Njála, 034

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Chapter 34

There was a man named Thrain, he was the son of Sigfus, the son of Sighvat the Red. He kept house at Gritwater on Fleetlithe. He was Gunnar's kinsman, and a man of great mark. He had to wife Thorhillda Skaldwife; she had a sharp tongue of her own, and was given to jeering.[1] Thrain loved her little. He and his wife were bidden to the wedding, and she and Bergthora, Skarphedinn's daughter, Njal's wife, waited on the guests with meat and drink.

Kettle was the name of the second son of Sigfus; he kept house in the Mark, east of Markfleet. He had to wife Thorgerda, Njal's daughter. Thorkell was the name of the third son of Sigfus; the fourth's name was Mord; the fifth's Lambi; the sixth's Sigmund; the seventh's Sigurd. These were all Gunnar's kinsmen, and great champions. Gunnar bade them all to the wedding.

Gunnar had also bidden Valgard the Guileful, and Wolf Aurpriest, and their sons Runolf and Mord.

Hauskuld and Hrut came to the wedding with a very great company, and the sons of Hauskuld, Thorleik, and Olof, were there; the bride, too, came along with them, and her daughter Thorgerda came also, and she was one of the fairest of women; she was then fourteen winters old. Many other women were with her, and besides there were Thorkatla Asgrim Ellidagrim's son's daughter, and Njal's two daughters, Thorgerda and Helga.

Gunnar had already many guests to meet them, and he thus arranged his men. He sat on the middle of the bench, and on the inside, away from him, Thrain Sigfus' son, then Wolf Aurpriest, then Valgard the Guileful, then Mord and Runolf, then the other sons of Sigfus, Lambi sat outermost of them.

Next to Gunnar on the outside, away from him, sat Njal, then Skarphedinn, then Helgi, then Grim, then Hauskuld Njal's son, then Hafr the Wise, then Ingialld from the Springs, then the sons of Thorir from Holt away east. Thorir would sit outermost of the men of mark, for every one was pleased with the seat he got.

Hauskuld, the bride's father, sat on the middle of the bench over against Gunnar, but his sons sat on the inside away from him; Hrut sat on the outside away from Hauskuld, but it is not said how the others were placed. The bride sat in the middle of the cross bench on the dais; but on one hand of her sat her daughter Thorgerda, and on the other Thorkatla Asgrim Ellidagrim's son's daughter.

Thorhillda went about waiting on the guests, and Bergthora bore the meat on the board.

Now Thrain Sigfus' son kept staring at Thorgerda[2] Glum's daughter; his wife Thorhillda saw this, and she got wroth, and made a couplet upon him.

"Thrain," she says,

"Gaping mouths are no wise good, Goggle eyne are in thy head."

He rose at once up from the board, and said he would put Thorhillda away. "I will not bear her jibes and jeers any longer;" and he was so quarrelsome about this, that he would not be at the feast unless she were driven away. And so it was, that she went away; and now each man sat in his place, and they drank and were glad.

Then Thrain began to speak, "I will not whisper about that which is in my mind. This I will ask thee, Hauskuld Dalakoll's son, wilt thou give me to wife Thorgerda,[3] thy kinswoman?"

"I do not know that," says Hauskuld; "methinks thou art ill parted from the one thou hadst before. But what kind of man is he, Gunnar?"

Gunnar answers, "I will not say aught about the man, because he is near of kin; but say thou about him, Njal," says Gunnar, "for all men will believe it."

Njal spoke, and said, "That is to be said of this man, that the man is well to do for wealth, and a proper man in all things. A man, too, of the greatest mark; so that ye may well make this match with him."

Then Hauskuld spoke, "What thinkest thou we ought to do, kinsman Hrut?"

"Thou mayst make the match, because it is an even one for her," says Hrut.

Then they talk about the terms of the bargain, and are soon of one mind on all points.

Then Gunnar stands up, and Thrain too, and they go to the cross bench. Gunnar asked that mother and daughter whether they would say yes to this bargain. They said they would find no fault with it, and Hallgerda betrothed her daughter. Then the places of the women were shifted again, and now Thorhalla sate between the brides. And now the feast sped on well, and when it was over, Hauskuld and his company ride west, but the men of Rangriver rode to their own abode. Gunnar gave many men gifts, and that made him much liked.

Hallgerda took the housekeeping under her, and stood up for her rights [4][5] in word and deed. Thorgerda took to housekeeping at Gritwater, and was a good housewife.

References

  1. was given to jeering: "A second type of laughter is one of derision, an attack provoking an enemy -a kind of weapon in the warrior's armory. Often this kind of laugh is caused or emphasized by special characters, children or women, and in particular through satirical verse. These characters, mainly female, are the so-called 'pointed tongues', who goad others to murder. This is a specialty of Þórhildr, the poet and wife of Þráinn." Le Goff, Jacques. Laughter in Brennu-Njáls saga (p. 163).
  2. Thrain Sigfus' son kept staring at Thorgerda: "Although the sagas employed euphemisms for all sexual topics, there is little doubt about the perceived power of sexuality in the saga world." Jochens, Jenny. The Illicit Love Visit. (p. 376).
  3. give me to wife Thorgerda: "Þráinn actually seems to be governed more by lust than by prudence in this instance: there is no real reason for him to marry Hallgerðr‘s daughter when the two families are already united and this second marriage only complicates things." Ármann Jakobsson. The impetuousness of Þráinn Sigfússon (pp. 56-57).
  4. stood up for her rights: "From the arrival of Hallgerðr at Hlíðarendi as Gunnarr’s wife, the traditional friðr of the family, beautifully expressed through the mutual loyalties of brothers and of mother and son, is threatened." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (p. 132)
  5. stood up for her rights: "Eftir brúðkaupsveizluna á Hlíðarenda tekur Hallgerður við búsforráðum á Hlíðarenda; segir Njála, að hún hafi verið „fengsöm ok atkvæðamikil“. Sagan mundi ekki draga fjöður yfir það, ef húsmóðurstörfin hefðu farið Hallgerði illa úr hendi." Ólafur Ólafsson. Hallgerður Höskuldsdóttir (p. 148).

Kafli 34

Þráinn hét maður. Hann var Sigfússon Sighvatssonar hins rauða. Hann bjó að Grjótá í Fljótshlíð. Hann var frændi Gunnars og virðingamaður mikill. Hann átti Þórhildi skáldkonu. Hún var orðgífur mikið og fór með flimtan.[1] Þráinn unni henni lítið. Honum var boðið til boðs og konu hans. Hún gekk að beina og Bergþóra Skarphéðinsdóttir kona Njáls. Ketill hét annar Sigfússon. Hann bjó í Mörk fyrir austan Markarfljót. Hann átti Þorgerði Njálsdóttur. Þorkell hét hinn þriðji Sigfússon, fjórði Mörður, fimmti Lambi, sétti Sigmundur, sjöundi Sigurður. Þessir voru allir frændur Gunnars og voru kappar miklir. Þeim bauð Gunnar öllum til boðsins. Gunnar hafði og boðið Valgarði hinum grá og Úlfi aurgoða og sonum þeirra, Runólfi og Merði.

Þeir Höskuldur og Hrútur komu til boðsins fjölmennir. Þar voru synir Höskulds, Þorleikur og Ólafur. Þar var brúður í för með þeim og Þorgerður dóttir hennar og var hún kvenna fríðust. Hún var fjórtán vetra gömul. Margt var með henni annarra kvenna. Þar var og Þórhalla dóttir Ásgríms Elliða-Grímssonar og dætur Njáls tvær, Þorgerður og Helga.

Gunnar hafði marga fyrirboðsmenn og skipaði hann svo sínum mönnum. Hann sat á miðjan bekk en innar frá Þráinn Sigfússon, þá Úlfur aurgoði, þá Valgarður hinn grái, þá Mörður og Runólfur, þá Sigfússynir. Lambi sat innstur. Hið næsta Gunnari utar frá sat Njáll, þá Skarphéðinn, þá Helgi, þá Grímur, þá Höskuldur, þá Hafur hinn spaki, þá Ingjaldur frá Keldum, þá synir Þóris austan úr Holti. Þórir vildi sitja ystur virðingamanna því að þá þótti hverjum gott þar sem sat. Höskuldur sat á miðjan bekk en synir hans innar frá honum. Hrútur sat utar frá Höskuldi. En þá er eigi frá sagt hversu öðrum var skipað. Brúður sat á miðjum palli en til annarrar handar henni Þorgerður dóttir hennar. Á aðra hönd sat Þórhalla dóttir Ásgríms Elliða-Grímssonar.

Þórhildur gekk um beina og báru þær Bergþóra mat á borð. Þráinn Sigfússon var starsýnn á Þorgerði[2] Glúmsdóttur. Þetta sá Þórhildur kona hans. Hún reiðist og gerði kviðling til hans:


„Era gapripur góðar,

gægur er þér í augum, Þráinn,“ segir hún.


Hann steig þegar fram yfir borðið og sagði skilið við Þórhildi, „vil eg eigi hafa flimtan hennar né fáryrði yfir mér.“

Og svo var hann kappsamur of þetta að hann vildi eigi vera að veislunni nema hún sé í braut rekin. Og það var að hún fór í braut. Og nú sat hver maður í sínu rúmi og drukku og voru glaðir.

Þá tók Þráinn til orða: „Ekki mun eg færa það í hljóðmæli er mér er í skapi. Þess vil eg spyrja þig, Höskuldur Dala-Kollsson, viltu gifta mér Þorgerði[3] frændkonu þína?“

„Eigi veit eg það,“ sagði Höskuldur, „mér þykir þú hafa illa skilið við þessa er þú áttir áður eða hver maður er hann, Gunnar?“

Gunnar svarar: „Eigi vil eg segja frá manninum því að mér er maðurinn skyldur og seg þú frá, Njáll,“ segir Gunnar, „því að allir munu því trúa.“

Njáll mælti: „Það er frá manni að segja að maður er vel auðigur að fé og ger að sér um allt og hið mesta mikilmenni og megið þér fyrir því gera honum kostinn.“

Þá mælti Höskuldur: „Hvað sýnist þér ráð, Hrútur frændi?“

„Gera mátt þú fyrir því kostinn að þetta er henni jafnræði.“

Þá tala þeir um kaup og verða á allt sáttir. Stendur þá Gunnar upp og Þráinn og ganga að pallinum. Spurði Gunnar þær mæðgur hvort þær vildu játa þessum kaupum. Þær kváðust eigi bregða mundu og fastnaði Hallgerður dóttur sína. Þá var skipað konum í annað sinn. Sat þá Þórhalla meðal brúða. Fór nú boð vel fram og er lokið var ríða þeir Höskuldur vestur en Rangæingar til sinna heimila. Gunnar gaf mörgum mönnum gjafir og virðist það vel.

Hallgerður tók við búráðum og var fengsöm og atkvæðamikil.[4][5] Þorgerður tók við búráðum að Grjótá og var góð húsfreyja.

Tilvísanir

  1. fór með flimtan: "A second type of laughter is one of derision, an attack provoking an enemy -a kind of weapon in the warrior's armory. Often this kind of laugh is caused or emphasized by special characters, children or women, and in particular through satirical verse. These characters, mainly female, are the so-called 'pointed tongues', who goad others to murder. This is a specialty of Þórhildr, the poet and wife of Þráinn." Le Goff, Jacques. Laughter in Brennu-Njáls saga (s. 163).
  2. Þráinn Sigfússon var starsýnn á Þorgerði: "Although the sagas employed euphemisms for all sexual topics, there is little doubt about the perceived power of sexuality in the saga world." Jochens, Jenny. The Illicit Love Visit. (s. 376).
  3. viltu gifta mér Þorgerði: „Þráinn actually seems to be governed more by lust than by prudence in this instance: there is no real reason for him to marry Hallgerðr‘s daughter when the two families are already united and this second marriage only complicates things.“ Ármann Jakobsson. The impetuousness of Þráinn Sigfússon (s. 56-57).
  4. atkvæðamikil: "From the arrival of Hallgerðr at Hlíðarendi as Gunnarr’s wife, the traditional friðr of the family, beautifully expressed through the mutual loyalties of brothers and of mother and son, is threatened." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (s. 132)
  5. fengsöm og atkvæðamikil: "Eftir brúðkaupsveizluna á Hlíðarenda tekur Hallgerður við búsforráðum á Hlíðarenda; segir Njála, að hún hafi verið „fengsöm ok atkvæðamikil“. Sagan mundi ekki draga fjöður yfir það, ef húsmóðurstörfin hefðu farið Hallgerði illa úr hendi." Ólafur Ólafsson. Hallgerður Höskuldsdóttir (s. 148).

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