Gyqp-eSTfkKm2PhFTf-vTg Bandamanna Saga

Bandamanna Saga

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

Section Reference 2


It is related that one summer Oddr brought his ship to Hrutafjörðr, by Borðeyri, intending to stay there for the winter. He had been asked by his friends to take up his abode here, and, acceding to their prayer, he did so. He bought property for himself in Miðfjörðr, the estate called Melr, where he set up a great household, and became a man of lordly home-habits; and people said that he was as much to be accounted of as householder, as he formerly was as traveller. Indeed, by this time there was not another man in the north of the country an equal to Oddr in all manners of excellencies. He was better off than most other men, ready to avail those who required his help or lived in his neighbourhood, but to his father he never did a good turn. He beached his ship in Hrútafjörðr.

It is said that no man here in Iceland was Oddr's equal in wealth, nay, moreover; people would say that he had no less wealth than any three the wealthiest taken together. His wealth in all kinds was great, in gold and silver no less than in estates and livestock. Vali, his kinsman, was with him constantly, whether he were here in the land or abroad. And so Oddr abides at his house in all the honour which has now been stated.

There was a man named Glúmr, who lived at Skriðnisenni, a place situated between Bitra and Kollafjörðr. He had a wife hight Thórdís; she was the daughter of Ásmund Longhair, the father of Grettir Ásmundson; their son was hight Úspakr, a man great of growth and strong, ill to deal with, and a turbulent fellow. He soon busied himself with transport of goods between the Strands and the northern country sides; he was a shapely man, and a mighty one of his hand.

One summer he came to Miðfjörðr to sell his wares. And one day he got himself a horse, and rode up to Melr to meet Oddr. They exchanged greetings, and asked each other for common news.

Said Úspakr: "It is this way, Oddr," says he, "that a good rumour goes abroad as to your conditions. You are greatly praised by men, and they deem that their affairs have come to a good pass when they have taken service with thee. Now, my mind tells me that such will be the case with me too, and therefore I am desirous to settle here with thee."

Oddr answered: "Thou art not very favourably spoken of by folks, nor much liked by people generally; thou art misdoubted for wiles neath thy visage, and that therein thou takest after thy kin."

Answered Úspakr: "Trust thou in this to thy own trial, but not in the sayings of others, for few things are better spoken of than they deserve. I am not asking thee for gifts; I would have home under thy roof, but feed at my own cost, and see how thou likest it."

Answered Oddr: "Thou and thy kinsmen are mighty and masterful, and difficult to deal with, if thou makest up thy mind to it; but since thou demandest of me that I should take thee into my house, we will risk the matter for the space of a winter."

This Úspakr agreed to thankfully, and went in the autumn to Melr with his chattels. He soon got himself into Oddr's good graces, was heedful of household business, and worked as well as any two others. Oddr took a good liking for him, and so these seasons pass.

Now, when spring came on, Oddr requested him to remain, still saying that so he should be better pleased. To this Úspakr agreed, and taking upon him the oversight of the household, it went on well and prosperously; and people deem it a right fortunate affair how well this new man turns out. Moreover, all folk like him much, and thus the house stood and flourished, and no man's conditions were considered more highly than Oddr's; indeed, his affairs were held to stand in perfect honour, but for one drawback, namely, that he was a man without "goðorð" (priesthood in a heathen sense, which meant local sovereignty). At this time it was a prevalent custom to take up new priesthoods, or to purchase such. This also Oddr did; and soon he had a number of retainers, for every one was desirous of joining him. And so matters go on quietly for a while.


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