Gyqp-eSTfkKm2PhFTf-vTg Bandamanna Saga

Bandamanna Saga

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

Section Reference 5


Now there is to be told that Oddr prepares this case for the "Þing," and summons his neighbours as witnesses. Then it so happened, that one of the summoned expired, and Oddr took another in his stead. Then they went to the "Þing," and all was quiet until the sentences were to be pronounced. And when the courts open, Oddr proceeds with the trial of manslaughter, and speedily succeeds in bringing it to a close, and then the defendant is called upon to begin his pleading. Close by the courts sat the chiefs, Styrmir and Thórarinn, with their bands of men. Then said Styrmir to Thórarinn: "Now the defendant is called on to plead as to this manslaughter; or art thou going to make any protest in this case?"

Answers Thórarinn: "In no way shall I interfere, for it seems to me that Oddr has ample cause for prosecuting on behalf of such a man as Vali was, especially as I consider the accused one of the worst of men."

Said Styrmir: "True it is, that he is not a good man; but thou art under obligation to him."

Said Thórarinn: "I do not care about that."

Answered Styrmir: "Another thing has to be taken into consideration, that your trouble will be far greater and more difficult, should he be found guilty; and it seems to me this is a case that can be defended, and we both see it."

Says Thórarinn: "Long ago did I see that, but for all that, I do not deem it advisable to delay the case."

Answered Styrmir: "The case concerns you more than any one, and it will be said that you behaved unmanly, if the trial proceeds, and the defence is clear; and I certainly maintain, that it would be as well if Oddr knew that more men are worth something than he alone; he crushes us, "Þing"-men and all, under his feet, so that he alone is mentioned; it would do no harm if it were tried how skilled he is in law"

Thórarinn answered: "Thou shalt have thy own way, and thee I will help, but it promises no good, and it will have a bad end." "That cannot be helped," said Styrmir, started up and went to the courts, and asked, what cases there were on. He was told. Styrmir said: "The fact is this, Oddr, that a defence has been found in your case; and thou hast prepared it wrongly; thou hast summoned ten men from home (as witnesses), and that against the law; thou should'st have done that at the 'Þing,' and not in the district; now, do one of the two, either walk away from the courts and leave the matter as it stands, or we will take up the defence." Oddr became silent, and pondered over the matter; he found it was true, and walked away from the courts with his men home to his booth; and as he came into the passage between the booths, a man walked towards him; he was getting into years. He had on a black cape with sleeves, and it was nearly worn out; it only had one sleeve, which was turned over on the back ; he had in his hand a staff with a spike in; he wore his hood low on his forehead, and looked about with a sort of restless glance, stamped his staff down, and walked rather bent. This man was old Úfeigr, Oddr's father. Then said Úfeigr: "And that certainly is not a matter in your favour, that in all things, your goings about, your dealings, are as dashing as they are rash; or is that fellow Úspakr guilty?" "No," answered Oddr, "guilty he is not." "It is not like a chieftain to fool me thus, an old man; for why should he not be guilty -- was the charge not brought home to him?" "Brought home to him, indeed." "What is it then?" said Úfeigr; "I thought the guilt being brought home, might have been enough, or was he not the slayer of Vali?" "No one gainsays that," says Oddr. Said Úfeigr: "Why is the man then not guilty?" Oddr answers: "He brought forth a defence, whereby the case broke down." Quoth Úfeigr, "Why should defence have been found to bring to nought the case of such a wealthy man as thou art?" "They found," said Oddr, "that it had been wrongly started from the beginning." "Impossible," said Úfeigr, "when thou hadst in hand the preparation of it; but perhaps, after all, you are more deft at money-grubbing and voyaging than at arranging affairs in law, so as to avail; yet I cannot help thinking that now you are telling me the untruth." Answered Oddr: "I never mind, then, whether thou believest or not." "May be," said Úfeigr, "but I knew well enough from the beginning, even when thou wentest away from home, that there was a flaw in the starting of the suit, but thou deemedst thyself all sufficient, and wouldst not come down to ask any one's advice; and now I suppose you think that you are still alone sufficient to deal with the matter, in which the one thing to look to is to come out of it successfully, since that is the important thing for one who deems himself above all." Oddr answered: "However that may be, it is clear enough, that from thee there is no help to be looked for."

Said Úfeigr: "And yet the only way to save thy case is to trust in me; or how far wouldst thou grudge thy money now to one who should happen to right thy case?" Oddr answered: "I should never stint the money, if any one could be found to take up the suit." Said Úfeigr: "Then let drop into the hands of an old man a goodly purse, for many men's eyes are given to ogling the coin." Oddr delivered to him a large purse. Then asked Úfeigr: "Was that lawful defence brought into court or not?" "I went too soon from the court to know for sure," said Oddr. "Well then," said Úfeigr, "the only thing that holds, is the one you did unwittingly." At this they parted, and Oddr went home to his booth.


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