THE STORY OF THE HEATH-SLAYINGS
Thorarin Bids Bardi
Concerning The Choosing Of Men.
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #34
Now Bardi and his brethren had on hand much wright's work that summer, and the work went well the summer through, whereas it was better ordered than heretofore. Now summer had worn so far that but six weeks (1) thereof were left. Then fares Bardi to Lechmote to meet Thorarin his fosterer; often they talked together privily a long while, and men knew not clearly what they said.
"Now will there be a man-mote," says Thorarin, "betwixt the Hope and Huna-water, at the place called Thing-ere. But I have so wrought it that heretofore none have been holden.
"Now shalt thou fare thither and prove thy friends; because now I look for it that many men will be together there, since man-motes have so long been put off. In crowds they will be there, and I ween that Haldor thy foster-brother will come thither. Crave thou fellowship of him and avail, if thine heart is anywise set on faring away from the country-side and the avenging of thy brother.
"A stead there is called Bank, lying west of Huna-water;" there dwelt a woman hight Thordis, by-named Gefn, a widow; there was a man with her over her housekeeping, hight Odd, a mighty man of his hands, not exceeding wealthy nor of great kin, but a man well renowned. "Of him shalt thou crave following; for he shall rule his answer himself."
"In that country is a place called Blizzard-mere, where are many steads, one of which is Middleham;" there dwelt a man hight Thorgisl; he was by kin mother's sister's son of Gefn's-Odd; a valiant man and a good skald, a man of good wealth, and a mighty man of his hands. "Call thou on him to fare with thee.'
"A stead there is hight Bowerfell, twixt Swinewater and Blanda; it is on the Necks to the westward." There dwelt a man hight Eric, by-named Wide-sight; he was a skald and no little man of might. "Him shalt thou call to thy fellowship."
"In Longdale is a house called Audolfstead," where dwelt the man hight Audolf; "he is a good fellow and mighty of his hands; his brother is Thorwald." He is not told of as having aught to do with the journey; he dwelt at the place called Evendale, which lieth up from Swinewater. "There are two steads so called." He was the strongest man of might of all the North-country. "Him shalt thou not call on for this journey, and the mood of his mind is the reason for why."
"There is a stead called Swinewater;" and there dwelt the man hight Summerlid, who was by-named the Yeller, wealthy of fee and of good account. There dwelt in the house with him his daughter's son who hight Thorliot, Yeller's fosterling, a valiant man. "Pray him to be of thy fellowship."
A man hight Eyolf dwelt at Asmund's-nip, "which is betwixt the Water and Willowdale." "Him shalt thou meet and bid him fare with thee; he is our friend."
"Now meseemeth," saith he, "that little will come of it though thou puttest this forward at the man-mote; but sound them there about the matter, and say thou. that they shall not be bound to fare with thee, if thou comest not to each one of them on the Saturday whenas it lacketh yet five weeks of winter. (2) And none such shalt thou have with thee who is not ready to go, for such an one is not right trusty. Therefore shalt thou the rather choose these men to fare with thee than others of the country- side, whereas they are near akin to each other; they are men of good wealth, and so also their kinsmen no less; so that they are all as one man. Withal they are the doughtiest men of all who are here in Willowdale, and in all our parishes; and they will be best willed towards thy furtherance who are most our friends. Now is it quite another thing to have with one good men and brave, rather than runagates untried, men of nought, to fall back upon, if any trouble happen. Now withal thy home-men are ready to fare with thee, and thy neighbours, who are both of thy kindred and thine alliance: such as Eyolf of Burg thy brother- in-law, a doughty man, and a good fellow."
"There is a stead called Ternmere in Westhope, where dwell two brothers." One was hight Thorod, the other Thorgisl; they were the sons of Hermund, and nephews (3) of Bardi as to kinship; men of good wealth, great champions, and good of daring. "These men will be ready to fare with thee."
Two brothers yet are named who lived at Bardi's home, one hight Olaf, the other Day, sons of a sister of Bardi s mother, and they had grown up there in Gudmund's house; "they be ready to fare with thee."
Two men more are named, one hight Gris and by-named Kollgris, a man reared there at Asbiorn's-ness. He was a deft man and the foreman of them there, and had for long been of good-will toward them.
The other hight Thord, by-named Fox; he was the fosterling of Thurid and Gufimund. They had taken him a little bairn from off the road, and had reared him. He was a full ripe man, and well of his hands; and men say that there was nought either of word or deed that might not be looked for of him; Gudmund and his wife loved him much, and made more of him than he was of worth. "This man will be ready to fare from home with thee."
Now are the men named who were to fare with Bardi.
And when they had held such talk, they sundered.
(1) "Six weeks", read seven weeks. (2) "Say thou that they shall not be bound to fare with thee, if thou comest not to each one of them on the Saturday whenas it lacketh as yet five weeks of winter." As stated in the preceding note, this talk between Thorarin and Bardi took place when seven weeks were yet left of the summer. Chapter XVII we see that Bardi went to the man-mote on the Sunday preceding the Saturday of the summer week already mentioned, which Sunday, of course, fell within that week which was the sixth, counting backwards, from the end of the summer. Winter began on the Saturday before St. Luke's day, Oct. 18th, or on St. Luke's day itself, if it fell on a Saturday. By the chronology of our saga, the Heath-slayings took place in 1021 (see Preface). In that year, Oct. 18th fell on a Wednesday; winter then began on the previous Saturday, Oct. 14th; the Friday and Thursday, Oct. 13th and 12th, preceding that, were the so-called Winternights, so that the last week of summer closed on Wednesday, Oct. 11th. Hence, Thursday, Aug. 24th, begins the seventh but last week of summer. Within this week then the raid on Burg firth was resolved upon. Nothing, however, was let out about it, till Bardi came to the folkmote at Thingere that was held on the following Sunday, which fell within the sixth but last week of summer, that is to say, on Sept. 3rd. On the Saturday following, within the fifth but last week of summer, i.e., on Sept. 9th, the band was gathered in by Bardi, cf. Chapter XX. (3) "Nephews", read cousins. They were the sons of Hermund, brother to Gudmund, Bardi's father.