The Story of Grettir the Strong, by William Morris

Chap. xxv.

The Slaying of Thorgils Makson.

Asmund the Greyhaired lived on at Biarg, while Grettir was abroad, and by that time he was thought to be the greatest of bonders in Midfirth. Thorkel Krafla died during those seasons that Grettir was out of Iceland. Thorvald Asgeirson farmed then at the Ridge in Waterdale, and waxed a great chief. He was the father of Dalla whom Isleif had to wife, he who afterwards was bishop at Skalholt.

Asmund had in Thorvald the greatest help in suits and in many other matters. At Asmund's grew up a man, hight Thorgils, called Thorgils Makson, near akin to Asmund. Thorgils was a man of great strength and gained much money by Asmund's foresight.

Asmund bought for Thorgils the land at Brookmeet, and there he farmed. Thorgils was a great store-gatherer, and went a-searching to the Strands every year, and there he gat for himself whales and other gettings; and a stout-hearted man he was.

In those days was at its height the waxing of the foster-brothers, Thorgeir Havarson and Thormod Coalbrowskald; they had a boat and went therein far and wide, and were not thought men of much even-dealing. It chanced one summer that Thorgils Makson found a whale on the common drift-lands, and forthwith he and his folk set about cutting it up.

But when the foster-brothers heard thereof they went thither, and at first their talk had a likely look out. Thorgils offered that they should have the half of the uncut whale; but they would have for themselves all the uncut, or else divide all into halves, both the cut and the uncut. Thorgils flatly refused to give up what was cut of the whale; and thereat things grew hot between them, and forthwithal both sides caught up their weapons and fought. Thorgeir and Thorgils fought long together without either losing or gaining, and both were of the eagerest. Their strife was both fierce and long, but the end of it was, that Thorgils fell dead to earth before Thorgeir; but Thormod and the men of Thorgils fought in another place; Thormod had the best of that strife, and three of Thorgils' men fell before him. After the slaying of Thorgils, his folk went back east to Midfirth, and brought his dead body with them. Men thought that they had the greatest loss in him. But the foster-brothers took all the whale to themselves.

This meeting Thormod tells of in that drapa that he made on Thorgeir dead. Asmund the Greyhaired heard of the slaying of Thorgils his kinsman; he was suitor in the case for Thorgils' slaying, he went and took witnesses to the wounds, and summoned the case before the Althing, for then this seemed to be law, as the case had happened in another quarter. And so time wears on.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 22:07