Sacred Texts  Legends & Sagas  Index  Previous  Next 


GLUM married his daughter Thorlauga to Vigu-Skuta, of Myvatn, in the north country, but on account of disagreement the husband caused her to return to Thverà, and divorced her, which annoyed Glum much. Afterwards Arnor Kerlingarnef wooed her and had her to wife, and good men are sprung from that marriage. From this time there was a great feud between Glum and Skuta. One summer it happened that a vagabond fellow came to Skuta and asked to be taken in. He inquired what he had been doing, and the answered was that he had slain a man and could not stay in the district to which he belonged. Skuta replied, "Well, what are you ready to do to earn my protection?" "What do you ask for?" said the other. "Why, you shall go, as sent from me, to Glum’s house, and tell him that you want him to take charge of your affair. I think it will turn out with reference to your meeting that he is now on his way to the Thing. He is a good man to help any one in trouble, if people want his aid; and it may be that he will tell you to go to Thverà and wait for him there. You will then say that you are in too great a strait for this, and that you would rather have some talk with him alone, and it may be that he will tell you what to do. An any rate ask him to let you meet in the Midárdal, which runs up from the homestead at Thverà and in which his pasture-huts stand; say that you would be glad to find him there on some day named for the purpose." The man assented to all this, and it was arranged as Skuta had proposed. Now this fellow, who was to serve as a bait, came back to Skuta and told him the whole. "You have done your work well," said he, "and you had better stay with me." Time passed on until the day came when Glum had promised the meeting, and then Skuta gets ready to start from home with thirty men. He rides southward, and then west, over the heath of Vadla, and so on to the bank which is called "Red-bank," and there they dismount. Then Skuta says to his men, "You will have to stay here a little while, and I will ride further into the valley, along the side of the hill, to see if there is anything to be got." When he looks along the valley he sees a tall man, in a green cloak, riding up from Thverà, whom he knows to be Glum, and gets off his horse. He has a cape on him of two colours, one side black and the other white, and he leaves his horse in the clearing and goes up to the pasture-hut into which Glum has entered. Skuta holds in his hand the sword named "Fluga," with a helmet on his head; he goes up to the door, knocks upon the wall, and then steps on one side close to the hut. Glum comes out, without any weapon in his hand, and sees no one by the hut, but Skuta rushes forward between Glum and the doorway. Then Glum knows his man, and starts away from him. The gorge in which the river runs is near the hut. Skuta calls to him to wait, but he says it would be all right if they were armed in the same way, and makes for the gorge with Skuta after him. Glum jumps right into the gorge, but Skuta looks about to see where he can get down. Then he sees in the gorge a cloak driven along in the water, and runs towards it, thrusting at it with his sword; but he hears a voice calling out above him, "There is little honour to be won by spoiling people’s clothes." He looks up and recognizes Glum; who in fact knew that there was a grassy bank on the edge of the stream where he jumped down. "Well," says Skuta, "remember one thing, Glum, you have run for it, and would not wait for Skuta." Glum’s answer is, "That is true enough, and I only wish that, before sunset this day, you may have to run for it as far as I have done." Glum sung a verse--

"South of the river here, I trow,
Each bush is worth a crown;
Elsewhere the forest often saves
The outlaw hunted down."

So they parted at that time; but Glum went home, got his people together, told them what a trap had been set for him, and expressed his desire to take vengeance for it at once. In a short time he collected sixty men and rode up into the valley. Skuta, after parting with Glum, got back to his horse, and riding along the hill-side he saw the men on their way. He thought it would not be good for him to meet them, so he made his plan, broke his spear-head off its shaft, handled this as if it were a pole, unsaddled his horse and rode bareback, with his cape turnd inside out, shouting as if he were looking for sheep. Glum’s men overtook him and inquired if he had seen any man fully armed riding over the hill? He replied that he had seen one. "What is your name?" they asked. "I am called," he says, " ‘Plenty’ in the Myvatn country, but at Fiskelæk people call me ‘Scarce.’" They answered, "You are making sport of us;" but he said he could not tell them anything truer than what he had told them, and so he parted from them. As soon as this was done he took up his daddle again and rode sharply off to his own men. Glum’s people came up to him and told him they had met a man who had answered them with a jest, and they said what his name was. "You have made a blunder," said Glum; "it was Skuta himself that you fell in with. What could he say that was more true? In the Myvatn country caves (Skuta) are ‘plenty,’ and in Fiskelæk they are ‘scarce.’ He has come pretty close to us, and we must ride after him." So they came up to the bank where Skuta and his men were, but there was only one path up to it, and the position was easier to defend with thirty men that it was to attack with sixty. Skuta then called out, "You have taken a good deal of trouble to follow me up, and I suppose you think you haves something to pay me for on account of your escape. No doubt you showed great presence of mind in jumping into the gorge, and you were pretty quick of foot about it." "Yes," said Glum, "and you had some reason to be afraid when you pretended to be a sheperd belonging to the Eyjafirth people, and hid your arms or broke some of them. I fancy you had to run quite as far as I did." Skuta replied, "However things may have gone up this time, try now to attack us with double our number." Glum’s answer was, "I think we will part this time, whatever people may say of either of us." So Skuta rode away north, and Glum went home to Thverà.


1 I confess that I do not clearly understand the meaning of this stanza, unless Glum intends to say that any device was justifiable in getting away from Skuta in a country which offered such scanty means of escape. It may mean, however, that Skuta himself would have hard work to get away.

Next: Chapter XVII