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Medieval and Classical Library


About Giermund and Thurid, A.D. 978.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #32

Giermund and Thurid did not get on very well together, and little love was lost between them on either side. When Giermund had stayed with Olaf three winters he wished to go away, and gave out that Thurid and his daughter Groa should remain behind. This little maid was by then a year old, and Giermund would not leave behind any money for them. This the mother and daughter liked very ill, and told Olaf so. Olaf said, "What is the matter now, Thorgerd? Is the Eastman now not so bounteous as he was that autumn when he asked for the alliance?"

They could get Olaf to do nothing, for he was an easygoing man, and said the girl should remain until she wished to go, or knew how in some way to shift for herself. At parting Olaf gave Giermund the merchant ship all fitted out. Giermund thanked him well therefor, and said it was a noble gift. Then he got on board his ship, and sailed out of the Salmon-river-Mouth by a northeast breeze, which dropped as they came out to the islands. He now lies by Oxe-isle half a month without a fair wind rising for a start. At that time Olaf had to leave home to look after his foreshore drifts. Then Thurid, his daughter, called to his house-carles, and bade them come with her. She had the maid Groa with her, and they were a party of ten together. She lets run out into the water a ferryboat that belonged to Olaf, and Thurid bade them sail and row along Hvammfirth, and when they came out to the islands she bade them put out the cock-boat that was in the ferry. Thurid got into the boat with two men, and bade the others take care of the ship she left behind until she returned. She took the little maid in her arms, and bade the men row across the current until they should reach the ship (of Giermund). She took a gimlet out of the boat's locker, and gave it to one of her companions, and bade him go to the cockle-boat belonging to the merchant ship and bore a hole in it so as to disable it if they needed it in a hurry. Then she had her self put ashore with the little maid still in her arms. This was at the hour of sunrise. She went across the gangway into the ship, where all men were asleep. She went to the hammock where Giermund slept. His sword Footbiter hung on a peg pole. Thurid now sets the little maid in the hammock, and snatched off Footbiter and took it with her. Then she left the ship and rejoined her companions. Now the little maid began to cry, and with that Giermund woke up and recognised the child, and thought he knew who must be at the bottom of this. He springs up wanting to seize his sword, and misses it, as was to be expected, and then went to the gunwale, and saw that they were rowing away from the ship. Giermund called to his men, and bade them leap into the cockle-boat and row after them. They did so, but when they got a little way they found how the coal-blue sea poured into them, so they went back to the ship. Then Giermund called Thurid and bade her come back and give him his sword Footbiter, "and take your little maid, and with her as much money as you like."

Thurid answered, "Would you rather than not have the sword back?"

Giermund answered, "I would give a great deal of money before I should care to let my sword go."

Thurid answered, "Then you shall never have it again, for you have in many ways behaved cowardly towards me, and here we shall part for good."

Then Giermund said, "Little luck will you get with the sword."

Thurid said she would take the risk of that.

"Then I lay thereon this spell," said Giermund, "that this sword shall do to death the man in your family in whom will be the greatest loss, and who will least deserve it."

After that Thurid went home to Herdholt. Olaf had then come home, and showed his displeasure at her deed, yet all was quiet. Thurid gave Bolli, her cousin, the sword Footbiter, for she loved him in no way less than her brothers. Bolli bore that sword for a long time after. After this Giermund got a favourable wind, and sailed out to sea, and came to Norway in the autumn. They sailed one night on to some hidden rocks before Stade, and then Giermund and all his crew perished. And that is the end of all there is to tell about Giermund.