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That same summer Njal's sons fared to Norway from the Orkneys, as was before written, and they were there at the fair during the summer. Then Thrain Sigfus' son busked his ship for Iceland, and was all but "boun." At that time Earl Hacon went to a feast at Gudbrand's house. That night Killing-Hrapp came to the shrine of Earl Hacon and Gudbrand, and he went inside the house, and there he saw Thorgerda Shrinebride sitting, and she was as tall as a fullgrown man. She had a great gold ring on her arm, and a wimple on her head; he strips her of her wimple, and takes the gold ring from off her. Then he sees Thor's car, and takes from him a second gold ring; a third he took from Irpa; and then dragged them all out, and spoiled them of all their gear.

After that he laid fire to the shrine, and burnt it down, and then he goes away just as it began to dawn. He walks across a ploughed field, and there six men sprang up with weapons, and fall upon him at once; but he made a stout defence, and the end of the business was that he slays three men, but wounds Thrand to the death, and drives two to the woods, so that they could bear no news to the earl. He then went up to Thrand and said, "It is now in my power to slay thee if I will, but I will not do that; and now I will set more store by the ties that are between us than ye have shown to me."

Now Hrapp means to turn back to the wood, but now he sees that men have come between him and the wood, so he dares not venture to turn thither, but lays him down in a thicket, and so lies there a while.

Earl Hacon and Gudbrand went that morning early to the shrine and found it burnt down; but the three gods were outside, stripped of all their bravery.

Then Gudbrand began to speak, and said, "Much might is given to our gods, when here they have walked of themselves out of the fire!"

"The gods can have naught to do with it," says the earl; "a man must have burnt the shrine, and borne the gods out; but the gods do not avenge everything on the spot. That man who has done this will no doubt be driven away out of Valhalla, and never come in thither."

Just then up ran four of the earl's men, and told them ill tidings for they said they had found three men slain in the field, and Thrand wounded to the death.

"Who can have done this?" says the earl.

"Killing-Hrapp," they say.

"Then he must have burnt down the shrine," says the earl.

They said they thought he was like enough to have done it.

"And where may he be now?" says the earl.

They said that Thrand had told them that he had lain down in a thicket.

The earl goes thither to look for him, but Hrapp was off and away. Then the earl set his men to search for him, but still they could not find him. So the earl was in the hue and cry himself, but first he bade them rest a while.

Then the earl went aside by himself, away from other men, and bade that no man should follow him, and so he stays a while. He fell down on both his knees, and held his hands before his eyes; after that he went back to them, and then he said to them, "Come with me."

So they went along with him. He turns short away from the path on which they had walked before, and they came to a dell. There up sprang Hrapp before them, and there it was that he had hidden himself at first.

The earl urges on his men to run after him, but Hrapp was so swift-footed that they never came near him. Hrapp made for Hlada. There both Thrain and Njal's sons lay "boun" for sea at the same time. Hrapp runs to where Njal's sons are.

"Help me, like good men and true," he said, "for the earl will slay me."

Helgi looked at him, and said, "Thou lookest like an unlucky man, and the man who will not take thee in will have the best of it."

"Would that the worst might befall you from me," says Hrapp.

"I am the man," says Helgi, "to avenge me on thee for this as time rolls on."

Then Hrapp turned to Thrain Sigfus' son, and bade him shelter him.

"What hast thou on thy hand?" says Thrain.

"I have burnt a shrine under the earl's eyes, and slain some men, and now he will be here speedily, for he has joined in the hue and cry himself."

"It hardly beseems me to do this," says Thrain, "when the earl has done me so much good."

Then he shewed Thrain the precious things which he had borne out of the shrine, and offered to give him the goods, but Thrain said he could not take them unless he gave him other goods of the same worth for them.

"Then," said Hrapp, "here will I take my stand, and here shall I be slain before thine eyes, and then thou wilt have to abide by every man's blame."

Then they see the earl and his band of men coming, and then Thrain took Hrapp under his safeguard, and let them shove off the boat, and put out to his ship.

Then Thrain said, "Now this will be thy best hiding place, to knock out the bottoms of two casks, and then thou shalt get into them."

So it was done, and he got into the casks, and then they were lashed together, and lowered overboard.

Then comes the earl with his band to Njal's sons, and asked if Hrapp had come there.

They said that he had come.

The earl asked whither he had gone thence?

They said they had not kept eyes on him, and could not say.

"He," said the earl, "should have great honour from me who would tell me where Hrapp was."

Then Grim said softly to Helgi, "Why should we not say, What know I whether Thrain will repay us with any good?"

"We should not tell a whit more for that," says Helgi, "when his life lies at stake."

"May be," said Grim, "the earl will turn his vengeance on us, for he is so wroth that some one will have to fall before him."

"That must not move us," says Helgi, "but still we will pull our ship out, and so away to sea as soon as ever we get a wind."

So they rowed out under an isle that lay there, and wait there for a fair breeze.

The earl went about among the sailors, and tried them all, but they, one and all, denied that they knew aught of Hrapp.

Then the earl said, "Now we will go to Thrain, my brother in arms, and he will give Hrapp up, if he knows anything of him."

After that they took a long-ship and went off to the merchant ship.

Thrain sees the earl coming, and stands up and greets him kindly. The earl took his greeting well and spoke thus,--"We are seeking for a man whose name is Hrapp, and he is an Icelander. He has done us all kind of ill; and now we will ask you to be good enough to give him up, or to tell us where he is."

"Ye know, lord," said Thrain, "that I slew your outlaw, and then put my fife in peril, and for that I had of you great honour."

"More honour shalt thou now have," says the earl.

Now Thrain thought within himself, and could not make up his mind how the earl would take it, so he denies that Hrapp is here, and bade the earl to look for him. He spent little time on that, and went on land alone, away from other men, and was then very wroth, so that no man dared to speak to him.

"Shew me to Njal's sons," said the earl, "and I will force them to tell me the truth."

Then he was told that they had put out of the harbour.

"Then there is no help for it," says the earl, "but still there were two water-casks alongside of Thrain's ship, and in them a man may well have been hid, and if Thrain has bidden him, there he must be; and now we will go a second time to see Thrain."

Thrain sees that the earl means to put off again and said, "However wroth the earl was last time, now he will be half as wroth again, and now the life of every man on board the ship lies at stake."

They all gave their words to hide the matter, for they were all sore afraid. Then they took some sacks out of the lading, and put Hrapp down into the hold in their stead, and other sacks that were light were laid over him.

Now comes the earl, just as they were done stowing Hrapp away. Thrain greeted the earl well. The earl was rather slow to return it, and they saw that the earl was very wroth.

Then said the earl to Thrain, "Give thou up Hrapp, for I am quite sure that thou hast hidden him."

"Where shall I have hidden him, Lord?" says Thrain.

"That thou knowest best," says the earl; "but if I must guess, then I think that thou hiddest him in the water-casks a while ago."

"Well!" says Thrain, "I would rather not be taken for a liar, far sooner would I that ye should search the ship."

Then the earl went on board the ship and hunted and hunted, but found him not.

"Dost thou speak me free now?" says Thrain.

"Far from it," says the earl, "and yet I cannot tell why we cannot find him, but methinks I see through it all when I come on shore, but when I come here, I can see nothing."

With that he made them row him ashore. He was so wroth that there was no speaking to him. His son Sweyn was there with him, and he said, "A strange turn of mind this to let guiltless men smart for one's wrath!"

Then the earl went away alone aside from other men, and after that he went back to them at once, and said, "Let us row out to them again," and they did so.

"Where can he have been hidden?" says Sweyn.

"There's not much good in knowing that," says the earl, "for now he will be away thence; two sacks lay there by the rest of the lading, and Hrapp must have come into the lading in their place."

Then Thrain began to speak, and said, "They are running off the ship again, and they must mean to pay us another visit. Now we will take him out of the lading, and stow other things in his stead, but let the sacks still lie loose. They did so, and then Thrain spoke: "Now let us fold Hrapp in the sail."

It was then brailed up to the yard, and they did so.

Then the earl comes to Thrain and his men, and he was very wroth, and said, "Wilt thou now give up the man, Thrain?" and he is worse now than before.

"I would have given him up long ago," answers Thrain, "if he had been in my keeping, or where can he have been?"

"In the lading," says the earl.

"Then why did ye not seek him there?" says Thrain.

"That never came into our mind," says the earl.

After that they sought him over all the ship, and found him not.

"Will you now hold me free?" says Thrain.

"Surely not," says the earl, "for I know that thou hast hidden away the man, though I find him not; but I would rather that thou shouldst be a dastard to me than I to thee," says the earl, and then they went on shore.

"Now," says the earl, "I seem to see that Thrain has hidden away Hrapp in the sail."

Just then, up sprung a fair breeze, and Thrain and his men sailed out to sea. He then spoke these words which have long been held in mind since--

"Let us make the Vulture fly,
Nothing now gars Thrain flinch."

But when the earl heard of Thrain's words, then he said, "'Tis not my want of foresight which caused this, but rather their ill-fellowship, which will drag them both to death."

Thrain was a short time out on the sea, and so came to Iceland, and fared home to his house. Hrapp went along with Thrain, and was with him that year; but the spring after, Thrain got him a homestead at Hrappstede, and he dwelt there; but yet he spent most of his time at Gritwater. He was thought to spoil everything there, and some men even said that he was too good friends with Hallgerda, and that he led her astray, but some spoke against that.

Thrain gave the Vulture to his kinsman, Mord the Reckless; that Mord slew Oddi Haldor's son, east in Gautawick by Berufirth.

All Thrain's kinsmen looked on him as a chief.

Next: 88. Earl Hacon Fights With Njal's Sons.