Of Fiddle Mord
There was a man named Mord whose surname was Fiddle; he was the son of Sigvat the Red, and he dwelt at the “Vale” in the Rangrivervales. He was a mighty chief, and a great taker up of suits, and so great a lawyer that no judgments were thought lawful unless he had a hand in them. He had an only daughter, named Unna. She was a fair, courteous and gifted woman, and that was thought the best match in all the Rangrivervales.
Now the story turns westward to the Broadfirth dales, where, at Hauskuldstede, in Laxriverdale, dwelt a man named Hauskuld, who was Dalakoll’s son, and his mother’s name was Thorgerda. He had a brother named Hrut, who dwelt at Hrutstede; he was of the same mother as Hauskuld, but his father’s name was Heriolf. Hrut was handsome, tall and strong, well skilled in arms, and mild of temper; he was one of the wisest of men – stern towards his foes, but a good counsellor on great matters. It happened once that Hauskuld bade his friends to a feast, and his brother Hrut was there, and sat next him. Hauskuld had a daughter named Hallgerda, who was playing on the floor with some other girls. She was fair of face and tall of growth, and her hair was as soft as silk; it was so long, too, that it came down to her waist. Hauskuld called out to her, “Come hither to me, daughter”. So she went up to him, and he took her by the chin, and kissed her; and after that she went away.
Then Hauskuld said to Hrut, “What dost thou think of this maiden? Is she not fair?” Hrut held his peace. Hauskuld said the same thing to him a second time, and then Hrut answered, “Fair enough is this maid, and many will smart for it, but this I know not, whence thief’s eyes have come into our race”. Then Hauskuld was wroth, and for a time the brothers saw little of each other.
Hrut woos Unna
It happened once that those brothers, Hauskuld and Hrut, rode to the Althing, and there was much people at it. Then Hauskuld said to Hrut, “One thing I wish, brother, and that is, that thou wouldst better thy lot and woo thyself a wife.”
Hrut answered, “That has been long on my mind, though there always seemed to be two sides to the matter; but now I will do as thou wishest; whither shall we turn our eyes?”
Hauskuld answered, “Here now are many chiefs at the Thing, and there is plenty of choice, but I have already set my eyes on a spot where a match lies made to thy hand. The woman’s name is Unna, and she is a daughter of Fiddle Mord one of the wisest of men. He is here at the Thing, and his daughter too, and thou mayest see her if it pleases thee.”
Now the next day, when men were going to the High Court, they saw some well-dressed women standing outside the booths of the men from the Rangrivervales, Then Hauskuld said to Hrut -
“Yonder now is Unna, of whom I spoke; what thinkest thou of her?”
“Well,” answered Hrut; “but yet I do not know whether we should get on well together.”
After that they went to the High Court, where Fiddle Mord was laying down the law as was his wont, and alter he had done he went home to his booth.
Then Hauskuld and Hrut rose, and went to Mord’s booth. They went in and found Mord sitting in the innermost part of the booth, and they bade him “good day”. He rose to meet them, and took Hauskuld by the hand and made him sit down by his side, and Hrut sat next to Hauskuld, So after they had talked much of this and that, at last Hauskuld said, “I have a bargain to speak to thee about; Hrut wishes to become thy son-in-law, and buy thy daughter, and I, for my part, will not be sparing in the mattes”.
Mord answered, “I know that thou art a great chief, but thy brother is unknown to me”.
“He is a better man than I,” answered Hauskuld.
“Thou wilt need to lay down a large sum with him, for she is heir to all I leave behind me,” said Mord.
“There is no need,” said Hauskuld, “to wait long before thou hearest what I give my word he shall have. He shall have Kamness and Hrutstede, up as far as Thrandargil, and a trading-ship beside, now on her voyage.”
Then said Hrut to Mord, “Bear in mind, now, husband, that my brother has praised me much more than I deserve for love’s sake; but if after what thou hast heard, thou wilt make the match, I am willing to let thee lay down the terms thyself”.
Mord answered, “I have thought over the terms; she shall have sixty hundreds down, and this sum shall be increased by a third more in thine house, but if ye two have heirs, ye shall go halves in the goods”.
Then said Hrut, “I agree to these terms, and now let us take witness”. After that they stood up and shook hands, and Mord betrothed his daughter Unna to Hrut, and the bridal feast was to be at Mord’s house, half a month after Midsummer.
Now both sides ride home from the Thing, and Hauskuld and Hrut ride westward by Hallbjorn’s beacon. Then Thiostolf, the son of Biorn Gullbera of Reykiardale, rode to meet them, and told them how a ship had come out from Norway to the White River, and how aboard of her was Auzur, Hrut’s father’s brother, and he wished Hrut to come to him as soon as ever he could. When Hrut heard this, he asked Hauskuld to go with him to the ship, so Hauskuld went with his brother, and when they reached the ship, Hrut gave his kinsman Auzur a kind and hearty welcome. Auzur asked them into his booth to drink, so their horses were unsaddled, and they went in and drank, and while they were drinking, Hrut said to Auzur, “Now, kinsman, thou must ride west with me, and stay with me this winter.”
“That cannot be, kinsman, for I have to tell thee the death of thy brother Eyvind, and he has left thee his heir at the Gula Thing, and now thy foes will seize thy heritage, unless thou comest to claim it.”
“What’s to be done now, brother?” said Hrut to Hauskuld, “for this seems a hard matter, coming just as I have fixed my bridal day.”
“Thou must ride south,” said Hauskuld, “and see Mord, and ask him to change the bargain which ye two have made, and to let his daughter sit for thee three winters as thy betrothed, but I will ride home and bring down thy wares to the ship.”
Then said Hrut, “My wish is that thou shouldest take meal and timber, and whatever else thou needest out of the lading”. So Hrut had his horses brought out, and he rode south, while Hauskuld rode home west. Hrut came east to the Rangrivervales to Mord, and had a good welcome, and he told Mord all his business, and asked his advice what he should do.
“How much money is this heritage?” asked Mord, and Hrut said it would come to a hundred marks, if he got it all.
“Well,” said Mord, “that is much when set against what I shall leave behind me, and thou shalt go for it, if thou wilt.”
After that they broke their bargain, and Unna was to sit waiting for Hrut three years as his betrothed. Now Hrut rides back to the ship, and stays by her during the summer, till she was ready to sail, and Hauskuld brought down all Hrut’s wares and money to the ship, and Hrut placed all his other property in Hauskuld’s hands to keep for him while he was away. Then Hauskuld rode home to his house, and a little while after they got a fair wind and sail away to sea. They were out three weeks, and the first land they made was Hern, near Bergen, and so sail eastward to the Bay.
Hrut and Gunnhillda, kings mother
At that time Harold Grayfell reigned in Norway; he was the son of Eric Bloodaxe, who was the son of Harold Fairhair; his mother’s name was Gunnhillda, a daughter of Auzur Toti, and they had their abode east, at the King’s Crag. Now the news was spread, how a ship had come thither east into the Bay, and as soon as Gunnhillda heard of it, she asked what men from Iceland were aboard, and they told her Hrut was the man’s name, Auzur’s brother’s son. Then Gunnhillda said, “I see plainly that he means to claim his heritage, but there is a man named Soti, who has laid his hands on it”.
After that she called her waiting-man, whose name was Augmund, and said -
“I am going to send thee to the Bay to find out Auzur and Hint, and tell them that I ask them both to spend this winter with me. Say, too, that I will be their friend, and if Hrut will carry out my counsel, I will see after his suit, and anything else he takes in hand, and I will speak a good word, too, for him to the king.”
After that he set off and found them; and as soon as they knew that he was Gunnhillda’s servant, they gave him good welcome. He took them aside and told them his errand, and after that they talked over their plans by themselves. Then Auzur said to Hrut -
“Methinks, kinsman, here is little need for long talk, our plans are ready made for us; for I know Gunnhillda’s temper; as soon as ever we say we will not go to her she will drive us out of the land, and take all our goods by force; but if we go to her, then she will do us such honour as she has promised.”
Augmund went home, and when he saw Gunnhillda, he told her how his errand had ended, and that they would come, and Gunnhillda said -
“It is only what was to be looked for; for Hrut is said to be a wise and well-bred man; and now do thou keep a sharp look out, and tell me as soon as ever they come to the town.”
Hrut and Auzur went east to the King’s Crag, and when they reached the town, their kinsmen and friends went out to meet and welcome them. They asked, whether the king were in the town, and they told them he was. After that they met Augmund, and he brought them a greeting from Gunnhillda, saying, that she could not ask them to her house before they had seen the king, lest men should say, “I make too much of them”. Still she would do all she could for them, and she went on, “tell Hrut to be outspoken before the king, and to ask to be made one of his body-guard”; “and here,” said Augmund, “is a dress of honour which she sends to thee, Hrut, and in it thou must go in before the king”. After that he went away.
The next day Hrut said -
“Let us go before the king.”
“That may well be,” answered Auzur.
So they went, twelve of them together, and all of them friends or kinsmen, and came into the hall where the king sat over his drink. Hrut went first and bade the king “good day,” and the king, looking steadfastly at the man who was well-dressed, asked him his name. So he told his name.
“Art thou an Icelander?” said the king.
He answered, “Yes”.
“What drove thee hither to seek us?”
Then Hrut answered -
“To see your state, lord; and, besides, because I have a great matter of inheritance here in the land, and I shall have need of your help, if I am to get my rights.”
The king said -
“I have given my word that every man shall have lawful justice here in Norway; but hast thou any other errand in seeking me?”
“Lord!” said Hrut, “I wish you to let me live in your court, and become one of your men.”
At this the king holds his peace, but Gunnhillda said -
“It seems to me as if this man offered you the greatest honour, for me thinks if there were many such men in the body-guard, it would be well filled.”
“Is he a wise man?” asked the king.
“He is both wise and willing,” said she.
“Well,” said the king, “methinks my mother wishes that thou shouldst have the rank for which thou askest, but for the sake of our honour and the custom of the land, come to me in half a month’s time, and then thou shalt be made one of my body-guard. Meantime, my mother will take care of thee, but then come to me.”
Then Gunnhillda said to Augmund -
“Follow them to my house, and treat them well.”
So Augmund went out, and they went with him, and he brought them to a hall built of stone, which was hung with the most beautiful tapestry, and there too was Gunnhillda’s high-seat.
Then Augmund said to Hrut -
“Now will be proved the truth of all that I said to thee from Gunnhillda. Here is her high-seat, and in it thou shalt sit, and this seat thou shalt hold, though she comes herself into the hall.”
After that he made them good cheer, and they had sat down but a little while when Gunnhillda came in. Hrut wished to jump up and greet her.
“Keep thy seat!” she says, “and keep it too all the time thou art my guest.”
Then she sat herself down by Hrut, and they fell to drink, and at even she said -
“Thou shalt be in the upper chamber with me to-night, and we two together.”
“You shall have your way,” he answers.
After that they went to sleep, and she locked the door inside. So they slept that night, and in the morning fell to drinking again. Thus they spent their life all that half-month, and Gunnhillda said to the men who were there -
“Ye shall lose nothing except your lives if you say to any one a word of how Hrut and I are going on.”
[When the half-month was over] Hrut gave her a hundred ells of household woollen and twelve rough cloaks, and Gunnhillda thanked him for his gifts. Then Hrut thanked her and gave her a kiss and went away. She bade him “farewell”. And next day he went before the king with thirty men after him and bade the king “good-day”. The king said -
“Now, Hrut, thou wilt wish me to carry out towards thee what I promised.”
So Hrut was made one of the king’s body-guard, and he asked, “Where shall I sit?”
“My mother shall settle that,” said the king.
Then she got him a seat in the highest room, and he spent the winter with the king in much honour.
Of Hrut’s cruise
When the spring came he asked about Soti, and found out he had gone south to Denmark with the inheritance. Then Hrut went to Gunnhillda and tells her what Soti had been about. Gunnhillda said -
“I will give thee two long-ships, full manned, and along with them the bravest men. Wolf the Unwashed, our overseer of guests; but still go and see the king before thou settest off.”
Hrut did so; and when he came before the king, then he told the king of Soti’s doings, and how he had a mind to hold on after him.
The king said, “What strength has my mother handed over to thee?”
“Two long-ships and Wolf the Unwashed to lead the men,” says Hrut.
“Well given,” says the king. “Now I will give thee other two ships, and even then thou’lt need all the strength thou’st got.”
After that he went down with Hrut to the ship, and said “fare thee well”. Then Hrut sailed away south with his crews.
Atli Arnvid son’s slaying
There was a man named Atli, son of Arnvid, Earl of East Gothland. He had kept back the taxes from Hacon Athelstane’s foster child, and both father and son had fled away from Jemtland to Gothland. After that, Atli held on with his followers out of the Mælar by Stock Sound, and so on towards Denmark, and now he lies out in Öresound. He is an outlaw both of the Dane-King and of the Swede-King. Hrut held on south to the Sound, and when he came into it he saw many ships in the Sound. Then Wolf said -
“What’s best to be done now, Icelander?”
“Hold on our course,” says Hrut, “‘for nothing venture, nothing have’. My ship and Auzur’s shall go first, but thou shalt lay thy ship where thou likest.”
“Seldom have I had others as a shield before me,” says Wolf, and lays his galley side by side with Hrut’s ship; and so they hold on through the Sound. Now those who are in the Sound see that ships are coming up to them, and they tell Atli.
He answered, “Then maybe there’ll be gain to be got”.
After that men took their stand on board each ship; “but my ship,” says Atli, “shall be in the midst of the fleet”.
Meantime Hrut’s ships ran on, and as soon as either side could hear the other’s hail, Atli stood up and said -
“Ye fare unwarily. Saw ye not that war-ships were in the Sound? But what’s the name of your chief?”
Hrut tells his name.
“Whose man art thou?” says Atli.
“One of king Harold Grayfell’s body-guard.”
Atli said, “‘Tis long since any love was lost between us, father and son, and your Norway kings”.
“Worse luck for thee,” says Hrut.
“Well,” says Atli, “the upshot of our meeting will be, that thou shalt not be left alive to tell the tale;” and with that he caught up a spear and hurled it at Hrut’s ship, and the man who stood before it got his death. After that the battle began, and they were slow in boarding Hrut’s ship. Wolf, he went well forward, and with him it was now cut, now thrust. Atli’s bowman’s name was Asolf; he sprung up on Hrut’s ship, and was four men’s death before Hrut was ware of him; then he turned against him, and when they met, Asolf thrust at and through Hrut’s shield, but Hrut cut once at Asolf, and that was his death-blow. Wolf the Unwashed saw that stroke, and called out -
“Truth to say, Hrut, thou dealest big blows, but thou’st much to thank Gunnhillda for.”
“Something tells me,” says Hrut, “that thou speakest with a ‘fey’ mouth.”
Now Atli sees a bare place for a weapon on Wolf, and shot a spear through him, and now the battle grows hot: Atli leaps up on Hrut’s ship, and clears it fast round about, and now Auzur turns to meet him, and thrust at him, but fell down full length on his back, for another man thrust at him. Now Hrut turns to meet Atli: he cut at once at Hrut’s shield, and clove it all in two, from top to point; just then Atli got a blow on his hand from a stone, and down fell his sword. Hrut caught up the sword, and cut his foot from under him. After that he dealt him his death-blow. There they took much goods, and brought away with them two ships which were best, and stayed there only a little while. But meantime Soti and his crew had sailed past them, and he held on his course back to Norway, and made the land at Limgard’s side. There Soti went on shore, and there he met Augmund, Gunnhillda’s page; he knew him at once, and asks -
“How long meanest thou to be here?”
“Three nights,” says Soti.
“Whither away, then?” says Augmund.
“West, to England,” says Soti, “and never to come back again to Norway while Gunnhillda’s rule is in Norway.”
Augmund went away, and goes and finds Gunnhillda, for she was a little way off at a feast, and Gudred, her son, with her. Augmund told Gunnhillda what Soti meant to do, and she begged Gudred to take his life. So Gudred set off at once, and came unawares on Soti, and made them lead up the country, and hang him there. But the goods he took, and brought them to his mother, and she got men to carry them all down to the King’s Crag, and after that she went thither herself.
Hrut came back towards autumn, and had gotten great store of goods. He went at once to the king, and had a hearty welcome. He begged them to take whatever they pleased of his goods, and the king took a third. Gunnhillda told Hrut how she had got hold of the inheritance, and had Soti slain. He thanked her, and gave her half of all he had.
Hrut sails out to Iceland
Hrut stayed with the king that winter in good cheer, but when spring came he grew very silent. Gunnhillda finds that out, and said to him when they two were alone together -
“Art thou sick at heart?”
“So it is,” said Hrut, “as the saying runs – ‘Ill goes it with those who are born on a barren land’.”
“Wilt thou to Iceland?” she asks.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Hast thou a wife out there?” she asked; and he answers, “No”.
“But I am sure that is true,” she says; and so they ceased talking about the matter.
[Shortly after] Hrut went before the king and bade him “good day”; and the king said, “What dost thou want now, Hrut?”
“I am come to ask, lord, that you give me leave to go to Iceland.”
“Will thine honour be greater there than here?” asks the king.
“No, it will not,” said Hrut; “but every one must win the work that is set before him.”
“It is pulling a rope against a strong man,” said Gunnhillda, “so give him leave to go as best suits him.”
There was a bad harvest that year in the land, yet Gunnhillda gave Hrut as much meal as he chose to have; and now he busks him to sail out to Iceland, and Auzur with him; and when they were all-boun, Hrut went to find the king and Gunnhillda. She led him aside to talk alone, and said to him -
“Here is a gold ring which I will give thee;” and with that she clasped it round his wrist.
“Many good gifts have I had from thee,” said Hrut.
Then she put her hands round his neck and kissed him, and said -
“If I have as much power over thee as I think, I lay this spell on thee that thou mayest never have any pleasure in living with that woman on whom thy heart is set in Iceland, but with other women thou mayest get on well enough, and now it is like to go well with neither of us; – but thou hast not believed what I have been saying.”
Hrut laughed when he heard that, and went away; after that he came before the king and thanked him; and the king spoke kindly to him, and bade him “farewell”. Hrut went straight to his ship, and they had a fair wind all the way until they ran into Borgarfirth.
As soon as the ship was made fest to the land, Hrut rode west home, but Auzur stayed by the ship to unload her, and lay her up. Hrut rode straight to Hauskuldstede, and Hauskuld gave him a hearty welcome, and Hrut told him all about his travels. After that they sent men east across the rivers to tell Fiddle Mord to make ready for the bridal feast; but the two brothers rode to the ship, and on the way Hauskuld told Hrut how his money matters stood, and his goods had gained much since he was away. Then Hrut said -
“The reward is less worth than it ought to be, but I will give thee as much meal as thou needst for thy household next winter.”
Then they drew the ship on land on rollers, and made her snug in her shed, but all the wares on board her they carried away into the Dales westward. Hrut stayed at home at Hrutstede till winter was six weeks off, and then the brothers made ready, and Auzur with them, to ride to Hrut’s wedding. Sixty men ride with them, and they rode east till they came to Rangriver plains. There they found a crowd of guests, and the men took their seats on benches down the length of the hall, but the women were seated on the cross benches on the dais, and the bride was rather downcast. So they drank out the feast and it went off well. Mord pays down his daughter’s portion, and she rides west with her husband and his train. So they ride till they reach home. Hrut gave over everything into her hands inside the house, and all were pleased at that; but for all that she and Hrut did not pull well together as man and wife, and so things went on till spring, and when spring came Hrut had a journey to make to the Westfirths, to get in the money for which he had sold his wares; but before he set off his wife says to him -
“Dost thou mean to be back before men ride to the Thing?”
“Why dost thou ask?” said Hrut.
“I will ride to the Thing,” she said, “to meet my father.”
“So it shall be,” said he, “and I will ride to the Thing along with thee.”
“Well and good,” she says.
After that Hrut rode from home west to the Firths, got in all his money, and laid it out anew, and rode home again. When he came home he busked him to ride to the Thing, and made all his neighbours ride with him. His brother Hauskuld rode among the rest. Then Hrut said to his wife -
“If thou hast as much mind now to go to the Thing as thou saidst a while ago, busk thyself and ride along with me.”
She was not slow in getting herself ready, and then they all rode to the Thing. Unna went to her father’s booth, and he gave her a hearty welcome, but she seemed somewhat heavy-hearted, and when he saw that he said to her -
“I have seen thee with a merrier face. Hast thou anything on thy mind?”
She began to weep, and answered nothing. Then he said to her again, “Why dost thou ride to the Thing, if thou wilt not tell me thy secret? Dost thou dislike living away there in the west?”
Then she answered him -
“I would give all I own in the world that I had never gone thither.”
“Well!” said Mord, “I’ll soon get to the bottom of this.” Then he sends men to fetch Hauskuld and Hrut, and they came straightway; and when they came in to see Mord, he rose up to meet them and gave them a hearty welcome, and asked them to sit down. Then they talked a long time in a friendly way, and at last Mord said to Hauskuld -
“Why does my daughter think so ill of life in the west yonder?”
“Let her speak out,” said Hrut, “if she has anything to lay to my charge.”
But she brought no charge against him. Then Hrut made them ask his neighbours and household how he treated her, and all bore him good witness, saying that she did just as she pleased in the house.
Then Mord said, “Home thou shalt go, and be content with thy lot; for all the witness goes better for him than for thee”.
After that Hrut rode home from the Thing, and his wife with him, and all went smoothly between them that summer; but when spring came it was the old story over again, and things grew worse and worse as the spring went on. Hrut had again a journey to make west to the Firths, and gave out that he would not ride to the Althing, but Unna his wife said little about it. So Hrut went away west to the Firths.
Unna separates from Hrut
Now the time for the Thing was coming on, Unna spoke to Sigmund Auzur’s son, and asked if he would ride to the Thing with her; he said he could not ride if his kinsman Hrut set his face against it.
“Well!” says she, “I spoke to thee because I have better right to ask this from thee than from any one else.”
He answered, “I will make a bargain with thee: thou must promise to ride back west with me, and to have no underhand dealings against Hrut or myself”.
So she promised that, and then they rode to the Thing. Her father Mord was at the Thing, and was very glad to see her, and asked her to stay in his booth white the Thing lasted, and she did so.
“Now,” said Mord, “what hast thou to tell me of thy mate, Hrut?”
Then she sung him a song, in which she praised Hrut’s liberality, but said he was not master of himself. She herself was ashamed to speak out.
Mord was silent a short time, and then said -
“Thou hast now that on thy mind I see, daughter, which thou dost not wish that any one should know save myself, and thou wilt trust to me rather than any one else to help thee out of thy trouble.”
Then they went aside to talk, to a place where none could overhear what they said; and then Mord said to his daughter -
“Now tell me all that is between you two, and don’t make more of the matter than it is worth.”
“So it shall be,” she answered, and sang two songs, in which she revealed the cause of their misunderstanding; and when Mord pressed her to speak out, she told him how she and Hrut could not live together, because he was spell-bound, and that she wished to leave him.
“Thou didst right to tell me all this,” said Mord, “and now I will give thee a piece of advice, which will stand thee in good stead, if thou canst carry it out to the letter. First of all, thou must ride home from the Thing, and by that time thy husband will have come back, and will be glad to see thee; thou must he blithe and buxom to him, and he will think a good change has come over thee, and thou must show no signs of coldness or ill-temper, but when spring comes thou must sham sickness, and take to thy bed. Hrut will not lose time in guessing what thy sickness can be, nor will he scold thee at all, but he will rather beg every one to take all the care they can of thee. After that he will set off west to the Firths, and Sigmund with him, for he will have to flit all his goods home from the Firths west, and he will be away till the summer is far spent. But when men ride to the Thing, and after all have ridden from the Dales that mean to ride thither, then thou must rise from thy bed and summon men to go along with thee to the Thing; and when thou art all-boun, then shalt thou go to thy bed, and the men with thee who are to bear thee company, and thou shalt take witness before thy husband’s bed, and declare thyself separated from him by such a lawful separation as may hold good according to the judgment of the Great Thing, and the laws of the land; and at the man’s door [the main door of the house] thou shalt take the same witness. After that ride away, and ride over Laxriverdale Heath, and so on over Holtbeacon Heath; for they will look for thee by way of Hrutfirth. And so ride on till thou comest to me; then I will see after the matter. But into his hands thou shalt never come more.”
Now she rides home from the Thing, and Hrut had come back before her, and made her hearty welcome. She answered him kindly, and was blithe and forbearing towards him. So they lived happily together that half-year; but when spring came she fell sick, and kept her bed. Hrut set off west to the Firths, and bade them tend her well before he went. Now, when the time for the Thing comes, she busked herself to ride away, and did in every way as had been laid down for her; and then she rides away to the Thing. The country folk looked for her, but could not find her. Mord made his daughter welcome, and asked her if she had followed his advice; and she says, “I have not broken one tittle of it”.
Then she went to the Hill of Laws, and declared herself separated from Hrut; and men thought this strange news. Unna went home with her father, and never went west from that day forward.
Mord claims his goods from Hrut
Hrut came home, and knit his brows when he heard his wife was gone, but yet kept his feelings well in hand, and stayed at home all that half-year, and spoke to no one on the matter. Next summer he rode to the Thing, with his brother Hauskuld, and they had a great following. But when he came to the Thing, he asked whether Fiddle Mord were at the Thing, and they told him he was; and all thought they would come to words at once about their matter, but it was not so. At last, one day when the brothers and others who were at the Thing went to the Hill of Laws, Mord took witness and declared that he had a money-suit against Hrut for his daughter’s dower, and reckoned the amount at ninety hundreds in goods, calling on Hrut at the same time to pay and hand it over to him, and asking for a fine of three marks. He laid the suit in the Quarter Court, into which it would come by law, and gave lawful notice, so that all who stood on the Hill of Laws might hear.
But when he had thus spoken, Hrut said -
“Thou hast undertaken this suit, which belongs to thy daughter, rather for the greed of gain and love of strife than in kindliness and manliness. But I shall have something to say against it; for the goods which belong to me are not yet in thy hands. Now, what I have to say is this, and I say it out, so that all who hear me on this hill may bear witness: I challenge thee to fight on the island; there on one side shall be laid all thy daughter’s dower, and on the other I will lay down goods worth as much, and whoever wins the day shall have both dower and goods; but if thou wilt not fight with me, then thou shalt give up all claim to these goods.”
Then Mord held his peace, and took counsel with his friends about going to fight on the island, and Jorund the priest gave him an answer.
“There is no need for thee to come to ask us for counsel in this matter, for thou knowest if thou fightest with Hrut thou wilt lose both life and goods. He has a good cause, and is besides mighty in himself and one of the boldest of men.”
Then Mord spoke out, that he would not fight with Hrut, and there arose a great shout and hooting on the hill, and Mord got the greatest shame by his suit.
After that men ride home from the Thing, and those brothers Hauskuld and Hrut ride west to Reykiardale, and turned in as guests at Lund, where Thiostolf, Biorn Gullbera’s son, then dwelt. There had been much rain that day, and men got wet, so long-fires were made down the length of the hall. Thiostolf, the master of the house, sat between Hauskuld and Hrut, and two boys, of whom Thiostolf had the rearing, were playing on the floor, and a girl was playing with them. They were great chatterboxes, for they were too young to know better. So one of them said -
“Now, I will be Mord, and summon thee to lose thy wife because thou hast not been a good husband to her.”
Then the other answered -
“I will be Hrut, and I call on thee to give up all claim to thy goods, if thou darest not to fight with me.”
This they said several times, and all the household burst out laughing. Then Hauskuld got wroth, and struck the boy who called himself Mord with a switch, and the blow fell on his face, and graced the skin.
“Get out with thee,” said Hauskuld to the boy, “and make no game of us;” but Hrut said, “Come hither to me,” and the boy did so. Then Hrut drew a ring from his finger and gave it to him, and said -
“Go away, and try no man’s temper henceforth.”
Then the boy went away saying -
“Thy manliness I will bear in mind all my life.”
From this matter Hrut got great praise, and after that they went home; and that was the end of Mord’s and Hrut’s quarrel.