Njála, 102

From WikiSaga
Jump to: navigation, search


Contents

Chapter 102

OF THANGBRAND AND GUDLEIF.


Gudleif now searches for Sorcerer-Hedinn and finds him on the heath, and chases him down into Carlinedale, and got within spearshot of him, and shoots a spear at him and through him.

Thence they fared to Dyrholms and held a meeting there, and preached the faith there, and there Ingialld, the son of Thorsteinn Highbankawk, became a Christian.

Thence they fared to the Fleetlithe and preached the faith there. There Weatherlid the Skald, and Ari his son, spoke most against the faith, and for that they slew Weatherlid, and then this song was sung about it--

"He who proved his blade on bucklers, South went through the land to whet Brand that oft hath felled his foeman, 'Gainst the forge which foams with song (1); Mighty wielder of war's sickle Made his sword's avenging edge Hard on hero's helm-prop rattle (2), Skull of Weatherlid the Skald."

Thence Thangbrand fared to Bergthorsknoll, and Njal took the faith and all his house, but Mord and Valgard went much against it, and thence they fared out across the rivers; so they went on into Hawkdale and there they baptized Hall (3), and he was then three winters old.

Thence Thangbrand fared to Grimsness, there Thorwald the Scurvy gathered a band against him, and sent word to Wolf Uggi's son that he must fare against Thangbrand and slay him, and made this song on him--

"To the wolf in Woden's harness, Uggi's worthy warlike son, I, steel's swinger dearly loving, This my dimple bidding send; That the wolf of Gods (4) he chaseth-- Man who snaps at chink of gold-- Wolf who base our Gods blasphemeth, I the other wolf (5) will crush."

Wolf sang another song in return:

"Swarthy skarf from mouth that skimmeth Of the man who speaks in song Never will I catch, though surely Wealthy warrior it hath sent; Tender of the sea-horse snorting, E'en though ill deeds are on foot, Still to risk mine eyes are open; Harmful 'tis to snap at flies (6)."

"And," says he, "I don't mean to be made a catspaw by him, but let him take heed lest his tongue twists a noose for his own neck."

And after that the messenger fared back to Thorwald the Scurvy and told him Wolf's words. Thorwald had many men about him, and gave it out that he would lie in wait for them on Bluewood-heath.

Now those two, Thangbrand and Gudleif, ride out of Hawkdale, and there they came upon a man who rode to meet them. That man asked for Gudleif, and when he found him he said, "Thou shalt gain by being the brother of Thorgil of Reykiahole, for I will let thee know that they have set many ambushes, and this too, that Thorwald the Scurvy is now with his band at Hestbeck on Grimsness."

"We shall not the less for all that ride to meet him," says Gudleif, and then they turned down to Hestbeck. Thorwald was then come across the brook, and Gudleif said to Thangbrand, "Here is now Thorwald; let us rush on him now."

Thangbrand shot a spear through Thorwald, but Gudleif smote him on the shoulder and hewed his arm off, and that was his death.

After that they ride up to the Thing, and it was a near thing that the kinsmen of Thorwald had fallen on Thangbrand, but Njal and the eastfirthers stood by Thangbrand.

Then Hjallti Skeggi's son sang this rhyme at the Hill of Laws:

"Ever will I Gods blaspheme Freyja methinks a dog does seem, Freyja a dog? Aye! let them be Both dogs together Odin and she (7)."

Hjallti fared abroad that summer and Gizur the White with him, but Thangbrand's ship was wrecked away east at Bulandsness, and the ship's name was Bison.

Thangbrand and his messmate fared right through the west country, and Steinvora, the mother of Ref the Skald, came against him; she preached the heathen faith to Thangbrand[1] and made him a long speech. Thangbrand held his peace while she spoke, but made a long speech after her, and turned all that she had said the wrong way against her.

"Hast thou heard," she said, "how Thor challenged Christ to single combat, and how he did not dare to fight[2] with Thor?"

"I have heard tell," says Thangbrand, "that Thor was naught but dust and ashes, if God had not willed that he should live."

"Knowest thou," she says, "who it was that shattered thy ship?"

"What hast thou to say about that?" he asks.

"That I will tell thee," she says:

"He that giant's offspring (8) slayeth Broke the mew-field's bison stout (9), Thus the Gods, bell's warder (10) grieving, Crushed the falcon of the strand (11); To the courser of the causeway (12) Little good was Christ I ween, When Thor shattered ships to pieces Gylfi's hart (13) no God could help."

And again she sung another song:

"Thangbrand's vessel from her moorings, Sea-king's steed, Thor wrathful tore, Shook and shattered all her timbers, Hurled her broadside on the beach; Ne'er again shall Viking's snow-shoe (14), On the briny billows glide, For a storm by Thor awakened, Dashed the bark to splinters small."

After that Thangbrand and Steinvora[3] parted, and they fared west to Bardastrand.

ENDNOTES:

(1) "Forge which foams with song," the poet's head, in which songs are forged, and gush forth like foaming mead.

(2) "Hero's helm-prop," the hero's, man's, head which supports his helm.

(3) It is needless to say that this Hall was not Hall of the Side.

(4) "Wolf of Gods," the "caput lupinum," the outlaw of heaven, the outcast from Valhalla, Thangbrand.

(5) "The other wolf," Gudleif.

(6) "Swarthy skarf," the skarf, or "pelecanus carbo", the cormorant. He compares the message of Thorwald to the cormorant skimming over the waves, and says he will never take it. "Snap at flies," a very common Icelandic metaphor from fish rising to a fly.

(7) Maurer thinks the allusion is here to some mythological legend on Odin's adventures which has not come down to us.

(8) "He that giant's," etc., Thor.

(9) "Mew-field's bison," the sea-going ship, which sails over the plain of the sea-mew.

(10) "Bell's warder," the Christian priest whose bell-ringing formed part of the rites of the new faith.

(11) "Falcon of the strand," ship.

(12) "Courser of the causeway," ship.

(13) "Gylfi's hart," ship.

(14) "Viking's snow-shoe," sea-king's ship.

References

  1. she preached the heathen faith to Thangbrand: "Whether Christianity is introduced by means of a legal consensus (as in Iceland) or through royal and political power (as in Norway)... these women stand outside the decision-making bodies ... Hence they (Old Icelandic narratives) represent the domestic sphere - the sphere where women held power - as most resistant to the Christian message, and Njáls saga draws on this dynamic when it dramatizes the clash between the old faith and the new as a power struggle between women and men." Grønlie, Siân. 'No Longer Male and Female' (p. 299).
  2. did not dare to fight: "Central to Steinunn's argument is her strong support for what she sees as the 'pagan' ideal of aggressive masculinity: her point about Christ not daring to fight is surely a parody of the Passion. ... The implication is clear: conversion can be represented as a struggle between the sexes, in which women consistently oppose and are excluded from the Christian ideals embraced so willingly by men." Grønlie, Siân. 'No Longer Male and Female' (p. 294).
  3. Thangbrand and Steinvora: "Steinunn's defamatory allegations ... constitute a shaming of the Christian god as well as his priest. Þangbrandr's failure to take up her verbal challenge with a verse of his own is a failure to protect the belief system he is promoting and a failure to assert his own verbal competence. … Seen in a larger context, Steinunn's encounter with Þangbrandr can be viewed as a social drama, that is, as a way of working out conflicts within and between societies." Borovsky, Zoe. Never in Public (pp. 9-10).

Kafli 102

Guðleifur leitar nú Galdra-Héðins og finnur hann á heiðinni og eltir hann ofan að Kerlingardal og komst í skotfæri við hann og skýtur spjótinu til hans og í gegnum hann.

Þaðan fóru þeir til Dyrhólma og áttu þar fund og buðu þar trú og kristnaðist þar Ingjaldur son Þorkels Háeyrartyrðils.

Þaðan fóru þeir til Fljótshlíðar og buðu þar trú. Þar mælti mest í móti Veturliði skáld og Ari son hans og fyrir það vógu þeir Veturliða. Og er þar um kveðin vísa þessi:


31. Ryðfjónar gekk reynir

randa suður á landi

beðs í bóna smiðju

Baldurs sigtólum halda.

Siðreynir lét síðan

snjallur moldhamar gjalla

hauðurs í hattar steðja

hjaldur, Veturliða skaldi.


Þaðan fór Þangbrandur til Bergþórshvols og tók Njáll við trú og öll hjú hans. En þeir Mörður og Valgarður gengu mjög í móti og fóru þeir þaðan út yfir ár. Þeir fóru í Haukadal og skírðu þar Hall og var hann þá þrevetur.

Þaðan fór hann til Grímsness. Þar efldi flokk í móti honum Þorvaldur veili og sendi orð Úlfi Uggasyni að hann skyldi fara að Þangbrandi og drepa hann og kvað til vísu þessa:


32. Yggs bjálfa mun eg Úlfi

Endils og boð senda,

mér er við stála stýri

stugglaust, syni Ugga,

að gnýskúta Geitis

goðvarg fyrir argan,

þann er við rögn og rignir,

reki hann en eg mun annan.


Úlfur kvað aðra vísu í móti:


33. Getka eg, sunds þótt sendi

sann-élboði tanna

hvarfs við hleypiskarfi,

Hárbarðs véa fjarðar.

Þó að ráfáka rækim,

röng eru mál á gangi,

sé eg fyrir mínu meini,

mínlegt flugu að ginna.


„Og ætla eg ekki,“ sagði hann, „að vera ginningarfífl hans. En gæti hann að honum vefjist eigi tungan um höfuð.“

Og eftir það fór sendimaður aftur til Þorvalds hins veila og sagði honum orð Úlfs. Þorvaldur hafði margt manna um sig og hafði það við orð að sitja fyrir þeim á Bláskógaheiði.

Þeir Þangbrandur og Guðleifur riðu úr Haukadal. Þeir mættu þar manni einum er reið í móti þeim.

Spurði sjá að Guðleifi og er hann fann hann mælti hann: „Njóta skaltu Þorgils bróður þíns á Reykjahólum að eg vil gera þér njósn að þeir hafa margar fyrirsátir og það með að Þorvaldur hinn veili er með flokk sinn við Hestlæk í Grímsnesi.“

„Ekki skulum vér ríða að síður,“ segir Guðleifur, „til fundar við hann.“

Og snúa þeir síðan ofan til Hestlækjar. Þorvaldur var kominn yfir lækinn.

Guðleifur mælti til Þangbrands: „Hér er nú Þorvaldur og hlaupum nú að honum.“

Þangbrandur skaut spjóti í gegnum Þorvald en Guðleifur hjó á öxlina og frá ofan höndina og varð það hans bani.

Eftir það ríða þeir á þing upp og hafði svo nær að frændur Þorvalds mundu ganga að honum. Veittu þeir Njáll og Austfirðingar Þangbrandi. Hjalti Skeggjason kvað kviðling þenna:


34. Spari eg eigi goð geyja.

Grey þykir mér Freyja.

Æ mun annað tveggja

Óðinn grey eða Freyja.


Hjalti fór utan um sumarið og Gissur hvíti. En skip Þangbrands braut austur við Búlandsnes og hét skipið Vísund.

Þeir Þangbrandur fóru allt vestur um sveitir.

Steinvör kom í móti honum, móðir Skáld-Refs. Hún boðaði Þangbrandi heiðni[1] og taldi lengi fyrir honum. Þangbrandur þagði meðan hún talaði en talaði lengi eftir og sneri því í villu er hún hafði mælt.

„Hefir þú heyrt það,“ sagði hún, „er Þór bauð Kristi á hólm og þorði hann eigi að berjast[2] við Þór?“

„Heyrt hefi eg,“ segir Þangbrandur, „að Þór var ekki nema mold og aska ef guð vildi eigi að hann lifði.“

„Veistu,“ segir hún, „hver brotið hefir skip þitt?“

„Hvað segir þú til?“ segir hann.

„Það mun eg segja þér,“ segir hún:


35. Braut fyrir bjöllu gæti,

bönd ráku val strandar,

mögfellandi mellu,

mástalls, Vísund allan.

Hlífðit Kristur, þá er kneyfði

knörr, málfeta varra.

Lítt get eg að guð gætti

Gylfa hreins að einu.


Og enn kvað hún aðra vísu:


36. Þór brá þunnís dýri

Þangbrands úr stað löngu,

hristi búss og beysti

barð og laust við jörðu.

Muna skíð um sjá síðan

sundfært Atals grundar,

hregg því að hvað tók leggja,

honum kennt, í spónum.


Eftir það skildu þau Þangbrandur og Steinvör[3] og fóru þeir vestur til Barðastrandar.



Tilvísanir

  1. hún boðaði Þangbrandi heiðni: "Whether Christianity is introduced by means of a legal consensus (as in Iceland) or through royal and political power (as in Norway)... these women stand outside the decision-making bodies ... Hence they (Old Icelandic narratives) represent the domestic sphere - the sphere where women held power - as most resistant to the Christian message, and Njáls saga draws on this dynamic when it dramatizes the clash between the old faith and the new as a power struggle between women and men." Grønlie, Siân. 'No Longer Male and Female' (s. 299).
  2. þorði hann eigi að berjast: "Central to Steinunn's argument is her strong support for what she sees as the 'pagan' ideal of aggressive masculinity: her point about Christ not daring to fight is surely a parody of the Passion. ... The implication is clear: conversion can be represented as a struggle between the sexes, in which women consistently oppose and are excluded from the Christian ideals embraced so willingly by men." Grønlie, Siân. 'No Longer Male and Female' (s. 294).
  3. Þangbrandur og Steinvör: "Steinunn's defamatory allegations ... constitute a shaming of the Christian god as well as his priest. Þangbrandr's failure to take up her verbal challenge with a verse of his own is a failure to protect the belief system he is promoting and a failure to assert his own verbal competence. … Seen in a larger context, Steinunn's encounter with Þangbrandr can be viewed as a social drama, that is, as a way of working out conflicts within and between societies." Borovsky, Zoe. Never in Public (s. 9-10).

Links

Personal tools