Njála, 129

From WikiSaga
Jump to: navigation, search


Contents

Chapter 129

NJAL'S BURNING.


Now they took fire, and made a great pile before the doors. Then Skarphedinn said, "What, lads! are ye lighting a fire, or are ye taking to cooking?"

"So it shall be," answered Grani Gunnar's son; "and thou shalt not need to be better done."

"Thou repayest me," said Skarphedinn, "as one may look for from the man that thou art. I avenged thy father, and thou settest most store by that duty which is farthest from thee."

Then the women threw whey on the fire, and quenched it as fast as they lit it. Some, too, brought water, or slops.

Then Kol Thorstein's son said to Flosi, "A plan comes into my mind; I have seen a loft over the hall among the crosstrees, and we will put the fire in there, and light it with the vetch-stack that stands just above the house."

Then they took the vetch-stack and set fire to it, and they who were inside were not aware of it till the whole hall was a-blaze over their heads.

Then Flosi and his men made a great pile before each of the doors, and then the women folk who were inside began to weep and to wail.

Njal spoke to them and said, "Keep up your hearts, nor utter shrieks, for this is but a passing storm, and it will be long before ye have another such; and put your faith in God, and believe that he is so merciful[1] that he will not let us burn both in this world and the next."[2]

Such words of comfort had he for them all, and others still more strong.

Now the whole house began to blaze. Then Njal went to the door and said, "Is Flosi so near that he can hear my voice."

Flosi said that he could hear it.

"Wilt thou," said Njal, "take an atonement from my sons, or allow any men to go out."

"I will not," answers Flosi, "take any atonement from thy sons, and now our dealings shall come to an end once for all, and I will not stir from this spot till they are all dead; but I will allow the women and children and house-carles to go out."

Then Njal went into the house, and said to the fold, "Now all those must go out to whom leave is given, and so go thou out Thorhalla Asgrim's daughter, and all the people also with thee who may."

Then Thorhalla said, "This is another parting between me and Helgi than I thought of a while ago; but still I will egg on my father and brothers to avenge this manscathe which is wrought here."

"Go, and good go with thee," said Njal, "for thou art a brave woman."

After that she went out and much folk with her.

Then Astrid of Deepback said to Helgi Njal's son, "Come thou out with me, and I will throw a woman's cloak over thee, and tie thy head with a kerchief."

He spoke against it at first, but at last he did so at the prayer of others.

So Astrid wrapped the kerchief round Helgi's head, but Thorhilda, Skarphedinn's wife, threw the cloak over him,[3] and he went out between them, and then Thorgerda Njal's daughter, and Helga her sister, and many other folk went out too.

But when Helgi came out Flosi said, "That is a tall woman and broad across the shoulders that went yonder, take her and hold her."

But when Helgi heard that, he cast away the cloak.[4] He had got his sword under his arm, and hewed at a man, and the blow fell on his shield and cut off the point of it, and the man's leg as well. Then Flosi came up and hewed at Helgi's neck, and took off his head at a stroke.

Then Flosi went to the door and called out to Njal, and said he would speak with him and Bergthora.

Now Njal does so, and Flosi said, "I will offer thee, master Njal, leave to go out, for it is unworthy that thou shouldst burn indoors."

"I will not go out[5]," said Njal, "for I am an old man, and little fitted to avenge my sons,[6] but I will not live in shame."[7]

Then Flosi said to Bergthora, "Come thou out, housewife, for I will for no sake burn thee indoors."

"I was given away to Njal young," said Bergthora, "and I have promised him this, that we would both share the same fate."

After that they both went back into the house.

"What counsel shall we now take," said Bergthora.

"We will go to our bed," says Njal, "and lay us down; I have long been eager for rest."

Then she said to the boy Thord, Kari's son, "Thee will I take out, and thou shalt not burn in here."

"Thou hast promised me this, grandmother," says the boy, "that we should never part so long as I wished to be with thee; but methinks it is much better to die with thee and Njal than to live after you."

Then she bore the boy to her bed, and Njal spoke to his steward and said, "Now thou shalt see where we lay us down, and how I lay us out, for I mean not to stir an inch hence, whether reek or burning smart me, and so thou wilt be able to guess where to look for our bones,"

He said he would do so.

There had been an ox slaughtered and the hide lay there. Njal told the steward to spread the hide over them, and he did so.

So there they lay down both of them in their bed, and put the boy between them. Then they signed themselves and the boy with the cross, and gave over their souls into God's hand, and that was the last word that men heard them utter.

Then the steward took the hide and spread it over them, and went out afterwards. Kettle of the Mark caught hold of him, and dragged him out, he asked carefully after his father-in-law Njal, but the steward told him the whole truth. Then Kettle said, "Great grief hath been sent on us, when we have had to share such ill-luck together."

Skarphedinn saw how his father laid him down, and how he laid himself out, and then he said, "Our father goes early to bed, and that is what was to be looked for, for he is an old man."

Then Skarphedinn, and Kari, and Grim, caught the brands as fast as they dropped down, and hurled them out at them, and so it went on awhile. Then they hurled spears in at them, but they caught them all as they flew, and sent them back again.

Then Flosi bade them cease shooting, "for all feats of arms will go hard with us when we deal with them; ye may well wait till the fire overcomes them."

So they do that, and shoot no more.

Then the great beams out of the roof began to fall,[8] and Skarphedinn said, "Now must my father be dead, and I have neither heard groan nor cough from him."

Then they went to the end of the hall, and there had fallen down a cross-beam inside which was much burnt in the middle.

Kari spoke to Skarphedinn, and said, "Leap thou out here, and I will help thee to do so, and I will leap out after thee, and then we shall both get away if we set about it so, for hitherward blows all the smoke."

"Thou shalt leap first," said Skarphedinn; "but I will leap straightway on thy heels."

"That is not wise," says Kari, "for I can get out well enough elsewhere, though it does not come about here."

"I will not do that," says Skarphedinn; "leap thou out first, but I will leap after thee at once."

"It is bidden to every man," says Kari, "to seek to save his life while he has a choice, and I will do so now; but still this parting of ours will be in such wise that we shall never see one another more; for if I leap out of the fire, I shall have no mind to leap back into the fire to thee, and then each of us will have to fare his own way."

"It joys me, brother-in-law," says Skarphedinn, "to think that if thou gettest away thou wilt avenge me."

Then Kari took up a blazing bench in his hand, and runs up along the cross-beam, then he hurls the bench out at the roof, and it fell among those who were outside.

Then they ran away, and by that time all Kari's upper clothing and his hair were a-b1aze, then he threw himself down from the roof, and so crept along with the smoke.

Then one man said who was nearest, "Was that a man that leapt out at the roof?"

"Far from it," says another; "more likely it was Skarphedinn who hurled a firebrand at us."

After that they had no more mistrust.

Kari ran till he came to a stream, and then he threw himself down into it, and so quenched the fire on him.

After that he ran along under shelter of the smoke into a hollow, and rested him there, and that has since been called Kari's Hollow.


References

  1. merciful: "Nothing obliges God to activate his mercy in the next world because one happens to burn to death in this one. Njal's concern here is not about the afterlife or theological accuracy, but that, no differently from Skarphedin, he wants everyone to play his and her final part upon this stage with dignity and courage." Miller, William Ian. A Conclusion: Justice and Exits (p. 303).
  2. he will not let us burn both in this world and the next : " Den berømte replik kan læses ikke bare psykologisk, som et udtryk for Njals stoiske eller kristelige ro over for det forfærdelige, men også kompositorisk som et resumé af den jordiske udvikling hele sagaen berette om: en gammel verden går til grunde for at en ny kan opstå. Den gamle verden er lovens, den ny er kristendommens. " Bredsdorff, Thomas. Kaos og kærlighed (p. 95).
  3. threw the cloak over him: "Orðið kvenskikkja kemur aðeins einu sinni fyrir í Sturlungu, og er skikkjan þar einnig borin af manni, sem leitar sér undankomu frá dauða." Barði Guðmundsson. "Nú taka öll húsin að loga" (p. 29).
  4. he cast away the cloak : " Due to Helgi’s height and excessively broad shoulders his female disguise is ineffective, and he arouses suspicion almost immediately. After escaping, he throws off his woman’s cloak and uncovers a previously concealed sword with which he is able to wound one of his enemies before Flosi severs his head from his shoulders. In this manner Helgi’s manhood is firmly reestablished, and he dies an honorable Viking death. " Frankki, James. Cross-Dressing in the Poetic Edda (p. 433)
  5. I will not go out : " Lönnroth låter sagans förmenta “förändring av mentaliteten” i kristen tid exemplifieras av att Njáll själv väljer att brännas inne i sitt hus hellre än att kämpa mot fienden. Njálls skäl, såsom han själv formulerar det i sagan, är emellertid: „Eigi vil ek út ganga, því at ek em maðr gamall ok lítt til búinn at hefna sona minna, en ek vil eigi lifa við skǫmm“. (Lönnroth exemplifies the saga‘s supposed “shift of mentality” in Christian time by the fact that Njáll himself choses to be burnt inside his house rather than to fight against the enemy. Njáll‘s reason, which he himself explains in the saga, is in fact: „I don‘t want to go out, because I am an old man and little fitted to avenge my sons, but I don‘t want to live with shame). " Sävborg, Daniel. Konfliktlösning och religion i Njáls saga (p. 255)
  6. little fitted to avenge my sons: "Njal wants his sons dead, he wants them obedient as they had always been except for one rebellious deed, and he wants them avenged; or more precisely, he wants his own and Bergthora’s deaths avenged, and knows that it will be impossible not to have those vengeances also accrue to his sons" Miller, William Ian. The Burning: Chapters 124–32 (p. 231).
  7. not live in shame: “In the face of Flosi’s subsequent attack on his house, the pious Njal reacts in a comparable fashion, confusing Christian thought with earlier Norse tradition. When Flosi offers quarter to him and Bergthora, Njal replies that he prefers to die, since he is too old and infirm to avenge his sons. “I do not want live in shame” he says, even though shame of one’s sinfulness is a necessary part of Christian’s salvific process. In effect, Njal faces death with a pagan honour code on his mind.” Taylor, Paul Beekman. Njáll grómr: christian morality and Norse myth (p. 170).
  8. beams out of the roof began to fall: “Eitt grundvallareinkenni á grótesku myndmáli er kollsteypan, eða fallið, upp verður niður, lóðrétt lárétt. Í samræmi við það er því lýst á hrikalegan hátt hvernig eldurinn vinnur á rammlegum húsunum og þau hrynja.” Helga Kress. Njálsbrenna, karnival í Landeyjum (p. 29).

Kafli 129

Þeir tóku nú eld og gerðu bál mikið fyrir dyrunum.

Þá mælti Skarphéðinn: „Eld kveikið þér nú, sveinar, eða hvort skal nú búa til seyðis?“

Grani Gunnarsson svaraði: „Svo skal það vera og skaltu eigi þurfa heitara að baka.“

Skarphéðinn mælti: „Því launar þú mér sem þú ert maður til er eg hefndi föður þíns og virðir það meira er þér er óskyldara.“

Þá báru konur sýru í eldinn og slökktu niður fyrir þeim.

Kolur Þorsteinsson mælti til Flosa: „Ráð kemur mér í hug. Eg hefi séð loft í skálanum á þvertrjám og skulum vér þar inn bera eldinn og kveikja við arfasátu þá er hér stendur fyrir ofan húsin.“

Síðan tóku þeir arfasátuna og báru í eld. Fundu þeir eigi fyrr, er inni voru, en logaði ofan allur skálinn. Gerðu þeir Flosi þá stór bál fyrir öllum dyrum. Tók þá kvennafólkið illa að þola það sem inni var.

Njáll mælti til þeirra: „Verðið vel við og mælið eigi æðru því að él eitt mun vera og skyldi langt til annars slíks. Trúið þér og því að guð er svo miskunnsamur[1] að mun hann oss eigi bæði brenna láta þessa heims og annars.“[2]

Slíkar fortölur hafði hann fyrir þeim og aðrar hraustlegri.

Nú taka öll húsin að loga. Þá gekk Njáll til dyra og mælti: „Hvort er Flosi svo nær að hann megi heyra mál mitt?“

Flosi kvaðst heyra mega.

Njáll mælti: „Vilt þú nokkuð taka sættum við sonu mína eða leyfa nokkurum mönnum útgöngu?“

Flosi svarar: „Eigi vil eg við sonu þína sættum taka og skal nú yfir lúka með oss og eigi fyrr frá ganga en þeir eru allir dauðir. En lofa vil eg útgöngu konum og börnum og húskörlum.“

Njáll gekk þá inn og mælti við fólkið: „Nú er þeim út að ganga öllum er leyft er. Og gakk þú út, Þórhalla Ásgrímsdóttir, og allur lýður með þér sá er lofað er.“

Þórhalla mælti: „Annar verður nú skilnaður okkar Helga en eg ætlaði um hríð en þó skal eg eggja föður minn og bræður að þeir hefni þessa mannskaða er hér er ger.“

Njáll mælti: „Vel mun þér fara því að þú ert góð kona.“

Síðan gekk hún út og margt lið með henni.

Ástríður af Djúpárbakka mælti við Helga Njálsson: „Gakktu út með mér og mun eg kasta yfir þig kvenskikkju[3] og falda þig með höfuðdúki.“

Hann taldist undan fyrst en þó gerði hann þetta fyrir bæn þeirra. Ástríður vafði höfuðdúk að höfði Helga en Þórhildur kona Skarphéðins lagði yfir hann skikkjuna og gekk hann út á meðal þeirra. Og þá gekk út Þorgerður Njálsdóttir og Helga systir hennar og margt annað fólk.

En er hann kom út mælti Flosi: „Sú er há kona og mikil um herðar er þar fór. Takið og haldið henni.“

En er hann heyrði þetta kastaði hann skikkjunni.[4] Hann hafði haft sverð undir hendi sér og hjó til manns og kom í skjöldinn og af sporðinn og fótinn af manninum. Þá kom Flosi að og hjó á hálsinn Helga svo að þegar tók af höfuðið.

Flosi gekk þá að dyrum og kallaði á Njál og kvaðst vildu tala við hann og Bergþóru. Njáll gerir nú svo.

Flosi mælti: „Útgöngu vil eg bjóða þér, Njáll bóndi, því að þú brennur ómaklegur inni.“

Njáll mælti: „Eigi vil eg út ganga[5] því að eg er maður gamall og lítt til búinn að hefna sona minna[6] en eg vil eigi lifa við skömm.“[7]

Flosi mælti þá til Bergþóru: „Gakktu út, húsfreyja, því að eg vil þig fyrir engan mun inni brenna.“

Bergþóra mælti: „Eg var ung gefin Njáli. Hefi eg því heitið honum að eitt skyldi ganga yfir okkur bæði.“

Síðan gengu þau inn bæði.

Bergþóra mælti: „Hvað skulum við nú til ráða taka?“

„Ganga munum við til hvílu okkarrar,“ segir Njáll, „og leggjast niður, hefi eg lengi værugjarn verið.“

Hún mælti þá við sveininn Þórð Kárason: „Þig skal út bera og skaltu eigi inni brenna.“

„Hinu hefir þú mér heitið, amma,“ segir sveinninn, „að við skyldum aldrei skilja meðan eg vildi hjá þér vera. En mér þykir miklu betra að deyja með ykkur Njáli en lifa eftir.“

Hún bar þá sveininn til hvílunnar.

Njáll mælti við brytja sinn: „Nú skaltu sjá hvar við leggjumst niður og hversu eg bý um okkur því að eg ætla héðan hvergi að hrærast hvort sem mér angrar reykur eða bruni. Máttu nú nær geta hvar beina okkarra er að leita.“

Hann sagði svo vera skyldu. Þar hafði slátrað verið uxa einum og lá þar húðin. Njáll mælti við brytjann að hann skyldi breiða yfir þau húðina og hann hét því. Þau leggjast nú niður bæði í rúmið og leggja sveininn í millum sín. Þá signdu þau sig og sveininn og fálu guði önd sína á hendi og mæltu það síðast svo menn heyrðu. Þá tók brytinn húðina og breiddi yfir þau og gekk út síðan. Ketill úr Mörk tók í móti honum og kippti honum út. Hann spurði vandlega að Njáli mági sínum en brytinn sagði allt hið sanna.

Ketill mælti: „Mikill harmur er að oss kveðinn er vér skulum svo mikla ógæfu saman eiga.“

Skarphéðinn sá er faðir hans lagðist niður og hversu hann bjó um sig.

Hann mælti þá: „Snemma fer faðir vor að rekkju og er það sem von er. Hann er maður gamall.“

Þá tóku þeir Skarphéðinn og Kári og Grímur brandana jafnskjótt sem ofan duttu og skutu út á þá og gekk því um hríð. Þá skutu þeir spjótum inn að þeim en þeir tóku öll á lofti og sendu út aftur.

Flosi bað þá hætta að skjóta „því að oss munu öll vopnaskipti þungt ganga við þá. Megið þér nú vel bíða þess er eldurinn vinnur þá.“

Þeir gera nú svo. Þá féllu ofan stórviðirnir úr ræfrinu.

Skarphéðinn mælti þá: „Nú mun faðir minn dauður vera og hefir hvorki heyrt til hans styn né hósta.“

Þeir gengu þá í skálaendann. Þar var fallið ofan þvertré[8] og brunnið mjög í miðju.

Kári mælti til Skarphéðins: „Hlauptu hér út og mun eg beina að með þér en eg mun hlaupa þegar eftir og munum við þá báðir í braut komast ef við breytum svo því að hingað leggur allan reykinn.“

Skarphéðinn mælti: „Þú skalt hlaupa fyrri en eg mun þegar á hæla þér.“

„Ekki er það ráð,“ segir Kári, „því að eg kemst vel annars staðar út þótt hér gangi eigi.“

„Eigi vil eg það,“ segir Skarphéðinn, „hlauptu út fyrri en eg mun þegar eftir.“

„Það er hverjum manni boðið að leita sér lífs meðan kostur er,“ segir Kári, „og skal eg og svo gera. En þó mun þó sá skilnaður með okkur verða að við munum aldrei sjást síðan því að ef eg hleyp úr eldinum þá mun eg eigi hafa skap til að hlaupa inn aftur í eldinn til þín og mun þá sína leið fara hvor okkar.“

„Það hlægir mig,“ segir Skarphéðinn, „ef þú kemst í braut, mágur, að þú munt hefna mín.“

Þá tók Kári einn setstokk loganda í hönd sér og hleypur út eftir þvertrénu. Kastar hann þá stokkinum út af þekjunni og féll hann að þeim er úti voru fyrir. Þeir hlupu þá undan. Þá loguðu klæðin öll á Kára og svo hárið. Hann steypir sér þá út af þekjunni og stiklar svo með reykinum.

Þá mælti einn maður er þar var næstur: „Hvort hljóp þar maður út af þekjunni?“

„Fjarri fór það,“ sagði annar, „heldur kastaði þar Skarphéðinn eldistokki að oss.“

Síðan grunuðu þeir það ekki.

Kári hljóp til þess er hann kom að læk einum. Hann kastaði sér þar í ofan og slökkti á sér eldinn. Síðan hljóp hann með reykinum í gróf nokkura og hvíldi sig og er það síðan kölluð Káragróf.



Tilvísanir

  1. miskunnsamur: "Nothing obliges God to activate his mercy in the next world because one happens to burn to death in this one. Njal's concern here is not about the afterlife or theological accuracy, but that, no differently from Skarphedin, he wants everyone to play his and her final part upon this stage with dignity and courage." Miller, William Ian. A Conclusion: Justice and Exits (s. 303).
  2. mun hann oss eigi bæði brenna láta þessa heims og annars : " Den berømte replik kan læses ikke bare psykologisk, som et udtryk for Njals stoiske eller kristelige ro over for det forfærdelige, men også kompositorisk som et resumé af den jordiske udvikling hele sagaen berette om: en gammel verden går til grunde for at en ny kan opstå. Den gamle verden er lovens, den ny er kristendommens. " Bredsdorff, Thomas. Kaos og kærlighed (s. 95).
  3. kasta yfir þig kvenskikkju: "Orðið kvenskikkja kemur aðeins einu sinni fyrir í Sturlungu, og er skikkjan þar einnig borin af manni, sem leitar sér undankomu frá dauða." Barði Guðmundsson. "Nú taka öll húsin að loga" (s. 29).
  4. kastaði hann skikkjunni : " Due to Helgi’s height and excessively broad shoulders his female disguise is ineffective, and he arouses suspicion almost immediately. After escaping, he throws off his woman’s cloak and uncovers a previously concealed sword with which he is able to wound one of his enemies before Flosi severs his head from his shoulders. In this manner Helgi’s manhood is firmly reestablished, and he dies an honorable Viking death. " Frankki, James. Cross-Dressing in the Poetic Edda (s. 433)
  5. Eigi vil ég út ganga : " Lönnroth låter sagans förmenta “förändring av mentaliteten” i kristen tid exemplifieras av att Njáll själv väljer att brännas inne i sitt hus hellre än att kämpa mot fienden. Njálls skäl, såsom han själv formulerar det i sagan, är emellertid: „Eigi vil ek út ganga, því at ek em maðr gamall ok lítt til búinn at hefna sona minna, en ek vil eigi lifa við skǫmm“. (Lönnroth exemplifies the saga‘s supposed “shift of mentality” in Christian time by the fact that Njáll himself choses to be burnt inside his house rather than to fight against the enemy. Njáll‘s reason, which he himself explains in the saga, is in fact: „I don‘t want to go out, because I am an old man and little fitted to avenge my sons, but I don‘t want to live with shame). " Sävborg, Daniel. Konfliktlösning och religion i Njáls saga (s. 255)
  6. lítt til búinn að hefna sona minna: "Njal wants his sons dead, he wants them obedient as they had always been except for one rebellious deed, and he wants them avenged; or more precisely, he wants his own and Bergthora’s deaths avenged, and knows that it will be impossible not to have those vengeances also accrue to his sons" Miller, William Ian. The Burning: Chapters 124–32 (s. 231).
  7. eigi lifa við skömm: “In the face of Flosi’s subsequent attack on his house, the pious Njal reacts in a comparable fashion, confusing Christian thought with earlier Norse tradition. When Flosi offers quarter to him and Bergthora, Njal replies that he prefers to die, since he is too old and infirm to avenge his sons. “I do not want live in shame” he says, even though shame of one’s sinfulness is a necessary part of Christian’s salvific process. In effect, Njal faces death with a pagan honour code on his mind.” Taylor, Paul Beekman. Njáll grómr: christian morality and Norse myth (s. 170).
  8. fallið ofan þvertré: “Eitt grundvallareinkenni á grótesku myndmáli er kollsteypan, eða fallið, upp verður niður, lóðrétt lárétt. Í samræmi við það er því lýst á hrikalegan hátt hvernig eldurinn vinnur á rammlegum húsunum og þau hrynja.” Helga Kress. Njálsbrenna, karnival í Landeyjum (s. 29).

Links

Personal tools