the morning of the very day whereas Gunnlaug came in in the evening. but one was named Raven. and was there that winter and heard nought of Gunnlaug that winter through. and gave him two guides for the journey. and Gunnlaug went to him and abode there that winter. Gunnlaug said the earl should be free to have his will herein. So Gunnlaug abode there the winter through.
and so they did. fought until Thorkel fell before Raven and lost his life. Then spake Raven’s kinsmen. and in like wise spake Thorkel the Black. Meanwhile Raven and Thorkel the Black. Then said Gunnlaug to the earl’s guides. and fought dauntlessly. but none the more did Raven fall. and they are called Gleipni’s meads: but into one water stretched a little ness called Dingness. said he. nor will I fight thee any longer. Gunnlaug had the sword Ethelred’s-gift. Grim and Olaf. It is well that we have found one another. the kinsman of Gunnlaug. with blood be-drifted Bane of three the thane was. took their stand. and cut his leg from under him. Now thou art no more meet for battle. and between them flat meads. which they dealt each the other. Raven had got to a place where were two waters. thou mayest choose as thou wilt. there he stayed not his journey. or that we fight all of us man to man. This proves Thord Kolbeinson in a song that he made on Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue: ---Grim and Olaf. whereat he steadied the stump. There on the ness Raven and his fellows. five together. Then said Gunnlaug. great-hearts In Gondul’s din. At last Gunnlaug dealt a mighty blow at Raven. Betray me not if I bring thee water in my helm. Gunnlaug said. Grim and Olaf went both against Gunnlaug alone. Grim and Olaf. Gunnlaug said that either way seemed good to him.So Gunnlaug went on till he came to the uppermost farm in the valley. Gunnlaug’s kinsman. With Raven were his kinsmen. and so at last all their fellowship fell. Raven said that he had nought to quarrel with therein. might I but drink somewhat. a maimed man. but it were well with me yet. So they set on. with thin sword First did Gunnlaug fell there Ere at Raven fared he. and be here to tell of our meeting. falling on furiously without stop or delay. Now when they met. But now. Bold. all of them. Then in the morning at sunrise they saw one another. Raven answered: So it is. Gunnlaug said. War-lord of the wave-horse Wrought for men folks’ slaughter. and that was the best of weapons. wherefrom had Raven fared in the morning. but swung round up to a tree-stem. either that we fight alone together. called Sula. and so closed their dealings with him that Gunnlaug slew them both and got no wound. 24 . says he. Then they two alone fought together with fierce onsets and mighty strokes. that my lot is now all the worser lot. Ye shall sit by and aid neither side. but kept on his way through the night. and said that they would little like to stand by and look on the fight.
and Illugi remembered the song when he woke. that I begrudged thee to lie in the bosom of Helga the Fair. Then went Gunnlaug to a brook and fetched water in his helm. and was buried at the church there. Gunnlaug and Raven.The news of the fight brought to Iceland Now this summer. and done traitorously wherein I trusted thee. and died thereafter. Illugi the Black. There he lay three nights. stem of battle Famous. After that they buried the dead. Raven. and there Raven lost his life. and in meanwhile he sat and sang: O thou sword-storm stirrer. all bloody. Chapter 17 . fared against me Fiercely in the spear din. Thou sayest sooth. and he sang in the dream this stave before him. By the spear-walls’ builder. Then Gunnlaug said. and brought him right down to Lifangr. but with his right hand drave his sword into Gunnlaug’s head. and got all his rights of a priest . and sang it before others: Knew I of the hewing Of Raven’s hilt-finned steel-fish Byrny-shearing----sword-edge Sharp clave leg of Raven. said Raven. recking of nought. Raven answers. All men thought it great scathe of both of these men. amid such deeds as they died. When the war-rod slender. Clave the head of Gunnlaug. and got Gunnlaug on to his horse thereafter. Ring-bearer. before these tidings were brought out hither to Iceland. on hard Dingness. and brought it to Raven. Many a flight of metal Was borne on me this morning. Cleaver of the corpses.I will not betray thee. Evilly hast thou beguiled me. ---Of warm wounds drank the eagle. but Raven stretched forth his left hand to take it. 25 . and that was a mighty great wound. Thereat they fought on. dreamed a dream: he thought that Gunnlaug came to him in his sleep. but this brought me to it. being at home at Gilsbank. but the end of it was that Gunnlaug overcame Raven. Then the earl’s guides came forward and bound the head-wound of Gunnlaug.
Then shall my wrath come home to some of thy kin. one called Biorn and the other Thorgrim. Now there was a man called Raven. and said: Wherewith wilt thou make atonement to me for my son. the selfsame night. thy son. son of Hallkel. that Onund dreamed how Raven came to him. and out as far as Board-ere to the ship of the chapmen. and rode away forthwith: but all Raven’s men were bewildered at seeing Hermund. and had a ship that lay up in Ramfirth: and in the spring Hermund Illugison rode from home alone north over Holt-beacon Heath. and sang: Red is the sword. and deemed he was none the more avenged even though this had been wrought. ’Gainst shields beyond the sea-flood The ruin of shields was wielded. had little joy after the death of Gunnlaug his brother. And thereafter Illugi rode home. Helga went to his house with him. Illugi the Black spoke at the Althing from the Hill of Laws. Hermund rode up to him. and many men with him. he was a great seafarer. Raven. They had children together not a few. Hermund. brother’s son to Onund of Mossfell. whom Raven. and thrust him through with his spear. The chapmen were then nearly ready for sea. Methinks the blood-fowl blood-stained In blood o’er men’s heads stood there. No atonement came for this slaying. Tells the tale how this autumn Illugi rode from Gilsbank with thirty men. so sorely as their meeting hath wounded me. another Thorstein. who lived west in Hraundale. Now the second summer after this. Yet was Thorkel a doughty man. says Illugi. And withal after the Thing was Illugi at most times very sad. and came to Mossfell early in the morning. Be it far from me to atone for him. but loved him little. but the feet smitten from Thorgrim. and there was no righting of this for Onund. Thorstein Egilson married his daughter Helga to a man called Thorkel. though he be dead. Illugi’s son. the ship-master. and took sanctuary. one of them was called Thorarin.This portent befel south at Mossfell. even to Ramfirth. and wealthy of goods. but Illugi caught two of his kin. The wound-erne yet wound-eager Trod over wounded bodies. was on shore. and a good skald. for she cannot cease to think of Gunnlaug.The death of Helga the Fair As time went on. Chapter 18 . and had Biorn slain. 26 . but I now Am undone by Sword-Odin. covered all over with blood. and yet more they had. Yet will I not ask atonement of thee for my son. and there with ended the dealings of Illugi the Black and Onund of Mossfell. Then Onund got into the church with his sons. beguiled in his troth? Onund answers.
and gazed thereon awhile. 27 .But Helga’s chief joy was to pluck at the threads of that cloak. and then sank back upon her husband’s bosom. and had the cloak Gunnlaug’s-gift sent for. and leaned her head upon her husband’s knees. So one Saturday evening Helga sat in the firehall. And here endeth the story. But on a time there came a great sickness to the house of Thorkel and Helga. Weary pain hath pined her. Helga also fell sick. My dear one. the seeker Of hoard of fishes highway. But unto me. as was to be looked for. and yet she could not keep abed. Helga was buried in the church there. and many were bed-ridden for a long time. and was dead. Gunnlaug’s-gift. gold-rings bearer. Abiding here is wearier. Then Thorkel sang this: Dead in mine arms she droopeth. and she would be ever gazing at it. but Thorkel dwelt yet at Hraundale: but a great matter seemed the death of Helga to all. and when the cloak came to her she sat up and plucked at it. For God hath changed the life-days Of this Lady of the linen.