THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER X – How Raven came home to Iceland, and asked for Helga to Wife

Now this spring Raven came from the east to Thrandheim, and fitted out his ship, and sailed in the summer to Iceland. He brought his ship to Leiruvag, below the Heath, and his friends and kinsmen were right fain of him. That winter he was at home with his father, but the summer after he met at the Althing his kinsman, Skapti the law-man.


Then said Raven to him, “Thine aid would I have to go a-wooing to Thorstein Egilson, to bid Helga his daughter.”


Skapti answered, “But is she not already vowed to Gunnlaug Worm-tongue?”


Said Raven, “Is not the appointed time of waiting between them passed by? And far too wanton is he withal, that he should hold or heed it aught.”


“Let us then do as thou wouldst,” said Skapti.


Thereafter they went with many men to the booth of Thorstein Egilson, and he greeted them well.


Then Skapti spoke: “Raven, my kinsman, is minded to woo thy daughter Helga. Thou knowest well his blood, his wealth, and his good manners, his many mighty kinsmen and friends.”


Thorstein said, “She is already the vowed maiden of Gunnlaug, and with him shall I hold all words spoken.”


Skapti said, “Are not the three winters worn now that were named between you?”


“Yes,” said Thorstein; “but the summer is not yet worn, and he may still come out this summer.”


Then Skapti said, “But if he cometh not this summer, what hope may we have of the matter then?”


Thorstein answered, “We are like to come here next summer, and then may we see what may wisely be done, but it will not do to speak hereof longer as at this time.”


Thereon they parted. And men rode home from the Althing. But this talk of Raven’s wooing of Helga was nought hidden.

That summer Gunnlaug came not out.


The next summer, at the Althing, Skapti and his folk pushed the wooing eagerly, and said that Thorstein was free as to all matters with Gunnlaug.


Thorstein answered, “I have few daughters to see to, and fain am I that they should not be the cause of strife to any man. Now I will first see Illugi the Black.” And so he did.


And when they met, he said to Illugi, “Dost thou not think that I am free from all troth with thy son Gunnlaug?”


Illugi said, “Surely, if thou wiliest it. Little can I say herein, as I do not know clearly what Gunnlaug is about.”


Then Thorstein went to Skapti, and a bargain was struck that the wedding should be at Burg, about winter-nights, if Gunnlaug did not come out that summer; but that Thorstein should be free from all troth with Raven if Gunnlaug should come and fetch his bride.


After this men ride home from the Thing, and Gunnlaug’s coming was long drawn out. But Helga thought evilly of all these redes.









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The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm Tongue and Raven the Skald



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This site is about bringing the Ancient Norse & Viking sagas back to life. Each day a chapter or two from a saga will be posted enabling you to read the saga from beginning to end. If you like the saga, it is available to be purchased as a paperback or as an eBook. Abela Publishing is a social enterprise prublisher. By this we mean that a percentage of our profits is donated to charities.
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