Search the Northvegr™ Site

Powered by
Help keep the online etymological dictionary online and free.
  Home | Site Index | Heithinn Idea Contest |
The Saga of Ketil Trout

Chapter 5

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:

"Who is that ogress,
on the far peninsula
who sneers at men?
Under the rising sun,
over the straits, I see
a loathely looking one."

She said:

"I am called Forat,
I am seldom seen in the north
I am brave in Hrafnsey,
detested by farmers,
who attack me with arrows.
I do every evil thing."

And then she said:

"Many man
have I sent to hell,
they went to the fishes.
Who is it I see
the little man,
who sails through the reefs?"

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:

"I thought it adequate,
before I came here
that of all men
I had travelled far.
Now a monstrous
ogress confounds me,
the evil one will drag me away,
drag me as a captive.
The noise that I hear,
what Forat says,
I would need no assistance,
if aid was near.
I would risk nothing
in the island with seals,
if in the islands
there were eagles."

She said:

"I will not refuse,
wandering man,
that you have a life
longer than others,
if I find you
unafraid of me,
little boy;
but I see your heart shakes."

Ketil said:

"I was young at home.
Often I went alone
across the outer seas.
I groped my way
through many murky woods
I am not afraid of a terrible ogress.
Though you have a long face, foster-mother,
and a nose like an oar,
like that of a monstrous ogress."

She came closer to him and said:

"I went to a banquet up in Angri.
Then I went to Steigar.
The short-sword clattered tinkling.
Then I went to Karmtar.
I took fire to Jadri
and melted Utstein.
Then I went east to Elfi,
before the day shone,
and upbraided the bridesmaids
and insulted the earl."

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:

"I will turn your cooking-fire,
and stroke your body,
until you come home to your wife,
and she will come
with the din of the sea."

"This is now her only hope," said Ketil. She moved up to him. Then Ketil recited this verse:

"My arrow is true,
and so is your strength,
the shaft will meet you,
unless you wriggle away."

She recited this verse:

"Flaug and Fífu
I think to be nothing,
and I am not afraid
of Hremsu's bite."

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:

"Where is that the high one
who sits on the barrow
and ignores the weather?
A frost-hard man,
I think you are terrible,
and by no means warm."

Ketil recited this verse:

"Ketil I am named,
I come from Hrafnista.
There I grew to be brave;
My heart is full of courage
I know I will be spared,
and I will get lodging."

Bodmod said:

"You will now get up,
leave this barrow
and seek my hall.
We will have speech
and days of hospitality,
if you will stay there."

Ketil recited this verse:

"I will now get up
and leave the barrow,
as Bodmod commanded me.
My brother,
even if he lived nearer,
could give me no better invitation."

Bodmod took Ketil by the hand. When he stood up, Ketil's feet slipped on the barrow. Then Bodmod recited this verse:

"You are proven, foster-son,
to enter battle
and fight ahead for gain.
But you will never achieve this.
Odin gives victory,
and often he fails the better warrior."

Ketil grew angry at the name of Odin, because he did not believe in him, and he recited this verse:

"I have never
sacrificed to Odin,
though I have lived long.
If I fall in the coming fight
I know that before I will
ensure my foe loses his head."

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:

"This eagle is evil,
I fear for the wound I took,
he went fiercely, and
his poison is in my blood.
Like a storm-blast, he screamed
that he was eager.
Often have I gladdened eagles,
I am furious for slaughter."

Then the eagle came on so fast, as if he was a weapon. Then Framar recited this verse:

"Wave your wings,
I will name you "weapon".
You hover, wide-flyer,
as if you know me to be fey.
You are false, battle-inciter,
I shall have the victory.
You must fix it that Trout
shall die now."

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:

"You drag now, Dragvendill,
against the eagle's feeder.
Harmful witchcraft has worked it
that you may not bite.
I did not expect this,
that my attack would
meet venom-hardened edges
as if Odin is deaf."

And then he added this verse:

"What is it, Dragvendill,
why have you become so slow?
Now you must strike,
but you are unwilling to bite.
You give way in this sword meeting.
Has this happened to you before?
The creak of metal worries me,
I think you will break."

Framar recited this verse:

"Now the man's beard shakes,
the old weapon swerves.
His sword defies him.
The maiden's father is afraid.
Whet your bone-twigs,
so they will bite
on a courageous man,
if you think that good."

Ketil said:

"It is necessary to whet swords,
I have seldom
fully-trusted men
who mock the attacker.
Bite now, Dragvendill
or break of old age!
Both of us are doomed,
if you break this time."

And then Framar said:

"The father of the maiden was afraid,
while Dragvendill was whole.
I know he thinks nothing certain:
his worthless sword will break."

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:

"I thought that Trout,
though Dragvendill was keen,
would achieve nothing
because of Odin's word.
Balder's father has broken faith;
it is unsafe to trust him.
My hands gain nothing!
Now I understand."

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.

© 2004-2007 Northvegr.
Most of the material on this site is in the public domain. However, many people have worked very hard to bring these texts to you so if you do use the work, we would appreciate it if you could give credit to both the Northvegr site and to the individuals who worked to bring you these texts. A small number of texts are copyrighted and cannot be used without the author's permission. Any text that is copyrighted will have a clear notation of such on the main index page for that text. Inquiries can be sent to Northvegr™ and the Northvegr symbol are trademarks and service marks of the Northvegr Foundation.

> Northvegr™ Foundation
>> About Northvegr Foundation
>> What's New
>> Contact Info
>> Link to Us
>> E-mail Updates
>> Links
>> Mailing Lists
>> Statement of Purpose
>> Socio-Political Stance
>> Donate

> The Vík - Online Store
>> More Norse Merchandise

> Advertise With Us

> Heithni
>> Books & Articles
>> Trúlög
>> Sögumál
>> Heithinn Date Calculator
>> Recommended Reading
>> The 30 Northern Virtues

> Recommended Heithinn Faith Organizations

>> Transcribe Texts
>> Translate Texts
>> HTML Coding
>> PDF Construction

> N. European Studies
>> Texts
>> Texts in PDF Format
>> NESP Reviews
>> Germanic Sources
>> Roman Scandinavia
>> Maps

> Language Resources
>> Zoëga Old Icelandic Dict.
>> Cleasby-Vigfusson Dictionary
>> Sweet's Old Icelandic Primer
>> Old Icelandic Grammar
>> Holy Language Lexicon
>> Old English Lexicon
>> Gothic Grammar Project
>> Old English Project
>> Language Resources

> Northern Family
>> Northern Fairy Tales
>> Norse-ery Rhymes
>> Children's Books/Links
>> Tafl
>> Northern Recipes
>> Kubb

> Other Sections
>> The Holy Fylfot
>> Tradition Roots

Search Now:

Host Your Domain on Dreamhost!

Please Visit Our Sponsors

Web site design and coding by Golden Boar Creations