My contemporary English translation of the Poetic Edda is now available on Kindle.
Check out my new website
I have left only the most popular features of this blog online:
1. The original Tattúínárdǿla saga, “If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga,” in English. Now the introduction and the entire chapter-by-chapter saga are condensed into one single blog post.
Update 3/5/2015: The book is now available.
My translation of the Poetic Edda is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The book will be released on March 15th. This is the first translation of the Poetic Edda – our main source for the stories of the Norse gods and heroes – to appear in contemporary, approachable American English, and is meant both for classroom use and for the private reader. The translations are based on those that I used in my own Norse Mythology class I taught at UCLA during my years there. This book also contains my infamous Cowboy Havamal, which first appeared on this blog.
Recently I summarized Njal’s Saga on one page for you. Now here’s the action of the (much more straightforward) Volsunga Saga reduced to one page. Note that many of the same events are portrayed in somewhat different forms in the Poetic Edda (as always, don’t forget that my translation of the Poetic Edda will be published in March).
Happily, the best translation of Volsunga saga, by R. G. Finch) is available free online from the publisher as a .pdf (after the Introduction, the Old Norse is on odd pages, and the English translation is on even pages).
- King Rerir is sterile; prays to Odin, who sends a valkyrie to bring him an apple granting fertility.
- Conceives Volsung and dies, his wife is pregnant with Volsung six years, he bursts out vowing.
- Volsung has 11 children, the oldest Sigmund & Signy. He builds a hall, at center is tree.
- Signy is married to local King Siggeir. During wedding feast Odin plunges sword Gram into tree.
- Only Sigmund can remove the sword; Siggeir wants it as a wedding gift but Sigmund refuses him.
- Siggeir leaves the feast furiously but invites Volsung and sons to a feast in his own lands.
- Kills Volsung at this feast & has 9 sons except Sigmund killed by wolf. Sigmund escapes to woods.
- Signy sends 2 sons by Siggeir to Sigmund who kills them for her after they fail a courage test.
- Signy disguises herself and sleeps with Sigmund; conceives Sinfjotli, later sending him to Sigmund.
- Sigmund trains Sinfjotli as a robber; they briefly become wolves after finding enchanted wolf-skins.
- As wolves Sigmund attacks Sinfjotli for an insult to his courage; a raven brings a healing leaf.
- They go to kill Siggeir, kill his latest two kids, but are captured. They escape being buried alive.
- They burn Siggeir’s hall; Signy chooses to die with Siggeir but tells of Sinfjotli’s parentage.
- Sigmund now king; Sinfjotli kills Sigurd’s 1st wife’s brother & is poisoned by her, taken by Odin.
- Sigmund marries anew; falls in battle, Gram broken by Odin; tells wife she will bear a son.
- Sigurd Sigmundsson is born in Alf’s land; he is fostered by Regin, who tells him of brother Fafnir.
- (flashback: Fafnir killed his father for the cursed treasure Odin & Loki had given him, became a dragon)
- Regin reforges Gram; Odin helps Sigurd pick the horse Grani; Sigurd kills Fafnir.
- Regin is angry but tells Sigurd to cook Fafnir’s heart; he gains the ability to understand birds.
- He kills Regin on the birds’ advice, takes cursed treasure; birds tell him of Brynhild in ring of fire.
- He braves the ring of fire, pledges to marry Brynhild, rides away, serves as warrior to King Gjuki.
- Gjuki’s wife Grimhild gives Sigurd potion to forget Brynhild, marries him to daughter Gudrun.
- Sigurd disguised as Gudrun’s brother Gunnar wins the hand of Brynhild for Gunnar.
- Brynhild finds out about treachery from Gudrun; cannot convince Gunnar to kill brother-in-law.
- They get Gunnar’s young brother Guttorm to kill Sigurd in bed; Gudrun screams, Brynhild laughs.
- Brynhild kills herself on Sigurd’s funeral pyre along with Sigurd’s young son Sigmund, others.
- Gunnar keeps Fafnir’s cursed treasure, considering it his as brother of Gudrun, Sigurd’s wife.
- After many years Gudrun is given a potion of forgetfulness & married to Attila, Brynhild’s brother.
- Attila thinks Fafnir’s treasure is rightly his, as brother of Brynhild, Sigurd’s rightful wife.
- Attila invites Gunnar to a feast; Gudrun tries to warn him away but he comes & is captured.
- Gunnar refuses to reveal the location of the treasure till he sees his brother Hogni’s heart on a plate.
- A slave’s heart is brought 1st but refused; Hogni’s heart is cut out, he laughs in contempt as he dies.
- Gunnar says that now Hogni is dead, only he knows the location of the treasure, & he will not talk.
- Gunnar is thrown into a snake pit; Gudrun throws him a harp, he plays it with his toes till he dies.
- Attila throws a victory feast; Gudrun cooks their two young sons for him.
- Hogni’s son Niflung kills Attila that night, with Gudrun’s assistance.
- Gudrun marries Jonakr; they have 3 sons; also Svanhild, daughter by Sigurd.
- Old king Jormunrek wins Svanhild’s hand; sends his young son to fetch her; they have an affair.
- Jormunrek has Svanhild trampled to death by horses; Gudrun convinces sons to avenge her.
- Sons are reluctant but persuaded, she enchants them to be impervious to steel.
- Two oldest sons ask youngest how he will help them; he responds cryptically; they kill him.
- They reach Jormunrek’s land & fight long; finally an old man tells the crowd to stone them instead.
What else can I read on this blog?
Star Wars, reimagined as an Icelandic Saga. You can read the whole saga in English here, and the introduction here. It was also posted as a .pdf with both the English and Old Norse text here. List of principal characters (and their equivalents in the Star Wars franchise) here.
The Cowboy Havamal. This is part of the classic Old Norse wisdom poem translated into dialect. You can also read about my soon-to-be-published translation of the Poetic Edda – the first time the original Norse myths will appear in plain modern English – here.
I wrote a little about the runes and Old Norse that I wrote for Disney’s Frozen here.
I have started posting lessons in the Old Norse language here.
More info on the author here.
Here’s another tool to help you follow along with reading Njal’s Saga, the longest and most famous of the Icelandic sagas (previously I brought you a visualization of the main killings as performed by hummingbirds). The main action of the saga is reduced to a list of short sentences that will fit on one page. Here, I use the anglicized forms of the characters’ names used in the best available translation of the saga.
- Brothers Hrut & Hoskuld; Hrut says Hoskuld’s daughter Hallgerd has “thief’s eyes.”
- Hrut cursed by Norwegian queen; marries Unn but she divorces him because of curse.
- Hallgerd marries twice & each time her husband is killed by her foster-father Thjostolf.
- Unn’s cousin Gunnar successfully challenges Hrut for Unn’s property from the divorce.
- Gunnar marries Hallgerd; his relative Thrain marries Hallgerd’s daughter Thorgerd.
- Hallgerd insulted by Bergthora, wife of Gunnar’s wise beardless friend Njal.
- Hallgerd & Bergthora each kill 3 slaves or employees of the other in successive years.
- Gunnar & Njal pay each other for the slaves or employees they lose to the other’s wife.
- The last one killed by Hallgerd is Thord, the Njalssons’ foster-father. He is avenged.
- Gunnar asks Otkel to sell him food. Otkel refuses, but sells him a slave, Melkolf.
- Hallgerd sends Melkolf to steal cheese from Otkel; Gunnar finds out & slaps her.
- Gunnar offers compensation; Otkel refuses; they go to court & Gunnar is absolved.
- Otkel’s spur scratches Gunnar. Otkel & many men attack Gunnar; Gunnar kills all.
- Gunnar attacked by Starkad & son with many men after a horsefight; he kills many.
- Thorgeir Starkadsson & Thorgeir Otkelsson assail Gunnar; he kills Thorgeir Otkelsson.
- Gunnar is prosecuted for the killing, & sentenced to 3 years of outlawry.
- Gunnar leaves home, but falls off his horse & decides to return. Kolskegg leaves.
- A team led by Gizur and Mord assembles to attack Gunnar at home.
- Gunnar defends himself a long time but his bow breaks; Hallgerd refuses aid; he dies.
- Hogni Gunnarsson & Skarphedin kill many of Gunnar’s killers; make peace with Mord.
- Thrain, & Grim & Helgi Njalsson, go to Scotland, are attacked. Rescued by Kari.
- They go to Norway. Thrain hides the outlaw Hrapp from Norwegian ruler Hakon Jarl.
- Hakon Jarl attacks Thrain’s allies the Njalssons. They are saved by Kari & go to Iceland.
- Kari marries Njal’s daughter, has a son. Thrain still shelters Hrapp, insults Njalssons.
- Skarphedin kills Thrain. Njal & Thrain’s brother Ketil make a peaceful settlement.
- Njal adopts Hoskuld Thrainsson, & gets a wife & the authority of a godi for him.
- Thrain’s brother-in-law Lyting kills Hoskuld Njalsson; a peaceful settlement is agreed.
- (long digression about the missionary Thangbrand & Iceland’s conversion to Christianity)
- Amundi, blind son of Hoskuld Njalsson, briefly regains sight & kills Lyting.
- Mord loses power to Hoskuld Thrainsson; he goads the Njalssons into killing Hoskuld.
- Mord and Flosi (Hoskuld Thrainsson’s wife’s uncle) prosecute the Njalssons for murder
- Njal & Flosi agree to a settlement, but Skarphedin insults Flosi & the deal is called off.
- Flosi leads about 100 men to burn the Njalssons & Kari to death in their house.
- Women, children, slaves, Njal allowed to leave; Flosi only wants to burn the Njalssons.
- Njal, Bergthora, & Kari’s son refuse to leave; they burn. Of the men, only Kari escapes.
- The burners are prosecuted. A long court case finally breaks down into open battle.
- After much killing at the Thing, Snorri Godi forces a settlement. Kari refuses to settle.
- Kari seeks the burners, kills all of them he can find. Helped by Njal’s nephew Thorgeir.
- Thorgeir quits; Kari meets goofy sidekick Bjorn; Kari spares only brother-in-law Ketil.
- Flosi & the surviving burners flee to Scotland. Kari follows them, busts into their feast.
- Kari kills most of burners, goes back to Iceland. Forgives Flosi & marries his daughter.
This will probably be most helpful if accompanied by this guide to the characters and their relationships:
What else can I read on this blog?
Star Wars, reimagined as an Icelandic Saga. You can read the whole saga in English here, and the introduction here. It was also posted as a .pdf with both the English and Old Norse text here. List of principal characters (and their equivalents in the Star Wars franchise) here.
The Cowboy Havamal. This is part of the classic Old Norse wisdom poem translated into dialect. You can also read about my soon-to-be-published translation of the Poetic Edda – the first time the original Norse myths will appear in plain modern English – here.
I wrote a little about the runes and Old Norse that I wrote for Disney’s Frozen here.
I have started posting lessons in the Old Norse language here.
More info on the author here.
I often get asked how to say the basic conversational stuff in Old Norse – “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and more often than anything else, “I love you” – so that’s what this post is about today.
Unfortunately, while the sagas are very dialogue-heavy and even wordy, there isn’t too much in the vein of banal “how are you doing” type conversation. So a lot of this will be based on phrases in Modern Icelandic or Norwegian, and this should be understood as for entertainment purposes only (not as a serious academic effort).
For pronunciation, see this post or the video linked below. It is especially important to remember that the letters Ð/ð and Þ/þ stand for the “th”-sound. Nothing sounds goofier than someone reading the Old Norse word þing as “ping” (it’s “thing”) or the name Þórunn as “Porunn” (rather than “Thorunn”). Just to reinforce the point, I’ll rewrite these letters with “th” in parentheses in the the phrases below and also remove marks from the vowels, so as to give unfamiliar readers the closest idea of the word that I can give you with the 26 letters of the English keyboard.
Please also remember that Old Norse and Modern Icelandic are not identical. If you put Old Norse text into Google Translate, yes, Old Norse will be detected as Icelandic because that is the closest match to it. But Google Translate does not know all languages, let alone the nuances of difference that separate closely related languages.
Hello and Goodbye
Good day! Góðan dag! (Gothan dag!)
Good morning! Góðan morgun! (Gothan morgun!)
Goodbye!/ Farewell! Far vel!
Good night! Góða nótt! (Gotha nott!)
How is it going? Hvé gengr þér? (Hve gengr ther?)
It is going… Þat gengr (That gengr…)
Thank you! Þǫkk! (Thokk!)
Please… Gerðu svá vel ok… (Gerthu sva vel ok…)
Have a nice day! Njóttu dagsins! (Njottu dagsins!)
My name is… Ek heiti…
What is your name? Hvat heitir þú? (Hvat heitir thu?)
Pleased to meet you. Gaman at hitta þik. (Gaman at hitta thik.)
Where are you from? Hvaðan kemr þú? (Hvathan kemr thu?)
I come from… Ek kem frá… (Ek kem fra…)
…Norway. Nóregi. (Noregi)
…Iceland. Íslandi. (Islandi)
…the Faroes. Færeyjum. (Faereyjum)
…Denmark. Danmǫrk. (Danmork)
…Sweden. Svíþjóðu. (Svithjothu)
…the Orkneys. Orkneyjum.
…the Hebrides. Suðreyjum. (Suthreyjum)
And the one everybody wants:
I love you. Ek ann þér. (Ek ann ther.)
Do not try to make your own Old Norse sentences if you have not studied the language – words change shape based on how they are used in the sentence.
If you use any of these phrases in a book or TV show or something, please credit me and consider a donation to help me stave off the hounds of poverty (Paypal button below).
What else can I read on this blog?
Star Wars, reimagined as an Icelandic Saga. You can read the whole saga in English here, and the introduction here. It was also posted as a .pdf with both the English and Old Norse text here. List of principal characters (and their equivalents in the Star Wars franchise) here.
The Cowboy Havamal. This is part of the classic Old Norse wisdom poem translated into dialect. You can also read about my soon-to-be-published translation of the Poetic Edda – the first time the original Norse myths will appear in plain modern English – here.
I wrote a little about the runes and Old Norse that I wrote for Disney’s Frozen here.
More info on the author here.
With my translation of the Poetic Edda coming out soon, I thought that it would be a good time to revitalize this blog as a place where questions about Old Norse subjects can be asked and answered. I have a lot of teaching materials left over from when I was working at UCLA (where I was a full-time lecturer in the Scandinavian Section from 2011-2014), and some of those materials can be modified, I think, into blog posts that address some of the most common questions I get asked about Old Norse and related subjects.
One question that comes up all the time is: What did Old Norse sound like? There are two common misconceptions to vanquish here, one being that Old Norse sounded exactly like Modern Icelandic, and the other being that we cannot possibly know what an extinct language sounded like. In fact, 800 years is far too long for a language to be spoken without radically changing, and by “triangulating” from all its descendent languages (including Norwegian and Faroese) and close relatives, plus comparing the way that spellings change in manuscripts over time, and the remarks of some Old Norse writers themselves (like the First Grammarian), we can get a really good idea of what Old Norse sounded like in, say, the period when most of the sagas were being written (the 1200s AD).
In this video, I read a few excerpts from poems in the Poetic Edda (see below video link for texts I’m reading in the video, and for simplified pronunciation guide).
(the Grimnismal quote)
Huginn ok Muninn
fljúga hverjan dag
Óumk ek of Hugin
at hann aptr né komi-t
þó sjáumk meirr um Munin.
(the Helgakvitha Hundingsbana II quote)
Nú em ek svá fegin
er val vitu
(the Havamal quote)
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn
at aldri deyr –
dómr um dauðan hvern.
Below, I also present a simplified introduction to how to pronounce Old Norse (of roughly 1200s-AD vintage) for an American English speaker without a background in linguistics, who wants to sound decently authentic without sweating the small stuff (e.g., for the linguists out there, the numerous allophones of g). Update 09/16/2014: Here is Guide to Pronunciation of Classical Literary Old Norse (ca. 1200-1250) with IPA and a little more detail for those who want it.
SIMPLIFIED INSTRUCTIONS (presuming an American English background)
Stress/accent is always on the first syllable: SKARPheðinn, KÁRi, GUNNarr.
a, e, i, o, u | Pronounce as in Spanish, i.e. the vowels in rot, set, seat, wrote, root.
é, í, ó, ú | Slightly longer versions of the above, i.e. the vowels in said, seed, road, rude. See also á, below.
ǫ | Like the o in a New Jersey pronunciation of coffee, i.e. like saying “aaah” with your lips rounded to a circle.
y and ý | Like u, but further forward in the mouth – think of a “surfer” pronunciation of dude (or German ü). As usual, ý is held just a little longer than y.
á | Despite its appearance, this is not a long version of a, but a long version of ǫ. Try saying the aw of awful with a New Jersey accent.
æ | Pronounced like the a in bad.
ø | Sounds like the u in a London pronunciation of hurt (i.e. without the r following).
ǿ or œ | Slightly longer version of the above, i.e. like the i in a London pronunciation of bird.
au | Like the ou in house.
ei | Like the ai in rain.
ey | Something like the oy in boy, more accurately like Norwegian øy or German äu.
b, d, h, k, l, m, n, t | These are pronounced exactly how you would expect them to be from English.
f | usually pronounced like the v in very, except when it is the first letter in a word (then it is pronounced f like in father)
g | pronounced “hard” like in go, never like in gin
j | pronounced like the y in yes
p | Normally pronounced like English p in park, but probably more like an f (actually a bilabial fricative, [φ]) before a t (like in aptr).
r | This was probably a rolled or trilled r, like in Spanish or Scots.
s | Pronounced like the s in so, not with the z-sound of the s in rose.
v | Pronounced like the v in very, although probably pronounced like a w when it follows another consonant (so think hvat = hwat, svá = swá). This is a pattern also seen in Afrikaans, and suggested by some Scandinavian dialects (like in North Jutland).
z | Pronounced like the ts in rats, not like an English z.
Þ þ | Pronounced like the th in thunder or thorn (the letter’s name is Thorn). Note that Þ is the capital letter, þ is the small letter.
Ð ð | Pronounced like the th in either or weather (the letter’s name is Eth). Note that Ð is the capital letter, ð is the small letter.
What else can I read on this blog?
I wrote a little about the runes and Old Norse that I wrote for Disney’s Frozen here.
More info on the author here.
As UCLA’s lecturer in Old Norse, I had the cool opportunity of being called up to write the runes in Disney’s Frozen, as well as the Old Norse lines the bishop speaks in the coronation scene.
The runes are Younger Futhark, and the language is Old Norse. One reader of this blog has already deciphered the runes correctly, so I won’t repeat what she says.
The lines the bishop speaks are in Old Norse, using reconstructed pronunciation rather than Modern Icelandic pronunciation. What he says is, “Sem hon heldr inum helgum eignum ok krýnd í þessum helga stað, ek té fram fyrir yðr…” (“As she holds the sacred objects, and having been crowned on this sacred site, I present…”).
For more about my background, see my profile here. And I don’t have an agent and thus I don’t have an IMDB page, but for the doubters out there, I do have a place in the credits if you wait till the very end:
What else can I read on this blog?
Recently I started putting up some informational posts on the Old Norse language.
More info on the author here.
“The Cowboy Havamal,” from The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes, translated by Jackson Crawford, Copyright © 2015, Hackett Publishing Co. Reproduced by permission.
The text called Hávamál (literally “Words of the One-Eyed,” or “Words of the High One,” either way a reference to Odin) might be considered a Norse equivalent of the Book of Proverbs, containing as it does a series of disconnected stanzas encouraging wisdom and moderation in living one’s life.
“The Cowboy Hávamál” is a condensation of the wisdom of the first, most down-to-earth part of Hávamál (often called the Gestatháttr, it includes stanzas 1-79, give or take a few) into mostly five-line stanzas of a Western American English dialect. I have not endeavored to render this dialect phonetically in a thoroughly consistent way, but only to present an “eye dialect” of sorts, to suggest the dry tones of the accent behind the words.
While my other translation of Hávamál (in my translation of the Poetic Edda) is more complete, the tone of this one seems more authentic to me. The voice is that of my grandfather, sad with wisdom and cynical with experience, which I have always heard when reading this poem in the original.
1. Use yer eyes,
and never walk blind.
There ain’t no tellin’
where there’s someone waitin’
to put one over on you.
2. Don’t be unkind to a wanderer.
You know the type: Waiting,
proud, outside your doorstep.
Give ‘im a break,
and let ‘im in.
3. Let ‘im get close to the fire,
and have a chance
to dry his clothes.
He’s been walkin’ in the mountains,
and that wears a man down.
4. You know what he’s lookin’ for:
Some clothes to change into,
a few kind words, not too many,
a chance to tell his story,
a chance to hear what you’ll say.
5. You ought to have
a damn sight of learnin’,
before you step outside that door.
It’s a lot easier to stay at home,
but no one’ll listen to you if you stay there.
6. Now, that ain’t to say
that you ought to be showy
about your learnin’.
Don’t say too much
and you’ll say more o’ the right things.
7. And don’t ever think
that other folks
have nothin’ to teach you, either.
You only stand to gain
by keeping yer ears open, too.
8. People’s approval ain’t nothin’ you need.
Half the time it ain’t true.
Just be sure you think you’re right;
and that you’re comfortable in your own skin;
you’re all you can count on.
9. And while you should listen
to people’s advice,
don’t just do whatever they say.
You’ve got a head on your own shoulders;
use it, boy.
10. That head on your shoulders
is the best thing you’ll ever have.
And no amount o’ money
can make up for not havin’ it.
Keep it in good shape.
11. The worst way to make yourself
into a goddamned fool
is to drink too much.
Stay out o’ the liquor,
except you know yer limits.
12. Oh, folks’ll say this and that,
how much fun it is to drink and all.
But the more you drink,
the less you know,
and that’s a poor exchange.
13. I’ve been drunk, I’m not sayin’ otherwise.
Let me tell you what it’s like:
It’s as if a bird hovered over your head,
drinking more of your wits,
the more you drink.
14. Lord a’mighty, I was drunk,
I was shamefaced drunk.
And I didn’t have myself
near as good a time
as if I’d gone home sober.
15. So keep quiet,
keep your head clear,
and don’t back off from a fight.
You’ll be happier that way–
and you’ll die soon enough.
16. You’re a goddamned fool
if you think you’ll live forever
just because you won’t fight.
Say nobody ever kills you–
old age is no peach, either.
17. I’ll say another thing about drinkin’–
I swear I’m nearly done:
But just you think how much dumber
a dumb man is after a few drinks:
Who ever heard more awful bullshit?
18. Travel, see the country,
never miss a chance to get outdoors.
You’ll only get smarter
by knowin’ more people, more places,
more ways to be a man.
19. Accept hospitality, but don’t be a jackass.
Folk can only offer so much.
And if you want to talk,
just consider whether what you want to say
matters to anybody else.
20. A belly’s a sure sign
that a man’s not in control of himself.
Folks’ll laugh if you’re eatin’ too much.
Yer stomach’s not yer head–
you can put too much in it.
21. You ever seen a fat cow?
I mean, they’re all fat, but only to a point:
They don’t eat so much they hurt themselves.
And a cow is just about the dumbest thing
on this damn earth.
22. Nothin’ to learn from a fella
who won’t but laugh at everybody else.
What he ain’t learned
would do him some good:
He’s got his own faults.
23. You should lie down to sleep
and not think about tomorrow;
you’ll take care of it then.
If you worry at night, you get nothing done,
and you’re in worse shape for the day.
24. Not everybody
who laughs with you
is yer friend.
Someone who won’t but laugh
hasn’t thought about much.
25. Not everybody
who laughs with you
is yer friend.
It’s one thing if a fella’ll laugh with you,
it’s another if you can count on ‘im.
26. You’re a damn fool
if you think you can just figure out
a way out of any problem.
It’s good to think ahead,
but sometimes things go wrong.
27. I wish more damn fools
would just keep their mouths shut.
If they did, we might not realize
just how many goddamned fools
there are in this old world.
28. Ain’t ever been a single person
who can keep his mouth shut
when it comes to other people.
But try not to gossip,
even if it makes you look smarter.
29. You will talk yourself into trouble
if you don’t think before you speak:
Hold that tongue, and think a little,
or you’ll find out that it’s a long whip,
and it’s gonna hit you from behind.
30. Don’t make fun of someone else,
even if he owes you money,
and don’t pester people with questions.
31. Sarcastic people sound smart
when they make fun of someone else.
But making fun dudn’t make you smart,
and that’s time you could be putting
into somethin’ more worthwhile.
32. A fella might be nice enough;
there’s still something
that’ll make ‘im want to fight.
Where there’s more than one man,
you’ll eventually have a fight.
33. You shouldn’t sit around
and wait to eat all day.
Go ahead and eat,
unless you’re eatin’ later with a friend,
otherwise you’ll just be useless.
34. Don’t concern yerself
who won’t repay yer friendship in kind.
Better to walk a long way to a friend,
than a short way to some ornery jackass.
35. Don’t overstay yer welcome.
Folks like company, but not too much,
and start to resent a guest ‘fore long.
So git goin’ after a while,
or you’ll git on people’s nerves.
36. It dudn’t matter where you live,
long as you have a roof over you.
Better to call some place home,
even if it ain’t much to look at,
than to beg for ever’thing.
37. It dudn’t matter where you live,
long as you have a place.
Better to call a place home,
or you’ll feel worse and worse,
as you beg for more and more.
38. Keep yer guns close.
I don’t care what they say,
there ain’t no tellin’
when there’ll be call for ’em.
An armed man has a shot.
39. Don’t think a generous host
wouldn’t gladly take something
in return for yer room and board.
Never seen a man so nice
he wouldn’t like a little in return.
40. Don’t save so much money
that you don’t use any of it.
You’ll die, after all,
and it might not go to people you like.
The world ain’t aimin’ to please you.
41. Give yer friend
a gift that’ll matter to ‘im:
Weapons, clothes, you know the kind.
This kind of giving, if he gits you back,
will mean he’ll have yer back when it counts.
42. Be friendly
to anybody friendly to you,
and repay their gifts.
Repay good with good,
and bad with bad.
43. Be friendly
to anybody friendly to you;
and to his friends, too.
But be careful not to make friends
with your friends’ enemies.
44. If you have a good friend,
and really trust ‘im,
you should share yer mind with ‘im,
exchange gifts with ‘im,
visit ‘im often.
45. If you have another friend
and don’t trust him worth a spit,
but want somethin’ from ‘im,
speak kindly, but don’t be surprised
if you find yerself betrayin’ that kindness.
46. Now this fella you don’t trust:
That’s not to say you shouldn’t talk to ‘im,
laugh with ‘im, even–
hell, who can you trust?
But repay ‘im just what he gives you.
47. I was young once, I walked alone,
and I got lost on my way.
It wasn’t alone that I found happiness,
but in good company, good friends;
there’s no joy in loneliness.
48. Be friendly, be brave if you’re challenged,
and don’t nurture a grudge for too long.
That’s the way to spend yer life–
not on worrying,
not on shirking yer responsibilities.
49. Once I was walkin’, I saw two scarecrows,
and that gave me the damnedest funny thought:
They were naked, so I’d give ’em clothes.
They looked a damned sight better in ’em, too;
a naked man just feels ashamed of himself.
50. Think about a pine on the edge o’ town–
once a part o’ the forest, but the forest is gone,
and now it’s surrounded by pasture.
Puts me in mind of a man no one loves–
what’s he got to live for?
51. You might think you have a new friend,
but just you wait five days, that’ll test ‘im.
They say that a bad friendship
burns for only five days,
but on the sixth one it goes out.
52. You may not have much,
so don’t give much.
But I’ve won friends
with just a bowl o’ soup
and half a loaf o’ bread.
53. A small ocean
has small beaches,
and small brains
have damned little to give.
But the world takes all types.
54. Don’t git too goddamned smart, now,
there’s a measure for ever’thing.
And don’t think it’s for nothing
that the stupid people
tend to be the happier ones, too.
55. Don’t git too goddamned smart, now,
there’s a measure for ever’thing.
You’ll know you’re gone too far
when you can’t find a thing to smile about:
That’s what wisdom’s like.
56. Don’t git too goddamned smart, now,
there’s a measure for ever’thing.
And if you think you can learn the future,
you’re a damned fool, not a wise man.
You’ll be happier not knowing anyway.
57. You won’t learn a thing
if you never talk to folks,
and nobody will learn anything from you.
If you keep yer thoughts to yerself,
you’ll never turn the lead in yer head to gold.
58. Don’t sleep too late,
that’s no way to get things done.
If you mean to do business, get goin’–
a lazy wolf never caught a sheep,
a sleeping man never earned a dime.
59. Don’t sleep too late,
that’s no way to get things done.
If you’re still sleepin’ at sunrise,
you’re losin’ the race already–
someone’s got more hours than you.
60. You know how to measure wood
and bark for a roof,
and you know the way to tell the time,
and determine the seasons.
You know this stuff, son.
61. Don’t go to see folks
with your hair a mess and your clothes dirty.
Put a damned shirt on, and some shoes–
there’s no shame in not having the best.
And eat a little first, too.
62. Consider your reputation;
if you go to town, and know nobody,
and nobody has a whit to say about you,
you’ll be like an eagle stretching out its beak,
but never catching a fish.
63. Now here’s a fact I’ve learned:
Tell a secret to one good friend,
and that secret might stay with him;
but tell two people your secret,
and everybody will know pretty soon.
64. Don’t think you’re the goddamned smartest,
or the toughest, or the best at anything,
and don’t let folks think you are, either.
Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way
that someone is always better.
65. Watch what you say, son–
what you say to other people
is often exactly what you git from ’em.
66. There’s bein’ too early,
there’s bein’ too late,
and you can’t always predict folks’ timing.
But try to be on time;
that wins you more favor.
67. People ain’t always sincere
when they say they’ll give you somethin’;
you don’t know it for a fact
till it’s in yer hands.
Don’t take anybody at just his word.
68. A warm home is good for you,
the sunshine is good for you,
and your health, too, of course,
but don’t underestimate how good it is
to live without things to say sorry for.
69. You can never lose ever’thing,
even if yer health looks to give out any minute.
You might still have yer kids, yer family,
yer money, or something else–
or better, a job well done.
70. Better to be alive, no matter what,
only the living enjoy anything.
I’ve seen a rich man’s corpse;
it wadn’t different than a poor man’s.
71. Break yer leg? You can ride a horse still.
Lost a hand? Not yer voice, too, I reckon.
Cain’t hear? Bet you can still fight.
There ain’t a damn way any shot at life
is worse than empty death.
72. It’s good to have a son,
or someone you can call that;
there ain’t too many men remembered
‘cept those as left family behind.
73. If two fight again’ one, two’ll probably win.
And again, son, watch yer damn tongue.
And never trust
that what folks keep hidden from you
is for yer own good.
74. The weather can change a lot in five days,
it can change even more in a month,
and you’re a fool if you think you can predict it.
Never trust to anything
that’s not in yer own power.
75. I’ve said you should listen,
but don’t listen to goddamned idiots.
And remember: You might be poor,
someone else might be rich,
and neither o’ you has the other to blame.
76. Cows die, friends and family die,
you will die just the same way.
But if you have a good reputation,
that might survive you.
77. Cows die, friends and family die,
you will die just the same way.
The only thing that won’t die
is what folks say about you
when you’re dead.
78. I saw a rich man’s sons,
they had a good many head o’ cattle.
Now they’re beggars in the street.
Wealth’s nothin’ to count on;
it’ll leave you as soon as it finds you.
79. Now, a good thing may happen
to a pretty stupid man,
but that dudn’t make him any better.
He’ll be just as arrogant,
and not any smarter.
(81.) Don’t sing the praises
of anything that’s not over.
Not the day’s before the night,
not the work’s before its end,
not the man’s before his death.
You just read The Cowboy Havamal, part of that classic wisdom poem from the Poetic Edda translated into a Western American dialect. This poem is also included as an appendix to my published translation of the Poetic Edda.
More info on the author at my website.
A long time ago, in a North Atlantic far far away…
Earlier this week I was drawn into an enlightening discussion with my colleague Ben Frey about the complicated textual tradition that lies behind George Lucas’s “Star Wars,” which few outside the scholarly community realize is a modern rendition of an old Germanic legend of a fatal conflict between a father and his treacherous son. Below I present some remarks on the Old Icelandic version of the legend, with some spare comparative notes on the cognate traditions in other old Germanic languages.
The story as presented in George Lucas’s films represents only one manuscript tradition, and a rather late and corrupt one at that – the Middle High German epic called Himelgengærelied (Song of the Skywalkers). There is also an Old High German palimpsest known to scholars, later overwritten by a Latin choral and only partly legible to us today, which contains fragments of a version wherein “Veitare” survives to old age after slaying “Lûc” out of loyalty to the emperor, but is naturally still conflicted about the deed when the son of his daughter Leia avenges the killing on him.
This is also the ending that we infer for the Icelandic Tattúínárdǿla saga (the Saga of the People of the Tattúín River Valley), though unfortunately the ending of that saga is lost and has to be reconstructed from the scant remains of the Old High German poem and from references in other sagas (it should be noted that the later chivalric Lúks saga Anakinssonar is derived from another tradition and may well be a translation of a continental epic, probably one closely related to the extant Middle High German Himelgengærelied, from which Lucas’s narrative is drawn). The author of the Old English poem Déor also knows an “Anacan, haten heofongangende” (“Anacen, named the sky-walker”), who later in the poem is referred to by an alternative byname, “sunubana” (“son-killer”), suggesting that the more tragic version of the tale was current among the Anglo-Saxons too. Hammershaimb seems to know a Faroese ballad on the two “Himingangarar,” but there is no trace of the text of this ballad in any known collection, and it was not known to the last exponents of the Faroese oral tradition in the early twentieth century.
Tattúínárdǿla saga tells of the youth of Anakinn himingangari, beginning with his childhood as a slave in Tattúínárdalr, notably lacking the prolonged racing scene of the MHG version, and referring to the character of “Jarjari inn heimski” only as a local fool slain by Anakinn in a childhood berserker rage (whereas in the MHG version, “Jarjare” is one of “Anacen’s” marshals and his constant companion; Cochrane 2010 suggests that this may be because the MHG text is Frankish in origin, and “Jarjare” was identified with a Frankish culture hero with a similar name). After this killing, for which Anakinn’s owner (and implied father) refuses to pay compensation, Anakinn’s mother, an enslaved Irish princess, foresees a great future for Anakinn as a “jeði” (the exact provenance of this word is unknown but perhaps represents an intentionally humorous Irish mispronunciation of “goði”). This compels Anakinn to recite his first verse:
Þat mælti mín móðir,
at mér skyldi kaupa
fley ok fagrar árar
fara á brott með jeðum,
standa upp í stafni,
stýra dýrum xwingi,
halda svá til hafnar,
hǫggva mann ok annan.
(“My mother said/ That they should buy me/ A warship and fair oars,/ That I should go abroad with Jedis,/ Stand up in the ship’s stern,/ Steer a magnificent X-Wing,/ Hold my course till the harbor,/ Kill one man after another.”)
The etymology of “xwingi” (nom. *xwingr?) is unknown; numerous editors have proposed emendations, but none is considered particularly plausible. It is likely to be another humorous Irish mispronunciation of a Norse word.
As a teenager, Anakinn purchases his freedom from his owner, and arranges for passage to Kóruskantborg with the notorious Viking Víga-Óbívan, with whom he is sworn into the service of the King of Kóruskantborg after a series of adventures that prove his mettle and initiative in battle.
Over the next several years, we follow the career of Anakinn as he falls in love with Irish princess Paðéma after killing her father at the Battle of Confey, and his mentor Víga-Óbívan continues to encourage him to betray Falfaðinn, the King of Kóruskantborg. Eventually Falfaðinn learns of Víga-Óbívan’s duplicity and exiles him. Víga-Óbívan returns to Tattúínárdalr, and Anakinn is conflicted when he learns that Paðéma has been in league with Víga-Óbívan and sails to Tattúínárdalr with him. However, Anakinn is loyal to his oaths to King Falfaðinn and remains with him in Kóruskantborg, where he rises to great honor in the service of the king and is the recipient of many good gifts. He also begins the planning of the construction of the great ship Dauðastjarna, which when completed will be the crown jewel of Falfaðinn’s fleet, and will hold a crew large enough to sack a city single-handedly. Because of his great skill in hunting, Anakinn is now known to most as Veiðari-Anakinn, “hunter-Anakinn,” or often simply Veiðari.
Back in Tattúínárdalr, Paðéma gives birth to twins, Lúkr and Leia, before dying from her grief at having betrayed her husband. One of the most memorable lines in the saga is given to her on her deathbed:
Þá mælti Paðéma: “Þeim var ek verst er ek unna mest.”
(Then Padmé said: “I was worst to the man that I loved most.”)
Víga-Óbívan commends Leia to the care of a local goði and Lúkr to a man whom he believes to be Anakinn’s brother, but who is probably a disguised Óðinn. Déor speaks of the son of “Anacan” as having been raised by “Owen,” which may suggest that this interpretation is correct, but if this is in fact the name of the god, it is unclear why the form should lack the initial glide of Anglo-Saxon (unless this part of the story originated in the Danelaw; for full discussion of this and other problems of the text in Deor see Nashat 2010).
Víga-Óbívan waits for Lúkr to attain manhood, and by now is himself an old man. When young Lúkr follows some lost sheep onto Víga-Óbívan’s property and is attacked by his retainers, Víga-Óbívan defends him and later tells Lúkr (who in a dream has been given his father’s byname, “himingangari,” by a dís, but is unaware that his father also bore it), that Lúkr’s father Anakinn was slain by Veiðari, the great captain of King Falfaðinn of Kóruskantborg. Lúkr swears vengeance, accepts the gift of his father’s sword Ljósamækir from Víga-Óbívan, and with the help of the mercenary Hani (if scholars are correct in emending his name in this way; the manuscript reads “Hann”) and his ship the Þúsundár Fálkinn, sails to find the great ship Dauðastjarna, which Veiðari steers as captain of Falfaðinn’s fleet. After a long series of close battles, Lúkr and a team of Hebridean Vikings (who, we learn in a long prelude to this encounter, have long quarreled with Falfaðinn over a taxation matter) finally sink the Dauðastjarna, though not before Víga-Óbívan is slain in a holmgang with Veiðari, and the Hebrideans’ base on the island now known as Mainland has been looted by Veiðari’s Vikings.
The saga spends several chapters describing the escalation of tensions between Veiðari and Lúkr over the next years. Hani returns to Tattúínárdalr and is there betrothed to Leia (whom Lúkr still does not know to be his sister); he becomes a great goði. Meanwhile Lúkr shipwrecks on an island in the Faroes called Dagóba (the name is of unknown origin but probably Celtic) where he meets and is trained by the great warrior Jóði, who was a companion of Víga-Óbívan in his youth; Jóði continues to incite Lúkr to kill Veiðari, but his remarks are confusing in the text as preserved and are probably much damaged by later redactors – the word order is considerably jumbled and many of his comments reflect anachronistic Christian sentiments.
Finally Lúkr sees the ghost of Víga-Óbívan outside the latter’s howe, and Víga-Óbívan intones a scornful skaldic stanza at Lúkr, informing Lúkr that Hani and Leia (whom he now strongly hints is Lúkr’s sister) have been abducted by Veiðari’s men, and upbraiding him for being in the Faroes “sporting with Jóði” when this occurred.
Lúkr returns to Jóði (who in a bizarre aside is revealed to live inside a giant tree trunk in the middle of a marsh), and tells him of the apparition. Jóði foresees that if Lúkr leaves, he will face his death, but in typical saga-heroic fashion Lúkr refuses the older man’s counsel and sets out to rescue his sworn brother. Their exchange is well-known to students of Old Icelandic literature as a classic example of the forecasting of which the saga authors were so fond:
“Þú munt vera maðr feigr,” segir Jóði, “Ok ver þú varr um þik.”
“Ekki mun mér þat stoða,” segir Lúkr, “Ef mér er þat ætlat.”
(“You must be a doomed man,” said Yoda, “Be watchful of yourself.”
“That will not avail me,” said Luke, “If this be my fate.”)
Having infiltrated Veiðari’s court, Lúkr discovers that his sworn brother Hani has been turned to ice by Veiðari’s sorcery, and engages in a memorable holmgang with Veiðari, in which Veiðari reveals to Lúkr that he is his father:
Veiðari mælti: “Víga-Óbívan segði aldrigi þér þat, er orðit er af feðr þínum.”
“Hann sagði mér ǿrit,” segir Lúkr, “Hann sagði mér, at þú hann dræpir.”
“Ekki er þat satt,” kvað Veiðari, “Ok em ek þinn faðir.”
(Vader said: “Obi-Wan would never tell you, what happened to your father.”
“He told me enough,” said Luke, “He told me that you killed him.”
“That is not true,” said Vader, “I am your father.”)
In the German version made famous by Lucas’s films, “Lûc” proceeds to deny “Veiter’s” statement, repeatedly shouting “no” and imploring the heavens to see to it that it should not be so. However, in the Icelandic version, Lúkr coolly accepts Veiðari’s statement and continues to fight:
“Eigi vil ek þat trúa,” segir Lúkr, “En ef þú ert víst minn faðir, svá fær þú skilit þat, at ek held þínu sverði Ljósamæki.”
“Já vist,” segir Veiðari, “Eða hvat segir þú til?”
(“I will not believe that,” said Luke. “But if you are truly my father, then you can see, that I hold your sword Lightsaber.”
“Yes I can,” said Vader, “What more do you have to say about it?”)
The conclusion of their heroic dialogue has stirred the imaginations of generations of Old Norse enthusiasts:
“Þat mun ekki gera,” segir Lúkr, “Þú munt þó drepa vilja Hana, mág minn, ok er þat skǫmm, ef ek sit hjá.” Ok lagði til Veiðara tveim hǫndum sverðinu.
“Karlmannliga er at farit,” segir Veiðari. Veiðari høggr á hǫndina Lúki, svá at af tók, en niðr fell Ljósamækir ok með honum Lúkr.
(“It doesn’t matter,” said Luke, “You will still want to kill Han, my brother-in-law, and it would be shameful for me to sit idly by.” And he swung the sword at Vader with two hands.
“That is manfully done,” said Vader. He cut Luke’s hand, so that it was cut off, and Lightsaber fell down and with it Luke.)
Lúkr is saved from drowning by the intercession of Leia and Hani’s men in the Þúsundár Fálkinn. Following this memorable climax, there is an extended lacuna in the manuscript, and the action picks up again with an episode wherein Lúkr rescues Hani and Leia from the corrupt (and grossly obese) Danish merchant Jabbi, a rather comical figure on the whole, and this entire incident is probably to be reckoned an interpolation from a later chivalric saga. Unfortunately the saga shows its repetitive nature at this point, and we once again learn that Veiðari is building, under the auspices of Falfaðinn, a great ship to be named Dauðastjarna in meiri. At a great feast, Lúkr and Hani swear that they will kill Veiðari and Falfaðinn, burn Dauðastjarna, and conquer Kóruskantborg. Their boasts are considered binding and the sworn brothers lead several warships loaded with men to the position of the Dauðastjarna. There Hani is assisted by what the saga describes as “birnir” (literally “bears,” but in context probably to be understood as “Shetlanders” – the German version confusingly seems to understand these as actual bears) in his great assault on Falfaðinn’s fleet, but Lúkr is captured by Veiðari and brought to an audience with Falfaðinn.
Here the text of Tattúínardǿla saga is regrettably lost, but is almost surely to be reconstructed as discussed above (with the aid of hints from the Old High German text): with a climactic final holmgang in which a conflicted Veiðari chooses loyalty to his lord over loyalty to his bloodline, killing his son Lúkr and in the process bereaving himself of his own heir, and a later conclusion in which the prosperous, but troubled and aged, hersir Veiðari is himself slain in vengeance for Lúkr by the son of Hani and Leia.
Note: When the above introduction was written in 2010, I had not yet intended to write out the saga chapter-by-chapter, as I did over the following couple of years. The story as presented in the saga below does occasionally contradict the introduction, not least in including the ending of the story. If you want to skip the prequels, the original trilogy starts between chapters 16 and 17. Note that the way the saga is written in English is a deliberate pastiche on the old-fashioned English of so many translators.
Chapter 1: Concerning Jarl Jothi Gormoarson
JOTHI WAS THE NAME OF A MAN, son of Gormo. Jothi was a little man, but so strong that none was his equal. When he was young, he went a-viking and raided. With him in friendship was that man who was named Vindu, a noble man and the most valiant in strength and daring. He was a berserker. He and Jothi were in good agreement about everything, and there was the greatest friendship between them.
Jothi had one son. He was named Duku. Duku was a black-haired man and ugly, like his father both in appearance and in manners. He became a very active man. He was skilled in wood and iron, and became the greatest smith.
Now when Duku was in his twenties, he began to go raiding. Jothi got him a longship. With him on his expeditions went the sons of Vindu – they had a good following and another longship – and they went a-viking during the summer and took much property and gained good loot. During the summers they would go out a-viking, but in the winters they would stay home with their fathers. Duku would bring home many treasures and give them to his father. This was good both for his wealth and for his station among men. At this time Jothi was at an advanced age, but his son was in the prime of his life.
Falfathinn was the name of a war-king, who was called Falfathinn lightning-bolt. He became king of Koruskantborg in Norway, and swore that he would become sole king over Norway.
King Falfathinn lay with his army in the region of the Jedi Fjords. He sent his men out around the land there to meet those men who had not joined him, but whom he thought it would be profitable to have with him.
The king’s messengers came to Jothi and received a good welcome. They announced their errand, and said that the king wanted Jothi to come meet him. “He has,” they said, “Learned that you are a noble man and of a great family. You will receive great honor from him. The king is very eager to have with him those men whom he learns are valiant in power and physical courage.”
Jothi answered and said that he was an old man, so that we has not physically capable of going out in warships. “I would rather sit at home now, and leave off serving kings.”
The messengers went away, and when they came to the king, they told him everything that Jothi had said to them. The king was angry about this and said so in as many words, and declared that Jothi’s family was one of proud men, and wondered what kind of offer they would be content with.
Maul the Red was near, and bade the king to leave aside his anger. “I will go to meet Jothi, and he will want to join you immediately when he learns that it means so much to you.”
Then Maul the Red went to meet Jothi, and said to him that the king was angry and that it would not avail, unless one of them, he or his son, went to the king, and said that they would receive great honor from the king if they would bow to him. He told him, as was surely the truth, that the king was good to his men, and gave them honor and riches.
Jothi said that it was his plan “that my son and I not kowtow to this king, and I will not go to meet him. But if Duku comes home this summer, he will be easily persuaded to this and will want to become the king’s man. Say to the king, that I will gladly be his friend and the friend of all men, who respect my words, and I will hold to my friendship with him. I also want the same authority and charge given to me by him as by earlier kings, if the king will that it be so, and if he agrees to this we’ll see about whether I’ll serve him.”
Then Maul went back to the king and told him that Jothi would send him his son, and said that it was better that he was not then home. The king let the matter rest for a time.
Duku Jothason and Meis Vindusson came home that autumn from raiding. Duku went to his father.
The father and son took to talking. Duku asked what had been the errand of those men whom Falfathinn had sent. Jothi said that the king had sent word, that either Jothi or his son should become the king’s man.
“How did you answer?” Asked Duku.
“I said what was on my mind, which was that I would never sell myself into the hand of King Falfathinn, and you wouldn’t either, if you took my advice. I think that in the end this king will cause our death.”
“You think of this quite differently from me,” said Duku, “For I think that I will receive from him the greatest glory, and so I am firmly resolved that I will go to meet the king and will become his man, and I have learned for the truth, that his following is made up of only the most valiant men. It seems to me a great opportunity to join that following, if they want to have me. Those men are treated better than anyone else in this land. I hear that the king is incredibly generous with his money and gives all of it to his men and doesn’t hesitate to give them advancement and land when he thinks that they’ve earned these things. But I hear that all those who turn him down and don’t want to accept his friendship, become unimportant men, and some leave the country, or become migrant workers. It seems strange to me, father, that you, such a wise man as you are, and so eager for glory, would not want to accept gratefully the honor that the king has offered you. But if you think that you have a vision that we will suffer at the hands of this king and that he will become our enemy, why didn’t you fight against him in the army of the king that you used to serve? It seems unreasonable to me, to be neither Falfathinn’s enemy nor his friend.”
“It went as I expected,” said Jothi, “For those who went to fight Falfathinn lightning-bolt up north in Møre. And it will be the same now as it was then, that Falfathinn will be a great harm to my kinsmen. But you, Duku, you must follow your own wishes. I don’t doubt, though you enter into Falfathinn’s army, that you will become a man considered better than a match for any other, and equal to the best in any kind of combat. But beware that you do not think too much of yourself, and that you do not fight with men greater than you. But I do not need to counsel you to be any less yielding than you are.”
Then Duku pledged himself to the king and entered his following.
Duku had one son. He was named Kvaeggan. Kvaeggan was then eighteen years old, a promising young man and brave. He was a good-spirited man, generous and energetic, and the best fighter. He was popular with everyone.
When Jothi learned of the treachery of his son Duku, he became angry at the news, so that he stayed in his bed out of sorrow and old age. Kvaeggan came to him often and spoke to him, bade him take cheer, and said that anything would be better than to lie in bed miserably. “Rather do I think that it is a good idea, that we should take land in Iceland and set up residence there. Men can take land there for free, and choose where to build a home.” Jothi agreed soon to this idea, and they resolved to move their home and leave the country.
Early in the spring they prepared their ships. They had good ships and big ones; they had in their possession two large ocean-going ships, and on each one thirty able-bodied men, in addition to women and children. They had with them all their cattle that they could bring, but no man wished to buy their land for fear of the king.
And when they were ready, they sailed away. They sailed to those islands, which are called the Faroes. And on one island, which is called Dagoba, Jothi disembarked and walked away, and never came back to his ship. Kvaeggan went to look for him, but he had left no trace. Then Kvaeggan ordered everyone to search for him, but they never found him.
Chapter 2: Concerning Chieftain Kvæggan Dúkússon
Kvaeggan Dukusson arrived with his ship on Iceland at Nobu Valley. On the ship with him was his son, Obivan.
Kvaeggan set up a homestead. In the spring he moved the homestead north over the heath and set up his home in the place called Nobu. And one night he dreamed that his grandfather Jothi came to him and said: “There you lie, Kvaeggan, and rather unwarily. Move your home away from here and west over the Nobu River. There your luck will be good.” After that he woke up and moved over the Tattuin River into Tattuin Valley, in a place later called Kvaeggan’s Place.
Vatto was the name of a man who lived on the estate called Mosaesli. That is in Tattuin Valley. He had a slave woman who was named Smy. She was a widow and had a bastard son, and he was named Anakinn the Sky-Walker. She said that he was the son of a certain Fossi, a kinsman of Jothi Gormoarson, but Kvaeggan did not know this. He was called Anakinn the Sky-Walker because he could leap higher than his own height, and he leapt so high that he seemed to walk in the sky.
Vatto enjoyed games and tests of strength, and he was always going on about such things. Anakinn was a combative boy and irritable, and he was a good wrestler.
One year, at the beginning of winter, long after Kvaeggan had come to Iceland, a wrestling match was held in Mosaesli, and it was well-attended. Men from all over the region came, and many of Kvaeggan’s men went there too. Most prominent among them was Obivan Kvaeggansson. He was twenty years old. He had grown big and strong early in his life, and was manly in temperament, a bit dark and with an ugly nose but otherwise handsome, with long, reddish hair. He was called Viga-Obivan (Killer-Obivan).
Anakinn was nine years old. He had to fight a boy who was named Jarjari, son of Georg from Gunga’s Place. Jarjari was eleven winters old, perhaps ten, and strong for his age. And when they wrestled, Anakinn got the worst of it. Jarjari did not restrain himself against the weaker boy. Jarjari grabbed him and drove him down into a big fall and hurt him, and said that he would injure Anakinn badly if Anakinn didn’t respect him. And when Anakinn came to his feet, he left the wrestling ring, and the boys all jeered at him.
Anakinn became severely angry. He went to Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson and told him what had happened.
Viga-Obivan gave Anakinn his sword, and this sword was called Lightsaber. Such weapons were common in those days. Anakinn ran at Jarjari and drove the sword into the other boy’s head so deep that it stood in his brain.
The men of Gungaville leapt to their weapons, and so did the men of Tattuin Valley. Seven men died in the ensuing fight, and Georg was mortally injured.
And when Anakinn came home, Vatto was angry about what had happened, and from then on there was hostility between him and Viga-Obivan.
Smy said that Anakinn had the character of one of the men from the Jedi Fjords and prophecied that when he was old enough he would get a ship called “X-Wing.” Anakinn then recited this poem:
My mother said that
they should buy me
a warship and fair oars,
that I should go abroad
with the men from the Jedi Fjords,
stand up in the stern,
steer the magnificent X-Wing,
hold a course to the harbor,
cut down one man after another.
In that time there came a great famine in Tattuin Valley, so that Kvaeggan had very little hay or food. Then Kvaeggan asked Viga-Obivan to come on a trip with him. They went to Mosaesli and called Vatto out. He greeted them, and Kvaeggan took his greeting gracefully.
“This is my errand,” said Kvaeggan. “I have come to buy hay and food from you, if you have them.”
“I have both,” said Vatto, “But I won’t sell you either.
Viga-Obivan said: “We should just take the things we need, and leave him payment in their place.”
“I’m no robber,” said Kvaeggan.
“Would you buy a slave from me?” asked Vatto.
“I could use one of those,” said Kvaeggan. Then he bought Anakinn the Sky-walker from Vatto, and went home with this done.
Chapter 3: Concerning Maul Zabraksson the Red and the Killing of Kvaeggan
Maul the Red was the name of a man, a follower of Falfathinn. He was the son of Zabrak Iridoniusson. He was a warrior of great achievements.
When Falfathinn learned that Jothi and his family had moved out of Norway, he grew angry, and called for Maul the Red, whom he then sent to Iceland.
“Go to Iceland,” said Falfathinn, “And kill Jothi Gormoarson.”
But when Maul the Red came to Iceland, it was many years before he found Kvaeggan’s home in Tattuin Valley. Kvaeggan was not home, but the slave Anakinn was outside haying.
“Tell me where your master is,” said Maul.
“He is not home,” said Anakinn, “But his son is in the side-room.”
Maul went to the side-room, but did not find Viga-Obivan. Anakinn ran to the barn where Kvaeggan and Viga-Obivan were.
Kvaeggan saw Anakinn and asked, “Why aren’t you at work?”
“I’m not at work, but a follower of Falfathinn’s is,” said Anakinn.
Maul the Red came to the barn now, and saw Kvaeggan. He drew two swords, and in one movement attacked both Kvaeggan and Viga-Obivan.
Viga-Obivan was armed. Maul’s sword came at him on the left side and hit his shield below the rim, and broke it in half; it then went into Viga-Obiívan’s leg above the knee and stopped there. Maul’s other sword hit Kvaeggan on the shoulder and cut off his arm, and that wound would end the life of Kvaeggan. But Viga-Obivan swung his sword Lightsaber at Maul the Red, and cut him in half in the middle.
“Father,” said Viga-Obivan to Kvaeggan.
“It is too late,” said Kvaeggan.
“It is not,” said Viga-Obivan.
Kvæggan said: “Obivan, promise me that you will free the boy, for he has been very truthful and trustworthy. And promise, both of you, that you will avenge me.”
Viga-Obivan agreed to this.
Kvaeggan said: “He is chosen for this… it is as fate decrees… he will change the balance… avenge me!”
Kvaeggan died. He was the handsomest of men, with long reddish-brown hair, and in all ways he was the noblest man. Viga-Obivan did not weep.
He declared Anakinn free, and they both promised that they would go to Norway and there avenge Kvaeggan.
Chapter 4: Concerning the Lightsabers
Now this must be told. When Duku Jothason was young, he was a good smith, and before he went out a-viking one summer, he made a sword. And when he took it from the forge, it seemed to his assistants that green flames burned from the edges. He now bade his father Jothi to hold the sword, and said that he did not know how to make a sword, if this one should fail. Jothi swung at the anvil and cut it down to the base, and the sword neither broke nor chipped. He praised the sword very much and went to the river with a tuft of wool. And when he cast the wool into the river, and put the blade downstream from it, the sword cut it in half. Jothi went home happily.
But Duku followed his father home and said, “Father, why did you take the sword from me? I am going out a-viking, and I have need of a good sword.”
Jothi said: “Your father likes this sword, which I name Lightsaber the Green, and you can make another sword as good as this one, if you are indeed such a good smith as men say.”
Duku was angered, but he made another sword. This sword was sharper than Lightsaber the Green, and from it shone a red flame; it was named Lightsaber the Red. And he hid this sword from his father.
Chapter 5: Concerning Queen Pathema the Fair
Now this must be told. Viga-Obivan and Anakinn rode east to Horn Fjord, and with them most of Viga-Obivan’s men. They brought with them all their wares and luggage and movable things that they needed to have. Then they prepared their ship. Viga-Obivan was with the ship while it was being prepared. And when they got a fair wind, they set sail into the sea. They were at sea a long time and had bad weather; soon they became lost.
At last waves had overrun the ship three times, and Viga-Obivan said that they were near land and that these must be the shoals. There was a great fog, and the weather got worse, so that they endured a great storm. They could not find their way, till they ran aground at night. Their lives were spared, but the ship was shattered into small pieces, and they could not save the cattle. They sought to warm themselves as best they could.
And the day after that, they went up on a hill. The weather was good. Viga-Obivan asked whether any of the men knew this land, who had been there before. There were two men who knew the land, and who said that they had come to Ireland in the realm of Thithborg. “We could have landed in a worse place,” said Viga-Obivan, “For Pathema the Fair rules here. There is little love between Pathema and Falfathinn. We should put ourselves at the mercy of the queen. We can hardly do otherwise, for the queen has our lives in her hands, if she so wishes.” They all went away from that place. Viga-Obivan said that they should say no word to any man about the news or about their journey, till he could talk to the queen.
They walked till they found some men, who showed them to the queen. They went before the queen, and Viga-Obivan and Anakinn and all the men with them greeted her.
Pathema was the most beautiful of women who lived in this world, both in her fair appearance and in her wits. It had become proverbial, how beautiful she was, and thus she was called Pathema the Fair. She was a woman of such nobility that in her time other women, for all their finery, seemed childish next to her. She was the most learned of women, and the most eloquent of speech; she was a generous queen.
The queen asked what manner of men these were. Viga-Obivan gave his name and told her what region of Iceland he had come from. The queen had learned earlier that Falfathinn had sent Maul the Red to kill Kvaeggan Dukusson and Jothi Gormoarson, and so she recognized these men immediately. She asked Viga-Obivan, “What can you tell of Maul Zabraksson the Red, Falfathinn’s man?”
“I can say this,” said Viga-Obivan, “That I cut him in half.”
“Bless your hands!” Said Pathema. Viga-Obivan and Anakinn entered the service of Queen Pathema, and soon there arose great friendship between Anakinn and the queen.
Chapter 6: Concerning Jothi’s Prophecy
It was in the days of Queen Pathema of Thithborg that King Falfathinn desired to increase his realm, and to become king over Thithborg. For this reason he had the harbor of Thithborg blockaded by his navy.
And when Queen Pathema would not turn over her rule to Falfathinn, Viga-Obivan told her, that they should go to meet Falfathinn in Koruskantborg and seek a settlement with him. Pathema agreed to this.
But when Pathema’s ship was ready, Anakinn asked Viga-Obivan, whether he might come along with him and Pathema.
“That is not my intent,” said Viga-Obivan, “For you are too young.”
“But Kvaeggan bade me promise him, that I as well as you should avenge him,” said Anakinn.
Then Viga-Obivan agreed that Anakinn should come with them.
With them on this ship was a man named Artveir-Ditveir. He was a little man and silent, for he did not speak Norse, but he was a great wizard, and could cause any ship that he sang upon to move so swiftly, that no other could overtake it. And his magic availed, and Falfathinn’s navy did not catch them.
But before they came to Norway, they landed in the Faroes, on that island which is called Dagoba. And when Viga-Obivan and Anakinn went to get water from a waterfall, they saw a very old man, and they asked him who he was.
“Jothi my name is, son of Gormo, father of Duku Kvaeggan’s father,” the man said.
“Then you are the grandfather of my father, for I am Obivan, son of Kvaeggan, and he was slain in Iceland,” said Viga-Obivan.
“That I know, for seen it I have,” said Jothi.
“Then you must be a man with second sight,” said Viga-Obivan, “And if it is true, then you will also have seen that I have come with a certain freeman, who is called Anakinn the Sky-walker, and he has sworn that he and I both shall avenge my father. My father told me, that you had prophesied when he was young, that a freeman should come among our kin, and that it was destined that he should change the balance. I do not know whether I believe in this.”
“You know that you believe it, and that your father believed it. That he shall avenge your father, you believe? That he should become one of the men of the Jedi Fjords, you ask? Tried shall he be.” And Jothi turned to Anakinn, and asked, “Afraid are you?”
“I am not afraid,” said Anakinn.
“See through you, I can,” said Jothi, “Afraid to lose your mother, are you.”
“Is that important?” Said Anakinn.
“That is of the greatest importance,” said Jothi, “For fear sows anger, anger sows hate, hate sows suffering.”
Then Anakinn became angry, and he said, “I am not afraid.”
“Then continue, shall we,” said Jothi.
Chapter 7: Concerning the Journey of Anakinn and Pathema to Norway
Viga-Obivan and Anakinn dwelled there on Dagoba many years with Jothi; he was a very old man, but as strong as he was in his youth. He taught Anakinn to fight in the way of the men from the Jedi fjords, and Anakinn became the best of fighters. In the summers Viga-Obivan would go out raiding. But Jothi would never again leave the island Dagoba.
Anakinn grew up there on Dagoba in the Faeroes. He was the handsomest of men who had been born in Iceland; he had strong features and a good face, with the best of eyes and light-colored hair; he had long hair as fair as silk, and it fell in locks. He was a big man and strong, much like Kvaeggan had been. Anakinn comported himself better than any man, so that all wondered when they saw him; he was also a better fighter than most other men. He was craftier than most men and the best of swimmers; he could outperform other men in any sport.
And when they had been on Dagoba ten years, Queen Pathema was twenty-four years old, and Anakinn the Sky-walker was eighteen. Pathema became very angry that they had not yet gone to Norway. Viga-Obivan thought that Anakinn was full-grown and quite ready to avenge Kvaeggan, but Jothi thought that Anakinn was very young and angry, and said, “And you, Obivan, much like your grandfather are you, and will not heed good advice, and need you this temperament not.”
Nevertheless Viga-Obivan went to Norway, and with him Pathema and Anakinn.
The weather was good, and they reached Norway in the north at the Jedi Fjords. Viga-Obivan said, “Anakinn, go with Pathema to Koruskantborg. And I will find Meis Vindusson, the friend of my father, in the Jedi fjords. I cannot go to Koruskantborg, for the king knows my family, and he would slay me immediately. But remain with Pathema, and guard her from the king’s men, till I come back with men from the Jedi Fjords.”
Anakinn and Pathema came to Koruskantborg on their ship. In that time were there many Icelandic men in Norway, who were of the highest station; at the pier there were three ships already, and Icelanders owned them all.
But when they stepped off the ship, a man ran at Pathema, and made to kill her with his sword. At that instant Anakinn cut off the man’s leg above his knee, and this wound was enough to kill him.
Anakinn said, “This will mean that Falfathinn wants you killed.”
Pathema said, “Nevertheless I want to go to him, and exchange words with him.” Pathema went immediately to meet King Falfathinn and Anakinn was with her; they received a good welcome.
The king asked, whether it was true that a man had tried to kill her on the pier earlier that day. Pathema answered that this was true.
The king said, “We do not like this news, and We wish to advise You that Ye keep with you a good man who can guard You from robbers.” Then the king asked, who that stately man was, who was in her following, and she answered, “This is my retainer and he is called Anakinn the Sky-walker.”
“Certainly he is a bold-looking fellow,” said the king.
Chapter 8: Concerning Smy, the Mother of Anakinn
Now Anakinn became Pathema’s retainer, and he followed her wherever she needed to go. They exchanged many words in private, and men laughed about this and joked that the slave’s son Anakinn Sky-walker would ask for the hand of the fair queen.
It is said that once Anakinn told Pathema of a dream: “I dreamed,” he said, “That I seemed to see my mother, and I saw her so clearly that I seemed to see her just as I see you. She suffered torments, and men that I didn’t know killed her. I know that I swore to protect you, but I cannot allow my mother to suffer so. There is no other choice than for me to help my mother.”
Pathema said, “But if you must protect me, so also must I be with you.”
“Yes,” said Anakinn, “But you cannot come with me to Iceland. It is a dangerous land.”
“I am a queen,” said Pathema, “And I can do as I please.”
Then they prepared for their journey, and they arrived in Iceland at Nobudalr, and they slept there on the beach that night.
“When I was a child, I enjoyed the beach, lying on the sand and drying off under the sun. And I entertained myself by guessing the names of the birds that sang,” said Pathema.
“I don’t like sand,” said Anakinn.
In the morning they went to Mosaesli, and there they found Vatto. Anakinn asked, whether he had seen his mother Smy.
“I don’t own her any longer,” said Vatto.
Anakinn asked, “Do you know where she is?”
“I sold her to a farmer who is named Klegg Larsson, who lives at the Farm of Waters in Tattuin Valley.”
Anakinn now went to the Farm of Waters and Pathema with him. They found there a house and a man outside who was cutting wood. Anakinn asked him what his name was, and he called himself Oin. Oin asked Anakinn for his name, which he also provided. Oin recognized this name. Then he led Anakinn and Pathema into the house; it was small but well-built. He told his wife that some people had come. She was named Bera. She saw Anakinn and said, “Most men will be badly rewarded by this one, but you’ll have your way, I guess.”
Oin’s father was Klegg. He sat inside the house and did not come out; one of his legs had been cut off.
Anakinn asked, “Where is my mother, Smy, whom Vatty in Mosaesli sold to you?”
Klegg said, “The great robbers, the sons of Tuskinn, took her.”
Anakinn asked, whether these ill deeds were unavenged.
“I went to the Tuskinssons, and made to take her back,” said Klegg, “But I came home with one foot fewer.”
Anakin was silent, then stood and walked out.
Oin asked, “Where are you going?”
“To find my mother,” said Anakinn.
“She is dead, son-in-law,” said Klegg.
“That is not true,” said Anakinn, “For I can see her in my dreeams. I know that she lives still, and I must find her.”
Oin said, “I will give you my horse, which is the best in the region.”
Anakinn said, “Certainly I will come back shortly.”
In the morning before the sunrise Anakinn came to the house of the Tuskinssons. He saw a woman on the ground, bleeding profusely, and he recognized his mother.
“Mother,” said Anakinn.
She asked, “Do I hear the voice of Anakinn, my son?”
“I am here, mother. I shall avenge you, and we two shall ride home together,” said Anakinn.
“Anakinn,” she said, “You are certainly a brave man, and my life is complete, now that I see that you have become a good man.” Then Smy died while Anakinn cradled her in his lap. Anakinn ran up into the house and killed very many men. Then he returned to the Farm of Waters with the body of his mother, and there burned her body. Anakinn honored his mother with a funeral feast, as was the old custom.
Chapter 9: Concerning the Secret Counsel of Duku Jothason
Now it must be told, that Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson came to the Jedi Fjords. He found the house of his grandfather, but no one was home. He hid himself in a bed, and slept.
But when he wakened, he heard the voices of many men, and one was there who spoke with a brave voice.
“It will still seem,” said this man, “That I am greedy, but so it always will. And it will be difficult to see to it, that you will not seem to be the worst kind of liar or a traitor, when you do as you intend. But I am told…”
“It is certain,” said another man, “That men will call us the worst kind of liars.”
The man with the brave voice said, “Many stand against us, more with us. The men of the Jedi Fjords are dead, or else gone to Iceland, never to come back. Who has seen my father Jothi in thirty years? Or my son Kvaeggan, or his son Obivan? With them gone, no farmer in the Jedi Fjords will draw a sword when our army comes to his land. We will have the grandest army in Norway, and King Falfathinn will repay us this gift with gifts in turn. He will do us honor, and make us rich lords.”
A third man answered: “Truly is it said, that you hate the bonds of kinship, and rejoice while your father is outlawed. But men say that this is itself a trait of your kin.”
But Duku was silent.
When night fell, men found Viga-Obivan in the bed, and bound him in fetters. Duku heard men talk about this prisoner, and went to talk with him.
Viga-Obivan said: “Traitor to your kin.”
“No, no, my kinsman,” said Duku, “This is misdone, frightfully misdone. They have gone too far, this is madness.”
“I thought you were the leader here, Duku,” said Viga-Obivan.
Dúkú said: “I had nothing to do with this, I assure you. I will ask them immediately to free you.”
“Certainly you will,” said Viga-Obivan, “And I expect that it will not take too long. That work is great, which I have before me.”
Duku said: “It is much to be regretted, that we two have never met before, Viga-Obivan. Kvaeggan praised you much. I wish that he were still alive. He would help me now.”
“Kvaeggan would never have joined you,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“You know not whether you speak truly when you say this. You forget that he was my son, as you were his. He knew that my father Jothi was corrupt with vice when he stood against King Falfathinn, and he would never have gone with Jothi, if he had learned the true story, as I have.”
“The true story?” said Viga-Obian.
“The true story,” said Duku. “What would you tell me, if I told you that the old Jedi Fjord men were the thralls of a Seith Lord?”
“No, that isn’t possible,” said Viga-Obivan. “Jóði, and Kvæggan, and others would know, if that were true.”
“Their eyes are blind,” said Duku, “In the dark waters of Urth’s well, my kinsman. A hundred lords in this very land are the thralls of Seith Lord Sithius.”
“I do not believe your words,” said Viga-Obivan.
“A jarl from Halogaland was in league with Seith Lord Sithius. But ten years ago Sithius betrayed him. He came to me, and sought help from me, and told me all that had happened,” said Duku. “You must join me, Viga-Obivan – together we can destroy the Seith.”
“I shall never stand with you, Duku,” said Viga-Obivan, “As you did not stand with our ancestor Jothi.”
Duku walked out, and he said that he expected to encounter much difficulty in getting Viga-Obivan released.
Chapter 10: Concerning the Battle in the Jedi Fjords
Viga-Obivan sat for many weeks in his fetters, and men gave him little food and no drink except for cold water. One day men came to him and bore him to a small coastal island, where they bound him to a tree.
“If I am bound, I can not draw a sword in a duel,” said Viga-Obivan.
“It is not a duel to which you have been challenged,” said a man. “You are dragon fodder.”
Then Viga-Obivan saw that Anakinn the Sky-walker and Queen Pathema went bound just as he was, and men tied them to other trees. Anakinn was the nearest to Viga-Obivan.
Viga-Obivan asked, “Why are you two in the Jedi Fjords?”
Anakinn said, “We were in Iceland and came back to Norway, but we went first to the Faroes and were guests at the house of Jothi, your forefather. He dreamed one night that you were in the Jedi Fjords and that malicious men bound you. We have come to save you, as you saved me when I was but a boy in the Tattuin River Valley.”
Then Viga-Obivan said that Anakinn and Pathema had failed to do this.
There were many men on the shore near the island, who watched them. Duku Jothason was with them, and another man of chieftain rank, who did not speak Norse. This man said something to those men who stood near some large doors in a building. These men opened the doors, and out came three beasts.
There was a dragon there who breathed fire; he was green, and with six legs. There was also a huge bull; he was red, and looked a monstrous fierce animal with three horns. There was also a lion.
The dragon came first to Viga-Obivan, and breathed fire against him. But Viga-Obivan held his fetters before himself, so that the fire burnt them, and Viga-Obivan escaped unburnt, though his hands were still bound together. The dragon went after him and tried to capture him in his claws, or to break a tree and hit him with the trunk. And he breathed fire, and burnt many trees, and Viga-Obivan could neither hide nor defend himself.
The men who were watching took it badly that Viga-Obivan still lived, for they had believed that the dragon would eat him, and they feared that the dragon would eat them, if it couldn’t get Viga-Obivan. One of them cast a spear at Viga-Obivan, which Viga-Obivan caught in the air and threw at the dragon. The dragon was hardly injured by the spear, and even took it in his mouth, and bit it.
But while Viga-Obivan fought the dragon, the great bull attacked Anakinn. And it is said by men, that Anakinn is called the Sky-walker because he could jump more than his own height in the air. And now he jumped on the back of the bull, and all who saw wondered at this. Anakinn wound his fetters around the horns of the bull, and the bull was so strong, that the fetters burst apart immediately. Now Anakinn rode the bull.
At the same time the lion intended to eat Queen Pathema. But she had in her hand an Irish knife, which was enchanted in this way, that no one could see it except Paðéma. She cut her fetters, and climbed the tree which she had been bound to. But the lion climbed the tree after her, and cut her with its claws. But she still had her fetters in her hands, and she whipped the lion, so that it could not come nearer.
Anakinn the Sky-walker saw that the lion threatened Pathema, and he rode the bull till he reached the lion, and the bull gored the lion with its horns. Pathema leapt out of the tree onto the bull, and they rode to Viga-Obivan, who was still trying to escape the dragon.
Duku Jothason was angry when he saw that Anakinn and Pathema killed the lion. His men went onto the islet, and intended to kill them.
But then a man set a sword on Duku’s neck.
“Meis Vindusson,” said Duku, “I am glad that you have come here.”
But Meis said, “This ‘duel’ can not continue, mother-betrayer.”
Then Duku saw, that there were many men from the Jedi Fjords who had come with Meis, and all of them had swords drawn in their hands.
“You are brave,” said Duku, “But full of foolishness, friend of my father. There are many more men here who stand with me, than stand with you.”
“I believe that I have the greater number,” said Meis.
“We’ll see,” said Duku, and he ran away, while his men shot arrows at Meis Vindusson. But there was no man who could shoot an arrow more swiftly than Meis Vindusson could parry it. No man could swing a sword more swiftly than Meis, and he slew many a bowman with his sword.
Meis Vindusson slew also the great bull, and the Jedi Fjord men who were with Meis gave Anakinn two swords. Anakinn cut the bonds on Viga-Obivan’s hands, and gave him a sword. Now they stood with the men of the Jedi Fjords, and they killed many of Duku’s men. Queen Pathema took a bow from a man who had been killed by Meis, and she slew many men with arrows. But more men came after all who had fallen, and the men of the Jedi Fjords grew weary.
But then men heard Queen Pathema say, “Look!” And they saw that in the harbor there had come a ship, and Jothi Gormoarson stepped forward, and with him from these ships came Faroese fighters, who stood with the men from the Jedi Fjords. These Faroese men killed many of Duku’s men with sword and with arrow and with spear.
But the dragon was still alive, and he slew – with fire, or else with his claws, or with his already bloody teeth – all those men whom he could strike: whether they were from the Jedi Fjords, from the Faroes, or from Duku;s army. And no man could harm the dragon, for his skin was as hard as stone.
Viga-Obivan ran to his forefather Jothi and bade him lend him the good sword Lightsaber the Green, which Duku had once made. Jothi gave it into Viga-Obivan’s hands, and Viga-Obivan went to the dragon bearing this sword.
The dragon spat fire at Viga-Obivan, but Lightsaber the Green was the hardest of all swords, and ate all the fire which the dragon breathed. Then Viga-Obivan cut at the dragon, and struck him above the knee, and took off a foot. He cut again, and again, and cut off a second and a third foot. The dragon then fell, and Viga-Obivan wound up the sword hard and cut at the dragon’s neck, so that the head fell onto the sand.
But the dragon’s head said:
“Fellow! And what a fellow!
Of what fellow were you born?
Of what kin are you the son?
You, who fiercely reddened
Your green sword:
The sword stands in my heart!”
And Viga-Obivan said:
I say to you, to whom it is unknown,
And I reveal myself with the same:
I am named Killer-Obivan,
And Kvaeggan was my father,
It is I who killed you with the weapons!”
Then Viga-Obivan went to the dragon, and he cut the heart out of it with Lightsaber the Green. Jothi was not there, while Viga-Obivan fought the dragon, but he came now, while Viga-Obivan wiped the blood from Lightsaber the Green. Viga-Obivan gave that good sword back to his forefather.
But then Viga-Obivan saw that Duku went on to one of Jothi’s ships, and he began to weigh anchor. He called to the Faroese men, and told them to shoot him, but they said that they had no more arrows. Anakinn the Sky-walker ran to the shore, and swam to the ship before Duku could weigh anchor. Anakinn had a sword in each hand.
Duku Jothason drew Lightsaber the Red. “This is manfully done, boy,” he said.
Duku cut at Anakinn, but Anakinn parried with his swords, though Duku followed each cut with another, so that Anakinn could not make any cuts in return. Finally Duku cut off one of Anakinn’s hands, and Anakinn defended himself with the other for a while, before he fell unconscious to the ground.
But while Anakinn and Duku fought, Jothi had come on to the ship.
“Father,” said Duku, son of Jothi.
“Son,” said Jothi, son of Gormo.
Son drew sword against father, and father drew sword against son. Long they fought, sword on sword, till Jothi said: “Well have you fought, my son.”
But Duku answered with a scornful smile, before he leapt out of the ship into another boat below, and disappeared.
Chapter 11: Concerning the Fall of Duku Jothason
The ship which Duku had stolen from his father Jothi was a very swift ship, and Jothi did not have another which could catch up with it. And there were still many men who stood against the Jedi Fjord men, and the battle continued for a long time.
But when Duku’s men were slain or had fled, Viga-Obivan remembered that Anakinn was on one of Jothi’s ships. He rowed out to this ship, and did not expect that he would find Anakinn alive, because Jothi had told him about the great wound which Duku had inflicted upon him. But Viga-Obivan found Anakinn alive, though not conscious.
Viga-Obivan took Anakinn back to the shore, and showed him to Jothi and to Meis Vindusson. Meis asked whether Viga-Obivan wished for this slave’s son to live.
“Certainly I do,” said Viga-Obivan, “Is it not true, that my ancestor Jothi prophesied, that a man would come to the folk of the Jedi Fjords, a slave-born man, and he would settle our quarrel with Falfathinn?”
“So I prophesied,” said Jothi, “But it is possible, that understand this prophecy we do not.”
“He will not betray us,” said Viga-Obivan, “For I have taken him as my brother.”
“You have great faith in prophecy, as did your father Kvaeggan,” said Meis, “But because Anakinn has saved you, I will heal him. But I do not trust this slave’s son, and my heart tells me that we will regret that I have saved him.”
Jothi Gormoarson had powers of prophecy, but Meis Vindusson was a man of magical skill. He made a new hand for Anakinn, and this hand was made of silver. Then he set this hand on Anakinn’s arm, and cast a spell over him:
“Bone to bone, blood to blood,
Limb to limb, so be they linked.”
Then Anakinn wakened, and his silver hand was as his other hand, and he could move it like the other, even though it was made of silver, and shone like moonlight.
Now Anakinn the Sky-walker and Víga-Obiívan took another of Jothi’s ships. Jothi gave Viga-Obivan Lightsaber the Green, and bade him merit the gift well.
It was a long journey from the Jedi Fjords to Koruskantborg. And when Viga-Obivan and Anakinn sailed into the harbor there, they saw that ship which Duku had stolen. And when they boarded this ship, there were many men who attacked them. But these were young men, untried boys, and they could not harm Viga-Obivan or Anakinn, but Viga-Obivan and Anakinn killed many of them, and many others fled, for they feared the green fire which burned from Lightsaber the Green, and also the fierce man who bore that good sword.
Finally there were no men who stood against Viga-Obivan and Anakinn, and they saw now that Duku Jothason stood alone, and he had King Falfathinn set in fetters.
Duku laughed. “I give you a choice,” he said, “If you want to fight with me, I will kill the king, as I killed his guards. And then whom will you avenge your father on, Víga-Obivan, if King Falfathinn is dead? But if you settle with me, I will take you, Viga-Obivan, as my grandson, innocent of wrongdoing. I say to you still: Join me, grandson. Together we two can destroy the Seith-lord, and we shall be kings in Norway.”
Viga-Obivan did not answer, but he said to Anakinn: “Because I will not have another man kill my father’s slayer, and Duku is himself my father’s father, I will not fight with him.”
But Anakinn became angry, for Duku had cut off his hand, and he cut at Duku with the sword that he held in his silver hand.
Viga-Obivan did not want to see his sworn brother Anakinn killed, and he cut at Duku with Lightsaber the Green. But Duku was a great Seith-man, and he spoke a spell on Viga-Obivan, so that Viga-Obivan fell to the ground asleep.
Duku and Anakinn fought long, and Duku said: “I see that there is great fear in you, great hate, great rage. But these do not avail you.”
Now Anakinn became surpassingly angry, and he took Lightsaber the Green from Viga-Obivan’s hand, and he made a great swing with this sword, and cut from Duku both his hands. Duku fell on his knees, and King Falfathinn laughed.
“You have done well,” said King Falfathinn, “Kill him.”
But Anakinn would not kill Duku, saying “He is the grandfather of Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson, who is my sworn brother. If I kill his kinsman, it will be a great shame, and his family will avenge this on me.”
“If you kill him,” said the king, “I will make you the foremost of all my retainers, and I will grant you jewels, gold, and honor.”
Now Anakinn took the sword Lightsaber the Red, which had fallen to his feet, in his left hand, and he held Lightsaber the Green still in his right. And with both swords he cut off Duku’s head.
Now Anakinn released King Falfathinn from his fetters, and the king said that they had to swim to the shore as swiftly as they could, because the ship was burning.
“I shall not save my own life,” said Anakinn the Sky-walker, “Unless I can save the life of Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson also. He has taken me as his brother, and I would not be faithless to him.”
But King Falfathinn said, “You killed his grandfather, and that he will avenge upon you.”
“Viga-Obivan and I will never fight one another,” said Anakinn, “Even if Jothi Gormoarson his ancestor commands him to kill me.” And Anakinn jumped out of the ship into the sea, and he held Viga-Obivan’s cape in one hand, and so dragged him to the beach.
Many men were waiting on the beach. They stared in amazement, when they saw that the king lived, and that Anakinn the Sky-walker had saved him. And the king said to this crowd which had assembled there: “Anakinn the Sky-walker shall be my bodyguard forever, and I will hear no words spoken against him, which I will not avenge.” And all these men praised Anakinn much.
But Viga-Obivan wakened and heard the words of King Falfathinn, and he liked them very little. “You have become too near to the king, and the Jedi Fjord men do not trust him. Do not forget that Maul Zabraksson the Red, his retainer, killed Kvaeggan Dukusson, my father, and the man who freed you.”
“I have not forgotten this,” said Anakinn, “Nor have I forgotten that we two swore an oath to Kvaeggan as he died, that we would avenge him. But I am now bound to serve the king. I am his retainer, and I will not draw my swords against him.”
And Viga-Obivan observed that Anakinn held two swords, Lightsaber the Red, the sword of his grandfather Duku, and Lightsaber the Green, his own sword. And he said: “Where is my grandfather Duku? You hold his sword, as if it were a war-prize.”
“Your grandfather Duku died on the ship, which burned,” said Anakinn the Sky-walker.
But Viga-Obivan looked upon Anakinn with doubt.
Anakinn said, “I took the sword which took my hand. Is that not rightly done?”
But Viga-Obivan said: “You also took my sword.”
“This sword I took from you,” said Anakinn, “When you would not help your brother, and I helped myself with it. Now, brother, I will give you back Lightsaber the Green, but I make this condition: That you will give it to my son, if a son is born to me.”
“I shall do so,” said Viga-Obivan, “For you have truly become my brother. But what shall you do with Lightsaber the Red?”
“This sword I take as my own,” said Anakinn, “And as recompense for my hand.”
Anakinn went now to the king’s hall, but Viga-Obivan bought a boat, and sailed back to the Jedi Fjords.
Chapter 12: Concerning the Secret Counsel of King Falfathinn
Anakinn dreamed many nights that Queen Pathema seemed to have a child, but died in childbirth. For this reason he went to the hall of King Falfathinn one evening, while King Falfathinn ate with his retainers and listened to his skalds.
But before Anakinn could tell King Falfathinn of these tidings, Falfathinn said: “Anakinn, you must know that the Jedi Fjord men want to kill me.”
“My lord,” said Anakinn, “The Jedi Fjord men are good friends to me; I would not willingly call them underhanded men. If they attack You, my lord, they will stand manfully and openly.”
“Anakinn,” said the king, “Search deeper. You know that Viga-Obivan hates me, because I had his father killed, but he did not attack me when he knew he had the chance to ambush me on the beach. Does this seem to you manfully done? Yes, search deeper. It is a great shame which the Jedi Fjord men are planning with their magic.”
“My lord,” said Anakinn, “The Jedi Fjord men cast their magic openly. They are not such men as cut runes in the roots in the twilight, but rather they use their magic for prophecy and for healing. But the Seith-men cast dark spells and dissemble; and if they give men help, it is only because they expect that they will then help them.”
But King Falfathinn said, “Is it not true that the Jedi Fjord men do so? Why did Meis Vindusson heal you, if it was not so that you would avail the Jedi Fjord men when they attack me?”
Anakinn was silent.
“You see, my young apprentice,” said the king, “And it has been hidden from you that the Seith-men are also healers. Are you familiar with the story of the powerful Seith-man who was named Plagueis?”
“No, my lord,” said Anakinn the Sky-walker.
“That I thought was most likely,” said the king, “For no one from the Jedi Fjords would tell you this story. It is a Seith-story. Plagueis was a Seith-men, powerful and wise. So strong was he in the Seith, that he could use his magic to prevent those he loved from dying.”
Anakinn said: “Do you speak truly, that he could use magic to save people from death?”
King Falfathinn answered: “Seith is the pathway to magical ability which some consider unnatural. Plagueis became so mighty, that the only thing he feared was losing his power. And of course he eventually lost that power. He had taught his apprentice all his seiðr, but the apprentice killed him in his sleep. He had learned to save others from death, but not himself.”
Anakinn said: “Is it possible for a man to learn this magic?”
“Not from a Jedi Fjord man,” said King Falfathinn.
“It is my guess,” said Anakinn the Sky-walker, “That you are yourself a Seith-man.”
“A king who wants to become wise and wide-ruling, drinks whatever he may from the well of Urth,” said King Falfathinn, “But the Jedi Fjord men wish not to drink from the dark waters there. I know where Odin hid his pledge. It was not in the clear waters of the well. And who are kings? I am, and Odin, and no man of the Jedi Fjords. Drink from the dark waters, Anakinn Sky-walker. Drink thence, and you will become stronger than any Jedi Fjord man is. It may come to pass, that I will teach you the spell which could save Queen Pathema’s life.”
“What do you know about Queen Pathema?” asked Anakinn.
“Certainly she will die without Seith-healing,” said the king, “I have foreseen it. And the Jedi Fjord men will not help her in this way. If you want to save the queen – and the child which she bears to you, slave-born as you are, it is I alone who will help you. In Ireland or in Iceland or even in the Jedi Fjords you would be a laughingstock and an outlaw – the slave who despoiled a queen. But here I will make you a rich landholder – yes, even a jarl – if you give me that last piece of my kingdom Norway. And that is the Jedi Fjords.”
A man in a black cloak stood up now among the retainers, and it was Meis Vindusson. “I have heard that you King Falfathinn want to enslave the Jedi Fjords as you have all other regions. But we will not serve you willingly” – and he drew his sword thereupon.
King Falfathinn forbade his bodyguards to defend him, though he was an old man, and himself drew a sword. But finally Meis was stronger, and he disarmed Falfathinn.
Anakinn said: “It is murder, if you kill an unarmed man.”
Still Meis Vindusson cut at King Falfathinn. But the king worked a dark spell, and lightning came from his fingers, so that the sword could not touch him, but Meis Vindusson burned. King Falfathinn burned also, and his face was melting and becoming disfigured.
“Anakinn Slave’s-son,” said Meis Vindusson, “We give you a choice. You can save me or King Falfathinn. But I alone knew the spell to make you a new silver hand. And you are an oath-breaker and the worst kind too, if you slay a sworn brother’s kinsman.”
“It is your choice, Lord Anakinn,” said King Falfathinn, “Whether you will save me or Meis. But I alone know the spell to save Queen Pathema’s life, and you are an oath-breaker and the worst kind too, if you slay your own lord.”
Anakinn the Sky-walker drew Lightsaber the Red in his silver hand, and killed Meis Vindusson.
Anakinn now fell to his knees, and King Falfathinn laughed.
“I am an oath-breaker,” said Anakinn, “And an outlaw. I am not worthy of the honor which you give me.”
“You are my retainer and my apprentice, and soon you will learn the magic which will save Queen Pathema’s life, and you yourself will become a lord in Norway.”
“I will do only that which you bid of me, my lord,” said Anakinn the Sky-walker.
“Good,” said King Falfathinn. “While you were here with me in Koruskantborg, I guess that the intention of the Jedi Fjord men was to send this man here secretly to kill or intimidate me. They are unmanly, even your sworn brother Viga-Obivan son of Kvaeggan. Go now to the Jeði Fjords, kill them all, every living thing in those fjords, Lord Anakinn. Thither will you go a slave’s son, and thence will you return a lord, and you will learn Seith, and we shall save the life of your queen – and of your royal child.”
Chapter 13: Concerning the Great War-March of Anakinn the Sky-walker
Now the saga must turn to Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson, who came back to the Jedi Fjords, and weary from his journey came into the house of Jothi, his ancestor.
Queen Pathema was there, and with her her retainers, and it was clear to be seen that she was pregnant.
She asked, “Where is Anakinn?”
“He remained in Koruskantborg,” said Viga-Obivan.
“Why didn’t he come back to the Jedi Fjords, where he has allies? Is he not obligated to us both?” said Queen Pathema.
But Viga-Obivan said, “I don’t know why you say, ‘to us both.’ But he has sworn oaths of faithfulness to King Falfathinn. He has become a retainer of the king, and he has taken the good sword of my grandfather Duku as his own.”
“You speak wrongly,” said Queen Pathema, “Why do you believe that you are permitted to say such lies?”
“Queen Pathema,” said Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson, “I heard him swear these oaths to King Falfathinn. I doubt that he would refuse the commands of the king, even if the king should order him to kill Jedi Fjord men.”
And Queen Pathema said, “What happened then to Meis Vindusson, who went to Koruskantborg when you and Anakinn did not come back? He believed that you two had been slain by King Falfathinn, and he went there with his army and would avenge you.”
“I did not know that he made this journey,” said Viga-Obivan, “And I am returned late because I fought along the way with the berserk named Grivus. I slew that great berserk, but he wielded four swords at a time, and I could not bite him with my sword. With a bow I slew him at last, but I do not boast of this battle; he was the better man. And he broke my boat, and I was constrained to walk the rest of the way.”
When he had said these words, a messenger came to the doors of the house. Jothi Gormoarsson asked what he would say.
The messenger said that many warriors were coming, and that they slew all that lived, even livestock and children. Viga-Obivan asked who led this army.
The messenger said that it was a tall man, “And he was in a black cape and a black helm, and one of his hands was made of silver.”
Viga-Obivan said, “Queen Pathema, let us now leave Norway. Why do you delay? I see that your ship is in the fjord. Did you never intend to go back to your kingdom in Ireland, where your child will grow up befittingly? Why do you delay now, when you have already delayed here too long?”
But Queen Pathema was silent.
“You have never gone back to your kingdom,” Viga-Obivan pressed on, “After many years in the Faroes and then in Norway, and these did not profit you. Why do you sit here and not go back? Come with us and live in your kingdom with your living child. If you stay here, you will die, and the infant inside you as well. Why will you not say, yea or nay? Anakinn comes and with him death. He is the king’s man. He will kill you and the child!”
Queen Pathema wept, but did not speak.
Viga-Obivan looked upon her with doubt, and said, “Anakinn is the father. Or is he not?”
Queen Pathema remained silent. Now Viga-Obivan spoke to her retainers, saying, “Make her ship ready for a journey to Iceland; the queen will soon be in labor, and I don’t expect that we can get to Ireland soon.” But the ship was already prepared; Queen Pathema had intended to go to Ireland when Anakinn came back.
Now Jothi and Viga-Obian went aboard a ship of Jothi’s; that ship was prepared, but not so long as for a trip to Iceland. “But we must land the ship, as I had earlier intended, on Dagoba in the Faroes,” said Jothi, “And you take provisions and water there, but I will remain on Dagoba. I do not desire to go to Ireland with the queen. Anakinn will eventually go there, and this old man does not wish to see his son’s killer again.”
And Viga-Obivan weighed anchor, and behind him the retainers of Pathema. Pathema’s ship was already on the point of launching when she finally came aboard, and she wept still.
And on his ship, Jothi went soon under deck, and did not see when Anakinn the sky-walker rode along the fjord road, and he called to Queen Pathema.
“I see your ship,” said Anakinn the sky-walker, “But why do you go, or where?”
“Viga-Obivan gave me an account of your terrible misdeeds,” said Queen Pathema.
“What deeds were these?” asked Anakinn.
Queen Pathema said, “He told me that you had become a Seith-man, that you serve King Falfathinn who oppresses my country, and that he bade you kill all people and living things in the Jedi Fjords, even children. And I Queen Pathema bear your child, Anakinn Sky-walker!” And men wondered when they heard this, for it was well-known that Anakinn the sky-walker was a freedman.
Anakinn said, “Viga-Obivan wants to turn you against me, because I killed his grandfather.”
Queen Pathema said, “He loves you as a brother, and he has treated me well, and he wants to help us both.”
But Anakinn laughed. “What gain is there in him? Seith-magic alone will save you, Pathema. I have sworn my oaths of faithfulness to King Falfathinn for your sake and for the child’s – so that you both can live, and live royally, which befits you. The king has foreseen that you will die in Iceland if you go with Viga-Obivan. Do not betray me, Pathema. I was born a slave, but I have become a jarl – and at last I can, as a jarl, ask formally for your hand.”
“No, Anakinn,” said Queen Pathema, “Come with me, and help me raise our child in Ireland. Escape now! It will be too late for you afterwards.”
“Do you not understand?” said Anakinn the sky-walker, “Why do you flee from Norway, when I have become powerful in Norway, and Norway itself has become peaceful through me? And after this rebellion against the king is extinguished, and Seith-magic has saved you, why should I dabble in dark magic longer? We shall set it aside, and we shall rule Norway, yes and Ireland too!”
But what Queen Pathema said in reply, Anakinn the sky-walker could not hear, for her ship had sailed too far. Anakinn was filled with anger at Queen Pathema, for it seemed to him that she was faithless, and followed Viga-Obivan out of malice or stupidity. And because he had become a great Seith-sorceror, he stretched out his silver hand, and made as if he were choking her. And on her ship, she fell to the deck in a swoon, as if strangled, and all men wondered seeing this sorcery, for no one was touching her.
Chapter 14: Concerning the Children of Queen Pathema, and Her Death
Queen Pathema and the others reached Iceland early one morning. The queen had become sick and weak since Anakinn the Sky-walker had used Seith-magic to choke her. And when Iceland became visible from the ship, there was a great hailstorm on the land, and a volcanic eruption to the north; there was a great fall of ash as well. Then a fierce southwester kicked up, and a tidal flux against it, and the weather became hard in the fjord, as it often can be; it concluded with Pathema’s ship sinking under her.
Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson had landed earlier, and he saw from the beach that Queen Pathema was in a shipwreck, and he swam to her and with difficulty brought her back to the shore along with some few of her retainers. And screaming there on the sand she gave birth to twins, a son and a daughter. The children were sprinkled with water and given names, and the girl was called Leia, but the boy Lukr.
Viga-Obian asked, whether she wanted Anakinn the Sky-walker to know that he was the father of these two children, for “I suspect that he would not continue to serve King Falfathinn, nor harry in Ireland, if he knew that he was the father of these Irish nobles. But it is likely that King Falfathinn would have these children killed as soon as possible, if he thought that it could be done and knew where they were to be found. Unlucky young children! Your father obeys the man who would be your murderer. But if Anakinn slew Meis Vindusson, the man who helped him most, what would he do if Falfathinn the king bade him slay these children? Never did such regal children have such an ill father.”
But Queen Pathema gave no heed to Viga-Obivan. She kissed the children, and then she said: “I was worst to him that I most loved.” And she died in the sand.
Near the beach they raised a mound over Queen Pathema. But now men did not know what should be done with the children. Viga-Obivan wanted Oinn Kleggsson to raise the children, a man who was related to them, for he was the son of the same mother as Anakinn the Sky-walker. But the Irish retainers wanted to bring the children up in Thithborg in the Aldiran districts in Ireland, among their regal family.
“But first we must find other women who are in milk,” said Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson, “Or the children will soon die. And the road is long to the Tattuin River Valley, or other districts which I know well.”
“But we have with us one woman who is currently in milk, and she is one of Queen Pathema’s ladies in waiting,” said Beilorgana, a retainer of Pathema’s, “We will take one of the children with her back to Ireland.”
“You don’t have a ship,” said Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson.
“We will take your ship,” said Beilorgana, “And Anakinn the Sky-walker will hear the news, that your ship has left Iceland, and he will never seek you and the child on Iceland. But one of the children will remain in Ireland in the Aldiran districts, and many good warriors are there.”
“I have heard tell of the Aldiran districts,” said Viga-Obivan, “And men say that it is a peaceful land, and one without weapons. And I myself was often near there on viking expeditions with my father Kvaeggan when he still lived; I don’t remember any good warriors. But I will agree with this plan for the sake of the boy, and he shall dwell here on Iceland with his Norse family.”
“It is very important,” said Beilorgana, “That the child not know that he is the son of Anakinn the Sky-walker. And that no one in the land know, unless it be his foster father.”
“Of course,” said Viga-Obivan, “No one will accuse me of unwatchfulness. Do as you like with the girl – I hold the prophesied avenger of my family. But let this boy have a big drink of milk first, because I have a long way to walk to get to the Tattuin River Valley.”
After the boy had drunk much, Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson took him in his arms. Long did he walk west, till he came at last to the Tattuin River Valley, and he saw the volcanic eruption to his north. At Moisture Farm he lay the boy on the threshold one night, and Oinn Kleggsson came outside. He asked what boy this was.
“He is the son of your brother Anakinn,” said Viga-Obivan, “And he is named Lukr. He will need milk. And I suggest that you not tell him about his father, and it would probably be best if he thought his father dead.”
“And where are you going in the storm and the ash?” asked Oinn.
“I am going northward toward the volcano,” said Viga-Obian, “And I foresee that his father shall come meet me there.” And Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson disappeared into the shadows.
Chapter 15: Concerning the Battle at the Volcano
Now it must be told, when Anakinn the Sky-walker wanted to search for Pathema and Viga-Obivan, he left for Iceland, and nothing is told of his journey before he reached Iceland. When he came to the shore, he saw where a ship was weighing anchor, and he recognized this ship.
“There sails Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson,” he said, “On his ship, and doubtless he wants to lead me away from my pregnant wife.” And he sent men to the ship, and egged them on to an attack. “And I want,” said Anakinn, “For you to kill all the men, but let the women and children live. And I shall go on land and there look for my wife.”
Anakinn the Sky-walker did so, and saw a burial mound raised near the sand there. He became angry, and ridiculed very much this great thrall-work, saying that no man but one truly slave-born would choose to be buried in the sand. He trampled upon the mound and kicked it, and spat in the sand there.
“I don’t like sand,” he said. And he disappeared into the shadows.
Anakinn the Sky-walker went on to the Tattuin River Valley, and saw there that Moisture Farm was empty, and that the people had only recently fled, for there was a great lava flow burning nearby. He turned now out of the house, and saw there Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson.
“You liar!” said Anakinn the Sky-walker. “You betrayer and trickster! That was your ship that I saw, but you led my wife on to it, and awaited me here where I would seek for her. You turned her against me!”
“You yourself turned her against yourself,” said Viga-Obivan, “You have let King Falfathinn deceive you, till you have become the slave of the man whom you swore to kill.”
“Do not mock me; I have not forgotten my oaths,” said Anakinn, “But I have sworn new oaths, so that I can save my wife, and secure my new kingdom.”
“Your new kingdom?” asked Viga-Obivan.
“I will kill you, Viga-Obivan,” said Anakinn, “If you mock me further. But I do not want to forget our brotherhood, and I will let you live if you swear oaths of fealty to King Falfathinn.”
But Viga-Obivan said, “Anakinn, I have sworn oaths to my family–to the old way.”
“If you are not with me,” said Anakinn, “You are my enemy.”
“Only Seith-men make enemies out of their brothers,” said Viga-Obivan, “But I will defend myself, even against my brother.”
“You will try,” said Anakinn. He drew Lightsaber the Red, and Viga-Obivan drew Lightsaber the Green.
Long did they fight, and the lava burned around them all the while, and the ash fell upon them and choked them, and neither got an advantage on the other, and each fought with utmost ferocity. Their battle was both hard and long, but it ended when Viga-Obivan cut Anakinn on the right thigh, so that almost all the muscle was hewn out, and Anakinn fell nearly into the lava and was unable to fight further.
Anakinn the Sky-walker attempted to pull himself away from the lava, but his clothes began to burn, and soon he began to burn too. He said to Viga-Obivan, “I hate you!”
“You were my brother, Anakinn!” said Viga-Obivan Kvaeggansson. “I loved you!” But he turned away from Anakinn and walked off, and Anakinn the Sky-walker burned in silence.
Chapter 16: Concerning the Greatest Evil Deed of King Falfathinn
In the winter King Falfathinn learned that Anakinn the Sky-walker had died on Iceland, and he went there with his army and found Anakinn alive under a great heap of ash. Anakinn the Sky-walker had lost his feet and arms, and his face was burnt and bloody. He could not talk, for his tongue was burnt, and yet he had his teeth still and had used them to hunt mice and birds. With his Seith-magic he had survived, but he did not know the Seith-spell that would allow him to grow new limbs.
Still King Falfathinn praised Anakinn’s Seith-magic and his courage, for he had been bitten by sword and by fire and yet had lived many months. “Fittingly have I named you Anakinn the Seith-jarl,” said King Falfaðinn, “For you have lived by virtue of the Seith-magic that you learned from me, even though you have no limbs.” But many of the soldiers of Falfathinn mocked Anakinn, calling him Veithr-Anakinn (Hunt-Anakinn), because they thought it laughable that he had hunted mice with his teeth. But though Anakinn could not talk, he cast a Seith-spell and choked one of Falfaðinn’s soldiers from afar. The soldiers feared this man who could strangle a man whom he did not touch, but King Falfathinn praised him the more, and called him the greatest of Seith-men.
King Falfathinn had a stone of healing, and he brought forth the stone before Anakinn; then he healed Anakinn, and new limbs grew upon his body, shaped by the magic of Falfathinn from the cold black lava.
But his face was badly scarred and burnt, and his lungs and eyes had been destroyed by smoke. King Falfathinn did not know the Seith-spell that would grow a new tongue or lungs or eyes, and thus he crafted a great helm, which is called the Awe-helm, and that helm was like a raven-black skull, and with it there was a raven-black cape. And with that helm upon his head, Anakinn might breathe and speak and see, but his voice was strangely changed, no longer fair but dark and thunderous, and each breath that he took was as audible and resounding as a great breaker upon a longship.
Anakinn the Sky-walker lay still upon the earth with his new limbs. But when Anakinn could move, King Falfathinn gave him in earnest that name which the soldiers had given him in mockery, and he said: “Rise, Veithr.”
Veithr rose and took a breath, and when the soldiers heard his voice, it seemed to them as if the thunder rolled, and they all quailed.
“Jarl Veithr,” said King Falfaðinn, “Can you hear me?”
“Yes, master,” said Veithr, and then he asked: “Where is Pathema?”
“This should not be concealed from you, my friend,” said King Falfathinn, “You dealt her death blow to her when, in your anger, you strangled her upon her ship with Seith-magic; your good fortune has departed from you.”
But Veithr was silent.
As I’ve alluded to before, the manuscript upon which the sequentially later chapters of Tattúínárdǿla saga are preserved is actually older than the manuscript which preserves the first sixteen chapters by about two decades, while the action in these chapters picks up about two decades later than that of the earlier chapters. And while the manuscript with the earlier chapters appears to have been written by a single scribe who had an imperfect knowledge of the story underlying the saga, the later chapters can be confidently assigned, on paleographic evidence, to three separate scribes, each with a quite different, though detailed, command of the tradition behind the saga. It is not always, however, clear that these three scribes worked together closely, as for instance Scribe A (responsible for the first third of this manuscript) seems hardly to have been aware that Leia was Lúkr’s sister, and even shows ignorance – or at best imperfect foreshadowing – of Veidi-Anakinn’s identity as Lúkr’s father.
The manuscript as preserved does have chapter headings, and even the first leaf of the best manuscript is headed “XVII. Kapítuli” – “Chapter 17.” This suggests that these earlier scribes were aware that sixteen earlier chapters of the saga had once existed, but they were apparently unaware of the contents of those chapters, a hypothesis which is supported by the fact that numerous important characters and events in the earlier chapters are never mentioned again. Chapter 17, despite its explicit numbering as seventeenth, opens like the very first chapter of a new saga, and the following chapters essentially assume no prior knowledge of the earlier sixteen chapters, indeed relying on the reader’s ignorance of the content of those chapters in setting up Veidi-Anakinn as the archenemy of his own son, Lúkr.
With that being said, Chapter 17 is commonly held by critics to mark a watershed moment in the saga as a literary construction, and it is chiefly the contents of these later chapters that are quoted and alluded to in later Icelandic literature. Whoever the three scribes were who recorded it for us around the year 1200, they have left us with an imperfect, but enduring and timeless saga of mythic proportions.
Chapter 17: Concerning Hani the Duelist
It is the beginning of this saga, that King Jabbi the Stout ruled over Denmark, and King Falfadinn Lightning-Bolt over Norway, and there was great enmity between them.
Hani was the name of a man from a Norwegian family; he was the son of Jarl Sóló. He was a good man and a great viking; most called him Hólmgöngu-Hani (Hani the Duelist). It is fitting to say something about the appearance of Hani. He was a man of few words, rather reserved, but the handsomest of men, tall and rather sun-browned, with brownish hair.
Because Hani the Duelist did not like the reign of King Falfadinn, he went to Denmark and was with King Jabbi for a while; in the summer he went out on viking raids, and he often did great damage to the lands and ships of King Falfadinn; he raided widely here and there, wherever he came to land in Norway. And in the winter he gave to King Jabbi the wares that he got in Norway. King Jabbi liked this tribute very well, and he gave Hani a great axe, and this axe was jagged-pointed and gilded, with a shaft done in silver, and it was the greatest of treasures. Hani had another great treasure, and that was his ship, which he had gotten when he won a swimming race against Landó Kalrissiansson at Kessel Island. This ship was called the Thousand Year Falcon; it was the fastest of ships.
A Frisian man accompanied Hólmgöngu-Hani; he was named Tsiubakka. He was the hairiest of men and very big, he had blackish-brown hair and was rather chubby-faced and broad across the brows. Tsiubakka did not know how to speak Norse, but he understood what men said, and Hani spoke Frisian.
One time it so happened that Hani had raided in Norway, and when he was ready to put out to sea, some Norwegian chieftains rode up in that place. They asked who these men were and where they came from.
“I am named Hani Sólósson,” said Hani, “Some call me Hani the Duelist. And this follower of mine is a Frisian man named Tsiubakka. We have come here from Denmark and we are merchants.”
“If you really are merchants,” said a chieftain, “Then you will have wares on your ship which you will want to sell, and we will want to buy, and let us see your cargo.”
These men went up on the ship, and they found many treasures which Hani and Tsiubakka had stolen from them. They took these, and they wanted to kill Hólmgöngu-Hani.
“Do not kill him,” said the first chieftain, “For I knew him from the beginning, and I knew his father. He is no friend of King Falfadinn, and neither are we. But we shall take all these wares which he has stolen, and we shall not pay him.”
But since it was getting toward autumn, and Hani had no loot to give to King Jabbi, he hastened as swiftly as possible to Iceland and there thought to avoid the wrath of King Jabbi, till he could acquire some kind of tribute which he could deliver to the king.
A man was named Vattó, an old man and short, but a good farmer and a relative of Hani’s on his mother’s side. He lived on Iceland, at the farm called Mósæsli; Hólmgöngu-Hani stayed there that winter. There were also many other robbers and outlaws who were staying as guests at Mósæsli, for Vattó was himself an exile and had no love for kings. Some have even said that his farm was the most wretched hive of scum and villainy.
A man was named Grídó, a retainer of King Jabbi; he did not like Hani and he coveted his ship. And when he learned that Hani had had his plunder stolen from him and had gone to Iceland, he asked the king: “Do you like the plunder which Hólmgöngu-Hani brings you, king?”
“I like it well,” said King Jabbi.
“Then you would really like it,” said Grídó, “If you had all of that which you own, but as it stands you have far from it. It is the much greater part, which Hani keeps to himself. He sends you as a gift three bearskins, but I know for certain that he keeps thirty of them to himself, which you own, and I think that the same must be true of other things. But now I have learned that he has gone to Iceland with a great deal of property which he intends to sell there, and you own all of that. Truly, king, if you gave me his good ship, I would bring you more plunder.”
And everything that Grídó said about Hani, his companions bore witness to. It came to the point that King Jabbi was at his angriest.
“Bring me,” said King Jabbi, “the ship, and everything that is on it, and kill Hólmgöngu-Hani Sólósson and Tsiubakka the Frisian, if they refuse to come before me.”
Chapter 18: Concerning Leia and the Sons of Dítú
A woman was named Leia; she was the daughter of Beilorgana, king of the Aldiran Regions in Ireland. Relations were cool between Beilorgana and Falfadinn, for Falfadinn, King of Norway, claimed to be King of Ireland as well, and he raided widely in the Aldiran Regions.
There were many chieftains in many lands who greatly disliked King Falfadinn, but did not like Jabbi, King of the Danes, either. Many went to new lands, to the Faroes or to Iceland or to the Hebrides or to the Orkneys or to the Shetlands. But the army of Falfadinn was great, and he had many large warships, and he raided the lands of those who would not acknowledge his absolute authority. He had many good men killed, and others he enslaved. He was a very unpopular king. And because King Falfadinn wanted to intimidate all who stood against him, he ordered the greatest ship which men had ever seen upon the sea to be built, and that ship held such a store of men and weapons that they could pillage an entire large city. And a name was given to that ship, and it was called Daudastjarna (Death-Star).
A man was named Thrípíó Dítússon; he was an Irish man and a priest. And because Ireland was a Christian land, and Thrípíó knew many languages, he went to Norway, in Koruskantborg, and wished to teach men the true faith. There he met his brother, Artú Dítússon, who had been a slave to Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson of the Jedi Fjord family in Iceland. And because he had long been among heathen men, Artú himself had become heathen.
Artú Dítússon disliked his enslavement, but he liked King Falfadinn the less because he had ordered Kvæggan Dúkússon killed, and Kvæggan had promised that he would free Artú from his enslavement. But the son of Kvæggan, Víga-Óbívan, who survived, did not wish to free Artú, and Artú had become a free man only after Víga-Óbívan hastened back to Iceland one time and left Artú in Norway.
Artú Dítússon was a skilled carpenter and smith, and because of this talent the rumor of this skilled freedman soon reached King Falfadinn, who bade Artú counsel him in shipbuilding; the king did not know that Artú hated him intensely. And it was Artú’s advice that the king should have a great dragon-head built on the Death-Star, hollow inside, and that it should be filled with ale, and Artú said that this would be a sacrifice to Rán (Norse sea goddess). And King Falfadinn said that Artú was a wise man, for he wanted to protect the great ship from the wrath of this goddess.
And when he had given this advice, Artú went back to Ireland with his brother, and told all this to King Beilorgana.
King Beilorgana suspected that King Falfadinn would want to attack the Aldiran Regions with this ship, and King Beilorgana wanted to ask the Shetlanders to help him. But “Because King Falfadinn rules the sea with his great navy, I will send my daughter, and some monks with her, and King Falfadinn will not suspect that I am sending them in order to incite the Shetlanders against him.”
A man was named Veidi-Anakinn or Veidr. He was a retainer of Falfadinn and captain of his army; he was a very overbearing man, but comported himself well, and he was a great sorcerer. None saw his face, for he always had a great raven-black helmet upon his head, and with it a raven-black mask upon his face and a raven-black cape. Veidi-Anakinn was not a talkative man, but when he spoke, his voice was awesome and dim, and every one of his breaths was as audible and as resounding as the greatest storm. Most men called him Veidr, but all feared him, and he could cast a spell that made men fall to the earth in anguish, even though Veidr did not touch them.
Veidr learned that Artú Dítússon had advised the ship-building in Koruskantborg, and he thought that this was ill news, for he remembered that Artú had been the slave of the Jedi Fjord men, his enemies. And when he learned that Artú was on the ship of King Beilorgana and made for Shetland, he suspected that Artú must have given King Falfadinn some kind of bad advice. Veidr sailed his ship Stjörnufreki (Star-Destroyer) and sought this ship, and found it off of Iceland. His men went up on that ship, and there was a hard battle.
Princess Leia saw that the Irish were losing the battle, and she bade Artú and Thrípíó swim to the shore and there seek Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson, if he still lived. She gave Artú a message that he should give to Víga-Óbívan; it was written in runes.
There were small boats on that ship, which hung from the stern; Princess Leia cut one of these loose, and the sons of Dítú swam under it.
One of Veidr’s warriors saw this boat, and said, “There sails another boat.”
“Don’t shoot it,” said another soldier, “There are no living things aboard. It must have been a stray axe blow that cut it loose.”
Chapter 19: Concerning the Sons of Dítú and Lúkr Anakinsson
Thrípíó and Artú Dítússon came ashore on Iceland near the Tattúín River Valley; there was a great deal of lava, for a volcano had erupted twenty years before, and there was much sand also, for the high tide was extreme in the Tattúín Fjord.
Thrípíó became angry. “What kind of deserted place is this?” he asked, “And probably no Christian men either, I guess.”
“There are Christian men on Iceland,” said Artú, “But they are mostly slaves. Follow me and let us find Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson as soon as possible; his farm was nearby here. Still it is most likely that he is dead.”
“I don’t want to follow you,” said Thrípíó.
Artú asked where he would rather go.
“Where you aren’t going,” said Thrípíó, “For it is your fault that I am on this dangerous journey, and I would rather find some merchants who are going to Ireland or Norway. The devil take you and your heathen friend Víga-Óbívan.”
“I don’t believe that you have spoken in a Christian fashion,” said Artú, “But it is your decision. Still I shall seek Víga-Óbívan, though relations are cool between us. But I think that it’s most likely that the devil will take you, if you go the other way all on your own; there are many Icelanders who would want to enslave or kill an Irish man and Christian.”
“But it will still be your fault,” said Thrípíó, “If I am slain.”
“He is not to blame, who warns another,” said Artú.
Thrípíó walked a long time and saw neither man nor cattle. Finally he saw some men riding; he greeted them, but they did not greet him. They bound him and led him to their tents; there Thrípíó saw Artú Dítússon, his brother, and the brothers were glad to meet. Many thralls, men and women, were in these tents – they had captured by the sons of Javi, malicious robbers; the oldest of them was named Útíni.
A man was named Óinn; he was the son of Kléggr. Óinn was tall, with wolf-gray hair and thick, but he had begun to bald early. With him was his brother’s young son, who was named Lúkr Anakinsson; Óinn said that his brother Anakinn was dead. Lúkr was a big man, with light-brown hair and a broad reddish face, the noblest of men. Lúkr wanted to go on viking expeditions and raids, but Óinn forbade him that. Óinn and Lúkr were looking at the thralls.
Óinn saw the brown clothes of Thrípíó and said, “You must be a priest.”
“You are correct, good sir,” said Thrípíó, “And I speak many languages. I can speak Irish, Norse, English, Latin, French, German, Welsh -”
“Shut up,” said Óinn, “What I need is a thrall who speaks Scottish.”
“Scottish?” asked Thrípíó, “Good sir, I am an Irishman, and the Irish tongue is much like the Scottish. Scottish is like my mother-tongue, even though all languages are like my mother-tongue, because I rejoice in languages -”
“Shut up,” said Óinn. He told the robbers that he wanted to buy this man – “And do you have any good and skillful workmen?”
Útíni Javason said that the red-haired man was a very skillful workman; Óinn bought this man also.
Óinn said to Lúkr, “Take these men home and prepare them for work as soon as possible.”
Lúkr said then, “But I wanted to go to Taki Farm, where there are going to be horse-fights tonight.”
“You can play at the horse fights with the other boys some other day,” said Óinn, “Take these men home to Vatnabǿr (Water-Farm).”
But the red-haired man walked slowly, and finally fell to the ground. Lúkr saw that he was covered with sores. “Uncle Óinn,” he said, “This red-haired man is sick.”
Óinn was extremely angry; he drew his sword and wanted to cut at Útíni Javason. But Thrípíó said to Lúkr, “Good sir, the short man there is very skillful with wood and iron; we have been enslaved together before. And he would be cheaper than before, if Útíni Javason fears the wrath of your uncle.” This short man was Artú Dítússon, his brother.
“Uncle Óinn,” said Lúkr, “Buy this short man.” Óinn did so, and the sons of Dítú followed Lúkr Anakinsson home.
“Don’t forget this,” said Thrípíó to his brother, “And why did I save you? You’re as heathen as they are.”
Chapter 20: Concerning the Message of Princess Leia
At Water-Farm Thrípío took a bath, and was very glad for it; he praised God and the holy Bishop Patrick.
But Lúkr Anakinsson complained about his Uncle Óinn. “He is unfair,” said Lúkr, “My friend Biggs spoke truly: I will never get out of Iceland.”
Thrípíó heard his words and asked, “Can I help you, good sir?”
“Definitely,” said Lúkr, “If your Christ has given you the power to speed up time or to grant me wings so that I can fly off of this rock.”
“No, good sir,” said Thrípíó, “I am a priest and no wizard. And I must admit that I don’t know where I am in Iceland.”
Lúkr said, “If there is a valley in Iceland where one might see a fair hillside, shining fields, and a freshly-mown yard – you’re in the valley that it’s furthest from.”
“I see, good sir,” said Thrípíó.
But Lúkr said, “I am named Lúkr Anakinsson.”
“I am named Thrípíó Dítússon, and this man is my brother Artú,” said Thrípíó.
“Your clothes are very bloody,” observed Lúkr, “Were you in a fight?”
Thrípíó said, “We were on a ship when a battle broke out. But we ourselves are no warriors.”
But Lúkr took Artú’s bloody cape and there found the message written by Princess Leia. He began to read it. “I am no runemaster,” he said, “But these words say, ‘Help me, Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson; you alone would dare to avenge me.’ I don’t know how to read any more words, because they are written poorly and hastily. What is this?”
Artú pretended not to speak Norse, and asked in Irish, “What is what?”
“What is what?” responded Thrípíó, “That was a question. What was written on that message which Princess Leia gave you?”
“That’s nothing,” said Artú, “An old message. I think that Princess Leia is long dead.” Thrípíó translated his words into Norse.
“Who is Princess Leia?” asked Lúkr, “What family is she from?”
Thrípíó began to answer, but Artú told him to be silent, saying, “This should not be hidden from you. I am not your slave, but rather I am a freedman of Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson, and that man lived here in the Tattúín River Valley for a long time. This message is intended for him, and for no others. Do you know where he lives, or whether he lives?”
“I don’t know a Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson,” said Lúkr, “But a man is named Óbívan the Old, who lives in the interior of Tattúín River Valley. Is he the same man?”
Artú said, “I don’t know. But that is most likely. Will you show me the way to this man’s house?”
“Certainly,” said Lúkr, “If you give an account of everything that is written in that message.”
“I cannot read runes,” said Artú.
“But I can read them,” said Thrípíó.
“Shut up, Thrípíó,” said Artú, “Or are you a coward? This man is not the one that Princess Leia wanted to ask for help from, and he is only a boy, and with little courage.”
Lúkr heard that his Aunt Bera called to him and said that it was a mealtime.
“Good sir,” said Thrípíó, “If you wish it, I will read this message while you eat, and afterward will tell you everything that is written in it.”
Lúkr said that this was most likely, because he was getting angry, and would attack Artú if he held on to the message longer. Then he went to his meal.
“I have saved you a second time,” said Thrípíó, “And I don’t know why. If you don’t give me that message and let me read it to him, he’ll kill you. How can we escape?”
“Truly you are a coward,” said Artú, “If I want to escape, I walk away.”
Lúkr went to the meal table, and said that he thought that the short slave had been stolen.
“Why do you think so?” asked Óinn.
“Because I found a message on him,” said Lúkr, “Written in runes, for a man named Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson. And I thought it most likely that this man was the same as Óbívan the Old.”
“I don’t think so,” said Óinn, “I think that Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson is dead; he died the same time as your father.”
“Did he know my father?” asked Lúkr.
“What would that matter to you?” asked Óinn, “He is dead. In the morning, take these new thralls to the south ridge; I want them to work there.”
“And if they work well,” said Lúkr, “I want to request again, Uncle, that in the summer you buy me a ship and weapons, and let me go on viking raids.”
“The summer is when I need you the most,” said Óinn, “And you shall not leave.”
Lúkr was extremely angry, as red as blood; he left the house and went into the mountains.
“Óinn,” said Bera, the wife of Óinn, “Why do you deny him again? Most of his friends go on raids and kill many men, and come back to Iceland with treasure and thralls. He doesn’t want to stay here and sow grain; he is no farmer. He is bold and ambitious like his father.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” said Óinn Kléggsson.
Chapter 21: Concerning Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson
Lúkr stood on a mountaintop and looked at where the sun was setting, and the glacier before him was like a mirror, and therein it seemed as though a second sun were setting. For this reason the mountain was called Tvísólatindr (Two Sun Mountain), and Lúkr would often stand there alone and recall the sagas about vikings and kings.
But then Thrípíó came and said that his brother Artú had run away.
“Did you try,” asked Lúkr, “To hinder him?”
“Yes, good sir,” said Thrípíó, “But he is much stronger than I am, and he talks still about Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson.”
“Say nothing to Uncle Óinn,” said Lúkr, “For he will be furious. But in the morning we must seek Artú, and if he is lying about having been the slave of Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson, I shall kill him right away. But I don’t wish to look for him tonight, because robbers, the sons of Tuskinn, live among the lava and the sand dunes, and Uncle Óinn will not allow me to bear weapons.”
Lúkr had a good horse, chestnut in color; this horse was named Landhraðfǿrr (Land-Speedy). In the morning he and Thrípíó rode this good horse and they sought for Artú.
There is a great canyon in Tattúín River Valley, which is called Stafkarlsgjá (Beggar’s Canyon); there dwelt Óbívan the Old, and there they looked for Artú. They found him soon, but Artú did not wish to come with them.
“You are the thrall of Lúkr Anakinsson now,” said Thrípíó, “And why do you want to run away? He could bring you to this Óbívan if you would show him the message.”
But Artú said, “You are certainly a coward, my brother. This boy is no warrior. Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson must be found as soon as possible, or Veidr will kill Princess Leia, and sail the Death Star even to the Aldiran Regions. Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson is a good fighter and he hates King Falfadinn; he would be eager to help us. But your Lúkr would rather heed his uncle than go on a raid; he is a coward like you.”
“You slander me,” said Thrípíó, “And yet I have saved you twice.”
Artú said, “Do you hear something? I thought that I heard the sound of horsemen.”
Thrípíó said this to Lúkr.
“The sons of Tuskinn,” said Lúkr, “And I am unarmed. Let us leave this instant.”
But a man came riding at Lúkr. He was masked, and his horse was shaggy, big, and filthy. This man had a staff in his left hand, and a sword in his right. The sword hit Thrípíó’s hand and cut it off. But the staff hit Lúkr in the head; he fell to the ground unable to fight. But Artú was a small man and found a hiding place in a cave.
Other robbers followed now; they ransacked the possessions of Lúkr and Thrípíó. But when they had drawn their swords and were about to deal them their death blows, an old, white-bearded man came walking over a ridge; he made a great deal of noise. The robbers laughed at this old man, but then he drew his sword; he ran forward thereupon and swiftly killed a man. He cut with his right hand at the leg of another man, above the knee, and then he leapt at this man and stabbed him through. All the others fled.
This white-bearded man knelt next to Lúkr, and said that he was neither dead nor much injured.
Lúkr awoke. “Óbívan?” he asked, “Óbívan the Old? I rejoice that I see you.”
“The Gungan Lava Field is not easily traveled,” said Óbívan, “Tell me, young Lúkr, why have you come so deep into the Tattúín River Valley?”
Lúkr said, “Because of this thrall. He is searching for his master, who freed him. Never have I seen such a loyal thrall. He says that his master was named Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson. Is he a kinsman of yours? Do you know the man?”
But Óbívan said, “Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson. Víga-Óbívan. I have not heard that name in a long time.”
“I think that Uncle Óinn knows the man,” said Lúkr, “He told me that he was dead.”
“He is not dead,” said Óbívan, “But certainly all men must die.”
“You know him?” asked Lúkr.
“Certainly,” said Óbívan, “I am Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson. I have not used that name since your birth.”
Lúkr said, “Then Artú Dítússon must surely be your thrall.”
“Yes,” said Óbívan, “But I don’t seem to remember ever freeing a thrall. Now, we must get inside as soon as possible; I can easily startle the sons of Tuskinn, but they will soon be back, and in greater numbers.”
Chapter 22: Concerning Lightsaber the Green and the Lies of Víga-Óbívan
Lúkr Anakinsson and Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson sat at Víga-Óbívan’s house.
“You have told me,” said Lúkr, “That my father was a viking and a warrior. This is not true – my father was a steersman on a merchant ship, and he died in a shipwreck.”
“This is what your uncle told you,” said Víga-Óbívan, “For he is a cowardly man, and mocks those who dare greater deeds than he does.”
Lúkr asked, “Did you fight in the wars against King Falfadinn?”
“Yes,” said Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson, “I am a man of the Jedi Fjords in Norway, and your father was my comrade. We fought many battles against King Falfadinn, but at last he triumphed with his greater army.”
“I wish that I had known my father,” said Lúkr.
“One thing that your uncle told you was true – your father was a good steersman. But he was a great viking also. I have heard it said, that you yourself have become quite a steersman. And I have something here which your father asked me to give to you, but your uncle has prevented me. He fears always that you shall become a greater man than he is.” Víga-Óbívan drew forth a great sword, and it seemed to Lúkr as though green flames leapt from the edges. “This good sword is called Lightsaber the Green. It was your father’s sword – a weapon that my grandfather forged long ago beneath the mountains which rise above the Jedi Fjords. The man who wields a sword stands never so far from his foe as he who draws a bow or casts a spear. This is a manlier weapon, from a more warlike age.”
“How did it come to pass that my father died?” Lúkr asked.
Víga-Óbívan said: “A young man of the Jedi Fjords named Veidi-Anakinn, or Veidr, was like a brother to me, but he betrayed us. He killed your father in a cowardly way – it was a night-killing.”
“I would like to kill him,” said Lúkr, “But how could I leave Iceland?”
“We shall see,” said Víga-Óbívan, “But first let me read this message from Princess Leia.” Artú gave the message to Víga-Óbívan, and Víga-Óbívan read it aloud. “Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson, many years ago you fought against King Falfadinn with my father-”
“This is a lie,” said Víga-Óbívan, “Her father was an Irishman and a coward,” but he continued: “Now my father requests that you help him. Artú Dítússon knows something which could do great injury to Falfadinn’s kingdom. You must bring him back to the Aldiran Regions, where you and my father will surely find some counsel against our present difficulty. I am a prisoner of Veidr’s; it is probable that he will have had me killed before you can read this message. Help me, Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson; you alone would dare to avenge me.”
“You must come with me to the Aldiran Regions, young Lúkr,” said Víga-Óbívan, “For I have become too old, and cannot fight well any longer.”
But Lúkr responded, “To the Aldiran regions? No, good sir! I must get home. My uncle will be angry!”
“That is your uncle talking, even though it is your lips that move,” said Víga-Óbívan, “But you will do what you feel is manliest, of course.”
Chapter 23: Concerning the Burning of Óinn
Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson used his healing stone on Thrípíó, and healed the arm which had been cut off in battle.
“I have healed your thrall,” Víga-Óbívan said to Lúkr, “If you will not come with me to the Aldiran regions, do I not yet deserve some recompense for having helped you in this way?”
“Certainly you are owed recompense,” said Lúkr, “Name your price.”
Víga-Óbívan said, “Take me to Mósæsli, and there I intend to find someone who can bring me to the Aldiran regions. Many men are there who hate King Falfadinn. But I don’t want to go so far alone, and I have no horse such as yours.”
But when they had traveled some way into the Gungan Lava Fields, they saw many burnt tents and horses, and the corpses of men as well.
“These are the men who took my brother and me as thralls,” said Thrípíó.
“He is right,” said Lúkr, “These are the sons of Javi and their men, who sold these thralls to Uncle Óinn. But who would shoot them all, and burn their homes? The sons of Tuskinn? These tracks here are like those which their horses make – the sons of Tuskinn ride extremely big horses. And yet the sons of Tuskinn and of Javi had made peace; Útíni Javason was married to Tuskinn’s daughter.”
Víga-Óbívan said, “These are not the doings of the sons of Tuskinn, but those who did these things wished us to believe so. These horse tracks run side-by-side, but the sons of Tuskinn always ride single-file so that their enemies will not guess their numbers. And these arrows – there is no bowman on Iceland so skillful, but the king’s men are famous for their archers. If a man wants to be the king’s bowman, he must first be able to shoot a blunt arrow through a raw ox hide hanging from a rafter.”
“Why would the king’s men come all the way from Norway to Iceland to shoot robbers and burn their tents?” asked Lúkr, but he saw then Thrípíó and Artú. “They would have come to find the Irishmen, and if they learned that the sons of Javi captured them, they would have learned that they had sold them, and that they now lived at… home!”
“Don’t go, Lúkr!” Víga-Óbívan called out, “It is most likely that the king’s men are already gone. You won’t find anyone there to avenge your relatives on!” But Lúkr rode home.
Lúkr came back as evening fell, and found the bonfire which Víga-Óbívan had made and cremated the corpses of the Javi sons on.
“Uncle Óinn and Aunt Bera are burnt,” said Lúkr, “As are the houses, the livestock, and all the thralls.”
“You could not have helped them, even if you had been there, Lúkr,” said Víga-Óbívan, “For your uncle was a coward, and did not allow you to be trained to use weapons.”
“Coward or not,” said Lúkr, “It falls to me to avenge him.”
But Víga-Óbívan replied, “Then come with me to the Aldiran regions. There is nothing left for you here. Yes, come with me now, join in battle, become a warrior like your father was. After many battles you will be ready, and will be able to avenge your uncle – yes, and your father.”
Chapter 24: Concerning Víga-Óbívan and Lúkr at Mósæsli
On the evening of the second day thereafter, Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson and Lúkr Anakinsson arrived at Mósæsli, the farm of Vattó. There were gathered also a great number of King Falfadinn’s enemies, but many robbers and outlaws and other disagreeable men stayed as Vattó’s guests too.
But there had also come some men in the service of Veidr, and they were clad in white armor. Men avoided them, but these Norwegian soldiers stood not far from Vattó’s house, and they asked tidings of all who came that way, saying that they were looking for two Irishmen.
Now these soldiers approached Lúkr Anakinsson. One of them asked Lúkr whether he had owned these thralls for very long. Lúkr said that he had owned them three or four years, and that he was willing to sell them.
The soldier asked then for Lúkr’s name. But the enchantment of the Jedi Fjord men followed Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson. He cast a spell upon the soldiers, and he made them believe that all words which he spoke were true.
“You don’t need to hear his name,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“We don’t need to learn his name,” said the soldier.
“These are not the thralls you’re looking for,” continued Víga-Óbívan.
“These are not the thralls we’re looking for,” said the soldier.
“He can go freely about his business,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“He can go freely about his business,” said the soldier.
“Move along on your way,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“Move along, move along,” said the soldier.
Lúkr said, “I don’t understand how we escaped.”
“An enchantment follows my family; we can easily cow those who are unwise, and make them believe that all of our words are true, if they do not sound too unlikely,” said Víga-Óbívan, “And I believe that this same enchantment runs in your family.”
“Do you think that we can find a ship here which can take us to the Aldiran regions?” asked Lúkr.
“Yes,” said Víga-Óbívan, “There are many good sea captains here, with many good ships. But watch yourself – there are also many desperate Vikings, and they will think nothing of murdering some farmer’s son.”
“I’m ready,” said Lúkr, “To fight any one of them.”
“That I doubt,” said Víga-Óbívan.
Now Víga-Óbívan and Lúkr entered the house, and with them were Artú and Thrípíó, the sons of Dítú. But the woman who was serving mead saw these Irishmen, and said that she would never serve mead to slaves, and never bid an Irishman welcome in the house of Vattó.
“Alright, Thrípíó,” said Lúkr, “You and Artú aren’t welcome here. Wait outside with my horse.”
“Very well, Sir,” said Thrípíó, and the two brothers went outside.
There were many men therein, and the diversity of their clothes and tongues betrayed that they had come from many lands. They sat at many small tables, and they drank and talked together, and some played table games, while four men played horns and made music.
Víga-Óbívan began to talk to some men, but Lúkr sat at a table and drank mead on his own. Then a man shook him, speaking a language he did not understand. Lúkr acted as if he could not hear the man.
Then a second man shook him and said in Norse, “He doesn’t like you.”
“That is hardly remarkable news, that one man should not like another,” said Lúkr, “But why do you feel compelled to tell me this?”
“I myself don’t like you either,” said the second man, “And I am an outlaw, with my neck ordered cut the moment I set foot on the shore of any of twelve kingdoms.”
“I’ll be careful,” said Lúkr.
“You’ll be dead,” said the man.
“It’s the same to you,” said Víga-Óbívan coming closer, “Whether or not you kill this boy; we all know that you’re a good Viking, Efazan, and this boy is no fighter. Don’t waste your axe on such a little tree; drink some mead, and I’ll fill you another hornful of it.”
But Efazan became very angry at these words; he picked up an axe that lay near him, and he cut at Víga-Óbívan. But Víga-Óbívan had a sword balanced over his shoulder, and he cut swiftly in return, hitting the hand of the first man and breaking his arm. Then he brought the sword back up and hit Efazan in the head; that was his deathblow.
“Now come, Lúkr, I have found a ship that should serve us well,” said Víga-Óbívan.
Chapter 25: Lúkr meets Dueling Hani
Lúkr met the man, and he was imposing – tall and rather sunburnt, with brown hair. “I am named Hani, son of Jarl Sóló,” said the man, “Some men call me Dueling Hani. My ship is the Thousand-Year Falcon. Tsiubakka my comrade tells me that you seek to sail to the Aldiran Regions, and I can take you there, if it’s worth enough money to you.”
“Certainly it is,” said Víga-Óbívan, “If it’s a fast ship.”
“Fast ship?” said Dueling Hani, “Have you never heard of the Thousand-Year Falcon?”
“I am certain that I have not,” said Víga-Óbívan, “But is that surprising?”
“It is the ship that won the victory in the great rowing race at Kesseley, when Tsiubakka and I rowed the course in twelve hours,” said Dueling Hani, “The ship is faster than any ship of Falfadinn, even those well-renowned Korellian ships. It is fast enough for your purpose, old man. What is the cargo?”
“Men only,” said Víga-Óbívan, “And we are four: I, the boy, two Irishmen, and no questions asked.”
“What is this? Some kind of local trouble?” asked Hani.
“I would rather not meet Falfadinn’s soldiers, if it’s necessary to put it that way,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“I understand,” said Dueling Hani, “But that is difficult to do – and expensive. And I will take both of the Irishmen, if I bring you both to the Aldiran Regions without the knowledge of Falfadinn.”
“Both of the Irishmen?” said Lúkr, “They are worth a ship on their own. Óbívan, why shouldn’t we buy a ship? Why do we site here letting this viking swindle us?”
“You could buy a ship, boy,” said Hani laughing aloud, “But who would steer it? You?”
“Certainly I would. I am not a bad steersman,” said Lúkr and stood up.
“Sit, Lúkr,” said Víga-Óbívan, “We can give you one of the thralls here, and the other in the Aldiran Regions once we get there. And I have a chest of gold there, which I shall give you in addition.”
“A chest of gold?” said Dueling Hani, “Well, I like the terms of this agreement. But if you lie, I will kill both you and the boy.”
“Naturally,” said Víga-Óbívan.
“Tsiubakka and I will go to prepare the ship,” said Dueling Hani, “But hide yourselves till the night-meal hour. I think that Falfadinn’s men prowl even here, and your recent manslaughter was rather careless with such men about.”
Chapter 26: Concerning Grídó the Green, and His Duel against Hani
Grídó the Green was the name of a man, big and strong, a close relative of Jabbi, the King of the Danes. He was quite savage and arrogant, a liar and a bully about everything. He had a bad temper with everyone, but worst with those who were the enemies of his cousin Jabbi. He beat men, if Jabbi did not get what he wanted from them, and stole from them what he might before he turned them over to the king. He was always visiting many different places in many lands, and was loved by no one.
As was told before, Grídó had falsely accused Hani the Duelist of stealing loot from King Jabbi, and the king had bidden Grídó to kill Hani and his comrade Tsiubakka the Frisian, and come back to Denmark with all the loot which Jabbi, King of the Danes, regarded as rightfully his own.
But when Grídó saw Hani the Duelist at Mósæsli, he was reminded of these things, and he wished to kill Hani immediately. He approached him with axe drawn and said, “Where are you going, Hani son of Sóló?”
“Hello, Grídó,” said Hani, “I am planning on visiting your king soon. Tell him that I have his loot.”
“It is too late for that,” said Grídó the Green, laughing aloud, “Why did you not pay him before, when you were nearer Denmark? It is a great reward indeed which he who kills Hani the Duelist and Tsiubakka the Frisian will receive. And that reward is greater than any of your loot is worth, or so I reckon. I’m lucky that I found you first.”
“Certainly you are lucky,” said Hani, “But I have his loot. Let me give it to him myself, and then you can take the reward on my head, if he still wants me dead.”
“If you give me this loot which you say you have, I can forget that I saw you,” said Grídó, “But otherwise you’re dead.”
“I don’t have the loot with me here,” said Hani, “Tell Jabbi…”
“Shut up, Hani,” said Grídó, and laughed, “You are the most cowardly man, always unwilling to put up a fight.”
“Those are dueling words, and I will challenge you to a duel on those grounds,” said Hani.
“What kind of duel would this be?” asked Grídó, “This is no place for a duel.”
“Let us throw axes,” said Hani the Duelist, “My father was a great viking, and I think this to be the manliest of sports.”
“Certainly it is,” said Grídó, “And we shall throw our axes at the same time.” He heaved up his axe, and Hani heaved up his own.
But Hani threw his axe first, and the axe dug all the way into the brain of Grídó, who fell down dead straightaway.
And then Hani the Duelist spoke this stanza:
I know what is proper:
I pray, with happy heart,
To all the mighty spirits of battle,
The ones who crafted the stars in the heavens,
And all the gods of war,
That a bloody eagle
Will perch with blood-stained beak
Above the rotting remains of Grídó’s scalp.
I killed him.
Then Hani the Duelist, son of Jarl Sóló, left the house, and with him was Tsiubakka the Frisian.
Note: I am aware of a separate manuscript tradition wherein Hani throws his axe only after Gríðó throws his, but this appears to be a clumsy later emendation made by medieval editors who wished to present Hólmgǫngu-Hani in a more chivalric light. That same manuscript tradition has a scene where King Jabbi confronts Hani in Mósæsli. Modern scholars disagree about whether this was a part of the written saga as originally composed, but I have chosen to excise it from this presentation since I regard it as probably excrescent; it is rather difficult to understand what the narrative justification is supposed to be for the King of Denmark himself to travel all the way to Iceland to confront (very briefly) someone who owes him some back taxes. Especially so soon after one of his own agents has already done so.
Chapter 27: Concerning the Godlessness of Hani the Duelist
The next day Lúkr saw the ship which was called the Thousand Year Falcon, and it did not impress him. “This does not look like a good ship,” he said.
“What do I care what it looks like?” said Hani the Duelist. “It’s a fast ship, and I have worked a long time to make it faster. Now, come hastily, we need to leave immediately.”
But while Hani was saying this, and Tsiubakka was weighing anchor, Falfadinn’s men came and shot arrows at them. Hani went aboard the ship and shot back, and killed many men.
Tsiubakka steered the ship out of the harbor at Tattúín River, and all men there marveled at how swiftly that ship moved. Soon they escaped the soldiers, but then they saw that some Norwegian ships were in the harbor, and they came nearer, shooting arrows all the while.
“Why don’t we get away from them?” asked Lúkr, “You said that this was a fast ship!”
“Fast, yes!” said Hani the Duelist, “So fast, that if I miscalculate, we’ll soon be right under those Norwegian ships! And that wouldn’t be useful. Let me and Tsiubakka calculate our route, and sit down! Soon we’ll be moving faster than you can believe.”
And so it was; the ship moved so swiftly that none of Falfadinn’s ships could follow.
Later Hani, seeing that the others were still grim, turned to Víga-Óbívan and the rest and said, “You can forget about King Falfadinn’s men and his ships. None of them can follow us, as swiftly as we’re moving now.”
But all were silent.
“It is not necessary,” said Hani the Duelist, “That you should all thank me at once.”
They were silent still, and Víga-Óbívan acted as though he had a headache.
“What troubles you, Víga-Óbívan?” Lúkr asked.
“It was as though I heard thousands of voices cry out full of terror,” said Víga-Óbívan, “But they were silenced immediately. I fear that men have died unavenged today.”
“You will claim that you have the second sight,” said Hani the Duelist, “But men die unavenged every day.”
Artú Dítusson and Tsiubakka the Frisian were playing a table-game in a corner, and Artú kept winning. Tsiubakka was surpassingly angry, for he was accustomed to winning when he played this game. But Artú mocked him in Frisian, for he knew this language.
“You are not a wise man,” said Hani the Duelist to Artú, and Thrípíó translated his words into Irish, “I advise you to let the Frisian win.”
“But why, good sir?” asked Thrípíó, “Why don’t you advise the Frisian to let the Irishman win?”
“Because Irishmen aren’t accustomed to tear men apart when they lose table games,” said Hani the Duelist.
But while Artú and Tsiubakka played the game, Víga-Óbívan was teaching Lúkr to fight with the sword Lightsaber the Green. Víga-Óbívan had set a helmet on Lúkr’s head and turned it backwards so that Lúkr could not see.
“But with the helmet sitting over my eyes, I’m blind. How do you expect me to fight?” asked Lúkr. And he cut with the sword, but stumbled, and Hani laughed.
“Your eyes are unexperienced,” said Víga-Óbívan, “And full of fear. Don’t trust them! But the luck of the Jedi Fjord men follows you, as it followed your father; the Norns will guide your sword if you trust in them, and your sword will cut where it is destined to cut.”
“You are a man of great faith, Víga-Óbívan,” said Hani the Duelist, “But faith is useless. I’ve sailed from Norway to Iceland, and from Denmark to England, and I have never seen a god – neither a Christian nor a heathen one. Have you ever seen a god, or even this luck which you think follows your family?”
Víga-Óbívan had a healing stone which he kept on his neck; this stone had belonged to Meis Vindússon before he was killed by Veidr. “This healing stone,” said Víga-Óbívan to Hani, and handed it to him, “Is powerfully lucky.”
But Hani the Duelist laughed, and he spoke this poem:
I have lived a long time,
I have let the gods do as they will,
I have never worn
Never carried a bag of herbs
Around my neck, –
But I am living still.
“Do you believe in anything?” Lúkr asked Hani.
“Certainly,” Hani replied, “I believe in myself. And in my axe.” And so saying, he swung his axe upon Víga-Óbívan’s stone of healing, and the stone burst asunder. “Gods and luck are useless if you have a good axe at your side, boy.”
Chapter 28: Concerning the Burning of Aldiranborg
The saga turns now to Veidr, as he sailed to Ireland on the ship which was called Daudastjarna, and the captain of that ship was a man from Oslo, Tarkinn by name, Jarl of Stórmof; he was rather aged. They had more than a hundred ships in their following when they sailed into the harbor of Aldiranborg, and the entire harbor was full of Norwegian warships as far as men could stretch their eyes.
Then Tarkinn summoned Leia and meant to declare his intent to her. But when she came near, she said, “Tarkinn Jarl of Stórmof. There was really no doubt that it would be you who held Veidr’s reins.”
“Princess Leia,” said Tarkinn, “You are charming as always, but doomed to death on account of your treason against Falfadinn, King of Norway and Ireland and all islands in the Northern Ocean. But before we kill you, I want to show you how powerful is King Falfadinn and this ship of his. Soon no islands will dare continue to stand against the King of Norway.”
“The tighter you squeeze your hand,” said Leia, “The more islands will slip from your grip.”
“We’ll see about that,” said Tarkinn, “After the full power of this ship and its army is demonstrated. King Falfadinn has sent out the war-arrow all across his kingdom, and there is a great army assembled on our many ships. This ship alone contains enough men to destroy an entire city… Aldiranborg, to name an example.”
“No!” said Leia. “Aldiranborg is a peaceful and unarmed city. How do you expect to be honored if you destroy a city that has no weapons?”
“No weapons… but plenty of treasure?” said Tarkinn as he lifted an eyebrow, “Yes, I think that the men will delight in the first trial of the Daudastjarna being so easily taken, and so richly rewarding. But if you name a city that has warriors who could really and honorably challenge Falfadinn’s men, we will sail there instead of Aldiranborg.”
But Leia was silent.
“I grow weary of asking this same question, and therefore this will be the last time,” Tarkinn Jarl of Stórmof said, “Where is the island on which those who stand against Falfadinn assemble?”
“On Dantúíney,” said Leia, “They are on Dantúíney in the Shetlands.”
“That was easy, Veidr,” said Tarkinn, “She talked even without torture. Send the men ashore.”
“What?” said Princess Leia.
“You are far too trusting, Princess Leia,” said Tarkinn, “Which is the custom of people from Aldiranborg. Dantúíney is too little-known and too far from the cities that we want to intimidate. But we will lead our vikings there soon.”
Their meeting concluded then, and after a short while such a huge army went ashore that no man could remember having ever seen the like, and there was such a great din of weapons clashing and of horses neighing and of shrill war-horns blowing that the earth itself shook, and the cliffs resounded with horrible echoes. The army proceeded into Aldiranborg, destroying and burning and doing all manner of ills, and killing men and women, cows and sheep, and they burned it to the ground so thoroughly that not a cot remained standing.
Chapter 29: Concerning the Arrival of the Falcon at the Death-Star
Two days later Víga-Óbívan and the rest saw black smoke, and they could smell it too. The smoke was so great and so dark that they could not see the land from which the smoke was coming.
“Where are we?” asked Lúkr, “And where is that smoke coming from?”
“I don’t know,” said Hani, “But I calculate that the nearest land is the realm of the King of Aldiran.”
They saw a fishing boat, and on the boat were two large and strong men. Thrípíó asked them in Irish for news, but the men did not understand him. Then he asked them, in Norse, where they were from.
“From Norway,” said one, and grinned. But then these men were silent, and the Falcon sailed on.
“That was nothing more than a little fishing boat,” said Víga-Óbívan, “They could not have sailed all the way from Norway on their own.”
“But why would there be a little Norwegian fishing boat so close to Ireland?” asked Hani. He watched the boat and then said, “They are sailing now toward that small island.”
“That’s no island,” said Víga-Óbívan, “That’s a warship.”
“That is too big to be a warship,” said Hani.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” said Lúkr.
“Yes, something is amiss,” said Hani, “Tsiubakka, let’s turn around.”
But they could not turn the ship around, for Veidr was on the Daudastjarna, and he was still a man powerful with sorcery. He had spoken a spell upon the sea, and so enchanted it that the waves brought to him all ships which he did not recognize.
And when they understood that they could not escape, they hid themselves. There were ten big sacks in the cargo hold; they took some of them out and hid in their places among the cargo. Norwegian soldiers rowed out from the Daudastjarna to the Falcon and searched it, but found no one.
But Hani called out to two soldiers who stood near, and when they came, he killed them with his axe, and no others saw that this was done. Then he and Lúkr clad themselves in the soldiers’ white chain mail, and there were also white helmets with white masks which hid the face. And so clad, they went back to the Daudastjarna with the soldiers.
But before they left, Víga-Óbívan whispered into Lúkr’s ear: “Who is the greater fool? The fool, or the fool who follows the first one?”
Chapter 30: Concerning the Departure of Víga-Óbívan upon the Death Star
Now it must be told how Hani and Lúkr came upon the Daudastjarna, and men thought that they were Norwegian soldiers, because they were clad in the white mail of the soldiers. And they listened as Tarkinn and Veidr spoke among the soldiers.
Veidr said, “I think that they are trying to give Princess Leia information about the construction of this ship. She could still be useful.”
“Veidr, my lord,” said a soldier, “We searched the ship for men, but found none. We think that it is a decoy ship, and that the crew abandoned it shortly after they left Iceland.”
“Did you not even find any thralls?” asked Veidr.
“None, my lord,” said the soldier, “If any were on the ship, they also abandoned it.”
“You two there,” said Veidr, and he pointed at Hani and Lúkr, “Go back to that ship, and search it thoroughly. Tear it apart till you find something or someone, and bring anyone you find to the dungeon amidships where the princess is. I sense something, something that I have not felt since…” He went silent, and walked away.
Hani and Lúkr went back to the Falcon, and Lúkr told Hani and Víga-Óbívan that he wanted to help Princess Leia, “For we didn’t know before that she was alive and that she was on this ship.”
“Why should we help her?” asked Hani, “Let’s figure out as soon as possible how to get ourselves free.”
“But Artú knows something that she needs to pass on to the army that’s fighting against King Falfadinn,” said Lúkr.
“Why can’t he tell them himself?” said Hani, “Why do they need to hear her voice?”
“The soldiers of Falfadinn and Veidr will kill her,” said Lúkr.
“And me, if I try to rescue her,” said Hani, “I’ll sit here till I come up with a way to get us out of this.”
“She is very rich,” said Lúkr.
“Rich?” asked Hani.
“Of course,” said Lúkr, “And powerful. If you rescued her, the reward would be…”
“What?” asked Hani.
“More money than you could well imagine,” said Lúkr.
“There’s a lot of money that I can well imagine,” said Hani.
“You’ll get it,” said Lúkr.
“That would certainly be good,” said Hani, “But how?”
But Víga-Óbívan said, “I know the spell which Veidr cast upon the waves. I will find him, and if I prevail, his spell will weaken, and you can escape on the Falcon.”
“I want to go with you,” said Lúkr, “And we can save the princess.”
“No, Lúkr, you and Hani find her. I must fight alone. I don’t expect that I will escape with my life,” said Víga-Óbívan, “But loan me that good sword which you took in inheritance from your father. It is bound to avail me well, and I will return it to you living or dead. You take my spear.”
“Very well,” segir Lúkr, “But I still want to go with you, and die with you if that is what fate ordains.”
Víga-Óbívan said, “A longer life is ordained for you than for me, Lúkr, and the fortune of my family will follow you.” And he walked away.
Tsiubakka said something in Frisian.
“You speak the truth, Tsiubakka,” said Hani, “Where did you find that old barnacle, Lúkr?”
“He is a noble man,” said Lúkr, “And a war hero. And I have not heard that any good counsel has come to your mind.” Then he looked at Tsiubakka. “It occurs to me, that we ought to bind our Frisian captive.”
Tsiubakka disliked this very much, but Hani understood Lúkr’s intent, and assuaged Tsiubakka’s wrath, saying that he thought he knew what Lúkr intended.
Then they tied rope around the hands of Tsiubakka, and when they were ready to walk back aboard the Daudastjarna, Thrípíó said: “But sir, what should we do while you are on the Daudastjarna? What do we do if soldiers find us?”
“There are doors there,” said Hani, “And you can lock them. And you can pray to your Christ-god that they don’t have axes.”
Chapter 31: Concerning the Rescue of Princess Leia
Now Hani and Lúkr took a boat and rowed to the Daudastjarna, and Tsiubakka the Frisian was bound in the boat as if he were their prisoner. Hani and Lúkr were still clad in the white armor of the Norwegian soldiers. Later men would call these soldiers Stormtroopers, because their army had fallen upon Aldiranborg like the fiercest storm, and they had burned that city and all that was within it, before their white helmets retreated, reddened with gore like a bloody foaming wave.
On the Daudastjarna, there were many men who marveled at Tsiubakka’s height and broad build. And when they had come to the dungeon, a Stormtrooper asked, “Where are you taking this giant of a man?”
“To the dungeon,” said Lúkr, “He was on the ship that Veidr captured.”
The Stormtrooper said, “I have not heard tell that any man was found on that ship, and we should tell Tarkinn, Jarl of Stórmof, about this first.”
But when this soldier turned around and went to bear these tidings to Tarkinn, Hani the Duelist threw his axe and felled him. Two Stormtroopers saw Hani attack the man, and they each took an axe in hand and went to his aid. Lúkr fought them off with great agility, and struck at them with the strength and fearlessness of a lion. Soon the Stormtroopers had been killed by Luke, for they had only short-shafted axes, but Lúkr struck hard and fast with the spear of Víga-Óbívan.
A man on the poop-deck heard the clash of weapons, and called out loudly, “What happened in there?”
“Nothing,” shouted Hani, “Everything is in order. A wave arose under the ship and rocked it, and some weapons fell to the floor. Didn’t you feel that strong wave up there?”
“I didn’t feel this wave that you mention, but I will send some men down to clear the floor,” said the soldier.
“No,” said Hani, “This is not necessary.”
“Who is there?” asked the soldier, and stepped down to look at Hani, “Where are you from?” But Hani leapt at him with his axe drawn, slashed his leg and killed him.
“This conversation bored me,” said Hani, and then he called loudly to Lúkr, “Lúkr! Others will be following him shortly!”
Lúkr was looking into all the rooms of the dungeon till he came to the room that held Princess Leia.
“You are certainly a small Stormtrooper,” she said upon seeing Lúkr.
“I am no Stormtrooper,” he said, “I am named Lúkr Anakinsson, and I am here to rescue you.”
“I have never heard your name,” she said, “Are you an Icelander?”
“Yes,” said Lúkr, “And I am here with Artú Dítússon and Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson.”
“Is Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson on this ship? Where is he?” she asked.
“Come with me for now,” said Lúkr, “For the soldiers will find us soon.”
But when he and Leia stepped out of her cell, there were many soldiers nearby who shot arrows. Tsiubakka had killed one of them and taken his bow. He shot arrows back, but more soldiers followed those who had fallen. Hani the Duelist was also shooting arrows.
“It seems to me,” said Leia to Hani, “That you have hindered our escape, for we cannot get out except through that door where the Stormtroopers are standing.”
“Would you rather sit in your cell in the dungeon, Princess?” asked Hani.
“Better that,” said she, “Than die.”
There was a window in Leia’s cell, and from that window one could see the sea, and on the sea one could see Hani’s ship the Falcon. Taking in hand that spear which Víga-Óbívan had given him, Lúkr carved runes upon it and colored them with his blood, and spoke a spell which Víga-Óbívan had taught him. The man who spoke this spell could speak with another man, even if each stood a long way from the other. And having cast this spell, Lúkr asked Artú, who stood upon the Falcon, whether he knew another exit which Lúkr and the others could take.
Artú answered that he knew no other exit.
Hani asked what the news was, and Lúkr told him.
“But I can’t kill them all,” said Hani, “What should we do?”
“This rescue doesn’t speak well for you,” said Leia, “For you came in, but did not know how you would get out.”
“The plan was his, and not mine, Princess,” said Hani the Duelist, son of Sóló, “And I would rather have waited on my ship, where I would have lived even if you were killed here.”
Princess Leia became very angry, and leapt thereupon out the window in her cell. And when Hani the Duelist looked down from her window, he saw that a garbage boat was there underneath the Daudastjarna, and that it was bearing the trash of the larger ship away. Princess Leia had fallen upon some discarded clothing and was unharmed, and she communicated with hand gestures that she wanted Hani and the rest to follow her.
Tsiubakka was frightened of the jump, for he claimed that he smelled something rotten that was worse than the mere stench of garbage. But Hani said that he cared nothing for what Tsiubakka smelled, and pushed him out the window. Then Lúkr took the jump. But Hani the Duelist fired his last arrows before he made the jump himself.
“A delightful girl,” he said as he leapt, “But I still don’t know whether I’ll end up rescuing her or killing her.”
Chapter 32: Concerning the Battle on the Garbage Boat
When they had come onto the garbage boat, they could not escape it, for Veidr had considered that his enemies might hide themselves there, and he had enchanted that boat so that men were enclosed there like foxes in a trap, and a weapon which was drawn there drew against its owner. And then he placed a great dragon on that boat, and that dragon burnt all the trash on the boat when it got further from the Daudastjarna, before the boat returned to the Daudastjarna again. Veidr expected that no man could live there for very long.
But Hani the Duelist and the others did not know that the boat was enchanted, and Hani shot an arrow from it toward the Daudastjarna, but this arrow flew back and sought to strike him instead, and Hani had a hard time of dodging it.
“Don’t shoot!” said Lúkr, “I tried that before you got here. There is an enchantment upon the boat.”
“And drop that bow!” said Princess Leia, “Or you will surely kill us all.”
“Gladly, my queen,” said Hani, “Everything was in order before you led us here. It is not long now before they learn what happened to us.”
“It could have been worse,” said Lúkr, “We are still alive.”
But when he said this, they heard the roar of a large animal, and the garbage under them shifted somewhat. Tsiubakka was greatly afraid, and tried to run higher on the heap of garbage.
“Worse?” asked Hani, “It just got worse. Something is alive here.”
And then the great dragon emerged from below, and blew poison in every direction before itself. It grasped Lúkr in its long tail, and sought to drown him in the garbage pile.
But Hani the Duelist did not fear this dragon. He took up the spear which Lúkr had dropped, and on this spear were written runes, as has been told before, and because of these runes he could speak with Thrípíó and Artú from afar.
“Thrípíó?” asked Hani, “Can you hear me, Thrípíó?”
“Everything is not well here -” said Thrípíó, but Hani bade him silence himself.
“We have come onto the garbage boat,” said Hani, “And there is a great dragon here, which I would like to slay before it slays me and Lúkr. What advice can you offer?”
And Thrípíó replied, “Dig a hole in the garbage, and sit in that, and stab into the dragon’s heart.”
Hani the Duelist did this. And when the dragon slithered over the hole, Hani buried his axe under its left shoulder all the way to the shaft.Then Hani jumped out of the hole and pulled the axe out, and his arms were bloody up to the shoulders. And when the great dragon felt its death blow, its long neck and tail collapsed, so that everything that was before it was broken, and Lúkr was released.
Then Thrípíó and Artú heard a great shouting, for they could hear all that occurred in the vicinity of the enchanted spear. “Listen to them!” said Thrípíó to his brother Artú, “They are dying, Artú! And I am to blame! It was ill advice that I give to Hani the Duelist, and now the dragon has slain them all.”
Lúkr heard this and said, “We live still, Thrípíó. Ask Artú whether he knows what spell lies upon this boat, and how we can escape it.”
But Thrípíó and Artú were not where they had been before, among the sacks in the cargo hold, for the Stormtroopers had come there and had found the two brothers. Thrípíó told them that he and Artú were men loyal to King Falfadinn but who had been captured by these Icelandic men, and that Lúkr and the others were on the Daudastjarna and were looking for Princess Leia in the dungeon. The Stormtroopers believed his words, but they had brought him and Artú to the Daudastjarna, and there they remained. And because Artú had helped King Falfadinn and Veidr build the Daudastjarna, he knew that Veidr carved his spells on rune-sticks, and he knew where these were kept, hidden in a certain wall. Thrípíó and Artú went there and sought the rune-stick that contained the spell which lay upon the garbage boat.
“Can Artú cancel all the restraining spells on the garbage boat?” Lúkr asked Thrípíó.
Artú told Thrípíó that he could cancel all the spells on the garbage boat, but not the restraining spells specifically.
“Then cancel them all,” said Thrípíó. And then Lúkr and the others were able to leap off the garbage boat and swim back to the Daudastjarna.
Chapter 33: Concerning the Duel of Víga-Óbívan and Veidr
Now the saga turns over to Víga-Óbívan, who found Veidr on the Daudastjarna.
“Long have I awaited you, Víga-Óbívan,” said Veidr, “Finally the two of us meet again, and now the circle is complete.”
Víga-Óbívan was silent, but he drew the sword Lightsaber the Green which he had borrowed from Lúkr.
“When we last saw one another, I was a slave,” said Veidr, “But now I am a master.”
“The lord only of a dishonorable host, Veidi-Anakinn,” said Víga-Óbívan. Then he leapt forward with sword in hand and cut at Veidr, but Veidr jumped away from his strike.
“You have become weak, old man,” said Veidr.
“You cannot win, Veidi-Anakinn,” said Víga-Óbívan, “If you strike me down, I will become stronger than you can possibly imagine.” Veidr leapt then at Víga-Óbívan, and he had drawn the sword Lightsaber the Red. Long did they fight, and they were equally manly, and neither gave in.
At this same time Hani the Duelist and the others swam back up to the Daudastjarna, but the soldiers paid them no attention, for they were riveted in attention to the duel between Veidr and Víga-Óbívan. And when Leia saw Hani’s ship the Falcon, she asked him, “You pilot this ship? You are braver than I thought.”
But Lúkr asked him, “Is the ship in good order?”
“It seems so,” said Hani, “If we can get to it. I hope that the old man can defeat Veidr so that we can get out.”
“Then let’s move as quickly as possible,” said Lúkr, and they all ran toward where the Falcon was while the soldiers watched the duel. But Víga-Óbívan saw them running, and then he considered that he could not win the duel against Veidr, but he knew a spell which a man could sing in order to survive after a kinsman had slain him. But the death in this case had to caused by a man who had betrayed his own kin, and the man so killed would live on unseen and intangible so long as he continued to exhort his kinsmen to kill his betrayer. And furthermore, the man who sang this song, though unseen and intangible to all, could be heard by those men who sought to avenge him. Such a spell would also cancel all magic cast by the betrayer, and in this way Lúkr and the others could escape and live to take their vengeance later.
And Víga-Óbívan cast this spell, and he held the sword Lightsaber the Green before him, and spoke his last: “Valhalla, I am coming.” And Veidr seeing this struck him with Lightsaber the Red. Víga-Óbívan fell and disappeared from sight.
“What?” said Veidr, for he did not understand what had happened. But Lúkr became exceedingly angry and killed five men with spear and axe. Then he took Lightsaber the Green, the sword which Víga-Óbívan had been holding, and he slew many more men, before he heard the voice of Víga-Óbívan. “Run, Lúkr, run,” said the invisible Víga-Óbívan, “You cannot avenge me today, but if you escape with Hani the Duelist I expect that you will be able to avenge me, and your father, a hundredfold.” And since Lúkr believed the words of Víga-Óbívan, and wished greatly to kill many men in his quest to avenge Víga-Óbívan and his father, he ran aboard the Falcon, and Hani together with Tsíubakka the Frisian sailed that good ship away as fast as it could go.
Note: I have it on the authority of my colleague Luke Annear that in some later manuscript traditions, Chapter 33 features a kiss shared by Lúkr Anakinsson with his sister Leia Anakinsdóttir. While it is certainly notable that the two do not realize that they are siblings at this point in the saga, I find it rather unlikely that during any era of Icelandic literary culture the incest of two siblings would have been celebrated in a saga. Probably this is an emendation by later copyists who had not read the earliest chapters of the saga (which for whatever reason, as earlier discussed, are practically ignored from Chapter 17 on at any rate). The best manuscripts do not feature the kissing scene, and so it is not included in this edition of Tattúínárdǿla saga.
Chapter 34: Concerning the Sea Battle Aboard the Falcon
Hani the Duelist bade Luke stand with him on the Falcon’s bow, for he foresaw that Norwegian soldiers would follow them after their departure from the Daudastjarna.
“I can’t believe that Víga-Óbívan is dead,” said Lúkr.
“There was no way that you could have avenged him there, Lúkr,” said Princess Leia.
“Be silent, both of you,” said Hani, “Many other good men have died, but the living man who sits and mourns the deaths of others doesn’t see the arrow that is shot at him.”
And just when he had spoken these words, an arrow came flying at his ship and fixed itself upon the box right below his feet. “Stand now with Tsiubakka and me, for soldiers will follow such a message!”
Then they saw that Norwegian soldiers had followed them on a small warship and had a grappling hook with them, which they took up and cast between the ships and hooked upon Hani’s ship, dragging it thereupon toward their own.
Lúkr now had that good sword, which was called Lightsaber the Green. Lúkr drew this sword and had not even set upon his head a helmet when he leapt upon the gunwale of the Norwegian soldiers’ ship and immediately struck a man his death-blow.
A man stood upon the other end of the Norwegian ship and cast a spear across the ship, and aimed it at the middle of the Falcon. Hani saw this and moved so swiftly that no man could see him moving–then he took this spear in his left hand and shot it back at the man who had thrown it, and this man died from that blow. Then Tsiubakka the Frisian heaved up the Falcon’s anchor and threw it onto the Norwegian ship, breaking that ship and letting the coal-black sea flow inn. The soldiers from that ship all leapt from it and onto the Falcon, and then a hard battle began. Each man did what he could. Hani fought both by hewing with and throwing his axe; many men died on account of him. Lúkr followed him well. Then Tsiubakka came to the fray, and the three of them fought for the rest of the day.
Lúkr took a rest during the fighting. Hani saw this and commented: “You have treated others better than you have treated yourself today, for you have ended their thirst.”
Then Lúkr took a single serving out of a full cask of mead, and drank it, and went back to fighting after that. And it so happened that more soldiers leapt upon their ship from another small warship, and Lúkr went to defend one side of the Falcon and Hani to the other. Against Lúkr there came a large man in white chainmail, who swung a sword at him which stuck in his shield. Lúkr twisted his shield hard, breaking that sword off at the hilt. Then he struck back, and he struck so swiftly that it seemed to his enemy that three swords were in the air where there was only Lúkr’s one, and he did not know from what direction to defend himself. Lúkr cut both feet out from under him. Tsiubakka killed many more men with a spear. After that they took a great deal of plunder from the Norwegian ship, and from there they held their course east toward Shetland, fighting constantly along the way and always taking the victory.
Chapter 35: Concerning the Feast on Whalsay
Hani the Duelist and the others came to land at Whalsay in Shetland, and they anchored the ship at a harbor there. A short way into the interior of the island lived a jarl who was named Villardr. When he learned that Vikings had come to his land, he sent his men to meet with them, with the purpose of learning whether these Vikings were there in peace or there with the intent of raiding. But when these men came to Hani with their errand from the earl, Hani assured them that they were not there to raid them, for they had no need to raid at this time or to do battle there, and the land was not wealthy anyway. He said also that he had come with Artú Dítússon, an Irishman, and that this good man knew how one might destroy the Norwegian warship which was called the Daudastjarna.
The messengers returned to the jarl and told him what had come of their errand. And when the jarl was aware that these Vikings were enemies of King Falfadinn and wished to do some harm to his kingdom, he rejoiced, for he hated Falfadinn and his soldiers, who often raided in Shetland. Then he rode without bodyguards over to where Hani and the others were. When they met, their conversations went well. The jarl invited them to a feast with him and his army.
And when they came into the hall of the jarl, they were greeted well, and they were led into the dining room, where beer was brought in and given them to drink. They sat there till the evening.
But before the tables were taken up, the jarl said that they should cast lots to determine who should sit together, each man paired with a woman, as far as there were enough, but some would be left to drink alone if there were too many. So the men cast their lots upon a kerchief, and the jarl took them up. The jarl had a daughter. The lots were cast in such a way that it fell to Lúkr to sit with her during the evening. She was going about the hall and enjoying herself. Lúkr then got up and went to the spot where she had been sitting during the day. And when the others all went to their allotted seats, she went to hers next to him. And she said:
What do you want, boy, in my seat?
I trust that you have seldom
fed the wolf warm flesh,
and I’d rather sit alone in that case:
You have never seen the autumn raven
croaking above a slaughtered warrior,
you have never been to a place
where sharp swords cross.
Lúkr put his arm around her and sat her down next to him. And then he said:
I have walked with a bloody blade,
which the corpse-hungry raven eagerly followed,
and a resounding spear:
there was a hard ambush by Víkings,
angrily we conducted battle;
fire has burnt the abodes of my foes,
I have left bloody corpses
strewn over city-gates.
Then the two of them drank together happily all evening. It was a great feast, and it lasted the whole of the next day also.
But then Princess Leia said to Jarl Villardr, “You must lay aside this feasting, my lord, and speak with Artú, this Irishman, who knows how we might destroy the Daudastjarna. I have a suspicion, that that ship will have followed us here.”
Veidr stood on a doorway upon the deck when Tarkinn, Jarl of Stórmof, came to him. “Are you sure, Veidr,” he said, “That you have correctly cast the spell of following upon their ship? Otherwise this voyage will be rather risky.”
“Certainly I have cast the spell correctly,” said Veidr, “And already we have learnt that our enemies are hiding on the other side of Mainland in Shetland, on a small island which is called Whalsay. We are now preparing our journey, after we gather a large army here in Falfadinn’s lands in Ireland.”
“This has been done in a way pleasing to me,” said Tarkinn.
“This is certainly a good week,” said Veidr, “Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson is dead, and soon all who draw sword against King Falfadinn will die.”
Chapter 36: Concerning the Norwegian Fleet
On the sixth week of summer the Norwegian fleet neared Whalsay. Hani the Duelist had departed, along with Tsiubakka, for he wished to pay Jabbi, King of the Danes, the ransom that was placed on his head. Lúkr Anakinsson and Jarl Villardr were there with all their warriors; Jarl Villardr had named Lúkr a chieftain, and intended to marry his daughter to him.
It was good weather with bright sunshine. Both leaders now went onto a small island with their warriors and saw where very many ships sailed out on the sea all together, and now they saw a particularly large and splendidly adorned ship.
Then Jarl Villardr said: “This is a great ship and exquisitely handsome. This must be the Daudastjarna.”
Lúkr answered him and said that this was not the Daudastjarna. And it was as he said: This was the ship of Danettr from Pittir. A little later they saw where another ship sailed, this one much bigger than the first.
Then Jarl Villardr said: “Veidr and Tarkinn are afraid now. They do not dare to sail with the dragon-heads on their ship.”
Then Lúkr said: “This is not the Daudastjarna. I know this ship, and its sail, for the sail is striped. This is Ásvaldr Tesjiksson. We should let them sail on. It will be better for us if this well-prepared ship is a gap and a loss in Veidr’s fleet, than if it is near us.”
Then they saw where three ships sailed, and one was a great ship. Then Jarl Villardr bade his men go to their ships, saying that there went the Daudastjarna.
Lúkr said: “They have many good and well-decorated ships besides the Daudastjarna. Wait a little longer.”
Then many said: “Lúkr doesn’t want to fight and avenge his father Anakinn. This is a great shame, such that will be spoken of in every land, if we lie here with such a force of arms and let Veidr sail past us on the ocean right under our noses.”
But only a little after they had said this, they saw that there were four ships sailing, and one of them was a huge dragon-ship spectacularly decorated in gold.
Then Lúkr, son of Anakinn, stood and said: “I will stand high upon the prow of the Daudastjarna tonight. I will steer that ship.”
Then many said that this was a great ship and a beautiful one, and a magnificent deed to have had such a great ship built.
The warriors then went to their ships and raised the sails. And as Lúkr and Villardr talked about what was happening, they saw that there were four ships sailing toward them and the fourth and last was the Daudastjarna. But those large ships, which had sailed before it and which they thought to be the Daudastjarna, were in fact two ships: the first was called Tæfætr the Long, and the second Tæfætr the Short. But when they saw the Daudastjarna, all recognized it, and none denied that there Veidr would be sailing, and they went to their ships and prepared them for battle.
There was an arrangement among the two leaders that the first who stepped foot upon the Daudastjarna would own all the loot that was upon it, and each of them also would get all the ships which he could clear of men.
Jarl VIllardr had a huge warship which he had been accustomed to bring with him on Viking raids, and he gave Lúkr this ship. This ship was called Ekkel’s Wing, after the great sea-hero of that name, and Artú Dítússon went aboard this ship with Lúkr. And when Lúkr went aboard this ship, he heard the voice of Víga-Óbívan, which said: “Lúkr, avenge me and your father. The good luck of your family will be with you, always.”
Veidr had the horn blown to order his ships together. The Daudastjarna was in the middle of the fleet, and on either side of it Tæfætr the Long and Tæfætr the Short. And when they began to tie the ships together, they tied the Daudastjarna to Tæfætr the Long. But when Veidr saw this he called out loudly, and ordered them to let the bigger ship go first, and not let the great ship be the last in the whole fleet. Then Tarkinn, Jarl of Stórmof, said: “If the Daudastjarna will sail as far ahead of the other ships as it is longer than they are, then it will be difficult to defend the front of it.”
Veidr said: “I did not know that my leading officer was both gray-haired and a coward.”
Tarkinn said: “Then you defend the back, and I will defend the front.”
Veidr took up a bow, strung an arrow upon it and aimed it at Tarkinn.
Tarkinn said: “Shoot the other way, Veidr, for there is more need there. What I win is won also for you.”
Veidr stood upon the raised aft deck of the Daudastjarna. He towered above all others. He had a black shield and a raven-black helmet, and was easily distinguishable from other men. He had a short black tunic on over his chain mail.
And when Veidr saw that the host of his enemies was assembling and flags were being raised for their leaders, he asked: “Who is the leader of that force closest to us, with the golden flags?”
He was told that this was Villardr, Jarl of Shetland.
Veidr answered: “We do not fear those cowards. Shetlanders have no courage in them. But what leader follows those flags which are out there on the right side, with the red flags?”
“That is,” they said, “Lúkr Anakinsson, an Icelander.”
Then Veidr answered: “He will be thinking to give us a suitable battle, and we have hope of a harder fight from those troops. He is an Icelander like I am, and I see that a certain family luck is strong with this one.”
Note: There is a sizable lacuna between chapters 36 and 42 in our manuscript of the Tattúínárdǿla saga, but the events of these chapters can be guessed at from the contents of the fragmentary Veiðrsdrápa (“Song of Praise for Veidr”), traditionally attributed to King Falfaðinn himself (although more likely by one of his many court skálds; Þorbjǫrn stjǫrnuklofi has been suspected by many scholars). This poem is badly preserved, due to its only manuscript having been torn apart and repurposed as binding for a volume of bishops’ sagas. But from the surviving stanzas of this poem, we learn that the Death Star has been destroyed –
Auga þat’s Falfaðinn Þjaza
þiggr–skóp–Amlóða kvern’s liggr æ.
“The eye of Þjazi (= star, i.e. Death Star/Dauðastjarna) which Falfaðinn made, is received by the mill of Amloði (= sea), lies there evermore.”
We read also of an episode in which Veidr chases the rebels to a hideout in the icy northern district of Hoð, apparently employing a team of notably tall-legged horses in so doing (or is this an unsatisfactorily explained kenning for something else?) –
Háleggjuðu þengils leggjum
leiðum manar hófa skeiða
til hrímkalda sunnan heims Hoðs
hǫggum þá’s ljóssborgar skrǫgg fjásk.
“Let us set the hooves of the king’s high-legged ships of the mane (= horses) on the paths northward to the frost-cald land of Hoth, let us cut down those who hate the light-city’s (= Koruskantborg’s) fox (= leader, i.e. Falfaðinn).”
And the poem offers us tantalizing clues about Lúkr’s whereabouts afterwards:
Hvé Lúkr lauk-at vitu-t seggir
ljúga’s segja Veiðr hann kúgi;
trúa flest hann fǿri austan
fann Óðinssvikara Jóða.
“How Lúkr’s life was spared is unknown; they lie who say that he was frightened of Veidr, and most say that he went west, where he found Jódi, the betrayer of Odin (i.e. the Christian).”
However, the prose narrative itself does not resume till the duel of Veidr and Lúkr in chapter 42, which in our oldest and best manuscript is also written in a noticeably younger hand than chapters 17-36.
Chapter 42: Concerning the Duel of Lúkr and Veidr, and the Lament of Veidr
Now it must be told, that Lúkr saw a man standing upon the road before him, and he saw that this man must be Veidr. Lúkr drew his sword and struck at Veidr, but Veidr raised his shield, and Lúkr’s strike lodged in Veidr’s shield. Then Veidr cut to Lúkr, but Lúkr acted wisely; he ducked under the blow, though he was wounded a little by it.
Veidr spoke, he began to ask in few words, who Lúkr’s father was, “or of what kin you are, child; if you tell me the name of one of them, I will know the others in your line; all the people on Iceland are well known to me.”
Lúkr Anakinsson spoke: “I was told by Víga-Óbívan, an old man and wise, who once lived, that my father was named Anakinn; I am named Lúkr. My father went east long ago.”
Veiðr said: “Víga-Óbívan will not have told you the truth about what happened to your father.”
“He told me enough,” said Lúkr, “He told me, that my father was always at the forefront of any army, that he was a man who cherished war, that he was well-known to other brave men. And he told me that you killed him.”
“That is not true,” said Veidr, “For I am your father.” He then took from his arm twisted arm-rings, made of gold from the royal treasury, which his king, the lord of Norway, had given him: “These I give to you in friendship.”
Lúkr Anakinsson said: “With a spear shall one receive gifts, spearpoint against spearpoint.”
“Now a great disgrace occurs,” said Veidr, “For now my own son shall cut me with his sword, break me beneath his blade, or else I shall become his killer.”
“You are not to be believed, you crafty Norwegian,” said Lúkr, “Even if you are my father, you will still want to kill Hani, who is my sworn brother, and it would be shameful if I sat by.” And he cut for Veidr with his sword gripped in both hands, dealt a damaging blow to Veidr’s white shield.
“This is manfully done,” said Veidr. Veidr cut for Lúkr’s hand, so that it was cut off, and Lightsaber the Green fell down and with it Lúkr.
Anakinn spoke – he was called Veidr, Lúkr’s father:
Old Odin, do not grant me your favor!
Better do I think it to eat goat’s flesh
than to drink the mead of Valhalla,
to be deprived of joy and exchange it for honor.
I have cut off the hand of my own son;
may Odin repair his hand, and my family,
or else when my brave son wins his seat in Valhalla,
may he not find me there.
Chapter 43: Concerning Lúkr in Jabbi’s Palace
Our story turns now to this, when Princess Leia, together with Thrípíó Dítússon, Tsiubakka the Frisian, and the famous captain Lando Kalrisson of Cloud-City, went to Denmark on that ship of Hani the Duelist which is called the Falcon. Lúkr Anakinsson was displeased with this, for he thought it poorly planned, and he himself was in ill health the whole summer, for he had lost his hand when he fought a duel against his father, Veiði-Anakinn.
But many weeks later Lúkr Anakinsson, the Sky-walker, sailed to Denmark, together with Artú Dítússon, on that good ship which is called the Ekkill’s Wing, after the great old sea-king of that name. And on this journey Artú cast a spell, which he had learned among the Jedi Fjord Men of old, and he made a new hand for Lúkr, and this hand was made of silver.
Jabbi the Stout was King of Denmark in those days. He was an excellent chieftain in every respect, but a fat man and a great drinker, and he was not accustomed to traveling on this account. It seemed to him best to remain at his court, while he sent men to travel widely around and accomplish his errands.
Lúkr came to the king’s residence with Artú. He led his horse into the stable next to the king’s best horses, and asked no one about it; he then went into the hall, and a few of Jabbi’s bodyguards were there. Some bodyguards asked him why he had come.
“I came to meet with your king, because I would like to purchase the peaceful release of my sworn brother, Hani the Duelist, son of Sóló,” said Lúkr. “Now, take me to him.”
The bodyguards refused to do this, but Lúkr cast the magic of the Jedi Fjord Men upon them. “Now you will take me to your king,” he said. They did so.
“You serve your king well,” said Lúkr, and this pleased the bodyguards. “He will reward you extraordinarily well.”
Now when Lúkr came before the seat of King Jabbi, the king was asleep, and Lúkr saw in a certain corner where Leia sat. She was bound to the throne of Jabbi, and much harried because Jabbi and his men were accustomed to force her to wait on them day and night. Men say that Jabbi punished her in this fashion because she released Hani from his magical bonds, and King Jabbi could not bear to have his power challenged by a woman. In those times it was not customary among the Danes to give heed to a woman’s words.
Now the bodyguards woke Jabbi, and led Thrípíó the son of Dítú thereto, for he had entered into the service of Jabbi, and he spoke many languages.
But because Lúkr could not understand his thick Danish accent, he could understand only a little of what King Jabbi said when Jabbi saw what man had come to visit him. “I told you,” said Jabbi, “That this man should never be allowed to come into my presence, or into the very sight of me or my sons. You meager-brained fools! He has enchanted you with Jedi magic. And yet he has willingly entered into my power, and so I shall not act basely towards him without hearing him speak his errand first.”
And now Jabbi turned to Lúkr and said, “Bo shuda.” That is how the Danes say “Welcome.” Thrípíó now began to translate Jabbi’s words into Norse.
“You will give me Hani the Duelist, and Tsiubakka the Frisian,” said Lúkr.
“Your Jedi Fjord magic does not work on me,” said Jabbi.
“All the same,” said Lúkr, “I will take them away, and our friends. You have a choice, king, that will have seemed unlikely to you before this moment, for now I have power over your life. I will not be a worse drengr to you than you are to me. And now I offer you two choices: To be killed, or to let me take my friends and receive payment for them instead. I will take them either way.”
Jabbi laughed, and had Lúkr cast into a pit, and in this pit lived a lion. “I do not wish to make this choice,” said Jabbi, and laughed again.
Lúkr saw the lion, which was lying down with a dead man under it, whose blood it was sucking up.
Then Lúkr said to the lion: “Stand up and fight me. That will be more manly than to lie there on that meat.”
The lion stood up and looked at Lúkr, but then sat back down.
Lúkr said: “If you think that I am better armed than you, then I shall do something about that.” He cast off his helmet and set down his shield as well. “Now stand up if you dare.”
The lion sat up and shook its head, but then lay back down.
“I understand now,” said Lúkr, “That you want us to be equally unarmed.” Now he cast his sword aside and said: “It will be as you wish! Now stand up, if you have a heart that is not better suited to the most cowardly of creatures.”
The lion stood up and bristled and looked very grim. It leapt then at Lúkr and lifted up its paw, which it intended to strike Lúkr with. But at the moment that it prepared to strike, Lúkr leapt at the lion in turn. They wrestled for a long time. The combat was great, and the end of it was that Lúkr got the lion on its back and broke its spine.
Then King Jabbi had Lúkr taken out of the pit and had Hani and Tsiubakka brought to him, together with all those who belonged to their following. It was then that Lúkr saw Hani the Duelist
“We meet again, my sworn brother,” said Hani.
“I would not wish to be elsewhere,” said Lúkr, “Than a place where we might fight together against our enemies.”
“Or die together,” said Hani, “But how have things been with you otherwise, since we last saw each other?”
“The same as before,” said Lúkr.
“So much the worse,” replied Hani, “But where is Leia?” He was still blind because of Veiðr’s magic.
“I am here,” she said.
But now Thrípíó came to them and said: “The great Jabbi has decided that you are to be killed immediately.”
“I call that good news,” said Hani, “It would bore me to wait a long time.”
“For the king has decided,” continued Thrípíó, “That you shall be brought to the Dune Lake, and there you shall be cast into the mouth of the Lyng-back, where you will dwell for a thousand years in unspeakable suffering.”
“That I cannot call good news,” said Hani, and Tsiubakka indicated his agreement.
“You will not kill me,” said Lúkr, “When the next dawn comes, I will be alive, and you, King Jabbi, will not be.” But Jabbi laughed at him.
More than a third of Jylland in Denmark is a great desert, and it was to this desert that King Jabbi had his captives taken.
Chapter 44: Concerning the Lyngbak or Sarlaccus, and the Death of King Jabbi
Jabbi, King of the Danes, rode to the Dún Lake with his following, and Princess Leia was with him because he had taken her as his servant, and she was in chains. Thrípíó and Artú, the sons of Dítú, were with him as well, for they had become a part of his retinue. Artú bore the king’s drinking horn.
But King Jabbi had Lúkr Anakinsson, Hani Sólósson, and Tsiúbakka the Frisian led to the lake in the chains of prisoners. Jabbi did not know that Landó Kalrisson, who had bound them, had tied the bonds of Hani and Tsiubakka loosely – for he had become a retainer of King Jabbi, but he felt compelled to repay Hani because he had rescued him from the soldiers and wrath of Veidr in Cloud City. But to Lúkr he had not given heed, for he had heard it said that Lúkr was the son of Veidr.
Now in old days there lived in the desert of Denmark the Lyngbak, a great and large dragon, which ate all that which fell into its mouth, but only its mouth was seen, and it was in the Dún Lake. And such a magic lay upon this dragon, that everything that fell into its mouth living, would live within it for a thousand years in pain and darkness. Some men have said, that the Romans called this monster the Sarlaccus.
Now Thrípíó knelt before the king, and spoke aloud in the hearing of all: “If you wish to beg for mercy, the king will hear your pleas.”
But Hani answered, he was Sóló’s son: “Thrípío, tell that worm-bitten pile of mud that he will get no such pleasure out of us!”
Tsiubakka expressed agreement with this. But Lúkr spoke, he was the son of Anakinn whom men call Veidr: “King Jabbi, I offer you this for the last time: Free us, or you will die.”
But Jabbi, King of the Danes, laughed, and ordered Lúkr to be pushed out into the lake over the mouth of the Sarlaccus. But the king did not know that Artú Dítússon had kept the good sword of Lúkr, which was called Lightsaber the Green, and he did not see when Artú threw this good sword to Lúkr. But Lúkr caught that sword, and with the strength of the men of the Jedi Fjords he broke his bonds asunder, and killed fifteen men before Jabbi’s men could even draw their weapons.
A battle broke out then; many in the following of Jabbi were killed. Then Lúkr ran forward and cut with both hands, for he had also seized a broad-bladed spear in his left hand, and he ran to the place where he saw the king’s banner. There fell Sy Snootles the singer, a retainer of Jabbi’s, and many another good man. But when Lúkr reached the wall of shields surrounding the king, his sword stuck in the man who bore the king’s banner.
Then Lúkr said: “Now I struck three feet too short.”
The king himself wanted to deal Lúkr his death blow. But Princess Leia stood behind Jabbi, and she took up her chains and swept them up under the king’s neck and strangled him to death. It is for this reason that she began to be called Leia the King-killer.
On this day Dueling-Hani killed Bóbafett, son of Jangofett, and that was a great deed, but men say that Lúkr Anakinsson killed thirty men. And the bodies of all whom they had killed, including the body of the king, they fed to the Sarlaccus, and they took as booty the horses and weapons of King Jabbi and rode west toward the sea.
Chapter 45: Concerning the Death of Jódi Gormóarson
Now Lúkr went with Artú Dítússon to meet with Jódi Gormóarson in the Faroe Islands. But there Lúkr found Jódi in his bed, and Jódi seemed unlikely to live.
“Are you sick, my foster-father?” asked Lúkr.
“Yes, yes,” said Jódi, “Sick I am, old and weak am I become. But when ninety winters you have lived, look so good you will not. Die soon shall I.”
“But I need help from you still,” said Lúkr, “I have come back because I want to continue to train in the magic of the Jedi Fjord Men.”
“Require further training you do not,” said Jódi, “Know all that do you, which you require.”
“Then I have become a man of the Jedi Fjords.”
“No! Not yet. Avenge your father you must, a man whom we once counted as a member of our family also.”
“But Veidr is my father,” said Lúkr, “Is that not true?”
“True it is,” said Jódi, “Your father he is. Told you, did he?”
“Yes,” said Lúkr.
“This was not your hope,” said Jódi, “And it is an unlucky thing to have happened.”
“Unlucky?” said Lúkr, “Unlucky that I know the truth, about my own father?”
“No,” said Jódi, “Unlucky that now, doubts have you, about killing a man, who killed must be. Lúkr! Your father you must kill. Doubt do not, that an honorable name you shall win with the men of the Jedi Fjords forever. But the last Jedi Fjord Man you will be, when I am dead… though there was another child of Anakinn the Sky-walker.” With this Jódi died.
Jódi was placed in the mound which was prepared for him. He was laid in a ship in that mound, and much money and property was placed in the mound with him. Then the mound was sealed up.
Chapter 46: Concerning the Zombie of Víga-Óbívan
It has been told that when Víga-Óbívan dueled against Veidr, he died, but he sang that song which allowed him to live longer as an invisible zombie. But on that day when Jarl Jódi Gormóarson died, he showed himself to Lúkr.
“Víga-Óbívan,” said Lúkr, “Why did you never tell me that Veidr was my father? You told me that Veidr betrayed and killed my father.”
“What I told you,” said Víga-Óbívan, “Was true – from my point of view. After your father pledged himself to the service of King Falfadinn, he held his word to him, but to the family of the Jedi Fjords, which had fostered him, he was faithless. And so I counted the good man, who was your father, dead, and Veidr I counted as his killer. And I think that it is destined for you to avenge your father – even if you avenge the man on himself.”
“But he is still my father,” said Lúkr, “His blood is my own. I cannot believe that he is completely bad. To believe him to be beyond redemption, is to believe that I am, as well. For to whom is a good drengr more loyal than to his father?”
“Say the same thing about me,” said Víga-Óbívan, “For know that I myself swore an oath to avenge my father. And your father swore that same oath. I now crave satisfaction for your father’s oath from you. For indeed, to whom is agood drengr more loyal than to his father? And to his words? And to the words of his father? But your father lied, and he serves now the man who killed the man whom he swore to avenge.”
“If I kill him,” said Lúkr, “I kill the last kinsman left to me, and I become an outlaw in all lands. The praise of the Jedi Fjord family will mean little to me, since you are all dead. And I must believe that my father is in his right mind, and that he did what he did for a reason, though I may not know it. And it is said of old that,
“Two ravens make for home in the evening,
turn from the leavings of battle on the plain;
fearless unreconciled warriors
would seem wasted to them if left uneaten.”
“And yet,” continued Lúkr, “You and Jóði would rather that I feed my father to the ravens, than that I feed my father’s enemies thereto.”
“And yet you are either a traitor to your family,” said Víga-Óbívan, “Or to your words. Either way your father will certainly try to kill your sister, if you do not attack him.”
“Leia,” said Lúkr, “Is Leia my sister?”
“Certainly she is your sister,” said Víga-Óbívan, “And Dueling Hani, a strong man and a bold one, is your brother-in-law. Are you then without kin? Or do you think that you can belie your oath to him, when you told him that you sworn brothers would together destroy the second Daudastjarna, your father’s own ship, and take everything upon it as booty, or else perish in the attempt?”
“Certainly I do not,” said Lúkr.
“Then there is nothing else you can do,” said Víga-Óbívan, “It must go as it has been fated.”
Chapter 47: Concerning the Oaths of Lúkr Anakinsson and his Following
A little later Lúkr Anakinsson sailed to the Hebrides with Artú Dítússon. There he met Hani Sólósson and Landó Kalrisson, and to that meeting came also Leia King-killer, as well as Landó’s brother, Akbarr, whom men called the Squid, for he was a good sailor and pirate.
“It is to be expected,” said Landó, “That you all have heard tell: King Falfadinn is making a new Daudastjarna, bigger than its predecessor. The ship is still not complete, and sits in harbor in the Shetlands, where there is an island called Fetlar. The Norwegians raid there, and take all the food they get as provisions for their voyages. The Shetlanders who live there – men call them the Bear-folk, because in size and strength they resemble bears more than men – have made a wall across the island, and they in turn raid the Norwegians on the east side of the wall. Their chieftain is named Ívok of Endor; he is a man of noble lineage. But they need a larger force of arms.”
“And even were it not true, that these men who hate our enemies need help,” said Hani, “Still this would be true – that King Falfadinn himself is there, and with him is Veidr, the killer of Víga-Óbívan.”
Lúkr rose now and spoke: “Veidr is my father and has pledged himself to the king of Norway, but King Falfadinn is my enemy. Thus I swear this oath, that I shall have King Falfadinn driven out of his kingdom, before the third night of winter is passed, or else I shall have him killed and so have seized the kingdom for myself. And now, Hani, it is your turn,” said Lúkr, “And take care that you do not speak any less well than have I.”
Hani answered: “So it shall be, that I shall say something. I swear this oath, that I shall raid in the Shetlands before the third night of winter has passed, with whatever force I can gather, and I will have King Falfadinn chased out of the land or else killed. Otherwise my own corpse will rest in the Shetlands.”
Then Lúkr spoke: “This goes well, and this oath is well-sworn if you can fulfill it, and it is not the least manly thing you have done. We must accomplish well and manfully what we have sworn. Now it is your turn, Landó Kalrisson, to make an oath, and clearly it must be a manly one.”
Landó answered: “I have thought of an oath for myself. I swear this oath, that I will follow my brother Akbarr the Squid and never flee until our very ship sinks. But if we fight upon the land, then I swear this oath, that I shall never flee so long as my brother is in the fray with me and I can see his standard flying before me.” Akbarr the Squid agreed to this oath.
“You have spoken well,” said Lúkr, “And you will certainly fulfill your oath, as you are a good drengr. Now, Tsiubakka, it is your turn, and we know that you will have something very manful to say.”
“I swear this oath,” said Tsíubakka, and Thrípíó translated his words into Norse, “That I shall follow Hani, my comrade, in this journey, so long as I am a man and a drengr, and I shall not stop until fewer men stand than have fallen in the fray, and even then I shall continue to fight so long as Hani wills it.”
“It went as we expected,” said Lúkr, “You spoke extremely manfully.”
And when they were drinking the next day, Lúkr was exceedingly cheerful and enjoying himself very much. It so happened, that Lúkr told Landó that he would provide twenty ship whenever Landó was ready for this journey.
Landó answered: “This contribution is good… for a rich farmer. But is not a kingly contribution, and such a chieftain I reckon you now, and the son-in-law of Jarl Villardr of Shetland.”
Then Lúkr got a somewhat wolfish expression on his face, and he asked Landó: “How much do you think you would need, if you had such a large force as you wanted?”
“That is easily answered,” said Landó, “Sixty ships, all of them large and well-manned.”
Now Lúkr answered: “All of these ships shall be prepared, Landó, when you are ready for the journey. I shall have done what you ask of me.”
Chapter 48: Concerning the Preaching of Thrípíó Dítússon
The saga turns now to Veidr, who arrived at the new Daudastjarna. The sailor who was in charge of the builders greeted him well, and asked why he had come.
“I have come,” said Veidr, “To deliver to your ears the message of King Falfadinn – who is angry, because the ship has not been completed, and he is coming here as soon as he can, to make sure that the work is completed.”
“The king is coming here?”
“Certainly,” said Veidr, “And he is not so merciful as am I.”
Another sailor came forth and said that a ship had come which no man could recognize – “and they want to go to the other side of the island.”
“Did they know the password?” asked the first sailor.
“Yes, sir,” said the other, “Though it was an old password. Still, they were clad, like us, in white armor and helmets. The man who steers their ship spoke Norse like a Norwegian and not like a Shetlander or Icelander.”
“Let them sail on,” said Veidr, “And I myself will seek them on the island.”
“It has gone as I said,” said Hani, “We are free of them and can continue on to the island. There we can assemble the men of Ívok, and attack the Norwegian army from the land while Landó and the others attack by sea.”
“Still I fear,” said Lúkr Anakinsson, “That my father Veidr will know that I am with you, and will want to attack us first. He is a hard man and a good viking, unmerciful, yes, even to his own kinsmen.”
“Unmerciful? I have not heard ever before,” said Hani, “That Veidr offered anyone what he offered you. But how could he find us? You believe in too much, but so you were taught by Víga-Óbívan. Personally I just fear that Landó will destroy my ship, the Falcon.”
When they came to land, on that side of the island which Ívok of Endor and his men claimed, they saw nothing. They walked on a while, but then they were attacked by concealed men who shot arrows at them, and asked: “Who are these men who have come to our war-torn land? Speak up swiftly, or we shall kill you all, you servants of King Falfadinn.”
Lúkr asked, “Was a messenger ever sent here, to tell them of our purpose in coming?”
“Certainly men were sent,” said Hani, “But I don’t think any got here. And we are clad as Norwegian soldiers.”
But Thrípíó held forth his book called the Bible, and spoke in these words: “We do not serve King Falfadinn, whom we reckon as a false king. We serve rather the true king, who is called Jesus Christ, and lives in Rome.”
And then Thrípíó told of many miracles performed by Jesus Christ and his saints, and the Shetlanders, great men and very strong, wondered greatly at this Irish man and these words of his, and about this strong king who would strengthen them if they would only let go of their heathen gods and give all of their prayers to him. These men said that they would certainly take them to their chieftain, Ívok. Two men bore Thrípíó upon their shoulders, while the other bound Hani and Lúkr and the others, and led them forward.
“Thrípío, son of Dítú,” spoke Dueling-Hani, “I, Hani son of Sólo, swear this oath, that when my arms are free, I will challenge you to a duel, for you have told a lie about me. Otherwise you will be hated by all men. I would rather believe in Odin than in the White-Christ, though I think that the words of both have cheated men of their lives. A king and a god! – one needs the other. And you, Lúkr, you would like to believe in all gods, and to set yourself up as a king in Falfadinn’s stead.”
“Silence, Hani,” said Lúkr, “It is a lie which Thrípíó has spoken, but it has spared our lives.”
“So it begins,” said Hani, “Power, and faith, and lies, they are all branches in the same tree. But I choose none of them. I choose only this: To chop that tree down with my axe whenever I see it, even the smallest sprout of it. In a forest of such trees all light dwindles, and the ashes and elms wither.”
Chapter 49: Concerning the Last Meeting of Lúkr with His Father
It is now time to tell, that Thrípíó converted Ívok and his people to the Christian faith. And they would not endure that they should lose this precious messenger of the faith, and so Ívok forbade him to duel Hani on his island.
“The thing to do now,” said Ívok, “Is to render aid to Landó and the others when they attack the Norwegian fleet. Let us go! Let us go as soon as we can.” And all praised his words.
But Lúkr stood outside, and his face was grim. While those within shouted and clapped, he left, and alone he walked the path toward the hall which the Norwegians had erected near the Daudastjarna.
After Lúkr had walked a long time in the darkness on the path through the heath, he saw a shadow which stood before him, and the shadow was darker even than the night itself.
“Take my sword, father,” said Lúkr, “I will not fight you.” He handed his sword to Veiðr, and Veiðr grasped it slowly by the hilt.
Veiðr said, “It was my sword, when I was younger. When I was called Anakinn. Lightsaber the Green – certainly it is a good sword and a sharp one. But now I bear Lightsaber the Red, and it is sharper still, and that name Anakinn never did me any good.”
“It is still your true name,” said Lúkr.
But Veiðr became angry. “It is a name,” he said, “given to me by a slavewoman. The name Veiðr was the gift of a king, and that is worth three times as much.”
“Still I have heard,” said Lúkr, “That you killed more men in vengeance for that slavewoman than you have killed since, whether in the service of the Jedi Fjord Men or the king. And I believe that you are still the pride of our family – born as a slave on Iceland, but now become a friend of kings and a world-famous warrior. You do me honor to call me your son, and I will not betray my worthy father. Take me to your king – it is he who is my enemy.”
“He is my king,” said Veidr, “If you serve me as a child ought to serve his father, then he is your king also.”
“That could never be,” said Lúkr, “Even if I knew that my life depended on it. He is responsible for the death of Víga-Óbívan, and I am obliged to avenge him. He is also responsible for the death of Kvæggan, Víga-Óbívans father, and I have inherited from my father the obligation to avenge him.”
“Then your father is dead,” said Veidr, “If you have inherited this from him.”
“Certainly my father is dead,” said Lúkr, “If, rather than avenge the man who gave you freedom, you would kill your own son.”
“If that is your destiny,” said Veidr, “So be it. Better that the father should take such a life of misery upon himself, than condemn his son to it.”
Chapter 50: Concerning the Trap
The saga turns now to Landó and his men, who were in their ships, concealed in an inlet where they awaited a sign that Hani had begun his assault on the Daudastjarna from the island. Now they saw the fire which Hani had started; he wished to burn the Daudastjarna in the harbor before the Norwegian fleet could arrive. But there were many soldiers who protected that good ship.
“Weigh anchor!” said Landó. “Today we will destroy the Daudastjarna, and kill King Falfadinn.”
But as their ships passed the peninsula which had concealed them, they saw Norwegian ships, more than 190. These had been hidden as well, on the other side of this same peninsula.
“It’s a trap!” shouted Akbarr, whom men called the Squid. The Norwegian ships encircled them, and berserkers boarded Landó’s ship. It was a hard battle and a long one, but Akbarr the Squid fell. His brother Landó defended himself a long time with his sword, and all wondered at this man who defended himself so well even though so many attacked him. And yet everyone who came near to him in that battle thought that this one man was quite enough to deal with. It is said that at last one of the berserkers beheaded Landó, but it is the opinion of most men that there are few who have ever been Landó’s match for courage and fighting prowess.
Chapter 51: Concerning the Fall of Lúkr Anakinsson
When Veidr had taken Lúkr to the king on the Daudastjarna, and the three of them had witnessed from there the ambush and the hard naval battle that followed, the king turned to Lúkr and spoke: “It was I who contrived to draw my enemies here in order to destroy all of them in one blow. The North Atlantic now belongs to me alone; the chieftains who stood against me have come to me like sheep for the shearing. And the wool which I have sheared from them is nothing less than their very kingdoms!”
“You are overconfident,” said Lúkr, “and you are far too proud in this dishonorable way of killing men.”
“You are overconfident,” said the king, “and have too much faith if you believe that honorable men can become king. I would like to be both king and an honorable man, but those are two separate choices, and a man can only be one or the other. The one tree owns the space which it can shove the other out of, and so it is with men as well.”
“My father is not a man like you,” said Lúkr, “He is honorable, and would choose a good reputation over power.”
But the king laughed. “Then try this, boy – take your sword, which lies here next to my hand, and strike me down, me, the one who engineered the death of your friends, the Men of the Jedi Fjords, and see whether your father defends you or me!”
And Lúkr drew his sword, Lightsaber the Green, which lay next to the king, and raised it to strike the king. But Veidr’s sword, Lightsaber the Red, parried his blow.
Then Veidr and Lúkr fought, both of them with the greatest ferocity. It has never been said that there was any fault with the attack, or the defense, put up by either of them. Each cut frequently and hard for the other, and it seemed as if a great fire burned wherever their blades met. And then they began to fight so fiercely, that neither defended himself from the other, but rather cut as frequently and swiftly as possible, so that the very ship shook beneath them like a sail battered by wind. Men say that there has never been a more manly exchange of blows, that there has never been a fairer pair of weapons that crossed blades, that there has never been a more extraordinary fight, than that duel. But it ended in this way, that Veidr, whom men once called the Skywalker, slew his own son, Lúkr by name, who had also received the byname of Skywalker. Veidr was exceedingly badly wounded, and exhausted, and as he turned to where King Falfadinn sat, men say that his face was as waxen pale as a corpse’s.
Chapter 52: Concerning the Capture of Hani the Duelist
The saga tells now that Hani the Duelist and the men with him defended themselves well, until darkness fell, and by then they were all injured. The battle ended. Little was left of the day, and King Falfadinn thought it needless to travel to the land and kill these enemies of his who could not escape, and to kill a man at night is murder. Hani the Duelist and those of his companions who lived, bound their wounds and waited through the night.
And it is said that just before dawn, the king and his men went to land.
“Kill all of these men as swiftly as possible,” said the king. He had them bound and then beheaded, one after the other.
The last man who was led out to be beheaded was handsome and had handsome-looking hair. The king asked how this man had planned to see his life end. But the man answered: “I have lived very well, and I think it good to die with a good name; but shame has accrued to your name, and you will live forever with that shame and disgrace.”
“What is this handsome man named?” asked the king.
“My name is Hani. Some men call me Hani the Duelist.”
“Whose son are you, Hani?” asked the king. “Or of what kin are you?”
“Sóló was my father’s name,” he said, “And I am from a Norwegian family.”
“How old of a man are you?” asked the king.
“If I live through this coming winter, and return home to my wife Leia King-killer,” said Hani, “Then I shall be thirty-nine.”
“And you shall live through this coming winter,” said Veidr, “If I have any say in the matter, for I will not see this man killed.” The king agreed to this, saying that it behooved him to spare the life of such a handsome Norwegian man.
Chapter 53: Concerning the Fall of Anakinn the Sky-walker
Hani the Duelist returned to the Hebrides, and his return was greeted joyfully by his wife Leia King-killer. She gave birth to their first child the day after his arrival, and Hani sprinkled the boy with water and named him Anakinn.
“Why do you give him the name of our enemy, who killed our friend Lúkr?” asked Leia.
“Because he spared my life, and he was under no obligation to do so,” said Hani, “And it is not Anakinn, but Falfadinn and the Jedi Fjord Men – the seekers after power – who are rightly counted our enemies.”
“And you? What are you after? Vengeance for Lúkr?”
“No. I am after money,” said Hani. “What good is Veidr’s reward, if I’m not around to use it? And I cannot believe that any man is more miserable than Veidr already. Let our son bring some joy to that name.”
And when their son Anakinn Hanason was full-grown, he went raiding and became a wealthy man, and settled on Dagóba island in the Faroes near the farm where Jódi Gormóarson had once lived, and the mound where Jódi was buried.
And one evening Anakinn Hanason was outside on the south side of Jódi’s burial mound, and the moon shone bright. It seemed to Anakinn that the mound was open, and that Jódi was awake within it together with the zombie of Víga-Óbívan. They told him that Veidr was his mother’s father, and how Veidr had killed his own son Lúkr, and they urged Anakinn to avenge this kinsman of his.
And so Anakinn Hanason went secretly to Koruskantborg in Norway and got off his ship, and left his men to guard it. Then he went to the king’s estate and came to the hall where the king’s retainers drank. There he found an old man, frail-looking and sorrowful; this man did not drink, but rather sat on his stool and spoke this verse:
Old Odin, do not grant me your favor!
Better do I think it to eat goat’s flesh
than to drink the mead of Valhalla,
to be deprived of joy and exchange it for honor.
I have cut off the hand of my own son;
may Odin repair his hand, and my family,
or else when my brave son wins his seat in Valhalla,
may he not find me there.
Anakinn Hanason asked the man why he was so unhappy.
The old man said, “Have you not heard? But you are a Hebridean, or perhaps Faroese, by the way you talk. My name is Anakinn, father of Lúkr – but most call me Veidi-Anakinn or Veidr, the Son-killer.”
“Then you are the man whom I’ve come here to kill,” said Anakinn Hanason, “For you slew my uncle Lúkr. I am named Anakinn, son of Hani.”
Veidr rose then and spoke: “If you are the son of Hani and Leia, then you are my grandson. I will not ask for you to spare my life, but hear me, please: You are my family, and I want my sword to stay in our family, the good sword which I bore, and which my dear son Lúkr bore after me -”
But Anakinn Hanason swung his axe and gave Veidr a deep cut in the shoulder. “Silence, you crafty Norwegian,” he said, “My uncle Lúkr believed your lies, and it cost him his life.”
Veidr spat blood; as he died, his white beard turned to red, and he spoke: “I was born without family, son of a slavewoman and a man who would not acknowledge me his son. And so I ought to have remained. Family is a weak tree, rotten and short-lived.” And there Veidr, or Anakinn the Sky-walker, died, and from his hand fell Lightsaber the Green. And we have not heard that there is more to tell of the saga of the people of the Tattúín River Valley.