GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 33


Guest Oddleifson dwelt westaway in Bard-dale, at Hedge. He was a mickle chieftain and wise of wit, foreseeing in many things, well befriended of all the mighty men, and many put faith in him. He rode every summer to the Thing, and ever had guesting at Knoll. He made ready early in the morning, because the way was long; he was minded for Thickshaw that even, to Armod his brother-in-law: he had to wife Thorun the sister to Guest; their sons were these, Ornolf and Halldor. Now Guest rideth eastward all day from Saurby and cometh to the Baths of Saelingsdale, and abides there awhile. Gudrun came to the Baths and greeteth well Guest her kinsman. Guest took her greeting well, and they fall to speech together, for both of them were wise and many-spoken. But as the day wears, spake Gudrun: That would I, kinsman, that thou ride to us this even with all thy company; that too is the will of my father, though he laid on me such worship as to bear thee this message; and this therewith, that thou shouldst guest here at all times when thou ridest westward or eastward. Guest took this well, and said that it was a gracious message; and yet, said he, he must ride on as he had appointed. Gudrun spake: Much have I dreamed in the winter; but four are the dreams that are of most weight with me; but no man has read them as it liketh me, and yet I ask not that they be read to my will. Then spake Guest: Tell thou thy dreams; maybe we may make somewhat thereof. Gudrun saith: Methought I was standing without by a streamside, and I had a twisted coif on my head, and I deemed it beseemed me ill, and I was eager to alter the coif, but many warned me that I should not do so. But I heeded them nought and griped at the coif so that it came from my head, and I cast it out into the stream. And this dream is no longer. And again spake Gudrun: This was the beginning of the second dream, that methought I stood by a certain water; so I deemed, that I bore a silver ring upon my arm, and methought it was mine own and beseemed me right well. I deemed that a full mickle treasure, and I was minded to keep it long, but whenas I least looked for it the ring slipt from my arm, and so into the water, and I saw it never again. I deemed that a far greater scathe than it was like I should feel though I had tined a jewel. Then woke I. Guest answered only thus: No lesser is that dream. Again spake Gudrun: This is the third dream of mine; that methought I had a gold ring on my arm, and methought the ring was mine own, and I deemed the scathe bettered; it came into my heart that I should keep this ring longer than the first; but I deemed that jewel not so much more seemly as gold is better than silver. Then methought I fell, and would steady myself with mine arm, but the gold ring lighted on a stone and brake in two pieces,and I deemed blood flowed from the pieces. I deemed it liker grief than scathe which methought I felt therefor;it came into my heart that there had been a fault in the ring, and when I gave heed to the shards, then methought I saw more cracks therein; and yet methought it might have yet been whole, if I had better looked to it. And this dream was no longer. Then said Guest: Thy dreams fare not a-waning. And yet again spake Gudrun : This was the fourth dream of mine, that I deemed I had a helm on my head; of gold it was, and set full of stones of price; methought I had there a treasure: and yet most I deemed thereof that it was over heavy for me;because I might hardly come to wield it, and I bare my head askew; and yet I laid no wite upon the helmtherefor, and had no mind to rid myself of him, but yet he dropt off my head and out into Hvammsfirth, and after that awoke I. Now are all the dreams told thee. Guest answers: Plainly may I see what these dreams mean, but much of a likeness wilt thou deem them,because I must needs read them all in wellnigh one way:Four husbands shalt thou have, and it seems like to me that thou art so given to the first one that goodwill of thine will there be none in the match. Whereas thou deemedst that thou hadst a mickle coif on thy head and that it beseemed thee ill, thou shalt love him little; and whereas thou didst pluck the coif from thy head and castest it into the water, so shalt thou go from him: for men call that cast into the sea, when a man lets go his own and takes nought in its stead. And again spake Guest: This was thy second dream, that thou deemedst thou hadst a silver ring on thine arm; so shalt thou be given to a second man, a man of renown; him shalt thou love much, but enjoy him a short while: it looketh to me not unlike that thou miss him by drowning; and I make that dream no longer. This was the third dream of thine, that thou deemedst thou hadst a gold ring on thine arm. So shalt thou have a third husband. He shall be so much the more worth as that metal is more hard to win and dearer, but it is nigh to my thought that in those days shall be a shift of faith, and that husband of thine shall have taken to that faith which to our mind is far the loftier. But whereas thou didst deem that the ring brake asunder, somewhat by thy lack of watchfulness, and thou sawest blood come from out the pieces, so shall that husband of thine be slain; then mayst thou look to see clearly those faults that have run athwart that marriage. And again spake Guest: This is thy fourth dream, that thou deemedst thou hadst a helm upon thy head, of gold and set with gem-stones, and it grew heavy for thee to bear; so shalt thou have a fourth husband. He shall be a mighty chieftain, and shall hold over thee somewhat the Helm of Awing. And whereas thou didst deem that it sank in Hvammsfirth, so shall he light on that same firth on the last day of his life. Now make I this dream no longer. Gudrun waxed bloodred, while the dreams were a-reading; but no word had she in turn before Guest ended his tale. Then saith Gudrun: Thou mightest have made fairer spae-work of this matter, if it had been so put into thy hand by me; but yet have thou thank for that thou hast read the dreams. But much it forthinketh me, if all this shall come to pass. Then Gudrun bade Guest anew that he should tarry there that day; she said that Osvif had much wisdom to talk of. He answereth: Ride I must as I have appointed; but thou shalt give my greeting to thy father, and tell him this my word : that shorter space shall there be betwixt the abiding-places of us twain, and then may we talk at our ease, if it be granted us then to speak together. Then fared Gudrun home, but Guest rode thence and met a servingman of Olaf's by the homemead-garth. He bade Guest to Herdholt by the wordsending of Olaf. Guest said that he would fain meet with Olaf that day, but he was to guest at Thickshaw. Thereon the housecarle turns homeward, and tells Olaf what is toward. Olaf let take horse, and rode over against Guest with some men. Olaf and Guest met one another down by the sea shore. Olaf greeteth him well and bade him abide with him, and all his company. Guest thanketh him for his bidding, and said that he would ride to the stead and see his house, but he must guest with Armod. Guest tarried little while, and yet saw wide about the homestead and spoke well thereof: no wealth, said he, was spared about that place. Olaf rode with Guest on his way as far as Laxwater. Those foster-brethren had been at the swimming that day. Those sons of Olaf had the most mastery in that sport; many young men from other steads were at the swimming. Then leapt Kjartan and Bolli from their swimming when the company rode up: they were wellnigh clad by then Olaf and Guest came thither. Guest looked on these young men for a time, and showed to Olaf where Kjartan sat and likewise Bolli; and then Guest pointed out with the butt of his spear each one of the sons of Olaf, and named all of them that were there: but many other right hopeful men were there also, and were now come from their swimming, and sat on the river bank by Kjartan and his brethren. Guest said that he did not mark the race-likeness to Olaf in these men. Then spake Olaf: Overgreat tales may not be told of thy much wisdom, Guest, whereas thou kennest men till now unseen of thee: and this will I that thou tell me, which of these young men shall be the man of most worth among them? Answereth Guest: This shall well follow the measure of thy love, for Kjartan shall be deemed of most mark while he lives. Then Guest turned his horse and rode thence; but a little while after rideth Thord the Low his son up to him, and spake: What now is amiss with thee, my father, that thou sheddest tears? Guest answers: Needless is it to tell this, but I count it nought fitting to hold my peace about that which shall come to pass in thy days: but it will come not unawares to me, though Bolli stand over the body of Kjartan slain, and he win his own bane thereby: and this is an ill thing to wot of men so worshipful. Then ride they to the Thing, and the Thing is quiet.


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