GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 74


Now is the tale to be told of whereas was Thorkel Eyjolfson. He sitteth now in his chieftainship. Gellir the son of him and Gudrun waxed up at home there at Holyfell and was early a manly wight and well-beloved. This is told of, that one time Thorkel told Gudrun his dream. So I dreamed, quoth he, that I had a beard so great that methought it covered all Broadfirth. Gudrun saith: What deemest thou this dream to betoken? Of a surety I deem that my rule shall stretch over all Broadfirth. It may be so, quoth Gudrun : yet my mind thereof is that thou shalt dip thy beard down into Broadfirth. That same summer Thorkel putteth out his ship and made it ready for Norway. Gellir his son was then of twelve winters. Thorkel launched from Thorsness: and he gave out that he was minded to seek church-timber, as was written afore. Now sails Thorkel to sea straightway: he got a calm passage, yet not right speedy, and taketh Norway northerly. Then sat Olaf the king in Throndhjem. Thorkel sought the king straightway, and Gellir his son, and had there right good welcome: so mickle honour had Thorkel of the king that winter that it is commonly told that the king gave to Thorkel no less wealth than ten tens of marks of burnt silver. To Gellir also gave he a cloak at Yule, and that was the most costly treasure. That winter let the king build a church in the town of timber : it was laid out for a right mickle minster, and all was picked therefor : and in the spring was flitted to the ship that timber which the king gave Thorkel: thereto came timber both good and great, for Thorkel looked to it; he was at the felling and flitting all spring. It came to pass early one morning when the king went out with few men, that he saw a man aloft on that church which was then a-smithing in the town. He wondered much at this, for it was as yet earlier in the morning than the smiths were wont to rouse themselves. Then soon marked the king that there was Thorkel Eyjolfson : he saw to what he was about; for he was measuring all the greatest beams, both cross-pieces and sills and upright beams. The king turned thither whereas Thorkel was, and spake: What is it now, Thorkel? Art thou minded to frame after this fashion the church-timber that thou flittest to Iceland? Saith Thorkel that this was sooth. Then spake Olaf the king: Hew thou off two ells from every main-beam, and that church will yet be the greatest builded in all Iceland. Then answered Thorkel: This is my will, that thou take the timber to thee again if thou deem that thou hast given me overmuch, or if it be thy pleasure to have it back: but I will not hew one ell's length thereof: I may well toil and strive to win me other timber. Now is it, Thorkel, quoth the king, that thou art of mickle worth, yet full proudly thou bearest thyself: because I surely deem it overweening that any bonder should match himself with us. But it is not sooth that I grudge thee the timber, if so be it befall thee to build a church therewith : for it may not be so great that all thy pride will lie therein. But thuswise my heart forbodes, that little gain will be to men of this timber, and furthermore that thou shalt not get done even one man's work upon the timber. After this they sunder speech. The king turneth away, and it was marked that he was none the better pleased that Thorkel recked nought of that which he enjoined him. Yet the king let no wind of this get abroad. He and Thorkel parted in the most goodliking. Now goes Thorkel a-shipboard: when he is boun he puts out to sea. Well went it with him: they were but a short while at sea. Thorkel brought his ship into Ramfirth. He rode straight from the ship to Holyfell: now were men fain of them : Thorkel had won much renown of this journey. He let lay up his ship and fence it about. He gat warding of the church-timber whereas it was welcome, since he might not flit it overland that harvest, for he was ever full of work. Now Thorkel sitteth at home on his stead all that winter. He had Yule-drinking at Holy fell, and there was a great company, and in all wise made he much show that winter. Gudrun letted this not: saith she that for this was wealth of use, that men should make themselves greater thereby: Thorkel too had laid out much wealth in fair jewels, which he shared among his friends through the winter.


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