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The Saga of Ketil Trout

Chapter 4

There was a man named Bard, a good man, who had a beautiful daughter named Sigrid. She was the most eligible woman around. Hallbjorn said Ketil should ask for her as his wife and think no more of Hrafnhild. Ketil said to himself he had not thought of taking a wife, and he was always silent after his parting with Hrafnhild. Ketil said he would go to the lands in the north, but Hallbjorn said that he intended to visit Bard and ask him about this matter, -- "and it is evil, that you should love that troll."

Afterwards Hallbjorn went to Bard. The man said that Ketil had been on great and difficult journeys but he should seek his wife himself.

"Do you think I lie?" said Hallbjorn.

The man said: "I know that Ketil would come here, if this was his idea, and I have no confidence in this but I would not refuse him my daughter."

So they bargained together, and the time for the wedding was appointed. Then Hallbjorn went home. Ketil did not ask him for news of his journey. Hallbjorn said that many people would be more curious about their own marriage than Ketil. Ketil paid no attention to that, but despite this, these plans went forward, and they had a good marriage feast. Ketil was naked the first night, when they went to bed. Sigrid had no problem with that, and they came together quickly.

After this, Hallbjorn died, but Ketil took over the management of the household, and many people worked for him. Ketil had a daughter by his wife, and she was named Hrafnhild. After three winters had passed, Hrafnhild Bruni's daughter came to meet Ketil. He asked her to stay with him. But she said that she would not delay. "You have now lost all chance of us living together, through your looseness of mind and unsteadfastfulness." Then she went to her ship very deep in thought and heavy in mind, and it was clear that she felt strongly about parting with Ketil. Grim asked after her.

Ketil was now the most powerful men in the north, and people had great confidence in him. One summer, he went north to Finnmark to visit Bruni and Hrafnhild. They went in a little ship, and weighed anchor beside a mountain. Ketil told Grim to look for water. He went and a troll appeared who told him he had no leave to be there, and forbade him from proceeding further, and would have seized him. Grim was afraid and he ran back, and told his father. Then Ketil went to meet the troll and said this verse:

"What does this bode,
when the mountain stands
and gapes fire above?
Relations between our neighbours,
I think, will improve
little in this way."

The troll disappeared, but father and son went home.

One autumn, two vikings came to Ketil's farm. One was named Hjalm, and the other Stafnglam. They had harried widely. They asked for sanctuary from Ketil, discussed terms, and stayed with him in high honour over the winter. That winter, at Yule, Ketil made this oath, that he should not give his daughter Hrafnhild in marriage under the threat of force. The vikings wished him pleasure in this.

 One day Ali the Uppdale-Warrior came there. He was from an Upplander family, and he asked for Hrafnhild's hand. Ketil said he would not give her away if forced, - "but you may speak with her."

Hrafnhild said she would not love Ali nor make a marriage settlement with him. Ketil told Ali that this was so, and Ali challenged Ketil to a duel. Ketil agreed. The brothers, Hjalm and Stafnglam, said they would fight for Ketil. But he told them to hold his shield for him. However, when they came to the field of combat, Ali struck Ketil before he had taken hold of his shield, and the point of Ali's sword entered Ketil's forehead and ploughed down to his nose, and it bled much. Then Ketil said this verse:

"Hjalm and Stafnglam,
protect yourselves both,
give room for the old one
who goes ahead threatening.
Fly, folk-leader.
Valiant is the Uppdale-Warrior.
Ugly is the sword-play,
small is a beard to man.
Clattering skin-kirtle,
shaking iron shirt,
quivering ring-shirt.
The wooer of the maiden is afraid."

Then Ketil swung his sword at his head, but Ali brought up his shield. Then Ketil went for his feet and cut off both, and Ali fell there.

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