THE STORY OF THE HEATH-SLAYINGS
Bardi Gathers In His Following.
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #34
Now rideth Bardi thence and cometh to Bank, whereas dwelt Thordis, and there stood a saddled horse and a shield there beside him, and they rode home to the house with much din in the home-mead over the hard field.
Without there was a man, and a woman with him, who was washing his head; and these were Thordis and Odd, and she had not quite done the washing of his head, and had not yet washed the lather therefrom.
So straightway when he saw Bardi he sprang up, and welcomed him laughing.
Bardi took his greeting well, and bade the woman finish her work and wash him better.
Even so he let her do, and arrayed himself and went with Bardi.
Now came they north over Blanda to Broadford, and brought Thord his horses,
It is to be told that, at that time in the week just worn, was Thorgisl Arason ridden north to Eyiafirth, whereas he was to be wedded at Thwartwater, and he was to be looked for from the north the next week after. Thord takes his horses well, and offers some good geldings as a reward. But Bardi said that he would take no reward therefor; and such, he said, was the bidding of him who had found the horses. "Thou, friend," saith he, "shalt be my friend at need."
Then Bardi rides into Longdale, and over the meadows close anigh to the stead of Audolf; and they saw how a man rode down from the home-mead, and they deemed it would be Arngrim their fellow; and he rideth with them.
Now ride they west over Blanda to Eric Widesight, and they came there by then the sheep were being tended at morning-meal time, betwixt noon and day-meal, and they come on the shepherd and ask him whether Eric were at home.
He said that Eric was a-horseback at sunrise, "and now we know not whither he has ridden."
"What thinkest thou mostlike as to where he has ridden?" says Bardi. For it cometh into his mind that he will have slunk away, and will not fare with them. But nought was it found to be so that he had slunk off away. Now they saw two men riding down along Swinewater; for thence from the stead one could see wide about, and they knew them for Eric Wide-sight and Thorliot, Yeller's fosterling. They met there whereas the water hight Laxwater falleth out of Swinewater, and either greeted the other well.
Now they ride till they come to Thorgisl of Middleham; they greeted each other well and ride away thence and come hard on Gorge-water. Then said Bardi that men should ride to the stead at Asmund's-nip and meet Eyolf Oddson. "There rideth a man," said he, "nor laggardly either, from the stead, and down along the river; and meseemeth," saith he, "that there will be Eyolf; I deem that he will be at the ford by then we come there; so ride we forth."
So did they, and saw a man by the ford, and knew him for Eyolf; and they met and greeted each other well. Then they go their ways and come to the place called Ash in Willowdale. Then there came riding up to meet Bardi and his fellowship three men in coloured raiment, and they met presently, whereas each were riding towards the other; and two sister's sons of Bardi were in that company, and one hight Lambkar and the other Hun; but the third man in their fellowship was a Waterdaler. They had all come out and landed west in Willowdale, but Gudbrand their father and Gudrun their mother dwelt west in Willowdale, at the stead called thereafter Gudbrandstead. (1)
Now was there a joyful meeting betwixt those kinsmen, whereas Bardi met his sister's sons, and either told the other what tidings there were.
Bardi tells of his journey, whither he was bound.
These men were eighteen winters old, and had been abroad one winter. They were the noblest of men both for goodlihead and might, and goodly crafts and deftness, and moreover they would have been accounted of as doughty of deed even had they come already to their full age.
Now they took counsel together, and said that they were minded to betake them to the journey with them, but their fellow fared away into Willowdale.
Now Bardi rides till he comes to Lechmote, and tells his fosterer how matters stood. Thorarin says: "Now shalt thou ride home to Asbiorn's-ness; (2) but to-morrow will I ride to meet thee, and Thorberg my son with me; and then will I ride on the way with you."
(1) "They had all come out and landed west in Willowdale, but Gudbrand, their father, and Gudrun, their mother, dwelt west (ut) in Willowdale, at the stead called thereafter Gudbrandstead." "Bardi", on returning from his banishment, "betook himself to Gudbrand his brother-in-law," Chapter XXXIX. After the Althing at which he was betrothed to Snorri's daughter, "Bardi rides to Waterdale to his alliances," and leaving Snorri the next spring after he married his daughter, "Bardi goeth north to Waterdale, where he tarrieth with Gudbrand his brother-in-law," Chapter XL. Kalund has made a careful inquiry into the local statements noted here, and avers positively that no tradition now exists to show where a house called Gudbrandstead might have been either in Willowdale or Waterdale. In the story of the Waterdale-men (Vigfusson's ed., 1860, pp. 61, 194), Gudbrand Thorsteinson, the grandson of Ingimund the Old, the settler, is stated to have dwelt at Gudbrandstead, which undoubtedly then was a house in Waterdale. But he could hardly have been alive at this time, seeing that his father was a mature man about 935, when Ingimund died. Kalund is inclined to accept the reading Willowdale in the two places where Waterdale occurs, because one of Bardi's brothers-in-law, Eyolf of Burg, notably lived in Willowdale, and Bardi had only two of them, at least mentioned in the saga, so the statement that he rode "to Waterdale to his alliances," would not agree with the saga in the case of one of them; both, therefore, he thinks, must have lived in the valley where the one that was well known, lived. (2) "Now shalt thou ride home to Asbiorn's-ness," &c. This was the Saturday, Sept. 9th (Endnote #2, Chapter XVI); next day, Sunday, Sept. 10th, the start for the south is made, and Nial's house reached at night, Chapter XXII-XXIV; Monday, Sept. 11th, they ride from Nial's and rest for the night on the Heath, Chapter XXV; Tuesday, Sept. 12th, they ride down into Copsedale, where "they sleep the night away," Chapter XXV; Wednesday, Sept. 13th, early in the morning, the attack is made and Gisli slain; late in the day the Heath-battle is fought, and the darkness of night saves Bardi and his from Illugi's pursuit, Chapter XXVII-XXXII.