Part 7 out of 9
Kari spoke to Skarphedinn, and said, "Leap thou out here, and I
will help thee to do so, and I will leap out after thee, and then
we shall both get away if we set about it so, for hitherward
blows all the smoke."
"Thou shalt leap first," said Skarphedinn; "but I will leap
straightway on thy heels."
"That is not wise," says Kari, "for I can get out well enough
elsewhere, though it does not come about here."
"I will not do that," says Skarphedinn; "leap thou out first, but
I will leap after thee at once."
"It is bidden to every man," says Kari, "to seek to save his life
while he has a choice, and I will do so now; but still this
parting of ours will be in such wise that we shall never see one
another more; for if I leap out of the fire, I shall have no mind
to leap back into the fire to thee, and then each of us will have
to fare his own way."
"It joys me, brother-in-law," says Skarphedinn, "to think that if
thou gettest away thou wilt avenge me."
Then Kari took up a blazing bench in his hand, and runs up along
the cross-beam, then he hurls the bench out at the roof, and it
fell among those who were outside.
Then they ran away, and by that time all Kari's upper clothing
and his hair were a-b1aze, then he threw himself down from the
roof, and so crept along with the smoke.
Then one man said who was nearest, "Was that a man that leapt out
at the roof?"
"Far from it," says another; "more likely it was Skarphedinn who
hurled a firebrand at us."
After that they had no more mistrust.
Kari ran till he came to a stream, and then he threw himself down
into it, and so quenched the fire on him.
After that he ran along under shelter of the smoke into a hollow,
and rested him there, and that has since been called Kari's
129. SKARPHEDINN'S DEATH
Now it is to be told of Skarphedinn that he runs out on the
cross-beam straight after Kari, but when he came to where the
beam was most burnt, then it broke down under him. Skarphedinn
came down on his feet, and tried again the second time, and
climbs up the wall with a run, then down on him came the wall-
plate, and he toppled down again inside.
Then Skarphedinn said, "Now one can see what will come;" and then
he went along the side wall. Gunnar Lambi's son leapt up on the
wall and sees Skarphedinn, he spoke thus, "Weepest thou now,
"Not so," says Skarphedinn; "but true it is that the smoke makes
one's eyes smart, but is it as it seems to me, dost thou laugh?"
"So it is surely," says Gunnar, "and I have never laughed since
thou slewest Thrain on Markfleet."
Then Skarphedinn said, "Here now is a keepsake for thee;" and
with that he took out of his purse the jaw-tooth which he had
hewn out of Thrain, and threw it at Gunnar, and struck him in the
eye, so that it started out and lay on his cheek.
Then Gunnar fell down from the roof.
Skarphedinn then went to his brother Grim, and they held one
another by the hand and trode the fire; but when they came to the
middle of the hall Grim fell down dead.
Then Skarphedinn went to the end of the house, and then there was
a great crash, and down fell the roof. Skarphedinn was then shut
in between it and the gable, and so he could not stir a step
Flosi and his band stayed by the fire until it was broad
daylight; then came a man riding up to them. Flosi asked him for
his name, but he said his name was Geirmund, and that he was a
kinsman of the sons of Sigfus.
"Ye have done a mighty deed," he says.
"Men," said Flosi, "will call it both a mighty deed and an ill
deed, but that can't be helped now."
"How many men have lost their lives here?" asks Geirmund.
"Here have died," says Flosi, "Njal and Bergthora and all their
sons, Thord Kari's son, Kari Solmund's son, but besides these we
cannot say for a surety, because we know not their names."
"Thou tellest him now dead," said Geirmund, "with whom we have
gossiped this morning."
"Who is that?" says Flosi.
"We two," says Geirmund, "I and my neighbour Bard, met Kari
Solmund's son, and Bard gave him his horse, and his hair and his
upper clothes were burned off him!"
"Had he any weapons?" asks Flosi.
"He had the sword `Life-luller,'" says Geirmund, "and one edge of
it was blue with fire, and Bard and I said that it must have
become soft, but he answered thus, that he would harden it in the
blood of the sons of Sigfus or the other Burners."
"What said he of Skarphedinn?" said Flosi.
"He said both he and Grim were alive," answers Geirmund, "when
they parted; but he said that now they must be dead."
"Thou hast told us a tale," said Flosi, "which bodes us no idle
peace, for that man hath now got away who comes next to Gunnar of
Lithend in all things; and now, ye sons of Sigfus, and ye other
burners, know this, that such a great blood feud, and hue and cry
will be made about this burning, that it will make many a man
headless, but some will lose all their goods. Now I doubt much
whether any man of you, ye sons of Sigfus, will dare to stay in
his house; and that is not to be wondered at; and so I will bid
you all to come and stay with me in the east, and let us all
share one fate."
They thanked him for his offer, and said they would be glad to
Then Modolf Kettle's son, sang a song:
"But one prop of Njal's house liveth,
All the rest inside are burnt,
All but one -- those bounteous spenders,
Sigfus' stalwart sons wrought this;
Son of Gollnir (1) now is glutted
Vengeance for brave Hauskuld's death,
Brisk flew fire through thy dwelling,
Bright flames blazed above thy roof."
"We shall have to boast of something else than that Njal has been
burnt in his house," says Flosi, "for there is no glory in that."
Then he went up on the gable, and Glum Hilldir's son, and some
other men. Then Glum said, "Is Skarphedinn dead, indeed?" But
the others said he must have been dead long ago.
The fire sometimes blazed up fitfully and sometimes burned low,
and then they heard down in the fire beneath them that this song
"Deep, I ween, ye Ogre offspring
Devilish brood of giant birth,
Would ye groan with gloomy visage
Had the fight gone to my mind;
But my very soul it gladdens
That my friends I who now boast high,
Wrought not this foul deed, their glory,
Save with footsteps filled with gore."
"Can Skarphedinn, think ye, have sung this song dead or alive?"
said Grani Gunnar's son.
"I will go into no guesses about that," says Flosi.
"We will look for Skarphedinn," says Grani, "and the other men
who have been here burnt inside the house."
"That shall not be," says Flosi, "it is just like such foolish
men as thou art, now that men will be gathering force all over
the country; and when they do come, I trow the very same man who
now lingers will be so scared that he will not know which way to
run; and now my counsel is that we all ride away as quickly as
ever we can."
Then Flosi went hastily to his horse and all his men.
Then Flosi said to Geirmund, "Is Ingialld, thinkest thou, at home
at the Springs?"
Geirmund said he thought he must be at home.
"There now is a man," says Flosi, "who has broken his oath with
us and all good faith."
Then Flosi said to the sons of Sigfus, "What course will ye now
take with Ingialld; will ye forgive him, or shall we now fall on
him and slay him?"
They all answered that they would rather fall on him and slay
Then Flosi jumped on his horse, and all the others, and they rode
away. Flosi rode first, and shaped his course for Rangriver, and
up along the river bank.
Then he saw a man riding down on the other bank of the river and
he knew that there was Ingialld of the Springs. Flosi calls out
to him. Ingialld halted and turned down to the river bank; and
Flosi said to him, "Thou hast broken faith with us, and hast
forfeited life and goods. Here now are the sons of Sigfus, who
are eager to slay thee; but methinks thou hast fallen into a
strait, and I will give thee thy life if thou will hand over to
me the right to make my own award."
"I will sooner ride to meet Kari," said Ingialld, "than grant
thee the right to utter thine own award, and my answer to the
sons of Sigfus is this, that I shall be no whit more afraid of
them than they are of me."
"Bide thou there," says Flosi, "if thou art not a coward, for I
will send thee a gift."
"I will bide of a surety," says Ingialld.
Thorstein Kolbein's son, Flosi's brother's son, rode up by his
side and had a spear in his hand, he was one of the bravest of
men, and the most worthy of those who were with Flosi.
Flosi snatched the spear from him, and launched it at Ingialld,
and it fell on his left side, and passed through the shield just
below the handle, and clove it all asunder, but the spear passed
on into his thigh just above the knee-pan, and so on into the
saddle-tree, and there stood fast.
Then Flosi said to Ingialld, "Did it touch thee?
"It touched me sure enough," says Ingialld, "but I call this a
scratch and not a wound."
Then Ingialld plucked the spear out of the wound, and said to
Flosi, "Now bide thou, if thou art not a milksop."
Then he launched the spear back over the river. Flosi sees that
the spear is coming straight for his middle, and then he backs
his horse out of the way, but the spear flew in front of Flosi's
horse, and missed him, but it struck Thorstein's middle, and down
he fell at once dead off his horse.
Now Ingialld runs for the wood, and they could not get at him.
Then Flosi said to his men, "Now have we gotten manscathe, and
now we may know, when such things befall us, into what a luckless
state we have got. Now it is my counsel that we ride up to
Threecorner Ridge; thence we shall be able to see where men ride
all over the country, for by this time they will have gathered
together a great band, and they will think that we have ridden
east to Fleetlithe from Threecorner Ridge; and thence they will
think that we are riding north up on the fell, and so east to our
own country, and thither the greater part of the folk will ride
after us; but some will ride the coast road east to
Selialandsmull, and yet they will think there is less hope of
finding us thitherward, but I will now take counsel for all of
us, and my plan is to ride up into Threecorner-fell, and bide
there till three suns have risen and set in heaven."
(1) "Son of Gollnir," Njal, who was the son of Thorgeir Gelling
(2) "My friends," ironically of course.
130. OF KARI SOLMUND'S SON
Now it is to be told of Kari Solmund's son that he fared away
from that hollow in which he had rested himself until he met
Bard, and those words passed between them which Geirmund had
Thence Kari rode to Mord, and told him the tidings, and he was
Kari said there were other things more befitting a man than to
weep for them dead, and bade him rather gather folk and come to
After that he rode into Thurso-dale to Hjallti Skeggi's son, and
as he went along Thurso water, he sees a man riding fast behind
him. Kari waited for the man, and knows that he was Ingialld of
the Springs. He sees that he is very bloody about the thigh; and
Kari asked Ingialld who had wounded him, and he told him.
"Where met ye two?" says Kari.
"By Rangwater side," says Ingialld, "and he threw a spear over
"Didst thou aught for it?" asks Kari.
"I threw the spear back," says Ingialld, "and they said that it
met a man, and he was dead at once."
"Knowest thou not," said Kari, "who the man was?"
"Methought he was like Thorstein Flosi's brother's son," says
"Good luck go with thy hand," says Kari.
After that they rode both together to see Hjallti Skeggi's son,
and told him the tidings. He took these deeds ill, and said
there was the greatest need to ride after them and slay them all.
After that he gathered men and roused the whole country; now he
and Kari and Ingialld ride with this band to meet Mord Valgard's
son, and they found him at Holtford, and Mord was there waiting
for them with a very great company. Then they parted the hue and
cry; some fared the straight road by the east coast to
Selialandsmull, but some went up to Fleetlithe, and other-some
the higher road thence to Threecorner Ridge, and so down into
Godaland. Thence they rode north to Sand. Some too rode as far
as Fishwaters, and there turned back. Some the coast road east
to Holt, and told Thorgeir the tidings, and asked whether they
had not ridden by there.
"This is how it is," said Thorgeir, "though I am not a mighty
chief, yet Flosi would take other counsel than to ride under my
eyes, when he has slain Njal, my father's brother, and my
cousins; and there is nothing left for any of you but e'en to
turn back again, for ye should have hunted longer nearer home;
but tell this to Kari, that he must ride hither to me and be here
with me if he will; but though he will not come hither east,
still I will look after his farm at Dyrholms if he will, but tell
him too that I will stand by him and ride with him to the
Althing. And he shall also know this, that we brothers are the
next of kin to follow up the feud, and we mean so to take up the
suit, that outlawry shall follow and after that revenge, man for
man, if we can bring it about; but I do not go with you now,
because I know naught will come of it, and they will now be as
wary as they can of themselves."
Now they ride back, and all met at Hof and talked there among
themselves, and said that they had gotten disgrace since they had
not found them. Alord said that was not so. Then many men were
eager that they should fare to Fleetlithe, and pull down the
homesteads of all those who had been at those deeds, but still
they listened for Mord's utterance.
"That," he said, "would be the greatest folly." They asked why
he said that.
"Because," he said, "if their houses stand, they will be sure to
visit them to see their wives; and then, as time rolls on, we may
hunt them down there; and now ye shall none of you doubt that I
will be true to thee Kari, and to all of you, and in all counsel,
for I have to answer for myself."
Hjallti bade him do as he said. Then Hjallti bade Kari to come
and stay with him, he said he would ride thither first. They
told him what Thorgeir had offered him, and he said he would make
use of that offer afterwards, but said his heart told him it
would be well if there were many such.
After that the whole band broke up.
Flosi and his men saw all these tidings from where they were on
the fell; and Flosi said, "Now we will take our horses and ride
away, for now it will be some good."
The sons of Sigfus asked whether it would be worth while to get
to their homes and tell the news.
"It must be Mord's meaning," says Flosi, "that ye will visit your
wives; and my guess is, that his plan is to let your houses stand
unsacked; but my plan is that not a man shall part from the
other, but all ride east with me."
So every man took that counsel, and then they all rode east and
north of the Jokul, and so on till they came to Swinefell.
Flosi sent at once men out to get in stores, so that nothing
might fall short.
Folsi never spoke about the deed, but no fear was found in him,
and he was at home the whole winter till Yule was over.
131. NJAL'S AND BERGTHORA'S BONES FOUND
Kari bade Hjallti to go and search for Njal's bones, "For all
will believe in what thou sayest and thinkest about them."
Hjallti said he would be most willing to bear Njal's bones to
church; so they rode thence fifteen men. They rode east over
Thurso-water, and called on men there to come with them till they
had one hundred men, reckoning Njal's neighbours.
They came to Bergthorsknoll at mid-day.
Hjallti asked Kari under what part of the house Njal might be
lying, but Kari showed them to the spot, and there was a great
heap of ashes to dig away. There they found the hide underneath,
and it was as though it were shrivelled with the fire. They
raised up the hide, and lo! they were unburnt under it. All
praised God for that, and thought it was a great token.
Then the boy was taken up who had lain between them, and of him a
finger was burnt off which he had stretched out from under the
Njal was home out, and so was Bergthora, and then all men went to
see their bodies.
Then Hjallti said, "What like look to you these bodies?"
They answered, "We will wait for thy utterance."
Then Hjallti said, "I shall speak what I say with all freedom of
speech. The body of Bergthora looks as it was likely she would
look, and still fair; but Njal's body and visage seem to me so
bright that I have never seen any dead man's body so bright as
They all said they thought so too.
Then they sought for Skarphedinn, and the men of the household
showed them to the spot where Flosi and his men heard the song
sung, and there the roof had fallen down by the gable, and there
Hjallti said that they should look. Then they did so, and found
Skarphedinn's body there, and he had stood up hard by the gable-
wall, and his legs were burnt off him right up to the knees, but
all the rest of him was unburnt. He had bitten through his under
lip, his eyes were wide open and not swollen nor starting out of
his head; he had driven his axe into the gable-wall so hard that
it had gone in up to the middle of the blade, and that was why it
was not softened.
After that the axe was broken out of the wall, and Hjallti took
up the axe, and said, "This is a rare weapon, and few would be
able to wield it."
"I see a man," said Kari, "who shall bear the axe."
"Who is that?" says Hjallti.
"Thorgeir Craggeir," says Kari, "he whom I now think to be the
greatest man in all their family."
Then Skarphedinn was stripped of his clothes, for they were
unburnt, he had laid his hands in a cross, and the right hand
uppermost. They found marks on him; one between his shoulders
and the other on his chest, and both were branded in the shape of
a cross, and men thought that he must have burnt them in himself.
All men said that they thought that it was better to be near
Skarphedinn dead than they weened, for no man was afraid of him.
They sought for the bones of Grim, and found them in the midst
of the hall. They found, too, there, right over against him
under the side wall, Thord Freedmanson; but in the weaving-room
they found Saevuna the carline, and three men more. In all they
found there the bones of nine souls. Now they carried the bodies
to the church, and then Hjallti rode home and Kari with him. A
swelling came on Ingialld's leg, and then he fared to Hjallti,
and was healed there, but still he limped ever afterwards.
Kari rode to Tongue to Asgrim Ellidagrim's son. By that time
Thorhalla was come home, and she had already told the tidings.
Asgrim took Kari by both hands, and bade him be there all that
year. Kari said so it should be.
Asgrim asked besides all the folk who had been in the house at
Bergthorsknoll to stay with him. Kari said that was well
offered, and said he would take it on their behalf.
Then all the folk were flitted thither.
Thorhall Asgrim's son was so startled when he was told that his
foster-father Njal was dead, and that he had been burnt in his
house, that he swelled all over, and a stream of blood burst out
of both his ears, and could not be staunched, and he fell into a
swoon, and then it was staunched.
After that he stood up, and said he had behaved like a coward,
"But I would that I might be able to avenge this which has
befallen me on some of those who burnt him."
But when others said that no one would think this a shame to him,
he said he could not stop the mouths of the people from talking
Asgrim asked Kari what trust and help he thought he might look
for from those east of the rivers. Kari said that Mord Valgard's
son, and Hjallti Skeggi's son, would yield him all the help they
could, and so, too, would Thorgeir Craggeir and all those
Asgrim said that was great strength.
"What strength shall we have from thee?" says Kari.
"All that I can give," says Asgrim, "and I will lay down my life
"So do," says Kari.
"I have also," says Asgrim, "brought Gizur the White into the
suit, and have asked his advice how we shall set about it."
"What advice did he give?" asks Kari.
"He counselled," answers Asgrim, "`that we should hold us quite
still till spring, but then ride east and set the suit on foot
against Flosi for the manslaughter of Helgi, and summon the
neighbours from their homes, and give due notice at the Thing of
the suits for the burning, and summon the same neighbours there
too on the inquest before the court. I asked Gizur who should
plead the suit for manslaughter, but he said that Mord should
plead it whether he liked it or not, and now,' he went on, `it
shall fall most heavily on him that up to this time all the suits
he has undertaken have had the worst ending. Kari shall also be
wroth whenever he meets Mord, and so, if he be made to fear on
one side, and has to look to me on the other, then he will
undertake the duty.'"
Then Kari said, "We will follow thy counsel as long as we can,
and thou shalt lead us."
It is to be told of Kari that he could not sleep of nights.
Asgrim woke up one night and heard that Kari was awake, and
Asgrim said, "Is it that thou canst not sleep at night?"
Then Kari sang this song:
"Bender of the bow of battle,
Sleep will not my eyelids seal,
Still my murdered messmates' bidding
Haunts my mind the livelong night;
Since the men their brands abusing
Burned last autumn guileless Njal,
Burned him house and home together,
Mindful am I of my hurt."
Kari spoke of no men so often as of Njal and Skarphedinn, and
Bergthora and Helgi. He never abused his foes, and never
132. FLOSI'S DREAM
One night it so happened that Flosi struggled much in his sleep.
Glum Hildir's son woke him up, and then Flosi said, "Call me
Kettle of the Mark."
Kettle came thither, and Flosi said, "I will tell thee my dream."
"I am ready to hear it," says Kettle.
"I dreamt," says Flosi, "that methought I stood below Loom-nip,
and went out and looked up to the Nip, and all at once it opened,
and a man came out of the Nip, and he was clad in goatskins, and
had an iron staff in his hand. He called, as he walked, on many
of my men, some sooner and some later, and named them by name.
First he called Grim the Red my kinsman, and Ami Kol's son. Then
methought something strange followed, methought he called Eyjolf
Bolverk's son, and Ljot son of Hall of the Side, and some six men
more. Then he held his peace awhile. After that he called five
men of our band, and among them were the sons of Sigfus, thy
brothers; then he called other six men, and among them were
Lambi, and Modolf, and Glum. Then he called three men. Last of
all he called Gunnar Lambi's son, and Kol Tborstein's son. After
that he came up to me; I asked him `What news?' He said he had
tidings enough to tell. Then I asked him for his name, but he
called himself Irongrim. I asked him whither he was going; he
said he had to fare to the Althing. `What shalt thou do there?'
I said. `First I shall challenge the inquest,' he answers, `and
then the courts, then clear the field for fighters.' After that
he sang this song:
"Soon a man death's snake-strokes dealing
High shall lift his head on earth,
Here amid the dust low rolling
Battered brainpans men shall see;
Now upon the hills in hurly
Buds the blue steel's harvest bright;
Soon the bloody dew of battle
Thigh-deep through the ranks shall rise."
"Then he shouted with such a mighty shout that methought
everything near shook, and dashed down his staff, and there was a
mighty crash. Then he went back into the fell, but fear clung to
me; and now I wish thee to tell me what thou thinkest this dream
"It is my foreboding," says Kettle, "that all those who were
called must be `fey.' It seems to me good counsel that we tell
this dream to no man just now."
Flosi said so it should be. Now the winter passes away till Yule
was over. Then Flosi said to his men, "Now I mean that we should
fare from home, for methinks we shall not be able to have an idle
peace. Now we shall fare to pray for help, and now that will
come true which I told you, that we should have to bow the knee
to many ere this quarrel were ended."
133. OF FLOSI'S JOURNEY AND HIS ASKING FOR HELP
After that they busked them from home all together. Flosi was in
long-hose because he meant to go on foot, and then he knew that
it would seem less hard to the others to walk.
Then they fared from home to Knappvale, but the evening after to
Broadwater, and then to Calffell, thence by Bjornness to
Hornfirth, thence to Staffell in Lon, and then to Thvattwater to
Hall of the Side.
Flosi had to wife Steinvora, his daughter.
Hall gave them a very hearty welcome, and Flosi said to Hall, "I
will ask thee, father-in-law, that thou wouldst ride to the Thing
with me with all thy Thingmen."
"Now," answered Hall, "it has turned out as the saw says, `but a
short while is hand fain of blow'; and yet it is one and the same
man in thy band who now hangs his head, and who then goaded thee
on to the worst of deeds when it was still undone. But my help I
am bound to lend thee in all such places as I may."
"What counsel dost thou give me," said Flosi, "in the strait in
which I now am."
"Thou shalt fare," said Hall, "north, right up to Weaponfirth,
and ask all the chiefs for aid, and thou wilt yet need it all
before the Thing is over."
Flosi stayed there three nights, and rested him, and fared thence
east to Geitahellna, and so to Berufirth; there they were the
night. Thence they fared east to Broaddale in Haydale. There
Hallbjorn the Strong dwelt. He had to wife Oddny the sister of
Saurli Broddhelgi's son, and Flosi had a hearty welcome there.
Hallbjorn asked how far north among the firths Flosi meant to go.
He said he meant to go as far as Weaponfirth. Then Flosi took a
purse of money from his belt, and said he would give it to
Hallbjorn. He took the money, but yet said he had no claim on
Flosi for gifts, "But still I would be glad to know in what thou
wilt that I repay thee."
"I have no need of money," says Flosi, "but I wish thou wouldst
ride to the Thing with me, and stand by me in my quarrel, but
still I have no ties or kinship to tell towards thee."
"I will grant thee that," said Hallbjorn, "to ride to the Thing
with thee, and to stand by thee in thy quarrel as I would by my
Flosi thanked him, and Hallbjorn asked much about the burning,
but they told him all about it at length.
Thence Flosi fared to Broaddale's heath, and so to Hrafnkelstede,
there dwelt Hrafnkell, the son of Thorir, the son of Hrafnkell
Raum. Flosi had a hearty welcome there, and sought for help and
a promise to ride to the Thing from Hrafnkell, but he stood out a
long while, though the end of it was that he gave his word that
his son Thorir should ride with all their Thingmen, and yield him
such help as the other priests of the same district.
Flosi thanked him and fared away to Bersastede. There Holmstein
son of Bersi the Wise dwelt, and he gave Flosi a very hearty
welcome. Flosi begged him for help. Holmstein said he had been
long in his debt for help.
Thence they fared to Waltheofstede -- there Saurli Broddhelgi's
son, Bjarni's brother, dwelt. He had to wife Thordisa, a
daughter of Gudmund the Powerful, of Modruvale. They had a
hearty welcome there. But next morning Flosi raised the question
with Saurli that he should ride to the Althing with him, and bid
him money for it.
"I cannot tell about that," says Saurli, "so long as I do not
know on which side my father-in-law Gudmund the Powerful stands,
for I mean to stand by him on whichever side he stands."
"Oh!" said Flosi, "I see by thy answer that a woman rules in this
Then Flosi stood up and bade his men take their upper clothing
and weapons, and then they fared away, and got no help there. So
they fared below Lagarfleet and over the heath to Njardwick;
there two brothers dwelt, Thorkel the Allwise, and Thorwalld his
brother; they were sons of Kettle, the son of Thidrandi the Wise,
the son of Kettle Rumble, son of Thorir Thidrandi. The mother of
Thorkel the Allwise and Thorwalld was Yngvillda, daughter of
Thorkel the Wise. Flosi got a hearty welcome there, he told
those brothers plainly of his errand, and asked for their help;
but they put him off until he gave three marks of silver to each
of them for their aid; then they agreed to stand by Flosi.
Their mother Yngvillda was by when they gave their words to ride
to the Althing, and wept. Thorkel asked why she wept; and she
answered, "I dreamt that thy brother Thorwalld was clad in a red
kirtle, and methought it was so tight as though it were sewn on
him; methought too that he wore red hose on his legs and feet,
and bad shoethongs were twisted round them; methought it ill to
see when I knew he was so uncomfortable, but I could do naught
They laughed and told her she had lost her wits, and said her
babble should not stand in the way of their ride to the Thing.
Flosi thanked them kindly, and fared thence to Weaponfirth and
came to Hof. There dwelt Bjarni Broddhelgi's son (1). Bjarni
took Flosi by both hands, and Flosi bade Bjarni money for his
"Never," said Bjarni, "have I sold my manhood or help for bribes,
but now that thou art in need of help, I will do thee a good turn
for friendship's sake, and ride to the Thing with thee, and stand
by thee as I would by my brother."
"Then thou hast thrown a great load of debt on my hands," said
Flosi, "but still I looked for as much from thee."
Thence Flosi and his men fared to Crosswick. Thorkell Geitis'
son was a great friend of his. Flosi told him his errand, and
Thorkel said it was but his duty to stand by him in every way in
his power, and not to part from his quarrel. Thorkel gave Flosi
good gifts at parting.
Thence they fared north to Weaponfirth and up into the Fleetdale
country, and turned in as guests at Holmstein's, the son of Bersi
the Wise. Flosi told him that all had backed him in his need and
business well, save Saurli Broddhelgi's son. Holmstein said the
reason of that was that he was not a man of strife. Holmstein
gave Flosi good gifts.
Flosi fared up Fleetdale, and thence south on the fell across
Oxenlaya and down Swinehorndale, and so out by Alftafirth to the
west, and did not stop till he came to Thvattwater to his father-
in-law Hall's house. There he stayed half a month, and his men
with him and rested him.
Flosi asked Hall what counsel he would now give him, and what he
should do next, and whether he should change his plans.
"My counsel," said Hall, "is this, that thou goest home to thy
house, and the sons of Sigfus with thee, but that they send men
to set their homesteads in order. But first of all fare home,
and when ye ride to the Thing, ride all together, and do not
scatter your band. Then let the sons of Sigfus go to see their
wives on the way. I too will ride to the Thing, and Ljot my son
with all our Thing-men, and stand by thee with such force as I
can gather to me."
Flosi thanked him, and Hall gave him good gifts at parting.
Then Flosi went away from Thvattwater, and nothing is to be told
of his journey till he comes home to Swinefell. There he stayed
at home the rest of the winter, and all the summer right up to
(1) Broddhelgi was the son of Thorgil, the son of Thorstein the
White, the son of Oliver, the son of Eyvalld, the son of
Oxen-Thorir. The mother of Bjarni was Halla, the daughter
of Lyting. The mother of Broddhelgi was Asvora, the
daughter of Thorir, the son of Porridge-Atli, the son of
Thorir Thidrandi. Bjarni Broddhelgi's son had to wife
Rannveiga the daughter of Thorgeir, the son of Eric of
Gooddale, the son of Geirmund, the son of Hroald, the son of
134. OF THORHALL AND KARI
Thorhall Asgrim's son, and Kari Solmund's son, rode one day to
Mossfell to see Gizur the White; he took them with both hands,
and there they were at his house a very long while. Once it
happened as they and Gizur talked of Njal's burning, that Gizur
said it was very great luck that Kari had got away. Then a song
came into Kari's mouth.
"I who whetted helmet-hewer (1),
I who oft have burnished brand,
From the fray went all unwilling
When Njal's rooftree crackling roared;
Out I leapt when bands of spearmen
Lighted there a blaze of flame!
Listen men unto my moaning,
Mark the telling of my grief."
Then Gizur said, "It must be forgiven thee that thou art mindful,
and so we will talk no more about it just now."
Kari says that he will ride home; and Gizur said, "I will now
make a clean breast of my counsel to thee. Thou shalt not ride
home, but still thou shalt ride away, and east under Eyjafell, to
see Thorgeir Craggeir, and Thorleif Crow. They shall ride from
the east with thee. They are the next of kin in the suit, and
with them shall ride Thorgrim the Big, their brother. Ye shall
ride to Mord Valgard's son's house, and tell him this message
from me, that he shall take up the suit for manslaughter for
Helgi Njal's son against Flosi. But if he utters any words
against this, then shalt thou make thy self most wrathful, and
make believe as though thou wouldst let thy axe fall on his head;
and in the second place, thou shalt assure him of my wrath if he
shows any ill will. Along with that shalt thou say, that I will
send and fetch away my daughter Thorkatla, and make her come home
to me; but that he will not abide, for he loves her as the very
eyes in his head."
Kari thanked him for his counsel. Kari spoke nothing of help to
him, for he thought he would show himself his good friend in this
as in other things.
Thence Kari rode east over the rivers, and so to Fleetlithe, and
east across Markfleet, and so on to Selialandsmull. So they ride
east to Holt.
Thorgeir welcomed them with the greatest kindliness. He told
them of Flosi's journey, and how great help he had got in the
Kari said it was no wonder that he, who had to answer for so
much, should ask for help for himself.
Then Thorgeir said, "The better things go for them, the worse it
shall be for them; we will only follow them up so much the
Kari told Thorgeir of Gizur's advice. After that they ride from
the east to Rangrivervale to Mord Valgard's son's house. He gave
them a hearty welcome. Kari told him the message of Gizur his
father-in-law. He was slow to take the duty on him, and said it
was harder to go to law with Flosi than with any other ten men.
"Thou behavest now as he (1) thought," said Kari; "for thou art a
bad bargain in every way; thou art both a coward and heartless,
but the end of this shall be as is fitting, that Thorkatla shall
fare home to her father."
She busked her at once, and said she had long been "boun" to part
from Mord. Then he changed his mood and his words quickly, and
begged off their wrath, and took the suit upon him at once.
"Now," said Kari, "thou has taken the suit upon thee, see that
thou pleadest it without fear, for thy life lies on it."
Mord said he would lay his whole heart on it to do this well and
After that Mord summoned to him nine neighbours, they were all
near neighbours to the spot where the deed was done. Then Mord
took Thorgeir by the hand and named two witnesses to bear
witness, "That Thorgeir Thorir's son hands me over a suit for
manslaughter against Flosi Thord's son, to plead it for the
slaying of Helgi Njal's son, with all those proofs which have to
follow the suit. Thou handest over to me this suit to plead and
to settle, and to enjoy all rights in it, as though I were the
rightful next of kin. Thou handest it over to me by law, and I
take it from thee by law."
A second time Mord named his witnesses, "To bear witness," said
he, "that I give notice of an assault laid down by law against
Flosi Thord's son, for that he dealt Helgi Njal's son a brain, or
a body, or a marrow wound, which proved a death wound; and from
which Helgi got his death. I give notice of this before five
witnesses" -- here he named them all by name -- "I give this
lawful notice. I give notice of a suit which Thorgeir Thorir's
son has handed over to me."
Again he named witnesses "To bear witness that I give notice of a
brain, or a body, or a marrow wound against Flosi Thord's son,
for that wound which proved a death wound, but Helgi got his
death therefrom on such and such a spot, when Flosi Thord's son
first rushed on Helgi Njal's son with an assault laid down by
law. I give notice of this before five neighbours" -- then he
named them all by name -- "I give this lawful notice. I give
notice of a suit which Thorgeir Thorir's son has handed over to
Then Mord named his witnesses again "To bear witness," said he,
"that I summon these nine neighbours who dwell nearest the spot"
-- here he named them all by name -- "to ride to the Althing, and
to sit on the inquest to find whether Flosi Thord's son rushed
with an assault laid down by law on Helgi Njal's son, on that
spot where Flosi Thord's son dealt Helgi Njal's son a brain, or a
body, or a marrow wound, which proved a death wound, and from
which Helgi got his death. I call on you to utter all those
words which ye are bound to find by law, and which I shall call
on you to utter before the court, and which belong to this suit;
I call upon you by a lawful summons -- I call on you so that ye
may yourselves hear -- I call on you in the suit which Thorgeir
Thorir's son has handed over to me."
Again Mord named his witnesses "To bear witness, that I summon
these nine neighbours who dwell nearest to the spot to ride to
the Althing, and to sit on an inquest to find whether Flosi
Thord's son wounded Helgi Njal's son with a brain, or body, or
marrow wound, which proved a death wound, and from which Helgi
got his death, on that spot where Flosi Thord's son first rushed
on Helgi Njal's son with an assault laid down by law. I call on
you to utter all those words which ye are bound to find by law,
and which I shall call on you to utter before the court, and
which belong to this suit. I call upon you by a lawful summons
-- I call on you so that ye may yourselves hear -- I call on you
in the suit which Thorgeir Thorir's son has handed over to me."
Then Mord said, "Now is the suit set on foot as ye asked, and
now I will pray thee, Thorgeir Craggeir, to come to me when thou
ridest to the Thing, and then let us both ride together, each
with our band, and keep as close as we can together, for my band
shall be ready by the very beginning of the Thing, and I will be
true to you in all things."
They showed themselves well pleased at that, and this was fast
bound by oaths, that no man should sunder himself from another
till Kari willed it, and that each of them should lay down his
life for the other's life. Now they parted with friendship, and
settled to meet again at the Thing.
Now Thorgeir rides back east, but Kari rides west over the rivers
till he came to Tongue, to Asgrim's house. He welcomed them
wonderfully well, and Kari told Asgrim all Gizur the White's
plan, and of the setting on foot of the suit.
"I looked for as much from him," says Asgrim, "that he would
behave well, and now he has shown it."
Then Asgrim went on, "What heardest thou from the east of Flosi?"
"He went east all the way to Weaponfirth," answers Kari, "and
nearly all the chiefs have promised to ride with him to the
Althing, and to help him. They look, too, for help from the
Reykdalesmen, and the men of Lightwater, and the Axefirthers."
Then they talked much about it, and so the time passes away up to
Thorhall Asgrim's son took such a hurt in his leg that the foot
above the ankle was as big and swollen as a woman's thigh, and he
could not walk save with a staff. He was a man tall in growth,
and strong and powerful, dark of hue in hair and skin, measured
and guarded in his speech, and yet hot and hasty tempered. He
was the third greatest lawyer in all Iceland.
Now the time comes that men should ride from home to the Thing,
Asgrim said to Kari, "Thou shalt ride at the very beginning gf
the Thing, and fit up our booths, and my son Thorhall with thee.
Thou wilt treat him best and kindest, as he is footlame, but we
shall stand in the greatest need of him at this Thing. With you
two, twenty men more shall ride."
After that they made ready for their journey, and then they rode
to the Thing, and set up their booths, and fitted them out well.
(1) "Helmet-hewer," sword.
135. OF FLOSI AND THE BURNERS
Flosi rode from the east and those hundred and twenty men who had
been at the burning with him. They rode till they came to
Fleetlithe. Then the sons of Sigfus looked after their
homesteads and tarried there that day, but at even they rode west
over Thurso-water, and slept there that night. But next morning
early they saddled their horses and rode off on their way.
Then Flosi said to his men, "Now will we ride to Tongue to Asgrim
to breakfast, and trample down his pride a little."
They said that were well done. They rode till they had a short
way to Tongue. Asgrim stood out of doors, and some men with him.
They see the band as soon as ever they could do so from the
house. Then Asgrim's men said, "There must be Thorgeir
"Not he," said Asgrim. "I think so all the more because these
men fare with laughter and wantonness; but such kinsmen of Njal
as Thorgeir is would not smile before some vengeance is taken for
the burning, and I will make another guess, and maybe ye will
think that unlikely. My meaning is that it must be Flosi and the
burners with him, and they must mean to humble us with insults,
and we will now go indoors all of us."
Now they do so, and Asgrim made them sweep the house and put up
the hangings, and set the boards and put meat on them. He made
them place stools along each bench, all down the room.
Flosi rode into the "town," and bade men alight from their horses
and go in. They did so, and Flosi and his men went into the
hall. Asgrim sate on the cross-bench on the dais. Flosi looked
at the benches and saw that all was made ready that men needed to
have. Asgrim gave them no greeting, but said to Flosi, "The
boards are set, so that meat may be free to those that need it."
Flosi sat down to the board, and all his men; but they laid their
arms up against the wainscot. They sat on the stools who found
no room on the benches; but four men stood with weapons just
before where Flosi sat while they ate.
Asgrim kept his peace during the meat, but was as red to look on
But when they were full, some women cleared away the boards,
while others brought in water to wash their hands. Flosi was in
no greater hurry than if he had been at home. There lay a
pole-axe in the corner of the dais. Asgrim caught it up with
both hands, and ran up to the rail at the edge of the dais, and
made a blow at Flosi's head. Glum Hilldir's son happened to see
what he was about to do, and sprang up at once, and got hold of
the axe above Asgrim's hands, and turned the edge at once on
Asgrim; for Glum was very strong. Then many more men ran up and
seized Asgrim, but Flosi said that no man was to do Asgrim any
harm, "For we put him to too hard a trial, and he only did what
he ought, and showed in that that he had a big heart."
Then Flosi said to Asgrim, "Here, now, we shall part safe and
sound, and meet at the Thing, and there begin our quarrel over
"So it will be," says Asgrim; "and I would wish that, ere this
Thing be over, ye should have to take in some of your sails."
Flosi answered him never a word, and then they went out, and
mounted their horses, and rode away. They rode till they came to
Laugarwater, and were there that night; but next morning they
rode on to Baitvale, and baited their horses there, and there
many bands rode to meet them. There was Hall of the Side, and
all the Eastfirthers. Flosi gretted them well, and told them of
his journeys and dealings with Asgrim. Many praised him for
that, and said such things were bravely done.
Then Hall said, "I look on this in another way than ye do, for
methinks it was a foolish prank -- they were sure to bear in mind
their griefs, even though they were not reminded of them anew;
but those men who try others so heavily must look for all evil."
It was seen from Hall's way that he thought this deed far too
strong. They rode thence all together, till they came to the
Upper Field, and there they set their men in array, and rode down
on the Thing.
Flosi had made them fit out Byrgir's booth ere be rode to the
Thing; but the Eastfirthers rode to their own booths.
136. OF THORGEIR CRAGGEIR
Thorgeir Craggier rode from the east with much people. His
brothers were with him, Thorleif Crow and Thorgrim the Big. They
came to Hof, to Mord Valgard's son's house, and bided there till
he was ready. Mord had gathered every man who could bear arms,
and they could see nothing about him but that he was most
steadfast in everything, and now they rode until they came west
across the rivers. Then they waited for Hjallti Skeggi's son.
He came after they had waited a short while, and they greeted him
well, and rode afterwards all together till they came to Reykia
in Bishop's tongue, and bided there for Asgrim Ellidagrim's son,
and he came to meet them there. Then they rode west across
Bridgewater. Then Asgrim told them all that had passed between
him and Flosi; and Thorgeir said, "I would that we might try
their bravery ere the Thing closes."
They rode until they came to Baitvale. There Gizur the White
came to meet them with a very great company, and they fell to
talking together. Then they rode to the Upper Field, and drew up
all their men in array there, and so rode to the Thing.
Flosi and his men all took to their arms, and it was within an
ace that they would fall to blows. But Asgrim and his friends
and their followers would have no hand in it, and rode to their
booths; and now all was quiet that day, so that they had naught
to do with one another. Thither were come chiefs from all the
Quarters of the land; there had never been such a crowded Thing
before, that men could call to mind.
137. OF EYJOLF BOLVERK'S SON
There was a man named Eyjolf. He was the son of Bolverk, the son
of Eyjolf the Guileful, of Otterdale (1). Eyjolf was a man of
great rank, and best skilled in law of all men, so that some said
he was the third best lawyer in Iceland. He was the fairest in
face of all men, tall and strong, and there was the making of a
great chief in him. He was greedy of money, like the rest of his
One day Flosi went to the booth of Bjarni Broddhelgi's son.
Bjarni took him by both hands, and sat Flosi down by his side.
They talked about many things, and at last Flosi said to Bjarni,
"What counsel shall we now take?"
"I think," answered Bjarni, "that it is now hard to say what to
do, but the wisest thing seems to me to go round and ask for
help, since they are drawing strength together against you. I
will also ask thee, Flosi, whether there be any very good lawyer
in your band; for now there are but two courses left; one to ask
if they will take an atonement, and that is not a bad choice, but
the other is to defend the suit at law, if there be any defence
to it, though that will seem to be a bold course; and this is why
I think this last ought to be chosen, because ye have hitherto
fared high and mightily, and it is unseemly now to take a lower
"As to thy asking about lawyers said Flosi, "I will answer thee
at once that there is no such man in our band; nor do I know
where to look for one except it be Thorkel Geitir's son, thy
"We must not reckon on him," said Bjarni, "for though he knows
something of law, he is far too wary, and no man need hope to
have him as his shield; but he will back thee as well as any man
who backs thee best, for he has a stout heart; besides, I must
tell thee that it will be that man's bane who undertakes the
defence in this suit for the burning, but I have no mind that
this should befall my kinsmen Thorkel, so ye must turn your eyes
Flosi said he knew nothing about who were the best lawyers.
"There is a man named Eyjolf," said Bjarni; "he is Bolverk's son,
and he is the best lawyer in the Westfirther's Quarter; but you
will need to give him much money if you are to bring him into the
suit, but still we must not stop at that. We must also go with
our arms to all law business, and be most wary of ourselves, but
not meddle with them before we are forced to fight for our lives.
And now I will go with thee, and set out at once on our begging
for help, for now methinks the peace will be kept but a little
After that they go out of the booth, and to the booths of the
Axefirthers. Then Bjarni talks with Lyting and Bleing, and Hroi
Arnstein's son, and he got speedily whatever he asked of them.
Then they fared to see Kol, the son of Killing-Skuti, and Eyvind
Thorkel's son, the son of Askel the Priest, and asked them for
their help; but they stood out a long while, but the end of it
was that they took three marks of silver for it, and so went into
the suit with them.
Then they went to the booths of the men of Lightwater, and stayed
there some time. Flosi begged the men of Lightwater for help,
but they were stubborn and hard to win over, and then Flosi said,
with much wrath, "Ye are ill-behaved! Ye are grasping and
wrongful at home in your own country, and ye will not help men at
the Thing, though they need it. No doubt you will be held up to
reproach at the Thing, and very great blame will be laid on you
if ye bear not in mind that scorn and those biting words which
Skarphedinn hurled at you men of Lightwater."
But on the other hand, Flosi dealt secretly with them, and bade
them money for their help, and so coaxed them over with fair
words, until it came about that they promised him their aid, and
then became so steadfast that they said they would fight for
Flosi, if need were.
Then Bjarni said to Flosi, "Well done! Well done! Thou art a
mighty chief, and a bold outspoken man, and reckest little what
thou savest to men."
After that they fared away west across the river, and so to the
Hladbooth. They saw many men outside before the booth. There
was one man who had a scarlet cloak over his shoulders, and a
gold band round his head, and an axe studded with silver in his
"This is just right," said Bjarni, "here now is the man I spoke
of, Eyjolf Bolverk's son, if thou wilt see him, Flosi."
Then they went to meet Eyjolf, and hailed him. Eyjolf knew
Bjarni at once, and greeted him well. Bjarni took Eyjolf by the
hand, and led him up into the "Great Rift." Flosi's and Bjarni's
men followed after, and Eyjolf's men went also with him. They
bade them stay upon the lower brink of the Rift, and look about
them, but Flosi, and Bjarni, and Eyjolf went on till they came to
where the path leads down from the upper brink of the Rift.
Flosi said it was a good spot to sit down there, for they could
see around them far and wide. Then they sat them down there.
They were four of them together, and no more.
Then Bjarni spoke to Eyjolf, and said "Thee, friend, have we come
to see, for we much need thy help in every way."
"Now," said Eyjolf, "there is good choice of men here at the
Thing, and ye will not find it hard to fall on those who will be
a much greater strength to you than I can be."
"Not so," said Bjarni, "thou hast many things which show that
there is no greater man than thou at the Thing; first of all,
that thou art so well-born, as all those men are who are sprung
from Ragnar Hairybreeks; thy forefathers, too, have always stood
first in great suits, both here at the Thing and at home in their
own country, and they have always had the best of it; we think,
therefore, it is likely that thou wilt be lucky in winning suits,
like thy kinsfolk."
"Thou speakest well, Bjarni," said Evjolf; "but I think that I
have small share in all this that thou savest."
Then Flosi said, "There is no need beating about the bush as to
what we have in mind. We wish to ask for thy help, Eyjolf, and
that thou wilt stand by us in our suits, and go to the court with
us, and undertake the defence, if there be any, and plead it for
us, and stand by us in all things that may happen at this Thing."
Eyjolf jumped up in wrath, and said that no man had any right to
think that he could make a catspaw of him, or drag him on if he
had no mind to go himself.
"I see, too, now," he says, "what has led you to utter all those
fair words with which ye began to speak to me."
Then Hallbjorn the Strong caught hold of him and sate him down by
his side, between him and Bjarni, and said, "No tree falls at the
first stroke, friend, but sit here awhile by us." Then Flosi
drew a gold ring off his arm.
"This ring will I give thee, Eyjolf, for thy help and friendship,
and so show thee that I will not befool thee. It will be best
for thee to take the ring, for there is no man here at the Thing
to whom I have ever given such a gift."
The ring was such a good one, and so well made, that it was worth
twelve hundred yards of russet stuff.
Hallbjorn drew the ring on Eyjolf's arm; and Eyjolf said, "It is
now most fitting that I should take the ring, since thou behavest
so handsomely; and now thou mayest make up thy mind that I will
undertake the defence, and do all things needful."
"Now," said Bjarni, "ye behave handsomely on both sides, and here
are men well fitted to be witnesses, since I and Hallbjorn are
here, that thou hast undertaken the suit."
Then Eyjolf arose, and Flosi too, and they took one another by
the hand; and so Eyjolf undertook the whole defence of the suit
off Flosi's hands, and so, too, if any suit arose out of the
defence, for it often happens that what is a defence in one suit,
is a plaintiff's plea in another. So he took upon him all the
proofs and proceedings which belonged to those suits, whether
they were to be pleaded before the Quarter Court or the Fifth
Court. Flosi handed them over in lawful form, and Eyjolf took
them in lawful form, and then he said to Flosi and Bjarni, "Now I
have undertaken this defence just as ye asked, but my wish it is
that ye should still keep it secret at first; but if the matter
comes into the Fifth Court, then be most careful not to say that
ye have given goods for my help."
Then Flosi went home to his booth, and Bjarni with him, but
Eyjolf went to the booth of Snorri the Priest, and sate down by
him, and they talked much together.
Snorri the Priest caught hold of Eyjolf's arm, and turned up the
sleeve, and sees that he had a great ring of gold on his arm.
Then Snorri the Priest said, "Pray, was this ring bought or
Eyjolf was put out about it, and had never a word to say. Then
Snorri said, "I see plainly that thou must have taken it as a
gift, and may this ring not be thy death!"
Eyjolf jumped up and went away, and would not speak about it; and
Snorri said, as Eyjolf arose, "It is very likely that thou wilt
know what kind of gift thou hast taken by the time this Thing is
Then Eyjolf went to his booth.
(1) Eyjolf the Guileful was the son of Thord Gellir, the son of
Oleif Feilan. The mother of Eyjolf the Guileful was Rodny,
the daughter of Skeggi of Midfirth.
138. OF ASGRIM, AND GIZUR, AND KARI
Now Asgrim Ellidagrim's son talks to Gizur the White, and Kari
Solmund's son, and to Hjallti Skeggi's son, Mord Valgard's son,
and Thorgeir Craggeir, and says, "There is no need to have any
secrets here, for only those men are by who know all our counsel.
Now I will ask you if ye know anything of their plans, for if you
do, it seems to me that we must take fresh counsel about our own
"Snorri the Priest," answers Gizur the White, "sent a man to me,
and bade him tell me that Flosi had gotten great help from the
Northlanders; but that Eyjolf Bolverk's son, his kinsman, had had
a gold ring given him by some one, and made a secret of it, and
Snorri said it was his meaning that Eyjolf Bolverk's son must be
meant to defend the suit at law, and that the ring must have been
given him for that."
They were all agreed that it must be so. Then Gizur spoke to
them, "Now has Mord Valgard's son, my son-in-law, undertaken a
suit, which all must think most hard, to prosecute Flosi; and now
my wish is that ye share the other suits amongst you, for now it
will soon be time to give notice of the suits at the Hill of
Laws. We shall need also to ask for more help."
Asgrim said so it should be, "but we will beg thee to go round
with us when we ask for help." Gizur said he would be ready to
After that Gizur picked out all the wisest men of their company
to go with him as his backers. There was Hjallti Skeggi's son,
and Asgrim, and Kari, and Thorgeir Craggeir.
Then Gizur the White said, "Now will we first go to the booth of
Skapti Thorod's son," and they do so. Gizur the White went
first, then Hjallti, then Kari, then Asgrim, then Thorgeir
Craggeir, and then his brothers.
They went into the booth. Skapti sat on the cross bench on the
dais, and when he saw Gizur the White he rose up to meet him, and
greeted him and all of them well, and bade Gizur to sit down by
him, and he does so. Then Gizur said to Asgrim, "Now shalt thou
first raise the question of help with Skapti, but I will throw in
what I think good."
"We are come hither," said Asgrim, "for this sake, Skapti, to
seek help and aid at thy hand."
"I was thought to be hard to win the last time," said Skapti,
"when I would not take the burden of your trouble on me."
"It is quite another matter now," said Gizur. "Now the feud is
for master Njal and mistress Bergthora, who were burnt in their
own house without a cause, and for Njal's three sons, and many
other worthy men, and thou wilt surely never be willing to yield
no help to men, or to stand by thy kinsmen and connections."
"It was in my mind," answers Skapti, "when Skarphedinn told me
that I had myself borne tar on my own head, and cut up a sod of
turf and crept under it, and when he said that I had been so
afraid that Thorolf Lopt's son of Eyrar bore me abroad in his
ship among his meal-sacks, and so carried me to Iceland, that I
would never share in the blood feud for his death."
"Now there is no need to bear such things in mind," said Gizur
the White, "for he is dead who said that, and thou wilt surely
grant me this, though thou wouldst not do it for other men's
"This quarrel," says Skapti, "is no business of thine, except
thou choosest to be entangled in it along with them."
Then Gizur was very wrath, and said, "Thou art unlike thy father,
though he was thought not to be quite cleanhanded; yet was he
ever helpful to men when they needed him most."
"We are unlike in temper," said Skapti. "Ye two, Asgrim and
thou, think that ye have had the lead in mighty deeds; thou,
Gizur the White, because thou overcamest Gunnar of Lithend; but
Asgrim, for that he slew Gauk, his foster-brother."
"Few," said Asgrim, "bring forward the better if they know the
worse, but many would say that I slew not Gauk ere I was driven
to it. There is some excuse for thee for not helping us, but
none for heaping reproaches on us; and I only wish before this
Thing is out that thou mayest get from this suit the greatest
disgrace, and that there may be none to make thy shame good."
Then Gizur and his men stood up all of them, and went out, and so
on to the booth of Snorri the Priest.
Snorri sat on the cross-bench in his booth; they went into the
booth, and he knew the men at once, and stood up to meet them,
and bade them all welcome, and made room for them to sit by him.
After that, they asked one another the news of the day.
Then Asgrim spoke to Snorri, and said, "For that am I and my
kinsman Gizur come hither, to ask thee for thy help."
"Thou speakest of what thou mayest always be forgiven for asking,
for help in the blood-feud after such connections as thou hadst.
We, too, got many wholesome counsels from Njal, though few now
bear that in mind; but as yet I know not of what ye think ye
stand most in need."
"We stand most in need," answers Asgrim, "of brisk lads and good
weapons, if we fight them here at the Thing."
"True it is," said Snorri, "that much lies on that, and it is
likeliest that ye will press them home with daring, and that they
will defend themselves so in like wise, and neither of you will
allow the others' right. Then ye will not bear with them and
fall on them, and that will be the only way left; for then they
will seek to pay you off with shame for manscathe, and with
dishonour for loss of kin."
It was easy to see that he goaded them on in everything.
Then Gizur the White said "Thou speakest well, Snorri, and thou
behavest ever most like a chief when most lies at stake."
"I wish to know," said Asgrim, "in what way thou wilt stand by
us if things turn out as thou sayest."
"I will show thee those marks of friendship," said Snorri, "on
which all your honour will hang, but I will not go with you to
the court. But if ye fight here on the Thing, do not fall on
them at all unless ye are all most steadfast and dauntless, for
you have great champions against you. But if ye are overmatched,
ye must let yourselves be driven hither towards us, for I shall
then have drawn up my men in array hereabouts, and shall be ready
to stand by you. But if it falls out otherwise, and they give
way before you, my meaning is that they will try to run for a
stronghold in the "Great Rift." But if they come thither, then
ye will never get the better of them. Now I will take that on my
hands, to draw up my men there, and guard the pass to the
stronghold, but we will not follow them whether they turn north
or south along the river. And when you have slain out of their
band about as many as I think ye will be able to pay blood-fines
for, and yet keep your priesthoods and abodes, then I will run up
with all my men and part you. Then ye shall promise to do as I
bid you, and stop the battle, if I on my part do what I have now
Gizur thanked him kindly, and said that what he had said was just
what they all needed, and then they all went out.
"Whither shall we go now?" said Gizur.
"To the Nortlanders' booth," said Asgrim.
Then they fared thither.
139. OF ASGRIM AND GUDMUND
And when they came into the booth then they saw where Gudmund the
Powerful sate and talked with Einar Conal's son, his foster-
child; he was a wise man.
Then they come before him, and Gudmund welcomed them very
heartily, and made them clear the booth for them, that they might
all be able to sit down.
Then they asked what tidings, and Asgrim said, "There is no need
to mutter what I have to say. We wish, Gudmund, to ask for thy
"Have ye seen any other chiefs before?" said Gudmund.
They said they had been to see Skapti Thorod's son and Snorri the
Priest, and told him quietly how they had fared with each of
Then Gudmund said, "Last time I behaved badly and meanly to you.
Then I was stubborn, but now ye shall drive your bargain with me
all the more quickly because I was more stubborn then, and now I
will go myself with you to the court with all my Thing-men, and
stand by you in all such things as I can, and fight for you
though this be needed, and lay down my life for your lives. I
will also pay Skapti out in this way, that Thorstein Gape-mouth
his son shall be in the battle on our side, for he will not dare
to do aught else than I will, since he has Jodisa my daughter to
wife, and then Skapti will try to part us."
They thanked him, and talked with him long and low afterwards, so
that no other men could hear.
Then Gudmund bade them not to go before the knees of any other
chiefs, for he said that would be little-hearted.
"We will now run the risk with the force that we have. Ye must
go with your weapons to all law-business, but not fight as things
Then they went all of them home to their booths, and all this was
at first with few men's knowledge.
So now the Thing goes on.
140. OF THE DECLARATIONS OF THE SUITS
It was one day that men went to the Hill of Laws, and the chiefs
were so placed that Asgrim Ellidagrim's son, and Gizur the White,
and Gudmund the Powerful, and Snorri the Priest, were on the
upper hand by the Hill of Laws; but the Eastfirthers stood down
Mord Valgard's son stood next to Gizur his father-in-law, he was
of all men the readiest-tongued.
Gizur told him that he ought to give notice of the suit for
manslaughter, and bade him speak up, so that all might hear him
Then Mord took witness and said, "I take witness to this that I
give notice of an assault laid down by law against Flosi Thord's
son, for that be rushed at Helgi Njal's son and dealt him a
brain, or a body, or a marrow wound, which proved a death-wound,
and from which Helgi got his death. I say that in this suit he
ought to be made a guilty man, an outlaw, not to be fed, not to
be forwarded, not to be helped or harboured in any need. I say
that all his goods are forfeited, half to me and half to the men
of the Quarter, who have a right by law to take his forfeited
goods. I give notice of this suit for manslaughter in the
Quarter Court into which this suit ought by law to come. I give
notice of this lawful notice; I give notice in the hearing of all
men on the Hill of Laws; I give notice of this suit to be pleaded
this summer, and of full outlawry against Flosi Thord's son; I
give notice of a suit which Thorgeir Thorir's son has handed over
Then a great shout was uttered at the Hill of Laws, that Mord
spoke well and boldly.
Then Mord began to speak a second time.
"I take you to witness to this," says he, "that I give notice
of a suit against Flosi Thord's son. I give notice for that he
wounded Helgi Njal's son with a brain, or a body, or a marrow
wound, which proved a death-wound, and from which Helgi got his
death on that spot where Flosi Thord's son had first rushed on
Helgi Njal's son with an assault laid down by law. I say that
thou, Flosi, ought to be made in this suit a guilty man, an
outlaw, not to be fed, not to be forwarded, not to be helped or
harboured in any need. I say that all thy goods are forfeited,
half to me and half to the men of the Quarter, who have a right
by law to take the goods which have been forfeited by thee. I
give notice of this suit in the Quarter Court into which it ought
by law to come; I give notice of this lawful notice; I give
notice of it in the hearing of all men on the Hill of Laws; I
give notice of this suit to be pleaded this summer, and of full
outlawry against Flosi Thord's son. I give notice of the suit
which Thorgeir Thorir's son hath handed over to me."
After that Mord sat him down.
Flosi listened carefully, but said never a word the while.
Then Thorgeir Craggeir stood up and took witness, and said, "I
take witness to this, that I give notice of a suit against Glum
Hilldir's son, in that he took firing and lit it, and bore it to
the house at Bergthorsknoll, when they were burned inside it, to
wit, Njal Thorgeir's son, and Bergthora Skarphedinn's daughter,
and all those other men who were burned inside it there and then.
I say that in this suit he ought to be made a guilty man, an
outlaw, not to be fed, not to be forwarded, not to be helped or
harboured in any need. I say that all his goods are forfeited.
half to me, and half to the men of the Quarter, who have a right
by law to take his forfeited goods; I give notice of this suit in
the Quarter Court, into which it ought by law to come. I give
notice in the hearing of all men on the Hill of Laws. I give
notice of this suit to be pleaded this summer, and of full
outlawry against Glum Hilldir's son."
Kari Solmund's son declared his suits against Kol Thorstein's
son, and Gunnar Lambi's son, and Grani Gunnar's son, and it was
the common talk of men that he spoke wondrous well.
Thorleif Crow declared his suit against all the sons of Sigfus,
but Thorgrim the Big, his brother, against Modolf Kettle's son,
and Lambi Sigurd's son, and Hroar Hamond's son, brother of
Leidolf the Strong.
Asgrim Ellidagrim's son declared his suit against Leidolf and
Thorstein Geirleif's son, Arni Kol's son, and Grim the Red.
And they all spoke well.
After that other men gave notice of their suits, and it was far
on in the day that it went on so.
Then men fared home to their booths.
Eyjolf Bolverk's son went to his booth with Flosi, they passed
east around the booth and Flosi said to Eyjolf.
"See'st thou any defence in these suits."
"None," says Eyjolf.
"What counsel is now to be taken?" says Flosi.
"I will give thee a piece of advice," said Eyjolf. "Now thou
shalt hand over thy priesthood to thy brother Thorgeir, but
declare that thou hast joined the Thing of Askel the Priest the
son of Thorkettle, north away in Reykiardale; but if they do not
know this, then may be that this will harm them, for they will be
sure to plead their suit in the Eastfirthers' court, but they
ought to plead it in the Northlanders' court, and they will
overlook that, and it is a Fifth Court matter against them if
they plead their suit in another court than that in which they
ought, and then we will take that suit up, but not until we have
no other choice left."
"May be," said Flosi, "that we shall get the worth of the ring."
"I don't know that," says Eyjolf; "but I will stand by thee at
law, so that men shall say that there never was a better defence.
Now, we must send for Askel, but Thorgeir shall come to thee at
once, and a man with him."
A little while after Thorgeir came, and then he took on him
Flosi's leadership and priesthood.
By that time Askel was come thither too, and then Flosi declared
that he had joined his Thing, and this was with no man's
knowledge save theirs.
Now all is quite till the day when the courts were to go out to
141. NOW MEN GO TO THE COURTS
Now the time passes away till the courts were to go out to try
suits. Both sides then made them ready to go thither, and armed
them. Each side put war-tokens on their helmets.
Then Thorhall Asgrim's son said, "Walk hastily in nothing father
mine, and do everything as lawfully and rightly as ye can, but if
ye fall into any strait let me know as quickly as ye can, and
then I will give you counsel."
Asgrim and the others looked at him, and his face was as though
it were all blood, but great teardrops gushed out of his eyes.
He bade them bring him his spear, that had been a gift to him
from Skarphedinn, and it was the greatest treasure.
Asgrim said as they went away, "Our kinsman Thorhall was not easy
in his mind as we left him behind in the booth, and I know not
what he will be at."
Then Asgrim said again, "Now we will go to Mord Valgard's son,
and think of nought else but the suit, for there is more sport in
Flosi than in very many other men."
Then Asgrim sent a man to Gizur the White, and Hjallti Skeggi's
son, and Gudmund the Powerful. Now they all came together, and
went straight to the court of Eastfirthers. They went to the
court from the south, but Flosi and all the Eastfirthers with him
went to it from the north. There were also the men of Reykdale
and the Axefirthers with Flosi. There, too, was Eyjolf Bolverk's
son. Flosi looked at Eyjolf, and said, "All now goes fairly, and
may be that it will not be far off from thy guess."
"Keep thy peace about it," says Eyjolf, "and then we shall be
sure to gain our point."
Now Mord took witness, and bade all those men who had suits of
outlawry before the court to cast lots who should first plead or
declare his suit, and who next, and who last; he bade them by a
lawful bidding before the court, so that the judges heard it.
Then lots were cast as to the declarations, and he, Mord, drew
the lot to declare his suit first.
Now Mord Valgard's son took witness the second time, and said, "I
take witness to this, that I except all mistakes in words in my
pleading, whether they be too many or wrongly spoken, and I claim
the right to amend all my words until I have put them into proper
lawful shape. I take witness to myself of this."
Again Mord said, "I take witness to this, that I bid Flosi
Thord's son, or any other man who has undertaken the defence made
over to him by Flosi, to listen for him to my oath, and to my
declaration of my suit, and to all the proofs and proceedings
which I am about to bring forward against him; I bid him by a
lawful bidding before the court, so that the judges may hear it
across the court."
Again Mord Valgard's son said, "I take witness to this, that I
take an oath on the book, a lawful oath, and I say it before God,
that I will so plead this suit in the most truthful, and most
just and most lawful way, so far as I know; and that I will bring
forward all my proofs in due form, and utter them faithfully so
long as I am in this suit."
After that he spoke in these words, "I have called Thorodd as my
first witness, and Thorbjorn as my second; I have called them to
bear witness that I gave notice of an assault laid down by law
against Flosi Thord's son, on that spot where he, Flosi Thord's
son, rushed with an assault laid down by law on Helgi Njal's son,
when Flosi Thord's son wounded Helgi Njal's son with a brain, or
a body, or a marrow wound, which proved a death-wound, and from
which Helgi got his death. I said that he ought to be made in
this suit a guilty man, an outlaw, not to be fed, not to be
forwarded, not to be helped or harboured in any need; I said that
all his goods were forfeited half to me and half to the men of
the Quarter who have the right by law to take the goods which he
has forfeited; I gave notice of the suit in the quarter Court
into which the suit ought by law to come; I gave notice of that
lawful notice; I gave notice in the hearing of all men at the
Hill of Laws; I gave notice of this suit to be pleaded now this
summer, and of full outlawry against Flosi Thord's son. I gave
notice of a suit which Thorgeir Thorir's son had handed over to
me; and I had all these words in my notice which I have now used
in this declaration of my suit. I now declare this suit of
outlawry in this shape before the court of the Eastfirthers over
the head of John, as I uttered it when I gave notice of it."
Then Mord spoke again, "I have called Thorodd as my first
witness, and Thorbjorn as my second. I have called them to bear
witness that I gave notice of a suit against Flosi Thord's son
for that he wounded Helgi Njal's son with a brain or a body, or a
marrow wound, which proved a death-wound, and from which Helgi
got his death. I said that he ought to be made in this suit a
guilty man, an outlaw, not to be fed, not to be forwarded, not to
be helped or harboured in any need; I said that all his goods
were forfeited, half to me and half to the men of the Quarter who
have the right by law to take the goods which he has forfeited; I
gave notice of the suit in the Quarter Court into which the suit
ought by law to come; I gave notice of that lawful notice; I gave
notice in the hearing of all men at the Hill of Laws; I gave
notice of this suit to be pleaded now this summer, and of full
outlawry against Flosi Thord's son. I gave notice of a suit
which Thorgeir Thorir's son had handed over to me; and I had all
these words in my notice which I have now used in this
declaration of my suit. I now declare this suit of outlawry in
this shape before the court of the Eastfirthers over the head of
John, as I uttered it when I gave notice of it."
Then Mord's witnesses to the notice came before the court, and
spake so that one uttered their witness, but both confirmed it by
their common consent in this form, "I bear witness that Mord
called Thorodd as his first witness, and me as his second, and my
name is Thorbjorn" -- then he named his father's name -- "Mord
called us two as his witnesses that he gave notice of an assault
laid down by law against Flosi Thord's son when he rushed on
Helgi Njal's son, in that spot where Flosi Thord's son dealt
Helgi Njal's son a brain, or a body, or a marrow wound, that
proved a death-wound, and from which Helgi got his death. He
said that Flosi ought to be made in this suit a guilty man, an
outlaw, not to be fed, not to be forwarded, not to be helped or
harboured by any man; he said that all his goods were forfeited,
half to himself and half to the men of the Quarter who have the
right by law to take the goods which he had forfeited; he gave
notice of the suit in the Quarter Court into which the suit ought
by law to come; he gave notice of that lawful notice; he gave
notice in the hearing of all men at the Hill of Laws; he gave
notice of this suit to be pleaded now this summer, and of full
outlawry against Flosi Thord's son. He gave notice of a suit
which Thorgeir Thorir's son had handed over to him. He used all
those words in his notice which he used in the declaration of his
suit, and which we have used in bearing witness; we have now
borne our witness rightly and lawfully, and we are agreed in
bearing it; we bear this witness in this shape before the
Eastfirthers' Court over the head of John, as Mord uttered it
when he gave his notice."
A second time they bore their witness of the notice before the
court, and put the wounds first and the assault last, and used
all the same words as before, and bore their witness in this
shape before the Eastfirthers' Court just as Mord uttered them
when he gave his notice.
Then Mord's witnesses to the handing over of the suit went before
the court, and one uttered their witness, and both confirmed it
by common consent, and spoke in these words, "That those two,
Mord Valgard's son and Thorgeir Thorir's son, took them to
witness that Thorgeir Thorir's son handed over a suit for
manslaughter to Mord Valgard's son against Flosi Thord's son for
the slaying of Helgi Njal's son; he handed over to him then this
suit, with all the proofs and proceedings which belonged to the
suit, he handed it over to him to plead and to settle, and to
make use of all rights as though he were the rightful next of
kin: Thorgeir handed it over lawfully, and Mord took it lawfully.
They bore witness of the handing over of the suit in this shape
before the Eastfirther's Court over the head of John, just as
Mord or Thorgeir had called them as witnesses to prove.
They made all these witnesses swear on oath ere they bore
witness, and the judges too.
Again Mord Valgard's son took witness. "I take witness to this,"
said he, "that I bid those nine neighbours whom I summoned when I
laid this suit against Flosi Thord's son, to take their seats
west on the river-bank, and I call on the defendant to challenge
this request, I call on him by a lawful bidding before the court
so that the judges may hear."
Again Mord took witness. "I take witness to this, that I bid
Flosi Thord's son, or that other man who has the defence handed
over to him, to challenge the inquest which I have caused to,
take their seats west on the river-bank. I bid thee by a lawful
bidding before the court so that the judges may hear."
Again Mord took witness. "I take witness to this, that now are
all the first steps and proofs brought forward which belong to
the suit. Summons to bear my oath, oath taken, suit declared,
witness borne to the notice, witness home to the handing over of
the suit, the neighbours on the inquest bidden to take their
seats, and the defendant bidden to challenge the inquest. I take
this witness to these steps and proofs which are now brought
forward, and also to this that I shall not be thought to have
left the suit though I go away from the court to look up proofs,
or on other business."
Now Flosi and his men went thither where the neighbours on the
Then Flosi said to his men, "The sons of Sigfus must know best
whether these are the rightful neighbours to the spot who are
Kettle of the Mark answered, "Here is that neighbour who held
Mord at the font when he was baptized, but another is his second
cousin by kinship.
Then they reckoned up his kinship, and proved it with an oath.
Then Eyjolf took witness that the inquest should do nothing till
it was challenged.
A second time Eyjolf took witness, "I take witness to this," said
he, "that I challenge both these men out of the inquest, and set
them aside" -- here he named them by name, and their fathers as
well -- "for this sake, that one of them is Mord's second cousin
by kinship, but the other for gossipry (2), for which sake it is
lawful to challenge a neighbour on the inquest; ye two are for a
lawful reason incapable of uttering a finding, for now a lawful
challenge has overtaken you, therefore I challenge and set you
aside by the rightful custom of pleading at the Althing, and by
the law of the land; I challenge you in the cause which Flosi
Thord's son has handed over to me."
Now all the people spoke out, and said that Mord's suit had come
to naught, and all were agreed in this that the defence was
better than the prosecution.
Then Asgrim said to Mord, "The day is not yet their own, though
they think now that they have gained a great step; but now some
one shall go to see Thorhall my son, and know what advice he
Then a trusty messenger was sent to Thorhall, and told him as
plainly as he could how far the suit had gone, and how Flosi and
his men thought they had brought the finding of the inquest to a
"I will so make it out," says Thorhall, "that this shall not
cause you to lose the suit; and tell them not to believe it,
though quirks and quibbles be brought against them, for that
wiseacre Eyjolf has now overlooked something. But now thou shalt
go back as quickly as thou canst, and say that Mord Valgard's son
must go before the court, and take witness that their challenge
has come to naught," and then he told him step by step how they
The messenger came and told them Thorhall's advice.
Then Mord Valgard's son went to the court and took witness. "I
take witness to this," said he, "that I make Eyjolf's challenge
void and of none effect; and my ground is, that he challenged
them not for their kinship to the true plaintiff, the next of
kin, but for their kinship to him who pleaded the suit; I take
this witness to myself, and to all those to whom this witness
will be of use."
After that he brought that witness before the court.
Now he went whither the neighbours sate on the inquest, and bade
those to sit down again who had risen up, and said they were
rightly called on to share in the finding of the inquest.
Then all said that Thorhall had done great things, and all
thought the prosecution better than the defence.
Then Flosi said to Eyjolf, "Thinkest thou that this is good law?"
"I think so, surely," he says, "and beyond a doubt we overlooked
this; but still we will have another trial of strength with
Then Eyjolf took witness. "I take witness to this," said he,
"that I challenge these two men out of the inquest" -- here he
named them both -- "for that sake that they are lodgers, but not
householders; I do not allow you two to sit on the inquest, for
now a lawful challenge has overtaken you; I challenge you both
and set you aside out of the inquest, by the rightful custom of
the Althing and by the law of the land."
Now Eyjolf said he was much mistaken if that could be shaken; and
then all said that the defence was better than the prosecution.
Now all men praised Eyjolf, and said there was never a man who
could cope with him in lawcraft.
Mord Valgard's son and Asgrim Ellidagrim's son now sent a man to
Thorhall to tell him how things stood; but when Thorhall heard
that, he asked what goods they owned, or if they were paupers?
The messenger said that one gained his livelihood by keeping
milch-kine, and "he has both cows and ewes at his abode; but the
other has a third of the land which he and the freeholder farm,
and finds his own food: and they have one hearth between them, he
and the man who lets the land, and one shepherd."
Then Thorhall said, "They will fare now as before, for they must
have made a mistake, and I will soon upset their challenge and
this though Eyjolf had used such big words that it was law."
Now Thorhall told the messenger plainly, step by step, how they
must proceed; and the messenger came back and told Mord and
Asgrim all the counsel that Thorhall had given.
Then Mord went to the court and took witness. "I take witness to
this, that I bring to naught Eyjolf Bolverk's son's challenges
for that he has challenged those men out of the inquest who have
a lawful right to be there; every man has a right to sit on an
inquest of neighbours, who owns three hundreds in land or more,
though he may have no dairystock; and he too has the same right
who lives by dairystock worth the same sum, though he leases no
Then he brought this witness before the court, and then he went
whither the neighbours on the inquest were, and bade them sit
down, and said they were rightfully among the inquest.
Then there was a great shout and cry and then all men said that
Flosi's and Eyjolf's cause was much shaken, and now men were of
one mind as to this, that the prosecution was better than the
Then Flosi said to Eyjolf, "Can this be law?"
Eyjolf said be had not wisdom enough to know that for a surety,
and then they sent a man to Skapti, the Speaker of the Law, to
ask whether it were good law, and he sent them back word that it
was surely good law, though few knew it.
Then this was told to Flosi, and Eyjolf Bolverk's son asked the
sons of Sigfus as to the other neighbours who were summoned
They said there were four of them who were wrongly summoned; "for
those sit now at home who were nearer neighbours to the spot."
Then Eyjolf took witness that he challenged all those four men
out of the inquest, and that he did it with lawful form of
challenge. After that he said to the neighbours, "Ye are bound
to render lawful justice to both sides, and now ye shall go
before the court when ye are called, and take witness that ye
find that bar to uttering your finding; that ye are but five
summoned to utter your finding, but that ye ought to be nine;.
and now Thorhall may prove and carry his point in every suit, if
he can cure this flaw in this suit."
And now it was plain in everything that Flosi and Eyjolf were
very boastful; and there was a great cry that now the suit for
the burning was quashed, and that again the defence was better
than the prosecution.
Then Asgrim spoke to Mord, "They know not yet of what to boast
ere we have seen my son Thorhall. Njal told me that he had so
taught Thorhall law, that he would turn out the best lawyer in
Iceland whenever it were put to the proof."
Then a man was sent to Thorhall to tell him how things stood, and
of Flosi's and Eyjolf's boasting, and the cry of the people that
the suit for the burning was quashed in Mord's hands.
"It will be well for them," says Thorhall, "if they get not
disgrace from this. Thou shalt go and tell Mord to take witness
and swear an oath, that the greater part of the inquest is
rightly summoned, and then he shall bring that witness before the
court, and then he may set the prosecution on its feet again; but
he will have to pay a fine of three marks for every man that he
has wrongly summoned; but he may not be prosecuted for that at
this Thing; and now thou shalt go back."
He does so, and told Mord and Asgrim all, word for word, that
Thorhall had said.
Then Mord went to the court, and took witness, and swore an oath
that the greater part of the inquest was rightly summoned, and
said then that he had set the prosecution on its feet again, and
then he went on, "And so our foes shall have honour from
something else than from this, that we have here taken a great
Then there was a great roar that Mord handled the suit well; but