Njála, 145

From WikiSaga
Jump to: navigation, search


Contents

Chapter 145

BATTLE AT THE ALTHING.


Now Snorri the Priest hears how the causes stood, and then he begins to draw up his men in arry below "the Great Rift," between it and Hadbooth, and laid down beforehand to his men how they were to behave.

Now the messenger comes to Thorhall Asgrim's son, and tells him how things stood, and how Mord Valgard's son and his friends would all be made outlaws, and the suits for manslaughter be brought to naught.

But when he heard that, he was so shocked at it that he could not utter a word. He jumped up then from his bed, and clutched with both hands his spear, Skarphedinn's gift, and drove it through his foot; then flesh clung to the spear, and the eye of the boil too, for he had cut it clean out of the foot, but a torrent of blood and matter poured out, so that it fell in a stream along the floor. Now he went out of the booth unhalting, and walked so hard that the messenger could not keep up with him, and so he goes until he came to the Fifth Court. There he met Grim the Red, Flosi's kinsman, and as soon as ever they met, Thorhall thrust at him with the spear,[1] and smote him on the shield and clove it in twain, but the spear passed right through him, so that the point came out between his shoulders. Thorhall cast him off his spear.

Then Kari Solmund's son caught sight of that, and said to Asgrim, "Here, now, is come Thorhall thy son, and has straightway slain a man, and this is a great shame, if he alone shall have the heart to avenge the burning."

"That shall not be," says Asgrim, "but let us turn on them now."

Then there was a mighty cry all over the host, and then they shouted their war-cries.

Flosi and his friends then turned against their foes, and both sides egged on their men fast.[2]

Kari Solmund's son turned now thither where Ami Kol's son and Hallbjorn the Strong were in front, and as soon as ever Hallbjorn saw Kari, he made a blow at him, and aimed at his leg, but Kari leapt up into the air, and Hallbjorn missed him. Kari turned on Arni Kol's son and cut at him, and smote him on the shoulder, and cut asunder the shoulder blade and collar-bone, and the blow went right down into his breast, and Ami fell down dead at once to earth.

After that he hewed at Hallbjorn and caught him on the shield, and the blow passed through the shield, and so down and cut off his great toe. Holmstein hurled a spear at Kari, but he caught it in the air, and sent it back, and it was a man's death in Flosi's band.

Thorgeir Craggeir came up to where Hallbjorn the Strong was in front, and Thorgeir made such a spear-thrust at him with his left hand that Hallbjorn fell before it, and had hard work to get on his feet again, and turned away from the fight there and then. Then Thorgeir met Thorwalld Kettle Rumble's son, and hewed at him at once with the axe, "the ogress of war," which Skarphedinn had owned. Thorwalld threw his shield before him, and Thorgeir hewed the shield and cleft it from top to bottom, but the upper horn of the axe made its way into his breast, and passed into his trunk, and Thorwalld fell and was dead at once.

Now it must be told how Asgrim Ellidagrim's son, and Thorhall his son, Hjallti Skeggi's son, and Gizur the White, made an onslaught where Flosi and the sons of Sigfus and the other burners were;--then there was a very hard fight, and the end of it was that they pressed on so hard, that Flosi and his men gave way before them. Gudmund the Powerful, and Mord Valgard's son, and Thorgeir Craggeir, made their onslaught where the Axefirthers and Eastfirthers, and the men of Reykdale stood, and there too there was a very hard fight.

Kari Solmund's son came up where Bjarni Broddhelgi's son had the lead. Kari caught up a spear and thrust at him, and the blow fell on his shield. Bjarni slipped the shield on one side of him, else it had gone straight through him. Then he cut at Kari and aimed at his leg, but Kari drew back his leg and turned short round on his heel, and Bjarni missed him. Kari cut at once at him, and then a man ran forward and threw his shield before Bjarni. Kari cleft the shield in twain, and the point of the sword caught his thigh, and ripped up the whole leg down to the ankle. That man fell there and then, and was ever after a cripple so long as he lived.

Then Kari clutched his spear with both hands, and turned on Bjarni and thrust at him; he saw he had no other chance but to throw himself down sidelong away from the blow, but as soon as ever Bjarni found his feet, away he fell back out of the fight.

Thorgeir Craggeir and Gizur the White fell on there where Holmstein the son of Bersi the Wise, and Thorkel Geiti's son were leaders, and the end of the struggle was, that Holmstein and Thorkel gave way, and then arose a mighty hooting after them from the men of Gudmund the Powerful.

Thorwalld Tjorfi's son of Lightwater got a great wound, he was shot in the forearm, and men thought that Halldor Gudmund the Powerful's son had hurled the spear, but he bore that wound about with him all his life long, and got no atonement for it.

Now there was a mighty throng. But though we here tell of some of the deeds that were done, still there are far many more of which men have handed down no stories.

Flosi had told them that they should make for the stronghold in the Great Rift if they were worsted, "For there," said he, "they will only be able to attack us on one side." But the band which Hall of the Side and his son Ljot led, had fallen away out of the fight before the onslaught of that father and son, Asgrim and Thorhall. They turned down east of Axewater, and Hall said, "This is a sad state of things when the whole host of men at the Thing fight, and I would, kinsman Ljot, that we begged us help even though that be brought against us by some men, and that we part them. Thou shalt wait for me at the foot of the bridge, and I will go to the booths and beg for help."

"If I see," said Ljot, "that Flosi and his men need help from our men, then I will at once run up and aid them."

"Thou wilt do in that as thou pleasest," says Hall, "but I pray thee to wait for me here."

Now flight breaks out in Flosi's band, and they all fly west across Axewater; but Asgrim and Gizur the White went after them and all their host. Flosi and his men turned down between the river and the Outwork booth. Snorri the Priest had drawn up his men there in array, so thick that they could not pass that way, and Snorri the Priest called out then to Flosi, "Why fare ye in such haste, or who chase you?"

"Thou askest not this," answered Flosi, "because thou dost not know it already; but whose fault is it that we cannot get to the stronghold in the Great Rift?"

"It is not my fault," says Snorri, "but it is quite true that I know whose fault it is, and I will tell thee if thou wilt; it is the fault of Thorwalld Cropbeard and Kol."

They were both then dead, but they had been the worst men in all Flosi's band.

Again Snorri said to his men, "Now do both, cut at them and thrust at them, and drive them away hence, they will then hold out but a short while here, if the others attack them from below; but then ye shall not go after them, but let both sides shift for themselves."

The son of Skapti Thorod's son was Thorstein gapemouth, as was written before, he was in the battle with Gudmund the Powerful, his father-in-law, and as soon as Skapti knew that, he went to the booth of Snorri the Priest, and meant to beg for help to part them; but just before he had got as far as the door of Snorri's booth, there the battle was hottest of all. Asgrim and his friends, and his men were just coming up thither, and then Thorhall said to his father Asgrim, "See there now is Skapti Thorod's son, father."

"I see him kinsman," said Asgrim, and then he shot a spear at Skapti, and struck him just below where the calf was fattest, and so through both his legs. Skapti fell at the blow, and could not get up again, and the only counsel they could take who were by, was to drag Skapti flat on his face into the booth of a turf- cutter.

Then Asgrim and his men came up so fast that Flosi and his men gave way before them south along the river to the booths of the men of Modruvale. There there was a man outside one booth whose name was Solvi; he was boiling broth in a great kettle, and had just then taken the meat out, and the broth was boiling as hotly as it could.

Solvi cast his eyes on the Eastfirthers as they fled, and they were then just over against him, and then he said, "Can all these cowards who fly here be Eastfirthers, and yet Thorkel Geiti's son, he ran by as fast as any one of them, and very great lies have been told about him when men say that he is all heart, but now no one ran faster than he."

Hallbjorn the Strong was near by then, and said, "Thou shalt not have it to say that we are all cowards."

And with that he caught hold of him, and lifted him up aloft, and thrust him head down into the broth-kettle. Solvi died at once; but then a rush was made at Hallbjorn himself, and he had to turn and fly.

Flosi threw a spear at Bruni Haflidi's son, and caught him at the waist, and that was his bane; he was one of Gudmund the Powerful's band.

Thorstein Hlenni's son took the spear out of the wound, and hurled it back at Flosi, and hit him on the leg, and he got a great wound and fell; he rose up again at once.

Then they passed on to the Waterfirthers' booth, and then Hall and Ljot came from the east across the river, with all their band; but just when they came to the lava, a spear was hurled out of the band of Gudmund the Powerful, and it struck Ljot in the middle, and he fell down dead at once; and it was never known surely who had done that manslaughter.

Flosi and his men turned up round the Waterfirther's booth, and then Thorgeir Craggeir said to Kari Solmund's son, "Look, yonder now is Eyjolf Bolverk's son, if thou hast a mind to pay him off for the ring."

"That I ween is not far from my mind," says Kari, and snatched a spear from a man, and hurled it at Eyjolf, and it struck him in the waist, and went through him, and Eyjolf then fell dead to earth.

Then there was a little lull in the battle, and then Snorri the Priest came up with his band, and Skapti was there in his company, and they ran in between them, and so they could not get at one another to fight.

Then Hall threw in his people with theirs, and was for parting them there and then, and so a truce was set, and was to be kept throughout the Thing, and then the bodies were laid out and borne to the church, and the wounds of those men were bound up who were hurt.

The day after men went to the Hill of Laws. Then Han of the Side stood up and asked for a hearing, and got it at once; and he spoke thus, "Here there have been hard happenings in lawsuits and loss of life at the Thing, and now I will show again that I am little-hearted, for I will now ask Asgrim and the others who take the lead in these suits, that they grant us an atonement on even terms;" and so he goes on with many fair words.

Kari Solmund's son said, "Though all others take an atonement in their quarrels, yet will I take no atonement in my quarrel; for ye will wish to weigh these manslayings against the burning, and we cannot bear that."

In the same way spoke Thorgeir Craggeir.

Then Skapti Thorod's son stood up and said, "Better had it been for thee, Kari, not to have run away[3] from thy father-in-law and thy brothers-in-law, than now to sneak out of this atonement."

Then Kari sang these verses:

"Warrior wight that weapon wieldest Spare thy speering why we fled, Oft for less falls hail of battle, Forth we fled to wreak revenge; Who was he, fainthearted foeman, Who, when tongues of steel sung high, Stole beneath the booth for shelter, While his beard blushed red for shame?

"Many fetters Skapti fettered When the men, the Gods of fight, From the fray fared all unwilling Where the skald scarce held his shield; Then the suttlers dragged the lawyer Stout in scolding to their booth, Laid him low amongst the riffraff, How his heart then quaked for fear.

"Men who skim the main on sea stag Well in this ye showed your sense Making game about the Burning, Mocking Helgi, Grim, and Njal; Now the moor round rocky Swinestye (1), As men run and shake their shields, With another grunt shall rattle When this Thing is past and gone."

Then there was great laughter. Snorri the Priest smiled and sang this between his teeth, but so that many heard:

"Skill hath Skapti us to tell Whether Asgrim's shaft flew well; Holmstein hurried swift to flight, Thorstein turned him soon to fight."

Now men burst out in great fits of laughter.

Then Hall of the Side said, "All men know what a grief I have suffered in the loss of my son Ljot; many will think that he would be valued dearest of all those men who have fallen here; but I will do this for the sake of an atonement--I will put no price on my son, and yet will come forward and grant both pledges and peace to those who are my adversaries.[4] I beg thee, Snorri the Priest, and other of the best men, to bring this about, that there may be an atonement between us."

Now he sits him down, and a great hum in his favour followed, and all praised his gentleness and goodwill.

Then Snorri the Priest stood up and made a long and clever speech, and begged Asgrim and the others who took the lead in the quarrel to look towards an atonement.

Then Asgrim said, "I made up my mind when Flosi made an inroad on my house that I would never be atoned with him; but now Snorri the Priest, I will take an atonement from him for thy word's sake and other of our friends."

In the same way spoke Thorleif Crow and Thorgrim the Big, that they were willing to be atoned, and they urged in every way their brother Thorgeir Craggeir to take an atonement also; but he hung back, and says he would never part from Kari.

Then Gizur the White said, "Now Flosi must see that he must make his choice, whether he will be atoned on the understanding that some will be out of the atonement."

Flosi says he will take that atonement; "And methinks it is so much the better," he says, "that I have fewer good men and true against me."

Then Gudmund the Powerful said, "I will offer to handsel peace on my behalf for the slayings that have happened here at the Thing, on the understanding that the suit for the burning is not to fall to the ground."

In the same way spoke Gizur the White and Hjallti Skeggi's son, Asgrim Ellidagrim's son and Mord Valgard's son.[5]

In this way the atonement came about, and then hands were shaken on it, and twelve men were to utter the award; and Snorri the Priest was the chief man in the award, and others with him. Then the manslaughters were set off the one against the other, and those men who were over and above were paid for in fines. They also made an award in the suit about the burning.

Njal was to be atoned for with a triple fine,[6] and Bergthora with two. The slaying of Skarphedinn was to be set off against that of Hauskuld the Whiteness Priest. Both Grim and Helgi were to be paid for with double fines; and one full man-fine should be paid for each of those who had been burnt in the house.

No atonement was taken for the slaying of Thord Kari's son.

It was also in the award that Flosi and all the burners should go abroad into banishment, and none of them was to sail the same summer unless he chose; but if he did not sail abroad by the time that three winters were spent, then he and all the burners were to become thorough outlaws. And it was also said that their outlawry might be proclaimed either at the Harvest-Thing or Spring-Thing, whichever men chose; and Flosi was to stay abroad three winters.

As for Gunnar Lambi's son, and Grani Gunnar's son, Glum Hilldir's son, and Kol Thorstein's son, they were never to be allowed to come back.

Then Flosi was asked if he would wish to have a price put upon his wound, but he said he would not take bribes for his hurt.

Eyjolf Bolverk's son had no fine awarded for him, for his unfairness and wrongfulness.

And now this settlement and atonement was handselled and was well kept afterwards.

Asgrim and his friends gave Snorri the priest good gifts, and he had great honour from these suits.

Skapti got a fine for his hurt.

Gizur the White, and Hjallti Skeggi's son, and Asgrim Ellidagrim's son, asked Gudmund the Powerful to come and see them at home. He accepted the bidding, and each of them gave him a gold ring.

Now Gudmund rides home north and had praise from every man for the part he had taken in these quarrels.

Thorgeir Craggeir asked Kari to go along with him, but yet first of all they rode with Gudmund right up to the fells north. Kari gave Gudmund a golden brooch, but Thorgeir gave him a silver belt, and each was the greatest treasure. So they parted with the utmost friendship, and Gudmund is out of this story.

Kari and Thorgeir rode south from the fell, and down to the Rapes (1), and so to Thurso-water.

Flosi, and the burners along with him, rode east to Fleetlithe, and he allowed the sons of Sigfus to settle their affairs at home. Then Flosi heard that Thorgeir and Kari had ridden north with Gudmund the Powerful, and so the burners thought that Kari and his friend must mean to stay in the north country; and then the sons of Sigfus asked leave to go east under Eyjafell to get in their money, for they had money out on call at Headbrink. Flosi gave them leave to do that, but still bade them be ware of themselves, and be as short a time about it as they could.

Then Flosi rode up by Godaland, and so north of Eyjafell Jokul, and did not draw bridle before he came home east to Swinefell.

Now it must be said that Hall of the Side had suffered his son to fall without a fine, and did that for the sake of an atonement, but then the whole host of men at the Thing agreed to pay a fine for him, and the money so paid was not less than eight hundred in silver, but that was four times the price of a man; but all the others who had been with Flosi got no fines paid for their hurts, and were very ill pleased at it.

The sons of Sigfus stayed at home two nights, but the third day they rode east to Raufarfell, and were there the night. They were fifteen together, and had not the least fear for themselves. They rode thence late, and meant to reach Headbrink about even. They baited their horses in Carlinedale, and then a great slumber came over them.

ENDNOTES:

(1) "Swinestye," ironically for Swinefell, where Flosi lived. (2) This is the English equivalent for the Icelandic Hrep, a district. It still lingers in "the Rape of Bramber," and other districts in Sussex and the southeast.

References

  1. Thorhall thrust at him with the spear: "That was the first killing of the battle, the act of the best lawyer in Iceland. The symbolism is as obvious as out author is likely to make it. But the law has failed in the trail of the Burners not because the problem is one with the law, or because the law is corrupt, or because the law is stupid, but because the problem is political and institutional (or more precisely the absence of institutions) more than it is legal." Miller, William Ian. The Trial of Flosi and the Battle: Chapters 135, 141–5 (p. 264).
  2. egged on their men fast: "Coming after the burning and as its direct consequence, it [the battle at the Allthing] repeats at the Thing the catastrophe which had been acted out in the other sacred location, the Home." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (p. 137)
  3. not to have run away: "Kari is not at ease over surviving the Burning. He was not only outmanned by Skarphedin (who isn't?), as we saw, but also tellingly by his little boy Thord, who chose not to flee the flames, … . That it is not overreading to suggest that Kari might be motivated to overkill in order to kill his shame (or in modern jargon, his 'survivor's guilt') is that others accuse him of flight and cowardice." Miller, William Ian. Kari and Friends: Chapters 145–55 (p. 288).
  4. those who are my adversaries: "It is a symbolic turning point in the ethical development brought about by Christianity. When Hallr makes his offer, it is in fact Christianity giving society a new chance." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (p. 138)
  5. Mord Valgard's son: "Mord, I suspect, lands on his feet, not to dominate but to do all right for himself, because types like him tend to land on their feet, even if they may break a foot from the fall and have to nurse it for a few years. It is rare to find a politically successful person who does not possess the virtue of living to fight another day." Miller, William Ian. A Conclusion: Justice and Exits (p. 303).
  6. fine: "Sokat számított az áldozat tekintélye és megbecsültsége. Ezt tükrözi a Brennu-Njáls saga egyik legfontosabb mozzanata, a gyújtogatók elleni per." Gyönki, Viktória. Váltságfizetés a 10-11. századi Izlandon két nemzetségi sagában (p.30)

Kafli 145

Snorri goði spyr nú hvar komið er málunum. Tekur hann þá að fylkja liði sínu fyrir neðan Almannagjá millum og Hlaðbúðar og sagði fyrir áður sínum mönnum hvað þeir skyldu að gera.

Sendimaðurinn kemur nú til Þórhalls Ásgrímssonar og segir honum hvar þá var komið að þeir Mörður Valgarðsson mundu sekir gervir allir en eytt vígsmálunum. En er hann heyrði þetta brá honum svo við að hann mátti eigi orði upp koma. Hann spratt þá upp úr rúminu og þreif tveim höndum spjótið Skarphéðinsnaut og rak í gegnum fótinn á sér. Var þar á holdið og kveisunaglinn á spjótinu því að hann skar út úr fætinum en blóðfossinn fellur og vogföllin svo að lækur féll eftir gólfinu. Hann gekk nú út úr búðinni óhaltur og fór svo hart að sendimaðurinn fékk ekki fylgt honum. Fer hann nú þar til er hann kemur til fimmtardómsins. Þar mætti hann Grími hinum rauða frænda Flosa og jafnskjótt sem þeir fundust lagði Þórhallur til hans spjótinu[1] og kom í skjöldinn og klofnaði hann í sundur en spjótið hljóp í gegnum hann svo að oddurinn kom út á milli herðanna. Þórhallur kastaði honum af spjótinu.

Kári Sölmundarson gat séð þetta og mælti við Ásgrím: „Hér er kominn Þórhallur son þinn og hefir þegar vegið víg og er þetta skömm mikil ef hann einn skal hug til hafa að hefna brennunnar.“

„Það skal og eigi vera,“ segir Ásgrímur, „og snúum vér nú að þeim.“

Var þá kall mikið um allan herinn og síðan var æpt heróp.

Þeir Flosi snerust þá við og eggjuðust nú fast[2] hvorirtveggju.

Kári Sölmundarson sneri nú þar að sem fyrir var Árni Kolsson og Hallbjörn hinn sterki. Og þegar er hann sá Kára hjó hann til hans og stefndi á fótinn en Kári hljóp í loft upp og missti Hallbjörn hans. Kári sneri að Árna Kolssyni og hjó til hans og kom á öxlina og tók í sundur axlarbeinið og viðbeinað og hljóp allt ofan í brjóstið. Féll Árni þegar dauður til jarðar. Síðan hjó hann til Hallbjarnar og kom í skjöldinn og gekk í gegnum skjöldinn og svo ofan af honum þumaltána. Hólmsteinn skaut spjóti til Kára en hann tók á lofti spjótið og sendi aftur og varð það manns bani í liði Flosa.

Þorgeir skorargeir kom að þar er fyrir var Hallbjörn hinn sterki. Þorgeir lagði til hans svo fast með annarri hendi að Hallbjörn féll fyrir og komst nauðulega á fætur og sneri þegar undan. Þá mætti Þorgeir Þorvaldi Þrum-Ketilssyni og hjó þegar til hans með öxinni Rimmugýgi er átt hafði Skarphéðinn. Þorvaldur kom fyrir sig skildinum. Þorgeir hjó í skjöldinn og klauf allan en hyrnan sú hin fremri rann í brjóstið og gekk á hol og féll Þorvaldur þegar og var dauður.

Nú er að segja frá því að Ásgrímur Elliða-Grímsson og Þórhallur son hans, Hjalti Skeggjason og Gissur hvíti sóttu að þar sem fyrir var Flosi og Sigfússynir og aðrir brennumenn. Var þar allharður bardagi og laukst með því að þeir sóttu svo fast að að þeir Flosi hrukku undan.

Guðmundur hinn ríki og Mörður Valgarðsson og Þorgeir skorargeir sóttu þar að er voru Öxfirðingar og Austfirðingar og Reykdælir. Var þar allharður bardagi með öllu.

Kári Sölmundarson kom að þar er fyrir var Bjarni Brodd-Helgason. Kári þreif upp spjót og lagði til hans og kom í skjöldinn. Bjarni skaut hjá sér skildinum, ella hefði spjótið staðið í gegnum hann. Hann hjó þá til Kára og stefndi á fótinn. Kári kippti fætinum og snerist undan á hæli og missti Bjarni hans. Kári hjó þegar til hans. Þá hljóp maður fram og skaut skildi fyrir Bjarna. Kári klauf ofan allan skjöldinn og nam blóðrefillinn lærið og reist ofan allan fótinn. Sá maður féll þegar og varð aldrei örkumlalaus meðan hann lifði. Kári þreif þá tveim höndum spjótið og snerist að Bjarna og lagði til hans. Hann sá engan sinn kost annan en hann lét fallast undan laginu. En þegar Bjarni kemst á fætur hrökk hann undan. Þorgeir skorargeir og Gissur hvíti sóttu þá að þar er fyrir var Hólmsteinn Spak-Bersason og Þorkell Geitisson. Lauk svo með þeim að þeir Hólmsteinn hrukku undan. Varð þá óp mikið að þeim af mönnum Guðmundar ríka.

Þorvarður Tjörvason frá Ljósavatni fékk sár mikið. Hann var skotinn í handlegginn og ætluðu menn að skotið hefði Halldór son Guðmundar ríka og hafði hann þetta sár bótalaust alla ævi síðan.

Var þar nú þröng mikil. En þó að hér sé sagt frá nokkurum atburðum þá eru hinir þó miklu fleiri er menn hafa engar frásagnir af.

Flosi hafði það sagt sínum mönnum að þeir skyldu leita til vígis í Almannagjá ef þeir yrðu forviða því að þar mátti einum megin að sækja.

En flokkur sá er Síðu-Hallur hafði og Ljótur son hans höfðu hörfað frá í braut fyrir atgöngu þeirra feðga Ásgríms og Þórhalls. Sneru þeir ofan fyrir austan Öxará.

Hallur mælti: „Hér slær í allmikil óefni er allur þingheimur berst. Vildi eg, Ljótur frændi, að við bæðum okkur liðs þótt okkur sé það til orðs lagið af nokkurum mönnum og skildum þá. Skalt þú bíða við brúarsporðinn en eg mun ganga í búðir og biðja mér liðs.“

Ljótur mælti: „Ef eg sé að þeir Flosi þurfa liðs af mönnum vorum þá mun eg þegar hlaupa til með þeim.“

„Það muntu gera sem þér líkar,“ segir Hallur, „en biðja vil eg þig að þú bíðir mín.“

Nú brestur flótti í liði Flosa og flýja þeir allir austur yfir Öxará en þeir Ásgrímur og Gissur hvíti gengu eftir og allur herinn. Þeir Flosi hörfuðu ofan á milli árinnar og Virkisbúðar. Snorri goði hafði þar fylkt fyrir liði sínu svo þykkt að þeim gekk þar ekki að fara.

Snorri goði kallaði þá á Flosa: „Hví farið þér svo geystir eða hverjir elta yður?“

Flosi svarar: „Ekki spyrðu þessa af því er eigi vitir þú það áður. En hvort veldur þú því er vér megum eigi sækja til vígis í Almannagjá?“

„Eigi veld eg því,“ segir Snorri, „en hitt er satt að eg veit hverjir valda og mun eg segja þér ef þú vilt að þeir valda því Þorvaldur kroppinskeggi og Kolur.“

Þeir voru þá báðir dauðir og höfðu verið hin mestu illmenni í liði Flosa.

Í annan stað mælti Snorri til sinna manna: „Gerið þér nú hvorttveggja að þér höggvið og leggið til þeirra og keyrið þá í braut héðan. Munu þeir þá skamma stund hér við haldast er hinir sækja að neðan. Skuluð þér þá ekki eftir ganga og láta þá sjálfa á sjást.“

Son Skafta Þóroddssonar var Þorsteinn holmunnur sem fyrr var ritað. Hann var í bardaga með Guðmundi ríka mági sínum. Og þegar Skafti vissi þetta gekk hann til búðar Snorra goða og ætlaði að biðja sér liðs að skilja þá. En er hann var eigi allt kominn að búðardyrunum Snorra þá var bardaginn sem óðastur. Þeir Ásgrímur og hans menn gengu þar að neðan.

Þá mælti Þórhallur við Ásgrím föður sinn: „Þar er hann Skafti Þóroddsson nú, faðir.“

Ásgrímur mælti: „Sé eg það, frændi.“

Skaut hann þá spjóti til Skafta og kom neðan það er kálfi var digrastur og svo í gegnum báða fæturna. Skafti féll við skotið og fékk eigi upp staðið. Fengu þeir það eina ráðs tekið er hjá voru að þeir drógu Skafta inn í búð sverðskriða nokkurs flatan.

Þeir Ásgrímur gengu þá að svo fast að þeir Flosi hrukku undan og hans menn suður með ánni til Möðruvellingabúðar. Þar var maður úti hjá búð nokkurri er Sölvi hét. Hann sauð í katli miklum og hafði þá upp fært úr katlinum en vellan var sem áköfust. Sölvi gat að líta hvar þeir flýðu Austfirðingarnir og voru þá komnir mjög svo þar gegnt.

Hann mælti þá: „Hvort munu þessir allir ragir Austfirðingarnir er hér flýja? Og jafnvel rennur hann Þorkell Geitisson og er allmjög logið frá honum er margir segja hann hug einn en nú rennur engi harðara en hann.“

Hallbjörn sterki var þar nær staddur og mælti: „Eigi skaltu það eiga til að segja að vér séum allir ragir“ og þreif til hans og brá honum á loft og rak hann að höfði í ketilinn. Dó Sölvi þegar. Var þá og sótt að Hallbirni og varð hann þá undan að flýja.

Flosi skaut spjóti til Brúna Hafliðasonar og kom á hann miðjan og varð það hans bani. Hann var í liði Guðmundar ríka. Þorsteinn Hlennason tók spjótið úr sárinu og skaut aftur að Flosa og kom á fótinn og fékk hann sár mikið og féll við. Hann stóð upp þegar. Hörfuðu þeir þá til Vatnsfirðingabúðar.

Þeir Ljótur og Hallur gengu þá austan yfir á með flokk sinn allan. Og þá er þeir komu á hraunið var skotið spjóti úr liði Guðmundar ríka og kom það á Ljót miðjan. Féll hann þegar dauður niður og varð aldrei uppvíst hver þetta víg hafði vegið.

Þeir Flosi hörfuðu nú upp um Vatnsfirðingabúð.

Þorgeir skorargeir mælti þá við Kára Sölmundarson: „Þar er hann nú Eyjólfur Bölverksson ef þú vilt launa honum hringinn.“

„Eg ætla það nú eigi fjarri,“ segir Kári og þreif spjót af manni og skaut til Eyjólfs og kom það á hann miðjan og gekk í gegnum hann. Féll Eyjólfur þá dauður til jarðar.

Þá var hvíld nokkur á um bardagann. Snorri goði kom þá að með flokk sinn. Var þar þá Skafti í liði með honum og hljópu þeir í milli þeirra. Náðu þeir þá eigi að berjast. Hallur gekk þá í lið með þeim og vildi skilja þá. Voru þá sett grið og skyldu þau haldast um þingið. Var þá búið um lík og færð til kirkju og bundin sár þeirra manna er særðir voru.

Annan dag eftir gengu menn til Lögbergs. Hallur af Síðu stóð upp og kvaddi sér hljóðs og fékk þegar.

Hann mælti svo: „Hér hafa orðið harðir atburðir í mannalátum og málasóknum. Mun eg enn sýna það er eg er lítilmenni. Eg vil nú biðja Ásgrím og þá aðra er fyrir málum þessum eru að þeir unni oss jafnsættis.“

Fer hann þar um mörgum fögrum orðum.

Kári Sölmundarson mælti: „Þótt allir sættist aðrir á sín mál þá skal eg eigi sættast á mín mál því að þér munuð vilja virða víg þessi í móti brennunni en vér þolum það eigi.“

Slíkt hið sama mælti Þorgeir skorargeir.

Þá stóð upp Skafti Þóroddsson og mælti: „Betra hefði þér verið, Kári, að renna eigi frá[3] mágum þínum og skerast nú eigi úr sættum.“

Kári kvað þá vísur þrjár:


43. Hvað skaltu, runnur, þótt rynnum,

rannlinns, of sök minni

hagl dreif skarpt á Sköglar

skýjum, oss að frýja,

hinn er hélt, þá er hjalta

hátungur mjög sungu,

brynju meiður til búðar

blauður með skeggið rauða.


44. Varði eg víga Njörðum

vilja þraut að skilja.

Lítt gekk skáld fyrir skjöldu,

Skafta, margt að hafti,

er matsjóðar Móða

málmrógs flatan drógu,

slíkt er allt af æðru,

inn í búð að trúðum.

45. Höfðu Gríms að gamni

græðis elgs og Helga,

rétt unnut þá runnar,

rennendur Níals brennu.

Nú mun börgs í björgum

baughnykkjöndum þykja

lyngs að loknu þingi

Ljóts annan veg þjóta.


Þá varð hlátur mikill.

Snorri goði brosti að og kvað þetta fyrir munni sér svo að margir heyrðu:


46. Vel kann Skafti skilja,

skaut Ásgrímur spjóti,

villat Hólmsteinn flýja,

vegur Þorketill nauðigur.


Hlógu menn nú allmjög.

Hallur af Síðu mælti: „Allir menn vita hvern harm eg hefi beðið um lát Ljóts sonar míns. Munu það margir ætla að hann muni dýrstur ger af þeim mönnum er hér hafa látist. En eg vil það vinna til sátta manna að leggja son minn ógildan og ganga þó til að veita þeim bæði tryggðir og grið er mínir mótstöðumenn eru.[4] Bið eg þig, Snorri goði, og aðra hina bestu menn að þér komið því til leiðar að sættir verði með oss.“

Settist hann nú niður og var ger að hans máli mikill rómur og góður og lofuðu allir mjög hans góðgirnd.

Snorri goði stóð þá upp og talaði langt erindi og snjallt og bað Ásgrím og aðra þá menn er fyrir málum voru þaðan að, að þeir skyldu sættast.

Ásgrímur mælti: „Það ætlaði eg þá er Flosi reið heim að mér að eg mundi við hann aldrei sættast en nú vil eg, Snorri goði, sættast fyrir orð þín og annarra vina vorra.“

Slíkt hið sama mæltu þeir Þorleifur krákur og Þorgrímur hinn mikli að þeir mundu sættast og fýstu í öllu Þorgeir skorargeir bróður sinn að sættast en hann skarst undan og kvaðst aldrei við Kára skyldu skiljast.

Þá mælti Gissur hvíti: „Nú má Flosi sjá sinn kost hvort hann vill sættast til þess að sumir séu utan sætta.“

Flosi kvaðst sættast vilja „og þykir mér því betur,“ segir hann, „er eg hefi færri góða menn í móti mér.“

Guðmundur ríki mælti: „Það vil eg bjóða að handsala fyrir víg þau er hér hafa orðið á þinginu að mínum hluta til þess að ekki falli niður brennumálið.“

Slíkt hið sama mæltu þeir Gissur hvíti og Hjalti Skeggjason, Ásgrímur Elliða-Grímsson og Mörður Valgarðsson.[5] Við þetta gekk saman sættin.

Var þá handsalað í tólf manna dóm og var Snorri goði fyrir gerðinni og aðrir gerðarmenn með honum. Var þá jafnað saman vígum en bættir þeir menn sem umfram voru. Þeir gerðu og um brennumálin. Skyldi Njál bæta þrennum manngjöldum [6] en Bergþóru tvennum. Víg Skarphéðins skyldi jafnt og víg Höskulds Hvítanesgoða. Tveim manngjöldum skyldi bæta hvorn þeirra Gríms og Helga. Þá skyldu ein manngjöld fyrir hvern hinna er inni höfðu brunnið. Á vígið Þórðar Kárasonar var ekki sæst. Flosi var og ger utan og allir brennumenn og skyldu eigi fara samsumars nema hann vildi. En ef þeir færu eigi utan um það er þrír vetur væru liðnir þá skyldi hann og allir brennumenn vera sekir skógarmenn. Og var svo mælt að lýsa skyldi sekt þeirra á haustþingi eða vorþingi hvort sem heldur vildi. Flosi skyldi vera þó utan þrjá vetur. Gunnar Lambason og Grani Gunnarsson, Glúmur Hildisson, Kolur Þorsteinsson, þeir skyldu aldrei útkvæmt eiga. Þá er Flosi spurður ef hann vildi láta dæma fyrir sár sín en hann kvaðst ekki vilja taka fémútur á sér. Eyjólfur Bölverksson var lagður ógildur fyrir ójöfnuð sinn og rangindi og var þessi sætt nú handsöluð og efndist vel síðan.

Þeir Ásgrímur gáfu Snorra goða góðar gjafir. Hafði hann virðing mikla af málum þessum.

Skafta var bættur áverkinn.

Þeir Gissur hvíti og Hjalti Skeggjason og Ásgrímur Elliða-Grímsson buðu heim Guðmundi hinum ríka. Hann þá heimboðin og gaf sinn gullhring hver þeirra honum. Ríður Guðmundur nú norður heim og hafði almannalof hversu hann kom sér við í þessum málum.

Þorgeir skorargeir bauð Kára með sér að fara en þó riðu þeir fyrst með Guðmundi allt norður á fjall. Kári gaf Guðmundi gullsylgju en Þorgeir silfurbelti og var hvortveggja hinn besti gripur. Skildu þeir með hinni mestu vináttu og er hann úr sögu þessi. Þeir Kári riðu suður af fjallinu og ofan í Hreppa og svo til Þjórsár.

Flosi og brennumenn allir með honum riðu austur til Fljótshlíðar. Lét hann þá Sigfússonu skipa til búa sinna. Þá frétti Flosi að Þorgeir og Kári höfðu riðið norður með Guðmundi hinum ríka. Ætluðu þá brennumenn að þeir Kári mundu ætla að vera fyrir norðan land. Þá beiddu Sigfússynir að fara austur undir Eyjafjöll að fjárheimtum sínum því að þeir áttu fjárheimtur austur að Höfðabrekku. Flosi leyfði þeim það og bað þá þó vera vara um sig og vera sem skemmst. Flosi reið þá upp um Goðaland og svo á fjall og fyrir norðan Eyjafjallajökul og létti eigi fyrr en hann kom heim austur til Svínafells.

Nú verður að segja frá því að Hallur af Síðu hafði lagið ógildan son sinn og vann það til sætta. Þá bætti honum allur þingheimurinn og varð það eigi minna fé en átta hundruð silfurs en það voru fern manngjöld. En allir þeir aðrir er með Flosa höfðu verið fengu engar bætur fyrir vansa sína og undu við hið versta.

Sigfússynir dvöldust heima tvær nætur en hinn þriðja dag riðu þeir austur til Raufarfells og voru þar um nóttina. Þeir voru saman fimmtán og uggðu alls ekki að sér. Þeir riðu þaðan síð og ætluðu til Höfðabrekku um kveldið. Þeir áðu í Kerlingardal og tóku þar á sig svefn mikinn.

Tilvísanir

  1. lagði Þórhallur til hans spjótinu: "That was the first killing of the battle, the act of the best lawyer in Iceland. The symbolism is as obvious as out author is likely to make it. But the law has failed in the trail of the Burners not because the problem is one with the law, or because the law is corrupt, or because the law is stupid, but because the problem is political and institutional (or more precisely the absence of institutions) more than it is legal." Miller, William Ian. The Trial of Flosi and the Battle: Chapters 135, 141–5 (s. 264).
  2. eggjuðust nú fast: "Coming after the burning and as its direct consequence, it [the battle at the Allthing] repeats at the Thing the catastrophe which had been acted out in the other sacred location, the Home." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (s. 137)
  3. að renna eigi frá: "Kari is not at ease over surviving the Burning. He was not only outmanned by Skarphedin (who isn't?), as we saw, but also tellingly by his little boy Thord, who chose not to flee the flames, … . That it is not overreading to suggest that Kari might be motivated to overkill in order to kill his shame (or in modern jargon, his 'survivor's guilt') is that others accuse him of flight and cowardice." Miller, William Ian. Kari and Friends: Chapters 145–55 (s. 288).
  4. er mínir mótstöðumenn eru: "It is a symbolic turning point in the ethical development brought about by Christianity. When Hallr makes his offer, it is in fact Christianity giving society a new chance." Vésteinn Ólason. Topography and world view in Njáls saga (s. 138)
  5. Mörður Valgarðsson: "Mord, I suspect, lands on his feet, not to dominate but to do all right for himself, because types like him tend to land on their feet, even if they may break a foot from the fall and have to nurse it for a few years. It is rare to find a politically successful person who does not possess the virtue of living to fight another day." Miller, William Ian. A Conclusion: Justice and Exits (s. 303).
  6. manngjöldum: "Sokat számított az áldozat tekintélye és megbecsültsége. Ezt tükrözi a Brennu-Njáls saga egyik legfontosabb mozzanata, a gyújtogatók elleni per." Gyönki, Viktória. Váltságfizetés a 10-11. századi Izlandon két nemzetségi sagában (p.30)

Links

Personal tools