Njála, 002

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Chapter 2

It happened once that those brothers, Hauskuld and Hrut, rode to the Althing, and there was much people at it. Then Hauskuld said to Hrut, "One thing I wish, brother, and that is, that thou wouldst better thy lot and woo thyself a wife."

Hrut answered, "That has been long on my mind, though there always seemed to be two sides to the matter; but now I will do as thou wishest; whither shall we turn our eyes?"

Hauskuld answered, "Here now are many chiefs at the Thing, and there is plenty of choice, but I have already set my eyes on a spot where a match lies made to thy hand. The woman's name is Unna, and she is a daughter of Fiddle Mord, one of the wisest of men. He is here at the Thing and his daughter too, and thou mayest see her if it pleases thee."

Now the next day, when men were going to the High Court, they saw some well-dressed women standing outside the booths of the men from the Rangrivervales. Then Hauskuld said to Hrut "Yonder now is Unna, of whom I spoke; what thinkest thou of her?"

"Well," answered Hrut; "but yet I do not know whether we should get on well together."

After that they went to the High Court, where Fiddle Mord was laying down the law as was his wont, and after he had done he went home to his booth.

Then Hauskuld and Hrut rose, and went to Mord's booth. They went in and found Mord sitting in the innermost part of the booth, and they bade him "Good-day." He rose to meet them, and took Hauskuld by the hand and made him sit down by his side, and Hrut sat next to Hauskuld. So after they had talked much of this and that, at last Hauskuld said, "I have a bargain to speak to thee about; Hrut wishes to become thy son-in-law, and buy thy daughter, and I, for my part, will not be sparing in the matter."

Mord answered, "I know that thou art a great chief, but thy brother is unknown to me."

"He is a better man than I," answered Hauskuld.

"Thou wilt need to lay down a large sum with him, for she is heir to all I leave behind me," said Mord.

"There is no need," said Hauskuld, "to wait long before thou hearest what I give my word lie shall have. He shall have Kamness and Hrutstede, up as far as Thrandargil, and a trading- ship beside, now on her voyage."

Then said Hrut to Mord, "Bear in mind, now, husband, that my brother has praised me much more than I deserve for love's sake; but if after what thou hast heard, thou wilt make the match, I am willing to let thee lay down the terms thyself."

Mord answered, "I have thought over the terms; she shall have sixty hundreds down, and this sum shall be increased by a third more in thine house, but if ye two have heirs, ye shall go halves in the goods."

Then said Hrut, "I agree to these terms, and now let us take witness." After that they stood up and shook hands, and Mord betrothed his daughter Unna to Hrut, and the bridal feast was to be at Mord's house, half a month after Midsummer.

Now both sides ride home from the Thing, and Hauskuld and Hrut ride westward by Hallbjorn's beacon. Then Thiostolf, the son of Bjorn Gullbera of Reykriverdale, rode to meet them, and told them how a ship had come out from Norway to the White River, and how aboard of her was Auzur Hrut's father's brother, and he wished Hrut to come to him as soon as ever he could. When Hrut heard this, he asked Hauskuld to go with him to the ship, so Hauskuld went with his brother, and when they reached the ship, Hrut gave his kinsman Auzur a kind and hearty welcome. Auzur asked them into his booth to drink, so their horses were unsaddled, and they went in and drank, and while they were drinking, Hrut said to Auzur, "Now, kinsman, thou must ride west with me, and stay with me this winter."

"That cannot be, kinsman, for I have to tell thee the death of thy brother Eyvind, and he has left thee his heir at the Gula Thing, and now thy foes will seize thy heritage, unless thou comest to claim it."

"What's to be done now, brother?" said Hrut to Hauskuld, "for this seems a hard matter, coming just as I have fixed my bridal day."

"Thou must ride south," said Hauskuld, "and see Mord, and ask him to change the bargain which ye two have made, and to let his daughter sit for thee three winters as thy betrothed, but I will ride home and bring down thy wares to the ship."

Then said Hrut, "My wish is that thou shouldest take meal and timber, and whatever else thou needest out of the lading." So Hrut had his horses brought out, and he rode south, while Hauskuld rode home west. Hrut came east to the Rangrivervales to Mord, and had a good welcome, and he told Mord all his business, and asked his advice what he should do.

"How much money is this heritage," asked Mord, and Hrut said it would come to a hundred marks, if he got it all.

"Well," said Mord, "that is much when set against what I shall leave behind me, and thou shalt go for it, if thou wilt."[1]

After that they broke their bargain, and Unna was to sit waiting for Hrut three years as his betrothed. Now Hrut rides back to the ship, and stays by her during the summer, till she was ready to sail, and Hauskuld brought down all Hrut's wares and money to the ship, and Hrut placed all his other property in Hauskuld's hands to keep for him while he was away. Then Hauskuld rode home to his house, and a little while after they got a fair wind and sail away to sea. They were out three weeks, and the first land they made was Hern, near Bergen, and so sail eastward to the Bay.

References

  1. that is much when set against what I shall leave behind me, and thou shalt go for it, if thou wilt. : " Hrut, not blinded by greed, is in an honest dilemma, torn by his agreement to marry Unn in half a month, and the honor of his family. Mord, on the other hand has one interest, and it comes right to the point with a question Hrut would not have asked: “Hversu mikit fé er þetta?”. On hearing the amount is high, he agrees to postpone the wedding for purely financial reasons. Mord's greed will play a major role in the sad story of his daughter's marriage to Hrut. More generally, it is fitting that Hrut's journey abroad be motivated by the quarrel over a sum of money, for this is exactly what lies ahead with respect to Unn's dowry." Cook, Robert. Journeys to Norway (and other foreign parts) in Njáls saga (p. 131)

Kafli 2

Það var einhverju sinni að þeir bræður riðu til alþingis, Höskuldur og Hrútur. Þar var fjölmenni mikið.

Þá ræddi Höskuldur við Hrút: „Það vildi eg, bróðir, að þú bættir ráð þitt og bæðir þér konu.“

Hrútur svarar: „Lengi hefir mér það í hug verið og hefir mér þó tvennt um sýnst. En nú vil eg gera að þínu skapi eða hvar skulum við á leita?“

Höskuldur svaraði: „Hér eru nú höfðingjar margir á þingi og er gott um að velja en þó hefi eg í einum stað á stofnað fyrir þína hönd. Kona heitir Unnur og er dóttir Marðar gígju, hins vitrasta manns, og er hann hér á þingi og svo dóttir hans og mátt þú sjá hana ef þú vilt.“

Og annan dag eftir er menn gengu til lögréttu sáu þeir konur úti hjá Rangæingabúð vel búnar.

Þá mælti Höskuldur við Hrút: „Þar er hún nú Unnur er eg sagði þér frá eða hversu líst þér á hana?“

„Vel,“ sagði hann, „en eigi veit eg hvort við eigum heill saman.“

Síðan ganga þeir til lögréttu. Mörður gígja mælti lögskil að vanda sínum og gekk heim til búðar sinnar. Höskuldur stóð upp og Hrútur og gengu til búðar Marðar og inn í búðina. Mörður sat í innanverðri búðinni. Þeir kvöddu hann. Hann stóð upp í móti þeim og tók í hönd Höskuldi og settist hann niður hjá honum en Hrútur sat hið næsta honum.

Síðan töluðu þeir margt og komu þar niður ræður Höskulds að „eg mæli til kaupa við þig. Vill Hrútur gerast mágur þinn og kaupa dóttur þína og skal eg ekki mitt til spara.“

Mörður svaraði: „Veit eg að þú ert höfðingi mikill en bróðir þinn er mér ókunnigur.“

Höskuldur mælti: „Framar er hann en eg.“

Mörður mælti: „Mikið munt þú þurfa fram að leggja með honum því að hún á allan arf eftir mig.“

„Eigi þarf og lengi að bíða hvað eg skal ákveða,“ sagði Höskuldur, „hann skal hafa Kambsnes og Hrútsstaði og upp til Þrándargils og kaupskip í siglingum.“

Hrútur talaði þá til Marðar: „Hugsa svo um, bóndi, að bróðir minn mun mér mjög hafa fram haldið fyrir ástar sakir. En ef þér viljið gera málið að álitum þá vil eg að þér gerið kostinn.“

Mörður svaraði: „Hugsað hefi eg kostinn. Hún skal hafa sex tigu hundraða og skal aukast þriðjungi í þínum garði en ef þið eigið erfingja þá skal helmingarfélag með ykkur.“

Hrútur mælti: „Þenna kost vil eg og höfum nú votta við.“

Síðan stóðu þeir upp og tókust í hendur og fastnaði Mörður Hrúti dóttur sína Unni og skyldi boð vera hálfum mánuði eftir mitt sumar að Marðar.

Nú ríða þeir heim af þingi hvorirtveggju og ríða þeir vestur hjá Hallbjarnarvörðum. Þá reið í móti þeim Þjóstólfur, son Bjarnar gullbera úr Reykjardal, og sagði þeim skipkomu í Hvítá og var þar kominn út Össur föðurbróðir Hrúts og vildi að Hrútur kæmi til fundar við hann sem fyrst. En er Hrútur spurði þetta þá bað hann Höskuld fara til skips með sér. Höskuldur fór og þeir bræður.

En er þeir komu til skips fagnar Hrútur Össuri frænda sínum vel og blíðlega. Össur bauð þeim inn í búðina að drekka. Síðan var tekið af hestum þeirra og gengu þeir inn og drukku.

Hrútur mælti til Össurar: „Nú skalt þú ríða vestur með mér, frændi, og vera með mér í vetur.“

„Eigi hendir svo, frændi, því að eg segi þér lát Eyvindar bróður þíns en hann leiddi þig til arfs á Gulaþingi og munu nú taka óvinir þínir ef þú kemur eigi til.“

„Hvað skal nú til ráða, bróðir?“ sagði Hrútur. „Þykir mér nú vandast málið er eg hefi áður ráðið brúðlaup mitt.“

Höskuldur mælti: „Þú skalt ríða suður til fundar við Mörð og bið hann að þið skipið máldaga og sitji dóttir hans þrjá vetur í festum. En eg mun ríða heim og flytja vöru þína til skips.“

Hrútur mælti: „Nú vil eg að þú takir mjöl og við og slíkt annað sem þér líkar af varningi sem þér sýnist.“

Hrútur lét taka hesta sína og reið hann suður en Höskuldur reið heim vestur.

Hrútur kom austur á Rangárvöllu til Marðar og hafði þar góðar viðtökur. Hrútur sagði Merði allt efni sitt og bað hann ráð á leggja.

Mörður sagði: „Hversu mikið fé er þetta?“

Hrútur sagði tvö hundruð marka ef hann fengi allt.

Mörður mælti: „Mikið er það í móti erfðinni minni en nú skalt þú fara ef þú vilt.“[1]

Síðan breyttu þeir máldögum sínum og skyldi Unnur sitja þrjá vetur í festum.

Nú ríður Hrútur til skips og er við skip um sumarið þar til er búið var. Höskuldur færði fé allt til skips það sem Hrútur átti. Hrútur fékk Höskuldi í hendur fjárvarðveislu sína vestur þar meðan hann væri utan. Reið Höskuldur heim til bús síns.

Litlu síðar gaf þeim byr og sigla þeir í haf. Þeir voru úti þrjár vikur og komu við Hernar og sigla austur til Víkur.


Tilvísanir

  1. Mikið er það í móti erfðinni minni en nú skalt þú fara ef þú vilt : " Hrut, not blinded by greed, is in an honest dilemma, torn by his agreement to marry Unn in half a month, and the honor of his family. Mord, on the other hand has one interest, and it comes right to the point with a question Hrut would not have asked: “Hversu mikit fé er þetta?”. On hearing the amount is high, he agrees to postpone the wedding for purely financial reasons. Mord's greed will play a major role in the sad story of his daughter's marriage to Hrut. More generally, it is fitting that Hrut's journey abroad be motivated by the quarrel over a sum of money, for this is exactly what lies ahead with respect to Unn's dowry." Cook, Robert. Journeys to Norway (and other foreign parts) in Njáls saga (s. 131)

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