Njála, 100

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Chapter 100

OF THE CHANGE OF FAITH.


There had been a change of rulers in Norway, Earl Hacon was dead and gone, but in his stead was come Olaf Tryggvi's son. That was the end of Earl Hacon, that Kark the thrall cut his throat at Rimul in Gaulardale.

Along with that was heard that there had been a change of faith in Norway; they had cast off the old faith, but King Olaf had christened the western lands, Shetland, and the Orkneys, and the Faroe Isles.

Then many men spoke so that Njal heard it, that it was a strange and wicked thing to throw off the old faith.

Then Njal spoke and said, "It seems to me as though this new faith must be much better,[1] and he will be happy who follows this rather than the other; and if those men come out hither who preach this faith, then I will back them well."

He went often alone away from other men and muttered to himself.

That same harvest a ship came out into the firths east to Berufirth, at a spot called Gautawick. The captain's name was Thangbrand. He was a son of Willibald, a count of Saxony. Thangbrand was sent out hither by King Olaf Tryggvi's son, to preach the faith. Along with him came that man of Iceland whose name was Gudleif (1). Gudleif was a great man-slayer, and one of the strongest of men, and hardy and forward in everything.

Two brothers dwelt at Beruness; the name of the one was Thorleif, but the other was Kettle. They were sons of Holmstein, the son of Auzur of Broaddale. These brothers held a meeting and forbade men to have any dealings with them. This Hall of the Side heard. He dwelt at Thvattwater in Alftafirth; he rode to the ship with twenty-nine men, and he fares at once to find Thangbrand, and spoke to him and asked him, "Trade is rather dull, is it not?"

He answered that so it was.

"Now will I say my errand," says Hall; "it is, that I wish to ask you all to my house, and run the risk of my being able to get rid of your wares for you."

Thangbrand thanked him, and fared to Thvattwater that harvest.

It so happened one morning that Thangbrand was out early and made them pitch a tent on land, and sang mass in it, and took much pains with it, for it was a great high day.

Hall spoke to Thangbrand and asked, "In memory of whom keepest thou this day?"

"In memory of Michael the archangel," says Thangbrand.

"What follows that angel?" asks Hall.

"Much good," says Thangbrand. "He will weigh all the good that thou doest, and he is so merciful, that whenever any one pleases him, he makes his good deeds weigh more."

"I would like to have him for my friend," says Hall.

"That thou mayest well have," says Thangbrand, "only give thyself over to him by God's help this very day."

"I only make this condition," says Hall, "that thou givest thy word for him that he will then become my guardian angel."

"That I will promise," says Thangbrand.

Then Hall was baptized, and all his household.

ENDNOTES:

(1) He was the son of Ari, the son of Mar, the son of Atli, the son of Wolf Squinteye, the son of Hogni the White, the son of Otryg, the son of Oblaud, the son of Hjorleif the lover of women, King of Hordaland.


References

  1. new faith must be much better: "Episodes of this kind are interesting both as attempts to dramatize the advent of Christianity and as expressions of a deterministic view of history. They are apparently dependent on biblical and patristic traditions, (…). On the other hand, these episodes also fit in very well with a fatalistic pattern which we find already in the oldest pagan Edda poems (…)." Lönnroth, Lars. The Noble Heathen: A Theme in the Sagas (p. 17).

Kafli 100

Höfðingjaskipti varð í Noregi. Hákon jarl var liðinn undir lok en kominn í stað Ólafur Tryggvason. Urðu þau örlög Hákonar jarls að Karkur þræll skar hann á háls á Rimul í Gaulardal. Það spurðist þar með að siðaskipti var orðið í Noregi. Höfðu þeir kastað hinum forna sið en konungur hafði kristnað Vesturlönd, Hjaltland og Orkneyjar og Færeyjar.

Þá mæltu margir svo að Njáll heyrði að slíkt væru mikil firn að hafna fornum átrúnaði.

Njáll sagði þá: „Svo líst mér sem hinn nýi átrúnaður muni vera miklu betri[1] og sá muni sæll er þann fær heldur. Og ef þeir menn koma út hingað er þann bjóða þá skal eg það vel flytja.“

Hann fór oft frá öðrum mönnum einn saman og þuldi.

Þetta hið sama haust kom skip út austur í fjörðum í Berufirði þar sem heitir Gautavík. Hét Þangbrandur stýrimaður. Hann var son Vilbaldurs greifa úr Saxlandi. Þangbrandur var sendur út hingað af Ólafi konungi Tryggvasyni að boða trú. Með honum fór sá maður íslenskur er Guðleifur hét. Hann var son Ara Mássonar, Atlasonar, Úlfssonar hins skjálga, Högnasonar hins hvíta, Ótryggssonar, Óblauðssonar, Hjörleifssonar hins kvensama Hörðalandskonungs. Guðleifur var vígamaður mikill og manna hraustastur og harðger í öllu.

Bræður tveir bjuggu á Berunesi. Hét annar Þorleifur en annar Ketill. Þeir voru Hólmsteinssynir Össurarsonar breiðdælska. Þeir lögðu til fund og bönnuðu mönnum að eiga kaup við þá.

Þetta spurði Hallur af Síðu. Hann bjó að Þvottá í Álftafirði. Hann reið til skips við þrjá tigu manna.

Hann fer þegar á fund Þangbrands og mælti til hans: „Ganga ekki mjög kaupin?“

Hann sagði að svo var.

„Nú vil eg segja mitt erindi,“ segir Hallur, „að eg vil bjóða yður öllum heim til mín og hætta á hvort eg geti keypt fyrir yður.“

Þangbrandur þakkaði honum og fór þangað um haustið.

Það var einn morgun að Þangbrandur var úti snemma og lét skjóta landtjaldi og söng messu og hafði mikið við því að hátíð var mikil.

Hallur mælti til Þangbrands: „Í hverja minning heldur þú þenna dag?“

„Mikaeli engli,“ segir hann.

„Hvað fylgir engli þeim?“ segir hann.

„Margt gott,“ segir Þangbrandur. „Hann skal meta allt það er þú gerðir vel og er hann svo miskunnsamur að hann metur það allt meira er honum þykir vel.“

Hallur mælti: „Eiga vildi eg hann mér að vin.“

„Það muntu mega,“ segir Þangbrandur, „og gefst þú honum þá í dag með guði.“

„Það vil eg þá skilja til,“ segir Hallur, „að þú heitir því fyrir hann að hann sé þá fylgjuengill minn.“

„Því mun eg heita,“ segir Þangbrandur.

Tók Hallur þá skírn og öll hjú hans.


Tilvísanir

  1. nýi átrúnaður muni vera miklu betri: "Episodes of this kind are interesting both as attempts to dramatize the advent of Christianity and as expressions of a deterministic view of history. They are apparently dependent on biblical and patristic traditions, (…). On the other hand, these episodes also fit in very well with a fatalistic pattern which we find already in the oldest pagan Edda poems (…)." Lönnroth, Lars. The Noble Heathen: A Theme in the Sagas (s. 17).

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