GXD13Y8-20WcLeEZm8aPxw Laxdæla Saga

Laxdæla Saga

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

Section Reference 43

Some while after Bolli speaks with Olaf his kinsman and said: To this pass is it come, kinsman, that I am minded to stablish my household and take me a wife. I deem that I am now come to my full strength. I would fain have for my suit thy good word and furtherance, because most men here are such that they hold thy word of great account. Olaf answers : Such are most women that we may reckon on it that a suit will be right welcome whereas thou art; nor is it like that thou hast brought this matter up without having set thy mind on the one upon whom thy choice will light. Saith Bolli: I shall not woo me a wife outside this countryside the while good matches lie so near to us: I will bid for Gudrun Osvifs daughter: she is now the most notable of women. Answers Olaf: That is the one suit with which I will have nought to do: it is in nowise less known to thee, Bolli, than to me, what talk there was of the love betwixt Kjartan and Gudrun. But if thou deemest this of exceeding great avail for thee, I cannot deal grudgingly therein, if it is agreed upon by thee and Osvif: but hast thou spoken aught of this matter to Gudrun? Bolli said that he had once only turned their speech that way, and she had not welcomed it overmuch: yet I ween that Osvif is like to rule most in this business. Olaf said that he would fare with him whenso it liked him. Not long after rides Bolli from home, and with him the sons of Olaf, Halldor and Steinthor: they were twelve men in all: they ride to Bathstead. Osvif greets them well, and his sons. Bolli summoned Osvif to speak with him, and puts forward his wooing, and asked for Gudrun his daughter. But Osvif answered in this wise: It is as thou wottest, Bolli, that Gudrun is a widow, and able to answer for herself: yet must I needs be fain hereof. Now goeth Osvif to Gudrun and saith to her that Bolli Thorleikson is come thither, and asks for thee to wife: now it is for thee to answer this suit. But I shall speedily make known my will herein, to wit, that Bolli be not sent away empty, if my rede may avail. Gudrun answers: Hastily dost thou deal in this suit: for Bolli on a time spake to me thereof, but I turned it off somewhat; and I am yet of the same mind. Then saith Osvif: Then shall many men say that this is spoken rather from pride than of mickle wisdom, if thou naysay such a man as is Bolli; but while I am to the fore I shall use foresight for you my children in such matters as I can look to better than ye. But when Osvif took this thing so athwart, Gudrun held out no longer for her part, but yet she was full hard in all wise. The sons of Osvif are much fain of this match: they deem that much gain will be theirs from an alliance with Bolli. But the long and short of it was that it was so agreed, that the betrothal went forward, and the bridal feast was appointed to be held at the time of winter nights. Then rode Bolli home to Herdholt, and telleth Olaf the issue of their redes. He shows that he is little pleased therewith. Bolli abides at I home till the time when he must seek to the wedding. Bolli bade Olaf his kinsman, but Olaf was not quick thereto; yet he fared at the prayer of Bolli. Worshipful was the feast at Bathstead. Bolli abode there all that winter. Bolli had little kindness at Gudrun's hands in their dealings together. But when the summer came, then went ships from land to land. Then were the tidings brought to Norway that Iceland was christened wholly. Olaf the king was right glad thereat, and gave leave to all those men whom he had held as hostages to go to Iceland or to fare whithersoever it liked them. Kjartan answered, inasmuch as he was captain over all those men who had been held as hostages: Have ye much thank, but this way shall we choose, to betake us to Iceland this summer. Then saith Olaf the king: We cannot take back this word of ours, Kjartan; and yet we spake rather for other men than for thee; because we reckon thee of such worth that thou hast tarried here more as a friend than as a hostage. I were fain that thou wert not eager to go out to Iceland, though thou hast highborn kindred there, for thou mayst have thy choice of a place in Norway such as there is not in Iceland. Then answereth Kjartan: Our lord reward you for the worship that ye have done to me since I came into your power. But I looked for this, that ye should grant me way-leave no less than to those others whom ye have held here awhile. The king said that so it should be; but hard to find, saith he, were such men among franklins as was Kjartan. That winter had Kalf Asgeirson been in Norway, and had before that come east from England with the ship of himself and Kjartan and their merchandise. And when Kjartan had gotten way-leave to the Iceland-faring he and Kalf took to their dighting for sea. And when the ship was all-boun, then goeth Kjartan to see Ingibjorg the king's sister. She greeteth him well, and made place for him to sit by her, and they fall to speech together. Then saith Kjartan to Ingibjorg that he is boun to fare unto Iceland. Then answers she: We deem the rather, Kjartan, that thou hast done this of thine own free-will, than that men have egged thee on to fare from Norway to Iceland. But few words were there betwixt them thenceforward. Then Ingibjorg puts forth her hand to a meadcask that stood by her. She takes thence a white wimple adorned with gold and gives it to Kjartan, and said that for Gudrun Osvif 's daughter to fold around her head it was over good; but thou shalt give her the wimple for a bench-gift. I will that yon Iceland-women see this, that the woman of whom thou hast had speech in Norway is of no thrall's blood. There was a poke of fair web over all; it was the goodliest of jewels. Never shall I lead thee forth, said Ingibjorg: Now fare thou well, and hail. Thereafter Kjartan stands up and turned to Ingibjorg; and men hold it for sooth that they were loth to sunder. Now goeth Kjartan thence, and to the king: he told the king that he is now boun for faring. Olaf the king led Kjartan to the ship, and many men with him; and when they came whereas the ship was floating (there was a bridge from her to the land),k then the king took up the word: Here is a sword Kjartan, which thou shalt take of me now at our sundering : do thou let this weapon ever follow thy ways, for I ween that thou shalt not be a weaponbit man if thou bear this sword. It was the worshipfullest jewel, and much bedight. Kjartan thanked the king with fair words for all the honour and worship that he had bestowed upon him the while he abode in Norway. Then spake the king: This will I bid thee, Kjartan, that thou hold fast to thy faith. Thereafter sunder the king and Kjartan with much love. Then Kjartan goes out to the ship. The king looked after him and spake: Much is told of Kjartan and his kin : yet shall it be no light matter to wrestle with their weird.

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