Legendary Sagas of the Northland
in English Translation
Þorsteins þáttr bæjarmagns
The Story of Thorsteinn House-Power
Late 13th Century
Translated by George L. Hardman
1. Uppruni Þorsteins
1. Thorsteinn's Upbringing
Í þann tíma, er Hákon jarl Sigurðarson réð fyrir Noregi, bjó
sá bóndi í Gaulardal, er Brynjólfr hét. Hann var kallaðr úlfaldi. Hann var lendr
maðr ok mikil kempa. Kona hans hét Dagný; hún var dóttir Járnskeggja af Yrjum.
Þau áttu einn son, er Þorsteinn hét. Hann var mikill ok sterkr, harðúðigr ok
óaflátssamr við hvern, sem eiga var. Engi var jafnstórr í Noregi, ok trautt
fengust þær dyrr, at honum væri hægt um at ganga, ok því var hann kallaðr
bæjarmagn, því at hann þótti ofmagni bera flestum húsum. Hann var óþýðr, ok fekk
faðir hans honum því skip ok menn, ok var Þorsteinn þá ýmist í hernaði eða í
kaupferðum, ok tókst honum hvárttveggja vel.
Í þenna tíma tók ríki í Noregi Óláfr konungr Tryggvason, en
Hákon jarl var skorinn á háls af þræli sínum, þeim sem Þormóðr karkr
hét. Þorsteinn bæjarmagn gerðist hirðmaðr Óláfs konungs. Þótti konungi
hann röskr maðr ok helt mikit til hans, en ekki var hann mjök kenndr af
hirðmönnum. Þótti þeim hann stríðlyndr ok óvæginn, ok hafði konungr hann
mjök til þess at fara sendiferðir þær, sem aðrir töldust undan at fara.
En stundum fór hann kaupferðir at afla konungnum gersema.
In that time, when Earl Hakon Sigurdarson ruled Norway, there
lived a farmer in Gaulardal who was named Brynjolf. He was called "camel." He
was a landed man and a great warrior. His wife was named Dagny; she was the
daughter of Jarnskeggja of Yrja. They had one son who was named Thorsteinn. He
was big and strong, hard-minded, and unremitting with anyone who he was dealing
with. No one in Norway was his equal in size, and there was scarcely a door that
he could easily get through. Because of this he was called "House-power," since
he was thought to be too powerful for most houses. He was unfriendly, and so his
father got him a ship and some men, and he was alternately plundering and
trading, and did equally well in both.
In that time King Olaf Tryggvason took Norway, when Earl Hakon’s neck was cut by
his slave, who was called Thormodr Kark. Thorsteinn House-power was made one of
the king’s men. The king thought him a brave man, and thought much of him, but
he was not well thought of by the king's other men. They considered him sullen
and unyielding, and the king used to send him on errands, which the others would
not do. Sometimes he went on trading missions to procure treasure for the king.
2. Þorsteinn fór til undirheima
2. Thorsteinn Travels to the Underworld
Eitt sinn lá Þorsteinn austr fyrir Bálagarðssíðu, ok gaf
honum eigi at sigla. Gekk hann á land einn morgin, ok er sól var í landsuðri,
var Þorsteinn kominn í eitt rjóðr. Hóll fagr var í rjóðrinu.
Hann sá einn kollóttan pilt uppi á hólnum, ok mælti: "Móðir
mín," segir hann, "fá þú mér út krókstaf minn ok bandvettlinga, því at
ek vil á gandreið fara. Er nú hátíð í heiminum neðra."
Þá var snarat út ór hólnum einum krókstaf, sem eldsskara
væri. Hann stígr á stafinn ok dregr á sik vettlingana ok keyrir, sem
börn eru vön at gera.
Þorsteinn gengr á hólinn ok mælti slikum orðum sem piltrinn,
ok var þegar út kastat staf ok vöttum ok mælt þetta: "Hverr tekr nú
"Bjálfi, sonr þinn," sagði Þorsteinn.
Síðan stígr hann á stafinn ok ríðr þar eptir, sem piltrinn
fór undan. Þeir kómu at einni móðu ok steyptu sér ofan í hana, ok var
því líkast sem þeir væði reyk. Því næst birti þeim fyrir augum, ok kómu
þeir at, sem á fell fram af hömrum. Sér Þorsteinn þá byggð mikla ok borg
stóra. Þeir stefna til borgarinnar, ok sitr þar fólk yfir borðum. Þeir
gengu í höllina, ok var höll skipuð af fólki, ok var þar af engu drukkit
utan af silfrkerum. Trapiza stóð á gólfi. Allt sýndist þeim þar gullligt
ok ekki drukkit nema vín. Þat þóttist Þorsteinn skilja, at engi maðr sá
þá. Félagi hans fór með borðum ok henti allt þat, sem niðr fell. Konungr
sat þar í hásæti ok drottning. Menn váru glaðir um höllina.
Þessu næst sér Þorsteinn, at maðr kom í höllina ok kvaddi konung ok
kveðst vera sendr til hans utan af Indíalandi ór fjalli því, er Lúkanus
heitir, frá jarli þeim, er þar réð fyrir, ok segir konungi, at hann var
huldumaðr. Hann færði honum einn gullhring. Eigi þóttist konungr betri
hring sét hafa, ok fór hringrinn um höllina til sýnis, ok lofuðu hann
allir. Hann var sundr tekinn í fjórum stöðum. Annan grip sá Þorsteinn,
er honum þótti mikils um vert. Þat var dúkr sá, er lá á konungs borðinu.
Hann var með gullligum röndum ok í festir þeir tólf gimsteinar, sem
beztir eru. Gjarna vildi Þorsteinn dúkinn eiga. Kemr honum í hug at
treysta á konungs hamingju ok vita, hvárt hann getr ekki nát hringnum.
Nú sér Þorsteinn, at konungrinn ætlar at draga hringinn á hönd sér. Þá
greip Þorsteinn hringinn af honum, en annarri hendi tók hann dúkinn, ok
fór allr matr í saur, en Þorsteinn hljóp á dyrr, en krókstafr hans varð
honum eptir í höllinni.
Verðr nú upphlaup mikit, hlaupa menn út síðan ok sjá, hvar
Þorsteinn ferr, ok stefna eptir honum. Sér hann nú, at þeir muni geta
Hann mælti þá: "Ef þú ert svá góðr, Óláfr konungr, sem ek
treysti mikit til þín, þá veittu mér lið."
En svá var Þorsteinn frár, at þeir kómust ekki fyrir hann,
fyrr en hann kom at ánni, ok staldraði hann þá við. Þeir slógu hring um
hann, en Þorsteinn varðist vel ok drap ótal marga, áðr förunautr hans
kom ok færði honum stafinn, ok hurfu þeir þegar í móðuna. Komu þeir aptr
á inn sama hól sem fyrr gátum vér, þá sól var í vestri. Kastaði piltrinn
þá inn stafnum ok klæðsekk þeim, sem hann hafði fylldan af góðum krásum,
ok svá gerði Þorsteinn. Kollsveinn hljóp inn, en Þorsteinn nam staðar
við glugginn. Hann sá þar tvær konur, ok vaf önnur guðvef, en önnur
Sú mælti: "Hvat dvelr hann Bjálfa, bróður þinn?"
"Ekki hefir hann mér fylgt í dag?" sagði hann.
"Hverr hefir þá farit með krókstafinn?" segir hún.
"Þat var Þorsteinn bæjarmagn," segir Kollsveinn, "hirðmaðr
Óláfs konungs. Kom hann okkr í mikinn vanda, því at hann hafði ór
undirheimum þau þing, at eigi munu slík í Noregi, ok var við því búit,
at vit mundum drepnir, er hann kastaði stafnum í hendr þeim, ok eltu
þeir hann til niðrgangs, ok þá færði ek honum stafinn, ok víst er hann
hraustr maðr, því at eigi veit ek, hversu marga hann drap." Ok nú laukst
Fór Þorsteinn nú til sinna manna, ok sigldu þaðan til Noregs,
ok fann Óláf konung austr í Vík ok færði honum gersemi þessi ok sagði
frá ferðum sínum, ok fannst mönnum mikit um. Konungr bauð at gefa
Þorsteini lén mikit, en hann kveðst enn vilja fara eina ferð í Austrveg.
Var hann nú með konungi um vetrinn.
One time Thorsteinn set off to the east, by Balagardssidu,
and there was no wind to sail. In the morning he went on land, and when the sun
was in the southeast, Thorsteinn came to a clearing. There was a beautiful mound
in the clearing.
He saw a shaven-haired boy up on the mound, and said: "Mother, mine," he said,
"get me out my crook-staff and gloves, because I want to go on a witch ride.
There is a festival now in the underworld."
Then a crook-staff was twisted out of the mound, which was like a poker. He
climbed on the staff and pulled on his gloves and set out, as children are wont
Thorsteinn went to the mound and said the same words as the boy, and then a
staff and gloves were cast out, and this was spoken: "Who is receiving these?"
"Bjalfi, your son," said Thorsteinn.
Then he climbed on the staff and rode after, down where the boy was riding. They
came to a large river and cast themselves into it, and it was as if they were
wading through smoke. Soon it became brighter before their eyes, and they came
to a place where the river ran over a cliff. Thorsteinn saw there a built up
place and large town. They went down to the town, and there were people sitting
at a table there. They went into the hall, and the hall was full of people, and
they were all drinking out of silver cups. There was a table sitting on the
floor. Everything there was golden, and no-one was drinking anything but wine.
Then Thorsteinn realized that no man saw them. His companion went among the
tables, and gathered all that had fallen down. The king and queen sat on the
high seat. People were happy in the hall.
Next Thorsteinn saw that a man came into the hall and spoke with the king, and
said that he had been sent from India, from the mountain called Lukanus, from
the earl who ruled there, and said to the king that he was one of the "hidden
people." He gave the king a gold ring. No one thought that the king had ever
seen a better ring, and the ring was passed around the hall for inspection, and
everyone praised it. The ring could be taken apart in four sections. Thorsteinn
saw another treasure, which he thought of great worth. That was the tablecloth,
which lay on the king’s table. It had a golden border and there were twelve
gemstones fastened there, which were extremely fine. Thorsteinn very much wanted
to own the cloth. He got the idea to try out the king’s luck, and learn how he
might get the ring. Now Thorsteinn saw that the king intended to put the ring on
his hand. Thorsteinn grabbed the ring from him, and with the other hand he took
the cloth, and all of the food fell in the mud. Then Thorsteinn ran to the door
but his crook-staff was left behind him in the hall.
There was now a great commotion, and then men ran out and saw, where Thorsteinn
went, and went after him in the same direction. He saw now that they could get
He then said: "If you are so good, King Olaf, as I trusted mightily in you, then
But Thorsteinn was so fast that they could not catch up with him, before he came
to a river, and faltered. They surrounded him, but Thorsteinn comported himself
well, and killed any number of them, before his companion came and brought him
his staff, and they disappeared then in the river. They came back to the same
mound where they had been before, when the sun was in the west. The boy cast his
staff into the mound, and also his sack, which he had filled with dainty
morsels, and Thorsteinn did the same. The shaven-headed youth ran in, and
Thorsteinn took place at the window. He saw two women, one weaving a precious
cloth, and the other rocking a baby.
She said, "What is keeping Bjalfi, your brother?"
"He did not follow me today," he said.
"Who ran off with the crook-staff?" she said.
"That was Thorsteinn House-power," said the shaven-headed
youth, "a retainer of King Olaf. He got us into a lot of trouble, since
he had from the underworld things, such as can’t be had in Norway, and
we were about to be killed, when he cast the staff in their hands, and
they almost drove him under. I brought him the staff, and he is
certainly a brave man. I don’t know, how many he killed. And now the
mound closed again.
Thorsteinn went now to his men, and sailed to Norway, and
found King Olaf east in Vik and brought him the treasure and told him of
his journey, and people were very impressed. The king offered to give
Thorsteinn a royal grant, but he said that he wanted to make a journey
to the east. He stayed with the king for the winter.
3. Frá Þorsteini ok dvergi
3. Of Thorsteinn and the Dwarf
At vári bjó Þorsteinn skip sitt. Hann hafði snekkju ok fjóra
menn ok tuttugu. Ok er hann kom við Jamtaland, lá hann í höfn einn dag, ok gekk
hann á land at skemmta sér. Hann kom í eitt rjóðr. Þar var einn mikill steinn.
Skammt þaðan sá hann einn dverg furðuliga ljótan, ok grenjaði upp yfir sik.
Sýndist Þorsteini kjaptrinn snúinn út at eyranu, en öðrum megin nefit niðr at
kjaptinum. Þorsteinn segir, hví hann léti svá heimsliga.
"Þú, góði maðr," sagði hann, "undrast eigi. Sér þú eigi þann
mikla örn, er þar flýgr? Hann hefir tekit son minn. Ætla ek þat, at sá
ófögnuðr sé sendr af Óðni, en ek spring, ef ek missi barnit."
Þorsteinn skaut eptir erninum, ok kom undir vænginn, ok datt
hann dauðr niðr, en Þorsteinn henti dvergsbarnit á lopti ok færði
föðurnum, en dvergrinn varð feginn mjök ok mælti: "Þér á ek at launa
lífgjöf ok sonr minn, ok kjós þér nú fyrir laun í gulli ok silfri."
"Græð þú fyrst son þinn," sagði Þorsteinn; "er ek eigi vanr at taka
mútur á afli mínu."
"Eigi væri mér at óskyldara at launa," segir dvergrinn. "Mun þér ekki
þykkja framboðligr serkr minn af sauða ullu, en eigi muntu á sundi
mæðast ok eigi sár fá, ef þú hefir hann næst þér."
Þorsteinn fór í serkinn, ok var honum mátuligr, en honum sýndist
dvergnum of lítill. Hann tók ok silfrhring ór pungi sínum ok gaf
Þorsteini ok bað hann vel geyma ok sagði honum aldri féfátt verða mundu,
meðan hann ætti hringinn.
Síðan tók hann einn stein svartan ok gaf Þorsteini, - "ok ef
þú felr hann í lófa þér, sér þik engi. Eigi hefi ek fleira, þat þér megi
gagn at vera. Hall einn vil ek gefa þér til skemmtunar."
Tók hann þá hallinn ór pungi sínum. Fylgdi honum einn
stálbroddr. Hallrinn var þríhyrndr. Hann var hvítr í miðju, en rauðr
öðrum megin, en gul rönd utan um.
Dvergrinn mælti: "Ef þú pjakkar broddinum á hallinn, þar sem
hann er hvítr, þá kemr haglhríð svá mikil, at engi þorir móti at sjá. En
ef þú vilt þíða þann snjó, þá skaltu pjakka þar, sem gulr er hallrinn,
ok kemr þá sólskin, svá at allt bræðir. En ef þú pjakkar þar í, sem
rautt er, þá kemr þar ór eldr ok eimyrja með gneistaflaug, svá at engi
má móti at sjá. Þú mátt ok hæfa þat, sem þú vilt, með broddinum ok
hallinum, ok hann kemr sjálfr aptr í hönd þér, þegar þú kallar. Get ek
nú ekki launat þér fleira at sinni."
Þorsteinn þakkar honum gjafirnar. Fór hann nú til sinna manna, ok var
honum þessi ferð betr farin en ófarin. Þessu næst gefr þeim byr ok sigla
í Austrveginn. Koma nú á fyrir þeim myrkr ok hafvillur, ok vita þeir
ekki, hvar þeir fara, ok var þat hálfan mánuð, at þessi villa helzt.
In spring Thorsteinn prepared his ship. He had a swift ship
and twenty-four men. When he came to Jamtaland, he stayed in the harbor for a
day, and went on land for relaxation. He came to a clearing. There was a large
stone there. A short distance away he saw a dwarf, terribly ugly, bellowing
loudly. It seemed to Thorsteinn that his jaw was turned up to his eye, and on
the other side his nose was down to his jaw. Thorsteinn asked why he was acting
"You, good man," he said, "don’t wonder. Don’t you see that big eagle flying
there. He has taken my son. I expect that it is a plague, sent by Odinn, but I
would die if I lose the child."
Thorsteinn shot at the eagle, and hit it under the wing, and it fell down dead.
Thorsteinn got hold of the dwarf’s son as he fell, and brought him to his
father. The dwarf was very happy, and said: "I owe you a lot for the gift of
life to my son, so choose now a reward in gold and silver."
"Take care of your son first," said Thorsteinn,; "I am not accustomed to taking
rewards for my strength."
"I would not be any less obliged to you," said the dwarf. "Can’t you consider a
gift of my shirt of sheep’s wool. You would never be tired, and never be
wounded, if you have it on you."
"Thorsteinn put on the shirt and it fit him well, although he thought that it
was too small for the dwarf. The dwarf took a silver ring from his purse and
gave it to Thorsteinn and bade him to keep it well, and told him he would never
be lacking in treasure, while he had the ring.
Then he took a black stone and gave it to Thorsteinn, - "and if you hide it in
the palm of your hand, no one can see you. I do not have anything else that I
can give you that would be of use. Only a stone will I give you for your
He took a stone out of his purse. A steel point accompanied it. The stone was
three cornered. It was white in the middle, but red on the opposite side, and a
gold ring around the outside.
The dwarf said: "If you prick the point on the stone, there where it is white,
then there will come a hailstorm so great, that no one will dare to face it. But
if you want to thaw snow, then you should prick there where the stone is gold,
and then sunshine will come, so that everything will melt away. But if you prick
there, where it is red, then embers will come from the fire in a shower of
sparks that no one can endure. You can also aim at whatever you want with the
point and the stone, and it will come back into your hand, when you call it. I
can’t now reward you any further."
Thorsteinn thanked him for the gifts. He then went to his men, and they thought
that the trip was better taken, than not taken. Next they were given favorable
winds, and sailed to the east. Now they were beset with darkness and were lost,
and they did not know where they were going. It was a half a month, that they
continued to be lost.
4. Þorsteinn kom til Risalands
4. Thorsteinn Comes to Risaland
Þat var eitt kvöld, at þeir urðu varir
við land. Köstuðu þeir nú akkerum ok lágu þar um nóttina. Um morguninn var gott
veðr ok sólskin fagrt. Váru þeir þá komnir á einn fjörð langan, ok sjá þeir þar
hlíðir fagrar ok skóga. Engi maðr var sá innanborðs, at þetta land þekkti. Ekki
sáu þeir kvikt, hvárki dýr né fugla. Reistu þeir nú tjald á landi ok bjuggust
At morgni mælti Þorsteinn til sinna manna: "Ek vil gera yðr kunnigt um ætlan
mína. Þér skuluð bíða mín hér sex nætr. Ætla ek mér at kanna land þetta."
Þeim þótti mikit fyrir því ok vilja með honum fara, en Þorsteinn vill þat eigi,
"ok ef ek kem eigi aptr, áðr sjau sólir eru af himni," segir hann, "þá skuluð
þér sigla heim ok segja svá Óláfi konungi, at mér mun ekki auðit verða aptr at
Gengu þeir þá með honum upp á skóginn. Því næst hvarf hann þeim, ok fóru þeir
aptr til skips ok breyttu eptir því, sem Þorsteinn bauð þeim.
Nú er at segja af Þorsteini, at allan þann dag gengr hann um mörkina ok verðr
við ekki varr. En at áliðnum degi kemr hann á eina braut breiða. Hann gekk eptir
brautinni, þangat til at aptnaði. Gekk hann þá brott af brautinni ok víkr at
einni stórri eik ok stígr upp í hana. Var þar nóg rúm í at liggja. Sefr hann þar
En er sólin kom upp, heyrir hann dunur miklar ok manna mál. Sá hann þá, hvar
margir menn ríða. Þeir váru tveir ok tuttugu. Þá bar svá skjótt um fram.
Undraðist Þorsteinn mjök vöxt þeira. Hafði hann eigi sét jafnstóra menn fyrr.
Þorsteinn klæðir sik. Líðr nú morgininn til þess, at sól er komin í landsuðr.
It was one evening that they became aware of land. They cast
anchor, and stayed there for the night. There was good weather in the morning
and beautiful sunshine. They came to a long fjord, and saw beautiful cliffs
there and woods. No one on board recognized this land. They could not see any
living beings, neither animals nor birds. They put up a tent and settled in.
In the morning Thorsteinn said to his men: "I will tell you of my intentions.
You shall wait for me here six nights. I intend to get to know this land."
They thought a lot about it, and wanted to go with him, but Thorsteinn did not
want that. "If I do not come back, before seven suns are in the heavens," he
said, "then you must sail home and tell King Olaf that it has not fallen my lot
They went with him up to the woods. Then he disappeared from them, and they
returned to the ship and remained there, as Thorsteinn bade them.
Now to talk of Thorsteinn, that he went the whole day around the forest, and
there was nothing of importance there. But as the day drew to a close, he came
to a broad road. He followed the road, until it became evening. He then went
away from the road and went to a large oak and climbed up on it. There was
enough room there to lie down. He slept there for the night.
When the sun came up, he heard a great din, and talking of men. He saw many men
riding. They were twenty-two, moving swiftly forward. Thorsteinn was greatly
amazed at their size. He had never seen such large men before. Thorstein dressed
himself. The morning passed, and the sun came into the southeast.
5. Þorsteinn fór með Goðmundi
5. Thorsteinn Travels with Godmund
Nú sér Þorsteinn þrjá menn ríða vel vápnaða ok svá stóra, at
enga menn sá hann fyrr jafnstóra. Sá vár mestr, er í miðit reið, í gullskotnum
klæðum á bleikum hesti, en hinir tveir riðu á grám hestum í rauðum
En er þeir kómu þar gegnt, sem Þorsteinn var, mælti sá, sem fyrir þeim var, ok
nam staðar: "Hvat er kvikt í eikinni?"
Þorsteinn gekk þá á veginn fyrir þá ok heilsaði þeim, en þeir ráku upp hlátr
mikinn, ok mælti inn mikli maðr: "Sjaldsénir eru oss þvílíkir menn, eða hvert er
nafn þitt, eða hvaðan ertu?"
Þorsteinn nefndi sik ok kveðst vera kallaðr bæjarmagn, "en kyn mitt er í Noregi.
Er ek hirðmaðr Óláfs konungs."
Inn mikli maðr brosti ok mælti: "Mest er logit frá hirðprýði hans, ef hann hefir
engan vaskligri. Þykki mér þú heldr mega heita bæjarbarn en bæjarmagn."
"Lát nokkut fylgja nafnfesti," segir Þorsteinn.
Inn mikli maðr tók fingrgull ok gaf Þorsteini. Þat vá þrjá aura. Þorsteinn
mælti: "Hvert er þitt nafn, eða hverrar ættar ertu, eða í hvert land er ek
"Goðmundr heiti ek. Ræð er þar fyrir, sem á Glæsisvöllum heitir. Þar þjónar til
þat land, er Risaland heitir. Ek er konungsson, en mínir sveinar heitir annarr
Fullsterkr, en annarr Allsterkr, eða sáttu enga menn ríða hér um í morgin?"
Þorsteinn mælti: "Hér riðu um tveir menn ok tuttugu ok létu eigi lítinn."
"Þeir eru sveinar mínir," segir Goðmundr. "Þat land liggr hér næst, er
Jötunheimar heitir. Þar ræðr sá konungr, er Geirröðr heitir. Undir hann erum vér
skattgildir. Faðir minn hét Úlfheðinn trausti. Hann var kallaðr Goðmundr sem
allir aðrir, þeir á Glæsisvöllum búa. En faðir minn fór í Geirröðargarða at
afhenda konungi skatta sína, ok í þeiri ferð fekk hann bana. Hefir konungr gert
mér boð, at ek skyldi drekka erfi eptir föður minn ok taka slíkar nafnbætr sem
faðir minn hafði, en þó unum vér illa við at þjóna Jötnum."
"Hví riðu yðrir menn undan?" segir Þorsteinn.
"Mikil á skilr land vort," segir Goðmundr. "Sú heitir Hemra. Hún er svá djúp ok
ströng, at hana vaða engir hestar nema þeir, sem vér kumpánar eigum. Skulu hinir
ríða fyrir uppsprettu árinnar, ok finnumst vér í kveld."
"Þat mundi skemmtan at fara með yðr," segir Þorsteinn, "ok sjá, hvat þar verðr
"Eigi veit ek, hversu þat hentar," segir Goðmundr, "því at þú munt kristinn."
"Ek mun mik ábyrgjast," segir Þorsteinn.
"Ekki vilda ek þú hlytir vánt af mér," sagði Goðmundr, "en ef Óláfr konungr vill
leggja gæfu á með oss, þá mundi ek framt á treysta, at þú færir."
Þorsteinn segist því heita vilja. Goðmundr biðr hann fara á bak með sér, ok svá
Ríða þeir nú til árinnar. Var þar eitt hús, ok tóku þeir þar önnur klæði ok
klæddu sik ok sína hesta. Þau klæði váru þeirar náttúru, at ekki festi vatn á
þeim, en vatnit var svá kalt, at þegar hljóp drep í, ef nokkut vöknaði. Riðu
þeir nú yfir ána. Hestarnir óðu sterkliga. Hestr Goðmundar rasaði, ok varð
Þorsteinn vátr á tánni, ok hljóp þegar drep í. En er þeir kómu af ánni, breiddu
þeir niðr klæðin til þerris. Þorsteinn hjó af sér tána, ok fannst þeim mikit um
hreysti hans. Ríða þeir nú sinn veg.
Bað Þorsteinn þá eigi fela sik, "því at ek kann at gera þann hulinshjálm, at mik
sér engi." Goðmundr segir þat góða kunnáttu.
Kómu þeir nú til borgarinnar, ok kómu menn Goðmundar í móti honum. Riðu þeir nú
í borgina. Mátti þar nú heyra alls háttar hljóðfæri, en ekki þótti Þorsteini af
setning slegit. Geirröðr konungr kom nú í mót þeim ok fagnaði þeim vel, ok var
þeim skipat eitt steinhús eða höll at sofa í ok menn til fengnir at leiða hesta
þeira á stall. Var Goðmundr leiddr í konungshöll. Konungr sat í hásæti ok jarl
sá hjá honum, er Agði hét. Hann réð fyrir því heraði, er Grundir heita. Þat er á
millum Risalands ok Jötunheima. Hann hafði atsetu at Gnípalundi. Hann var
fjölkunnigr, ok menn hans váru tröllum líkari en mönnum.
Goðmundr settist á skörina fyrir öndvegit gagnvart konungi. Var sá siðr þeira,
at konungsson skyldi ekki í hásæti sitja, fyrr en hann hafði tekit nafnbætr
eptir föður sinn ok drukkit væri it fyrsta full. Ríss þar nú upp in vænsta
veizla, ok drukku menn glaðir ok kátir ok fóru síðan at sofa. En er Goðmundr kom
í hús sitt, sýndi Þorsteinn sik. Hlógu þeir at honum. Goðmundr sagði mönnum
sínum, hverr hann var, ok bað þá ekki hafa hann at hlátri. Ok sofa þeir af um
Now Thorsteinn saw three well armed men riding, and so huge
that he had never seen such large men before. The one who rode in the middle was
the largest, in clothes woven through with gold, on a pale horse, and the two
others rode on gray horses in red scarlet clothes.
And when they came opposite to where Thorsteinn was, they took places, and the
one who was the leader said: "What is moving in the oak."
Thorsteinn then came down before them and greeted them, and there was much
laughter, and the largest man said: "It’s seldom that such men come to us. What
is your name and where are you from?"
Thorsteinn gave his name and said that he was called House-power, "and my family
is in Norway, retainers of King Olaf."
The largest man smiled and said: "It is a great lie about his royal pomp if he
has no one braver." It seems to me that you are more a House-child than
"Give me a naming gift, then," said Thorsteinn.
The biggest man took a gold ring from his finger and gave it to Thorsteinn. It
was three aura in weight. Thorsteinn said: "What is your name, and from what
background are you, and into what land have I come?"
"Godmund is my name. I rule that place which is called Glaesir Plain. They are a
colony of that land that is called Risaland. I am a king’s son, and my squires
are called Fullsterk and Allsterk. But did you see any men ride here this
Thorsteinn said: "Twenty-two men rode here and did not slow down."
"They are my squires," said Godmund. "That land lies nearby, called Giant-land.
A king rules there, who is called Geirrod. We are tributaries under him. My
father was called Ulfheidinn the Trustworthy. He was called Godmund, like
everyone else who lives in Glaesir Plain. But my father went to Geirrod’s court
to deliver his tribute to the king, and died on the journey. The king gave me a
request that I should have a funeral feast for my father, and take the rank that
my father had. But we are not happy to serve the Giants."
"Why do your men ride ahead?" said Thorsteinn.
"A great river divides our land," said Godmund. "It is called Hemra. It is so
deep and strong, that no horses can ford it, except those which we companions
ride. Those others have to ride to the source of the river, and we meet in the
"It must be a pleasure to ride with you," said Thorsteinn, "and see what news
there will be."
"I don’t know about that," said Godmund. "since you must be a Christian."
"I can be responsible for myself," said Thorsteinn.
"I wouldn’t want you come to harm on my account," said Godmund, "but if King
Olaf will give us good luck, then I will trust you to come with us."
"Thorsteinn said he would promise that. Godmund asked him to get behind him, and
he did so.
They now rode to the river. There was a house there, and they took other
clothes, and dressed themselves and their horses. The clothes were of such a
nature that water could not touch them, but the water was so cold that gangrene
would set in, if anything got wet. They then forded the river. The horses pushed
ahead strongly. Godmund’s horse stumbled, and Thorsteinn got water on his toe,
and gangrene then set in. When they came out of the river, they spread out their
clothes to dry. Thorsteinn cut off his toe, and they were very impressed with
his valor. They then rode on their way.
Thorsteinn asked them not to hide themselves, "because I can make a hiding
helmet, so that no one can see me." Godmund said that was good knowledge.
They now came to the town, and Godmund’s men came to meet them. They now rode
into the town. They could now hear all kinds of instruments, but Thorsteinn did
not think much of the tune. King Geirrod came now toward them and greeted them
well, and they were shown a stone house or hall to sleep in and men to lead
their horses to the stalls. Godmund was led to the king’s hall. The king sat on
the high seat, and his earl next to him, who was called Agdi. He ruled the
district that was called Grundir. That is between Risaland and Giant-land. He
had his residence at Gnipalundi. He was a sorcerer and his men were more like
trolls than men.
Godmund sat on a step before the high seat opposite the king. It was their
custom that the king’s son should not sit at the high seat, before he took title
from his father and had drunk the first toast. A fine feast got under way, and
men drank and were merry and then went to sleep. But when Godmund came to his
house, Thorsteinn showed himself again. They laughed at him. Godmund told his
men who he was, and told them not to laugh at him. Then they slept the night.
6. Frá Geirröði ok Goðmundi
6. Of Geirrod and Godmund
Nú er morginn kom, váru þeir snemma á fótum. Var Goðmundr
leiddr til konungs hallar. Konungr fagnaði honum vel. "Viljum vér nú vita,"
segir konungr, "hvárt þú vilt veita mér slíka hlýðni sem faðir þinn, ok vil ek
þá auka þínar nafnbætr. Skaltu þá halda Risalandi ok sverja mér eiða."
Goðmundr svarar: "Ekki er þat lög at krefja svá unga menn til
"Þat skal vera," sagði konungr.
Síðan tók konungr guðvefjarskikkju ok lagði yfir Goðmund ok
gaf honum konungsnafn, tók síðan horn mikit ok drakk til Goðmundi. Hann
tók við horninu ok þakkaði konungi. Síðan stóð Goðmundr upp ok sté á
stokkinn fyrir sæti konungs ok strengdi þess heit, at hann skal engum
konungi þjóna né hlýðni veita, meðan Geirröðr konungr lifði. Konungr
þakkaði honum, sagði sér þat þykkja meira vert en þótt hann hefði eiða
svarit. Síðan drakk Goðmundr af horninu ok gekk til sætis síns. Váru
menn þá glaðir ok kátir.
Tveir menn eru nefndir með Agða jarli. Hét annarr Jökull, en
annarr Frosti. Þeir váru öfundsjúkir. Jökull þreif upp uxahnútu ok
kastaði í lið Goðmundar. Þorsteinn sá þat ok henti á lopti ok sendi
aptr, ok kom á nasir þeim, er Gustr hét, ok brotnaði í honum nefit ok ór
honum allar tennrnar, en hann fell í óvit. Geirröðr konungr reiddist ok
spurði, hverr berði beinum yfir hans borð. Sagði hann, at reynt skyldi
verða, hverr sterkastr væri í steinkastinu, áðr en úti væri.
Síðan kallar konungr til tvá menn, Drött ok Hösvi: "Farið þit
ok sækið gullhnött minn ok berið hann hingat."
Þeir fóru ok kómu aptr með eitt selshöfuð, er stóð tíu
fjórðunga. Þat var glóanda, svá at sindraði af svá sem ór afli, en fitan
draup niðr sem glóanda bik.
Konungr mælti: "Takið nú knöttinn ok kastið hverr at öðrum.
Hverr, sem niðr fellir, skal fara útlægr ok missa eignir sínar, en hverr
eigi þorir at henda, skal heita níðingr."
Now it is morning, and they got up early. Godmund was led to
the king’s hall. The king greeted him well. "Now we would like to know," the
king said, "whether you will show me the same homage that your father did, and I
will increase your titles. You will keep Risaland if you swear me an oath."
Godmund answered: "It’s not lawful to ask for an oath from a man as young as I
"That shall be," said the king.
Then the king took a velvet kirtle and laid it over Godmund, and gave him the
title of king, then took a great horn and drank to Godmund. He received the
horn, and thanked the king. Then Godmund stood up and stepped on the footboard
step before the king’s seat, and vowed solemnly that he would never serve any
king, or show him obedience, while king Geirrod lived. The king thanked him, and
said that it seemed to him worth more than if he had sworn an oath. Then Godmund
drank from the horn, and went to his seat. The men were happy and merry.
Two men were named with Earl Agdi. One was Jokull and the other Frosti. They
were envious. Jokull grabbed up an ox-bone and threw it at Godmund’s men.
Thorsteinn saw that and grabbed it in flight and sent it back, and it hit Gustur
in the face and broke his nose and knocked out all his teeth, and he fell
unconscious. King Geirrod was angry, and asked, who threw bones over his table.
He said that before it was all over, they would find out who was the strongest
in throwing stones.
The the king called to two men, Drott and Hosvi: "Go and get my gold sphere and
bring it here."
They went, and returned with a seal’s head, which weighed ten fjordungs. It was
glowing and sent out sparks like a forge, with fat dripping down like glowing
The king said: "Now take the sphere and throw it at each other. Whoever drops
it, shall be an outlaw and lose his possessions, and whoever does not dare to
participate, shall be called a coward.
7. Frá knattleik ok glímum
7. Of Ball Playing And Wrestling
Nú kastar Dröttr knettinum at Fullsterk. Hann greip á móti annarri
hendi. Þorsteinn sá, at honum varð orkufátt, ok hljóp undir knöttinn. Þeir
snöruðu at Frosta, því at kapparnir stóðu fremstir við hvárntveggja bekkinn.
Frosti tók mót sterkliga, ok kom svá nær andliti hans, at kinnbeinit rifnaði.
Hann kastar knettinum at Allsterk. Hann tók í móti báðum höndum, ok lá við, at
hann mundi kikna, áðr Þorsteinn studdi hann. Allsterkr snaraði at Agða jarli, en
hann greip móti báðum höndum. Fitan kom í skeggit á honum, ok logaði þat allt,
ok var honum til þess annast at afhenda knöttinn ok fleygir at Goðmundi konungi.
En Goðmundr snaraði at Geirröði konungi, en hann veik sér undan, ok urðu þeir
fyrir Dröttr ok Hösvir, ok fengu þeir bana. En knöttrinn kom á glerglugg einn ok
svá út í díki þat, sem grafit var um borgina, ok hljóp upp eldr logandi. Var nú
lokit þessu gamni. Tóku menn þá til drykkju. Sagði Agði jarl, at honum hrysi
hugr við jafnan, er hann kom í flokk Goðmundar.
Um kveldit gekk Goðmundr at sofa ok hans menn. Þökkuðu þeir
Þorsteini hjástöðu, at þeim hefði slysalaust farit. Þorsteinn kvað lítit
til reynt, "eða hvat mun til gamans haft á morgin?"
"Konungr mun láta glíma," segir Goðmundr, "ok munu þeir þá hefna
sín, því at fjarstætt er um afl várt."
"Konungs gæfa mun styrkja oss," segir Þorsteinn. "Hirðið eigi,
þótt þér berizt þangat at, sem ek er fyrir." Sofa þeir af um nóttina.
En at morgni fór hverr til sinnar skemmtunar, en matsveinar at
dúka borð. Geirröðr konungr spurði, hvárt menn vildu ekki glíma, en þeir
sögðu, at hann skyldi ráða. Síðan afklæðast þeir ok tókust fangbrögðum.
Þorsteinn þóttist eigi sét hafa slíkan atgang, því at allt skalf, þá
þeir fellu, ok lékst mjök á mönnum Agða jarls.
Frosti gekk nú fram á gólfit ok mælti: "Hverr skal mér á móti?"
"Til mun verða einhverr," sagði Fullsterkr.
Ráðast þeir nú á, ok váru með þeim miklar sviptingar, ok er Frosti
miklu sterkari. Berast þeir nú at Goðmundi. Frosti tekr hann upp á
bringu sér ok keiktist mjök. Þorsteinn slær fæti sínum á knésbætr honum,
ok fell Frosti á bak aptr, en Fullsterkr á hann ofan. Hnakkinn sprakk á
Frosta ok olnbogarnir.
Hann stóð seint upp ok mælti: "Ekki eru þér einir at gamninu, eða
hví er svá fúlt í flokki yðrum?"
"Skammt á nefit at kenna ór kjaptinum," sagði Fullsterkr.
Jökull stóð þá upp, ok Allsterkr réðst þá í móti honum, ok var
þeira atgangr inn harðasti. En þó var Jökull sterkari ok bar hann at
bekk, þar sem Þorsteinn var fyrir. Jökull vildi draga Allsterk frá
bekknum ok togast við fast, en Þorsteinn helt honum. Jökull tók svá
fast, at hann sté í hallargólfit upp at ökkla, en Þorsteinn hratt
Allsterk frá sér, ok fell Jökull á bak aptr, ok gekk ór liði á honum
Allsterkr gekk til bekkjar, en Jökull stóð upp seint ok mælti:
"Ekki sjáum vér alla þessa, sem á bekknum eru."
Geirröðr segir Goðmundi, hvárt hann vildi ekki glíma. En hann
kveðst aldri glímt hafa, en kveðst eigi vildu synjast. Konungr bað Agða
jarl hefna manna sinna. Hann kveðst löngu hafa af lagt, en segir konung
ráða skyldu. Síðan afklæddust þeir. Eigi þóttist Þorsteinn sét hafa
tröllsligri búk en á Agða. Var hann blár sem hel. Goðmundr reis mót
honum. Var hann hvítr á skinnslit. Agði jarl hösvaðist at honum ok lagði
svá fast krummurnar at síðum hans, at allt gekk niðr at beini, ok bárust
þeir víða um höllina. Ok er þeir kómu þar, sem Þorsteinn var, þá brá
Goðmundr jarli til sniðglímu ok sneri honum vakrliga. Þorsteinn lagðist
niðr fyrir fætr jarli, ok fell hann þá ok stakk niðr nösunum, ok
brotnaði í honum þjófsnefit ok fjórar tennr.
Jarl stóð upp ok mælti: "Þung verða gamalla manna föll, ok svá
þyngst, at þrír gangi at einum."
Fóru menn þá í klæði sín.
Now Drottur throws the ball at Fullsterk. He grabbed it with one
hand. Thorsteinn saw that he was failing in strength, and ran against the ball.
They tossed it to Frosti, since the champions stood farthest against each bench.
Frosti caught it mightily, and it came so close to his face that his cheek-bone
split. He threw the ball at Allsterk. He caught it with both hands but he would
have bent backwards, had not Thorsteinn supported him. Allsterk turned quickly
toward Earl Agdi and he grabbed it with both hands. Fat spattered his beard, and
everything blazed and because of that he hurried to get rid of the ball and
tossed it to King Godmund. But Godmund tossed it to King Geirrod. He dodged it,
and the ball hit Drottur and Hosvir and killed them both. The ball went through
a glass window and out in a ditch, that was dug around the town. Flame flared
up. Now this game was over. Then men started to drink. Earl Agdi said that his
thoughts always trembled, whenever he came near Godmund’s men.
In the evening, Godmund and his men went to sleep. They thanked Thorsteinn for
his assistance, which kept them without mishap. Thorsteinn said it was nothing,
"but what entertainment will we have in the morning?"
"The king will have us wrestle," said Godmund, "and they will attempt vengeance,
since they are much stronger than we are."
"The king’s luck will strengthen us," said Thorsteinn. "Don’t forget, to let
yourself be taken in my direction." Then they went to sleep for the night.
In the morning everyone followed his pleasure, while the servants were laying
the table. King Geirrod asked, which men wanted to wrestle, and they said that
he should choose. Then they undressed and started wrestling. Thorsteinn thought
that he had never seen such an onslaught, so that everyone trembled with fear,
when they fell, and Earl Agdi’s men were losing.
Frosti went to the floor and said, "Who will come against me?"
"I expect someone will," said Fullsterk.
"They went at each other and there was a great struggle, and
Frosti was much stronger. The fight came near to Godmund. Frosti lifted
him up to his chest but had to bend over backward. Thorsteinn struck him
with his feet at the back of his knees, so that Frosti fell backwards,
and Fullsterk was on top of him. The nape of Frosti’s neck was broken,
and also his elbows.
He stood up slowly and said: "You are not alone in this game, and
why is it smelling so foul around you?"
"Your nose is too close to your jaw," said Fullsterk.
Then Jokull stood up, and Allsterk went against him, and the
onslaught was the hardest yet. Jokull was stronger, and took him toward
the bench where Thorsteinn was. Jokull wanted to drag Allsterk from the
bench and held fast to him, but Thorsteinn held on to him. Jokull pulled
so hard that he sank up to his ankles in the hall floor, but Thorsteinn
pushed Allsterk away from him, and Jokull fell on his back, and his foot
went out of joint.
Allsterk went to the bench, but then Jokull stood up and said: "We
can’t see all the people who are on the bench."
Geirrod asked Godmund if he wanted to wrestle. However, he said
that he had never wrestled, but that he would not turn down the offer.
The king bade Earl Agdi to avenge his men. He said that he had been away
from wrestling for a long time, but that he would do the king’s bidding.
Then they undressed. Thorsteinn thought that he had never seen such a
troll-like body as Agda. He was deathly blue. Godmund rose against him.
His skin was white. Earl Agdi approached him in wrath, and took his side
so firmly that everything went down to the bones, and they staggered all
around the hall. And when they came there where Thorsteinn was, Godmund
started wrestling, and turned him nimbly. Thorsteinn threw himself down
before the feet of the earl, and then he fell, and crashed on his nose,
and broke his thief’s nose and four teeth.
The earl stood up and said; "Heavy is an old man’s fall, and the
heaviest when three go against one."
Then the men dressed.
8. Frá drykkju ok viðræðu þeira Þorsteins
8. Of Drinking and Conversations of Thorsteinn
Þessu næst fóru þeir konungr til borða. Töluðu þeir Agði jarl
um, at þeir mundu einhvern prett við hafa haft, "því at mér býðr ávallt hita, er
ek kem í þeira flokk."
"Látum bíða," segir konungr, "sá mun koma, at okkr mun kunngera."
Tóku menn þá at drekka. Þá váru borin inn tvau horn í höllina. Þau átti Agði
jarl, gersemar miklar, ok váru kölluð Hvítingar. Þau váru tveggja álna há ok
Konungr lét sitt hornit ganga á hvárn bekk, "ok skal hverr drekka af í einu. Sá,
sem því orkar eigi, skal fá byrlaranum eyri silfrs."
Gekk engum af at drekka utan köppunum, en Þorsteinn gat svá til sét, at þeir,
sem með Goðmundi váru, varð engi víttr. Drukku menn nú glaðir þat, sem eptir var
dagsins, en um kveldit fóru menn at sofa.
Goðmundr þakkaði Þorsteini fyrir góða hjástöðu. Þorsteinn spurði, nær endast
"At morgni skulu menn mínir ríða," segir Goðmundr. "Veit ek, at nú lætr konungr
allt við hafa. Eru nú sýndar gersemar. Lætr konungr nú bera inn horn sitt it
mikla. Þat er kallat Grímr inn góði. Þat er gersemi mikil ok þó galdrafullt ok
búit með gull. Mannshöfuð er á stiklinum með holdi ok munni, ok þat mælir við
menn ok segir fyrir óorðna hluti ok ef þat veit ófriðar ván. Verðr þat bani vár,
ef konungr veit, at kristinn maðr er með oss. Munum vér eigi þurfa at vera
fésparir við hann."
Þorsteinn sagði Grím eigi mæla fleira enn Óláfr konungr vildi, "en ek ætla, at
Geirröðr sé feigr. Þykki mér ráð, at þér hafið mín ráð heðan af. Skal ek sýna
mik á morgin."
En þeir sögðu þat hættu ráð. Þorsteinn sagði, at Geirröðr vildi þá feiga, "eða
hvat segir þú mér af Grími inum góða fleira?"
"Þat er frá honum at segja, at meðalmaðr má standa undir bugtinni á honum, en
álnar breitt yfir beitina, ok er sá mestr drykkjumaðr í þeira liði, er drekkr
beitina, en konungr drekkr af í einu. Hverr maðr á at gefa Grími nokkura
gersemi, en sú virðing þykkir honum sér mest ger, at í einu sé af drukkit. En ek
veit, at mér ber fyrstum af at drekka, en þat er einskis manns þol at drekka þat
Þorsteinn mælti: "Þú skalt fara í serk minn, því at þér má þá ekki granda, þó at
ólyfjan sé í drykknum. Tak kórónu af höfði þér ok gef Grími inum góða ok seg í
eyra honum, at þú skalt gera honum miklu meira heiðr en Geirröðr, ok síðan
skaltu láta sem þú drekkir. En eitr mun í horninu, ok skaltu steypa niðr næst
þér, ok mun þik ekki saka. En þá er drykkjuskapr er úti, skaltu láta menn þína
Goðmundr sagði, at hann skuli ráða. "En ef Geirröðr deyr, þá á ek alla
Jötunheima, en ef hann lifir lengr, verðr þat bani vár."
Síðan sofa þeir af um nóttina.
Next the king went to the table. Earl Agdi and the others said that
there must have been some trick, "because I am always hot when I am around
"Let it be," said the king, "someone will come, so that we will be wiser."
They then started to drink. Two horns were carried into the hall. Earl Agdi
owned them, very precious, and they were called Hvitingur. They were two yards
long, and inlaid with gold.
The king put his horn on each side of the bench, "and each man shall drink it
all at once. Anyone who can’t do it, must give the cupbearer an ounce of
No one was able to drink out of the cup, but Thorsteinn saw to it that those,
who were with Godmund, were not penalized. The men now drank merrily for the
rest of the day, and in the evening, they went to sleep.
Godmund thanked Thorsteinn for his good company. Thorsteinn asked when the feast
would be over.
"My men must ride in the morning," said Godmund. "I know the king will want to
have everything. The treasures were now shown. The king now has his great
drinking horn brought in. It is called Grim the good. That is a great treasure,
and full of magic, and inlaid with gold. There is a man’s head on the point,
with flesh and a mouth, and it talks to men and tells them of things to come,
and if any difficulty will happen. It will be the death of us if the king knows,
that there is a Christian man with us. We must not be stingy with him."
Thorsteinn said that Grim would not to say more than King Olaf would want, "but
I intend that Geirrod should be doomed to die. It seems advisable that you
follow my advice from here on. I will show myself in the morning."
They said that would be a risk. Thorsteinn said that Geirrod wanted them to die,
"And what more do you have to say to me about Grim the good."
"It is said about him that an average man can stand in the curve, and it is a
yard broad in the opening, and the greatest drinking man of their group can
drink in the opening, but the king drinks all at once. Each man has to give Grim
some sort of treasure, and but the honor that seems most accomplished to him is
to drink the horn in one draught. I know, that I am supposed to be the first to
drink, but there is no man alive who can drink it in one draught"
Thorsteinn said: "You should put on my shirt, because then nothing can harm you,
even if there is poison in the drink. Take the crown from your head and give it
to Grim the Good, and whisper in his ear that you will do him much more honor
than Geirrod, and then you must pretend to drink. If there is poison in the
horn, then pour it down next to you, so that it does not do you any harm. But
when the drinking is over, you should have you men ride away.
Godmund said that he should have his way: "If Geirrod dies, then I own all of
Jotunheim, but if he lives longer, then that will be our death."
Then they slept the whole night.
9. Frá Grími inum góða
9. Of Grim the Good
Um morguninn eru þeir snemma á fótum ok taka sín klæði. Þá kemr Geirröðr konungr
til þeira ok biðr þá drekka velfaranda sinn. Þeir gerðu svá. Váru fyrst drukkin
hornin Hvítingar næst máldrykkju skálum, en þá var drukkit minni Þórs ok Óðins.
Því næst kómu inn margir slagir hljóðfæra, ok tveir menn, nokkuru minni en
Þorsteinn, þeir báru Grím inn góða. Allir stóðu upp ok fellu á kné fyrir honum.
Grímr var óhýrligr.
Geirröðr mælti til Goðmundar: "Tak við Grími inum góða, ok er þetta þín handsals
Goðmundr gekk at Grími ok tók af sér gullkórónu ok setti á hann ok mælti í eyra
honum, sem Þorsteinn hafði sagt honum. Síðan lét hann renna af horninu ofan í
serk sér, ok var eitr í. Hann drakk til Geirröði konungi ok kyssti á stikilinn,
ok fór Grímr hlæjandi frá honum.
Tók Geirröðr þá við fullu horninu ok bað Grím með góðri heill koma ok bað hann
kunngera sér, ef nokkurr háski væri nær. "Hefi ek opt sét þik með betra bragði."
Tók hann gullmen af sér ok gaf Grími, drakk síðan til Agða jarli, ok þótti því
líkast sem boði felli á sker, er niðr rann eptir hálsinum á honum, ok drakk af
allt. Grímr hristi höfuðit, ok var hann borinn Agða jarli, ok gaf hann honum tvá
gullhringa ok bað sér miskunnar ok drakk síðan af í þremr ok fekk byrlaranum.
Grímr mælti: "Svá ergist hverr sem eldist."
Þá var hornit fyllt, ok skyldu þeir drekka af tveir, Jökull ok Fullsterkr.
Fullsterkr drakk fyrr. Jökull tók við ok leit í hornit ok kvað lítilmannliga
drukkit ok sló Fullsterk með horninu. En hann rak hnefann á nasir Jökli, svá at
þjófshakan brotnaði, en ór hrutu tennrnar. Var þá upphlaup mikit. Geirröðr bað
menn eigi láta þetta spyrjast, at þeir skildi svá illa. Váru þeir þegar sáttir,
ok var Grímr inn góði burt borinn.
They got up early in the morning and got dressed. Then king Geirrod
came to them and bade them drink to his health. They first drank from the
Hviting horns, and then from the loving cups, and then toasts were drunk to Thor
and Odin. Then many percussion instruments were brought in, and two men, a bit
smaller than Thorsteinn, who brought in Grim the Good. Everyone stood up and
fell on their knees before him. Grim was not in a good mood.
Geirrod said to Godmund: "Take Grim the good and that is your pledge toast."
Godmund went to Grim and took off his gold crown and set it on him and whispered
in his ears, as Thorsteinn had told him to. Then he let the poison run from the
horn into his shirt. He drank to King Geirrod and kissed it on the point, and
Grim was taken from him laughing.
Geirrod took the full horn and bade Grim good health, and bade him make known to
him if some danger was near. "I have often seen you in a better mood."
He took a gold necklace from himself and gave it to Grim, and then drank to Earl
Agdi, and it seemed most like a wave crashed on a skerry, when the drink ran
down his throat, and he drank it all. Grim shook his head, and then he was taken
to Earl Agdi, and gave him two gold rings, and asked him for mercy, and drank
then in three draughts, and gave it to the cup bearer.
Grim said: "He grows faint hearted who grows older."
Then the horn was filled and the two, Jokull and Fullsterk, were to drink.
Fullsterk drank first. Jokull took it and looked into the horn and said that it
was drunk like a small man and struck Fullsterk with the horn. But he landed a
fist blow on Jokull’s nose, so that the thief’s chin was broken, and his teeth
were scattered. There was a great commotion. Geirrod told his men not to let it
be heard that they parted on such bad terms. They were then reconciled, and Grim
the Good was taken away.
10. Dráp Geirröðar
10. Geirrod's Death
Litlu síðar kom maðr gangandi í höllina. Allir undruðust, hversu
lítill hann var. Þat var Þorsteinn bæjarbarn. Hann veik at Goðmundi ok sagði, at
hestar væru til reiðu. Geirröðr spurði, hvat barn at þat væri.
Goðmundr segir: "Þat er smásveinn minn, er Óðinn konungr sendi mér, ok er
konungs gersemi ok kann marga smáleika, ok ef yðr þætti nokkuru neytr, þá vil ek
gefa yðr hann."
"Þat er svipmikill drengr," segir konungr, "ok vil ek sjá fimleika hans," ok bað
Þorstein leika nokkurn smáleik.
Þorsteinn tók hall sinn ok brodd ok pjakkar þar í, sem hvítt er. Kemr haglhríð
svá mikil, at engi þorir í móti at sjá, ok varð svá mikil fönn í höllinni, at
tók í ökkla. Konungr hló at. Nú stangaði Þorsteinn hallinn, þar sem hann var
gulr. Kom þá sólskin svá heitt, at snjórinn bráðnaði allr á lítilli stundu. Þar
fylgdi sætr ilmr, en Geirröðr kvað hann var listamann. En Þorsteinn segir eptir
einn leikinn, er heitir svipuleikr. Konungr segist hann sjá vilja. Þorsteinn
stóð á miðju hallargólfi ok pjakkar þar í hallinn, sem rautt er. Stökkva þar ór
gneistar. Síðan hleypr hann um höllina fyrir hvert sæti. Tókust þá at vaxa
gneistaflaugin, svá at hverr maðr varð at geyma sín augu. En Geirröðr konungr
hló at. Tók þá at vaxa eldrinn, svá at öllum þótti við of um. Þorsteinn hafði
sagt Goðmundi fyrir, at hann skyldi út ganga ok fara á hest.
Þorsteinn hleypr fyrir Geirröð ok mælti: "Vili þér láta auka leikinn?"
"Lát sjá, sveinn," sagði hann.
Pjakkar Þorsteinn þá í fastara lagi. Kemr þá í auga Geirröði konungi. Þorsteinn
hleypr til dyranna ok snaraði hallinum ok broddinum, ok kom í sitt auga hvárt á
Geirröði konungi, ok steyptist hann dauðr á gólfit, en Þorsteinn gekk út. Var
Goðmundr þá kominn á hest.
Þorsteinn bað þá ríða, "því at nú er ekki deigum vært."
Þeir ríða til árinnar. Var þá aptr kominn hallrinn ok broddrinn. Þorsteinn
segir, at Geirröðr var dauðr. Ríða þeir nú yfir ána ok þangat, sem þeir höfðu
Þá mælti Þorsteinn: "Hér munum vér nú skilja, ok mun mönnum mínum mál þykkja, at
ek komi til þeira."
"Far heim með mér," sagði Goðmundr, "ok skal ek launa þér góða fylgd."
"Síðan mun ek þess vitja," segir Þorsteinn, "en aptr skalt þú fara með fjölmenni
í Geirröðargarða. Er nú landit í yðru valdi."
"Þú munt ráða," sagði Goðmundr, "en Óláfi konungi skaltu færa kveðju mína."
Tók hann þá eitt gullker ok silfrdisk ok tvítugt handklæði gullofit ok sendi
konungi, en bað Þorstein vitja sín, ok skildu með kærleikum.
A little later a man came into the hall. Everyone was amazed at how
small he was. That was Thorsteinn House-child. He turned to Godmund and said
that the horse was ready to ride. Geirrod asked what child this was.
Godmund said: "That is my little servant-boy who king Odin sent me, and he is a
king’s treasure and he knows a few small tricks, and if you have any need of
him, I’ll give him to you."
"That is a imposing boy," said the king, "but I would like to see his agility,"
and bade Thorsteinn perform some sort of trick.
Thorsteinn took his stone and the point and pricked it there, where it was
white. A hailstorm came, so big, that no one dared to look at it, and there was
so much snow in the hall that it was up to the ankles. The king laughed at this.
Then Thorsteinn pricked the stone where it was yellow. Then came sunshine so hot
that the snow thawed all in a short time. Then sweet perfume wafted in, and
Geirrod said that he was a clever man. But Thorsteinn said that he had still one
trick, which was called "whip play". The king said that he wanted to see it.
Thorsteinn stod in the middle of the hall floor and pricked the stone where it
was red. Sparks leaped from it. Then he ran all around the hall before each
seat. The shower of sparks grew, so that each man had to shield his eyes. But
King Geirrod laughed. Then the fires grew so that everyone thought that it was
enough. Thorsteinn had previously told Godmund that he should go out and ride
away on horseback.
Thorsteinn leaped before Geirrod and said: "Do you want this game to increase?"
"Let me see, servant," he said.
Thorsteinn pricked harder than ever. The sparks flew into King Geirrod’s eyes.
Thorsteinn ran to the door and tossed the stone and the point, and each went
into King Georrod’s eye, and he fell dead on the floor. Thorsteinin went out.
Godmund then came on horseback.
Thorsteinn bade them ride, "for this is no shelter for weaklings."
They rode to the river. The stone and the point had come back. Thorsteinn said
that Geirrod was dead. They then rode over the river, and back to the place
where they had met.
Then Thorsteinn said, "Here we must part, and my men will think that it is high
time that I come to them."
"Come home with me," said Godmund, and I will give you good backing.
"I will visit that later," said Thorsteinn, but you should go back to Geirrod’s
realm with a lot of men. You are now ruler of the land."
"As you say," said Godmund, and you must convey my greetings to King Olaf."
Then he took a golden goblet and silver dish and twenty gold embroidered
handkerchiefs, and sent them to the king, and bade Thorsteinn visit him, and
they parted with friendship.
11. Þorsteinn hélt til Noregs
11. Thorsteinn Returns to Norway
En nú sér Þorsteinn, hvar Agði jarl ferr í allmiklum jötunmóð.
Þorsteinn ferr eptir honum. Sér hann þá mikinn húsabæ, er Agði átti. Aldingarðr
var við grindhliðit, ok stóð þar við ein jungfrú. Hún var dóttir Agða ok hét
Goðrún. Mikil var hún ok fríð. Hún heilsaði föður sínum ok spurði tíðenda.
"Nóg eru tíðendi," segir hann. "Geirröðr konungr er dauðr, ok
hefir Goðmundr af Glæsisvöllum svikit oss alla ok hefir leynt þar
kristnum manni, ok heitir sá Þorsteinn bæjarmagn. Hann hefir ausit eldi
í augu oss. Skal ek nú drepa menn hans."
Kastar hann þar niðr hornunum Hvítingum ok hljóp til skógar, sem
hann væri galinn.
Þorsteinn gekk at Goðrúnu. Hún heilsaði honum ok spurði hann at
nafni. Hann kvaðst Þorsteinn bæjarbarn heita, hirðmaðr Óláfs konungs.
"Stórr mun þar inn stærsti, sem þú ert barnit," sagði hún.
"Viltu fara með mér," segir Þorsteinn, "ok taka við trú?"
"Við lítit yndi á ek hér at skiljast," segir hún, "því at móðir
mín er dauð. Hún var dóttir Óttars jarls af Hólmgörðum, ok váru þau ólík
at skapsmunum, því at faðir minn er mjök tröllaukinn, ok sé ek nú, at
hann er feigr. En ef þú vilt fylgja mér aptr hingat, þá mun ek fara með
Síðan tók hún þing sín, en Þorsteinn tók hornin Hvítinga. Síðan
gengu þau á skóginn ok sáu, hvar Agði fór. Hann grenjaði mjök ok helt
fyrir augun. Hafði þat saman borit, þegar hann sá skip Þorsteins, hljóp
sá verkr í þjófsaugun á honum, at hann sá eigi. Var þá komit at
sólarfalli, er þau komu til skips. Váru menn Þorsteins þá burt búnir, en
er þeir sáu Þorstein, urðu þeir fegnir. Sté Þorsteinn þá á skip, ok
sigldu burt. Er eigi getit um ferð hans, fyrr en hann kom heim í Noreg.
And now Thorsteinn saw where Earl Agdi went in a huge giant’s fury.
Thorsteinn followed him. He then saw a large farmstead where Agdi lived. There
was a barred gate before the orchard, and a young woman was standing there. She
was Agdi’s daughter, and was named Godrun. She was tall and good looking. She
greeted her father and asked the news.
"There is enough," he said. "King Geirrod is dead, and Godmund of Glaesir Plain
has tricked us all and has hidden a Christian man there, who is called
Thorsteinn House-power. He has poured fire in our eyes. I am planning to kill
all his men now."
He then cast down the horn, Hviting, and ran to the woods, as if he was crazy.
Thorsteinn went to Godrun. She greeted him and asked his name. He said that he
was called Thorsteinn House-child, a retainer of King Olaf.
"The biggest must be very large, if you are the child," she said.
"Will you come with me," said Thorsteinn, "and take our faith?"
"There is not much pleasure for me here," she said, "since my mother is dead.
She was the daughter of Earl Ottar from Holmgard, and quite unlike my father in
temperament, for my father is quite like a troll, and I see now that he is
doomed. If you will bring me back here, then I will go with you."
Then she took her things, and Thorstein took the horn Hviting. Then they went to
the wood and saw where Agdi went. He bellowed a lot, and held his eyes. Two
things then happened at the same time. When he saw Thorsteinn’s ship, there was
so much pain in his eyes, that he saw nothing. Sunset had come by the time they
came to the ships. Thorsteinn’s men were ready to leave, but when they saw
Thorsteinn, they were joyful. Thorsteinn then boarded the ship, and sailed away.
There is nothing to be said about his journey, until he arrived home in Norway.
12. Þorsteinn fekk Goðrúnar Agðadóttur
12. Thorsteinn Marries Gudrun Agnadottir
Þenna vetr sat Óláfr konungr í Þrándheimi. Þorsteinn fann konung
at jólum ok færði honum gripi þá, sem Goðmundr sendi honum, ok hornin
Hvítinga ok marga aðra gripi. Sagði hann konungi frá ferðum sínum ok
sýndi honum Goðrúnu. Konungr þakkaði honum, ok lofuðu allir hans hreysti
ok þótti mikils um vert. Síðan lét konungr skíra Goðrúnu ok kenna trú.
Þorsteinn lék svipuleik um jólin, ok þótti mönnum þat skemmtan mikil.
Hvítingar gengu í minnum, ok váru tveir menn um hvárt horn. En ker þat,
sem Goðmundr hafði sent konungi, gekk engum af at drekka utan Þorsteini
bæjarbarni. Handklæðit brann eigi, þótt því væri í eld kastat, ok var
hreinna eptir en áðr.
Þorsteinn talar um við konung, at hann vildi gera brullaup til
Goðrúnar, en konungr veitti honum þat, ok var þat sæmilig veizla. Ok ina
fyrstu nótt, er þau kómu í eina sæng ok niðr var hleypt fortjaldinu, þá
brast upp þilfjöl at höfðum Þorsteins, ok var þar kominn Agði jarl ok
ætlaði at drepa hann. En þar laust í móti hita svá miklum, at hann þorði
eigi inn at ganga. Sneri hann þá í burtu. Þá kom konungr at ok sló hann
með gullbúnu refði í höfuðit, en hann steyptist niðr í jörðina. Helt
konungr vörð um nóttina, en um morguninn váru horfin hornin Hvítingar.
Gekk veizlan vel fram. Sat Þorsteinn með konungi um vetrinn, ok unnust
þau Goðrún vel.
Um várit beiddi Þorsteinn orlofs at sigla í Austrveginn ok finna
Goðmund konung. En konungr sagðist þat eigi gera, utan hann lofaði at
koma aptr. Þorsteinn hét því. Konungr bað hann halda trú sína vel, - "ok
eig meira undir þér en þeim austr þar."
Skildust þeir með kærleikum, ok báðu allir vel fyrir honum, því at
Þorsteinn var orðinn vinsæll. Sigldi hann í Austrveg, ok er eigi getit
annars en sú ferð færist vel. Kom hann á Glæsisvöllu, ok fagnaði
Goðmundr honum vel.
Þorsteinn mælti: "Hvat hafið þér frétt ór Geirröðargörðum?"
"Þangat fór ek," segir Goðmundr, "ok gáfu þeir landit í mitt vald,
ok ræðr þar fyrir Heiðrekr úlfhamr, sonr minn."
"Hvar er Agði jarl?" segir Þorsteinn.
"Hann lét gera sér haug, þá þér fóruð," segir Goðmundr, "ok gekk
þar í með mikit fé, en þeir Jökull ok Frosti drukknuðu í ánni Hemru, er
þeir fóru frá veizlunni, en ek hefi nú vald yfir heraðinu á Grundum."
"Þar er nú mikit undir," segir Þorsteinn, "hverju þú vilt mér af
skipta, því at mér þykkir Goðrún eiga arf allan eptir föður sinn, Agða
"Ef þú vilt vera minn maðr," sagði Goðmundr.
"Þá muntu ekki vanda um trú mína," segir Þorsteinn.
"Þat vil ek," sagði Goðmundr. Sídan fóru þeir til Grunda, ok tók
Þorsteinn heraðit undir sik.
That winter King Olaf sat in Thrandheim. Thorsteinn found the king
at Christmastime and brought him the treasure that Godmund sent him, and the
horn Hviting and many other treasures. He told the king of his journeys and
introduced Godrun to him. The king thanked him and praised all his valor and
thought much of him. Then he had Godrun baptized and instructed in the Christian
faith. Thorsteinn played the "whip game" at Christmas and many thought this was
great entertainment. The Hvitings were used in toasts, and there were two men to
each horn. But no one could drink from the loving cup that Godmund had sent to
the king, other than Thorsteinn House-child. The handkerchief would not burn,
even though it was thrown in the fire, and was cleaner afterward than
Thorsteinn spoke to the king, that he would like to marry Godrun, and the king
granted this, and there was a splendid feast. And the first night, when they got
into one bed, the curtain crashed down, and the paneling over Thorsteinn’s head
burst, and Earl Agdi appeared there, intent on killing him. But there was such a
blast of hot air against him, that he did not dare to go in. He then turned
away. Then the king came and hit him with a gold-ornamented staff in the head,
so that he was hammered right into the ground. The king continued this all
night, and in the morning the Hviting horns had vanished. The feast continued
very well. Thorsteinn stayed with the king for the winter, and he and Godrun
loved each other very much.
In the spring, Thorsteinn asked permission to sail toward the east, to find King
Godmund. But the king said that he could not do this, unless he promised to
return. Thorsteinn made this promise. The king bade him to keep his faith well,
- "and trust yourself more than the Easterners there."
They parted in friendship, and everyone wished him well,, since Thorsteinn had
become very well liked. He sailed toward the east, and there is no news other
than that his voyage went well. He came to Glaesisvoll, and Godmund received him
Thorsteinn said: "what news do you have of Geirrodgard?"
"I went there," said Godmund, "and they gave the land over to my rule, and my
son Heidrik Wolf-skin is ruling there."
"Where is Earl Agdi?" said Thorsteinn.
"He had a burial mound built for him, after you left," said Godmund, "and went
there with much wealth. Jokull and Frosti were drowned in the Hemra River, when
they returned from the feast, and I now have power over the Grundir district."
"A lot depends now," said Thorsteinn, "on how much you will divide with me,
since it seems to me that Godrun owns all the inheritance from her father, Earl
"If you will be my man," said Godmund.
"Then you won’t find fault with my faith," said Thorsteinn.
"That I will do," said Godmund. Then they went to Grundir, and Thorsteinn took
the district under his rule.
13. Þorsteinn fann Óláf konung
13. Thorsteinn Finds King Olaf
Þorsteinn reisti bú at Gnípalundi, því at Agði jarl hafði
gengit aptr ok eytt bæinn. Gerðist Þorsteinn höfðingi mikill. Goðrún fæddi
sveinbarn mikit litlu síðar, ok hét Brynjólfr. Ekki var traust, at Agði jarl
glettist eigi við Þorstein. Eina nótt gekk Þorsteinn af sæng sinni ok sá, hvar
at Agði fór. Hann þorði hvergi inn í hliðin, því at kross var fyrir hverjum
dyrum. Þorsteinn gekk til haugsins. Hann var opinn, ok gekk hann inn ok tók burt
hornin Hvítinga. Þá kom Agði jarl í hauginn, en Þorsteinn hljóp út hjá honum ok
setti kross í dyrrnar, ok laukst aptr haugrinn, ok hefir ekki orðit vart við
Um sumarit eptir fór Þorsteinn til Noregs ok færði Óláfi konungi hornin
Hvítinga. Síðan fekk hann orlof ok sigldi til eigna sinna. Bauð konungr honum
halda vel trú sína. Höfum vér eigi frétt síðan til Þorsteins. En þá Óláfr
konungr hvarf af Orminum langa, hurfu hornin Hvítingar.
Lúkum vér þar þætti Þorsteins bæjarbarns.
Thorsteinn rebuilt the house at Gnipalundi, as Earl Agdi had
returned and destroyed the house. Thorsteinn became a great chieftain. Godrun
gave birth to a big boy a little later, and he was called Brynjolf. There was no
protection from Earl Agdi playing tricks on Thorsteinn. One night Thorsteinn got
out of his bed and saw where Agdi was going. He did not dare to go in the gate,
because there was a cross before each door. Thorsteinn went to the burial mound.
It was open, and he went in and took away the Hviting horns. Then Earl Agdi came
to the mound, but Thorsteinn ran up beside him and put a cross in the door, and
the mound closed up behind him, and there has been no word of Agdi since then.
The following summer Thorsteinn traveled to Norway, and brought the Hviting
horns to King Olaf. Then he got permission to sail to his own possessions. The
king bade him keep his faith well. We have no news of Thorsteinn since then. And
when King Olaf disappeared from the Long Serpent, the Hviting horns vanished.
Here we end the story of Thorsteinn House-power.
SCHOLARSHIP & COMMENTARY
Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, 1993:
"The main tale has attracted the most
attention. It seems to be based partly on the myth of the journey of Thor to the
giant Geirroðr and his slaying of him, and partly on Celtic tales, known through
medieval Irish literature, of a delightful otherworld to which a human being
journeys and settles a dispute between two otherworld rulers. After a brief
soujourn in mortal lands, he may then return to the otherworld for good. Another
version of the story is told by Saxo in Book 8 of his Gesta Danorum. In the
Gesta Danorum, þórsteins þáttr, and the closely related Helga þáttr þórissonar,
the author, independently in each case, stresses the value of Christianity, and
the defense it provides against the perilous delights of the otherworld.
Guðmundr and his realm again appear in the Hauksbók text of Hervarar saga and in
Bósa saga ok Herrauðs,
where the supernatural theme is used flippantly."