Gyqp-eSTfkKm2PhFTf-vTg Bandamanna Saga

Bandamanna Saga

The Story of the Confederates an 1882 translation into English by John Coles

Section Reference 9


Now Úfeigr parted from Egill and went away. Again he wanders about on a dragging foot between the booths, yet not so drooping within himself as he looked decrepit of foot, nor so loosely knit of tongue as he looked lame of walk. At last he came to the booth of Gellir Thórðarson, and bids him be called out. He came out, and was the first to greet Úfeigr, for he was a man of humble manners, and asks him what his errand was. Úfeigr answered: "I came here wandering by chance." Gellir said: "Thou art minded, belike, to talk Oddr's case over." Úfeigr answered: "I am not going to talk about that, it is a matter with which I will have nothing to do, and I came here to divert my mind otherwise." Gellir said: "What hast thou got to say then?" Úfeigr said: "I am told that thou art a wise man, and with wise men it is my greatest delight to talk." Then they sat down and fell a-talking together. Then asked Úfeigr: "Who among the young men of the western country sides are in thy eye likely to make great chieftains?" Gellir answered, that there were a good many to choose among, naming as such the sons of Snorri "Goði," and the men of Eyri. "I have been told much the same thing before," said Úfeigr, "and now I am glad, speaking with a man who is both truthful and just, to have heard the same report. But who among the women there in the west are considered the best matches?" Gellir named the daughters of Snorri "Goði," and those of Steindór of Eyri. "Just what people have told me," said Úfeigr; "but how is it, have you not got any daughters?" Gellir said, he had, indeed. "Why dost thou not count them?" said Úfeigr; "surely, to judge from the father, there can be no fairer women than thy daughters; or are they not married?" "No," said he." How is that?" said Úfeigr. Gellir said: "Because wooers have not come forward who were at the same time thoroughly wealthy and well settled, highly connected, and well mannered. Not that I am a wealthy man myself, but I am difficult to please on account of my kin and honours. But why should we not now ask about all things? Who are the men in the northern country sides who are likely to make chieftains?" "Good and many men to choose among," said Úfeigr. "The first I mention Einarr, the son of Járnskeggi, and Hallr, the son of Styrmir; and some people will say that my son, Oddr, be not an unlikely man; and talking of him, brings to my mind the words he committed to me, namely, that he would fain ally himself with thee, and would ask for the one of thy daughters who is hight Ragnheiðr." "Yes," said Gellir, "time was when to this a favourable answer would have been given; but, as matters now stand, I fear this will have to be delayed." "What might the reason be?" said Úfeigr. Gellir said: "People think that darkness is drawing round thy son Oddr's conditions, as affairs now stand." Úfeigr answered: "I tell thee truthfully, that thou wilt never give her better away than now thou hast the chance, for all folk agree that he is as well mannered as any other man; nor is he in want of money, nor any other bliss. But thou art in strait circumstances yourself, and it might come to pass that in him thou shouldst find a great support when need be; for a large-minded man he is towards his friends." Gellir said: "This would be looked at if these cases should not happen to be hanging over him." "Don't mention that tomfoolery, in which there is nothing but shame and folly enough to those who have it on hand." "Yet it looks more likely to come to a bad than a good end," said Gellir, "and I will not say yea to this." Úfeigr answered: "May be, Gellir, that ye all of you come by bliss enow in this affair: yet I may be allowed to tell thee what thy share will amount to; for that I know well, and at best, I can tell you, it will come to this, that ye confederates, eight of you together, will get the half of the land of Melr; in which case thy own share will not be a desirable one, with the little amount of money thou gettest at the forfeiture of manliness and chieftainly honour, thou being called the most high-minded man in the country." Gellir asked how this might be. Úfeigr answered: "I am minded to think that even now Oddr is out on the main with all his belongings, except the land of Melr. How could you expect him to sit quiet and unready, leaving you to choose of his what you liked, and divide it up between you? No," said Úfeigr; "but he let fall the word, that if he should happen to come into Breiðifjörðr, then he would pay a visit to your homestead, and would then choose brides from thy home as it seemed good to him, adding also that he had got with him tinder-boxes enough to set fire to thy home if he chose. He also hinted that, should he come into Borgarfjörðr, he had heard that there was no long distance from the sea up to Borg. Likewise he let fall a hint that, if he came into Eyjafjörðr, he would not miss the home of Járnskeggi; so also, if he came into Eastfirths, he would try to make out where the abode of Skeggbroddi might be. Now he is in no hurry himself ever to come back to Iceland. But your lot will be a deserved one -- that of shame and disgrace. Now it pains me to think that such a good chieftain, as thou hast been hitherto, shouldst come to such a sore grief, from which I fain would spare thee." Gellir said: "This is likely to be true, and I shall never mind, if ships be resorted to, to lessen the restraint. I allowed myself to be led into this, more through friends, than because it was a matter on which I had set my mind." Úfeigr said: "When thou gettest the better of the rashness which is in your mind, I guess thou wilt deem it a more honourable thing to marry thy daughter to Oddr, my son, even as I proposed at the outset. Look at the money he sends thee, with the words that he would himself see to her proper dowry, for he knew how badly thou wert off, and here are two hundred in silver of the finest alloy. Now look to this, who it is who offers thee the choice of giving thy daughter away to such a man, who not only will settle on her the dowry, but is most likely to deal with thee as if he never could be of service enough to thee, thy daughter coming into a state of perfect earthly bliss." Gellir answered: "The offer is so great that it is hard to grasp it, but for nothing will I do it to betray those who trust me; but I clearly see that out of the suit there will never come anything but blame and disgrace." Answered Úfeigr: "What clever men you are, ye chieftains; whoever urged thee to betray those that trust in thee, or to trespass on thy oath? But it may come to pass that the umpiredom drift into your hands, and that so you may be able to cut down the fines, and yet to hold to your sworn oath to all." Gellir said: "This is true, and a wondrous sly old carl thou art; yet it is too much for me to have alone to front all these chieftains." Úfeigr said: "How will it do if I get another to join you? Wilt thou then see to the righting of the case?" "That I will," said Gellir, "if thou bringest it about, that I shall have to frame the award." Úfeigr answered: "Whom dost thou choose?" Gellir answered: "I shall choose Egill, for he is my nearest neighbour." Úfeigr answered: "The devil you do, thou choosest the very worst man of your company, and I am sorely loath to allow him any share of honour at all; and I am not at all sure that I shall go to the extent of such a sacrifice." "Have thy will," said Gellir. Úfeigr said: "Art thou, then, ready to enter the matter on my terms, if I bring him into it with thee, for I guess he will be able to see which of two things is the best, to have some honour or none." "Considering the great bargain offered me," said Gellir, "I shall venture to run the risk." Then spake Úfeigr: "I and Egill have talked the matter over already, and it does not seem to him a difficult one, and he has already entered it. Now shall I offer you a counsel as to how the thing is to be done? The bands that you confederates have brought up, walk mostly in company together. Now, no man will suspect anything, though thou and Egill should talk together whatever you like on going both together to vespers."

Now Gellir accepted the money, and the matter was settled between them. After that Úfeigr went away, and straight to the booth of Egill, at this time neither reeling on foot nor bent of body; for now he was well pleased. In the evening people went to even-song, and Egill and Gellir talked the matter over, and settled what to do, no man misdoubting what they were at.


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