Sacred Texts  Legends & Sagas  Index  Previous  Next 


NOW, when Ivar arrived, they went out to meet him as a mark of honour, and received him joyfully. Either brother then aksed the other for tidings and Ivar inquired of Hreidar where he had been through the winter. Hreidar told him he had been in Iceland, and then Ivar asked no more about the matter; "but tell me," said he, "is that great rough lump I see there a man, or is it some animal?" Eyiolf answered, "I am a man of Iceland, my name is Eyiolf, and I intend to be here all the winter." "I guess one thing," said Ivar; "we shall not be without mischief of some kind, if an Icelander is here." Hreidar replied, "If you deal badly with him, so that he cannot stay here, the affection between us, as near kinsmen, will suffer." "It was a bad voyage of yours to Iceland," said Ivar, "if we on that account are to be dependent on Icelanders, or cast off our own friends and kindred: nor do I know why you chose to visit that most hateful people; and then too you have escaped telling me what has happened to you."  1 "It is very different from what you suppose," said Hreidar; "there are many good fellows there." "Well," replied Ivar, "at any rate that rough and shaggy beast does not look particularly well on the high seat." But when he saw that his brother set great store by Eyiolf he did not speak so strongly as before against Icelanders. "What can I call him," said he, "except "Lump?’" and Eyiolf did not seem to object to the name; but they made the worst of everything that he did.
        There was a man named Vigfuss, lord of the district of Vorz, the son of Sigurd, who was the son of Kari-Viking; and Vigfuss had a daughter, called Astrida. Hreidar and Ivar were great friends of Vigfuss, and they used to entertain one another alternate winters, at Christmas. At this time it was the turn of the brothers to prepare for the feast. In fact Hreidar had got everything ready, and had then to invite his guest. He asked Eyiolf to go with him, "for," said he, "I have no curiosity to try how they will behave towards you here." "I am not well," replied Eyiolf, "and I cannot go." That evening, when Hreidar was gone and they took their places, Ivar’s companions exclaimed, "Now we shall amuse ourselves as we please, for old ‘Lump’ is left at home." "Nay," said Ivar, "we must think of something which befits us. Here we are, two brothers, holding our property jointly, and he has all the trouble of it, whilst I have none. This is a man to whom he wishes to be kind, and we act in such a way that he can scarcely stay here, but at the same time we have no fault to find with him. No man shall say anything injurious to him whilst Hreidar is absent." They replied it was just the time to have some sport. "No," said Ivar, "there is little true manhood in what you say. Every one waits on us here, and we have all the sport we choose, but others have the labour and care. If that man had killed my brother, I would not, for Hreidar’s sake, do him any harm, and no one shall dare to make sport of him." He shall not be called ‘Lump’ any longer." In the morning Ivar spoke with Eyiolf: "Will you go into the wood with us and amuse yourself" He assented to this and went with them: they took to cutting down trees and carrying them home. Eyiolf had with him his sword and a hatchet. "I advise you, Icelander," said Ivar, "if our men go each his on way, that you get home before dark." So each man went his own way, and Eyiolf went off by himself, and taking off his rough cloak, laid upon it the sword which he hand in his hand. Then he turned into the wood to amuse himself with his hatchet, and cut down the trees which he fancied. As the day advanced it came on to snow, and he thought of going home; but when he came to the spot where he had left his cloak it was gone, and the sword remained behind. He saw a track in the snow as if the cloak had been dragged along. A bear had come and carried off the cloak, but had hardly had strength to hold it off the ground, for it was a young bear, just come out of its lair, that had never killed a man. They Eyiolf went and saw the bear sitting before him, so he drew his sword and cut off its snout close to the eyes and took it home with him in his hand. Ivar came home first, missed Eyiolf, and exclaimed, "We have made a bad expedition of it, and we have done wrong in parting from our comrade in the wood, for he does not know his way in it. It is likely that there are wild beasts there, and considering the footing on which we have been with him, it would be much talked about, if he did not get safe back. I advise that we should go and look for him till we find him." When they got out before the door, there was Eyiolf coming to meet them, and Ivar greeted him well, and asked how he came to be covered with blood. Eyiolf showed them what he held in his hand, and Ivar said, "I fear you are wounded?" but he answered, "Don’t trouble yourself about me; I have no hurt." Ivar exclaimed, "What folly it is to mock men whom we do not know! He has shown in this matter a courage which I doubt if any of us would come up to."
        The following evening Hreidar came home, and Ivar asked him, "Why are you so moody, brother? Are you anxious about ‘Lump?’ How do you think I am likely to have dealt with him?" "No doubt," said Hreidar, "it is of some consequence how you have acted in this matter." "What will you give me, if I should be on the same terms with him as you are yourself?" "I will give you," answered Hreidar, "that gold ring which belongs to both of us and which you have long liked." Ivar replied, "I don’t covet your property, but I shall for the future stand to him in the same relation as to yourself, and henceforth he shall sit by my side, and not by yours." Then both of them held Eyiolf in high honour, and felt that the place he sat in was worthily filled; and so it went on.


1 Ivar considers it an aggravation of the annoyance caused by Eyiolf that his brother had visited a place which he hated and which he had no wish to hear anything about, and so they had not the pleasure of telling one another how they had fared during their absence.

Next: Chapter IV