There was a man named Lyting; he dwelt at Samstede, and he had to wife a woman named Steinvora; she was a daughter of Sigfus, and Thrain's sister. Lyting was tall of growth and a strong man, wealthy in goods and ill to deal with.
It happened once that Lyting had a feast in his house at Samstede, and he had bidden thither Hauskuld and the sons of Sigfus, and they all came. There, too, was Grani Gunnar's son, and Gunnar Lambi's son, and Lambi Sigurd's son.
Hauskuld Njal's son and his mother had a farm at Holt, and he was always riding to his farm from Bergthorsknoll, and his path lay by the homestead at Samstede. Hauskuld had a son called Amund; he had been born blind, but for all that he was tall and strong. Lytina had two brothers--the one's name was Hallstein, and the other's Hallgrim. They were the most unruly of men, and they were ever with their brother, for other men could not bear their temper.
Lyting was out of doors most of that day, but every now and then he went inside his house. At last he had gone to his seat, when in came a woman who had been out of doors, and she said, "You were too far off to see outside how that proud fellow rode by the farm-yard!"
"What proud fellow was that," says Lyting "of whom thou speakest?"
"Hauskuld Njal's son rode here by the yard," she says.
"He rides often here by the farm-yard," said Lyting, "and I can't say that it does not try my temper; and now I will make thee an offer, Hauskuld, to go along with thee if thou wilt avenge thy father and slay Hauskuld Njal's son."
"That I will not do," says Hauskuld, "for then I should repay Njal, my foster-father, evil for good, and mayst thou and thy feasts never thrive henceforth."
With that he sprang up away from the board, and made them catch his horses, and rode home.
Then Lyting said to Grani Gunnar's son, "Thou wert by when Thrain was slain, and that will still be in thy mind; and thou, too, Gunnar Lambi's son, and thou, Lambi Sigurd's son. Now, my will is that we ride to meet him this evening, and slay him."
"No," says Grani, "I will not fall on Njal's son, and so break the atonement which good men and true have made."
With like words spoke each man of them, and so, too, spoke all the sons of Sigfus; and they took that counsel to ride away.
Then Lyting said, when they had gone away, "All men know that I have taken no atonement for my brother-in-law Thrain, and I shall never be content that no vengeance--man for man--shall be taken for him."
After that he called on his two brothers to go with him, and three house-carles as well. They went on the way to meet Hauskuld as he came back, and lay in wait for him north of the farm-yard in a pit; and there they bided till it was about mideven (1). Then Hauskuld rode up to them. They jump up all of them with their arms, and fall on him. Hauskuld guarded himself well, so that for a long while they could not get the better of him; but the end of it was at last that he wounded Lyting on the arm, and slew two of his serving-men, and then fell himself. They gave Hauskuld sixteen wounds, but they hewed not off the head from his body. They fared away into the wood east of Rangriver, and hid themselves there.
That same evening, Rodny's shepherd found Hauskuld dead, and went home and told Rodny of her son's slaying.
"Was he surely dead?" she asks; "was his head off?"
"It was not," he says.
"I shall know if I see," she says; "so take thou my horse and driving gear."
He did so, and got all things ready, and then they went thither where Hauskuld lay.
She looked at the wounds, and said, "'Tis even as I thought, that he could not be quite dead, and Njal no doubt can cure greater wounds."
After that they took the body and laid it on the sledge and drove to Bergthorsknoll, and drew it into the sheepcote, and made him sit upright against the wall.
Then they went both of them and knocked at the door, and a house- carle went to the door. She steals in by him at once, and goes till she comes to Njal's bed.
She asked whether Njal were awake? He said he had slept up to that time, but was then awake.
"But why art thou come hither so early?"
"Rise thou up," said Rodny, "from thy bed by my rival's side, and come out, and she too, and thy sons, to see thy son Hauskuld."
They rose and went out.
"Let us take our weapons," said Skarphedinn, "and have them with us."
Njal said naught at that, and they ran in and came out again armed.
She goes first till they come to the sheepcote; she goes in and bade them follow her. Then she lit a torch, and held it up and said, "Here, Njal, is thy son Hauskuld, and he hath gotten many wounds upon him, and now he will need leechcraft."
"I see death marks on him," said Njal, "but no signs of life; but why hast thou not closed his eyes and nostrils? see, his nostrils are still open!"
"That duty I meant for Skarphedinn," she says.
Then Skarphedinn went to close his eyes and nostrils, and said to his father, "Who, sayest thou, hath slain him?"
"Lyting of Samstede and his brothers must have slain him," says Njal.
Then Rodny said, "Into thy hands, Skarphedinn, I leave it to take vengeance for thy brother, and I ween that thou wilt take it well, though he be not lawfully begotten, and that thou wilt not be slow to take it."
"Wonderfully do ye men behave," said Bergthora, "when ye slay men for small cause, but talk and tarry over such as this until no vengeance at all is taken; and now of this will soon come to Hauskuld, the Priest of Whiteness, and he will be offering you atonement, and you will grant him that, but now is the time to set about it, if ye seek for vengeance."
"Our mother eggs us on now with a just goading," said Skarphedinn, and sang a song.
"Well we know the warrior's temper (2),
One and all, well, father thine,
But atonement to the mother,
Snake-land's stem (3) and thee were base;
He that hoardeth ocean's fire (4)
Hearing this will leave his home;
Wound of weapon us hath smitten,
Worse the lot of those that wait!"
After that they all ran out of the sheepcote, but Rodny went indoors with Njal, and was there the rest of the night.
(1) Mideven, six o'clock p.m.
(2) "Warrior's temper," the temper of Hauskuld of Whiteness.
(3) "Snake-land's stem," a periphrasis for woman, Rodny.
(4) "He that hoardeth ocean's fire," a periphrasis for man, Hauskuld of Whiteness.