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Hrafnkels Saga freysgoða

The Story of Hrafnkell, Frey's Priest an 1882 translation into English by John Coles

Section Reference 4

A man was hight Thorbjörn, brother of Bjarni, who dwelt at a stead in Hrafnkelsdalr, called Hóll, situated across the valley right against Aðalból, on the eastern side. Thorbjörn was a man of scanty means, but of many useless mouths. The eldest of his sons was called Einarr; he was a tall man and well-mannered withal. It so happened one spring that Thorbjörn said to Einarr that he had better try to secure some place for himself; "for," said he, "I am in want of no more work than can be done by the hands that are here already, but thou wilt find it easy to secure a situation, able and skilful as thou art. It is not for any want of love that I thus call upon thee to go away, for thou art to me the most useful of all my children; but it is because of my small means and poverty; but my other children must grow up labourers, but as for thee, thou wilt find it easier to get a place than they." Einarr answered : "Too late hast thou let me know of this, as now all places and situations, the best of them at least, are already arranged for, and I deem it an undesirable thing to have to accept only the worst." Now Einarr took his horse and rode to Aðalból, where Hrafnkell sat in his chamber, and received him well and joyfully. Einarr applied for a situation with Hrafnkell, and he answered : "Why askest so late for this? otherwise I should have taken thee the first of all men. Now I have secured all my servants, except for that one business which, I fear, thou art not minded to undertake." Einarr asked what it was. Hrafnkell answered, he had got no one to take charge of his sheep, but said he was in great need of one. Einarr said he did not mind what work he did, whether this or any other; but said he would like to settle with him for cloth and board wages. "I'll make a short bargain with thee," said Hrafnkell. "Thy business shall be to watch fifteen ewes at the mountain dairy, and gather and carry home faggots for summer fuel. On these terms thou shalt take service with me for two 'half-years.' But a one thing I must give thee, as all my shepherds, to understand: 'Freymane' goes grazing in the valley with his band of mares; thou shalt take care of him winter and summer; but I warn thee of one thing, namely, that thou never be on his back on any condition whatever, for I am bound by a mighty vow to slay the man that ever should have a ride on him. There are twelve mares with him; whichever one of these thou mayest want, night or day, is at your service. Do now as I tell thee, and mind the old saw: 'No blame is borne by those who warn.' Now thou knowest what I have said." Einarr said he trusted he was under no such luckless spell as to ride on a horse which was forbidden, least of all when there were other horses at his disposal.

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