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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 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 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 parted, and they fared west to Bardastrand.


(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.

Next: 99. Of Gest Oddleif's Son