GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 19


Now is it to be told of Hoskuld, that his estate is worshipful; he was a mickle chieftain. He had ward of mickle wealth which Hrut Herjolfson his brother owned. Many men spake thus, that somewhat might the wealth of Hoskuld be straitened, if he must pay up in full his mother's heritage. Hrut is of the bodyguard of Harald Gunnhildson the king, and had mickle worship of him; that was mostly for this cause, that he was best tried in all feats of manhood; but Gunnhild the queen held him in so high esteem that she thought none to be his like within the court, either in words or in other matters. But yet when man-pairing was toward or talk was had of the valiancy of men, then was this clearly seen of all men, that Gunnhild deemed it to be out of light-mindedness or envy if any man were paired with Hrut. But inasmuch as Hrut had much store of wealth to look to in Iceland and noble kindred, then was he fain to look to them; now makes he ready his faring to Iceland. The king gave him a ship at sundering and made known that he had been proved a stout fellow. Gunnhild led Hrut to the ship and spake: Nought low shall this be told of, that I have proved thee to be a man of mickle doughtiness; because thou hast even valour with the best men here in the land, but thou dost surpass them far in wit. Then gave she him a gold ring and bade him fare well; then drew she her cloak over her head and went quickly home to the town; but Hrut steppeth aboard and saileth out to sea. He had a fair voyage and made Broadfirth. He saileth in to the isles. Then saileth he up Broadsound and landeth at Combness and bare the bridges aland. The coming of the ship was heard of, and this likewise, that Hrut Herjolfson was skipper of her. Nought welcome to Hoskuld are these tidings, and he fared not to meet him. Hrut setteth up his ship and fenceth it about. There built he a stead, that since night Combness. Then rode Hrut to meet Hoskuld and claimeth his mother's heritage. Hoskuld said that he owed to pay him no money; quoth he, that his mother had not gone feeless out of Iceland whenas she came together with Herjolf. Hrut likes it ill, yet rode away as at that time. All the kindred of Hrut other than Hoskuld deal seemly by him. Hrut dwelt three winters at Combness, and ever claimed the money of Hoskuld at Things or other Law-motes, and was fair-spoken: most men held that Hrut had the rights of the case; but Hoskuld gave out that Thorgerd was not wedded to Herjolf by his rede, and said that he was by law the guardian of his mother; and therewith was an end made. That same harvest afterward fared Hoskuld for a home-bidding to Thord Goddi. This learneth Hrut, and he rode with eleven men to Hoskuld-stead. He drave thence twenty neat; the like number left he behind. Then sendeth he a man to Hoskuld and bade tell him where he should seek for the cattle. The housecarles of Hoskuld leapt straightway to their weapons, and word was sent to those who were nearest and they came to be fifteen in all; each of them rode the swiftest he might. Hrut and his company saw not that any were riding after them till they were but a short way from the garth at Combness. Hrut's men dismount straightway and bind their horses, and go forward to a certain mell, and, said Hrut, there should they withstand them: quoth he that himthought, though slow it went with the claiming of goods from Hoskuld, it should not be told of him that he ran before his thralls. The faring-fellows of Hrut said that there might be odds against them. Quoth Hrut, he recked nought of that; the more they were, said he, the worse should they fare. Those Laxdalers now leapt from their horses and made ready to set on. Hrut bade his men take no heed of the odds, and leaps forth to meet them. He had a helm on his head, in one hand a drawn sword, and a shield in the other. He was of all men the best at fight. So wood was Hrut then, that few endured to follow him. Well fought both sides for a time, but soon those Laxdalers found that they were no match for such an one as Hrut was, because he slew two men at one onset. Then prayed the Laxdalers for peace. Quoth Hrut that they should surely have peace. The housecarles of Hoskuld were then all wounded that yet stood up; but four were slain. Hrut fared home and was somewhat wounded, but his fellows little or not at all, because he had put himself most forward. That place is called Battledale since they fought there. Then let Hrut hew down the cattle. This is told of Hoskuld, that he draweth men to him, when he learned the ransacking, and he rode home. It was wellnigh at the same nick of time that his housecarles came home. They told of their faring, no smooth one. Hoskuld waxed wood wroth thereat, and quoth that he is minded to take of him ransack and man-tine; he gathers men to him all that day. Then went Jorun the housewife to speak with him, and asks of his rede. He saith: Little rede have I taken, but gladly would I that somewhat else should be talked of rather than the slaying of my housecarles. Jorun answers: This mind of thine is perilous,if thou art minded to slay such a man as is thy brother; but some men hold that it would not have been without cause though Hrut had taken to him this wealth ere now; he has now shown this plainly, that he will no longer be cast out from what is his own, such kin as he is of. Now will he not have taken this rede to match himself against thee, unless he knew that some aid is like to come to him from the mightier men; because it is told me that wordsendings will have been borne privily betwixt Thord Yeller and Hrut; such matters I must needs deem heedworthy: Thord may well deem it good to help in such matters when so plain is the issue; this too thou knowest, Hoskuld, that since the dealings of Thord Goddi and Vigdis, there is no such blitheness between thee and Thord Yeller as aforetime, though at first the enmity of those kinsmen fell off thee by reason of fee-gifts. This too deem I, Hoskuld, saith she; that they think that ye bear exceeding heavily on their lot, thou and Olaf thy son. Now to us this seemeth the more redeful that ye make seemly offer to Hrut thy brother, because there is like to be rive of ravening wolf; I think it like that Hrut will take it well and fairly, because the man is told of to me as wise; he must be able to see that this is to the honour of both of you. Hoskuld was much appeased by the counsel of Jorun; he deemeth it to be the very sooth. Now fare men betwixt them that were friends of both, and bear a peaceword on behalf of Hoskuld to Hrut; and Hrut took it in good part; assuredly (quoth he) he would fain be at one with Hoskuld; he said that he had long been ready hereto, that they should knit up their kinship even as was becoming, if Hoskuld would grant him his due. Hrut said moreover that he would make amends to Hoskuld for such misdoing as he had done on his side. So then is this matter stablished, and peace is made betwixt those brethren, Hoskuld and Hrut: now they uphold good kinship thenceforward. Hrut looketh now to his stead and waxeth a mickle man of renown; he was not busied about most matters, yet when he took his part therein would he have his way. Now Hrut shifted his homestead and dwelt whereas it now hight Hrutsteads, even till he grew old: he made a temple in his home-mead, and are yet marks thereof; it is now called Trolls-path; thereby now goeth the highway. Hrut took a wife, and wedded a woman hight Unn, daughter to Mord Fiddle. Unn left him; thereof arose the strife betwixt the Laxdalers and the Fleetlithings. A second wife did Hrut wed; she hight Thorbjorg; she was daughter to Arnmod. Yet a third wife had Hrut, but we name her not. Sixteen sons gat Hrut and ten daughters of these two wives. So say men, that Hrut was one summer at the Thing in such wise that fourteen sons of his were with him: it is told hereof, that this was deemed to be a thing of much account and might All his sons were valiant men.


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