THE STORY OF THE HEATH-SLAYINGS
Bardi's Affairs Settled.
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #34
Then stands up an old man, Eid Skeggison to wit, and said: "We like it ill that men should bandy words about here, whether it be done by our men or others; to nought good will that come, while often evil proceedeth therefrom. It behoveth men here to speak what may tend to peace. I am minded to think that not another man among us has more to miss, nor that on any, much greater grief hath been brought than on me; yet a wise counsel do I deem it to come to peace, and therefore I shall have no ruth on anyone bandying words about here. Moreover, it is most likely now, as ever, that it will only come to evil if folk will be casting words of shame at each other."
He got good cheer for his speech. And now men search about for such as be likeliest for the peacemaking. Snorri is most chiefly spoken of as seeking to bring about the peace. He was then far sunk in age. Another such was Thorgisl, the friend of Snorri, for their wives were sisters. Now both sides did it to wit that matters should be put to award, and the pairing of man to man; though erst folk had been sore of their kinsmen.
Now we know no more to tell thereof than that the fallen were paired man to man, and for the award Snorri was chosen on behalf of Bardi, together with Gudmund, the son of Eyolf, while Thorgisl, the son of Ari, and I11ugi, were appointed on behalf of the Southerners. (1) So they fell to talking over the matter between them, as to what would most likely lead to peace. And it seemed good to them to pair men together in this wise:
The sons of Eid and the sons of Gudbrand were evened, as was also Thorod, the son of Hermund, and Thorbiorn. But now as to Hall Gudmundson, the Burgfirthers thought the mangild for him was pushed too far, so they drew off, and broke the peace; yet they knew that Bardi had set his heart on that matter. But of the close thereof this is to be told, that the sons of Thorgaut, Ketil and Gisli, were paired against Hall Gudmundson. In all there were nine lives lost of the Southerners, and now four from the North have been set off against five Gislungs; for nought else would like the kinsmen of Bardi because of the disparity of kin there was.
Then matters were talked over with both sides as to what next was most like to do. There were now four Southernmen unatoned, Thorgisl to wit, and Eyolf his son, Tanni the Handstrong, and Eyolf, his sister's son.
Now Bardi declared that he was no man of wealth any more than his brothers or their kindred, "nor do we mean to claim money in atonement on our side."
Answered Snorri: "Yet it behoveth not, that neither fine nor outlawry come about." Bardi said he would not gainsay that people should go abroad, so that they were free to come back again, nor that then all the more of them should fare. "Yet one there is who cannot fare; for him let fee be yolden, though it may hap that ye deem ye have some guilt to square with him. My fellow Gris will not be found to be bitten by guilt." Hesthofdi, who now dwells at the place called Stead in Skagafirth, who was a kinsman of his, took him in.
So matters came about, that on this they made peace, as they were most willing to agree to men faring abroad. Now this was deemed to be about the only boot to be got, since Bardi might not bite at-fines; they hoped, too, that thereby unpeace would somewhat abate, and on the other hand they deemed no less honour done to themselves by their having to be abroad. By wise men it was deemed most like to allay their rage, so great as it was, if for a while they should not be living within one and the same land.
Fourteen of the men who had had share in the Heath-slaughters were to fare abroad, and be abroad for three winters, and be free to come back in the third summer, but no money should be found for their faring.
Thus were men appeased on these matters without taking them into court. And so it was accounted that Bardi and those who came forth for his avail had had the fuller share, for as hopeless as it had seemed for a while.
(1) "Thorgisl, the son of Ari, and Illugi, were appointed on behalf of the Southerners." There is an evident confusion in the story as to what part Illugi and his son Hermund respectively took in the affairs relating to Bardi. When the chase for Bardi was called, we read (Chapter XXIX): "But for that cause folk came not to Gilsbank, that Hermund was ridden to the ship." Again (Chapter XXIX): "That same day withal folk went to Whitewater-meads to fetch Hermund, who was wending home again, and the messengers met him up from Thingness. There he leaveth behind all his train, and biddeth every man fare with him who might get away.... and rideth after them." Next (Chapter XXXI) Hermund's part is foisted on Illugi: "Now it is to be told of Illugi that he cometh upon the field of deed," &c. Evidently we ought to read "Hermund" here. For Illugi could not be a party to a hostile pursuit of Bardi with intent to slay him, and yet sit as a judge in his case at the Althing.