Njála, 008

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Chapter 8

Hrut came home, and knit his brows when he heard his wife was gone, but yet kept his feelings well in hand, and stayed at home all that half-year, and spoke to no one on the matter. Next summer he rode to the Thing, with his brother Hauskuld, and they had a great fellowing. But when he came to the Thing, he asked whether Fiddle Mord were at the Thing, and they told him he was; and all thought they would come to words at once about their matter, but it was not so. At last, one day when the brothers and others who were at the Thing went to the Hill of Laws, Mord took witness and declared that he had a money-suit against Hrut for his daughter's dower, and reckoned the amount at ninety hundreds in goods, calling on Hrut at the same time to pay and hand it over to him, and asking for a fine of three marks. He laid the suit in the Quarter Court, into which it would come by law, and gave lawful notice, so that all who stood on the Hill of Laws might hear.

But when he had thus spoken, Hrut said, "Thou hast undertaken this suit, which belongs to thy daughter, rather for the greed of gain and love of strife than in kindliness and manliness. But I shall have something to say against it; for the goods which belong to me are not yet in thy bands. Now, what I have to say is this, and I say it out, so that all who hear me on this hill may bear witness: I challenge thee to fight on the island; there on one side shall be laid all thy daughter's dower, and on the other I will lay down goods worth as much, and whoever wins the day shall have both dower and goods; but if thou wilt not fight with me, then thou shalt give up all claim to these goods."

Then Mord held his peace, and took counsel with his friends about going to fight on the island, and Jorund the priest gave him an answer.

"There is no need for thee to come to ask us for counsel in this matter, for thou knowest if thou fightest with Hrut thou wilt lose both life and goods. He has a good cause, and is besides mighty in himself and one of the boldest of men."

Then Mord spoke out, that he would not fight with Hrut, and there arose a great shout and hooting on the hill, and Mord got the greatest shame by his suit.

After that men ride home from the Thing, and those brothers Hauskuld and Hrut ride west to Reykriverdale, and turned in as guests at Lund, where Thiostolf, Bjorn Gullbera's son, then dwelt. There had been much rain that day, and men got wet, so long-fires were made down the length of the hall. Thiostolf, the master of the house, sat between Hauskuld and Hrut, and two boys, of whom Thiostolf had the rearing, were playing on the floor, and a girl was playing with them. They were great chatterboxes,[1] for they were too young to know better. So one of them said, "Now I will be Mord,[2] and summon thee to lose thy wife because thou hast not been a good husband to her."

Then the other answered, "I will be Hrut, and I call on thee to give up all claim to thy goods, if thou darest not to fight with me."

This they said several times, and all the household burst out laughing. Then Hauskuld got wroth, and struck the boy who called himself Mord with a switch, and the blow fell on his face, and grazed the skin.

"Get out with thee," said Hauskuld to the boy, "and make no game of us;" but Hrut said, "Come hitherto me," and the boy did so. Then Hrut drew a ring from his finger and gave it to him, and said, "Go away, and try no man's temper henceforth."

Then the boy went away saying, "Thy manliness I will bear in mind all my life."

From this matter Hrut got great praise,[3] [4]and after that they went home; and that was the end of Mord's and Hrut's quarrel.


References

  1. great chatterboxes: “The Njála mentions explicitly that it is the children who judge, they are malgir (talkative) and ovitrir (unwise). Hrut […] has won some understanding he lacked before, and that is worth a goldring to him: It is perhaps the knowledge, that his conjugal behaviour has become a topic of public talk.” Reuschel. Helga, The "children's judgment" in the Njala and Gunnlaugssaga (p. 329).
  2. Now I will be Mord : " This is a world in which even children can be figured as playing a game, not of cops and robbers, not tag, not house, not doctor, but lawsuit. In Njáls saga, that most supremely legal of medieval texts, we see one kid say to another, ‚I'll be Mord [the plaintiff's lawyer] and divorce you from your wife.‘ To which a second kid replies, ‚Then I'll be Hrút [the defendant] and invalidate your dowry claim." Clover, Carol. "The Same Thing-Sort Of" (p. 8)
  3. Hrut got great praise: "Þetta virðingarverða athæfi eykur orðstír Hrúts. Hann missir ekki stjórn á sér en bregst við í samræmi við stöðu sína." Auður G. Magnúsdóttir. Ill er ofbráð reiði (p. 56).
  4. Hrut got great praise : ““[…] final success in a feud depended largely on the opinion his (or, more rarely, her) kin, neighbors and patrons had of the case, and of his general standing as an honorable and successful person [...] the specific behaviors of participants at each stage in the dispute was being watched, too, and could affect how the dispute was being talked about.” Wickham, Chris. Gossip and resistance among the medieval peasantry. (pp. 6-7).

Kafli 8

Hrútur kom heim og brá mjög í brún er kona hans var í brautu og er þó vel stilltur og var heima öll þau misseri og réðst við engan mann um sitt mál.

Annað sumar eftir reið hann til þings og Höskuldur bróðir hans með honum og fjölmenntu mjög. En er hann kom á þing þá spurði hann hvort Mörður gígja væri á þingi. Honum var sagt að hann var þar og ætluðu allir að þeir mundu tala um mál sín en það varð ekki.

Einnhvern dag er þeir gengu til Lögbergs og aðrir þingmenn nefndi Mörður sér votta og lýsti fésök á hendur Hrúti um fémál dóttur sinnar og taldi níu tigu hundraða fjár. Lýsti hann til gjalda og útgreiðslu og lét varða þriggja marka útlegð. Hann lýsti í fjórðungsdómi þeim sem sökin átti í að koma að lögum. Lýsti hann löglýsing og í heyranda hljóði að Lögbergi.

En er hann hafði þetta mælt svaraði Hrútur: „Meir sækir þú þetta mál með fjárágirnd og kappi er heyrir til dóttur þinnar heldur en við góðvild eða drengskap enda mun eg hér láta nokkuð í móti koma því að þú hefir enn eigi féið í hendi þér það er eg fer með. Mæli eg svo fyrir að þeir séu allir heyrandi vottar er hjá eru að Lögbergi að eg skora þér á hólm. Skal þar við liggja mundurinn allur og þar legg eg í móti annað fé jafnmikið og eigi sá hvorttveggja féið er af öðrum ber. En ef þú vilt eigi berjast við mig þá skalt þú af allri fjárheimtinni.“

Þá þagnaði Mörður og réðst um við vini sína um hólmgönguna.

Honum svaraði Jörundur goði: „Eigi þarft þú við oss ráð að eiga um þetta mál því að þú veist ef þú berst við Hrút að þú munt láta bæði lífið og féið. Er honum vel farið. Hann er mikill af sjálfum sér og manna fræknastur.“

Þá kvað Mörður það upp að hann mundi eigi berjast við Hrút. Þá varð óp mikið að Lögbergi og óhljóð og hafði Mörður af hina mestu svívirðu. Síðan ríða menn heim af þingi.

Þeir bræður riðu vestur til Reykjardals, Höskuldur og Hrútur og gistu að Lundi. Þar bjó þá Þjóstólfur son Bjarnar gullbera. Regn hafði verið mikið um daginn og höfðu menn orðið votir og voru gervir máleldar. Þjóstólfur bóndi sat í milli þeirra Höskulds og Hrúts. En sveinar tveir léku á gólfinu. Þeir voru veislusveinar Þjóstólfs og lék mær ein hjá þeim. Þeir voru málgir mjög[1] því að þeir voru óvitrir.

Annar þeirra mælti: „Eg skal þér Mörður vera [2] og stefna þér af konunni og finna það til foráttu að þú hafir ekki sorðið hana.“

Annar svaraði: „Eg skal þér Hrútur vera. Tel eg þig af allri fjárheimtunni ef þú þorir eigi að berjast við mig.“

Þetta mæltu þeir nokkurum sinnum. Þá gerðist hlátur mikill af heimamönnum. Þá reiddist Höskuldur og laust hann sveininn með sprota, þann er Mörður nefndist, en sprotinn kom í andlitið og sprakk fyrir.

Höskuldur mælti við sveininn: „Verð úti og drag engan spott að oss.“

Hrútur mælti: „Gakk hingað til mín.“

Sveinninn gerði svo. Hrútur dró fingurgull af hendi sér og gaf honum og mælti: „Far braut og leita á engan mann síðan.“

Sveinninn fór braut og mælti: „Þínum drengskap skal eg við bregða æ síðan.“

Af þessu fékk Hrútur gott orð.[3] [4]Síðan fóru þeir vestur heim og er lokið þrætum þeirra Marðar.


Tilvísanir

  1. málgir mjög: “The Njála mentions explicitly that it is the children who judge, they are malgir (talkative) and ovitrir (unwise). Hrut […] has won some understanding he lacked before, and that is worth a goldring to him: It is perhaps the knowledge, that his conjugal behaviour has become a topic of public talk.” Reuschel. Helga, The "children's judgment" in the Njala and Gunnlaugssaga (s. 329).
  2. Eg skal þér Mörður vera : " This is a world in which even children can be figured as playing a game, not of cops and robbers, not tag, not house, not doctor, but lawsuit. In Njáls saga, that most supremely legal of medieval texts, we see one kid say to another, ‚I'll be Mord [the plaintiff's lawyer] and divorce you from your wife.‘ To which a second kid replies, ‚Then I'll be Hrút [the defendant] and invalidate your dowry claim." Clover, Carol. "The Same Thing-Sort Of" (s. 8)
  3. fékk Hrútur gott orð: "Þetta virðingarverða athæfi eykur orðstír Hrúts. Hann missir ekki stjórn á sér en bregst við í samræmi við stöðu sína." Auður G. Magnúsdóttir. Ill er ofbráð reiði (s. 56).
  4. Af þessu fékk Hrútur gott orð : ““[…] final success in a feud depended largely on the opinion his (or, more rarely, her) kin, neighbors and patrons had of the case, and of his general standing as an honorable and successful person [...] the specific behaviors of participants at each stage in the dispute was being watched, too, and could affect how the dispute was being talked about.” Wickham, Chris. Gossip and resistance among the medieval peasantry. (s. 6-7).

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