Now this summer, before these tidings were brought out hither to Iceland, Illugi the Black, being at home at Gilsbank, dreamed a dream: he thought that Gunnlaug came to him in his sleep, all bloody, and he sang in the dream this stave before him; and Illugi remembered the song when he woke, and sang it before others:—
“Knew I of the hewing
Of Raven’s hilt-finned steel-fish
Sharp clave leg of Raven.—
Of warm wounds drank the eagle,
When the war-rod slender,
Cleaver of the corpses,
Clave the head of Gunnlaug.”
This portent befel south at Mossfell, the self-same night, that Onund dreamed how Raven came to him, covered all over with blood, and sang:—
“Red is the sword, but I now
Am undone by Sword-Odin.
‘Gainst shields beyond the sea-flood
The ruin of shields was wielded.
Methinks the blood-fowl blood-stained
In blood der men’s heads stood there,
The wound-erne yet wound-eager
Trod over wounded bodies?”
Now the second summer after this, Illugi the Black spoke at the Althing from the Hill of Laws, and said:—
“Wherewith wilt thou make atonement to me for my son, whom Raven, thy son, beguiled in his troth?”
Onund answers, “Be it far from me to atone for him, so sorely as their meeting hath wounded me. Yet will I not ask atonement of thee for my son.”
“Then shall my wrath come home to some of thy kin,” says Illugi. And withal after the Thing was Illugi at most times very sad.
Tells the tale how this autumn Illugi rode from Gilsbank with thirty men, and came to Mossfell early in the morning. Then Onund got into the church with his sons, and took sanctuary; but Illugi caught two of his kin, one called Biorn and the other Thorgrim, and had Biorn slain, but the feet smitten from Thorgrim. And thereafter Illugi rode home, and there was no righting of this for Onund.
Hermund, Illugi’s son, had little joy after the death of Gunnlaug his brother, and deemed he was none the more avenged even though this had been wrought.
Now there was a man called Raven, brother’s son to Onund of Mossfell; he was a great sea-farer, and had a ship that lay up in Ramfirth: and in the spring Hermund Illugison rode from home alone north over Holt-beacon Heath, even to Ramfirth, and out as far as Board-ere to the ship of the chapmen. The chapmen were then nearly ready for sea; Raven, the ship-master, was on shore, and many men with him; Hermund rode up to him, and thrust him through with his spear, and rode away forthwith: but all Raven’s men were bewildered at seeing Hermund.
No atonement came for this slaying, and therewith ended the dealings of Illugi the Black and Onund of Mossfell.
From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD
Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS
Download this saga as a PDF ebook from: http://www.abelapublishing.com/gunnlaug.html
A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.