PT2YBadrgEO2dYQg1T1LZQ Víglundar Saga

Víglundar Saga

The Saga of Viglund the Fair from an 1901 translation into English by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon

Section Reference 17


The parting of Viglund and Ketilrid
Now turns the tale to Earl Eric, who became an old man, and died of eld; but Sigmund his son took his possessions after him, but gat no dignity from King Harald, because the King bore all the kin of Thorgrim something of a grudge for his friendship's sake with Ketil.

Helgi had wedded in Norway, but his wife was dead before the tale gets so far as this: he had a daughter called Ragnhild, the fairest of women.So Helgi was weary of Norway, and went to Iceland, and came thither late in the land-settling time, and bought land in Gautwick of that Gaut who had settled the land there; and there he dwelt till old age.

Now tells the tale of more folk: Steinolf, to wit, who dwelt in Hraundale, who had a son hight Thorleif, a big man and a proper.This Thorleif wooed Ketilrid, but she would nought of him.Then Thorleif made many words about it, to the end that he should get her, howsoever she might gainsay it; and Thorbiorg was utterly of his way of thinking.

But now, when Thorgrim's sons were clean healed of their hurts, they asked their father what he would counsel them to do.He said, "I deem it good rede for you to take berth in the ship of the brethren Gunnlaug and Sigurd, and pray a passage of them over the Iceland sea, saying that your lives lie thereon, as the sooth is, keeping your names hidden meanwhile.Then shall Sigurd keep to his oath, and grant you passage: for this Sigurd is a good man and true, and ye will get but good at his hands: and soothly ye will need it, for over there ye will have to answer for me."

So it was settled that this was to be done.Men say that Ketilrid was weighed down with sorrow that winter; that oft she slept little, and sat awake in her sewing-bower nightlong.But that same night before the day whenas Viglund should fare to the ship, for now Ketil's sons were all ready for sea, Viglund and Trusty went to Foss, and into the chamber whereas sat Ketilrid awake, while her handmaids slept.

Sweetly she welcomed the brethren."It is long since we met," said she; "but right good it is that ye are whole and about on your feet again."

So the two brethren sat down beside her, and talked a long while; and Viglund told her all he was minded to do, and she was glad thereat.

"All is right well," she said, "so long as thou art well, howsoever it fare with me."

"Let thyself not be wedded whiles I am away," said Viglund.

"My father must rule that," she said, "for I have no might herein; moreover, I will not be against him: but belike it will be no happier for me than for thee, if things go otherwise: yet all must needs go its own ways."

Then Viglund bade her cut his hair and wash his head, and she did so; and when it was done, Viglund said: "This I swear, that none shall cut my hair or wash my head but thou only while thou art alive."

Then they all went out together, and parted without in the home-mead: and Viglund kissed Ketilrid weeping sore; and it was well seen of them, that their hearts were sore to part thus: but so must it be: and she went into her bower, but they went on their way.

And Viglund, or ever he parted from Ketilrid, sang this stave: ----


"Maiden, my songs remember,
Fair mouth, if thou mayst learn them;
For, clasp-mead, they may gain thee
At whiles some times beguiling.
Most precious, when thou wendest
Abroad, where folk are gathered,
Me, O thou slender isle-may,
Each time shalt thou remember."


But when they were come a little way from the garth Viglund sang another stave: ----


"Amid the town we twain stood,
And there she wound around me
Her hands, the hawk-eyed woman,
The fair-haired, greeting sorely.
Fast fell tears from the maiden,
And sorrow told of longing;
Her cloth the drift-white dear one
Over bright brows was drawing."


A little after, when Ketilrid came into her bower, thither came the goodman Holmkel, and saw his daughter weeping sorely: then he asked her why she was so sleepless: but for all answer she sang: ---


"A little way I led him,
The lord of sheen, from green garth;
But farther than all faring,
My heart it followeth after.
Yea, longer had I led him,
If land lay off the haven,
And all the waste of Ægir
Were into green meads waxen."


Then spake Ketilrid and answered her father: "My brothers' death was in my mind."

"Wilt thou have them avenged? " said he.

"That should be soon seen," she said, "if I were as much a man and of might in matters, as I am now but a woman."

The goodman said: "Daughter, know in good sooth, that it is for thy sake that I have done nought against those brethren; for I wot well that they are alive: so come now, hide not from me how thou wouldst have the matter go; for I will get them slain if that is thy will."

"So far from having them slain," said she, "if I might rule, I would never have made themoutlaws if I might have ruled; and, moreover, I would have given them money for their journey if I had had it; and never would I have any other but Viglund, if I might choose."

Then Holmkel arose and went forth, and took his horse and rode after the brethren.But when they saw him, then said Trusty, "There rideth Holmkel alone; and if thou wilt get Ketilrid, there is one thing to be done----nought good though it be----to slay Holmkel and carry off Ketilrid."

Said Viglund: "Though it were on the board that I should never see Ketilrid from this time henceforward, yet rather would I have it so than that I do Holmkel any hurt, and forget the trustiness he hath dealt me withal, when he hath had such sorrow to pay me back for: yea, moreover, Ketilrid hath grief enow to bear though she see not her father slain, who hath ever wished all things good for her."

"Yea, so it is best," said Trusty.

"Now shall we," said Viglund, "ride into our home-mead to meet him, for the increasing of his honour."

They did so; but Holmkel rode on past them and then turned back: so the brethren went back to the road, and found money there, and a gold ring, and a rune-staff: and on the rune-staff were cut all those words of Ketilrid and Holmkel, and this withal, that she gave that money to Viglund.


27 December 2019 saga, viglund, norse, viking, translated, english Read Book