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Þórðar Saga hreðu

The Story of Thórðr Hreða an 1882 translation into English by John Coles

Section Reference 7


Now we take up the story again at Ós, after Skeggi had had his kinsman, Ormr, buried. He sends a man north to Indriði, the fellow of Ormr, to tell him about the manslaughter, and asks him to prepare himself for a journey from the north, if he intends trying to revenge his comrade, for he had sworn brotherhood with Ormr ere they went to Iceland. Indriði made himself ready at once, and took his weapons. He had a helm and a red shield, a great barbed spear, and girt with a sharp sword. With him went two Eastmen and two Icelanders. Indriði rode from the ship as soon as he was ready. Now we begin the story again when Thórðr and Skeggi parted at Ós. Eiðr said then to Thórðr: "I do wish, my foster-father, that you would ride out of the district at present, but I will look after your farm while you are away." Thórðr said: "You shall have your way, but I do not care much for leaving my dwelling-place." "So it must be at present," said Eiðr, "for ill do I know my father's contest, if he allow you to dwell so close to him for some time to come." Then Thórðr prepared himself from home; he took his weapons with him, shield, helm, sword, and spear. His brothers made themselves ready for the journey with him. "This I will not," said Thórðr, "for I wish not to lead you into any difficulties with me, as you have had no share in the murders with me; stay, therefore, here with my foster-son, until you hear some further news." Then he mounted his horse, and bade all his people a farewell. Thereupon he rode up the mountain-ridge towards Linakradalr with one man as guide. He did not halt until he came to the farm Engihlíð, in Langidalr, late in the evening; he had a mask over the helm, and thus disguised himself. The sons of Thorvaldr thought they knew him, and told their father. "And if it be he, it means some news, that he goes disguised through the district." The farmer asked the great man his name, who said it was Thórðr. "And art thou Thórðr Terror?" He says: "So you may call me, if you like; I am the man." The farmer said: "What is the meaning of your journey?" Thórðr told him of the manslaughter of Ormr, and all the circumstances connected therewith. Thorvaldr said: "Great tidings do you bring: the manslaughter of Ormr, the kinsman of Skeggi, and many will the kinsmen be, who will make a common cause with Skeggi for a redress; but whither art thou riding now?" Thórðr said: "First I intend going north to a ship, which is at the mouth of the river Kolbeinsá, whatever may then take place." Thorvaldr offered him his son Einarr as guide, as the way was unknown to Thórðr. Einarr was to guide him north over Vatnsskarð to a place,

where the roads divided. Thórðr thanked him, drew a gold ring off his hand and gave to Thorvaldr. The good man thanked him for the gift, and asked him to call on him, if he would. "My mind tells me that during this journey you will be tried as to your skill in arms and your valour; you may expect that Össurr, the kinsman of Ormr, will waylay you, when he gets to know, for he is a great chief and an overbearing man." Thórðr said: "What the fate had destined would have to come to pass; but unless the tokens of my family fetches are greatly at fault, I am minded to think that some of Ormr's kinsmen may have to lose their life at my hand, or ever my nose has done breathing; well do you act, my good man, and have my thanks, but I will accept your friendship, should I ever be in need." Then Thórðr rode away and Einarr with him; Thórðr and Thorvaldr parted in good friendship; and now they went up Langi-dalr and north towards Vatnsskarð; when they came out of the pass they disagreed as to the road. Thórðr would ride over Grindarhólar, and he had his own will; they ride to Arnarstapi, and baited there. Thórðr said he was sleepy, and that some fetches of enemies were pursuing him.

Now we come to the story when Indriði heard of the murder of his comrade, Ormr. He rode from the ship and four men with him, two were Norse-men; was the one hight Sigurðr, the other Thorgrimr, but both most brave fellows. The other two were Icelanders; the one hight Bárðr, the other Thorfinnr. They were both great and strong, and were all well armed. They took the usual road from Skagafjörðr up to the Vatnsskarð this same day that Thórðr rode through the pass. Thórðr and his guide now saw where five men rode with weapons. Thórðr asked his guide if he knew any of them. He said: "Much am I mistaken if that is not Indriði master, the foster-brother of Ormr, with the red shield and a great barbed spear in his hand." Thórðr answers: "May be that Indriði wants to meet me, but what help can I expect from you?" He said: "I am not a fighting man, and I cannot stand to see human blood, but it is very bad should you lose your life through them." Thórðr said, that it was uncertain who that night would be the commander over Indriði's ship. Thereupon Thórðr prepared himself for defence, but said it was a great drawback that his guide was so fainthearted. Now when they met, Indriði inquired what delayed Ormr. Thórðr spake, and said that Ormr had bought for himself property in Miðfjörðrnes. Then he told him the manslaughter --" And avenge him now, for thou wilt not have a better chance of me again than thou hast now." Said Indriði: "Let it be so then." Whereupon they all set on Thórðr. Sigurðr the Eastman aimed a thrust at him with a spear, which, striking the shield, glanced off it down into the ground. He stooped after the thrust, and Thórðr, seeing that, dealt him a blow, which striking Sigurðr amidmost cut him in twain above the hips. At this nick of time Thorfinnr dealt a blow at Thórðr and struck the shield and chopped a large slice thereof. Thórðr hewed at the leg of Thorfinnr above the knee, and forthwith cut it off. Then he challenged Indriði to make a brisker onset of it, "if thou hast a will to avenge thy comrade." Indriði made a leap at Thórðr and made an eager onslaught on him, and long they fought, and the end of it was, that Indriði fell before Thórðr, all slit up with yawning wounds. Then leapt Thórðr upon the companions of Indriði, and after an assault at arms, brief and swift, Thórðr finished by slaughtering both. After this he sat him down, and bound up his wounds, for many a one he had got and great. He then went up to Indriði, and asked if he stood to healing. He answered: "Belike, if leeches be fetched." Then Thórðr took hold of Indriði, pulled him out of his blood and put him on his nag. Whereupon he mounted his own horse and rode west into Bolstaðahlíð and there gave out what had befallen, and rode on with Indriði unto Engihlíð. Thorvaldr gave a good welcome to Thórðr, and offered him every cheer that he would accept, and asked him for tidings. He told him of the fight at Arnarstapi and the death of five men. "But therefore have I here come, that I wish that you would heal Indriði, for never was there a braver man." Thorvaldr said that was no more than his duty. He received Indriði, made him a tub-bath, and cleansed his wounds, none of which, however, were deadly. Thorvaldr offered to cure Thórðr, but he would not, and said: "I am going to the north, whatever may befall me." Indriði said: "Now have I, as you know, tried to avenge Ormr's manslaughter upon Thórðr, but thus it turned out that four of my companions fell before him, and I myself deadly wounded, and the result of my fight with Thórðr ended as might be expected, for he is not like any one as regards skill in arms. But now it is my counsel, Thórðr, that you ride north to my ship and wait me there. Olöf is the name of the mistress at Miklibær; she is a great lady and one of the best of leeches; ask her to receive you, until I come to the north, and she will heal your wounds. Össurr hight a good man, who lives at Þverá in Skagafjörðr; he is a kinsman of Ormr, whom you slew, and will be sure to waylay you." Thórðr bade him have his thanks for his good advice. "But I shall go my way in spite of Össurr, as I have determined." After this Thórðr rode northward through the pass to Skagafjörðr and straight to the ship. He came to Miklibær in the evening, found the good man, who asked him his name. Thórðr gave it him. Thor-hallr said: "Often have I heard you mentioned, but what is the reason for coming here?" Thórðr told him of the meeting with Indriði, and of the manslaughters.

Thórhallr said that he was a great hero: "But so it seems to me as if you are severely wounded." Thórðr said the wounds were of very little consequence, but that he only had some few scratches. At this moment the good wife came out and said: "Who is this great man just come?" Thórðr gave his name. She said she had often heard him talked of, bade him dismount, and dwell there for the night. Thórðr thanked the good woman. Thórhallr said: "Dangerous seems it to me to receive this man, who has been implicated in so many slaughters, is himself greatly wounded, and needs cure; there are also great men who will pursue him and avenge Ormr; and I think that he who renders him any help neither will take care of his goods nor life." Then says the mistress: "In this matter we do not think one way; I think that one who helps him will get the best of it; I therefore invite you, Thórðr, to stay here as long as you like; I will bind up your wounds and heal you, if it be possible." Thórðr thanked her, and said he would accept the offer, if her goodman would consent thereto. Thórhallr said, once more, "As you are wont, you will have your own way; I will promise Thórðr to be faithful to him in all things, but I must hold my tongue as to his dwelling here." Then Thórðr dismounted, and the good wife took him to an outhouse, while the good man unsaddled his horse. The good woman laid out a table before Thórðr, and he commenced his meal. After that she made him a tub-bath, and cleansed his wounds, which were both many and great. Thórðr dwelt at Miklibær in concealment until he was healed from all his wounds. Then Thórðr spoke to the good man Thórhallr and his mistress: "It has now come to this, that I am healed from all my wounds, and I will no longer keep disguised, or be here longer than you wish." The mistress said: "It is my will that you be here until this case in one way or another is settled." Thórhallr said: "This I will, that Thórðr be here this winter; still I have been told that Össurr at Þverá intends having his revenge upon you." Thórðr said: "I do not mind that, but uncertain it is which of us two would be the one to lay the stone over the other's head." One day rode Thórðr to the ship, which lay out by Elinarholmr, and at the same time Indriði came there. The sailors had made the ship ready whilst Indriði was at Engihlíð. Indriði invited Thórðr to go with him abroad, but said he could not take him to Norway because of Ormr's kinsmen, who were both mighty and rich; "but I have come to terms on your behalf as to all the manslaughters done at our meeting, for I have paid weregild out of my money." Thórðr thanked him for all this, and drew a gold ring off his hand and gave him; but he did not think he would go abroad for the present. After this they parted friendly. Indriði went abroad, and is now out of the Saga. Thórðr rode to Miklibær. Thórhallr received him very well, and said: "Glad am I you did not go abroad; you have dwelt here now for some time, and I like you well; I know also that my wife wishes that you dwell here as long as you like; I am without children, and it is well to make such men one's friends, and help them with money, even if there should be a flaw in their affairs. I am neither in want of courage, nor of intellect to give good counsel if Össurr should commence hostility against you." Thórðr was pleased with this; but then said the wife: "I do not wish, Thórðr, that you should put much faith in Thórhallr's wisdom or help, but I think it would be well that you would try for once his courage should you need it." Thórðr dwells with Thórhallr during the winter.


28 December 2019 saga, thoror, hreda, norse, viking, translated, english Read Book