GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 41


Kalf Asgeirson goes to meet Kjartan and asks what he was minded to do for his part that summer. Kjartan answers: This would be most to my mind that we should steer our ship for England, because good is now the cheaping there for christian folk. And yet I will first speak with the king before I stablish this rede, because it misliked him that I should fare hence when we twain spoke thereof this spring. Then Kalf went thence, but Kjartan to speech of the king and greets him well. The king welcomed him blithely, and asked of what he had been talking with those his fellows. Kjartan tells what was most to their minds. Then he said that his errand with the king was to ask way-leave of him for this journey. The king answers: This choice will I give thee, Kjartan; that thou fare out to Iceland this summer and bring men to be christian either perforce or by rede. But if that faring seem too troublesome to thee, then I will in no wise let thee out of my hand : since I am full sure that thou art better made to serve mighty men than to become a chapman here. Kjartan chose rather to be with the king than to fare to Iceland and preach the faith there: he was not willing, said he, to constrain his kindred perforce: and it is liker, as for my father and the other chieftains who are nigh akin to me, that they will be the more ready to do thy will if I abide in thy hands well cared for. Saith the king: This is chosen both needfully and valiantly. The king gave to Kjartan full raiment new cut out of scarlet: it beseemed him so well that men said they were of even height when they were paired together, Olaf the king and Kjartan. Olaf the king sent out to Iceland his court-priest, who hight Thangbrand : he brought his ship into Swanfirth and was with Hall of Side that winter at Washriver, and preached the faith to men both with blithe words and hard chastisements. Thangbrand slew two men who most withstood him. Hall took the faith in the spring, and was christened on Maundy Thursday before Easter, and all his house ; and then Gizur the White let christen him and Hjalti Skeggison and many other chieftains. And yet were those many more that gainsaid it, and scarce could peace be kept between heathen men and christian. The chieftains took rede to slay Thangbrand, and such men as should offer him their aid. For the sake of this unpeace Thangbrand went back to Norway and came to Olaf the king and told him what had betid in his journey; and said that he thought the christian faith would make no way in Iceland. The king was much wroth at this, and said that he was minded that many Icelanders should smart for it, save they looked well to their ways. That same summer was Hjalti Skeggison made outlaw at the Thing for speaking ill of the gods. Runolf Ulfson brought up the case against him: he dwelt at Dale under Islefell, and was the greatest of chieftains. That same summer fared Gizur from Iceland and Hjalti with him : they make Norway and fare straightway unto Olaf the king. The king receives them well, and he said that they had been well advised, and bade them abide with him, and that they yeasay. At that time had Sverting the son of Runolf of Dale been in Norway the winter through, and was minded to sail for Iceland that summer; his ship was by then afloat before the bridges alboun and awaiting a fair wind. The king banned them forth-faring: he said that no ship should go to Iceland all summer. Sverting went before the king and put forward his tale; he asked way-leave for himself, and said that it was of great weight to him that the lading should not be borne out of the ship. The king spake, and wroth was he: It is well that the son of the blood-priest should be whereas he deems it the worse for him. So Sverting won nought of him. All that winter wore tidingless. The summer after the king sendeth Gizur the White and Hjalti Skeggison to Iceland to preach the faith anew; and he took four men as hostages for them, to wit, Kjartan Olafson, Halldor the son of Gudmund the Mighty, Kolbein the son of Thord Frey's priest, and Sverting son of Runolf of Dale. Bolli too made ready to fare with Gizur and Hjalti. Then he goeth to see Kjartan his kinsman and spake: Now am I boun for the journey, and I shall look for thee next winter, if next summer should be freer for thy faring than this one is: but we deem that we know well that the king will in no wise let thee go. We hold it for sooth withal that thou hast small heed to what delight is in Iceland when thou sittest at speech with Ingibjorg the king's sister. She was then at the court of Olaf the king, and was the most lovesome of women that were then in the land. Kjartan answers: Believe no such thing: but thou shalt bear to our kindred my greetings, and likewise to our friends.


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