Njála, 122

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Chapter 122

OF THE AWARD OF ATONEMENT BETWEEN FLOSI AND NJAL.

Then Njal stood up and said, "This I pray, Hall of the Side, and Flosi, and all the sons of Sigfus, and all our men, too, that ye will not go away but listen to my words."

They did so, and then he spoke thus: "It seems to me as though this suit were come to naught, and it is likely it should, for it hath sprung from an ill root. I will let you all know that I loved Hauskuld more than my own sons, and when I heard that he was slain, methought the sweetest light of my eyes was quenched, and I would rather have lost all my sons, and that he were alive.[1] Now I ask thee, Hall of the Side, and thee Runolf of the Dale, and thee Hjallti Skeggi's son, and thee Einar of Thvera, and thee Hafr the Wise, that I may be allowed to make an atonement for the slaying of Hauskuld on my son's behalf; and I wish that those men who are best fitted to do so shall utter the award."

Gizur, and Hafr, and Einar, spoke each on their own part, and prayed Flosi to take an atonement, and promised him their friendship in return.

Flosi answered them well in all things, but still did not give his word.

Then Hall of the Side said to Flosi, "Wilt thou now keep thy word, and grant me my boon which thou hast already promised me, when I put beyond sea Thorgrim, the son of Kettle the Fat, thy kinsman, when he had slain Halli the Red."

"I will grant it thee, father-in-law," said Flosi, "for that alone wilt thou ask which will make my honour greater than it erewhile was."

"Then," said Hall, "my wish is that thou shouldst be quickly atoned, and lettest good men and true make an award, and so buy the friendship of good and worthy men."

"I will let you all know," said Flosi, "that I will do according to the word of Hall, my father-in-law, and other of the worthiest men, that he and others of the best men on each side, lawfully named, shall make this award. Methinks Njal is worthy that I should grant him this."

Njal thanked him and all of them, and others who were by thanked them too, and said that Flosi had behaved well.

Then Flosi said, "Now will I name my daysmen (1): First, I name Hall, my father-in-law; Auzur from Broadwater; Surt Asbjorn's son of Kirkby; Modolf Kettle's son,"--he dwelt then at Asar--"Hafr the Wise; and Runoff of the Dale; and it is scarce worth while to say that these are the fittest men out of all my company."

Now he bade Njal to name his daysmen, and then Njal stood up, and said, "First of these I name, Asgrim Ellidagrim's son; and Hjallti Skeggi's son; Gizur the White; Einar of Thvera; Snorri the Priest; and Gudmund the Powerful."

After that Njal and Flosi, and the sons of Sigfus shook hands, and Njal pledged his hand on behalf of all his sons, and of Kari, his son-in-law, that they would hold to what those twelve men doomed; and one might say that the whole body of men at the Thing was glad at that.

Then men were sent after Snorri and Gudmund, for they were in their booths.

Then it was given out that the judges in this award would sit in the Court of Laws, but all the others were to go away.

ENDNOTES:

(1) The true English word for "arbitrator," or " umpire." See "Job" ix. 33--"Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both." See also Holland's "Translations of Livy", Page 137--"A more shameful precedent for the time to come: namely, that umpires and dates-men should convert the thing in suit unto their own and proper vantage."

References

  1. I would rather have lost all my sons, and that he were alive: "What must Skarphedin, Grim, and Helgi have thought when they heard their father profess this to the most important people in the polity? Would they have said, ‘Oh, dad is merely making one of his rhetorical moves to spare us outlawry; he has got to make a dramatic gesture of this sort, in order to convince Flosi and the Sigfussons to agree to a settlement’? Or would they have had their beliefs about their father’s preferences confirmed?" Miller, William Ian. Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi’s Ninth Nights: Chapters 117–23 (p. 213).

Kafli 122

Njáll stóð þá upp og mælti: „Þess bið eg Hall af Síðu og Flosa og alla Sigfússonu og alla vora menn að þér gangið eigi í braut og heyrið mál mitt.“

Þeir gerðu svo.

Hann mælti þá: „Svo sýnist mér sem mál þetta sé komið í ónýt efni og er það að líkindum því að af illum rótum hefir upp runnið. Vil eg yður það kunnigt gera að eg unni meira Höskuldi en sonum mínum og er eg spurði að hann var veginn þótti mér slökkt hið sætasta ljós augna minna og heldur vildi eg misst hafa allra sona minna, og lifði hann.[1] Nú bið eg þig, Hallur af Síðu, og Runólf úr Dal, Hjalta Skeggjason og Einar Þveræing og Hafur hinn spaka að eg nái að sættast á víg þetta fyrir hönd sona minna og vil eg að geri um þeir er best eru til fallnir.“

Þeir Gissur og Hafur og Einar talaði sitt erindi hver þeirra og báðu Flosa sættar og hétu honum sinni vináttu í mót. Flosi svaraði þá öllu vel og hét þó eigi.

Hallur af Síðu mælti þá til Flosa: „Viltu nú efna orð þín og veita mér bæn mína er þú hefir áður heitið mér þá er eg kom utan Þorgrími syni Digur-Ketils frænda þínum er hann hafði vegið Halla hinn rauða?“

Flosi mælti: „Veita vil eg þér, mágur, því að þú munt þess eins biðja að mín sæmd sé þá meiri en áður.“

Hallur mælti: „Þá vil eg að þú sættist skjótt og látir góða menn gera um og kaupir þú þér svo vináttu góðra manna.“

Flosi mælti: „Það vil eg yður kunnigt gera að eg vil gera fyrir orð Halls mágs míns og annarra hinna bestu drengja að hann geri um og hinir bestu menn af hvorra liði löglega til nefndir. Þykir mér Njáll maklegur vera að eg unni honum þess.“

Njáll þakkaði honum og þeim öllum og aðrir þeir er hjá voru og kváðu Flosa vel farið hafa.

Flosi mælti: „Nú vil eg nefna mína gjörðarmenn. Nefni eg fyrstan Hall mág minn, Össur frá Breiðá, Surt Ásbjarnarson úr Kirkjubæ, Móðólf Ketilsson“ – hann bjó þá í Ásum – „Hafur hinn spaka og Runólf úr Dal og mun það einmælt að þessir séu best til fallnir af öllum mínum mönnum.“

Bað hann nú Njál nefna sína gerðarmenn.

Njáll stóð þá upp og mælti: „Til þessa nefni eg fyrstan Ásgrím Elliða-Grímsson og Hjalta Skeggjason, Gissur hvíta, Einar Þveræing, Snorra goða og Guðmund hinn ríka.“

Síðan tókust þeir í hendur, Njáll og Flosi og Sigfússynir, og handsalaði Njáll fyrir alla sonu sína og Kára mág sinn það sem þessir tólf menn dæmdu. Og mátti svo að kveða að allur þingheimur yrði þessu feginn. Voru þá sendir menn eftir Snorra og Guðmundi því að þeir voru í búðum sínum. Var þá mælt að dómendur skyldu sitja í lögréttu en allir aðrir gengju í braut.


Tilvísanir

  1. heldur vildi eg misst hafa allra sona minna, og lifði hann: "What must Skarphedin, Grim, and Helgi have thought when they heard their father profess this to the most important people in the polity? Would they have said, ‘Oh, dad is merely making one of his rhetorical moves to spare us outlawry; he has got to make a dramatic gesture of this sort, in order to convince Flosi and the Sigfussons to agree to a settlement’? Or would they have had their beliefs about their father’s preferences confirmed?" Miller, William Ian. Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi’s Ninth Nights: Chapters 117–23 (s. 213).

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