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Medieval and Classical Library


Of Thorgrim The Priest,
The Death Of Thorstein Codbiter.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #33

Thorstein Codbiter became a man of the greatest largesse; he had ever with him sixty freedmen; he was a great gatherer of household stuff, and was ever going a-fishing.

He first let raise the homestead at Holyfell, and brought thither his household, and it was the greatest of temple-steads of those days.

Withal he let make a homestead on the ness near to where had been the Thing. That homestead he let make well arrayed, and he gave it afterwards to Thorstein the Swart, (1) his kinsman, who dwelt there thenceforth, and was the wisest of men. Thorstein Codbiter had a son who was called Bork the Thick. But on a summer when Thorstein was five-and-twenty winters old, Thora bore him a man- child who was called Grim, and sprinkled with water. That lad Thorstein gave to Thor, and said that he should be a Temple- Priest, and called him Thorgrim.

That same harvest Thorstein fared out to Hoskuldsey to fish; but on an evening of harvest a shepherd-man of Thorstein's fared after his sheep north of Holyfell; there he saw how the fell was opened on the north side, and in the fell he saw mighty fires, and heard huge clamour therein, and the clank of drinking-horns; and when he hearkened if perchance he might hear any words clear of others, he heard that there was welcomed Thorstein Codbiter and his crew, and he was bidden to sit in the high-seat over against his father.

That foretoken the shepherd told in the evening to Thora, Thorstein's wife; she spake little thereon, and said that might be a foreboding of greater tidings.

The morning after came men west-away from Hoskuldsey and told these tidings: that Thorstein Codbiter had been drowned in the fishing; and men thought that great scathe. Thora went on keeping house there afterwards, and thereto joined himself with her he who is called Hallward; they had a son together, who was called Mar.

Go to Chapter XII

(1)  "Withal he let make a homestead on the ness near to where
     had been the Thing.  That homestead... he gave afterwards to
     Thorstein the Swart."  This house has been, no doubt justly,
     identified by Vigfusson and Kalund as that which now stands
     on the north-eastern side of Thorsness and bears the name of
     Thingvales (Thingvellir, Thingwall). -- Kalund, Beskr. i.
     441-442, and footnote.  It would then seem, that the house
     reared for Thorstein the Swart was planted in the
     neighbourhood of the new Thing.  This would require some
     alteration in our text to indicate that the site was where
     "the Thing had been moved to", because the words cannot
     refer to the old Thing-wall, which doubtless must have been
     on the western side of the ness, on or near the shore of
     Temple-creek.  The immediate surroundings of the present
     house of Thingvellir are still thickly studded with ruins of
     old booths from the second Thorsness Thing. -- Kalund, l.c.