Gyqp-eSTfkKm2PhFTf-vTg Bandamanna Saga

Bandamanna Saga

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

Section Reference 4


It so happened in the autumn, that Úspakr came north to Viðidalr to Svölustaðir; there lived a woman named Svala. He was received with great hospitality. She was a fine woman and young. She spoke to Úspakr and asked him to see about her marriage; "I have heard," she said, "that thou art a great husbandman." He took well to this, and they talked many things; they liked each other, and looked sweetly towards one another; their talk went so far, that he asked her who was the one to decide as to her marriage. "No man stands me nearer," says she, "who is of any worth, than Thórarinn Longdalesgodi the Wise." Thereupon rode Úspakr to see Thórarinn and was received there courteously but nothing more; he reveals his errand and woos Svala.

Answers Thórarinn: "I want no alliance with you; for your behaviour is variously spoken about, and I can see that a safe hold with both hands cannot be had, when dealings are with such men. The business here is, either to take up her household or to let her flit hither, or you will both do as you like; I shall have nothing to do with it."

After this Úspakr went away, and arrived at Svölustaðir, and told what had passed. Now they make up their mind and she pledges herself in marriage with him, and she goes with him to Melr; they owned their estate at Svölustaftir, and got men to manage that for them. Now Úspakr dwelt at Melr, and kept up the hospitality in the house. He was thought very overbearing. Now the winter passed, and in the summer Oddr arrived at Hrútafjörðr, and once more had he succeeded in gaining more wealth and more favour. He came home to Melr, and looked over his possessions; he thought all had been kept well, and was quite satisfied; now the summer wears on. One day Oddr hinted to Úspakr that it would be as well that he took his " goðorð."

Said Úspakr: "Yes," he says, "that was a thing I was most unwilling to take upon me, and altogether unable to, and I am quite willing to give it up: but I think, as a rule, that that is done either at Leets or tings."

Answers Oddr: "That may be so."

Now the summer wears on and towards the Leet; and on the morning of the Leet, when Oddr woke, he looked about and saw there were but few men in the hall; he had slept both sound and long; he started up, and now ascertained that men were altogether out of the hall. He thought this strange, but said little. He equipped himself and some few with him. They thought this was curious and rode to the Leet. And when they got there, there were many people present and quite ready to go away, and the Leet had been hallowed (opened). Oddr was amazed and thought these strange proceedings. Now men went home and some few days elapsed.

It was one day, when Oddr sat at table and Úspakr against him, that he, without any warning, jumped up from the table towards Úspakr with an axe brandished in his hand, and bade him give up the "goðorð."

Úspakr answers: "There is no necessity for you to attack me with such energy; thou hast the 'goðorð' when thou likest, but I did not know that thou wert in earnest to take it" He then stretched forth his hand and gave up the "goðorð" to Oddr.

Now things were quiet for a while, but from this time coldness seemed to exist between Oddr and Úspakr. Úspakr is rather peevish in dealing with. People suspected that he intended having the "goðorð" for himself, and not to let Oddr have it, if it had not been forced from him. Now Úspakr's household business became small, and Oddr requested nothing of him ; they did not speak together.

It was one day that Úspakr prepares himself for a journey. Oddr pretended as if he knew nothing about it, and they parted without bidding one another farewell. Now Úspakr goes to Svölustaðir to his house. Oddr made as if nothing had happened, and things are quiet for a time.

It is mentioned that in the autumn men go to the mountains, and as regards the gatherings of Oddr they were totally different from what they had been before. At the autumn gatherings he missed eighty wethers, and all were the best ones out of his flock. They were searched for both in the mountains and heaths, but could not be found. This was considered wonderful, as Oddr was thought to be more lucky with his sheep than any other man, and so much eagerness was displayed in looking for them, that men were sent to search in other districts as well as at home, but without any result; and at last it was given up, and people constantly spoke as to the cause of this. Oddr was not merry during the winter. Vali, his kinsman, asked him why he was so dull: "Or do you think so much of the disappearance of the wethers? And thou art not very high-minded if you let such a trifle grieve you."

Answers Oddr: "I am not grieved at the vanishing of the sheep; but this methinks worse, that I do not know who has stolen them."

Says Vali: "Do you think for certain that some one has done so? or whom do you look upon as such?"

Answers Oddr: "I cannot conceal it, my opinion is that Úspakr has stolen them."

Answers Vali: "Your friendship diminished from the time when you gave him the management over all your goods."

Oddr said that it had been the greatest blunder, and that it had turned out even better than might have been expected.

Vali said: "Many men's talk is it, that it was strange. Now will I that you do not so quickly lay the blame on him in this matter, for you may run the risk of the word going abroad that an unhandsome thing had he done. Let us come to an agreement," said Vali, "that you shall let me have my own way as to how to act; but I shall find out the truth in the matter." They agreed upon this.

Now Vali makes himself ready for a journey and takes with him his wares; he rides out to Waterdale and Longdate, and sells his goods; he was much liked, and sincere of counsel. He now proceeds on his journey until he came to Svölustaðir, where he met with good reception. Úspakr was very merry. Vali went from there in the morning. Úspakr followed him out of the homefield and asked many things respecting Oddr. Vali said that his household business was good. Úspakr praised him much, and said that he was a most liberal man: "Or has he suffered some losses in the autumn ?" Vali said that was true.

Says Úspakr: "What is the supposition as to the disappearance of the sheep? Hitherto Oddr has always been fortunate with his sheep."

Answers Vali: "That is not one way. Some think it has been done through human causes."

Says Úspakr: "Such thing might be supposed, but it is a trick that few only could accomplish."

Says Vali: "So it is."

Said Úspakr: "Has Oddr any conjecture?"

Said Vali: "He says very little, but other people talk much as to the cause of it."

Said Úspakr: "That is to be expected."

Said Vali: "It is this way, though we have spoken this, that some people seem to think it not unlikely that you are the cause of it; and they form their opinion from the fact that you parted so abruptly, and that the disappearance of the wethers happened shortly after."

Said Úspakr: "I had not anticipated that you would have spoken in this way, and if we were not such friends I should have avenged it sorely."

Answers Vali: "There is no necessity for your concealing it or becoming so furious; for you cannot deny it. 1 have looked over your household, and I notice that you have got more provisions than are likely to have been obtained in a fair manner."

Answers Úspakr: "That will not be found so; and I cannot conceive what my enemies say, when my friends talk thus."

Says Vali: "I do not mention this with any bad intention; you alone hear me say it. Now if you do as I will, and confess before me, it will be light for you, for I shall find way to make that right. I have sold my goods wide about the district, and I will report that you have received them, and bought yourself slaughtered meat and other things; no man will disbelieve that, and thus I will contrive that you shall bear no disgrace, if you follow my advice."

Úspakr said that he should not confess. "Then you will see it will fare thee worse," says Vali, "and you yourself are the cause of it." Then they parted, and Vali returned home. Oddr inquired what he had heard respecting the disappearance of the sheep. Vali did not say much about it. Oddr said: "Now it is needless to hide it any longer, that Úspakr is the guilty parly; for you would have proved his innocence, had you been able to."

Now all was quiet during the winter, but when spring came and citation days approached, then Oddr goes with twenty men until he comes right up to the enclosure of Svölustaðir. Then said Vali to Oddr: "Now you had better let your horses graze a little, but I will ride up to the house and see Úspakr, and ascertain if he will come to terms, and then the case need go no further." They did so, and Vali rode home. No one was outside, but the doors were open, and he walked in. It was dark inside, and quite unexpectedly a man started from his seat, hewed at Vali between the shoulders, and he fell instantly. Vali said: "Save yourself, poor wretch, for Oddr is close at hand, and intends killing you. Send your wife to meet Oddr and to tell him that we are agreed and that you have confessed, but that I have gone to collect my debts out in the dales." Then said Úspakr, "This is the worst deed I have done; I meant it for Oddr, but not for thee." Svala saw Oddr, and says that Úspakr and Vali have come to agreement, and that Vali bade him return. Oddr did not believe this, but rides home. Vali perished, and his body was brought to Melr. Oddr thought these great tidings and bad, and through this affair he got into disgrace, and considered that the whole had turned out most fatally. Now Úspakr disappeared, and it was not known what became of him.


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