The Story of Grettir the Strong, by William Morris

Chap. xciv.

Thorstein Dromund and Spes leave Norway again.

At that time many urged Thorstein to go meet King Harald, and become his man; but he took not kindly to it.

Then Spes spake, "I will, Thorstein," says she, "that thou go not to meet Harald the king, for to another king have we much more to pay, and need there is that we turn our minds to that; for now we both grow old and our youth is long departed, and far more have we followed after worldly devices, than the teaching of Christ, or the ways of justice and uprightness; now wot I well that this debt can be paid for us neither by our kindred or our goods, and I will that we ourselves should pay it: now will I therefore that we change our way of life and fare away from this land and unto the abode of the Pope, because I well believe that so only may my case be made easy to me."

Thorstein said, "As well known to me as to thee are the things thou talkest of; and it is meet that thou have thy will herein, since thou didst ever give me my will, in a matter of far less hope; and in all things will we do as thou biddest."

This took men utterly unawares; Thorstein was by then sixty-seven years of age, yet hale in all wise.

So now he bid to him all his kindred and folk allied to him, and laid before them the things he had determined on. Wise men gave good words thereto, though they deemed of their departing as of the greatest loss.

But Thorstein said that there was nought sure about his coming back: "Now do I give thanks to all of you," says he, "for the heed ye paid to my goods when I was last away from the land; now I will offer you, and pray you to take to you my children's havings, and my children, and bring them up according to the manliness that is in you; for I am fallen so far into eld that there is little to say as to whether I may return or not, though I may live; but ye shall in such wise look after all that I leave behind me here, even as if I should never come back to Norway."

Then men answered, that good redes would be plenteous if the housewife should abide behind to look after his affairs; but she said —

"For that cause did I come hither from the out-lands, and from Micklegarth, with Thorstein, leaving behind both kin and goods, for that I was fain that one fate might be over us both; now have I thought it good to be here; but I have no will to abide long in Norway or the North-lands if he goes away; ever has there been great love betwixt us withal, and nought has happed to divide us; now therefore will we depart together, for to both of us is known the truth about many things that befell since we first met."

So, when they had settled their affairs in this wise, Thorstein bade chosen folk divide his goods into halves; and his kin took the half which his children were to own, and they were brought up by their father's kin, and were in aftertimes the mightiest of men, and great kin in the Wick has come from them. But Thorstein and Spes divided their share of the goods, and some they gave to churches for their souls' health, and some they took with them. Then they betook themselves Romeward, and many folk prayed well for them.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/morris/william/grettir-the-strong/chapter94.html

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