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The story of grettir the strong


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Title:TheStoryofGrettirTheStrong
Author:TranslatedbyEirikrMagnussonandWilliamMorris
ReleaseDate:June26,2004[EBook#12747]
Language:English

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THESTORYOFGRETTIRTHE
STRONG



TRANSLATEDFROMTHEICELANDIC
BY


EIRÍKRMAGNÚSSON
AND


WILLIAMMORRIS


1900
Alifescarceworththeliving,apoorfame
Scarceworththewinning,inawretchedland,
Wherefearandpaingouponeitherhand,
Astowardtheendmenfarewithoutanaim
Untothedullgreydarkfromwhencetheycame:
Letthemalone,theunshadowedsheerrocksstand
Overthetwilightgravesofthatpoorband,
Whocountsolittleinthegreatworld'sgame!
Nay,withthedeadIdealnot;thismanlives,
Andthatwhichcarriedhimthroughgoodandill,
Sternagainstfatewhilehisvoiceechoedstill
Fromrocktorock,nowheliessilent,strives
Withwastingtime,andthroughitslonglapsegives
Anotherfriendtome,life'svoidtofill.
WILLIAMMORRIS.

PREFACE.

We do not feel able to take in hand the wide subject of the Sagas of Iceland
withinthelimitsofaPreface;thereforewehaveonlytosaythatweputforward
thisvolumeasthetranslationofanoldstoryfoundedonfacts,fullofdramatic
interest,andsettingbeforepeople'seyespicturesofthelifeandmannersofan
interestingraceofmennearakintoourselves.
Thosetowhomthesubjectisnew,wemustrefertothetranslationsalreadymade
ofsomeotheroftheseworks,[1]andtothenoteswhichaccompanythem:afew
notesattheendofthisvolumemaybeofusetostudentsofSagaliterature.




Fortheoriginaltalewethinklittleapologyisdue;thatitholdsaveryhighplace
amongtheSagasofIcelandnostudentofthatliteraturewilldeny;ofthesewe
thinkityieldsonlytothestoryofNjalandhissons,aworkinourestimationto
beplacedbesidethefewgreatworksoftheworld.OurSagaisfullerandmore
complete than the tale of the other great outlaw Gisli; less frightful than the
wonderfullycharacteristicandstrangehistoryofEgil,thesonofSkallagrim;as
personalanddramaticasthatofGunnlaugtheWorm-tongue,ifitlacktherare
sentimentof thatbeautifulstory;with moredetailand consistency, ifwithless
variety,thanthehistoryofGudrunandherloversintheLaxdaela;andmorea
work of art than that, or than the unstrung gems of Eyrbyggja, and the great
compilationofSnorriSturluson,theHistoryoftheKingsofNorway.
At any rate, we repeat, whatever place among the best Sagas may be given to
Grettla[2]byreadersofsuchthings,itmustofnecessitybeheldtobeoneofthe
bestinallways;norwillthose,wehope,ofourreaderswhohavenotyetturned
their attention to the works written in the Icelandic tongue, fail to be moved
moreorlessbythedramaticpowerandeagerinterestinhumancharacter,shown
byourstory-teller;wesay,wehope,butwearesurethatnooneofinsightwill
disappointusinthis,whenhehasonceaccustomedhimselftotheunusual,and,
ifhepleases,barbarousatmosphereoftheseancientstories.
Assomemayliketoknowwhattheyaregoingtoreadaboutbeforeventuringon
beginningthebook,wewillnowgiveashortoutlineofourSaga.
The first thirteen chapters (which sometimes are met with separately in the
IcelandicastheSagaofOnundTreefoot),wehaveconsideredasanintroduction
tothestory,andhaveaccordinglydistinguishedthemfromthemainbodyofthe
book.TheyrelatethedoingsofGrettir'sancestorsinNorway,inthelandsWest
overtheSeaandinIceland,andareinterestingandinmanypointsnecessaryfor
the understanding of the subsequent story; one of these we note here for the
reader'sconvenience,viz.theconsanguinityofGrettirandKingOlaftheSaint;
[3]foritaddsstronglytothesignificanceoftheKing'srefusaltoentertainGrettir
athiscourt,ortogofurtherintothecaseofthemurderhewasfalselyaccused
of.
The genealogies of this part of the work agree closely with those of the
Landnáma-bók,andoftheothermostreliableSagas.
After this comes the birth of Grettir, and anecdotes (one at least sufficiently
monstrous) of his unruly childhood; then our hero kills his first man by


misadventure, and must leave Iceland; wrecked on an isle off Norway, he is
takenintherebyalordofthatland,andthereworksthedeedthatmakeshima
famous man; the slaying of the villainous bearserks, namely, who would else
havemadewreckofthehonourandgoodsofGrettir'shostinhisabsence;this
great deed, we should say, is prefaced by Grettir's first dealings with the
supernatural,whichcharacterisethisSaga,andthrowastrangelightonthemore
ordinarymattersthroughout.Theslayingofthebearserksisfollowedbyafeud
which Grettir has on his hands for the slaying of a braggart who insulted him
past bearing, and so great the feud grows that Grettir at last finds himself at
enmity with Earl Svein, the ruler of Norway, and, delivered from death by his
friends, yet has to leave the land and betake himself to Iceland again. Coming
backthere,andfindinghimselfamanofgreatfame,andhungry,formorestill,
he tries to measure himself against the greatest men in the land, but nothing
comesofthesetrials,forheisbeingreservedforagreaterdeedthanthedealing
withmeremen;hisenemyisGlamthethrall;therevenantofastrange,unearthly
manwhowashimselfkilledbyanevilspirit;Grettircontendswith,andslays,
thismonster,whosedyingcurseonhimistheturning-pointofthestory.
All seems fair for our hero, his last deed has made him the foremost man in
Iceland,andnewsnowcomingoutofOlaftheSaint,hisrelative,beingKingof
Norway, he goes thither to get honour at his hands; but Glam's curse works;
Grettirgainsa powerfulenemy byslayinganinsultingbraggartjustas hewas
goingonship-board;andonthevoyageitfallsoutthatinstrivingtosavethelife
ofhisshipmatesbyadesperateaction,hegetsthereputationofhavingdestroyed
the sons of a powerful Icelander, Thorir of Garth, with their fellows. This evil
reportclingstohimwhenhelandsinNorway;andallpeople,includingtheKing
from whom he hoped so much, look coldly on him. Now he offers to free
himselffromthefalsechargebytheordealofbearinghotiron;theKingassents,
andallisready;butGlamisbusy,andsomestrangeappearanceinthechurch,
wheretheordealistobe,bringsalltonothing;andtheforeseeingOlafrefusesto
take Grettir into his court, because of his ill-luck. So he goes to his brother,
ThorsteinDromund,forawhile,andthengoesbacktoIceland.Butthere,too,
his ill-luck had been at work, and when he lands he hears three pieces of bad
newsatonce;hisfatherisdead;hiseldestbrother,Atli,isslainandunatoned;
andhehimselfhasbeenmadeanoutlaw,byThorirofGarth,foradeedhehas
neverdone.
He avengeshisbrother, andseekshereand thereharbourfromhisfriends,but
hisfoesaretoostrongforhim,orsomeunluckyturnoffatealwayspusheshim


offthehelpofmen,andhehastotaketothewildernesswithapriceuponhis
head;andnowtheotherpartofthecursefallsonhimheavier,foreverafterthe
strugglewiththeghostheseeshorriblethingsinthedark,andcannotbeartobe
alone,andrunsallkindsofriskstoavoidit;andsotheyearsofhisoutlawrypass
on.Fromtimetotime,drivenbyneed,andrageathisunmeritedill-fortune,he
takes to plundering those who cannot hold their own; at other times he lives
alone,andsupportshimselfbyfishing,andistwicenearlybroughttohisendby
hired assassins the while. Sometimes he dwells with the friendly spirits of the
land, and chiefly with Hallmund, his friend, who saves his life in one of the
desperate fights he is forced into. But little by little all fall off from him; his
friendsdurstharbourhimnomore,orareslain.Hallmundcomestoatragicend;
Grettirisdrivenfromhislairsoneaftertheother,andmakesuphismindtotry,
asalastresource,tosethimselfdownontheislandofDrangey,whichrisesup
sheerfromthemidstofSkagafirthlikeacastle;hegoestohisfather'shouse,and
bids farewell to his mother, and sets off for Drangey in the company of his
youngestbrother,Illugi,whowillnotleavehiminthispinch,andaloselcalled
"Noise,"agoodjoker(wearetold),butaslothful,untrustworthypoltroon.The
threegetouttoDrangey,andpossessthemselvesofthelive-stockonit,andfora
whileallgoeswell;theland-ownerswhoheldtheislandinshares,despairingof
riddingthemselvesoftheoutlaw,givetheirsharesorsellthemtooneThorbiorn
Angle, a man of good house, but violent, unpopular, and unscrupulous. This
man,aftertryingtheobviouswaysofpersuasion,cajolery,andassassination,for
gettingtheislandintohishands,atlast,withthehelpofacertainhag,hisfostermother,hasrecoursetosorcery.Bymeansofherspells(asthestorygoes)Grettir
woundshimselfintheleginthethirdyearofhissojournatDrangey,andthough
thewoundspeedilycloses,inaweekortwogangrenesupervenes,andGrettir,at
last, lies nearly helpless, watched continually by his brother Illugi. The losel,
"Noise,"nowthatthebrotherscannomorestirabroad,willnottakethetrouble
topulluptheladdersthatleadfromthetopoftheislanddowntothebeach;and,
amidst all this, helped by a magic storm the sorceress has raised, Thorbiorn
Angle,withabandofmen,surprisestheisland,unroofsthehutofthebrothers,
andgainsingressthere,andafterashortstruggle(forGrettirisalreadyadying
man)slaysthegreatoutlawandcapturesIllugiinspiteofagallantdefence;he,
too,disdainingtomakeanytermswiththemurderersofhisbrother,isslain,and
Angle goes away exulting, after he had mutilated the body of Grettir, with the
headonwhichsogreatapricehadbeenput,andtheswordwhichthedeadman
hadborne.
Butnowthatthemightymanwasdead,andpeoplewererelievedoftheirfearof


him, the minds of men turned against him who had overcome him in a way,
accordingtotheirnotions,sobaseandunworthy,andAnglehasnoeasytimeof
it;hefailstogetthehead-money,andishimselfbroughttotrialforsorceryand
practisingheathenrites,andthe'nithings-deed'ofslayingamanalreadydying,
andisbanishedfromtheland.
NowcomesthepartsonecessarytotheIcelandictaleofahero,therevengingof
hisdeath;AnglegoestoNorway,andisthoughthighlyofforhisdeedbypeople
whodidnotknowthewholetale;butThorsteinDromund,anelderhalf-brother
of Grettir, is a lord in that land, and Angle, knowing of this, feels uneasy in
Norway,andatlastgoesawaytoMicklegarth(Constantinople),totakeservice
with the Varangians: Thorstein hears of this and follows him, and both are
togetheratlastinMicklegarth,butneitherknowstheother:atlastAnglebetrays
himself by showing Grettir's sword, at a 'weapon-show' of the Varangians, and
Thorsteinslayshimthenandtherewiththesameweapon.Thorsteinaloneina
strangeland,withnonetospeakforhim,isobligedtosubmittothelawsofthe
country, and is thrown into a dungeon to perish of hunger and wretchedness
there.Fromthisfateheisdeliveredbyagreatladyofthecity,calledSpes,who
afterwardsfallsinlovewithhim;andthetwomeetofteninspiteofthewatchful
jealousyofthelady'shusband,whoisatlastsocompletelyconqueredbyaplot
ofhers(thesagamanherehastakenanincidentwithlittleornochangefromthe
RomanceofTristramandIseult),thatheisobligedtosubmittoadivorceandthe
lossofhiswife'sdower,andthereaftertheloversgoawaytogethertoNorway,
andlivetherehappilytilloldageremindsthemoftheirmisdeeds,andtheythen
setofftogetherforRomeandpasstherestoftheirlivesinpenitenceandapart
from one another. And so the story ends, summing up the worth of Grettir the
Strongbyremindingpeopleofhishugestrength,hislongenduranceinoutlawry,
hisgiftfordealingwithghostsandevilspirits,thefamousvengeancetakenfor
him in Micklegarth; and, lastly, the fortunate life and good end of Thorstein
Dromund,hisbrotherandavenger.
Such is the outline of this tale of a man far above his fellows in all matters
valued among his times and people, but also far above them all in ill-luck, for
thatistheconceptionthatthestory-tellerhasformedofthegreatoutlaw.Tous
modernstherealinterestintheserecordsofapaststateoflifeliesprincipallyin
seeing events true in the main treated vividly and dramatically by people who
completelyunderstoodthemanners,life,and,aboveall,theturnofmindofthe
actors in them. Amidst many drawbacks, perhaps, to the modern reader, this
interestisseldomoreverwantinginthehistoricalsagas,andleastofallinour


presentstory;thesagamanneverrelaxeshisgraspofGrettir'scharacter,andhe
is the same man from beginning to end; thrust this way and that by
circumstances,butlittlealteredbythem;unluckyinallthings,yetmadestrong
to bear all ill-luck; scornful of the world, yet capable of enjoyment, and
determined to make the most of it; not deceived by men's specious ways, but
disdainingtocryoutbecausehemustneedsbearwiththem;scorningmen,yet
helpingthemwhencalledon,anddesirousoffame:prudentintheory,andwise
in foreseeing the inevitable sequence of events, but reckless beyond the
recklessness even of that time and people, and finally capable of inspiring in
othersstrongaffectionanddevotiontohiminspiteofhisruggedself-sufficing
temper—allthesetraitswhichwefindinoursagaman'sGrettirseemalwaysthe
most suited to the story of the deeds that surround him, and to our mind most
skilfullyanddramaticallyaretheysuggestedtothereader.
As is fitting, the other characters are very much subordinate to the principal
figure, but in their way they are no less life-like; the braggart—that inevitable
foiltotheheroinasaga—wasneverbetterrepresentedthanintheGisliofour
tale;thethrallNoise,withhiscarelessness,andthriftless,untrustworthymirth,is
the very pattern of a slave; Snorri the Godi, little though there is of him, fully
sustains the prudent and crafty character which follows him in all the Sagas;
Thorbiorn Oxmain is a good specimen of the overbearing and sour chief, as is
Atli,ontheotherhand,ofthekindlyandhigh-minded,ifprudent,richman;and
noone,inshort,playshispartlikeapuppet,butactsasoneexpectshimtoact,
alwaysallowingthepeculiaratmosphereofthesetales;andtocrownall,asthe
storycomestoitsend,thehigh-souledandpoeticallyconceivedIllugithrowsa
tendernessonthedreadfulstoryoftheendofthehero,contrastedasitiswith
thatofthegloomy,superstitiousAngle.
Somethingofablot,fromsomepointsofview,thestoryofSpesandThorstein
Dromund(ofwhichmoreanon)mustbeconsidered;yetwhoeveraddedittothe
taledid sowithsomeskillconsideringitsincongruousandsuperfluousnature,
for he takes care that Grettir shall not be forgotten amidst all the plots and
successofthelovers;and,whetheritbeaccidentalornot,thereistoourminds
something touching in the contrast between the rude life and tragic end of the
hero,andthelong,drawnout,worldlygoodhapandquiethopesforanotherlife
whichfalltothelotofhishappierbrother.
Astotheauthorshipofourstory,ithasnodoubtgonethroughthestageswhich
mark the growth of the Sagas in general, that is, it was for long handed about
frommouthtomouthuntilittookadefiniteshapeinmen'sminds;andafterit


had held that position for a certain time, and had received all the necessary
polishforanenjoyablesaga,wascommittedtowritingasitflowedreadymade
from the tongue of the people. Its style, in common with that of all the sagas,
showsevidencesenoughofthis:fortherest,theonlynameconnectedwithitis
thatofSturlaThordsontheLawman,amanofgoodpositionandfamily,anda
prolificauthor,whowasbornin1214anddied1284;thereis,however,noproof
thathewrotethepresentwork,thoughwethinkthepassagesinitthatmention
his name show clearly enough that he had something to do with the story of
Grettir:onthewhole,weareinclinedtothinkthatastoryofGrettirwaseither
written by him or under his auspices, but that the present tale is the work of a
later hand, nor do we think so complete a saga-teller, as his other undoubted
works show him to have been, would ever have finished his story with the
epilogueofSpesandThorsteinDromund,steepedasthatlatterpartiswiththe
spiritofthemediaevalromances,eventothedistinctappropriationofamarked
andwell-knownepisodeoftheTristram;thoughitmustbeadmittedthathehad
probablyplentyofopportunityforbeingversedinthatromance,asTristramwas
firsttranslatedintothetongueofNorwayintheyear1226,byBrotherRobert,at
the instance of King Hakon Hakonson, whose great favourite Sturla Thordson
was,andwhosehistorywaswrittenbyhim.
Forourtranslationofthisworkwehavenomoretosaythantoapologiseforits
shortcomings,andtohope,thatinspiteofthem,itwillgivesomeportionofthe
pleasuretoourreaderswhichwefeltinaccomplishingitourselves.
EIRÍKRMAGNÚSSON,WILLIAMMORRIS.
LONDON,April1869.


CONTENTS.
PREFACE.
CHRONOLOGYOFTHESTORY.
CONTENTS.
THESTORYOFGRETTIRTHESTRONG.

THEFOREFATHERSOFGRETTER
CHAP.I.
CHAP.II.
CHAP.III.
CHAP.IV.
CHAP.V.
CHAP.VI.
CHAP.VII.
CHAP.VIII.
CHAP.IX.
CHAP.X.
CHAP.XI.
CHAP.XII.
CHAP.XIII.

HEREBEGINSTHESTORYOFTHELIFEOFGRETTIRTHE
STRONG
CHAP.XIV.
OfGrettirasaChild,andhisfrowardways
withhisfather
CHAP.XV.
OftheBall-playonMidfirthWater
CHAP.XVI.


XVI.OftheSlayingofSkeggi
CHAP.XVII.
OfGrettir'sVoyageout
CHAP.XVIII.
OfGrettiratHaramseyandhisdealingswith
KarrtheOld
CHAP.XIX.
OfYuleatHaramsey,andhowGrettirdealt
withtheBearserks
CHAP.XX.
HowThorfinnmetGrettiratHaramseyagain
CHAP.XXI.
OfGrettirandBiornandtheBear
CHAP.XXII.
OftheSlayingofBiorn
CHAP.XXIII.
TheSlayingofHiarandi
CHAP.XXIV.
OftheSlayingofGunnar,andGrettir'sstrife
withEarlSvein
CHAP.XXV.
TheSlayingofThorgilsMakson
CHAP.XXVI.
OfThorsteinKuggson,andthegatheringfor
theBloodsuitfortheSlayingofThorgils
Makson
CHAP.XXVII.
TheSuitfortheSlayingofThorgilsMakson
CHAP.XXVIII.
GrettircomesouttoIcelandagain
CHAP.XXIX.
OftheHorse-fightatLongfit
CHAP.XXX.
OfThorbiornOxmainandThorbiornTardy,
andofGrettir'smeetingwithKormakon
Ramfirth-neck
CHAP.XXXI.
HowGrettirmetBardi,theSonofGudmund,
ashecamebackfromtheHeath-slayings


CHAP.XXXII.
OftheHauntingatThorhall-stead;andhow
ThorhalltookaShepherdbytheredeof
SkaptitheLawman,andwhatbefellthereafter
CHAP.XXXIII.
OfthedoingsofGlamatThorhall-stead
CHAP.XXXIV.
GrettirhearsoftheHauntings
CHAP.XXXV.
GrettirgoestoThorhall-stead,andhastodo
withGlam
CHAP.XXXVI.
OfThorbiornOxmain'sAutumn-feast,andthe
mocksofThorbiornTardy
CHAP.XXXVII.
XXXVII.OlaftheSaint,KinginNorway;theslaying
ofThorbiornTardy;Grettirgoesto
Norway
CHAP.XXXVIII.
OfThorirofGarthandhissons;andhow
Grettirfetchedfireforhisshipmates
CHAP.XXXIX.
HowGrettirwouldfainbearIronbeforethe
King
CHAP.XL.
OfGrettirandSnoekoll
CHAP.XLI.
OfThorsteinDromund'sArms,andwhathe
deemedtheymightdo
CHAP.XLII.
OftheDeathofAsmundtheGreyhaired
CHAP.XLIII.
TheOnsetonAtliatthePassandtheSlaying
ofGunnarandThorgeir
CHAP.XLIV.
TheSuitfortheSlayingoftheSonsofThorir
ofthePass
CHAP.XLV.
OftheSlayingofAtliAsmundson


CHAP.XLVI.
GrettiroutlawedattheThingattheSuitof
ThorirofGarth
CHAP.XLVII.
GrettircomesouttoIcelandagain
CHAP.XLVIII.
TheSlayingofThorbiornOxmain
CHAP.XLIX.
TheGatheringtoavengeThorbiornOxmain
CHAP.L.
GrettirandtheFoster-brothersatReek-knolls
CHAP.LI.
OftheSuitfortheSlayingofThorbiorn
Oxmain,andhowThorirofGarthwould
notthatGrettirshouldbemadesackless
CHAP.LII.
HowGrettirwastakenbytheIcefirthCarles
CHAP.LIII.
GrettirwithThorsteinKuggson
CHAP.LIV.
GrettirmeetsHallmundontheKeel
CHAP.LV.
OfGrettironErnewaterheath,andhisdealings
withGrimthere
CHAP.LVI.
OfGrettirandThorirRedbeard
CHAP.LVII.
HowThorirofGarthsetonGrettironErnewaterheath
CHAP.LVIII.
GrettirinFairwoodfell
CHAP.LIX.
Gisli'smeetingwithGrettir
CHAP.LX.
OftheFightatHitriver
CHAP.LXI.
HowGrettirleftFairwoodfell,andofhisabiding
inThorir's-dale
CHAP.LXII.
OftheDeathofHallmund,Grettir'sFriend


CHAP.LXIII.
HowGrettirbeguiledThorirofGarthwhenhe
wasnightakinghim
CHAP.LXIV.
OftheillhapsatSand-heaps,andhowGuest
cametotheGoodwifethere
CHAP.LXV.
OfGuestandtheTroll-wife
CHAP.LXVI.
OftheDwellerintheCaveundertheForce
CHAP.LXVII.
GrettirdrivenfromSand-heapstotheWest
CHAP.LXVIII.
HowThorod,theSonofSnorriGodi,went
againstGrettir
CHAP.LXIX.
HowGrettirtookleaveofhisMotheratBiarg,
andfaredwithIllugihisBrothertoDrangey
CHAP.LXX.
OftheBonderswhoownedDrangeybetweenthem
CHAP.LXXI.
HowthoseofSkagafirthfoundGrettironDrangey
CHAP.LXXII.
OftheSportsatHeron-nessThing
CHAP.LXXIII.
TheHandsellingofPeace
CHAP.LXXIV.
OfGrettir'sWrestling;andhowThorbiorn
AnglenowboughtthemorepartofDrangey
CHAP.LXXV.
ThorbiornAnglegoestoDrangeytospeakwithGrettir
CHAP.LXXVI.
HowNoiselettheFireoutonDrangey,
andhowGrettirmustneedsgoalandformore
CHAP.LXXVII.
GrettirattheHome-steadofReeks
CHAP.LXXVIII.
OfHaeringatDrangey,andtheendofhim
CHAP.LXXIX.


OftheTalkattheThingaboutGrettir'sOutlawry
CHAP.LXXX.
ThorbiornAnglegoeswithhisFoster-mother
outtoDrangey
CHAP.LXXXI.
OftheCarline'sevilGifttoGrettir
CHAP.LXXXII.
GrettirsingsofhisGreatDeeds
CHAP.LXXXIII.
HowThorbiornAnglegatheredForceand
setSailforDrangey
CHAP.LXXXIV.
TheSlayingofGrettirAsmundson
CHAP.LXXXV.
HowThorbiornAngleclaimedGrettir'sHead-money
CHAP.LXXXVI.
HowThorbiornAnglebroughtGrettir's
HeadtoBiarg
CHAP.LXXXVII.
AffairsattheAlthing
CHAP.LXXXVIII.
ThorbiornAnglegoestoNorway,andthence
toMicklegarth
CHAP.LXXXIX.
HowtheShort-Swordwastheeasierknown
whensoughtforbyreasonofthenotchin
theblade
CHAP.XC.
HowtheLadySpesredeemedThorsteinfrom
theDungeon
CHAP.XCI.
OftheDoingsofThorsteinandtheLadySpes
CHAP.XCII.
OftheOaththatSpesmadebeforetheBishop
CHAP.XCIII.
ThorsteinandSpescomeouttoNorway
CHAP.XCIV.
ThorsteinDromundandSpesleaveNorway
again


CHAP.XCV.
HowThorsteinDromundandSpesfaredto
Romeanddiedthere
NOTESANDCORRECTIONS.
INDICES.
INDEXI.
INDEXII.
INDEXIII.
PERIPHRASTICEXPRESSIONSINTHESONGS.
PROVERBSANDPROVERBIALSAYINGSTHATOCCURINTHE
STORY.


CHRONOLOGYOFTHESTORY.
872.ThebattleofHafrsfirth.
874.BeginsthesettlementofIceland.
cca. 897.ThrandandUfeighGrettirsettleGnup-Wardsrape.
cca. 900.OnundTreefootcomestoIceland.
cca. 920.DeathofOnundTreefoot.
929.TheAlthingestablished.
997(?).Grettirborn.
1000.Christianitysanctionedbylaw.
1004.SkaptiThorodsonmadelawman.
1011.GrettirslaysSkeggi;goesabroad,banishedforthreeyears.
1012.SlayingofThorirPaunchandhisfellowsinHaramsey.
EarlEricgoestoDenmark.
1013.SlayingofBiornattheIslandofGartar.
SlayingofThorgilsMakson.IllugiAsmundson
born.DeathofThorkelKrafla.
1014.SlayingofGunnarinTunsberg.Grettirgoes
backtoIceland;fightswiththemenofMeal
onRamfirth-neck.Heath-slayings.Thorgeir
Havarsonoutlawed.FightwithGlam
theghost.
1015.FightofNesjarinNorway.SlayingofThorbiorn
Tardy.Grettirfaresabroad.Burning
ofthesonsofThorirofGarth.Deathof
AsmundtheGreyhaired.
1016.GrettirmeetsKingOlaf;failstobeariron;goes
easttoTunsbergtoThorsteinDromund.
SlayingofAtliofBiarg.Grettiroutlawed
attheThingfortheburningofthesonsof
Thorir;hisreturntoIceland.Slayingof
ThorbiornOxmainandhissonArnor.
1017.GrettiratReek-knolls.Lawsuitfortheslaying
ofThorbiornOxmain.Grettirtakenby
theIcefirthchurls.


1018.GrettiratLiarskogarwithThorsteinKuggson;
histravelstotheEasttoSkaptithelawman
andThorhallofTongue,andthencetothe
Keel-mountain,wherehemetHallmund
(Air)forthefirsttime.
1019-1021.GrettironErnewaterheath.
1021.GrettirgoestotheMarshes.
1022-1024.GrettirinFairwoodfell.
1024.GrettirvisitsHallmundagain.
1025.GrettirdiscoversThorirs-dale.
1025-1026.GrettirtravelsroundbytheEast;haunts
Madderdale-heathandReek-heath.
1026.ThorsteinKuggsonslain.
1027.GrettiratSand-heapsinBard-dale.
1028.GrettirhauntsthewestbyBroadfirth-dales,
meetsThorodSnorrison.
1028-1031.GrettirinDrangey.
1029.GrettirvisitsHeron-ness-thing.
1030.GrettirfetchesfirefromReeks.Skaptithelaw
mandies.
1031.DeathofSnorriGodiandGrettirAsmundson.
1033.ThorbiornAngleslain.
[1]


THESTORYOFGRETTIRTHESTRONG.
This First Part tells of the forefathers of Grettir in Norway, and how they fled
away before Harald Fairhair, and settled in Iceland; and of their deeds in
IcelandbeforeGrettirwasborn.


CHAP.I.
TherewasamannamedOnund,whowasthesonofUfeighClubfoot,thesonof
IvartheSmiter;OnundwasbrotherofGudbiorg,themotherofGudbrandBall,
thefatherofAsta,themotherofKingOlaftheSaint.OnundwasanUplanderby
thekinofhismother;butthekinofhisfatherdweltchieflyaboutRogalandand
Hordaland.Hewasagreatviking,andwentharryingwestovertheSea.[4]Balk
ofSotanes,thesonofBlaeng,waswithhimherein,andOrmtheWealthywithal,
and Hallvard was the name of the third of them. They had five ships, all well
manned,andtherewiththeyharriedintheSouth-isles;[5]andwhentheycameto
Barra,theyfoundthereaking,calledKiarval,andhe,too,hadfiveships.They
gave him battle, and a hard fray there was. The men of Onund were of the
eagerest,andoneithersidemanyfell;[2]buttheendofitwasthatthekingfled
withonlyoneship.SotherethemenofOnundtookbothshipsandmuchwealth,
andabodetherethroughthewinter.Forthreesummerstheyharriedthroughout
IrelandandScotland,andthereafterwenttoNorway.


CHAP.II.
InthosedaysweretheregreattroublesinNorway.HaraldtheUnshorn,[6]sonof
HalfdantheBlack,waspushingforthforthekingdom.BeforethathewasKing
oftheUplands;thenhewentnorththroughtheland,andhadmanybattlesthere,
andeverwontheday.Thereafterheharriedsouthintheland,andwheresoever
he came, laid all under him; but when he came to Hordaland, swarms of folk
came thronging against him; and their captains were Kiotvi the Wealthy, and
Thorir Longchin, and those of South Rogaland, and King Sulki. Geirmund
HelskinwastheninthewestovertheSea;norwasheinthatbattle,thoughhe
hadakingdominHordaland.
NowthatautumnOnundandhisfellowscamefromthewestovertheSea;and
when Thorir Longchin and King Kiotvi heard thereof, they sent men to meet
them,andprayedthemforhelp,andpromisedthemhonours.Thentheyentered
intofellowshipwithThorirandhismen;fortheywereexceedingfaintotrytheir
strength,andsaidthattherewouldtheybewhereasthefightwashottest.
NowwasthemeetingwithHaraldtheKinginRogaland,[3]inthatfirthwhichis
calledHafrsfirth;andbothsideshadmanymen.Thiswasthegreatestbattlethat
haseverbeenfoughtinNorway,andhereofmostSagastell;forofthoseisever
mosttold,ofwhomtheSagasaremade;andtheretocamefolkfromalltheland,
andmanyfromotherlandsandswarmsofvikings.
Now Onund laid his ship alongside one board of the ship of Thorir Longchin,
aboutthemidstofthefleet,butKingHaraldlaidhisontheotherboard,because
Thorirwasthegreatestbearserk,andthestoutestofmen;sothefightwasofthe
fiercestoneitherside.Thenthekingcriedonhisbearserksforanonslaught,and
theywerecalledtheWolf-coats,foronthemwouldnosteelbite,andwhenthey
setonnoughtmightwithstandthem.Thorirdefendedhimverystoutly,andfell
inallhardihoodonboardhisship;thenwasitclearedfromstemtostern,andcut
from the grapplings, and let drift astern betwixt the other ships. Thereafter the
king'smenlaidtheirshipalongsideOnund's,andhewasintheforepartthereof
andfoughtmanly;thentheking'sfolksaid,"Lo,aforwardmanintheforecastle
there,lethimhavesomewhattomindhimhowthathewasinthisbattle."Now


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