THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER XI – Of how Gunnlaug must needs abide away from Iceland

Now it is to be told of Gunnlaug that he went from Sweden the same summer that Raven went to Iceland, and good gifts he had from King Olaf at parting.

 

King Ethelred welcomed Gunnlaug worthily, and that winter he was with the king, and was held in great honour.

 

In those days Knut the Great, son of Svein, ruled Denmark, and had new-taken his father’s heritage, and he vowed ever to wage war on England, for that his father had won a great realm there before he died west in that same land.

 

And at that time there was a great army of Danish men west there, whose chief was Heming, the son of Earl Strut-Harald, and brother to Earl Sigvaldi, and he held for King Knut that land that Svein had won.

 

Now in the spring Gunnlaug asked the king for leave to go away, but he said, “It ill beseems that thou, my man, shouldst go away now, when all bodes such mighty war in the land.”

Gunnlaug said, “Thou shalt rule, lord; but give me leave next summer to depart, if the Danes come not.”

 

The king answered, “Then we shall see.”

 

Now this summer went by, and the next winter, but no Danes came; and after midsummer Gunnlaug got his leave to depart from the king, and went thence east to Norway, and found Earl Eric in Thrandheim, at Hladir, and the earl greeted him well, and bade him abide with him. Gunnlaug thanked him for his offer, but said he would first go out to Iceland, to look to his promised maiden.

 

The earl said, “Now all ships bound for Iceland have sailed.”

 

Then said one of the court, “Here lay, yesterday, Hallfred Troublous-Skald, out tinder Agdaness.”

 

The earl answered, “That may well be; he sailed hence five nights ago.”

 

Then Earl Eric had Gunnlaug rowed put to Hallfred, who greeted him with joy; and forthwith a fair wind bore them from land, and they were right merry.

 

This was late in the summer: but now Hallfred said to Gunnlaug, “Hast thou heard of how Raven, the son of Onund, is wooing Helga the Fair?”

 

Gunnlaug said he had heard thereof but dimly. Hallfred tells him all he knew of it, and therewith, too, that it was the talk of many men that Raven was in nowise less brave a man than Gunnlaug. Then Gunnlaug sang this stave:—

 

“Light the weather wafteth;

But if this east wind drifted

Week-long, wild upon us

Little were I recking;

More this word I mind of

Me with Raven mated,

Than gain for me the gold-foe

Of days to make me grey-haired.”

 

Then Hallfred said, “Well, fellow, may’st thou fare better in thy strife with Raven than I did in mine. I brought my ship some winters ago into Leiruvag, and had to pay a half-mark in silver to a house-carle of Raven’s, but I held it back from him. So Raven rode at us with sixty men, and cut the moorings of the ship, and she was driven up on the shallows, and we were bound for a wreck. Then I had to give selfdoom to Raven, and a whole mark I had to pay; and that is the tale of my dealings with him.”

 

Then they two talked together alone of Helga the Fair, and Gunnlaug praised her much for her goodliness; and Gunnlaug sang:—

 

“He who brand of battle

Beareth over-wary,

Never love shall let him

Hold the linen-folded;

For we when we were younger

In many a way were playing

On the outward nesses

From golden land outstanding.”

 

“Well sung!” said Hallfred.

 

 

 

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

 

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The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Raven the Skald

 

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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.

 

 

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

NOTE: Only available in PDF eBook format – for now.

 

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A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.

 

The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm Tongue and Raven the Skald

 

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THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER IX – Of the Quarrel between Gunnlaug and Raven before the Swedish King

In those days King Olaf the Swede, son of King Eric the Victorious, and Sigrid the High-counselled, daughter of Skogul Tosti, ruled over Sweden. He was a mighty king and renowned, and full fain of fame.

 

Gunnlaug came to Upsala towards the time of the Thing of the Swedes in spring-tide; and when he got to see the king, he greeted him. The king took his greeting well, and asked who he was. He said he was an Iceland-man.

 

Then the king called out: “Raven,” says he, “what man is he in Iceland?”

 

Then one stood up from the lower bench, a big man and a stalwart, and stepped up before the king, and spake: “Lord,” says he, “he is of good kin, and himself the most stalwart of men.”

 

“Let him go, then, and sit beside thee,” said the king.

 

Then Gunnlaug said, “I have a song to set forth before thee, king, and I would fain have peace while thou hearkenest thereto.”

 

“Go ye first, and sit ye down,” says the king, “for there is no leisure now to sit listening to songs.”

 

So they did as he bade them.

 

Now Gunnlaug and Raven fell a-talking together, and each told each of his travels. Raven said that he had gone the summer before from Iceland to Norway, and had come east to Sweden in the forepart of winter. They soon got friendly together.

 

But one day, when the Thing was over, they were both before the king, Gunnlaug and Raven.

 

Then spake Gunnlaug, “Now, lord, I would that thou shouldst hear the song.”

 

“That I may do now,” said the king.

 

“My song too will I set forth now,” says Raven.

 

“Thou mayst do so,” said the king.

 

Then Gunnlaug said, “I will set forth mine first if thou wilt have it so, king.”

 

“Nay,” said Raven, “it behoveth me to be first, lord, for I myself came first to thee.”

 

“Whereto came our fathers forth, so that my father was the little boat towed behind? Whereto, but nowhere?” says Gunnlaug. “And in likewise shall it be with us.”

 

Raven answered, “Let us be courteous enough not to make this a matter of bandying of words. Let the king rule here.”

 

The king said, “Let Gunnlaug set forth his song first, for he will not be at peace till he has his will.”

 

Then Gunnlaug set forth the song which he had made to King Olaf, and when it was at an end the king spake. “Raven,” says he, “how is the song done?”

 

“Right well,” he answered; “it is a song full of big words and little beauty; a somewhat rugged song, as is Gunnlaug’s own mood.”

 

“Well, Raven, thy song,” said the king.

 

Raven gave it forth, and when it was done the king said, “How is this song made, Gunnlaug?”

 

“Well it is, lord,” he said; “this is a pretty song, as is Raven himself to behold, and delicate of countenance. But why didst thou make a short song on the king, Raven? Didst thou perchance deem him unworthy of a long one?”

 

Raven answered, “Let us not talk longer on this; matters will be taken up again, though it be later.”

 

And thereat, they parted.

 

Soon after Raven became a man of King Olaf’s, and asked him leave to go away. This the king granted him. And when Raven was ready to go, he spake to Gunnlaug, and said, “Now shall our friendship be ended, for that thou must needs shame me here before great men; but in time to come I shall cast on thee no less shame than thou hadst will to cast on me here.”

 

Gunnlaug answers: “Thy threats grieve me nought. Nowhere are we likely to come where I shall be thought less worthy than thou.”

 

King Olaf gave to Raven good gifts at parting, and thereafter.

 

 

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

NOTE: Only available in PDF eBook format – for now.

 

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.

 

The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm Tongue and Raven the Skald

 

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THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER VIII – Of Gunnlaug in Ireland

Thereafter Gunnlaug sailed from England with chapmen north to Dublin. In those days King Sigtrygg Silky-beard, son of King Olaf Kvaran and Queen Kormlada, ruled over Ireland; and he had then borne sway but a little while. Gunnlaug went before the king, and greeted him well and worthily. The king received him as was meet. Then Gunnlaug said, “I have made a song on thee, and I would fain have silence therefor.”

 

The king answered, “No men have before now come forward with songs for me, and surely will I hearken to thine.” Then Gunnlaug brought the song, whereof this is the burden,—

 

“Swaru’s steed

Doth Sigtrygg feed.”

 

 

And this is therein also:—

 

“Praise-worth I can

Well measure in man,

And kings, one by one—

Lo here, Kvararis son!

Gruageth the king

Gift of gold ring?

I, singer, know

His wont to bestow.

Let the high king say,

Heard he or this day,

Song drapu-measure

Dearer a treasure?”

 

The king thanked him for the song, and called his treasurer to him, and said, “How shall the song be rewarded?”

 

“What hast thou will to give, lord?” says he.

 

“How will it be rewarded if I give him two ships for it?” said the king.

Then said the treasurer, “This is too much, lord; other kings give in regard of songs good keepsakes, fair swords, or golden rings.”

 

So the king gave him his own raiment of new scarlet, a gold-embroidered kirtle, and a cloak lined with choice furs, and a gold ring which weighed a mark. Gunnlaug thanked him well.

He dwelt a short time here, and then went thence to the Orkneys.

 

Then was lord in Orkney, Earl Sigurd, the son of Hlodver; he was friendly to Icelanders. Now Gunnlaug greeted the earl well, and said he had a song to bring him. The earl said he would listen thereto, since he was of such great kin in Iceland.

 

Then Gunnlaug brought the song; it was a shorter lay, and well done. The earl gave him for lay-reward a broad axe, all inlaid with silver, and bade him abide with him.

 

Gunnlaug thanked him both for his gift and his offer, but said he was bound east for Sweden; and thereafter he went on board ship with chapmen who sailed to Norway.

 

In the autumn they came east to King’s Cliff, Thorkel, his kinsman, being with him all the time. From King’s Cliff they got a guide up to West Gothland, and came upon a cheaping-stead, called Skarir: there ruled an earl called Sigurd, a man stricken in years. Gunnlaug went before him, and told him he had made a song on him; the earl gave a willing ear hereto, and Gunnlaug brought the song, which was a shorter lay.

 

The earl thanked him, and rewarded the song well, and bade him abide there that winter.

Earl Sigurd had a great Yule-feast in the winter, and on Yule-eve came thither men sent from Earl Eric of Norway, twelve of them together, and brought gifts to Earl Sigurd. The earl made them good cheer, and bade them sit by Gunnlaug through the Yule-tide; and there was great mirth at drinks.

 

Now the Gothlanders said that no earl was greater or of more fame than Earl Sigurd; but the Norwegians thought that Earl Eric was by far the foremost of the two. Hereon would they bandy words, till they both took Gunnlaug to be umpire in the matter.

Then he sang this stave:—

“Tell ye, staves of spear-din,

How on sleek-side sea-horse

Oft this earl hath proven

Over-toppling billows;

But Eric, victory’s ash-tree,

Oft hath seen in east-seas

More of high blue billows

Before the bows a-roaring.”

 

Both sides were content with his finding, but the Norwegians the best. But after Yule-tide those messengers left with gifts of goodly things, which Earl Sigurd sent to Earl Eric.

Now they told Earl Eric of Gunnlaug’s finding: the earl thought that he had shown upright dealing and friendship to him herein, and let out some words, saying that Gunnlaug should have good peace throughout his land. What the earl had said came thereafter to the ears of Gunnlaug.

 

But now Earl Sigurd gave Gunnlaug a guide east to Tenthland, in Sweden, as he had asked.

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

NOTE: Only available in PDF eBook format – for now.

 

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.

 

Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and raven the Skald

 

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THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER VII – Of Gunnlaug in the East and the West

 

In those days Earl Eric, the son of Hakon, and his brother Svein, ruled in Norway. Earl Eric abode as then at Hladir, which was left to him by his father, and a mighty lord he was. Skuli, the son of Thorstein, was with the earl at that time, and was one of his court, and well esteemed.

 

Now they say that Gunnlaug and Audun Festargram, and seven of them together, went up to Hladir to the earl. Gunnlaug was so clad that he had on a grey kirtle and white long-hose; he had a boil on his foot by the instep, and from this oozed blood and matter as he strode on. In this guise he went before the earl with Audun and the rest of them, and greeted him well. The earl knew Audun, and asked him tidings from Iceland. Audun told him what there was toward. Then the earl asked Gunnlaug who he was, and Gunnlaug told him his name and kin. Then the earl said: “Skuli Thorstein’s son, what manner of man is this in Iceland?”

 

“Lord,” says he, “give him good welcome, for he is the son of the best man in Iceland, Illugi the Black of Gilsbank, and my foster-brother withal.”

 

The earl asked, “What ails thy foot, Icelander?”

 

“A boil, lord,” said he.

 

“And yet thou wentest not halt?”

 

Gunnlaug answers, “Why go halt while both legs are long alike?”

 

Then said one of the earl’s men, called Thorir: “He swaggereth hugely, this Icelander! It would not be amiss to try him a little.”

Gunnlaug looked at him and sang:—

“A courtman there is

Full evil I was,

A bad man and black,

Belief let him lack.”

 

Then would Thorir seize an axe. The earl spake: “Let it be,” says he; “to such things men should pay no heed. But now, Icelander, how old a man art thou?”

 

Gunnlaug answers: “I am eighteen winters old as now,” says he.

 

Then says Earl Eric, “My spell is that thou shalt not live eighteen winters more.”

 

Gunnlaug said, somewhat under his breath: “Pray not against me, but for thyself rather.”

 

The earl asked thereat, “What didst thou say, Icelander?”

 

Gunnlaug answers, “What I thought well befitting, that thou shouldst bid no prayers against me, but pray well for thyself rather.”

 

“What prayers, then?” says the earl.

 

“That thou mightest not meet thy death after the manner of Earl Hakon, thy father.”

 

The earl turned red as blood, and bade them take the rascal in haste; but Skuli stepped up to the earl, and said: “Do this for my words, lord, and give this man peace, so that he depart at his swiftest.”

 

The earl answered, “At his swiftest let him be off then, if he will have peace, and never let him come again within mv realm.”

 

Then Skuli went out with Gunnlaug down to the bridges, where there was an England-bound ship ready to put out; therein Skuli got for Gunnlaug a berth, as well as for Thorkel, his kinsman; but Gunnlaug gave his ship into Audun’s ward, and so much of his goods as he did not take with him.

 

Now sail Gunnlaug and his fellows into the English main, and come at autumntide south to London Bridge, where they hauled ashore their ship.

 

Now at that time King Ethelred, the son of Edgar, ruled over England, and was a good lord; this winter he sat in London. But in those days there was the same tongue in England as in Norway and Denmark; but the tongues changed when William the Bastard won England, for thenceforward French went current there, for he was of French kin.

 

Gunnlaug went presently to the king, and greeted him well and worthily, The king asked him from what land he came, and Gunnlaug told him all as it was. “But,” said he, “I have come to meet thee, lord, for that I have made a song on thee, and I would that it might please thee to hearken to that song.” The king said it should be so, and Gunnlaug gave forth the song well and proudly; and this is the burden thereof:—

 

“As God are all folk fearing

The free lord King of England,

Kin of all kings and all folk,

To Ethelred the head tow.”

 

The king thanked him for the song, and gave him as song-reward a scarlet cloak lined with the costliest of furs, and golden-broidered down to the hem; and made him his man; and Gunnlaug was with him all the winter, and was well accounted of.

 

One day, in the morning early, Gunnlaug met three men in a certain street, and Thororm was the name of their leader; he was big and strong, and right evil to deal with. He said, “Northman, lend me some money.”

 

Gunnlaug answered, “That were ill counselled to lend one’s money to unknown men.”

 

He said, “I will pay it thee back on a named day.”

 

“Then shall it be risked,” says Gunnlaug; and he lent him the fee withal.

 

But some time afterwards Gunnlaug met the king, and told him of the money-lending. The king answered, “Now hast thou thriven little, for this is the greatest robber and reiver; deal with him in no wise, but I will give thee money as much as thine was.”

Gunnlaug said, “Then do we, your men, do after a sorry sort, if, treading sackless folk under foot, we let such fellows as this deal us out our lot. Nay, that shall never be.”

 

Soon after he met Thororm and claimed the fee of him. He said he was not going to pay it.

Then sang Gunnlaug:—

 

“Evil counselled art thou,

Gold from us withholding;

The reddener of the edges,

Pricking on with tricking.

Wot ye what? they called me,

Worm-tongue, yet a youngling;

Nor for nought so hight I;

Now is time to show it!”

 

“Now I will make an offer good in law,” says Gunnlaug; “that thou either pay me my money, or else that thou go on holm with me in three nights’ space.”

 

Then laughed the viking, and said, “Before thee none have come to that, to call me to holm, despite of all the ruin that many a man has had to take at my hands. Well, I am ready to go.”

Thereon they parted for that time.

 

Gunnlaug told the king what had befallen; and he said, “Now, indeed, have things taken a right hopeless turn; for this man’s eyes can dull any weapon. But thou shalt follow my rede; here is a sword I will give thee—with that thou shalt fight, but before the battle show him another.”

 

Gunnlaug thanked the king well therefor.

 

Now when they were ready for the holm, Thororm asked what sort of a sword it was that he had. Gunnlaug unsheathed it and showed him, but had a loop round the handle of the king’s sword, and slipped it over his hand; the bearserk looked on the sword, and said, “I fear not that sword.”

 

But now he dealt a blow on Gunnlaug with his sword, and cut off from him nigh all his shield; Gunnlaug smote in turn with the king’s gift; the bearserk stood shieldless before him, thinking he had the same weapon he had shown him, but Gunnlaug smote him his deathblow then and there.

 

The king thanked him for this work, and he got much fame therefor, both in England and far and wide elsewhere.

 

In the spring, when ships sailed from land to land, Gunnlaug prayed King Ethelred for leave to sail somewhither; the king asks what he was about then. Gunnlaug said, “I would fulfil what I have given my word to do,” and sang this stave withal:—

 

“My ways must I be wending

Three kings’ walls to see yet,

And earls twain, as I promised

Erewhile to land-sharers.

Neither will I wend me

Back, the worms’-bed lacking,

By war-lord’s son, the wealth-free,

For work done gift well given.”

 

“So be it, then, skald,” said the king, and withal he gave him a ring that weighed six ounces; “but,” said he, “thou shalt give me thy word to come back next autumn, for I will not let thee go altogether, because of thy great prowess.”

 

 

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

NOTE: Only available in PDF eBook format – for now.

 

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.

 

 

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THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER VI – HOW HELGA WAS VOWED TO GUNNLAUG, AND OF GUNNLAUG’S FARING ABROAD

Gunnlaug Worm-Tongue was, as is aforesaid, whiles at Burg with Thorstein, whiles with his father Illugi at Gilsbank, three winters together, and was by now eighteen winters old; and father and son were now much more of a mind.

 

There was a man called Thorkel the Black; he was a house-carle of Illugi, and near akin to him, and had been brought up in his house. To him fell an heritage north at As, in Water-dale, and he prayed Gunnlaug to go with him thither. This he did, and so they rode, the two together, to As. There they got the fee; it was given up to them by those who had the keeping of it, mostly because of Gunnlaug’s furtherance.

 

But as they rode from the north they guested at Grimstongue, at a rich bonder’s who dwelt there; but in the morning a herdsman took Gunnlaug’s horse, and it had sweated much by then he got it back. Then Gunnlaug smote the herdsman, and stunned him; but the bonder would in nowise bear this, and claimed boot therefor. Gunnlaug offered to pay him one mark. The bonder thought it too little.

Then Gunnlaug sang,—

 

“Bade I the middling mighty

To have a mark of waves’ flame;

Giver of grey seas? glitter,

This gift shalt thou make shift with.

If the elf sun of the waters

From out of purse thou lettest,

O waster of the worm’s bedy

Awaits thee sorrow later.”

 

So the peace was made as Gunnlaug bade, and in such wise the two rode south.

Now, a little while after, Gunnlaug asked his father a second time for goods for going abroad.

 

Illugi says, “Now shalt thou have thy will, for thou hast wrought thyself into something better than thou wert.” So Illugi rode hastily from home, and bought for Gunnlaug half a ship which lay in Gufaros, from Audun Festargram—this Audun was he who would not flit abroad the sons of Oswif the Wise, after the slaying of Kiartan Olafson, as is told in the story of the Laxdalemen, which thing though betid later than this.—And when Illugi came home, Gunnlaug thanked him well.

 

Thorkel the Black betook himself to seafaring with Gunnlaug, and their wares were brought to the ship; but Gunnlaug was at Burg while they made her ready, and found more cheer in talk with Helga than in toiling with chapmen.

 

Now one day Thorstein asked Gunnlaug if he would ride to his horses with him up to Long-water-dale. Gunnlaug said he would. So they ride both together till they come to the mountain-dairies of Thorstein, called Thorgils-stead. There were stud-horses of Thorstein, four of them together, all red of hue. There was one horse very goodly, but little tried: this horse Thorstein offered to give to Gunnlaug. He said he was in no need of horses, as he was going away from the country; and so they ride to other stud-horses. There was a grey horse with four mares, and he was the best of horses in Burgfirth. This one, too, Thorstein offered to give Gunnlaug, but he said, “I desire these in no wise more than the others; but why dost thou not bid me what I will take?”

 

“What is that?” said Thorstein.

 

“Helga the Fair, thy daughter,” says Gunnlaug.

 

“That rede is not to be settled so hastily,” said Thorstein; and therewithal got on other talk.

 

And now they ride homewards down along Long-water.

 

Then said Gunnlaug, “I must needs know what thou wilt answer me about the wooing.”

 

Thorstein answers: “I heed not thy vain talk,” says he.

 

Gunnlaug says, “This is my whole mind, and no vain words.”

 

Thorstein says, “Thou shouldst first know thine own will. Art thou not bound to fare abroad? and yet thou makest as if thou wouldst go marry. Neither art thou an even match for Helga while thou art so unsettled, and therefore this cannot so much as be looked at.”

 

Gunnlaug says, “Where lookest thou for a match for thy daughter, if thou wilt not give her to the son of Illugi the Black; or who are they throughout Burg-firth who are of more note than he?”

 

Thorstein answered: “I will not play at men-mating,” says he, “but if thou wert such a man as he is, thou wouldst not be turned away.”

 

Gunnlaug said, “To whom wilt thou give thy daughter rather than to me?”

 

Said Thorstein, “Hereabout are many good men to choose from. Thorfin of Red-Mel hath seven sons, and all of them men of good manners.”

 

Gunnlaug answers, “Neither Onund nor Thorfin are men as good as my father. Nay, thou thyself clearly fallest short of him—or what hast thou to set against his strife with Thorgrim the Priest, the son of Kiallak, and his sons, at Thorsness Thing, where he carried all that was in debate?”

 

Thorstein answers, “I drave away Steinar, the son of Onund Sioni, which was deemed somewhat of a deed.”

 

Gunnlaug says, “Therein thou wast holpen by thy father Egil; and, to end all, it is for few bonders to cast away my alliance.”

 

Said Thorstein, “Carry thy cowing away to the fellows up yonder at the mountains; for down here, on the Meres, it shall avail thee nought.”

 

Now in the evening they come home; but next morning Gunnlaug rode up to Gilsbank, and prayed his father to ride with him a-wooing out to Burg.

Illugi answered, “Thou art an unsettled man, being bound for faring abroad, but makest now as if thou wouldst busy thyself with wife-wooing; and so much do I know, that this is not to Thorstein’s mind.”

 

Gunnlaug answers, “I shall go abroad all the same, nor shall I be well pleased but if thou further this.”

 

So after this Illugi rode with eleven men from home down to Burg, and Thorstein greeted him well. Early in the morning Illugi said to Thorstein, “I would speak to thee.”

 

“Let us go, then, to the top of the Burg, and talk together there,” says Thorstein; and so they did, and Gunnlaug went with them.

 

Then said Illugi, “My kinsman Gunnlaug tells me that he has begun a talk with thee on his own behalf, praying that he might woo thy daughter Helga; but now I would fain know what is like to come of this matter. His kin is known to thee, and our possessions; from my hand shall be spared neither land nor rule over men, if such things might perchance further matters.”

 

Thorstein said, “Herein alone Gunnlaug pleases me not, that I find him an unsettled man; but if he were of a mind like thine, little would I hang back.”

 

Illugi said, “It will cut our friendship across if thou gainsayest me and my son an equal match.”

 

Thorstein answers, “For thy words and our friendship then, Helga shall be vowed, but not betrothed, to Gunnlaug, and shall bide for him three winters: but Gunnlaug shall go abroad and shape himself to the ways of good men; but I shall be free from all these matters if he does not then come back, or if his ways are not to my liking.”

 

Thereat they parted; Illugi rode home, but Gunnlaug rode to his ship. But when they had wind at will they sailed for the main, and made the northern part of Norway, and sailed landward along Thrandheim to Nidaros; there they rode in the harbour, and unshipped their goods.

 

 

 

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

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The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm Tongue and Raven the Skald

 

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THE SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD – CHAPTER V – OF RAVEN AND HIS KIN

There was a man called Onund, who dwelt in the south at Mossfell: he was the wealthiest of men, and had a priesthood south there about the nesses. He was married, and his wife was called Geirny. She was the daughter of Gnup, son of Mold-Gnup, who settled at Grindwick, in the south country. Their sons were Raven, and Thorarin, and Eindridi; they were all hopeful men, but Raven was in all wise the first of them. He was a big man and a strong, the sightliest of men and a good skald; and when he was fully grown he fared between sundry lands, and was well accounted of wherever he came.

 

Thorod the Sage, the son of Eyvind, then dwelt at Hjalli, south in Olfus, with Skapti his son, who was then the spokesman-at-law in Iceland. The mother of Skapti was Ranveig, daughter of Gnup, the son of Mold-Gnup; and Skapti and the sons of Onund were sisters’ sons. Between these kinsmen was much friendship as well as kinship.

 

At this time Thorfin, the son of Selthorir, dwelt at Red-Mel, and had seven sons, who were all the hopefullest of men; and of them were these—Thorgils, Eyjolf, and Thorir; and they were all the greatest men out there. But these men who have now been named lived all at one and the same time.

 

Next to this befell those tidings, the best that ever have befallen here in Iceland, that the whole land became Christian, and that all folk cast off the old faith.

 

———————-

From: THE STORY/SAGA OF GUNNLAUG THE WORM-TONGUE AND RAVEN THE SKALD

Translated From The Icelandic EIRIKR MAGNUSSON & WILLIAM MORRIS

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

 

NOTE: Only available in PDF eBook format – for now.

 

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

A percentage of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to UNICEF.

 

The saga of gunnlaug the worm tongue

 

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