Icelandic Saga - Burnt Njal --- (chap. 34-38) [tekst, tłumaczenie i interpretacja piosenki]

Wykonawca: Icelandic Saga
Album: The Saga of Burnt Njal
Gatunek: Poetry

Tekst piosenki

CHAPTER XXXIV.

OF THRAIN SIGFUS' SON.


There was a man named Thrain,
he was the son of Sigfus,
the son of Sighvat the Red.

He kept house at Gritwater on Fleetlithe.

He was Gunnar's kinsman, and a man of great mark.

He had to wife Thorhilda Skaldwife;
she had a sharp tongue of her own,
and was giving to jeering.

Thrain loved her little.

He and his wife were bidden to the wedding,
and she and Bergthora, Skarphedinn's daughter, Njal's wife,
waited on the guests with meat and drink.



Kettle was the name of the second son of Sigfus;
he kept house in the Mark, east of Markfleet.

He had to wife Thorgerda, Njal's daughter.

Thorkell was the name of the third son of Sigfus;
the fourth's name was Mord;
the fifth's Lambi;
the sixth's Sigmund;
the seventh's Sigurd.

These were all Gunnar's kinsmen, and great champions.

Gunnar bade them all to the wedding.




Gunnar had also bidden Valgard the guileful, and Wolf Aurpriest,
and their sons Runolf and Mord.

Hauskuld and Hrut came to the wedding with a very great company,
and the sons of Hauskuld, Torleik, and Olof, were there;
the bride, too, came along with them,
and her daughter Thorgerda came also,
and she was one of the fairest of women;
she was then fourteen winters old.

Many other women were with her,
and besides there were Thorkatla Asgrim Ellidagrim's son's daughter,
and Njal's two daughters, Thorgerda and Helga.

Gunnar had already many guests to meet them,
and he thus arranged his men.

He sat on the middle of the bench,
and on the inside, away from him, Thrain Sigfus' son,
then Wolf Aurpriest, then Valgard the guileful,
then Mord and Runolf, then the other sons of Sigfus,
Lambi sat outermost of them.

Next to Gunnar on the outside, away from him, sat Njal,
then Skarphedinn, then Helgi, then Grim,
then Hauskuld Njal's son, then Hafr the Wise,
then Ingialld from the Springs,
then the sons of Thorir from Holt away east.

Thorir would sit outermost of the men of mark,
for every one was pleased with the seat he got.

Hauskuld, the bride's father,
sat on the middle of the bench over against Gunnar,
but his sons sat on the inside away from him;
Hrut sat on the outside away from Hauskuld,
but it is not said how the others were placed.

The bride sat in the middle of the cross-bench on the dais;
but on one hand of her sat her daughter Thorgerda,
and on the other Thorkatla Asgrim Ellidagrim's son's daughter.

Thorhillda went about waiting on the guests,
and Bergthora bore the meat on the board.

Now Thrain Sigfus' son kept staring at Thorgerda Glum's daughter;
his wife Thorhillda saw this, and she got wroth,
and made a couplet upon him.

"Thrain," she says,
"Gaping mouths are no wise good,
Goggle eyne are in thy head,"

He rose at once up from the board,
and said he would put Thorhillda away,
"I will not bear her jibes and jeers any longer;"
and he was so quarrelsome about this,
that he would not be at the feast unless she were driven away.

And so it was, that she went away;
and now each man sat in his place,
and they drank and were glad.

Then Thrain began to speak--
"I will not whisper about that which is in my mind.
This I will ask thee, Hauskuld Dalakoll's son,
wilt thou give me to wife Thorgerda, thy kinswoman?"

"I do not know that," says Hauskuld;
"methinks thou art ill parted from the one thou hadst before.
But what kind of man is he, Gunnar?"

Gunnar answers--
"I will not say aught about the man,
because he is near of kin;
but say thou about him, Njal," says Gunnar,
"for all men will believe it".

Njal spoke, and said--
"That is to be said of this man,
that the man is well to do for wealth,
and a proper man in all things.

A man, too, of the greatest mark;
so that ye may well make this match with him."

Then Hauskuld spoke--
"What thinkest thou we ought to do, kinsman Hrut?"

"Thou mayst make the match, because it is an even one for her,"
says Hrut.

Then they talk about the terms of the bargain,
and are soon of one mind on all points.

Then Gunnar stands up, and Thrain too,
and they go to the cross-bench.

Gunnar asked that mother and daughter
whether they would say yes to this bargain.

They said they would find no fault with it,
and Hallgerda betrothed her daughter.

Then the places of the women were shifted again,
and now Thorhalla sate between the brides.

And now the feast sped on well, and when it was over,
Hauskuld and his company ride west,
but the men of Rangriver rode to their own abode.

Gunnar gave many men gifts,
and that made him much liked.

Hallgerda took the housekeeping under her,
and stood up for her rights in word and deed.

Thorgerda took to housekeeping at Gritwater,
and was a good housewife.




CHAPTER XXXV.

THE VISIT TO BERGTHORSKNOLL.


Now it was the custom between Gunnar and Njal,
that each made the other a feast,
winter and winter about,
for friendship's sake;
and it was Gunnar's turn to go to feast at Njal's.

So Gunnar and Hallgerda set off for Bergthorsknoll,
and when they got there Helgi and his wife were not at home.

Njal gave Gunnar and his wife a hearty welcome,
and when they had been there a little while,
Helgi came home with Thorhalla his wife.

Then Bergthora went up to the cross-bench,
and Thorhalla with her,
and Bergthora said to Hallgerda--

"Thou shalt give place to this woman."

She answered--
"To no one will I give place,
for I will not be driven into the corner for any one".

"I shall rule here," said Bergthora,
After that Thorhalla sat down,
and Bergthora went round the table with water to wash the guests' hands.

Then Hallgerda took hold of Bergthora's hand, and said--
"There's not much to choose, though, between you two.
Thou hast hangnails on every finger,
and Njal is beardless."

"That's true," says Bergthora,
"yet neither of us finds fault with the other for it;
but Thorwald, thy husband, was not beardless,
and yet thou plottedst his death."

Then Hallgerda said--
"It stands me in little stead to have the bravest man in Iceland
if thou dost not avenge this, Gunnar!"

He sprang up and strode across away from the board,
and said--
"Home I will go,
and it were more seemly
that thou shouldest wrangle with those of thine own household,
and not under other men's roofs;
but as for Njal,
I am his debtor for much honour,
and never will I be egged on by thee like a fool".

After that they set off home.

"Mind this, Bergthora," said Hallgerda,
"that we shall meet again."

Bergthora said she should not be better off for that.

Gunnar said nothing at all,
but went home to Lithend,
and was there at home all the winter.

And now the summer was running on towards the Great Thing.




CHAPTER XXXVI.

KOL SLEW SWART.


Gunnar rode away to the Thing, but before he rode from home he said to
Hallgerda--"Be good now while I am away, and show none of thine ill
temper in anything with which my friends have to do".

"The trolls take thy friends," says Hallgerda.

So Gunnar rode to the Thing, and saw it was not good to come to words
with her. Njal rode to the Thing too, and all his sons with him.

Now it must be told of what tidings happened at home. Njal and Gunnar
owned a wood in common at Redslip; they had not shared the wood, but
each was wont to hew in it as he needed, and neither said a word to the
other about that. Hallgerda's grieve's[19] name was Kol; he had been
with her long, and was one of the worst of men. There was a man named
Swart; he was Njal's and Bergthora's house-carle; they were very fond of
him. Now Bergthora told him that he must go up into Redslip and hew
wood; but she said--"I will get men to draw home the wood".

He said he would do the work She set him to win; and so he went up into
Redslip, and was to be there a week.

Some gangrel men came to Lithend from the east across Markfleet, and
said that Swart had been in Redslip, and hewn wood, and done a deal of
work.

"So," says Hallgerda, "Bergthora must mean to rob me in many things, but
I'll take care that he does not hew again."

Rannveig, Gunnar's mother, heard that, and said--"There have been good
housewives before now, though they never set their hearts on
manslaughter".

Now the night wore away, and early next morning Hallgerda came to speak
to Kol, and said--"I have thought of some work for thee"; and with that
she put weapons into his hands, and went on to say--"Fare thou to
Redslip; there wilt thou find Swart".

"What shall I do to him?" he says.

"Askest thou that when thou art the worst of men?" she says. "Thou shalt
kill him."

"I can get that done," he says, "but 'tis more likely that I shall lose
my own life for it."

"Everything grows big in thy eyes," she says, "and thou behavest ill to
say this after I have spoken up for thee in everything. I must get
another man to do this if thou darest not."

He took the axe, and was very wroth, and takes a horse that Gunnar
owned, and rides now till he comes east of Markfleet. There he got off
and bided in the wood, till they had carried down the firewood, and
Swart was left alone behind. Then Kol sprang on him, and said--"More
folk can hew great strokes than thou alone"; and so he laid the axe on
his head, and smote him his death-blow, and rides home afterwards, and
tells Hallgerda of the slaying.

She said--"I shall take such good care of thee, that no harm shall come
to thee".

"May be so," says he, "but I dreamt all the other way as I slept ere I
did the deed."

Now they come up into the wood, and find Swart slain, and bear him home.
Hallgerda sent a man to Gunnar at the Thing to tell him of the slaying.
Gunnar said no hard words at first of Hallgerda to the messenger, and
men knew not at first whether he thought well or ill of it. A little
after he stood up, and bade his men go with him: they did so, and fared
to Njal's booth. Gunnar sent a man to fetch Njal, and begged him to come
out. Njal went out at once, and he and Gunnar fell a-talking, and Gunnar
said--

"I have to tell thee of the slaying of a man, and my wife and my grieve
Kol were those who did it; but Swart, thy house-carle, fell before
them."

Njal held his peace while he told him the whole story. Then Njal spoke--

"Thou must take heed not to let her have her way in everything."

Gunnar said--"Thou thyself shall settle the terms".

Njal spoke again--"'Twill be hard work for thee to atone for all
Hallgerda's mischief; and somewhere else there will be a broader trail
to follow than this which we two now have a share in, and yet, even here
there will be much awanting before all be well; and herein we shall need
to bear in mind the friendly words that passed between us of old; and
something tells me that thou wilt come well out of it, but still thou
wilt be sore tried".

Then Njal took the award into his own hands from Gunnar, and said--

"I will not push this matter to the uttermost; thou shalt pay twelve
ounces of silver; but I will add this to my award, that if anything
happens from our homestead about which thou hast to utter an award, thou
wilt not be less easy in thy terms".

Gunnar paid up the money out of hand, and rode home afterwards. Njal,
too, came home from the Thing, and his sons. Bergthora saw the money,
and said--

"This is very justly settled; but even as much money shall be paid for
Kol as time goes on."

Gunnar came home from the Thing and blamed Hallgerda. She said, better
men lay unatoned in many places, Gunnar said, she might have her way in
beginning a quarrel, "but how the matter is to be settled rests with
me".

Hallgerda was for ever chattering of Swart's slaying, but Bergthora
liked that ill. Once Njal and her sons went up to Thorolfsfell to see
about the housekeeping there, but that selfsame day this thing happened
when Bergthora was out of doors: she sees a man ride up to the house on
a black horse. She stayed there and did not go in, for she did not know
the man. That man had a spear in his hand, and was girded with a short
sword. She asked this man his name.

"Atli is my name," says he.

She asked whence he came.

"I am an Eastfirther," he says.

"Whither shalt thou go?" she says.

"I am a homeless man," says he, "and I thought to see Njal and
Skarphedinn, and know if they would take me in."

"What work is handiest to thee?" says she.

"I am a man used to field-work," he says, "and many things else come
very handy to me; but I will not hide from thee that I am a man of hard
temper and it has been many a man's lot before now to bind up wounds at
my hand."

"I do not blame thee," she says, "though thou art no milksop."

Atli said--"Hast thou any voice in things here?"

"I am Njal's wife," she says, "and I have as much to say to our
housefolk as he."

"Wilt thou take me in then?" says he.

"I will give thee thy choice of that," says she. "If thou wilt do all
the work that I set before thee, and that though I wish to send thee
where a man's life is at stake."

"Thou must have so many men at thy beck," says he, "that thou wilt not
need me for such work."

"That I will settle as I please," she says.

"We will strike a bargain on these terms," says he.

Then she took him into the household. Njal and his sons came home and
asked Bergthora what man that might be?

"He is thy house-carle," she says, "and I took him in." Then she went on
to say he was no sluggard at work.

"He will be a great worker enough, I daresay," says Njal, "but I do not
know whether he will be such a good worker."

Skarphedinn was good to Atli.

Njal and his sons ride to the Thing in the course of the summer; Gunnar
was also at the Thing.

Njal took out a purse of money.

"What money is that, father?"

"Here is the money that Gunnar paid me for our house-carle last summer."

"That will come to stand thee in some stead," says Skarphedinn, and
smiled as he spoke.




CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE SLAYING OF KOL, WHOM ATLI SLEW.


Now we must take up the story, and say that Atli asked Bergthora what
work he should do that day.

"I have thought of some work for thee," she says; "thou shall go and
look for Kol until thou find him; for now shalt thou slay him this very
day, if thou wilt do my will."

"This work is well fitted," says Atli, "for each of us two are bad
fellows; but still I will so lay myself out for him that one or other of
us shall die."

"Well mayest thou fare," she says, "and thou shalt not do this deed for
nothing."

He took his weapons and his horse, and rode up to Fleetlithe, and there
met men who were coming down from Lithend. They were at home east in the
Mark. They asked Atli whither he meant to go? He said he was riding to
look for an old jade. They said that was a small errand for such a
workman, "but still 'twould be better to ask those who have been about
last night".

"Who are they?" says he.

"Killing-Kol," say they, "Hallgerda's house-carle, fared from the fold
just now, and has been awake all night."

"I do not know whether I dare to meet him," says Atli, "he is
bad-tempered, and may be that I shall let another's wound be my
warning."

"Thou bearest that look beneath the brows as though thou wert no
coward," they said, and showed him where Kol was.

Then he spurred his horse and rides fast, and when he meets Kol, Atli
said to him--

"Go the pack-saddle bands well?"

"That's no business of thine, worthless fellow, nor of any one else
whence thou comest."

Atli said--"Thou hast something behind that is earnest work, but that is
to die".

After that Atli thrust at him with his spear, and struck him about his
middle. Kol swept at him with his axe, but missed him, and fell off his
horse, and died at once.

Atli rode till he met some of Hallgerda's workmen, and said, "Go ye up
to the horse yonder, and look to Kol, for he has fallen off, and is
dead".

"Hast thou slain him?" say they.

"Well, 'twill seem to Hallgerda as though he has not fallen by his own
hand."

After that Atli rode home and told Bergthora; she thanked him for this
deed, and for the words which he had spoken about it.

"I do not know," says he, "what Njal will think of this."

"He will take it well upon his hands," she says, "and I will tell thee
one thing as a token of it, that he has earned away with him to the
Thing the price of that thrall which we took last spring, and that money
will now serve for Kol; but though peace be made thou must still beware
of thyself, for Hallgerda will keep no peace."

"Wilt thou send at all a man to Njal to tell him of the slaying?"

"I will not," she says, "I should like it better that Kol were
unatoned."

Then they stopped talking about it.

Hallgerda was told of Kol's slaying, and of the words that Atli had
said. She said Atli should be paid off for them. She sent a man to the
Thing to tell Gunnar of Kol's slaying; he answered little or nothing,
and sent a man to tell Njal. He too made no answer, but Skarphedinn
said--

"Thralls are men of more mettle than of yore; they used to fly at each
other and fight, and no one thought much harm of that; but now they will
do naught but kill," and as he said this he smiled.

Njal pulled down the purse of money which hung up in the booth, and went
out; his sons went with him to Gunnar's booth.

Skarphedinn said to a man who was in the doorway of the booth--

"Say thou to Gunnar that my father wants to see him."

He did so, and Gunnar went out at once and gave Njal a hearty welcome.
After that they began to talk.

"'Tis ill done," says Njal, "that my housewife should have broken the
peace, and let thy house-carle be slain."

"She shall not have blame for that," says Gunnar.

"Settle the award thyself," says Njal.

"So I will do," say Gunnar, "and I value those two men at an even price,
Swart and Kol. Thou shalt pay me twelve ounces in silver."

Njal took the purse of money and handed it to Gunnar. Gunnar knew the
money, and saw it was the same that he had paid Njal. Njal went away to
his booth, and they were just as good friends as before. When Njal came
home, he blamed Bergthora; but she said she would never give way to
Hallgerda. Hallgerda was very cross with Gunnar, because he had made
peace for Kol's slaying, Gunnar told her he would never break with Njal
or his sons, and she flew into a great rage; but Gunnar took no heed of
that, and so they sat for that year, and nothing noteworthy happened.




CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE KILLING OF ATLI THE THRALL.


Next spring Njal said to Atli--"I wish that thou wouldst change thy
abode to the east firths, so that Hallgerda may not put an end to thy
life".

"I am not afraid of that," says Atli, "and I will willingly stay at home
if I have the choice."

"Still that is less wise," says Njal.

"I think it better to lose my life in thy house than to change my
master; but this I will beg of thee, if I am slain, that a thrall's
price shall not be paid for me."

"Thou shalt be atoned for as a free man; but perhaps Bergthora will make
thee a promise which she will fulfil, that revenge, man for man, shall
be taken for thee."

Then he made up his mind to be a hired servant there.

Now it must be told of Hallgerda that she sent a man west to Bearfirth,
to fetch Brynjolf the Unruly, her kinsman. He was a base son of Swan,
and he was one of the worst of men. Gunnar knew nothing about it.
Hallgerda said he was well fitted to be a grieve. So Brynjolf came from
the west, and Gunnar asked what he was to do there? He said he was going
to stay there.

"Thou wilt not better our household," says Gunnar, "after what has been
told me of thee, but I will not turn away any of Hallgerda's kinsmen,
whom she wishes to be with her."

Gunnar said little, but was not unkind to him, and so things went on
till the Thing. Gunnar rides to the Thing and Kolskegg rides too, and
when they came to the Thing they and Njal met, for he and his sons were
at the Thing, and all went well with Gunnar and them.

Bergthora said to Atli--"Go thou up into Thorolfsfell and work there a
week".

So he went up thither, and was there on the sly, and burnt charcoal in
the wood.

Hallgerda said to Brynjolf--"I have been told Atli is not at home, and
he must be winning work on Thorolfsfell".

"What thinkest thou likeliest that he is working at?" says he.

"At something in the wood," she says.

"What shall I do to him?" he asks.

"Thou shalt kill him," says she.

He was rather slow in answering her, and Hallgerda said--

"'Twould grow less in Thiostolf's eyes to kill Atli if he were alive."

"Thou shalt have no need to goad me on much more," he says, and then he
seized his weapons, and takes his horse and mounts, and rides to
Thorolfsfell. There he saw a great reek of coal smoke east of the
homestead, so he rides thither, and gets off his horse and ties him up,
but he goes where the smoke was thickest. Then he sees where the
charcoal pit is, and a man stands by it. He saw that he had thrust his
spear in the ground by him. Brynjolf goes along with the smoke right up
to him, but he was eager at his work, and saw him not. Brynjolf gave him
a stroke on the head with his axe, and he turned so quick round that
Brynjolf loosed his hold of the axe, and Atli grasped the spear, and
hurled it after him. Then Brynjolf cast himself down on the ground, but
the spear flew away over him.

"Lucky for thee that I was not ready for thee," says Atli, "but now
Hallgerda will be well pleased, for thou wilt tell her of my death; but
it is a comfort to know that thou wilt have the same fate soon; but come
now, take thy axe which has been here."

He answered him never a word, nor did he take the axe before he was
dead. Then he rode up to the house on Thorolfsfell, and told of the
slaying, and after that rode home and told Hallgerda. She sent men to
Bergthorsknoll, and let them tell Bergthora, that now Kol's slaying was
paid for.

After that Hallgerda sent a man to the Thing to tell Gunnar of Atli's
killing.

Gunnar stood up, and Kolskegg with him, and Kolskegg said--

"Unthrifty will Hallgerda's kinsmen be to thee."

Then they go to see Njal, and Gunnar said--

"I have to tell thee of Atli's killing." He told him also who slew him,
and went on, "and now I will bid thee atonement for the deed, and thou
shall make the award thyself".

Njal said--"We two have always meant never to come to strife about
anything; but still I cannot make him out a thrall".

Gunnar said that was all right, and stretched out his hand.

Njal named his witnesses, and they made peace on those terms.

Skarphedinn said, "Hallgerda does not let our house-carles die of old
age".

Gunnar said--"Thy mother will take care that blow goes for blow between
the houses".

"Ay, ay," says Njal, "there will be enough of that work."

After that Njal fixed the price at a hundred in silver, but Gunnar paid
it down at once. Many who stood by said that the award was high; Gunnar
got wroth, and said that a full atonement was often paid for those who
were no brisker men than Atli.

With that they rode home from the Thing.

Bergthora said to Njal when she saw the money--"Thou thinkest thou hast
fulfilled thy promise, but now my promise is still behind".

"There is no need that thou shouldst fulfil it," says Njal.

"Nay," says she, "thou hast guessed it would be so; and so it shall be."

Hallgerda said to Gunnar--

"Hast thou paid a hundred in silver for Atli's slaying, and made him a
free man?"

"He was free before," says Gunnar, "and besides, I will not make Njal's
household outlaws who have forfeited their rights."

"There's not a pin to choose between you," she said, "for both of you
are so blate."

"That's as things prove," says he.

Then Gunnar was for a long time very short with her, till she gave way
to him; and now all was still for the rest of that year; in the spring
Njal did not increase his household, and now men ride to the Thing about
summer.

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