Now we must speak of Skarphedinn and his brothers, how they bend their course up to Rangriver. Then Skarphedinn said, "Stand we here and listen, and let us go stilly, for I hear the voices of men up along the river's bank. But will ye, Helgi and Grim, deal with Lyting single-handed, or with both his brothers?"
They said they would sooner deal with Lyting alone.
"Still," says Skarphedinn, "there is more game in him, and methinks it were ill if he gets away, but I trust myself best for not letting him escape."
"We will take such steps," says Helgi, "if we get a chance at him, that he shall not slip through our fingers."
Then they went thitherward, where they heard the voices of men, and see where Lyting and his brothers are by a stream.
Skarphedinn leaps over the stream at once, and alights on the sandy brink on the other side. There upon it stands Hallgrim and his brother. Skarphedinn smites at Hallgrim's thigh, so that he cut the leg clean off, but he grasps Hallstein with his left hand. Lyting thrust at Skarphedinn, but Helgi came up then and threw his shield before the spear, and caught the blow on it. Lyting took up a stone and hurled it at Skarphedinn, and he lost his hold on Hallstein. Hallstein sprang up the sandy bank, but could get up it in no other way than by crawling on his hands and knees. Skarphedinn made a side blow at him with his axe, "the ogress of war," and hews asunder his backbone. Now Lyting turns and flies, but Helgi and Grim both went after him, and each gave him a wound, but still Lyting got across the river away from them, and so to the horses, and gallops till he comes to Ossaby.
Hauskuld was at home, and meets him at once. Lyting told him of these deeds.
"Such things were to be looked for by thee," says Hauskuld. "Thou hast behaved like a madman, and here the truth of the old saw will be proved; 'but a short while is hand fain of blow.' Methinks what thou hast got to look to now is whether thou wilt be able to save thy life or not."
"Sure enough," says Lyting, "I had hard work to get away, but still I wish now that thou wouldest get me atoned with Njal and his sons, so that I might keep my farm."
"So it shall be," says Hauskuld.
After that Hauskuld made them saddle his horse, and rode to Bergthorsknoll with five men. Njal's sons were then come home and had laid them down to sleep.
Hauskuld went at once to see Njal, and they began to talk.
"Hither am I come," said Hauskuld to Njal, "to beg a boon on behalf of Lyting, my uncle. He has done great wickedness against you and yours, broken his atonement and slain thy son."
"Lyting will perhaps think," said Njal, "that he has already paid a heavy fine in the loss of his brothers, but if I grant him any terms, I shall let him reap the good of my love for thee, and I will tell thee before I utter the award of atonement, that Lyting's brothers shall fall as outlaws. Nor shall Lyting have any atonement for his wounds, but on the other hand, he shall pay the full blood-fine for Hauskuld."
"My wish," said Hauskuld, "is, that thou shouldest make thine own terms."
"Well," says Njal, "then I will utter the award at once if thou wilt."
"Wilt thou," says Hauskuld, "that thy sons should be by?"
"Then we should be no nearer an atonement than we were before," says Njal, "but they will keep to the atonement which I utter."
Then Hauskuld said, "Let us close the matter then, and handsel him peace on behalf of thy sons."
"So it shall be," says Njal. "My will then is, that he pays two hundred in silver for the slaying of Hauskuld, but he may still dwell at Samstede; and yet I think it were wiser if he sold his land and changed his abode; but not for this quarrel; neither I nor my sons will break our pledges of peace to him; but methinks it may be that some one may rise up in this country against whom he may have to be on his guard. Yet, lest it should seem that I make a man an outcast from his native place, I allow him to be here in this neighbourhood, but in that case he alone is answerable for what may happen."
After that Hauskuld fared home, and Njal's sons woke up as he went and asked their father who had come, but he told them that his foster-son Hauskuld had been there.
"He must have come to ask a boon for Lyting then," said Skarphedinn.
"So it was," says Njal.
"Ill was it then," says Grim.
"Hauskuld could not have thrown his shield before him," says Njal, "if thou hadst slain him, as it was meant thou shouldst."
"Let us throw no blame on our father," says Skarphedinn.
Now it is to be said that this atonement was kept between them afterwards.