Now, in the days when Harald Hairfair would make himself sole King over all Norway, many kings and many mighty chiefs held sway over various portions of the land. And Harald swept through the country, carrying all before him. And it was clearly seen that no other king or chief could thrive in the land. And many submitted and became king’s men, and many died rather than submit. And others, when they heard that Harald was coming upon them, gathered their kinsfolk about them, and, taking what wealth and stores they could, fled from the land. And in this way were the Faroe Islands, and the Orkneys, and Iceland peopled, and many North men journeyed to England and Scotland and made these lands their home.

Now, there was a man named Ketill Flatnose, and he was a mighty and high-born chieftain. And when Ketill heard of the coining of King Harald- Hairfair, he deemed that he could in nowise hope to hold his land against him. And he called his kinsfolk to him,


and spoke unto them, saying that for his part he was willing to do battle with Harald and to suffer death as other chieftains had done.

“But,” said he, “I would not lead you by my willfulness into so great a trouble, for I know that ye would not desert me, even though it would be some trial of manhood to follow me.”

And Bjorn, the son of Ketill, made answer: “I will make known my wishes at once. I will follow the example of noble men and fly from this land.” And at these words of Bjorn’s there was a great cheer. And as no one was found to speak against this counsel, it was settled upon that they should all leave the country.

And Bjorn and Helgi, another son of Ketill, spoke of Iceland, saying that they had heard pleasing news of the place, that the land was good, and that there was plenty of whale and salmon and other fishing all the year round.

But Ketill was minded to go west over the sea, saying that he had harried there far and wide, and knew those lands well, and that there was the best chance of getting a livelihood.

So it befell that the kinsmen parted company. And Bjorn and Helgi went to Iceland, and their father, Ketill, with his daughter, Unn, the Deep-minded, and many of their relations, journeyed west oversea to Scotland. And the great men of that land received Ketill well, and gave him high station, for he was a man of renown. And Ketill and all his kinsfolk, except Thorstein, the son of Unn, settled there and prospered. But Thorstein, who was called “the Red,” took to


warring, and harried Scotland, and fought many battles, and always did he gain the victory. And the people of Scotland made peace with him and gave him half Scotland for his own. And soon after this, Thorstein was treacherously murdered. And about this time too it befell that Ketill died. And it was a time of warring and great unrest, and Unn, the Deep-minded, deemed that she and her kinsfolk would have no further prosperity in Scotland. And she ordered a great ship to be built secretly in a wood, and when it was built she furnished it and stored much wealth upon it.

And they brought the ship to the seashore, and Unn took with her all her kinsmen who were still alive. And men deemed that never had a woman done such a deed as this before, to get so much wealth and folk safely away in secret in a time of war. But in all things was Unn wise, and peerless among women.

And Unn sailed away with many men of worth and high birth. And one of the worthiest was named Koll. And they sailed to the Orkneys, and there Unn gave one of the daughters of Thorstein the Red in marriage, and from her descended all the kin of the Orkney earls.

Then they sailed on again to the Faroe Isles, and there another daughter of Thorstein the Red was married, and from her descended the noblest race of that land.

And they sailed on again to Iceland. And off the south of that land their ship was broken in splinters, but all their people and goods were saved. And Unn sought out Helgi, her brother, who had fared to Iceland


at the same time that Ketill fared to Scotland. And Helgi came to meet Unn, and she had with her twenty followers, for Unn was high-minded. And Helgi bade her send ten of her men away, and come and stay with him. But Unn turned from him in anger, calling him a churl.

And she journeyed to Broadfirth, where on the southern shore dwelt Bjorn, who was also her brother. And Bjorn heard of her coming and went to meet her with many followers, for he knew her pride and worth. And he greeted her in hearty fashion, and invited her and all her followers to stay with him. And Unn was well pleased, and thanked him for his honourable dealing.

And Unn stayed all the winter with Bjorn, and he entertained her in lordly fashion, for he was wealthy and spared not his means.

And in the spring Unn and her people took ship from Broadfirth and came to a ness where they ate their mid-day meal, and since that day has the place been called Daymealness. And then they sailed on and came to another ness, and there Unn lost her comb, and that place has ever since been called Combness.

And Unn went about throughout the Broadfirth Dales and took to herself lands as much as she would. Now, it was the custom for voyagers to a new land to take aboard with them the sacred pillars of the high seat from their old abode. And when the ship neared the shore where they would dwell, the pillars were thrown overboard, and they drifted with the wind and waves till they were flung up on the


beach. And it was believed that at this spot the gods willed that the house should be built.

And Unn bethought her that she would build her a house. And she steered her ship to the head of the bay where it washes the shores of the Broadfirth Dales. And she commanded that the pillars of the high seat should be cast over the side of the ship. And where they were washed ashore there did Unn deem it fit to build her a house. And it was called Hvamm, and


there Unn dwelt. And there did Koll marry Thorgerd, daughter of Thorstein the Red.

And Unn gave the bridal feast, and Thorgerd took for her dowry all Salmon River Dale, and there did they set up their house. And brave was Koll, and mighty, and of high birth. And the son of Koll and Thorgerd was called Hoskuld.

And to many of her followers did Unn give part of her land-take. But to Olaf Feilan, who was the youngest child of Thorstein the Red, she was minded to give all her belongings when she should die. And tall and strong and goodly to look at was Olaf, and Unn loved him above all men.

And the burden of age came now upon Unn, and one day she called Olaf Feilan to her and said: “It is my mind, kinsman, that you should settle down and marry.” And Olaf answered that he was well pleased to have all things governed by her. And Unn said that she would wish the bridal feast to be held at the end of the summer, “for,” said she, “our friends will come hither in great numbers, and it is the easiest time to get in the means needed. And I have made up my mind that this will be the last bridal feast arranged by me.”

And Olaf thanked her and said that only such a woman would he wed who would not rob Unn of her wealth and rule. And Unn chose Alfdis for the bride of Olaf. And she bade many guests to the feast. And hither came Bjorn and Helgi and Koll o’ Dales, as he was now called, and many other great men.

And it was a custom with Unn, now that she was


grown old, to go early to bed and to remain in her sleeping chamber till mid-day, and no one was allowed to disturb her between these times. Yet would she not be regarded by those about her as in any way feeble, and very angry she grew if any asked her how it fared with her strength.

And on the day of the wedding-feast Unn kept to her bed somewhat later than usual. However, she


was ready to meet her guests on their arrival, and she greeted them and her kinsfolk with the greatest courtesy. And when they were all assembled, Unn made a speech unto them, in stately fashion, thanking them for journeying so far at her bidding. Then she led the way to the great hall, and they took their seats, and everyone was struck by the magnificence of the feast that was spread before them.

And Unn rose and said: “Bjorn and Helgi, my brothers, and all my other kindred and friends, I call witnesses to this that this dwelling with all its belongings that you now see before you, I give into the hands of my kinsman Olaf, to own and to manage.” And soon after she had said this she retired to her bower to rest, but before going she bade each one to do that which pleased him most, and she directed that the common folk should have good cheer and ale. And with that she passed out along the hall, so tall and stately, and springing of step, that her graceful bearing was the subject of talk with all the guests.

And the wedding-feast was kept up all through the night. And the next day Olaf went to the bower of Unn, and found her sitting up against her pillow, and she was dead. And everyone marvelled at the great dignity with which Unn had borne herself to the end.

So it befell that Olaf’s wedding-feast and Unn’s funeral honours were now drunk together, and on the last day of the feast, Unn was placed in a ship, within a mound, and buried, together with much treasure. And this was the end of Unn the Deep-minded.


And Olaf took over Unn’s household and all her wealth. And he became a great ruler, and had many children, and lived to a good old age.

And on a time it befell that Koll o’ Dales fell sick, and came to his death.

And Hoskuld, his son, was young at the time, but wise he was beyond his years, and strong, and a hopeful man. And Hoskuld took over his father’s household, and all his goods, and ruled it well. And he called his house Hoskuld-stead, and many friends gathered round him there, and many kinsmen of Koll’s.

But Thorgerd, the mother of Hoskuld, no longer cared for Iceland, and she yearned to the land of Norway, which was the land of her kin. And soon she told her mind to Hoskuld, saying that she wished to fare abroad, and she desired that he would give her the share of Koll’s goods which was hers.

And Hoskuld took her wish to leave Iceland much to heart, but he would not gainsay her. And he bought the half part of a ship, which was standing off Daymealness, and he gave it to his mother. And Thorgerd parted from Hoskuld and went aboard the ship, and sailed out to Norway. And there she found many who were kin to her, for she was the great granddaughter of Ketill Flatnose, who had been a mighty chieftain in the land. And her kinsfolk greeted her well, and gave her whatsoever she would. And Thorgerd settled among them and was well content.

And it befell soon after that a man named Herjolf wooed her and they were wedded, and they loved each


other right dearly. And Thorgerd abode with him in Norway till he died. Then was she filled with a great desire to see again Hoskuld, her son, whom she loved best of all men.

And she set out for Iceland, and sought Hoskuld at Hoskuld-stead in Salmon River Dale. And Hoskuld received her with high honour, and she abode with him till she died.

And Hoskuld was by this time a man of great renown in Iceland. And in Norway also was he held of good account. And the King of Norway in those days was Hakon, the youngest son of Harald Hairfair and the foster-son of King Athelstan of England. And Hoskuld was one of King Hakon’s bodyguard, and he went to his court and stayed there every other year. And Hoskuld looked about him for a wife. And he heard tell of the beauty and wit of Jorunn, the daughter of Bjorn. And Bjorn was of high birth, and it was said of him that he was the wealthiest man throughout these parts.

And Hoskuld took with him ten men, and rode to Bjorn’s house. And Bjorn received him in full friendly fashion, for Hoskuld’s fame was known to all men. And Hoskuld told Bjorn his errand, and Bjorn was well pleased, but he answered that his daughter’s mind should rule in the matter.

And they went together to Jorunn, and Bjorn told her of Hoskuld’s desire to make her his wife, and Jorunn answered him well, saying: “From what I have heard of you, Hoskuld, I cannot but think that the woman would be well cared for who should marry


you, and I will agree with whatsoever my father may say in this matter.”

And after more talk it was arranged that the wedding should take place as early as possible at Hoskuld-stead. And Bjorn promised much money with Jorunn, and Hoskuld returned to his home well pleased with the match.

And soon after the wedding-feast was held, and Bjorn and his daughter came to it with a great company of followers. And magnificent was the feast which Hoskuld set before his guests, and goodly gifts did he give them when they set out again after the wedding. And right pleased were all his kin and Jorunn’s and they returned to their homes in good friendship.

And Jorunn took up the management of Hoskuld’s home, and soon was she seen to be wise and well up in household ways. And clever she was, and of manifold knowledge, but at times of quick temper. And Hoskuld and Jorunn loved each other dearly, though they made little show of it. And they had many children, and they were all most hopeful. And Hoskuld prospered and became a mighty chief, and all people held him in high honour.

Now, Hoskuld deemed that his house was worse built than it should be for a man of his renown. So he bought a ship and made it ready. And he left Jorunn to take care of his house and children, and set out for Norway to buy house timber. And he brought his ship to Hordaland, to the south of Norway. And Hoskuld stayed there all that winter, for he had many kinsmen dwelling in that part, and right heartily they


welcomed him. And Hoskuld had no lack of entertainment, therefore he did not seek King Hakon that winter, but abode with one or other of his kindred.

And when the winter was past and the fair weather had come, there was tidings that the King had gone with his fleet to the Brenn Isles to meet with other rulers for the settling such matters as kings had to determine. This meeting of kings was held every third summer, and it was looked upon as a pleasure trip, and men came to it from all lands.

And Hoskuld got ready his ships and sailed forth, desiring to go to the meeting, not only for the pleasure of it, but also that he might present himself to the King. And when he was come there, he met many of his kinsfolk. And great crowds of people had gathered, and there were amusements of all kinds, and much drinking. And there was a fair, where all sorts of things could be bought.

And one day Hoskuld walked about the fair, and he saw where there was a stately tent away from the other tents.

And he went to it, and there sat a man arrayed in rich garments with a Russian hat upon his head. And Hoskuld asked him his name, and he answered that he was called Gilli the Russian. And he asked Hoskuld what he would buy of him. And Hoskuld answered that he would buy a bondswoman if he had one to sell, for in those days it was the custom to buy women as slaves, or, as they were then called, bondswomen.

And Gilli replied to this: “You think to give me


trouble by such an answer, in asking for things you think I have not, but by no means does that follow.”

And now Hoskuld saw that right across the tent there was drawn a curtain, and Hoskuld saw seated behind it eleven or twelve women. And Gilli bade Hoskuld come and look at the women if he wished to buy. And Hoskuld saw one woman sitting apart from the others, and she was very ill-clad, but exceeding fair to look upon. And he asked the price of this woman. And Gilli answered “Three pieces of silver must you give for her.”

Then said Hoskuld: “It seems to me you charge too highly for this bonds-woman, for that is the price of three.”

And Gilli answered that Hoskuld might choose any one of the other eleven and pay one piece of silver, but that he valued this one more highly than the others. So Hoskuld searched in his purse to see how much money he had. And Gilli, seeing that he was bent on buying the woman, said: “There shall be no guile on my side in this matter; there is one drawback about this woman, Hoskuld, which you must know before we settle this bargain.”

And Hoskuld asked what it was. Then said Gilli: “The woman is dumb.” But for all this Hoskuld was


still minded to buy her, and they weighed out his silver, and found that he had just enough money.

Now, it was the custom for a man to have as many wives as he desired, and often the bondswoman became the wife of her master, but always was she the servant of the chief wife who had not been bought. And Hoskuld took the bondswoman, and he clothed her in goodly garments. And right well favoured did she appear in them, and all were struck by her grace and modesty. And Hoskuld made her his wife. But no word did she speak to him or to any.

And when the meeting was over Hoskuld went to Hakon the King and greeted him. And Hakon gave a side look at him and said: “We should have taken well your greeting, Hoskuld, even if you had saluted us sooner, but so it shall he even now.”

Thereafter the King talked graciously to Hoskuld, and invited him to go with him on hoard his ship. “Be with us as long as you care to remain in Norway,” said the King. And Hoskuld thanked him and told him of his wish to get house timber for the building of his house. And the King bade him go with him to the Wick, and Hoskuld went with him, and the King got the house timber for him, and had his ship laden with it.

Then said King Hakon to Hoskuld: “You shall not be delayed here longer than you wish, though it will be difficult to find a man to take your place.”

But Hoskuld would tarry no longer for he was greatly desirous of returning to Iceland. So King Hakon saw Hoskuld off to his ship, and as they parted

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And often was Jorunn unkind to the bondswoman (P.201)


he said: “I have ever found you an honourable man, and now my mind misgives me that you arm sailing for the last time from Norway, whilst I am lord of that land.”

And he took a golden ring from his arm, and gave it to Hoskuld, and he gave him also a sword ornamented with gold. And Hoskuld thanked the King, and bade him farewell. And he put out to sea, and they had a fair wind, and sailed west to Iceland and landed at Salmon River mouth. And he had the house timber taken out of the ships and carried to his house, and he rode home with his men, and right well did all his people greet him. And he found that everything had been kept well in his absence.

And Jorunn asked him as to the bondswoman, and he told her all about the purchase of the woman, and that she was his wife, and he bade Jorunn treat her kindly while she was serving her. But Jorunn paid little heed to these words of Hoskuld’s, and often was she unkind to the bondswoman. But the bondswoman behaved always with such gentleness and dignity that everyone said there was something about her which betokened high birth, and all that she did showed her to be a woman of no ordinary mind.

And when sometime had passed, a son was born to Hoskuld and the bondswoman, and Hoskuld looked upon the child, and thought that he had never seen a goodlier or fairer-looking child. And Hoskuld called him Olaf, after Olaf Feilan, the son of Thorstein the Red, and the brother of Thorgerd, Hoskuld’s mother. And Olaf Feilan was just dead at this time.


And the child waxed strong and noble, and Hoskuld loved him dearly. And the bondswoman tended the child.

But Jorunn grew ever unkinder to the bondswoman, and at last she said to Hoskuld: “The woman must do some work or other, or else go away.” And Hoskuld said she should serve them as before, and look after the child as well. And this went on till the boy was two years old. And then had he full speech, and ran about like a boy of four.

And it befell on a morning that Hoskuld went out right early to look about his Stead. And he heard voices talking. And he went towards them, and came to where a little brook ran past the home-field. And there by the brook, the bondswoman and Olaf, her son, sat in the morning sunshine, and the mother was talking to her child. And, full of surprise, Hoskuld drew near. And he went to the bondswoman, and asked her her name. And they sat down together, and she said: “I am called Melkorka; Myrkjartan is the name of my father, and he is a King in Ireland, and I was taken a prisoner of war from there when I was fifteen winters old.”

And Hoskuld blamed her for her long silence, and he went back to the house, and told Jorunn, but Jorunn willed not to take it for truth, and was no kinder than heretofore. But Hoskuld talked often with Melkorka.

And a little while after this, when Jorunn was going to bed and Melkorka was undressing her, Jorunn struck the bondswoman. And Melkorka grew suddenly angry and struck Jorunn in the face, so that the blood

The bondswoman and Olaf, her son, sat in the morning sunshine


flowed. And Hoskuld ran to them and parted them. And after this he sent Melkorka away, giving her a house of her own in Salmon River Dale, and everything that she needed for its upkeep. And the boy Olaf went with her.

And Olaf grew more beautiful every day, and courteous, and brave he was beyond all other men. And when he was seven years old, Hoskuld put him to fostering with Thord Goddi at Goddistead. And Thord was childless and very rich.

And Hoskuld thought it a right good thing for Olaf, but Melkorka grieved over it.

And Olaf grew up with Thord, so handsome and strong, that his equal was not to be found in all the country-side. And splendid was his raiment, and his war-gear, and all men wondered at him. And Hoskuld gave him a nickname, and called him “the Peacock,” and this name stuck to him.

And as Olaf grew older, Hoskuld looked less after Melkorka’s household, saying that now it concerned Olaf her son. And Olaf said he would give his mother all the help he could. And Melkorka would fain have Olaf travel abroad to Ireland, and seek out her kin. So she told her story to Olaf, and he asked Hoskuld for means that he might make the journey. But Hoskuld was growing old, and he liked not the, thought of Olaf’s travelling afar from Iceland. And Thord, the foster-father of Olaf, could give him no help, for although he was rich, his goods were in land and cattle, and not in those wares which could be taken and sold in other lands.


And Melkorka turned things over in her mind, and more and more she longed to send Olaf forth. Now, there was a man named Thorbjorn Skrjup, and he had the chief care of Melkorka’s household affairs. And he had asked her to be his wife, but Melkorka had said him nay. Now, however, she began to think more of the matter, deeming it likely that if she consented to marry him, Thorbjorn would aid her in her plans for Olaf. And she said to Olaf: “I cannot bear your being called the son of a slave woman any longer, and if it stands in the way of the journey that you think you have not enough money, then I would rather go to the length even of marrying Thorbjorn if then you should think the journey more likely. For I think he will be willing to give you as much wares as you think you may need if I give my consent to his marrying me.”

And Olaf bade his mother follow her own counsel, and as Melkorka had said so it was arranged; but the matter was kept secret from Hoskuld. And on the day when Melkorka’s wedding-feast was arranged, Hoskuld sought Olaf, and desired that he would ride with him. And Olaf made answer that he was busy with household matters, an answer which pleased Hoskuld mightily, for he liked well that Olaf should attend to the affairs of the homestead.

So Hoskuld rode away alone, and the wedding-feast was held.

And after the feast Olaf took of Thorbjorn’s wares all that he needed, and rode off to a ship that was lying in the Firth, ready for sailing. And when


Melkorka and Olaf came to part Melkorka said to him: “I have fitted you out as best I know how, and taught you to speak Irish, so that it will make no difference to you where you are brought to shore in Ireland.” And she gave him a great gold ring, saying “This gift my father gave me for a teething gift, and I know he will remember it when he sees it.” And she gave him also a knife and a belt and bade him give them to her nurse. “She will not doubt these tokens,” she said. And they parted, and Olaf got on board. And there arose a fair wind, and they sailed out to sea.

And when Hoskuld heard the tidings of Melkorka’s marriage and Olaf’s journeying, he was wroth, but he said little.

And Olaf came to Norway, and he went to the Court of the King of that land, who was named Harald, for King Hakon was dead. And King Harald received him well for the sake of his kindred, and Gunnhild, the Kings’ Mother, was right pleased to talk to him.

But as the time passed on Olaf grew sad, for he wished to go westward to’ Ireland, but he could hear of no ship going there. And at last he told Gunnhild of his mother’s story, and of her desire that he should visit Myrkjartan the King. And Gunnhild listened to him and said: “I will lend you help for this voyage, so that you may go out as richly furnished as you please.”

And the Queen had a ship arrayed, and a crew of sixty men was got together, and King Harald and


the Queen led Olaf to the ship, and wished him good-luck. And Olaf was at this time eighteen winters old, and King Harald said of him that no goodlier man had in his day come out of Iceland.

And Olaf and his men sailed away, and for days and days they journeyed, in fog and unfavourable weather, seeing no sign of land. But at last on a night the watchman roused them saying that he saw land near. And when daylight came they saw that it was Ireland. And as the light grew they saw men hurrying down to the shore, as though the coming of a ship was a great thing to them. And Olaf cast anchor. And as the day wore on crowds of people came down to the shore, and at last two men took a boat and rowed out to the ship. And they asked what men they were on that ship, and Olaf answered them, speaking in Irish, that they were Norwegians.

Then the men claimed all the goods on board as their lawful prize, but Olaf said that such a law only held good when the merchants had no interpreter with them. “And I can say with truth,” said he, “that these are peaceful men, and we will not give ourselves up.”

Then the Irish raised the war-cry and leapt into the sea, and swam towards the ship. And they tried to drag the ship with all on board to the shore. But Olaf cried to his men to fetch their weapons, and range themselves for battle. And standing close together their shields overlapped all round the ship, and a spear-point stood out at the lower end of every shield.

And Olaf walked to the prow arrayed in a coat


of mail, and with a gold-bedecked helmet upon his head. The hilt of his sword was inlaid with gold, the barbed spear which he held in his hand was chased and well engraved, and on his red shield was drawn a lion in gold.

And when the Irish saw him and his men drawn up for battle, they were afraid, and saw that it would be no easy matter to carry off the merchandise. So they returned to the shore, and ran back into the village. And they sent word to their King, saying that they deemed that a war-ship had come upon them.

And the King rode down to the shore with a brave company of knights, and Olaf’s men feared when they saw them as to how things would go with them. But Olaf bade them take heart, saving, “This is Myrkjartan their King.” And he stood forth in his


splendid war attire, and the knights wondered at his nobleness.

And they rode as near to the ship as might be, and their King called out and asked who was the master of the ship. And Olaf answered and told his name, and he asked the King to tell him his name in return. And the King answered: “I am called Myrkjartan.” And Olaf asked: “Are you, then, a King of the Irish?” And Myrkjartan answered: “That am I.” And he asked Olaf for news, from whence they came, and whose men they were. And Olaf answered all these questions, but nothing further than the King asked. And Myrkjartan noticed his haughty bearing, and asked of his kindred. And Olaf answered: “My father lives in Iceland, and is named Hoskuld, a man of high birth; but of my mother’s kindred I think you must have seen many more than I have. For my mother is called Melkorka, and it has been told me as a truth that she is your daughter, King. Now, this has driven me upon this long journey, and to me it is a matter most weighty what answer you give me in my case.”

And at these words the King grew silent for a while; then he turned aside and spoke with his men. “Thereafter he turned again to Olaf and said: “Now I will give answer to your speech, in so far as we grant to you and all your shipmates peace; but on the kinship you claim with us, we must talk more before I give answer to that.”

And Olaf and his men went ashore, and Olaf


greeted the King, taking off his helmet, and bowing low before him, and the King welcomed him right heartily. And Olaf told him all his story, and he took from his hand the great gold ring which Melkorka had given at parting, and gave it to the King, saying “It was my mother’s word, King, that you gave it her as a tooth gift.”

And the King looked long at the ring, and his face grew wondrous red, and he seemed lost in thought. Then he said: “True enough are the tokens, but you have so many of your mother’s family features, that even by them you might be easily recognised, and because of these things I will in sooth acknowledge your kinship, Olaf. And this shall also follow, that I will ask you to my Court, with all your suite, but the honour of you all will depend thereon of what worth as a man I find you to be when I try you more.”

And the King commanded horses to be brought for Olaf and his men, and directed that charge should be taken of their ship and all their goods.

And Olaf and the King and their followers rode to Dublin, and great was the desire of all men to look upon Olaf, for the tidings had spread that he was the son of their King’s daughter, who had been carried off in war when she was but fifteen winters old. And the foster-mother of Melkorka was also told the tidings. And she was bed-ridden, being very old, and stricken with sickness. Yet when Olaf arrived, such was her desire to look upon him, that she rose from her bed, and walked without the support of a staff to meet him.


And the King said to Olaf: “Here now is come Melkorka’s foster-mother, and she will wish to hear all the tidings you can tell about Melkorka’s life.”

And Olaf took the old woman in his arms, and set her upon his knee, and told her all about Melkorka. And he gave her the knife and belt, and when the old nurse looked upon them she wept tears of joy. And she fell to praising Olaf, saying he was worthy of the stock he came of. And all that winter while Olaf was there the old woman was strong and well and right cheerful of mood.

And all that winter Olaf helped the King against Vikings and raiders who ever made war on the kingdoms of the west. And they drove them from the land. And the King asked the counsel of Olaf in all matters.

And towards the end of the winter Myrkjartan summoned a Thing, and great numbers of his people came. And the King said: “You all know that last autumn there came hither a man who is the son of my daughter, and high born also on his father’s side; and it seems to me that Olaf is a man of such prowess and courage that here such men are not to be found. Now, I offer him my kingdom after my day is done, for Olaf is much more suitable for a ruler than my own sons.”

And Olaf thanked him with fair and courteous speech, but said that he must journey home whenever it was safe to sail, for his mother would have little joy of her life if he did not return. And the King answered that Olaf must do as he was minded.


And when the weather was fair, Olaf arrayed his ship, and the King took him on board. And he gave him a spear engraved in gold, and a gold-bedecked sword, and much money besides. And Olaf asked the King if he might take Melkorka’s foster-mother back with him, but the King was unwilling to let her go, so Olaf said no more. And Myrkjartan and Olaf parted with great affection.

And the ship made a good voyage and came to Norway, and Olaf and his men got horses, and he rode to the Court of King Harald. And King Harald and Queen Gunnhild, his mother, gave them a goodly welcome. And they begged Olaf to stay with them, and Olaf took up his abode at the Court. And he gave to the King and Queen many rare gifts which he had brought from Ireland. And King Harald gave to Olaf, for a Yule gift, a set of clothes in scarlet stuff, and right well did they become him.

And Olaf stayed with the King all that winter. But when the spring came, his mind turned to his kinsfolk in Iceland, and he told King Harald of his desire to return there, and begged his leave to set out as soon as the weather served. And the King answered: “It would be more to my mind that you should settle down with us, and take whatever position in our service you like best yourself.” And Olaf thanked the King for the great honour he offered him, but said he would fain return to his kin in Iceland if it was not against the King’s will.

And King Harald answered him: “You shall go to Iceland in the summer, for I see you have set your


heart on it; but neither trouble nor toil shall you have over your preparations for I will see after all that.”

And the King got a ship for Olaf, and it was a merchant ship, great and good. And when the ship was launched, King Harald ordered it to be laden with wood. And when it was well fitted out, and all was ready for sailing, King Harald called Olaf to him and said: “This ship shall be your own, Olaf, for I should not like you to start from Norway this summer as a passenger in anyone else’s ship.”

And Olaf was right pleased and thanked the King for his generosity. And Olaf and the King parted with great affection, and Olaf sailed away, and came with fast winds to Iceland. And he put his ship in at Ramfirth, and Hoskuld heard of his son’s arrival, and rode forth to meet him, well pleased.

And the father and son met joyfully, and Hoskuld took Olaf home with him. And Olaf told his father all the events of his long journeying. And Olaf’s descent from Myrkjartan, King of Ireland, was now publicly proclaimed, and much renown did he get from all men for this, and for his journey.

And as soon as she heard the tidings, Melkorka came to see her son, and they greeted each other with great affection. And she asked Olaf many questions about Ireland, but first she asked of her father and her kin, and then if her foster-mother still lived. And Olaf answered all her questions, and when he told her that her foster-mother still lived, Melkorka asked why he had” not tried to please her by bringing her back to


Iceland with him. And Olaf answered that he had wished to do so but that the King was unwilling to let her go. “That may be so,” said Melkorka, but it was easily seen by all that she was greatly disappointed, and had taken the matter much to heart.

Now, when Olaf had been in Iceland about a month, Hoskuld came to him and said that he desired that he should take a wife. And Olaf said that in this matter he would trust to his father’s foresight. And on a day Hoskuld and Olaf arrayed them for a journey, and they set forth with a great company for the Thing, which was held at this time. And Hoskuld knew that they would meet there with one Egil, who had a daughter named Thorgerd, and she was the very best match in all that part of the land.

And Olaf arrayed himself in his scarlet suit with a golden helmet upon his head, and the gold-adorned sword in his hand which King Myrkjartan had given him. And he went to Thorgerd, where she sat on a dais in Egil’s tent, and he saw that she was goodly and proud, and had the looks of one of high degree. And Olaf wooed Thorgerd and won her.

And at the end of the summer they were wedded, and brave was the feast, and rich gifts were given the guests at leaving. And Olaf gave to Egil the gold-adorned sword, King Myrkjartan’s gift, and well pleased was Egil.

And Olaf and Thorgerd dwelt one year at Hoskuldstead with Hoskuld, and one year at Goddistead with Thord Goddi, Olaf’s foster-father, until the death of Thord. Then Olaf had much wealth, and he became


a mighty chieftain, and was much beloved and honoured of men.

And it befell soon after this that Hoskuld was taken ill, and he called Olaf to him, and gave him the great gold ring, and the gold-bedecked sword which King Hakon of Norway had given him. And on that same day Hoskuld died.

And many sons and daughters were born to Olaf and Thorgerd. And one of their sons was called Kjartan, after Myrkjartan, the King of Ireland. And more is told of Kjartan in the story of King Olaf Tryggvison; he was the likeliest and noblest man of his time in Iceland.