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Medieval and Classical Library


The Second Brunt Of Battle And The Third.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #34

Now is there somewhat of a lull; but therewith were seen six men a-riding: there were Thorgisl the Hewer, and Eyolf his son, and the sons of Eid. They see the evil plight of their folk, and that their lot was sinking much, and they were ill content therewith.

Now the sons of Gudbrand were ware that there was Eyolf, and they crave leave of Bardi to take his life and avenge them. For it had befallen, that whenas they were east-away he had thrust them from a certain gallery down into a muck-pit, and therein they had fared shamefully; so they would now avenge them; and they had made this journey with Bardi from the beginning that they might get the man.

Said Bardi: "Ye are doughty men, and of much worth, and much teen it were if ye were cast away. Still, I will see to it that your will have its way; but I will bid you go not from out the ranks." But they might not withhold themselves, and they run off to meet him eagerly, and they fall to fight. Eyolf was the greatest of champions, and a man of showy ways, like his father before him; full-fashioned of might, well proven in onslaught; and the battle betwixt them was long and hard; and suchwise it ended, that either was so wilful and eager, and so mighty of heart and hand, that they all lay dead at their parting. (E)

Fast fought the sons of Eid withal, and go forward well and warrior-like; against them fought Stein and Steingrim, and now they all fight and do a good stroke of work; and there fall the sons of Eid, (F) and Bardi was standing hard by, when they lost their lives.

Thorgisl the Hewer spared nought; he deemed great scathe wrought him by the death of his son. He was the mightiest man of his hands, and defter of weapons than other men. He heweth on either hand and deemeth life no better than death.

These are most named amongst the foremost herein, to wit, Thorgisl and Eric and Thorod.

Thorgisl spared him nought, and there was no man of the country who seemed to all a wayfellow of more avail than he. Thorgisl (son of Hermund, brother of Thorod) betook him to meet him; and they dealt long together, nor was either of them lacking in hardihood. Now Thorgisl (Hermundson) smites a stroke on him down his nose from the brow, and said:

"Now hast thou gotten a good mark befitting thee; and even such should more of you have."

Then spake Thorgisl (the Hewer): "Nought good is the mark; yet most like it is, that I shall have the heart to bear it manfully; little have ye yet to brag over." And he smote at him so that he fell and is now unfightworthy. (1) (G)

Now was there a lull for a while, and men bind their wounds.

Now is seen the riding of four men, and there was Tind and Tanni, Eyolf and Thormod; and when they came up they egg on much; and they themselves were of championship exceeding great; and battle was joined the third time.

Tanni fell on against Bardi, and there befell fight of wondrous daring.

Tanni hewed at him, and it fell out as before, that Bardi is hard to deal with, and the business betwixt them ended herewith, that Tanni fell before Bardi. (H)

Eyolf went against Odd, and they fight, each of them the best of stout men. Now Eyolf smiteth at Odd, and it came on to his cheek and on to his mouth, and a great wound was that.

Then spake Eyolf: "Maybe the widow will think the kissing of thee worsened."

Odd answereth: "Long hath it been not over good, and now must it be much spoilt forsooth; yet it may be that thou wilt not tell thereof to thy sweetheart."

And he smote at him, so that he gat a great wound. (I)

Here it befell as of the rest, that Bardi was standing hard by, and did him scathe.

Withal Thormod Thorgautson was a bold man, and went well forward. Eyolf of Burg fared against him, and got a sore hurt.

Now though these above said be the most named amongst the Northlanders, yet all of them fared forth well and in manly wise, whereas they had a chosen company.

So when these were fallen there was a lull in the battle. And now Thorberg spake that they should seek to get away; but eight men from the South were fallen, and three from the North. (2) Now Bardi asks Thorod if he thought he would have the might to fare with them, and he gave out there was no hope thereof, and bids them ride off.

Now Bardi beheld his hurt, and therewithal they saw the band that now fared up from the South like a wood to look upon. So Bardi asks if they be minded to bide, but they said they would ride off; and so they did, and were now sixteen in company, and the more part of them wounded.

(1)  "And he smote at him so that he fell and is now
     unfightworthy."  The first "he" is Thorgisl, son of Hermund
     Solmundson, Bardi's first cousin, the following "him" and
     "he" is Thorgisl Hewer, whose wound proved fatal, he being
     one of the "eight from the South" who fell in the
     Heath-fight, Chapter XXXI, and was left unatoned by the
     award at the Althing, Chapter XXXV.

(2)  "But eight men from the South were fallen and three from the
     North."  Here our author shows himself signally out of his
     bearings.  The very description of the battle shows that ten
     from the South fell in this fight, which record taken page
     by page falls out as follows (NOTE: I have taken the liberty
     of marking the deaths in the text with a letter -- DBK):

A) Chapter XXX. "Ketil" (son of Thorgaut) "fell"...........1 B) Chapter XXX. "Then leapt Bardi unto Thorgaut and gave him his death-wound"...........................................2 C) Chapter XXX. Thorbiorn Brunison, after fighting with Thorod and the sons of Gudbrand, "fell before Bardi".......3 D) Chapter XXX. Thorliot of Walls or "Sley-brook" fights with Eric Wide-sight, who "gives him a great wound, and he fell"......................................................4 E) Chapter XXXI. Eyolf, son of Thorgisl Hewer, fights with the sons of Gudbrand, and "they all lay dead at their parting"...................................................5 F) Chapter XXXI. "There fall the sons of Eid," Illugi and Eystein..................................................6,7 G) Chapter XXXI. "And he" (Thorgisl, son of Hermund)" smote at him (Thorgisl Hewer) "so that he fell and is now unfightworthy;" that he was killed, Chapter XXXV, proves...8 H) Chapter XXXI. "Tanni fell before Bardi".................9 I) Chapter XXXI. Eyolf, son of Thorfinna, fights with Gefn's-Odd and "gat a great wound", and Bardi "did him scathe" = gave him his quietus............................10 J) To these comes Gisli...................................11
The total loss on the part of the Northerners, including Hall, was four.
In setting forth the were-gild adjustment at the Thing, Chapter XXXV, our author states:
A. That Southerners were paired against Northerners:
(6) 1. Illugi {sons of 1. Hun {sons of (7) 2. Eystein Eid} = 2. Lambkar Gudbrand}
(3) 3. Thorbiorn Brunison = 3. Thorod, son of Hermund
(1) 4. Ketil {sons of 4. Hall, son of (11) 5. Gisli Thorgauf} = Gudmund.
B. That there were left unatoned: (8) 6. Thorgisl Hewer, (5) 7. Eyolf, his son, (9) 8. Tanni the Handstrong, (10) 9. Eyolf, Thorfinna's son. But he leaves out of the account altogether (2) 10. Thorgaut (1) and (4) 11. Thorliot. In the verses attributed to Eric Wide-sight, Chapter XXXVIII, he says in the first that eleven, in the second nine fell from the South. This cannot be the genuine testimony of one and the same eye-witness. The first statement is evidently correct, as it agrees with the facts of the saga; the second spurious, dating from the time when the present miscalculation had crept into the saga.