Njála, 134

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Chapter 134

OF FLOSI'S JOURNEY AND HIS ASKING FOR HELP.


After that they busked them from home all together. Flosi was in long-hose because he meant to go on foot, and then he knew that it would seem less hard to the others to walk.

Then they fared from home to Knappvale, but the evening after to Broadwater, and then to Calffell, thence by Bjornness to Hornfirth, thence to Staffell in Lon, and then to Thvattwater to Hall of the Side.

Flosi had to wife Steinvora, his daughter.

Hall gave them a very hearty welcome, and Flosi said to Hall, "I will ask thee, father-in-law, that thou wouldst ride to the Thing with me with all thy Thingmen."

"Now," answered Hall, "it has turned out as the saw says, 'but a short while is hand fain of blow'; and yet it is one and the same man in thy band who now hangs his head, and who then goaded thee on to the worst of deeds when it was still undone. But my help I am bound to lend thee in all such places as I may."

"What counsel dost thou give me," said Flosi, "in the strait in which I now am."

"Thou shalt fare," said Hall, "north, right up to Weaponfirth, and ask all the chiefs for aid, and thou wilt yet need it all before the Thing is over."

Flosi stayed there three nights, and rested him, and fared thence east to Geitahellna, and so to Berufirth; there they were the night. Thence they fared east to Broaddale in Haydale. There Hallbjorn the Strong dwelt. He had to wife Oddny the sister of Saurli Broddhelgi's son, and Flosi had a hearty welcome there.

Hallbjorn asked how far north among the firths Flosi meant to go. He said he meant to go as far as Weaponfirth. Then Flosi took a purse of money from his belt, and said he would give it to Hallbjorn. He took the money, but yet said he had no claim on Flosi for gifts, "But still I would be glad to know in what thou wilt that I repay thee."

"I have no need of money," says Flosi, "but I wish thou wouldst ride to the Thing with me, and stand by me in my quarrel, but still I have no ties or kinship to tell towards thee."

"I will grant thee that," said Hallbjorn, "to ride to the Thing with thee, and to stand by thee in thy quarrel as I would by my brother."

Flosi thanked him, and Hallbjorn asked much about the burning, but they told him all about it at length.

Thence Flosi fared to Broaddale's heath, and so to Hrafnkelstede, there dwelt Hrafnkell, the son of Thorir, the son of Hrafnkell Raum. Flosi had a hearty welcome there, and sought for help and a promise to ride to the Thing from Hrafnkell, but he stood out a long while, though the end of it was that he gave his word that his son Thorir should ride with all their Thingmen, and yield him such help as the other priests of the same district.

Flosi thanked him and fared away to Bersastede. There Holmstein son of Bersi the Wise dwelt, and he gave Flosi a very hearty welcome. Flosi begged him for help. Holmstein said he had been long in his debt for help.

Thence they fared to Waltheofstede--there Saurli Broddhelgi's son, Bjarni's brother, dwelt. He had to wife Thordisa, a daughter of Gudmund the Powerful, of Modruvale. They had a hearty welcome there. But next morning Flosi raised the question with Saurli that he should ride to the Althing with him, and bid him money for it.

"I cannot tell about that," says Saurli, "so long as I do not know on which side my father-in-law Gudmund the Powerful stands, for I mean to stand by him on whichever side he stands."

"Oh!" said Flosi, "I see by thy answer that a woman rules in this house."[1]

Then Flosi stood up and bade his men take their upper clothing and weapons, and then they fared away, and got no help there. So they fared below Lagarfleet and over the heath to Njardwick; there two brothers dwelt, Thorkel the Allwise, and Thorwalld his brother; they were sons of Kettle, the son of Thidrandi the Wise, the son of Kettle Rumble, son of Thorir Thidrandi. The mother of Thorkel the Allwise and Thorwalld was Yngvillda, daughter of Thorkel the Wise. Flosi got a hearty welcome there, he told those brothers plainly of his errand, and asked for their help; but they put him off until he gave three marks of silver to each of them for their aid; then they agreed to stand by Flosi.

Their mother Yngvillda was by when they gave their words to ride to the Althing, and wept. Thorkel asked why she wept; and she answered, "I dreamt that thy brother Thorwalld was clad in a red kirtle, and methought it was so tight as though it were sewn on him; methought too that he wore red hose on his legs and feet, and bad shoethongs were twisted round them; methought it ill to see when I knew he was so uncomfortable, but I could do naught for him."

They laughed[2] and told her she had lost her wits, and said her babble should not stand in the way of their ride to the Thing.

Flosi thanked them kindly, and fared thence to Weaponfirth and came to Hof. There dwelt Bjarni Broddhelgi's son (1). Bjarni took Flosi by both hands, and Flosi bade Bjarni money for his help.

"Never," said Bjarni, "have I sold my manhood or help for bribes,[3] but now that thou art in need of help, I will do thee a good turn for friendship's sake, and ride to the Thing with thee, and stand by thee as I would by my brother."

"Then thou hast thrown a great load of debt on my hands," said Flosi, "but still I looked for as much from thee."

Thence Flosi and his men fared to Crosswick. Thorkell Geitis' son was a great friend of his. Flosi told him his errand, and Thorkel said it was but his duty to stand by him in every way in his power, and not to part from his quarrel. Thorkel gave Flosi good gifts at parting.

Thence they fared north to Weaponfirth and up into the Fleetdale country, and turned in as guests at Holmstein's, the son of Bersi the Wise. Flosi told him that all had backed him in his need and business well, save Saurli Broddhelgi's son. Holmstein said the reason of that was that he was not a man of strife. Holmstein gave Flosi good gifts.

Flosi fared up Fleetdale, and thence south on the fell across Oxenlaya and down Swinehorndale, and so out by Alftafirth to the west, and did not stop till he came to Thvattwater to his father- in-law Hall's house. There he stayed half a month, and his men with him and rested him.

Flosi asked Hall what counsel he would now give him, and what he should do next, and whether he should change his plans.

"My counsel," said Hall, "is this, that thou goest home to thy house, and the sons of Sigfus with thee, but that they send men to set their homesteads in order. But first of all fare home, and when ye ride to the Thing, ride all together, and do not scatter your band. Then let the sons of Sigfus go to see their wives on the way. I too will ride to the Thing, and Ljot my son with all our Thing-men, and stand by thee with such force as I can gather to me."

Flosi thanked him, and Hall gave him good gifts at parting.

Then Flosi went away from Thvattwater, and nothing is to be told of his journey till he comes home to Swinefell. There he stayed at home the rest of the winter, and all the summer right up to the Thing.

ENDNOTES:

(1) Broddhelgi was the son of Thorgil, the son of Thorstein the White, the son of Oliver, the son of Eyvalld, the son of Oxen-Thorir. The mother of Bjarni was Halla, the daughter of Lyting. The mother of Broddhelgi was Asvora, the daughter of Thorir, the son of Porridge-Atli, the son of Thorir Thidrandi. Bjarni Broddhelgi's son had to wife Rannveiga the daughter of Thorgeir, the son of Eric of Gooddale, the son of Geirmund, the son of Hroald, the son of Eric Frizzelbeard.

References

  1. that a woman rules in this house: "Of the seven people he (Flosi) then visits, only Sorli Brodd-Helgason refuses, … Flosi does not accept the refusal graciously … Ritualized humility is meant to get yeses; when it fails of its purpose the humility gives way to anger and cursing, as many a rejecter of a panhandler has experienced." Miller, William Ian. Preparation for the Next Althing: Chapters 132–7 (p. 251).
  2. They laughed: "Laughter is sometimes the object of parodical foresight (...). Laughter is often associated with death. Mixed with the humor and the defiance, the heroes are often made to laugh in advance at their own deaths. Le Goff, Jacques. Laughter in Brennu-Njáls saga (p. 164).
  3. for bribes : " At times Flosi is reduced to offering money in exchange for support, but his bare need is sufficient reason for another potential ally, Bjami Brodd-Helgason at Hof in Vápnafjorðr, to accept his plea " Gaskins, Richard. Network Dynamics in Saga and Society (p. 204)

Kafli 134

Síðan bjuggust þeir heiman allir. Flosi var í leistabrókum því að hann ætlaði að ganga. Vissi hann þá og að þá mundi öðrum minna fyrir þykja að ganga. Þá fóru þeir heiman á Hnappavöll en annan aftan til Breiðár en þá til Kálfafells, þaðan í Bjarnanes í Hornafjörð, þaðan til Stafafells í Lón en þá til Þvottár til Síðu-Halls. Flosi átti Steinvöru dóttur hans. Hallur tók við þeim allvel.

Flosi mælti til Halls: „Biðja vil eg þig, mágur, að þú ríðir til þings með mér með alla þingmenn þína.“

Hallur svaraði: „Nú er svo orðið sem mælt er að skamma stund verður hönd höggvi fegin. Og er sá nú allur einn í þínu liði er nú hefur eigi höfuðs og hinn er þá eggjaði hins versta verks er eigi var fram komið. En liðveislu mína er skylt að eg leggi til alla slíka sem eg má.“

Flosi mælti: „Hvað leggur þú nú til ráðs með mér þar sem nú er komið?“

Hallur mælti: „Fara skaltu allt norður í Vopnafjörð og biðja alla höfðingja liðsinnis og muntu þó þurfa þeirra allra áður en þingi sé lokið.“

Flosi dvaldist þar þrjár nætur og hvíldi sig og fór þaðan austur til Geitahellna og svo til Berufjarðar. Þar voru þeir um nótt. Þaðan fóru þeir austur til Breiðdals í Heydali. Þar bjó Hallbjörn hinn sterki. Hann átti Oddnýju, systur Sörla Brodd-Helgasonar, og hafði Flosi þar góðar viðtökur. Hallbjörn spurði hversu langt Flosi ætlaði norður í fjörðuna. Hann kvaðst fara ætla til Vopnafjarðar. Flosi tók þá fésjóð af belti sér og kvaðst vildu gefa Hallbirni.

Hann tók við fénu en kvaðst þó ekki gjafir eiga að Flosa „en þó vil eg vita hverju þú vilt að eg launi þér.“

„Ekki þarf eg fjár,“ segir Flosi, „en vildi eg að þú riðir til þings með mér og veittir að málum mínum. En þó á eg hvorki að telja til við þig mægðir né frændsemi.“

Hallbjörn mælti: „Það mun eg veita þér að ríða til þings með þér og veita að málum þínum sem eg mundi bróður mínum.“

Flosi þakkaði honum. Hallbjörn spurði margs úr brennunni en þeir sögðu honum frá öllu sem gerst.

Flosi fór þaðan Breiðdalsheiði og svo á Hrafnkelsstaði. Þar bjó Hrafnkell Þórisson, Hrafnkelssonar raums. Flosi fékk þar góðar viðtökur og leitaði hann eftir um þingreið við Hrafnkel og liðveislu. En hann fór lengi undan en þar kom er hann hét að Þórir son hans mundi ríða við alla þingmenn þeirra og vera í slíkri liðveislu sem aðrir samþingisgoðar hans.

Flosi þakkaði honum og fór í braut og á Bersastaði. Þar bjó Hólmsteinn Spak-Bersason og tók hann allvel við Flosa. Flosi bað hann liðveislu. Hólmsteinn kvað hann löngu hafa laun selt um liðveislu.

Þaðan fóru þeir á Valþjófsstaði. Þar bjó Sörli Brodd-Helgason, bróðir Bjarna Brodd-Helgasonar. Hann átti Þórdísi dóttur Guðmundar hins ríka á Möðruvöllum. Þeir höfðu þar góðar viðtökur. En um morguninn vakti Flosi til við Sörla að hann mundi ríða til alþingis með honum og bauð honum fé til.

„Eigi veit eg það,“ segir Sörli, „meðan eg veit eigi víst hvaðan Guðmundur hinn ríki stendur að, mágur minn, því að eg ætla honum að veita hvaðan sem hann stendur að.“

Flosi mælti: „Finn eg það á svörum þínum að þú hefir kvonríki.“[1]

Flosi stóð þá upp og bað taka klæði þeirra og vopn. Fóru þeir þá í braut og fengu þar enga liðveislu.

Fóru þeir fyrir neðan Lagarfljót og yfir heiði til Njarðvíkur. Þar bjuggu bræður tveir, Þorkell fullspakur og Þorvaldur bróðir hans. Þeir voru synir Ketils Þiðrandasonar hins spaka, Ketilssonar þryms, Þórissonar þiðranda. Móðir þeirra Þorkels fullspaks og Þorvalds var Yngveldur Þorkelsdóttir fullspaks. Flosi hafði þar góðar viðtökur. Hann sagði þeim bræðrum deili á um erindi sín og bað þá liðveislu en þeir synjuðu áður en hann gaf þeim þrjár merkur silfurs hvorum þeirra til liðveislu. Þá játuðu þeir að veita Flosa.

Yngveldur móðir þeirra var hjá er þeir hétu alþingisreiðinni og grét.

Þorkell spurði hví hún grét.

Hún svarar: „Mig dreymdi að Þorvaldur bróðir þinn var í rauðum kyrtli og þótti mér svo þröngur vera sem saumaður væri að honum. Mér þótti hann og vera í rauðum hosum undir og vafður að vondum dreglum. Mér þótti illt á að sjá er eg vissi að honum var svo óhægt en eg mátti ekki að gera.“

Þeir hlógu að[2] og kváðu vera vitlausu og kváðu geip hennar eigi skyldu standa fyrir þingreiðum þeirra.

Flosi þakkaði þeim vel og fór þaðan til Vopnafjarðar og kom til Hofs. Þar bjó Bjarni Brodd-Helgason Þorgilssonar, Þorsteinssonar hins hvíta, Ölvissonar, Eyvaldssonar, Öxna-Þórissonar. Móðir Bjarna var Halla Lýtingsdóttir. Móðir Brodd-Helga var Ásvör dóttir Þóris Graut-Atlasonar, Þórissonar þiðranda. Bjarni Brodd-Helgason átti Rannveigu Þorgeirsdóttur, Eiríkssonar úr Goðdölum, Geirmundarsonar, Hróaldssonar, Eiríkssonar örðigskeggja.

Bjarni tók við Flosa báðum höndum. Flosi bauð Bjarna fé til liðveislu.

Bjarni mælti: „Aldrei hefi eg selt karlmennsku mína við fémútu eða liðveislu.[3] En nú er þú þarft liðs mun eg gera þér um vinveitt og ríða til þings með þér og veita þér sem eg mundi bróður mínum.“

„Þá snýrðu öllum vanda á hendur mér,“ segir Flosi, „en þó var mér slíks að þér von.“

Þaðan fóru þeir Flosi til Krossavíkur. Þorkell Geitisson var vin hans mikill áður. Flosi sagði honum erindi sitt. Þorkell kvað það skylt vera að hann veitti honum slíkt sem hann væri til fær og skiljast eigi við hans mál. Þorkell gaf Flosa góðar gjafir að skilnaði.

Þaðan fóru þeir norður til Vopnafjarðar og upp í Fljótsdalshérað og gistu að Hólmsteins Spak-Bersasonar. Flosi sagði honum að allir hefðu vel staðið undir hans nauðsyn og erindi nema Sörli Brodd-Helgason. Hólmsteinn kvað það til þess bera að hann væri engi ofstopamaður. Hólmsteinn gaf Flosa góðar gjafir. Fór Flosi upp Fljótsdal og þaðan suður á fjall um Öxnahraun og ofan Sviðinhornadal og út um Álftafjörð fyrir vestan og lauk eigi fyrr en hann kom til Þvottár til Halls mágs síns. Þar var hann hálfan mánuð og menn hans og hvíldi sig.

Flosi spurði Hall hvað hann legði nú til ráðs með honum, hversu hann skyldi nú með fara eða breyta högum sínum.

Hallur mælti: „Það ræð eg að þú sért heima við bú þitt og Sigfússynir en þeir sendi menn til að skipa til búa sinna en farið heim að sinni. En þá er þér ríðið til þings, ríðið allir saman og dreifið ekki flokki yðrum. Fari þá Sigfússynir að hitta konur sínar. Eg mun og ríða til þings og Ljótur sonur minn með alla þingmenn okkra og veita þér slíkt lið sem eg má mér við koma.“

Flosi þakkaði honum. Hallur gaf honum góðar gjafir að skilnaði.

Flosi fór þá frá Þvottá og er ekki um hans ferðir að tala fyrr en hann kemur heim til Svínafells. Er hann þá heima það er eftir var vetrarins og um sumarið allt til þings.

Tilvísanir

  1. að þú hefir kvonríki: "Of the seven people he (Flosi) then visits, only Sorli Brodd-Helgason refuses, … Flosi does not accept the refusal graciously … Ritualized humility is meant to get yeses; when it fails of its purpose the humility gives way to anger and cursing, as many a rejecter of a panhandler has experienced." Miller, William Ian. Preparation for the Next Althing: Chapters 132–7 (s. 251).
  2. Þeir hlógu að: "Laughter is sometimes the object of parodical foresight (...). Laughter is often associated with death. Mixed with the humor and the defiance, the heroes are often made to laugh in advance at their own deaths. Le Goff, Jacques. Laughter in Brennu-Njáls saga (s. 164).
  3. við fémútu eða liðveislu : " At times Flosi is reduced to offering money in exchange for support, but his bare need is sufficient reason for another potential ally, Bjami Brodd-Helgason at Hof in Vápnafjorðr, to accept his plea " Gaskins, Richard. Network Dynamics in Saga and Society (s. 204)

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