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(From the Flatey Book.)


         Earl Sigurd Hlodver's son ruled over the Orkneys, he was a great chief.  There was a man named Wolf the bad, he abode in Sanday in the Orkneys, he was a great warrior and followed (did not belie) his name.  There was a man named Harold who abode in North Ronaldshay;  the name of his son was Helgi, he was a man of promise and fair of face.  He spoke to his father and said, "I would thou wouldst find me in ships, for I wish to harry in Scotland's firths, and see what comes of it."  He answers, "That I may well do, for that is young men's wont."  After that Helgi harried, and behaves well in his warfare;  though he were a heathen, yet then they (the heathens) were not all alike.  And when Helgi was away out of the Orkneys, then Wolf the bad goes to North Ronaldsay and meets Harold, and said, "I would like to buy thy lands, they fall much to my mind;  but I will give thee ready money for them."  Harold says he would not sell him his estates, and says he does not know what he should do if he had not his board and lodging there.  Wolf says that he thinks the next time he comes, that he (Harold) will have to give up what was asked.  After that they parted.  A few nights afterwards, came Wolf unawares, and took Harold prisoner, and says he thinks that things had taken such a turn now that he will lose both lands and life.  And after that Wolf lets him be slain.  This deed was ill spoken of, and when earl Sigurd heard of it, he blamed the deed.  Wolf came to see the earl, and told him of it.  The earl says that he likes ill such undertakings, "and my will is that thou payest a fitting atonement to his kinsfolk."  Wolf said that he should have his way in that;  but said, too, that much mischief had been wrought against him by Harold.  Now the suit was not very speedily taken up, as Helgi was not in the isles.  There was a man named Bard the fair, a kinsman of Wolf the bad, he was a man of many friends and well-behaved, and yet he was often with Wolf.  Once on a time Bard said to Wolf, "We two shall never be of one mind;  thou rushest into ill deeds, and that is far from my turn of mind, and so I will change my abode and go away."  Wolf answers, "That is only half-wise, so long as the quarrel is not settled, and Helgi Harold's son, is on a roving cruize."  He said he would go for all that, and fits him out a ship from South Rondaldsy.  And just as he is "boun" then Helgi sailed up to the isles, and had heard by that time of his father's slaying.  And now he calls on his men that they should slay Bard whom he said was the nearest of kin of any man to Wolf.  Bard busked him to fight but said he had never done him any harm;  but said he would not sunder himself from Wolf's kinship.  After that they fight, and Bard falls there, for Helgi had a great force.  And when Wolf hears this he gathers force to him.  But when earl Sigurd learned that he summons Helgi to come to him.  And when they meet the earl said, "Thou hast done an ill deed in return for thy wrongs, and hast not looked towards thine own honour with our help;  now this quarrel had been already settled, and thine honour cared for."  Helgi answers, "Then everything shall still be placed in your power;  but I knew nothing at all about that settlement."  The earl said, "It must be my will to bring about settlements between my men here in the isles."  And after that Helgi goes his way.  Wolf sends men against him at once with two ships, but they did not meet;  and Helgi had got home before to his own abode and heard that and says he thinks that he should have no rest in the isles.  And sold his lands and busked him to go away, and said that it were well that he and Wolf should meet if he would not abide by the earl's doom, as he plainly showed that he would not.  After that he turns to Wolf's abode, and he was not at home.  Helgi robs there, and takes away his daughter whose name was Helga, and said such a prize would just suit him for an atonement for his father.  She bade him not do that, "for my father will follow you stoutly up."  He said he would run the risk of that.  After that he fared south among the isles.  But when Wolf learns that he fares after him with many ships, and said he had often avenged less insults.  But when they met, then they fell to fighting, and Helgi was weaker in force and his ships were cleared, but he made a stout defence, and was wounded.  But when night fell, there arose a storm of wind, and he takes this device that he leaps overboard with Wolf's daughter;  and swam with her from the ships;  and so comes to land in the darkness of night, and makes for the wood;  and there he saw a fire, and one man by it.  Helgi asks who he may be.  He said he was a husbandman, "but I know all about thee, and thou behavedst well on thy cruizes towards us small farmers."  Helgi told him the whole truth about his affairs.  This husbandman's name was Thorfinn, and he found Helgi in all that he needed during that winter, and was very kind to both of them.  Helgi said he should wish to hold his wedding with Helga in his house.  Thorfinn said that ws quite free to him but not worthy enough.  But still it came about.  And so the winter slips away.  Then Helgi said he wished to lease land from the husbandman, and said he thought that one or other thing would happen, either that Wolf would die soon, or that he would find him out.  Now he leases the land and builds him a house.  After that he hears that Wolf was dead.  Helgi had a son by his wife Helga, and his name was Bard, he was very dutiful and good;  a handsome man and a proper, both in mind and body.  And when two winters had gone by, Helgi and his wife and son fare back to the Orkneys, and take their estates, both those which Wolf had owned, and those which belonged to Helgi after his father Harold, and now there was no lack of money.

         And when his son, Bard, was twelve winters old, he wished to go away, and said he wanted to gather together goods for himself.  Helgi said he was still too young to travel.  Bard said, "We two are unlike in temper, father mine," said he, "and I will fare to those peoples, of whom I have been told that they believe in the God of Heaven himself."  Helgi said he was unlike Wolf, his mother's father.

         After that he fared away and comes to the house of a husbandman very far off, and said he wished to work for him.  The farmer said he would like that well;  he looked after the cattle and worked all alone;  but the farmer was very rich.  The lad was lightly clad, but still he did his business well;  and the farmer said he would give him a cow for his wages, and Bard said he was willing to take it, and now he drives the cow into the wood one day, and in the wood he met a beggarman.  This man begged Bard to give him the cow for Peter's thanks.  Bard answers, "Thou knowest well how to beg, and this Peter ought to be my friend, but for all that I will give him the cow."  Bard came again to the husbandman and worked for him, and it fared still better during that year with the husbandman's cattle, and then he gave him yet another cow.  Now it fared the same way as before, the beggarman came with the same story and begged for the cow for Peter's sake, but Bard gave him the cow.  The husbandman asked what had become of the kine.  Bard said that those had them who needed them.  With this the husbandman Bard stayed the third winter, and still tended his cattle, and then there were near two heads for every one that he had before, and he made over a third cow to Bard.  That self-same day came the beggarman to him in the wood, and said he would still wish to beg for this cow in Peter's name.  He granted him that at once and gave him the cow.  Then this man said to Bard, "Now will I pass my hands over thee."  And so it was, and it seemed to him as though numbness passed out of every one of his bones.  After that he said, "Thou shalt be a man of luck," and then he set a book on his shoulders, and then Bard saw far and wide over many lands.  Then the beggarman said, "Thinkest thou that thou art now repaid for the kine?"  "Of a surety (I think) so,"  said Bard.  After that he saw over all Ireland.  Then the newly come man said, "Thinkest thou thyself then repaid for the kine if thou hast power given thee as wide as thou now seest."  Bard said so it would be.  "Here then," said he, "is now come Peter the Apostle;"  and he gave him then plenary powers, and so will I repay thee for the kine, that we shall never be parted."  After that Bard sought the husbandman, and told him this event.  The husbandman hardly knew him, he was so bright and lucky-looking, and bade him take of his goods whatsoever he would.  He bade the husbandman to hew him out a cell in a rock.  And so it was done.  Then he was baptized;  but he sat him afterwards in the same rock, and came to very great glory.  After some years had passed he became a bishop in Ireland, and the greatest chief.  There came to him his father and his mother, his brothers and sisters, and he enriched them all with many good things.  All-ruling God rewarded him as he rewards all for his lowly mindedness.  As he himself bears witness that whoseover abaseth himself in the eyes of his maker him shall he himself exalt.  The father and mother of Bard fared back to the Orkneys, and regained all their estates, and dwelt there till old age.  And here ends this story.





Next: Appendix E. The Story of Heming