GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

The Story of the Laxdalers a 1903 translation into English by Robert Proctor

Section Reference 63


Now is it to be told what betid in the fell-cot: Helgi was there, and those men with him as is aforesaid. He spake in the morning to his shepherd lad, that he should fare by the wood near the fell-cot and mark the farings of men or whatso he might see to tell of: Hard hath it gone with my dreams in the night, quoth he. The lad fared forth even as Helgi bade; and he was away awhile : and when he comes back, then asks Helgi if he hath seen aught new that is worthy the telling, great or small. The lad saith that he has seen that which he thinketh may be deemed tidings. Helgi asks what that may be. He said that he had seen men not right few, and methinks that they are not men of this countryside. Spake Helgi: Where were they when thou sawest them? or what were they about? or didst thou perchance mark aught of their array or their looks? The lad answers: I was not so wholly overcome with fear that I failed to mark such things ; because I knew that thou wouldst ask thereafter. Now saith he that they were but a short way from the fell-cot and they were then eating their day-meal. Helgi asks whether they were sitting in a ring or each one out from the other. He said that they were of a sooth sitting in a ring and on their saddles. Then spake Helgi: Now shalt thou tell me of their looks, for I would know if I may read from their likeness aught as to what men they be. Spake the lad: There sat a man on a stained saddle, and clad in a blue cape: mickle was he and right manly, bald over the brows, and his teeth stood out somewhat. Helgi answers: This man know I easily from thy tale of him: there hast thou seen Thorgils Hailason from Horddale in the west-country: but what will that blusterer with us? The lad spake: Next to him sat a man on a gilded saddle ; he was clad in scarlet with a red kirtle, and had a gold ring on his hand, and a lace of gold knotted round his head. That man had golden hair, and it fell down all over his shoulders; he was bright-faced, with a knop on the nose, and the nose something snubbed at the end: very fair of eye, blue-eyed and keen-eyed, and somewhat shifty-eyed; broad of brow and full-cheeked, and wore his hair shorn across the forehead: he was well-grown about the shoulders and stout under the arm, and stark-armed; well-grown, and his whole bearing of the noblest: and in a word I have seen no man so starkly made in all wise. He was also a young man, so that his beard was not sprouted, and meseemed he was much swollen with grief. Helgi spake: Carefully hast thou marked this man, and of mickle worth must he be. I can not have seen this man, and yet may I guess who he is. So deem I that there hath been Bolli Bollison, because he is told of to me as the likeliest of men. Then spake the lad: Next sat a man on an enamelled saddle: he was in a golden-green kirtle, and had a mickle finger-ring of gold on his hand; that man was very fair to look on, and must yet be young in years: brown was the colour of his hair, and the hair fell right well, and in all wise was he the goodliest of men. Helgi saith : Methinks I wot who this man may be of whom thou hast now told; there must have been Thorleik Bollison. Thou art a sharp fellow and clear-sighted. There sat next a young man, saith he : he was in a blue kirtle and black breeks, and the kirtle was girt into the breeks: that man was straight-featured and white of hair, and well-made of face; slender and graceful of bearing. Then answers Helgi: That man may I have seen, as I think, and then will he have been a youngling. There must be Thord Thordson, the fosterling of Snorri the Priest. They have a well-dight company, these Westfirthers, saith Helgi; or what is yet to tell? Then spake the lad : There sat a mickle man on a Scots saddle: gray-bearded and very dark-browed, black of hair and scrub-haired, somewhat ill-looking, and yet doughty : he had over him a cloak of gray fell. Helgi saith: Plainly wot I who this man is, even Lambi Thorbjornson from Laxwaterdale westward ; but I know not how he comes to be in the fellowship of those brethren. Then spake the lad : Next sat a man on a pommelled saddle, and had uppermost a cowl of gray blue, and a silver ring on his hand; he was much like to a yeoman and somewhat stricken in years; his hair dark-brown and very curly; of good countenance, and had a scar on his face. Now worsens much thy tale, saith Helgi: there must thou have seen Thorstein the Black, my wife's brother: and in sooth I deem it wondrous that he should be in this company : I would not make such onset on him. What is there yet? The lad answers: Then sat two men; they were much alike in looks and should be men of middle age and of the stoutest: red of hair and their faces much freckled, and yet goodly to look on. Helgi spake: I wot who these men are: they are the sons of Arnmod from Thickshaw, the foster-brethren of Thorgils, Halldor and Ornolf; and thou art a keen-witted fellow. Or hast thou now told of all those men that thou sawest? Little may I now add thereto, quoth he; a man sat there and looked out of the ring of men; he was in a byrny of plate, and had a steel cap on his head, and its rim was a hand-breadth athwart: he had a gleaming axe on his shoulder and the edge of it might be an ell's length: that man was dark of face and black-eyed, and in all wise most like to a wicking. Helgi saith: This man know I clearly from thy tale of him: there hath been Hunbogi the Stark, the son of Alf-a-dales. And well deem I that I know what they will of me; but right picked men have they to their faring. Spake the lad: And yet sat there a man next to the stark man: he was black-brown of hair, thick-faced and red-faced, and mickle in the brows; a man of middle height. Helgi spake: Hereof needest thou say nought at greater length: there hath been Svein Alfson, brother to Hunbogi. And better will it be for us not to be redeless before these men: because this is much in my mind that they will be minded to come face to face with me before they depart from this countryside, and men are on this faring who would call our meeting a timely one though it had come to hand somewhat earlier. Now shall those queans who are here in the fell-cot put on carles' raiment, and take the horses that are here at the fell-cot, and ride their swiftest to the winter-house: it may be that those who are lying in wait for us will know not whether queans or carles are riding there : they may be. moved to give U a little breathing-space, until we may gather men to us, and then it is not sure which may get the better. Now ride forth those queans, four together. Thorgils misdoubted him that news will have been borne of them to Helgi, and bade take horse and ride after them as speedily as might be; and so was it done. Now before they were mounted rode a man to them openly: he was small of growth and very quick of looks: he was exceeding restless-eyed and had a powerful horse. He greeted Thorgils Hallason as if he knew him; Thorgils asked the man his name and kindred, and also whence he was come. He said he night Hrapp, and was a Broad-firther by his mother's kin, and had waxed up there: he said he was called Slaying-Hrapp. He gave out that he had this with his name, that (quoth he) he was no craven though he were little of growth. Hrapp said that he was a Southlander by his father's kin, and gave out that he had dwelt there some winters. And again spake Hrapp: Well is that come to pass, that I have lighted upon thee here, Thorgils, since I was otherwise minded to seek to thee, though that were something harder to do; for I have trouble on my hands; I have had a misunderstanding with my good man. I gat from him dealings nowise good; and this have I with my name, that I will not endure such mockery from any man, and I made onset upon him; and yet methinks I smote him little or not at all; but short time abode I there to search thereafter, because I deemed myself the safer straightway when I bestrode this horse which I took from the goodman. Hrapp saith much, but asketh little, and yet was he soon ware that they were minded to call Helgi to account; he spake well thereof and said he trowed that they should find him but little arear.


28 December 2019 saga, laxdalers, norse, viking, translated, english Read Book