Gisla Saga - H There was a man named Thorgrim, who was...

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Unformatted text preview: H There was a man named Thorgrim, who was known as Thorgrim Nef (Nose). He lived at Nefsstadir 0n the east side of the Haukadalsa river and was versed in all manner of spells and magic — the worst kind of sorcerer imaginable. Thorgrim and Thorkel invited him home because they were also holding a feast. Thorgrim Nef was a very skilled blacksmith, and it is told that both Thorgrim and Thorkel went to the smithy and locked themselves in. Then they took the fragments of Grasida,* of which Thorkel had taken possession when be split up with his brother Gisli, and Thorgrim Nef made a spearhead out of them. By evening the spearhead was completely finished. The blade was damascened, and the shaft measured about a hand in length. This matter must rest here for a while. 18 They drank at Thorgrim’s wake and Bork gave good gifts of friendship to many of the company. The next matter of account was that Bork paid Thorgrim Nef to per— form a magic rite, and to this effect — that however willing people might be to help the man who slew Thorgrim, their assistance should be of no avail. A nine—year-old gelding ox was given to Thorgrim for the magic rite, which he then performed. He prepared what he needed to carry it out, building a scaffold on which he practised his obscene and black art in devilish perversity. Another thing happened that was accounted strange — the snow never settled on the south—west of Thorgrim’s burial mound, nor showed any sign of frost. People suggested that Frey had found the sacrifices Thorgrim made to him so endearing that the god had not wanted the ground between them to freeze. Such was the situation throughout the winter while the brothers jointly held their games. Bork moved in with Thordis and married her. She was with child at the time, and soon gave birth to a boy. He was sprinkled with water and at first named Thorgrim after his father. However, when he grew up he was thought to be so bad—tempered and restless that his name was I I x i ; 524 THE SAGAS or ICELANDERS changed to Snorri" the Godi. Bork lived there for a while and took part in the games. There was a woman named Audbjorg who lived farther up the valley at Annmarkastadir. She was Thorgrim Nef’s sister and once had a husband whose name was Thorkel, but who was nicknamed Annmarki (Flaw). Her son, Thorstein, was one of the strongest at the games, aside from Gisli. Gisli and Thorstein were always on the same side in the games, pitched against Bork and Thorkel. One day, a great crowd of people came to see the game because they wanted to find out who was the strongest and the best player. And it was the same here as anywhere else — the more people arrived to watch, the greater the eagerness to compete. It is reported that Bork made no headway against Thorstein all day, and finally he became so angry that he broke Thorstein’s bat in two. In response to this, Thorstein tackled him and laid him out flat on the ice. When Gisli saw this he told Thorstein that he must put his all into playing against Bork, and then he said, ‘I’ll exchange bats with you.’ This they did, then Gisli sat down and fixed the bat. He looked towards Thorgrim’s burial mound; there was snow on the ground and the women sat on the slope. His sister Thordis was there and many others. Gisli then spoke a verse which should not have been spoken: 10. I saw the shoots reach up through the thawed ground T1907: i.e. man; word—play on On the grim Thor’s mound; Thorgrim’s name I slew that sword of Gaut. Thrott’s helmet has slain rwam’ of Gam‘ (Odin): warrior Tbrotr'r (Odin’s) belmet: warrior that tree of gold, and given tree of gold: man one, greedy for new land, a plot of his own forever. Thordis remembered the verse, went home and interpreted what it meant. The game then came to a close and Thorstein went home. There was a man named Thorgeir, and known as Orri (Grouse), who lived at Orrastadir. There was another man, named Berg, and known as Skammfot (Short—leg), who lived at Skammfotarmyri (Short—leg’s marsh) on the east side of the river. *‘ . . . JV The name Snam IS a twm form of the name Snemr which means ‘unruly’, ‘argumentative’. GISLI SURSSON’S SAGA 525 As the men made their way home from the game, Thorstein and Berg began to talk about how it was played, and eventually they began to argue. Berg supported Bork, while Thorstein spoke out against him. Berg hit Thorstein with the back of his axe, but Thorgeir came between them and prevented Thorstein from responding. Thorstein went home to his mother, Audbjorg, and she bound up his wound. She was displeased about what had befallen him. Old Audbjorg was so uneasy that she had no sleep that night. It was cold outside, but the air was Still and the sky cloudless. She walked several times withershins around the outside of the house, sniffing in all directions. As she did this, the weather broke and a heavy, blustering snowstorm started up. This was followed by a thaw in which a flood of water gushed dowrr the hillside and sent an avalanche of snow crashing into Berg’s farmhouse. It killed twelve men. The traces of the landslide can be seen to this day. Thorstein went to meet Gisli, who gave him shelter. From there, he went south to Borgarfiord and then abroad. When Bork received news of the disaster at Berg’s house, he went to Annmarkastadir and had Audbjorg seized. From there she was taken out to Saltnes and stoned to death. After this, Gisli left his home and went to Nefsstadir, seized Thorgrim Nef and took him to Saltnes where a sack was placed over his head before he was stoned to death. He was covered over with mud and stones, beside his sister, on the ridge between Haukadal and Medaldal. All was quiet now, and the spring wore on. Bork went south to Thorsnes and was going to settle down there. He felt that his journey west had brought him no honour — he had lost a man of Thorgrim’s calibre and matters had not been put right. He now prepared to go, leaving plans and instructions for what he wanted done at the farm in his absence, since he intended to return to fetch his possessions and his wife. Thorkel Sursson also decided to settle at Thorsnes, and made preparations to accompany Bork, his brother- 19 in—law. The story has it that Thordis Sursdottir, who was Gisli’s sister and Bork’s wife, went part of the way with Bork. Bork spoke: ‘Now, tell me why you were so upset when we broke up the games in the autumn. You promised to tell me before I left here.’ They had arrived at Thorgrim’s burial mound while they spoke. Suddenly, Thordis stopped and said she would venture no farther. Then she recited the verse that Gisli had composed when he looked at Thorgrim’s burial place. support. As a result of Thorgrim Nef’s evil arts, and the magic rite and spells he had performed, Gisli had no success in persuading these Chieftains to ally themselves with him; although their support sometimes seemed almost forthcoming, something always obstructed its course. Nevertheless, he spent lengthy periods with Thorkel Eiriksson. By this time he had been outlawed for six years. It is said that lngjald served Gisli best, and that his help was the most useful to him. When Thorgrim Nef performed his magic rite, he ordained that no assistance Gisli might receive from men on the mainland would come to anything. However, it never occurred to him to say anything about the islands, and thus Ingjald helped him for longer than most. But this could not last indefinitely. L ...
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Gisla Saga - H There was a man named Thorgrim, who was...

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