The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library


Of Snorri The Priest And
The Blood-Suit After Stir.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #33

Snorri the Priest dwelt at Holyfell eight winters after Christ's faith was made law in Iceland. The last winter he dwelt there was the one wherein his father-in-law Stir was slain at Iorvi in Flisa-wharf. Then Snorri the Priest went south thither after the corpse; and he went against Stir in the women's bower at Horseholt, whenas he was sitting upright and was holding the bonder's daughter by the middle.

That spring Snorri changed lands with Gudrun Osvif's daughter, and brought his household to Tongue in Saelings-dale; that was two winters after the slaying of Bolli Thorleikson, Gudrun's husband.

The same spring Snorri went south to Burgfirth with four hundred men to follow up the suit for the slaying of Stir. In his company was Vermund the Slender, the brother of Stir, who dwelt as then at Waterfirth; Steinthor of Ere withal, and Thorod Thorbrandson of Swanfirth; Thorleik Brandson of Crossness, the brother's son of Stir, also, and many other men of worth.

The furthest south they came was to Whitewater at Howeford over against By. There they found before them, south of the river, Illugi the Black, Kleppiarn the Old, Thorstein Gislison, Gunnlaug the Wormtongue, Thorstein Thorgilson of Hafsfirthisle, who had to wife Vigdis, the daughter of Illugi the Black; and many other men of account were there, with a band of more than five hundred men.

So Snorri the Priest and his folk might nowise ride south over the river, but set forth the suit when they had gone the furthest they might without risk, and Snorri summoned Guest for the slaying of Stir.

But this same suit Thorstein Gislison brought to nought for Snorri the Priest in the summer at the Althing.

The same summer Snorri the Priest rode south to Burgfirth, and took the life of Thorstein Gislison and Gunnar his son; and still was Steinthor of Ere with him, and Thorod Thorbrandson, and

Brand Hoskuldson, (1) and Thorleik Brandson, and they were fifteen in all.

The next spring they met at the Thing of Thorsness, Snorri the Priest to wit, and Thorstein of Hafsfirthisle, the son-in-law of Illugi the Black. Thorstein was the son of Thorgils, (2) the son of Thorfinn, the son of Seal-Thorir of Redmel, but his mother was Aud, the daughter of Alf-a-dales; but Thorstein was the cousin of Thorgils Arison of Reek-knolls, and Thorgeir Havarson, and Thorgils Hallason, and Bitter-Oddi, and those Swanfirthers, Thorleif Kimbi and the other sons of Thorbrand.

Thorstein had at that time set on foot many cases for the Thorsness Thing. So one day on the Thing-brent, Snorri the Priest asked if Thorstein had set on foot many suits for the Thing. Thorstein answered that he had set on foot certain ones.

Then said Snorri: "Now belike wilt thou that we further thy cases for thee, even as ye Burgrifthers furthered ours last spring."

Thorstein said: "I nowise long for this."

But when Snorri had so spoken, his sons and many other kinsmen of Stir laid heavy words thereto, and said that it would serve Thorstein right well, if every one of his suits there should come to an end as it now stood, and said it was right meet that he himself should now pay for that shame which he and Illugi his father-in4aw had done to them the past summer.

Thorstein answered few words thereto, and men went therewith from the Thing-brent. However, Thorstein and his kin, the men of Redmel, had brought together a great company, and when men should go to the courts, Thorstein got ready to push forward all these suits of his which he had set on foot for the courts to adjudge. But when the kin of Stir and folk allied to him knew that, they armed themselves, and went betwixt the courts, and the Redmel- folk as they would go to the courts, and a fight befell betwixt them.

Thorstein of Hafsfirthisle would pay no heed to aught but making for the place whereas Snorri the Priest was. Both big and stark was Thorstein, and a deft man-at-arms, but when he fell fiercely on Snorri, Kiartan of Frodis-water, Snorri's sister's son, ran before him, and Thorstein and he fought long together, and their weapon-play was exceeding hard-fought.

But thereafter friends of both sides came thither, and went between them, and brought about truce.

After the battle spake Snorri to Kiartan his kinsman, and said: "Well wentest thou forth today, Broadwicking!"

Kiartan answered somewhat wrathfully: "No need to throw my kin in my teeth," said he. In this fight fell seven of Thorstein's men, but many were wounded on either side.

These matters were settled straightly at the Thing, and Snorri the Priest was the more generous in all peace-makings, because he would not that these matters should come to the Althing, whereas the slaughter of Thorstein Gislison was yet unatoned for; and it seemed to him that he would have full enough to answer to at the Althing, though this were not brought against him. About all these things, the slaying of Thorstein Gislison, and Gunnar his son, and also about the battle at the Thorsness Thing, thus sings Thorrood Trefilson in the Raven-song:

     "Again now the great-heart,
     The Rhine-fires waster,
     Slew two men in spear-storm
     South over the water.
     Thereafter lay seven
     Life-bereft on the Ness
     Of the bane of the troll-wives.
     Thereof are there tokens."