GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 45


Bolli went forth to meet Olaf's folk, and with him the sons of Osvif, and they greet them well. Bolli went to Kjartan and kist him. Kjartan took his greeting. Thereafter were they led in. Bolli was therewith most joyous. Olaf took it wholly well, but Kjartan somewhat amiss. The feast fared forth well. Bolli owned some stud-horses, that were called the best: the stallion was mickle and fair, and had never got the worse in fight. He was white of hue, with ears and forelock red. Three mares followed him, of the same hue as the stallion. These horses would Bolli give to Kjartan; but Kjartan said that he was no horseman and would not have them. Olaf bade him take the horses : This is the worthiest of gifts. Kjartan said nay downright. After that they sundered all unblithely. And the Herdholt-folk fared home, and now is there peace. Kjartan was somewhat sad that winter; men gat but little speech of him : Olaf deemed that mickle hurt. That winter after Yule Kjartan took himself from home ; they were twelve in all; they were bound for the north-country. Now ride they on their way till they come north to Asbjornsness in Willowdale, and there is Kjartan welcomed with the most blitheness and whole-heartedness. The house was kept in the most open-handed fashion. Hall Gudmundson was then nigh twenty years of his age. He was near akin to those Laxdalers. It is said by all men that no man has been more valiant in every way in all the Northland firths. Hall welcomed Kjartan his kinsman with mickle blithesomeness. Straightway now are games set up at Asbjornsness, and men were gathered thereto from wide about the countryside. They came eastward from Midfirth and from Waterness, and out of Waterdale and even from out of Longdale. A very great company was there. It was in all men's mouths how far Kjartan surpassed other men. Then they gat them to play, and Hall put himself forward therein. He bade Kjartan to the play: we would, kinsman, that thou show us thy skill herein. Kjartan answers : Little have I tried me in play of late; other things were nearer to hand with Olaf the king : but I will not gainsay thee as at this time. Now Kjartan betakes him to the play : those men were set against him who were the starkest there. So they strive all day : no man was there like Kjartan either in might or litheness. And at even, when the play was done, then stands up Hall Gudmundson and spake : It is the bidding of my father and his will concerning all those men that have sought hither from afar, that they should all abide here nightlong, and take their disport here in the morning. This message was well hailed, and it was deemed to be bidden in great-hearted wise. Kalf Asgeir-son was come thither, and there was no lack of love betwixt him and Kjartan: Hrefna his sister was also there, and was full gloriously arrayed. A hundred of men or more were abiding at the stead overnight. The day after they betook them to the play. Kjartan sat then by the play and looked on. Thurid his sister came to talk with him and spake thus: It is told me, kinsman, that thou art somewhat dumb the winter long : men say that thou must be longing after Gudrun. Men build on this, that there is no blitheness betwixt thee and Bolli thy kinsman, so mickle love as ye have at all times had one for the other. Do thou so well and duly, that thou let not thyself brood on this, and envy not thy kinsman his good luck. Most redeful to us seems this, that thou take thee a wife according to thy speech of last summer, though it be not altogether an even match for thee whereas Hrefna is: for such canst thou not meet with in the land. Asgeir her father is a man of might and of good stock : he has no lack of wealth moreover to gladden this rede : and another daughter of his is wedded to a valiant man. Thou hast told me also that Kalf Asgeir-son is the doughtiest of men : their house is most bounteous. It is my will that thou fall to speech with Hrefna, and methinks thou wilt deem that there wit follows fairness. Kjartan gave good heed to this and said that she steered the cause well. Sithence Kjartan and Hrefna are brought to speech together : they talk ail day. In the evening Thurid asked of Kjartan how the word-take of Hrefna pleased him. He spake well thereof, and said that he deemed the woman to be most bounteous in all wise so far as he might see. The next morning were men sent to Asgeir and he was bidden to Asbjornsness. Now they took counsel together over the suit, and Kjartan now bids Hrefna to wife, the daughter of Asgeir. He gave good hearing to the suit, for he was a wise man, and could well mark how seemly for him was this marriage. Kalf is much eager in this suit: I will let spare nought. Hrefna likewise gave no denial on her part, and bade her father rule. So now is this suit brought to an end and bound by witnesses. Kjartan makes it known that nought else would like him but that the bridal shall be at Herdholt. Asgeir and Kalf gainsay it not; so now is the bridal gathering appointed to be at Herdholt when five weeks are gone of summer. Thereafter rode Kjartan home with great gifts. Olaf spake well of these tidings, for Kjartan was far more gladsome than before he fared from home. Kjartan fasted dry all through the Long-fast, and did it at no man's dooming here in the land; for so is it told of men, that he was first of all men to keep dry fast in this land here. So wondrous a thing men deemed it that Kjartan lived so long meatless that men fared long journeys to see him. In like fashion were the other deeds of Kjartan, beyond those of other men: so Easter-tide went by. After that Olaf and Kjartan let summon men to a mickle feast. Asgeir and Kalf came south at the appointed summons, and Gudmund and Hall: and they had altogether six tens of men. Kjartan's folk also were a great company. A brave feast was that, whereas they held the guesting for a week. Kjartan gave Hrefna the wimple for linen-fee, and that gift was all-renowned, inasmuch as no man there was so wealthy that he had seen or owned such a treasure. Now it is the saying of men who know, that eight ounces of gold were wrought into the wimple. Kjartan also was so gladsome at the wedding that he gave joy to all men by his talk, and told of his journeyings: men there deemed it of mickle worth, such great matters were dealt with therein, seeing that he had served the most renowned of chieftains, to wit, Olaf Tryggvason the king. But when the guesting was over and done, Kjartan offered good gifts to Gudmund and Hall, and other mighty men: that father and son won mickle word-stir by this feast. Good love groweth up betwixt Kjartan and Hrefna.


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