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Medieval and Classical Library


Uspak Goes Back To Ere In Bitter:
He Robs And Slays.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #33

Now is it to be told of Snorri the Priest that he went to the court of forfeiture north in Bitter, as is written afore, but when he came to Ere, then was Uspak gone. So Snorri held the court of forfeiture there according to law, and laid hands on all the forfeit goods, and divided them betwixt those men as had had the most ill deeds done them, Alf the Little to wit, and the other men who had had harm from robberies. Thereafter Snorri the Priest rode home to Tongue, and so wore the summer.

Now Uspak and his men went from the Strands about the beginning of winter-nights, and had two big boats. They went in past the Strands, and then south across the bay to Waterness. There they went up and robbed, and loaded both the boats up to the gunwale, and then stretched north away over the bay into Bitter (1) and landed at Ere, and bore their spoil up into the work. There had Uspak's wife and his son Glum abode the summer through, with but two cows. Now on the very same night that they came home, they rowed both the boats down to the firth-bottom, and went up to the farm at Tongue, and broke into the house there, and took goodman Thorir from his bed, and led him out and slew him. Then they robbed all the goods that were stored there within doors, and brought them to the boats, and then rowed to Thambardale, and ran up and brake open the doors there, as at Tongue.

Alf the Little had lain down in his clothes, and when he heard the door broken open, he ran out to the secret door that was at the back of the house, and went out there through and ran up the dale. But Uspak and his folk robbed all they might lay hands upon, and brought it to their boats, and then went home to Ere with both boats laden, and brought both the liftings into the work. They brought the boats into the work withal, and filled them both with water, and then closed the work, and the best of fighting-steads it was. So thereafter they sat there the winter long.

(1)  "And then stretched north away over the bay into Bitter."
     The bearing from Waterness into Bitter is, as nearly as
     possible, due west.  Our text calls it "north", even as the
     Waterness people to this day prefer to indicate the point.
     The reason of this is, that Bitter lies within the bailiwick
     of the Strands, a district the main part of which lies much
     farther to the north than Waterness, and thus the bearing of
     it from that point gives to every locality within it the
     same designation of the cardinal point.