THE SAGA OF VIGA-GLUM – An Ancient Viking Saga – CHAPTER’s IX & X

CHAPTER IX

IT is said that Glum had a dream one night, in which he seemed to be standing out in front of his dwelling, looking towards the firth; and he thought he saw the form of a woman stalking up straight through the district from the sea towards Thverá. She was of such height and size that her shoulders touched the mountains on each side, and he seemed to go out of the homestead to meet her and asked her to come to his house; and then he woke up. This appeared very strange to everyone, but he said, “The dream is no doubt a very remarkable one, and I interpret it thus–My grandfather, Vigfuss, must be dead, and that woman who was taller than the mountains, must be his guardian spirit, for he too was far beyond other men in honour and in most things, and his spirit must have been looking for a place of rest where I am.” But in the summer, when the ships arrived, the news of Vigfuss’s death became known, and then Glum sang as follows–

 

“At dead of night, beneath the sky,
Upon the banks of Eyjafirth,
I saw the spirit stalking by,
In giant stature o’er the earth.

“The goddess of the sword and spear
Stood, in my dream, upon this ground;
And whilst the valley shook with fear,
She tower’d above the mountains round.”

 

In the spring Thorkel met Thorvald the crooked, and other sons of Thorir, and asked them to follow up this suit of his, referring to the tie which united them throurgh Thorir’s daughter, and to all the friendship which he and his son Sigmund had shown to them. Thorvald spoke to Thorarin, and said that it would be discreditable to them not to help their brother-in-law, and he replied that he was ready to do all he could, and besides, he said, “It is now clear that Glum means to turn the slaying of Sigmund to account, so as to make himself a great man, and we think ourselves worth as much as he is in the district.” “Yes,” replied Thorarin, “but it seems to me it will be hard to follow up the suit, so as to make sure that we shall get any advantage by it, and on the other hand it is not unexpected that Glum should take after his race and kindred. I am slower to move in it than you are, because I doubt if any honour is to be got in a quarrel with Glum; yet I should not like to see our credit lowered.” Hoever, after a certain pressure, Thorarin, the son of Thorir, set on foot at the Althing the suit against Glum for the slaying of Sigmund; and Glum set on foot a suit against Thorkel the tall, for slander against Astrida’s serfs; and another against Sigmund, whom he charged with theft, and whom he alleged that he had killed while trespassing on his own property. So he summoned him as outlawed, inasmuch as he fell on his, Glum’s, land, and he dug his body up. In this condition matters were when they went to the Althing. Then Glum visited his kinsmen, and sought for help at the hands of Gizor the white, and Teit, the son of Ketilbiörn of Mosfell, and Asgrim, the son of Ellidagrim; and he told them the whole course of the proceedings, and how Thorkel and Sigmund had encroached on his rights, and all the wrong and disgrace they had inflicted on him. But from them, he said, he expected help to put matters in a better condition. He himself would conduct the suit. They all professed themselves bound to take care that his cause was not left in unfriendly hands, and said they should be glad to see him distinguish himself among their kin.
The Thing went on till the court sat, and the men of Espihole preferred their suit for the slaying of Sigmund, rather as if they were egged on by those who had wrongs to revenge, than by those who felt sure that there were no flaws in their case. Glum too moved in the case against Thorkel, and the two suits came before the court. Glum had many kinsmen and friends to back him, and when, as defendant, he was called on to answer, he said, “The matter is on this wise. Every one may see that you have gone into this suit more as a question of temper than because there were no defects in your case, for I slew Sigmund trespassing on my own property, and before I rode to the Thing I proclaimed him as an outlaw.” Then he named his witnesses on this point, and defended his suit with the help of his kinsmen, in such sort that judgment was given to the effect that Sigmund had been killed out of the pale of the law. Glum next took up the charge against Thorkel for trespass on his property, and the case looked ill for Thorkel, for the witnesses were on Glum’s side, and there was no legal defence, so that it ended in seeking to compound the matter with the plaintiff. Glum said two courses were open–either he would follow the case out to its conclusion, or Thorkel must reconvey the land that Thverá at such a price as he should put on it, which was not more than half its worth. “And Thorkel may be sure,” he added, “if he is convicted, that we shall not both of us be at the Thing next summer.” The friends of Thorkel now interfered to get him to compound the suit, and he took the course which was expedient, settled the matter, and conveyed the land to Glum. He was to live on the land for the year, and thus, so to speak, they were on terms again. But the men of Espihole were ill pleased with the conclusion of these suits, and from that time they were never on a good footing with Glum. Indeed, before Thorkel left Thverá, he went to Frey’s temple, and taking an old steer up thither, made this speech:–“Thou, Frey,” said he, “wert long my protector, and many offerings hast thou had at my hands, which have borne good fruit to me. Now do I present this steer to thee, in the hope that Glum hereafter may be driven by force off this land, as I am driven off it; and, I pray thee, give me some token whether thou acceptest this offering or not.” Then the steer was stricken in such a way that he bellowed loud and fell down dead, and Thorkel took this a a favourable omen. Afterwards he was in better spirits, as if he thought his offering was accepted and his wish ratified by the god. Then he removed to Myvatn, and we have done with him in this story.

 

CHAPTER X

 

GLUM now assumed a high position in the district. There was a man named Gunnstein, who lived at Lón in Högardal, a great and rich man, reckoned to be one of the most important persons in the land. He had a wife called Hlif, and their son was Thorgrim, generally known as “Thorgrim the son of Hlif,” being called after his mother because she outlived his father. She was a woman of a high spirit, and Thorgrim himself was all that a man ought to be, and became eminent. Another son of theirs was Grim, surnamed “Eyrarleggr,” and their daughter was Halldora, who was a beautiful woman of a gentle temper. She was esteemed to be about the best match in the country both on account of her kindred and of her own accomplishments and great qualities. Glum paid his addresses to her, stating that he did not want the help of kinsmen to explain what his family or his property and personal merits were. “All that you know well enough, and I have set my mind on this marriage is so be that it is agreeable to her friends.” He received a favourable answer to his suit, and Halldora was betrothed to him with a great portion; so the wedding went of prosperously, and Glum’s position became one of more dignity that it was before.
Thorvald was the son of Reim, who lived at Bard, in “the Fleets:”1 he had to wife Thurida, the daughter of Thord of Höfdi. Their children were Klaufi and Thorgerda, whom Thorarin of Espihole had married. Thorvald the crooked of Grund wedded Thorkatla of Thiorsádal. Hlenni the Old, the son of Ornolf “Wallet-back,” dwelt at Vidines, and he had to wife Otkatla, the daughter of Otkel of Thiorsádal. Gizor was the son of Kadal, and lived at “The Tarns,” in the valley of Eyjafirth; his wife was named Saldis, and she was a worthy matron. Gizor was one of the most considerable landowners, well to do in respect of property, with two daughters, named Thordis and Herpruda, both handsome women, who were distinguished in dress and appearance and were considered good matches. They grew up to womanhood at home. Gizor’s brother was called Runolf, and he was the father of Valgerda, mother of Eyiolf of Mödrufell. Thordis was Kadal’s daughter, and she was married to Thorir of Espihole, and they had the children who have been named before. Thorgrim, however, the son of Thorir, although born in wedlock, was not the child of Thordis. He was a brave and well conditioned man, and he set out to meet Gizor and ask Thordis his daughter to wife for himself. His brothers and kinsmen too were engaged in pressing this suit. The maiden’s relatives thought that they ought all to have a voice in the disposal of their kinswoman, and they all considered the proposal an excellent one; but notwithstanding this Thorgrim was refused. It seemed to pepole in general that Thorgrim had proposed a fair and equal match, and his brothers and kinsmen were offended at his rejection.

 ———————–

 From: The Story/Saga of Viga Glum

TRANSLATED FROM THE ICELANDIC, WITH NOTES AND AN INTRODUCTION, BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR EDMUND HEAD, BART., K.C.B

ISBN: 978-1-907256-45-5

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_vg.html

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