Njála, 033

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Chapter 33

So Gunnar rode, and they all rode. But when they came to the Thing they were so well arrayed that none could match them in bravery; and men came out of every booth to wonder at them. Gunnar rode to the booths of the men of Rangriver, and was there with his kinsmen. Many men came to see Gunnar, and ask tidings of him; and he was easy and merry to all men, and told them all they wished to hear.

It happened one day that Gunnar went away from the Hill of Laws, and passed by the booths of the men from Mossfell; then he saw a woman coming to meet him, and she was in goodly attire; but when they met she spoke to Gunnar at once. He took her greeting well, and asks what woman she might be.[1] She told him her name was Hallgerda, and said she was Hauskuld's daughter, Dalakoll's son. She spoke up boldly to him, and bade him tell her of his voyages; but he said he would not gainsay her a talk. Then they sat them down and talked. She was so clad that she had on a red kirtle, and had thrown over her a scarlet cloak trimmed with needlework down to the waist. Her hair came down to her bosom, and was both fair and full. Gunnar was clad in the scarlet clothes which King Harold Gorm's son had given him; he had also the gold ring on his arm which Earl Hacon had given him.

So they talked long out loud,[2] and at last it came about that he asked whether she were unmarried. She said, so it was, "and there are not many who would run the risk of that."

"Thinkest thou none good enough for thee?"

"Not that," she says, "but I am said to be hard to please in husbands."

"How wouldst thou answer, were I to ask for thee?"

"That cannot be in thy mind," she says.

"It is though," says he.

"If thou hast any mind that way, go and see my father."

After that they broke off their talk.

Gunnar went straightway to the Dalesmen's booths, and met a man outside the doorway, and asks whether Hauskuld were inside the booth?

The man says that he was. Then Gunnar went in, and Hauskuld and Hrut made him welcome. He sat down between them, and no one could find out from their talk that there had ever been any misunderstanding between them. At last Gunnar's speech turned thither; how these brothers would answer if he asked for Hallgerda?

"Well," says Hauskuld, "if that is indeed thy mind."

Gunnar says that he is in earnest, "but we so parted last time, that many would think it unlikely that we should ever be bound together."

"How thinkest thou, kinsman Hrut?" says Hauskuld.

Hrut answered, "Methinks this is no even match."

"How dost thou make that out?" says Gunnar.

Hrut spoke, "In this wise will I answer thee about this matter, as is the very truth. Thou art a brisk brave man well to do, and unblemished; but she is much mixed up with ill report,[3] and I will not cheat thee in anything."

"Good go with thee for thy words," says Gunnar, "but still I shall hold that for true, that the old feud weighs with ye, if ye will not let me make this match."

"Not so," says Hrut, "'t is more because I see that thou art unable to help thyself; but though we make no bargain, we would still be thy friends."

"I have talked to her about it," says Gunnar, "and it is not far from her mind."

Hrut says, "I know that you have both set your hearts on this match; and, besides, ye two are those who run the most risk as to how it turns out."

Hrut told Gunnar unasked all about Hallgerda's temper, and Gunnar at first thought that there was more than enough that was wanting; but at last it came about that they struck a bargain.

Then Hallgerda was sent for, and they talked over the business when she was by, and now, as before, they made her betroth herself. The bridal feast was to be at Lithend, and at first they were to set about it secretly; but the end after all was that every one knew of it.

Gunnar rode home from the Thing, and came to Bergthorsknoll, and told Njal of the bargain he had made. He took it heavily.

Gunnar asks Njal why he thought this so unwise?

"Because from her," says Njal, "will arise all kind of ill if she comes hither east."

"Never shall she spoil our friendship," says Gunnar.

"Ah! but yet that may come very near," says Njal; "and, besides, thou wilt have always to make atonement for her."

Gunnar asked Njal to the wedding, and all those as well whom he wished should be at it from Njal's house.

Njal promised to go; and after that Gunnar rode home, and then rode about the district to bid men to his wedding.

References

  1. asks what woman she might be : " This passage gives an idea of Roberts’ narrative control. The sentence ,Hallgerda let her eyes show a flicker of surprise,‘ for instance, carries a meaning quite different from ‚Hallgerda’s eyes showed a flicker of surprise‘ that would be closer to the traditional saga style." Jón Karl Helgason. Njáls Saga as a novel (p. 190)
  2. they talked long out loud: "It is as though he [the author] wishes to freeze for a moment a tableau of the two handsome young people getting acquainted at their leisure. He achieves this by placing a six-line description of their attire between “They sat down and talked” (settusk þau þá niðr ok tǫluðu) and “They talked aloud for a long time” […], giving us a static portrait of their external appearance, the author raises a suspicion that their attraction is superficial." Cook, Robert. Gunnarr and Hallgerðr : A failed romance (p. 12)
  3. she is much mixed up with ill report: “a singular wonder is expressed in contemplations of the mystery of the inner being and its motivation, a wonder which may in part stem from a fleeting glimpse of unknown inner psychodynamics. For instance, forebodings are expressed about Hallgerd, of the kind '[she] is rather a mixture'” Høyersten, Jon Geir. The Icelandic Sagas and the Idea of Personality and Deviant Personalities in the Middle Ages (p. 206).

Kafli 33

Gunnar reið og þeir allir. En er þeir komu á þing þá voru þeir svo vel búnir að engir voru þar jafnvel búnir og fóru menn út úr hverri búð að undrast þá. Gunnar reið til búðar Rangæinga og var þar með frændum sínum. Margir menn fóru að finna Gunnar og spyrja hann tíðinda. Hann var við alla menn léttur og kátur og sagði öllum slíkt er vildu.

Það var einn dag er Gunnar gekk frá Lögbergi. Hann gekk fyrir Mosfellingabúð. Þá sá hann konu fara í móti sér og var vel búin. En er þau fundust kvaddi hún þegar Gunnar. Hann tók vel kveðju hennar og spurði hvað kvenna hún væri.[1] Hún nefndist Hallgerður og kvaðst vera dóttir Höskulds Dala-Kollssonar. Hún mælti til hans djarflega og bað segja sér frá ferðum sínum en hann kvaðst ekki varna mundu henni máls. Settust þau þá niður og töluðu. Hún var svo búin að hún var í rauðum kyrtli og hafði yfir sér skarlatsskikkju hlaðbúna í skaut niður. Hárið tók ofan á bringu henni og var bæði mikið og fagurt. Gunnar var í skarlatsklæðum er Haraldur konungur Gormsson gaf honum. Hann hafði og gullhring á hendi þann er Hákon jarl gaf honum. Þau töluðu lengi hátt.[2] Þar kom er spurt var hvort hún væri ógefin.

Hún sagði að svo væri „og er það ekki margra að hætta á það.“

„Þykir þér hvergi fullkosta?“

„Eigi er það,“ segir hún, „en mannvönd mun eg vera.“

„Hversu munt þú svara ef eg bið þín?“

„Það mun þér ekki í hug,“ segir hún.

„Eigi er það,“ segir hann.

„Ef þér er nokkur hugur á þá finn þú föður minn.“

Síðan skildu þau talið.

Gunnar gekk þegar til búðar Dalamanna og fann mann úti fyrir búðinni og spyr hvort Höskuldur væri í búð. Sá sagði að hann væri í búð. Gekk þá Gunnar inn. Höskuldur og Hrútur tóku vel við Gunnari. Hann settist niður á meðal þeirra og fannst það ekki í tali þeirra að þar hefði missætti verið í meðal.

Þar kom niður ræða Gunnars hversu þeir bræður mundu því svara ef hann bæði Hallgerðar.

„Vel,“ segir Höskuldur, „ef þér er það alhugað.“

Gunnar segir sér það alvöru „en svo skildum vér næstum að mörgum mundi það þykja líklegt að hér mundi ekki samband verða.“

„Hversu líst þér, Hrútur frændi?“ segir Höskuldur.

Hrútur svaraði: „Ekki þykir mér þetta jafnræði.“

„Hvað finnur þú til þess?“ segir Gunnar.

Hrútur mælti: „Því mun eg svara þér um þetta er satt er. Þú ert maður vaskur og vel að þér en hún er blandin mjög[3] og vil eg þig í öngu svíkja.“

„Vel mun þér fara,“ segir Gunnar, „en þó mun eg það fyrir satt hafa að þér virðið í fornan fjandskap ef þér viljið eigi gera mér kostinn.“

„Eigi er það,“ segir Hrútur, „meir er hitt að eg sé að þú mátt nú ekki við gera. En þótt vér kaupum eigi þá vildum vér þó vera vinir þínir.“

„Eg hefi talað við hana,“ segir Gunnar, „og er það ekki fjarri hennar skapi.“

Hrútur mælti: „Veit eg að báðum er þetta girndarráð. Hættið þið og mestu til hversu fer.“

Hrútur sagði Gunnari ófregið allt um skapferði Hallgerðar og þótti Gunnari fyrst ærið margt það er áfátt var. En þar kom síðar að saman dró kaupmála með þeim. Var þá sent eftir Hallgerði. Var þá talað um málið svo að hún var við. Létu þeir nú sem fyrr að hún festi sig sjálf. Skyldi þetta boð vera að Hlíðarenda og skyldi fara fyrst leynilega en þó kom þar er allir vissu.

Gunnar reið heim af þingi og kom til Bergþórshvols og sagði Njáli frá kaupum sínum. Hann tók þessu þunglega. Gunnar spurði hví Njáli þætti þetta svo óráðlegt.

„Því að af henni mun standast allt hið illa er hún kemur austur hingað,“ segir Njáll.

„Aldrei skal hún spilla okkru vinfengi,“ segir Gunnar.

„Það mun þó svo nær fara,“ segir Njáll, „en þó munt þú jafnan bæta fyrir henni.“

Gunnar bauð Njáli til boðs og öllu því þaðan sem hann vildi að færi. Njáll hét að fara. Síðan reið Gunnar heim og reið um héraðið að bjóða mönnum.

Tilvísanir

  1. og spurði hvað kvenna hún væri : " This passage gives an idea of Roberts’ narrative control. The sentence ,Hallgerda let her eyes show a flicker of surprise,‘ for instance, carries a meaning quite different from ‚Hallgerda’s eyes showed a flicker of surprise‘ that would be closer to the traditional saga style." Jón Karl Helgason. Njáls Saga as a novel (s. 190)
  2. Þau töluðu lengi hátt: "It is as though he [the author] wishes to freeze for a moment a tableau of the two handsome young people getting acquainted at their leisure. He achieves this by placing a six-line description of their attire between “They sat down and talked” (settusk þau þá niðr ok tǫluðu) and “They talked aloud for a long time” […], giving us a static portrait of their external appearance, the author raises a suspicion that their attraction is superficial." Cook, Robert. Gunnarr and Hallgerðr : A failed romance (s. 12)
  3. hún er blandin mjög: “a singular wonder is expressed in contemplations of the mystery of the inner being and its motivation, a wonder which may in part stem from a fleeting glimpse of unknown inner psychodynamics. For instance, forebodings are expressed about Hallgerd, of the kind '[she] is rather a mixture'” Høyersten, Jon Geir. The Icelandic Sagas and the Idea of Personality and Deviant Personalities in the Middle Ages (s. 206).

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