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The Saga of Half and His Heroes

15. Utstein Killed the Sons of Ulf

Utstein was staying with King Eystein. Ulf the Red was Eystein's advisor. He had eight sons, and they were great fighters and very malicious. They took a dislike to Utstein, and they fell out while drinking. This was before Utstein had told of King Half's death. He said then:

“What makes me smile
most especially,
is that Asmund's not yet
out the fire.
Three warriors fell
in the fighting there
from wounds, it's true,
but one lives.”

When Ulf declared himself a match for Utstein and egged him on, Utstein said:

“Up we'll get
and out we'll go then,
shield on shield,
it shan't take long.
Something tells me
to trust to luck,
helmed here in Denmark
our disir11 stand near.”

Ulf said:

“All your disir
are dead I think,
your luck's run dry,
doughty Heroes.
I dreamt this dawn
our daring boys,
triumphed, topped you,
try as you might.”

Utstein said:

“You seem to me
sadly mistaken,
get ready Ulf
for a rude awakening.
Soon a sword
will swipe them off,
from reddened necks,
your heads rolling.”

Ulf said:

“Oh, they'll succeed,
the sons of Ulf:
Odd and Ornolf,
Ati the Black,
Bork and Brynjolf,
Bui, Hardskafi,
Red Raud the Strong--
unless you run...”

Utstein said:

“Neither Stein nor Stari
would stop for fear
to try their arm
against Ulf's sons,
(for our brother
balked not at battle),
to prick the pride of your shitmen,
knock them off their perch.

Not to the Rooks,
nor to Halfdan,
did that days's
deeds seem a challenge,
when the four of us
felled eight cowards
out there
off Annir's Point.

Though Ulf's sons step
outside to fight,
eight warriors now
all against one,
Stein won't flee,
though somewhat fewer
the men with me
in my company.

Half, my king,
he came in a dream,
encouraged me to combat,
kind words speaking.
He'd always be with us,
that's what he told me,
watching over
wherever we went to war.”

Then Ulf's sons went outside with Utstein and they fought. He killed all of Ulf's sons and afterwards went in to the king and said:

“I'm here to give
grave news to Ulf--
his haughty sons
lie hacked to bits.
More men may, Eystein,
if you wish now,
come test their courage,
in combat with me.”

Eystein said:

“I will permit
no more such attempts--
the Heroes of Half
are harder than any.
I know of none
more noble in war,
bolder than you, sir,
slayer of eight.”

Utstein said:

“I'd take on all
of Eystein's band,
with my sword slash them
same way as these,
if I saw a need
such work to do,
should enmity fall
first among us.

No one's too keen
to cross me now,
for long ago
my life was shaped.
Hard is the heart
I have in my breast.
As a child I found
favour with Odin.”


11. Guardian goddesses.

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