Now it is to be told of Skarphedinn that he runs out on the cross-beam straight after Kari, but when he came to where the beam was most burnt, then it broke down under him. Skarphedinn came down on his feet, and tried again the second time, and climbs up the wall with a run, then down on him came the wall- plate, and he toppled down again inside.
Then Skarphedinn said, "Now one can see what will come;" and then he went along the side wall. Gunnar Lambi's son leapt up on the wall and sees Skarphedinn, he spoke thus, "Weepest thou now, Skarphedinn?"
"Not so," says Skarphedinn; "but true it is that the smoke makes one's eyes smart, but is it as it seems to me, dost thou laugh?"
"So it is surely," says Gunnar, "and I have never laughed since thou slewest Thrain on Markfleet."
Then Skarphedinn said, "Here now is a keepsake for thee;" and with that he took out of his purse the jaw-tooth which he had hewn out of Thrain, and threw it at Gunnar, and struck him in the eye, so that it started out and lay on his cheek.
Then Gunnar fell down from the roof.
Skarphedinn then went to his brother Grim, and they held one another by the hand and trode the fire; but when they came to the middle of the hall Grim fell down dead.
Then Skarphedinn went to the end of the house, and then there was a great crash, and down fell the roof. Skarphedinn was then shut in between it and the gable, and so he could not stir a step thence.
Flosi and his band stayed by the fire until it was broad daylight; then came a man riding up to them. Flosi asked him for his name, but he said his name was Geirmund, and that he was a kinsman of the sons of Sigfus.
"Ye have done a mighty deed," he says.
"Men," said Flosi, "will call it both a mighty deed and an ill deed, but that can't be helped now."
"How many men have lost their lives here?" asks Geirmund.
"Here have died," says Flosi, "Njal and Bergthora and all their sons, Thord Kari's son, Kari Solmund's son, but besides these we cannot say for a surety, because we know not their names."
"Thou tellest him now dead," said Geirmund, "with whom we have gossiped this morning."
"Who is that?" says Flosi.
"We two," says Geirmund, "I and my neighbour Bard, met Kari Solmund's son, and Bard gave him his horse, and his hair and his upper clothes were burned off him!"
"Had he any weapons?" asks Flosi.
"He had the sword 'Life-luller,'" says Geirmund, "and one edge of it was blue with fire, and Bard and I said that it must have become soft, but he answered thus, that he would harden it in the blood of the sons of Sigfus or the other Burners."
"What said he of Skarphedinn?" said Flosi.
"He said both he and Grim were alive," answers Geirmund, "when they parted; but he said that now they must be dead."
"Thou hast told us a tale," said Flosi, "which bodes us no idle peace, for that man hath now got away who comes next to Gunnar of Lithend in all things; and now, ye sons of Sigfus, and ye other burners, know this, that such a great blood feud, and hue and cry will be made about this burning, that it will make many a man headless, but some will lose all their goods. Now I doubt much whether any man of you, ye sons of Sigfus, will dare to stay in his house; and that is not to be wondered at; and so I will bid you all to come and stay with me in the east, and let us all share one fate."
They thanked him for his offer, and said they would be glad to take it.
Then Modolf Kettle's son, sang a song:
"But one prop of Njal's house liveth,
All the rest inside are burnt,
All but one--those bounteous spenders,
Sigfus' stalwart sons wrought this;
Son of Gollnir (1) now is glutted
Vengeance for brave Hauskuld's death,
Brisk flew fire through thy dwelling,
Bright flames blazed above thy roof."
"We shall have to boast of something else than that Njal has been burnt in his house," says Flosi, "for there is no glory in that."
Then he went up on the gable, and Glum Hilldir's son, and some other men. Then Glum said, "Is Skarphedinn dead, indeed?" But the others said he must have been dead long ago.
The fire sometimes blazed up fitfully and sometimes burned low, and then they heard down in the fire beneath them that this song was sung:
"Deep, I ween, ye Ogre offspring
Devilish brood of giant birth,
Would ye groan with gloomy visage
Had the fight gone to my mind;
But my very soul it gladdens
That my friends I who now boast high,
Wrought not this foul deed, their glory,
Save with footsteps filled with gore."
"Can Skarphedinn, think ye, have sung this song dead or alive?" said Grani Gunnar's son.
"I will go into no guesses about that," says Flosi.
"We will look for Skarphedinn," says Grani, "and the other men who have been here burnt inside the house."
"That shall not be," says Flosi, "it is just like such foolish men as thou art, now that men will be gathering force all over the country; and when they do come, I trow the very same man who now lingers will be so scared that he will not know which way to run; and now my counsel is that we all ride away as quickly as ever we can."
Then Flosi went hastily to his horse and all his men.
Then Flosi said to Geirmund, "Is Ingialld, thinkest thou, at home at the Springs?"
Geirmund said he thought he must be at home.
"There now is a man," says Flosi, "who has broken his oath with us and all good faith."
Then Flosi said to the sons of Sigfus, "What course will ye now take with Ingialld; will ye forgive him, or shall we now fall on him and slay him?"
They all answered that they would rather fall on him and slay him.
Then Flosi jumped on his horse, and all the others, and they rode away. Flosi rode first, and shaped his course for Rangriver, and up along the river bank.
Then he saw a man riding down on the other bank of the river and he knew that there was Ingialld of the Springs. Flosi calls out to him. Ingialld halted and turned down to the river bank; and Flosi said to him, "Thou hast broken faith with us, and hast forfeited life and goods. Here now are the sons of Sigfus, who are eager to slay thee; but methinks thou hast fallen into a strait, and I will give thee thy life if thou will hand over to me the right to make my own award."
"I will sooner ride to meet Kari," said Ingialld, "than grant thee the right to utter thine own award, and my answer to the sons of Sigfus is this, that I shall be no whit more afraid of them than they are of me."
"Bide thou there," says Flosi, "if thou art not a coward, for I will send thee a gift."
"I will bide of a surety," says Ingialld.
Thorstein Kolbein's son, Flosi's brother's son, rode up by his side and had a spear in his hand, he was one of the bravest of men, and the most worthy of those who were with Flosi.
Flosi snatched the spear from him, and launched it at Ingialld, and it fell on his left side, and passed through the shield just below the handle, and clove it all asunder, but the spear passed on into his thigh just above the knee-pan, and so on into the saddle-tree, and there stood fast.
Then Flosi said to Ingialld, "Did it touch thee?
"It touched me sure enough," says Ingialld, "but I call this a scratch and not a wound."
Then Ingialld plucked the spear out of the wound, and said to Flosi, "Now bide thou, if thou art not a milksop."
Then he launched the spear back over the river. Flosi sees that the spear is coming straight for his middle, and then he backs his horse out of the way, but the spear flew in front of Flosi's horse, and missed him, but it struck Thorstein's middle, and down he fell at once dead off his horse.
Now Ingialld runs for the wood, and they could not get at him.
Then Flosi said to his men, "Now have we gotten manscathe, and now we may know, when such things befall us, into what a luckless state we have got. Now it is my counsel that we ride up to Threecorner Ridge; thence we shall be able to see where men ride all over the country, for by this time they will have gathered together a great band, and they will think that we have ridden east to Fleetlithe from Threecorner Ridge; and thence they will think that we are riding north up on the fell, and so east to our own country, and thither the greater part of the folk will ride after us; but some will ride the coast road east to Selialandsmull, and yet they will think there is less hope of finding us thitherward, but I will now take counsel for all of us, and my plan is to ride up into Threecorner-fell, and bide there till three suns have risen and set in heaven."
(1) "Son of Gollnir," Njal, who was the son of Thorgeir Gelling or Gollnir.
(2) "My friends," ironically of course.