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The Saga of Ketil Trout
A little later the famine increased; even the fish furthest from land grew scarce, and the crop failed, but Ketil had many people at the farm. Sigrid said she thought they would need food if they were to stay there. Ketil said he wanted no taunts, and he went to his ship. The vikings asked what he intended to do.
"I shall go fishing," he said.
They said they would go with him, but he said to himself that he did not want this, and he asked them to take care of his farm for a while.
Ketil came to the place named Skrofum. And as he reached the shore, he saw a troll-woman in a bearskin kirtle on a peninsula. She had just risen from the sea and was as black as pitch. She sneered beneath the sun. Ketil recited this verse:
"I am called
And then she said:
He spoke: "Call me Trout," he said. She said: "You are near to your home in Hrafnista, but I will drag you to the outlying reefs." Ketil recited this verse:
young at home.
She came closer to him and said:
to a banquet up in Angri.
She had been all along the length of Norway. She asked: "What shall you do now?"
"I will get meat to replace my stores," he said. She said:
turn your cooking-fire,
"This is now her only hope," said Ketil. She moved up to him. Then Ketil recited this verse:
She recited this verse:
These were the names of Ketil's arrow. He put an arrow to the string and trained it on her. She turned into a whale and dived into the sea, but the arrow hit her under a fin. Then Ketil heard a great shriek.
Then he grinned and said: "It will go as fate shapes it; Forat is no noblewoman, and now her bed is undesirable."
Afterwards went Ketil with his catch and took to his boat.
One night he was woken by a noise from the forest. He ran out and saw a troll-woman, whose hair fell to her shoulders.
Ketil said: "What are you doing, foster-mother?"
She bridled at that and said: "I am going to the meeting of the trolls. There comes Skelking, king of the trolls, from the north out of the Dumb Sea (the Arctic), and Ofoti out of Ofotansfirth and Thorgerd Horgatroll, and other great monsters from the northern lands. Do not delay me, since you are nothing to me, you who killed Kaldrani."
And then she hurried out to shore and so to sea. There was nothing short of a witch ride in the island that night, and although Ketil was unharmed, he went back home and stayed there for some time.
Then Framar, king of the vikings, came to Hrafnista. He was a devout heathen, and iron did not bite him. He ruled a kingdom that stretched from Hunaveld to Gestrekaland. He made his sacrifices at Arhaug. No snow stayed on that mound. His son was called Bodmod, who had a great farm by Arhaug, and was a popular man, but all wished evil for Framar. Odin had decreed this for Framar, that iron did not bite him. Framar demanded Hrafnhild in marriage, and Ketil answered that she would chose her own man.
She said no to Framar, - "If I would not accept Ali, then I will hardly choose to marry this troll."
Ketil told Framar her answer. He was very angry, and he challenged Ketil to a duel at Arhaug on the first day of Yule, -- "and you are the worst of nithings, if you do not come." Ketil said he would come. Hjalm and Stafnglam asked to go with him. Ketil said he would go alone.
A little before Yule Ketil went to Naumudal. He wore a fur-coat and had skis on his feet, and he went up through the valleys and then through the woods to Jamtaland, and then east over Skalkskog to Helsingjaland, then east over Eyskogamark, - this divided Gestrekaland and Helsingjaland; it was twenty rasts long and three broad, and made for an evil journey.
There was a man named Thorir who lived in the forest. He offered Ketil his company and said that evildoers lived in the forest: "and the worst of them is named Soti. He is treacherous and strong." Ketil said to himself that he would be no problem. He went to the forest and came to Soti's hut. He was not at home. Ketil kindled the fire. Soti came home and he did not greet Ketil but sat down on his own.
Ketil sat by the fire and spoke: "Are you the greatest of nithings, Soti?" he asked.
Then Soti threw some sticks at Ketil. When they had eaten their fill, Ketil lay down beside the fire and snored a great deal. Then Soti leapt up, but Ketil awoke and said: "What are you doing up, Soti?"
He said: "I am going to blow on the fire. It was nearly out."
Ketil slept again. Then Soti ran up with a two-handed axe. Ketil sprang up and said: "You will do much chopping," said he. After that, Ketil sat up all night.
About morning, he rose, and Soti went with him to forest. When night fell, they lay under an oak. Ketil fell asleep, which Soti noticed, because he snored loudly. Soti sprang up and struck at Ketil, thinking the snoring came from the hood of his cloak, but Ketil was not in the cloak. Ketil woke and decided to test Soti.
He ran up and said: "Now shall we test our skills in wrestling." Ketil pulled Soti down, struck off his head, and afterwards went on his way.
On Yule Eve, he came to Arhaug, Framar's place of sacrifice and home of eagles. It was covered in snow. Ketil went up to the barrow and sat in the cold wind waiting for the meeting. Then a man came to Bodmod's farm, who asked: "When will Ketil come to Arhaug?"
Men said there was no hope of this.
Bodmod said: "I do not believe this is the case. He is a widely travelled man and he keeps his word."
They went to the barrow but did not find Ketil, so they told Bodmod. Bodmod said he would go up to the barrow. He went to there and up on top of the barrow, where he saw a great heap on the northern edge. Bodmod recited this verse:
is that the high one
Ketil recited this verse:
I am named,
now get up,
Ketil recited this verse:
now get up
Bodmod took Ketil by the hand. When he stood up, Ketil's feet slipped on the barrow. Then Bodmod recited this verse:
Ketil grew angry at the name of Odin, because he did not believe in him, and he recited this verse:
Then Ketil went with Bodmod, and stayed with him that night and the next. And in the morning, Bodmod offered to go with him or provide him with a second in the duel with Framar. Ketil did not agree with that. "Then I will go with you," said Bodmod.
Ketil agreed to that, and they went to Arhaug. Framar came bellowing to the barrow, and found Bodmod and Ketil there with a crowd. Then Framar recited the laws of the duel. Bodmod held a shield for Ketil, but not over ahead.
Framar said: "You are now my enemy and no longer my son."
Bodmod said he had broken their kinship because of his witchcraft. Before they began, an eagle flew out of the forest to Framar and tore his clothes. Then Framar recited this verse:
Then the eagle came on so fast, as if he was a weapon. Then Framar recited this verse:
Although that was before they had begun, it was counted. Now Ketil struck Framar's shoulder. Framar stood silently, but the sword did not cut him, though it should have done, the blow was so great. Framar struck Ketil's shield. Ketil hit Framar's other shoulder, but again it did not cut.
Ketil recited this verse:
And then he added this verse:
Framar recited this verse:
man's beard shakes,
necessary to whet swords,
And then Framar said:
of the maiden was afraid,
Then Ketil took his sword in his hand and turned the other edge forward. Framar stood in silence, as the sword cut through his shoulders, and did not stop before reaching his hips, and then gaped outwards. Then Framar recited this verse:
Then Framar died, but Bodmod entered Ketil's following. Then Bodmod said: "Now with that if you think to give me a reward for my support, then I wish that you give me your daughter."
Ketil took that well and said that Bodmod was a good warrior. After that, Ketil went home and he grew to be very famous for his great deeds. He gave Hrafnhild in marriage to Bodmod. Ketil reigned over Hrafnista, while he lived, and Grim Hairy-cheek succeeded him. Grim's son was Arrow-Odd.
And here ends this saga.
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