Njála, 070

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Chapter 70

Gunnar thanked Njal for his aid, and Njal rode away under the Threecorner, and told those namesakes that Gunnar would not break up his band of men before he had fought it out with them.

They began to offer terms for themselves, and were full of dread, and bade Njal to come between them with an offer of atonement.

Njal said that could only be if there were no guile behind. Then they begged him to have a share in the award, and said they would hold to what he awarded.

Njal said he would make no award unless it were at the Thing, and unless the best men were by; and they agreed to that.

Then NjaI came between them, so that they gave each other pledges of peace and atonement.

Njal was to utter the award, and to name as his fellows those whom he chose.

A little while after those namesakes met Mord Valgard's son, and Mord blamed them much for having laid the matter in Njal's hands, when he was Gunnar's great friend. He said that would turn out ill for them.

Now men ride to the Althing after their wont, and now both sides are at the Thing.

Njal begged for a hearing, and asked all the best men who were come thither, what right at law they thought Gunnar had against those namesakes for their treason. They said they thought such a man had great right on his side.

Njal went on to ask, whether he had a right of action against all of them, or whether the leaders had to answer for them all in the suit?

They say that most of the blame would fall on the leaders, but a great deal still on them all.

"Many will say this," said Mord, "that it was not without a cause when Gunnar broke the settlement made with those namesakes."

"That is no breach of settlement," says Njal, "that any man should take the law against another; for with law shall our land be built[1] up and settled, and with lawlessness wasted and spoiled." [2]

Then Njal tells them that Gunnar had offered land for Moeidsknoll, or other goods.

Then those namesakes thought they had been beguiled by Mord, and scolded him much, and said that this fine was all his doing.

Njal named twelve men as judges in the suit, and then every man paid a hundred in silver who had gone out, but each of those namesakes two hundred.

Njal took this money into his keeping but either side gave the other pledges of peace, and Njal gave out the terms.

Then Gunnar rode from the Thing west to the Dales, till he came to Hjardarholt, and Olaf the Peacock gave him a hearty welcome. There he sat half a month, and rode far and wide about the Dales, and all welcomed him with joyful hands. But at their parting Olaf said, "I will give thee three things of price, a gold ring, and a cloak which Moorkjartan the Erse king owned, and a hound that was given me in Ireland; he is big, and no worse follower than a sturdy man. Besides, it is part of his nature that he has man's wit, and he will bay at every man whom he knows is thy foe, but never at thy friends; he can see, too, in any man's face, whether he means thee well or ill, and he will lay down his life to be true to thee. This hound's name is Sam."[3]

After that he spoke to the hound, "Now shalt thou follow Gunnar, and do him all the service thou canst."

The hound went at once to Gunnar and laid himself down at his feet.

Olaf bade Gunnar to be ware of himself, and said he had many enviers, "For now thou art thought to be a famous man throughout all the land."

Gunnar thanked him for his gifts and good counsel, and rode home.

Now Gunnar sits at home for sometime, and all is quiet.

References

  1. with law shall our land be built: “On a more general level, it seems that people felt that law promoted order, not just the systemic order derived from the assignment of things to a place in a legal and social structure, but actual peace. The sentiment is captured in the Norse proverb invoked by Njal: "With laws shall our land be built, but with disorder [ólǫg, unlaw] laid waste” Miller, William Ian. Law and Legal Process (p. 229).
  2. and with lawlessness wasted and spoiled: “With laws shall our land be built up but with lawlessness laid waste,” the legal expert Njal famously declares. Yet the “novel” … of which he is the protagonist clearly demonstrates the disasters that ensue under the ever more formalistic rule of law—disasters that clearly cannot be averted by more laws, though that is what the “wise” Njal proposes, but apparently only by the Christian alternative to the Law: grace, mercy, and forgiveness.” Bredsdorff, Thomas. Speech Act Theory and Saga Studies (p. 36).
  3. This hound's name is Sam: "The gift to Gunnarr then has affinities with the preternatural in its ‘Celtic expression’ and is further prestigious in its fundamental value, in its exotic and, one must judge, aristocratic origins, and in having been offered by the grandson of an Irish king and a prominent Icelandic chieftain, Óláfr pái." Sayers, William. Gunnarr, his Irish Wolfhound Sámr, and the Passing of the Old Heroic Order in Njáls saga (pp. 47-48).

Kafli 70

Gunnar þakkaði honum tillögur sínar. Njáll reið undir Þríhyrning og sagði það þeim nöfnum að Gunnar mundi ekki eyða flokkum fyrr en úr sliti með þeim. Þeir buðu boð fyrir sig og voru óttafullir og báðu Njál fara með sáttarboðum. Njáll kvaðst það því einu fara mundu er eigi fylgdu svik. Þeir báðu hann vera í gerðinni og kváðust það halda mundu er hann gerði. Njáll kvaðst eigi gera mundu nema á þingi og væru við hinir bestu menn. Þeir játuðu því. Gekk þá Njáll í meðal svo að hvorir handsöluðu öðrum grið og sætt. Skyldi Njáll gera um og nefna til þá er hann vildi.

Litlu síðar fundu þeir Mörð Valgarðsson. Mörður taldi á þá mjög er þeir höfðu lagið mál undir Njál þar sem hann var vinur Gunnars mikill, kvað þeim það illa duga mundu.

Ríða menn nú til alþingis að vanda. Eru nú hvorirtveggju á þingi. Njáll kvaddi sér hljóðs, spurði alla hina bestu menn er þar voru komnir hvert mál þeim þætti Gunnar eiga á þeim fyrir fjörráðin. Þeir sögðu að þeim þótti slíkur maður mikinn rétt á sér eiga. Njáll svaraði hvort hann ætti á öllum þeim eða ættu fyrirmenn að svara fyrir alla menn málinu. Þeir segja að mest mundi á fyrirmönnum en þó á öllum mikið.

„Það munu margir mæla,“ kvað Mörður, „að eigi hafi um sakleysi verið þar sem Gunnar rauf sætt við þá nafna.“

„Eigi er það sættarrof,“ segir Njáll, „að hver hafi lög við annan því að með lögum skal land vort byggja[1] en með ólögum eyða.“[2]

Sagði Njáll þeim þá að Gunnar hafði boðið land fyrir Móeiðarhvol eða annað fé. Þóttust þeir þá nafnar falsaðir af Merði og töldu á hann mjög og kváðust af honum hljóta þetta fégjald. Njáll nefndi tólf manna dóm á málinu. Galt þá hundrað silfurs hver er til hafði farið en tvö hundruð hvor þeirra nafna. Tók Njáll við þessu fé og varðveitti en hvorir veittu öðrum tryggðir og grið og mælti Njáll fyrir.

Reið Gunnar þá af þingi vestur til Dala og tóku allir honum fegins hendi.

En að skilnaði mælti Ólafur: „Eg vil gefa þér þrjá gripi, gullhring og skikkju er átt hefir Mýrkjartan Írakonungur og hund er mér var gefinn á Írlandi. Hann er mikill og eigi verri til fylgdar en röskur maður. Það fylgir og að hann hefir mannsvit. Hann mun og geyja að hverjum manni þeim er hann veit að óvin þinn er en aldrei að vinum þínum. Sér hann þó á hverjum manni hvort til þín er vel eða illa. Hann mun og líf á leggja að vera þér trúr. Þessi hundur heitir Sámur.“[3]

Síðan mælti hann við hundinn: „Nú skaltu Gunnari fylgja og vera honum slíkur sem þú mátt.“

Hundurinn gekk þegar að Gunnari og lagðist niður fyrir fætur honum.

Ólafur bað Gunnar vera varan um sig og kvað hann eiga marga öfundarmenn „þar er þú þykir ágætastur maður nú um allt land.“

Gunnar þakkaði honum gjafir og heilræði og ríður heim. Situr Gunnar nú heima nokkura hríð og er kyrrt.

Tilvísanir

  1. með lögum skal land vort byggja : “On a more general level, it seems that people felt that law promoted order, not just the systemic order derived from the assignment of things to a place in a legal and social structure, but actual peace. The sentiment is captured in the Norse proverb invoked by Njal: "With laws shall our land be built, but with disorder [ólǫg, unlaw] laid waste” Miller, William Ian. Law and Legal Process (s. 229).
  2. en með ólögum eyða: “With laws shall our land be built up but with lawlessness laid waste,” the legal expert Njal famously declares. Yet the “novel” … of which he is the protagonist clearly demonstrates the disasters that ensue under the ever more formalistic rule of law—disasters that clearly cannot be averted by more laws, though that is what the “wise” Njal proposes, but apparently only by the Christian alternative to the Law: grace, mercy, and forgiveness.” Bredsdorff, Thomas. Speech Act Theory and Saga Studies (s. 36).
  3. Þessi hundur heitir Sámur: "The gift to Gunnarr then has affinities with the preternatural in its ‘Celtic expression’ and is further prestigious in its fundamental value, in its exotic and, one must judge, aristocratic origins, and in having been offered by the grandson of an Irish king and a prominent Icelandic chieftain, Óláfr pái." Sayers, William. Gunnarr, his Irish Wolfhound Sámr, and the Passing of the Old Heroic Order in Njáls saga (s. 47-48).

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