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NOW men returned from the Thing, and Glum staid at home all the summer: everything was quiet in the district till it came to the time of the "Leet,"  1 when they assembled at that court. Glum, however, was not there, and nothing was heard of him. Márr was at home in his dwelling; but in the autumn, five weeks before winter, he held a wedding-feast, and invited men to it, so that not less than a hundred and twenty people came together. This invitation appeared strange to everybody, for those who were concerned in the wedding were not persons of any consequence. That evening all the men of Eyjafirth were seen riding in from the dales two or five at a time, and the people who came down into the district were all collected in one body. Glum was there, and Asgrim, and Gizor, with three hundred and sixty men, and they came in the course of the night to the homestead, and sat at the wedding-feast.
        The morning after Glum sent to find Thorarin, and told him to come to Diupadal, not later than six in the morning, to hear the oaths. Thorarin bestirred himself and got together a hundred and twenty men, and when they came to the temple, six people went into it, that is to say, Gizor and Asgrim with Glum, and Einar and Hlenni the old with Thorarin. Whoever had to take the "temple oath" laid hold with his hand of the silver ring, which was stained red with the blood of the cattle sacrificed, and which ought not to weigh less than three ounces. Then Glum said word for word thus: "I name Asgrim to bear witness, and Gizor in the second place to bear witness, that I take the ‘temple oath,’ on the ring, and I say it to the God.  2 When Thorvald the crooked got his death-blow--Vark at þar--ok vák ek þar--ok raudk at þ odd ok egg. Now let those men who are skilled in such matters, and who stand by, look to my oath."  3 Thorarin and his friends were not prepared to find any fault, but they said they had never heard the form of words used before. In the same manner the oaths were taken by Glum at Gnupafell and at Thverà. Gizor and Asgrim stayed some nights at Thverà, and when they went away Glum gave Gizor the blue cloak, and he gave Asgrim the gold-mounted spear (which Vigfuss had given him).  4 In the course of the winter Thorvard met Thorarin, and asked him, "Did Glum take the oath properly?" "We found nothing to take hold of," said Thorarin. "It is a wonderful thing," replied Thorvard, "that wise people should make such mistakes. I have known men who have declared themselves to have slain others, but I have never known a case of a man swearing explicitly that he was guilty, as Glum did. How could he say more than he did when he declared that he was there at the doing of the deed, that he took part in the death, and that he reddened point and edge, when Thorvald the crooked fell at Hrisateig?--though I admit that he did not pronounce the words as they are commonly pronounced. That scandal will never be done away with." Thorarin replied, "I did not observe this, but I am tired of having to do with Glum." "Well," said Thorvard, "if you are tired because your health is not equal to it, let Einar take the matter up. He is a prudent man, with a great kindred, and many will follow him. His brother Gudmund will not be neutral, and he himself is most anxious for one thing-to get to Thverà." Then they met Einar and consulted with him, and Thorarin said, "If you will take the lead in the suit many men will back you in it, and we will bring it about that you shall have Glum’s land, at a price not exceeding that which he paid to Thorkel the tall." Einar observed, "Glum has now parted with those two things, his cloak and his spear, which his mother’s father, Vigfuss, gave him, and bad him keep, if he wished to hold his position, telling him that he would fall away in dignity from the time that he let them out of his hands. Now will I take up the suit and follow it out."


1 The Haust-thing, or autumn assembly, was the same as the Leid or Leet, and was held not earlier than fourteen days after the Althing, for the purpose of making known in each district what had been done at the general assembly. It had, like every other Thing, to be helgad, "consecrated," or opened by the Godi. See Maurer, ss. 171-174; Dasent, Preface, p. lxvi.

2 The god probably means Thor. See Maurer, § 157.

3 It is impossible to represent this oath of Glum’s in English, or any other language, so as to make the point of the story clear; but it may thus be explained--There is in the Icelandic language, or rather there was, and enelitic negative at (sometimes abbreviated to a or t), which is attached to the verb. It occurs only in the ancient tongue, and there only in poetry and legal formulæ. Thus var ek or vark means simply "I was," ek being the pronoun of the first person; but vark-at means "I was not." So vák (or vá ek) means "I slew;" but vák-at means "I slwe not." But at is also a preposition corresponding to our preposition "at," and vark at, pronounced as two separate words (with the accent on at) would mean "I was at it." the reader will thus see that the deceit practised by Glum consisted in so pronouncing the verb and the particle at, that his enemies took it for the negative and not for the preposition. The sense depended entirely on the question whether it was or was not an enclitic. Glum’s adversaries understood him to say, "I was not there; I slew him not there; I reddened not edge nor point on him there;" whereas his own construction of what he swore to was precisely the opposite and in fact expressly asserted his guilt. The whole of this story is most curious as illustrative of the manner and character of the people, and also in a philological point of view. The reader who wishes to know more of the extinct negative suffix may consult Grimm’s Grammar, b. iii. s. 715. Grimm is mistaken in saying that this form occurs only in the old poetry, as is sufficiently shown by this very Saga; but it is confined to the poetry and the laws. I may add that Grimm’s attempt, at p. 718, to explain the origin of this negative appears to me unsuccessful. I shall have occasion to remark hereafter that this oath of Glum’s was not in itself part of a judicial proceeding, but was imposed upon him as a special condition of an exceptional character, when his adversaries agreed to compound their suit.

4 See above, chapter vi. The parting with these gifts is the turning-point in Glum’s story. Henceforth his luck is departed.

Next: Chapter XXVI