KAPJn_F-vUiWi4kMGsTPhQ Hávarðar Saga Ísfirðings

Hávarðar Saga Ísfirðings

The Story of Howard the Halt an 1891 translation into English by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon

Section Reference 21


Of the Otterdalers

Tell we now how Thorgrim woke, and was waxen hot; then spake he: "I have been up to the house and about it awhile ; but all was so dim to me that I wot not what shall befall me; yet let us go home to the house: meseems we should burn them in, so may we the speediest bring the end about."

So they take their weapons, and fare into the home-mead. And when Atli and his fellows saw the men, Atli said: "Here be come the Dyrafirthers, I think, with;Thorgrim, Dyri's son, at the head of them, the worst man and the greatest wizard in Dyrafirth; he is the most friend of Thorarin, who has the blood-feud for Thorbiorn his brother: now I am minded, as unlike as it may seem, to go against Thorgrim ; but thee, Howard, I will have to do deal with two, for thou art proven and a great champion. To Hallgrim thy kinsman I allot those twain who are stoutest; to Torfi and Eyjulf, Valbrand's sons, I allot four; and to Thor-brand's sons, Odd and Thorir, other four; to Thor-biorn's sons, Grim and Thorstein, I allot three, and to Thorhall and my house-carle each one his man."

So when Atli had ordered them as he would, Thorgrim and his men come on from the south toward the house ; and they see that things have gone otherwise than they looked for, arid that men are standing there with weapons, ready to deal with them; then said Thorgrim: "Who may know but that Atli the craven hath more shifts than we wotted of; yet all the same shall we go against them.!'

Then men fell on as they had been ordered; and the first onset was of Atli the. Little against Thorgrim, smiting at him two-handed with his sword; but never it bit on him. So a while they smote, and never bit the sword on Thorgrim. Then said Atli: "As a troll art thou, Thorgrim; and not as a man, that the iron biteth not on thee." Thorgrim answered: "How durst thou say such things, whereas I hewed on thee e'en now at my best, and the sword bit not on thine evil pilled pate."

Then seeth Atli that things will not go well on this wise; so he casteth by his sword, and runneth under Thorgrim's hands, and casteth him down on the field. Now is there no weapon beside him, and he knew that the odds were great between them, so he grovelleth down on him, and biteth the throat of him asunder, and then draggeth him to where his sword lay, and smiteth the head from off him. Then he looked round about wide-eyed, and saw that Howard had slain one of those whom he had to deal with. Thither ran Atli first, and for no long while they gave and took before the man fell dead. Hallgrim had slain both those he had to deal with, and Torfi in likewise: Eyjulf had slain one of his: Thorir and Odd had slain three, and one was left: Thorstein and Grim had slain two and left one: Thorhall had slain his man; but the house-carle had not slain his. Then bade Howard to hold their hands; but Thorstein Thorbiornson said: "Our father shall not have to hear west there in Redsand that we brethren could not do our allotted day's work as other men." And therewith he ran at one of those with axe aloft and smote it into his head that he gat his bane. Atli asked why not slay them all; but Howard said that was of no use. Then Atli sat down and bade lead the men before him; then he shaved the hair from them and polled them, and tarred them thereafter; he drew his knife from the sheath, and sheared the ears from each of them, bidding them so ear-marked go find Dyri and Thorarin; and said that now perchance they would mind them how they had come across Atli the Little. So they went thence, three of them, who had come there eighteen in company, stout men and well arrayed.

Now sang Howard a stave:


West and east is wafted
Word to Icefirth's dwellings,
Word of weapons reddened
In the spear-storm's waxing;
Now for spear-play's speeding
Sped the war-lords hither,
Soothly small the matter
Unto sons of Valbrand.


Then they went their ways and buried the slain, and thereafter gat them rest and peace even as they would.


27 December 2019 saga, Howard, norse, viking, translated, english Read Book