2l8TljHBB0eSmDVba4uoYQ Þórðar Saga hreðu

Þórðar Saga hreðu

The Story of Thórðr Hreða an 1882 translation into English by John Coles

Section Reference 5


This same summer a ship arrived in Blönduós in Langidalr. By that ship came Ormr, nephew of Skeggi and brother of Ásbjörn. But when Skeggi hears of the arrival of his kinsman, he rides to the ship, and invites Ormr home to stay the winter over, and Ormr went home with him. Ormr was this kind of a man, that he was stronger than any other, and a most valiant man; he was full of fierceness, considered no one his equal, was a great fighter in single combats, and full of injustice. It happened one day when Ormr went to the Springs, that Sigríðr from Ós was there, and another woman with her. He thought much of her, and inquired who she was. He was told her name and her kin. He spoke to Skeggi and said: "The fact of the matter is this, that I wish you to woo Sigríðr of Ós on my behalf." Skeggi answered: "This woman I will not woo for you, but any other woman you may wish I will propose to for you." Ormr said: "Either must you woo Sigríðr or no one else." Skeggi answered: "Why should I woo on your behalf your brother's betrothed?" Ormr said: "I don't care, if she is my brother's betrothed, but if you do not woo her for me there will be some quarrel in the district, for then I shall beguile her, and the brothers will hinder that, but I shall not mind it, and so you will have to assist in the case." Then Skeggi said: "Sigríðr will not allow herself to be beguiled by you, and you are much conceited to think you can get her so dishonourably, and this will be to your shame, for a heavier load has Thórðr overturned, when he and his brothers killed King Sigurðr "Slefa," the son of Gunnhildr." Ormr said: "That will take its own course; I shall chance it, if you will not woo her on my behalf." Skeggi answered: "Rather will I undertake this task than some difficulties should be caused by it; and I feel sure you will be discontented whatever the answer may be." Eiðr got to know this, as he was on a visit at his father's at Reykir. Skeggi and Eiðr (father and son) send a word to Thórðr, asking him to come to Reykir. Thórðr went, and his brothers with him. Skeggi greets Thórðr gladly. He received his greeting well, and asked, what was the meaning of his sending for him. Skeggi says: "That his kinsman, Ormr, wished to marry his sister Sigríðr." Thórðr says: "This is a strange negotiation on your part, for it seems to me that your kinsman, Ormr, is more possessed of wrath and foolishness than of luck, and it is not unlikely that it will soon be found to be so; or does he not know that the woman is betrothed to his brother?" Skeggi said: "Ormr is not at home, he has gone to the ship in Langidalr." Eiðr said: "That would I, my foster-father, that you could come to some terms for the sake of my father's pleading." "So it shall be as you wish," said Thórðr; "I will come to terms on account of your asking and the pleading of Skeggi; but none should I have come to if Ormr himself had wooed the woman." "This answer will I give you, Skeggi, as regards this case, that I shall break nothing which I have promised Ásbjörn. I will that Ormr go abroad this summer and stay for two winters, but that he may expect to get the match if Ásbjörn did not return." Skeggi thought the answer very good, and they had witnesses as to this transaction. Thórðr and Eiðr rode home to Ós. Sigríðr gave little heed to this. Now, time passed until Ormr came home after having prepared his ship for sailing. Ormr asked what the result was with regard to the wooing of the woman. Skeggi told him all. Ormr thought that Skeggi had pushed this matter very lightly. Skeggi asked him to value the transaction as he pleased. Ormr requested him to have no thanks for the result, and became very angry; he said he should never care whether Thórðr liked it well or not, and that she should be his mistress. Skeggi said that he was a wonderfully unwise man to talk in such way. Ormr had not been at home for a few nights before he went to Ós, and began conversing with Sigríðr. She asked him not to do it, and said Thórðr would not care for it, adding: "You will soon find the mistake out if you do not stop it." Ormr said that in no way should he be unprepared against Thórðr, whatsoever they might try. She said: "You will find that out, if you frequent your visits hither; you must also expect, that I shall pay no attention to it as long as I hear nothing of your brother

Ásbjörn." They broke off the conversation. Thórðr was building a boat down by the mouth of the river, which he intended to send to the Strands for fish, and he was going with the boat himself. Ormr came for three successive days to Ós, and then Thórðr spoke to him, saying: "I request you, Ormr, not to frequent your visits hither to my dislike or to my sister's disgrace." To this Ormr gave a crossgrained answer, saying, that hitherto he had taken his own counsel as to his joumeyings despite of any man; and said he rather thought that so this time too the matter would have to stand. Thórðr said that they would not be likely both to stand upright, if he came there for the fourth time. Ormr left off his visits for several nights. Now Thórðr went on busying himself about his boat, and, when he had done, one morning, as the weather was fine, he proposed to have sail out of the river. At Ós, one of the handmaids, going into the house, said that now the weather was good for the washing of linen. Now Sigríðr was wont to wash her linen in the rivulet that passed the enclosure of Ós, and now took her linen there in company with the handmaid. This morning Ormr had an inkling of Thórðr's intention to sail away, and bade his horse be fetched without Skeggi's knowledge; whereupon he took his weapons and rode to Ós, and went to the very dean where Sigríðr was. He got off his horse and tied it up, laid aside his weapons, and went to Sigríðr, setting her down beside him, laying his head in her lap, and putting her hands round his head. She asked how he could take into his head to do such a thing as this?" For this is altogether against my will; or mindest thou not the last words of threats of my brother's, which he will be only too sure to keep, so you had better see to your affairs." He answers: "I am not going to be frightened at your wraiths." Now, when Ormr came into the dean, the handmaiden started off down to the ferry, and told Thórðr that Ormr had come to Sigríðr in the dean. Thórðr bestirred himself quickly, and took his sword and his shield, and ran up to the dean, where Ormr still lay in the lap of Sigríðr. Thórðr sprang at Ormr, and said: "Stand up, thou, and defend thyself; that is a manlier deed than to crouch up to women, and to sneak behind me." Ormr started up and stretched for his sword, and in the same moment Thórðr hewed at Ormr, and through his right arm. Then Ormr drew his sword, and, as he started about, his right leg broke, whereupon Thórðr hewed the head of Ormr, and went home to Ós, and there declared the manslaughter to have been done by his hand. Sigríðr bade her brother Thórðr save himself. He smiled at her word and said: "I shall go nowhere away, for I know no roads whereby to go; I shall send a messenger to Reykir, to tell Skeggi of the manslaughter of Ormr." She answers: "What a strange man thou art, brother, for surely Skeggi will speedily come here with many men to revenge his brother, and, stalwarth as thou art, thou hast no might to withstand him in such a strife." Thórðr said that he did not care for that. Thereupon he found his shepherd, and bade him go to Reykir and tell Skeggi of the manslaughter. He said he was unwilling to do so, but that he would go if he wished it. "Tell Skeggi also that he must have his fool removed." The youth went as he was ordered, and told Skeggi of the manslaughter of Ormr, his kinsman. Skeggi became very angry. The youth said: "Thórðr asked me to tell you that you must have your fool removed." Now Skeggi gathers men together, and rides to Ós. But Thórðr was at home with nine men, and when he sees Skeggi advancing, he prepares himself for defence. His two brothers were there, and all the men were well armed. Thórðr says that in no way will he give way to Skeggi, adding, that now it would be well they tried their strength. It is to be said that this morning Eiðr had gone to his stud-horses in Linak-radalr; these Thórðr had given him. And when he heard of the murder of Ormr, he hurried home to Ós in order to be there before his father; and so he was. But when he came home he saw their preparations, took his weapons, and joined the party of Thórðr, his foster-father. Thórðr said: "I did not wish that you were at this meeting, for I shall no more spare your father than any one else if he should make an attack." Eiðr said: "By you shall I stand, my foster-father, whatever may happen, for the same fate shall be shared by us; thus I thought, when you saved my life, that I should unite yours with mine." Thórðr said: "Then you will assist me best when I need it mostly." When they had conversed together, then Skeggi came with many men. Skeggi was most wroth; and when he saw his son Eiðr one of Thórðr's party, he stopped his men. Thórðr accosted Skeggi, and bade him attack, saying: "For now I am quite ready to hew the ox, though it be fat, as it is getting rather old." Then said Skeggi: "I shall not attack, for I will not fight against Eiðr, but you will be the cause of many crimes." Thórðr said: "I think it is more because of fright than mercy, if you do not attack." Skeggi answered nought, and rode away home. Ormr was buried in a how in Miðfjarðarnes.


28 December 2019 saga, thoror, hreda, norse, viking, translated, english Read Book