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Medieval and Classical Library


Of Bardi's Two Spies.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #34

Now comes Bardi with his flock to Nial's in the evening. Nial is standing without, and bids them all guesting as one merry with ale; that they take, let loose their horses, and sit them down on either bench. Nial is without that evening, and his wife with him, dighting victual for their guests; but his young lad was within, and made game with them.

Bardi asked the lad if he had ever a whetstone. "I wot," saith he, "of a hard-stone which my father owns, but I durst not take it."

"I will buy it of thee," saith Bardi, "and give thee a whittle therefor."

"Yea," said the lad, "why then should I not strike a bargain with thee;" and goeth and findeth the hard-stone, and giveth it to Bardi. Bardi handles it, and taketh the whittle from his neck, and therewith was somewhat shifted the pair of beads which the carline had done about his neck, whereof is told sithence.

Now they whet their weapons, and the lad thinketh he hath done them a good turn, whereas they have what they needed. So there they abide the night through, and have good cheer.

They ride their ways on the Monday in good weather, and go not hard. Bardi asks of Eric Wide-sight what wise he deemed things would go. He answereth:

     "O Lime-tree, upbearer of board of the corpses,
     We nineteen together have gone from the Northland;
     All over the Heath have we wended together,
     And our will is to nourish the bloodfowl with victual.
     But, O lad of the steed that is stalled on the rollers,
     The steed of the sea-rover Heite, well wot we
     That fewer shall wend we our ways from the Southland.
     Now the mind of the singer is bent on the battle."