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The Death of Thorgils Hallason, A.D. 1020.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #32

Thorarin was the name of a man who lived at Longdale: he was a chieftain, but not a mighty one. His son was named Audgisl, and was a nimble sort of a man. Thorgi1s Hallason took the chieftainship from them both, father and son. Audgisl went to see Snorri Godi, and told him of this unfairness, and asked him to help. Snorri answered only by fair words, and belittled the whole affair; but answered, "Now that Halla's-grig is getting too forward and swaggering. Will Thorgils then happen on no man that will not give in to him in everything? No doubt he is a big man and doughty, but men as good as he is have also been sent to Hel."

And when Audgisl went away Snorri gave him an inlaid axe. The next spring Thorgils Hallason and Thorstein the Black went south to Burgfirth, and offered atonement to the sons of Helgi and his other kinsmen, and they came to terms of peace on the matter, and fair honour was done (to Helgi's side). Thorstein paid two parts of the atonement for the manslaughter, and the third part Thorgils was to pay, payment being due at the Thing. In the summer Thorgils rode to the Thing, but when he and his men came to the lava field by Thingvellir, they saw a woman coming to meet them, and a mighty big one she was. Thorgils rode up to her, but she turned aside, and said this --

     "Take care
     If you go forward,
     And be wary
     Of Snorri's wiles,
     No one can escape,
     For so wise is Snorri."

And after that she went her way.

Then Thorgils said, "It has seldom happened so before, when luck was with me, that you were leaving the Thing when I was riding to it."

He now rode to the Thing and to his own booth. And through the early part the Thing was quiet. It happened one day during the Thing that folk's clothes were hung out to dry. Thorgils had a blue hooded cloak, which was spread out on the booth wall, and men heard the cloak say thus --

     "Hanging wet on the wall,
     A flooded cloak knows a braid (trick);
     I do not say he does not know two,
     He has been lately washed."

This was thought a most marvellous thing. The next day Thorgils went west over the river to pay the money to the sons of Helgi. He sat down on the lava above the booths, and with him was his foster-brother Halldor and sundry more of them were there together. The sons of Helgi came to the meeting. Thorgils now began to count out the money. Audgisl Thorarinson came near, and when Thorgils had counted ten Audgisl struck at him, and all thought they heard the head say eleven as it flew off the neck. Audgisl ran to the booth of the Waterfirthers and Halldor rushed after him and struck him his deathblow in the door of the booth. These tidings came to the booth of Snorri Godi how Thorgils was slain.

Snorri said, "You must be mistaken; it must be that Thorgils Hallason has slain some one."

The man replied, "Why, the head flew off his trunk."

"Then perhaps it is true," said Snorri. This manslaughter was peacefully atoned; as is told in the Saga of Thorgils Hallason.