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The Story of Thorsteinn House-Power


Next the king went to the table. Earl Agdi and the others said that there must have been some trick, "because I am always hot when I am around them."

"Let it be," said the king, "someone will come, so that we will be wiser."

They then started to drink. Two horns were carried into the hall. Earl Agdi owned them, very precious, and they were called Hvitingur. They were two yards long, and inlaid with gold.

The king put his horn on each side of the bench, "and each man shall drink it all at once. Anyone who can’t do it, must give the cupbearer an ounce of silver."

No one was able to drink out of the cup, but Thorsteinn saw to it that those, who were with Godmund, were not penalized. The men now drank merrily for the rest of the day, and in the evening, they went to sleep.

Godmund thanked Thorsteinn for his good company. Thorsteinn asked when the feast would be over.

"My men must ride in the morning," said Godmund. "I know the king will want to have everything. The treasures were now shown. The king now has his great drinking horn brought in. It is called Grim the good. That is a great treasure, and full of magic, and inlaid with gold. There is a man’s head on the point, with flesh and a mouth, and it talks to men and tells them of things to come, and if any difficulty will happen. It will be the death of us if the king knows, that there is a Christian man with us. We must not be stingy with him."

Thorsteinn said that Grim would not to say more than King Olaf would want, "but I intend that Geirrod should be doomed to die. It seems advisable that you follow my advice from here on. I will show myself in the morning."

They said that would be a risk. Thorsteinn said that Geirrod wanted them to die, "And what more do you have to say to me about Grim the good."

"It is said about him that an average man can stand in the curve, and it is a yard broad in the opening, and the greatest drinking man of their group can drink in the opening, but the king drinks all at once. Each man has to give Grim some sort of treasure, and but the honor that seems most accomplished to him is to drink the horn in one draught. I know, that I am supposed to be the first to drink, but there is no man alive who can drink it in one draught"

Thorsteinn said: "You should put on my shirt, because then nothing can harm you, even if there is poison in the drink. Take the crown from your head and give it to Grim the Good, and whisper in his ear that you will do him much more honor than Geirrod, and then you must pretend to drink. If there is poison in the horn, then pour it down next to you, so that it does not do you any harm. But when the drinking is over, you should have you men ride away.

Godmund said that he should have his way: "If Geirrod dies, then I own all of Jotunheim, but if he lives longer, then that will be our death."

Then they slept the whole night.


They got up early in the morning and got dressed. Then king Geirrod came to them and bade them drink to his health. They first drank from the Hviting horns, and then from the loving cups, and then toasts were drunk to Thor and Odin. Then many percussion instruments were brought in, and two men, a bit smaller than Thorsteinn, who brought in Grim the Good. Everyone stood up and fell on their knees before him. Grim was not in a good mood.

Geirrod said to Godmund: "Take Grim the good and that is your pledge toast."

Godmund went to Grim and took off his gold crown and set it on him and whispered in his ears, as Thorsteinn had told him to. Then he let the poison run from the horn into his shirt. He drank to King Geirrod and kissed it on the point, and Grim was taken from him laughing.

Geirrod took the full horn and bade Grim good health, and bade him make known to him if some danger was near. "I have often seen you in a better mood."

He took a gold necklace from himself and gave it to Grim, and then drank to Earl Agdi, and it seemed most like a wave crashed on a skerry, when the drink ran down his throat, and he drank it all. Grim shook his head, and then he was taken to Earl Agdi, and gave him two gold rings, and asked him for mercy, and drank then in three draughts, and gave it to the cup bearer.

Grim said: "He grows faint hearted who grows older."

Then the horn was filled and the two, Jokull and Fullsterk, were to drink. Fullsterk drank first. Jokull took it and looked into the horn and said that it was drunk like a small man and struck Fullsterk with the horn. But he landed a fist blow on Jokull’s nose, so that the thief’s chin was broken, and his teeth were scattered. There was a great commotion. Geirrod told his men not to let it be heard that they parted on such bad terms. They were then reconciled, and Grim the Good was taken away.


A little later a man came into the hall. Everyone was amazed at how small he was. That was Thorsteinn House-child. He turned to Godmund and said that the horse was ready to ride. Geirrod asked what child this was.

Godmund said: "That is my little servant-boy who king Odin sent me, and he is a king’s treasure and he knows a few small tricks, and if you have any need of him, I’ll give him to you."

"That is a imposing boy," said the king, "but I would like to see his agility," and bade Thorsteinn perform some sort of trick.

Thorsteinn took his stone and the point and pricked it there, where it was white. A hailstorm came, so big, that no one dared to look at it, and there was so much snow in the hall that it was up to the ankles. The king laughed at this. Then Thorsteinn pricked the stone where it was yellow. Then came sunshine so hot that the snow thawed all in a short time. Then sweet perfume wafted in, and Geirrod said that he was a clever man. But Thorsteinn said that he had still one trick, which was called "whip play". The king said that he wanted to see it. Thorsteinn stod in the middle of the hall floor and pricked the stone where it was red. Sparks leaped from it. Then he ran all around the hall before each seat. The shower of sparks grew, so that each man had to shield his eyes. But King Geirrod laughed. Then the fires grew so that everyone thought that it was enough. Thorsteinn had previously told Godmund that he should go out and ride away on horseback.

Thorsteinn leaped before Geirrod and said: "Do you want this game to increase?"

"Let me see, servant," he said.

Thorsteinn pricked harder than ever. The sparks flew into King Geirrod’s eyes. Thorsteinn ran to the door and tossed the stone and the point, and each went into King Georrod’s eye, and he fell dead on the floor. Thorsteinin went out. Godmund then came on horseback.

Thorsteinn bade them ride, "for this is no shelter for weaklings."

They rode to the river. The stone and the point had come back. Thorsteinn said that Geirrod was dead. They then rode over the river, and back to the place where they had met.

Then Thorsteinn said, "Here we must part, and my men will think that it is high time that I come to them."

"Come home with me," said Godmund, and I will give you good backing.

"I will visit that later," said Thorsteinn, but you should go back to Geirrod’s realm with a lot of men. You are now ruler of the land."

"As you say," said Godmund, and you must convey my greetings to King Olaf."

Then he took a golden goblet and silver dish and twenty gold embroidered handkerchiefs, and sent them to the king, and bade Thorsteinn visit him, and they parted with friendship.


And now Thorsteinn saw where Earl Agdi went in a huge giant’s fury. Thorsteinn followed him. He then saw a large farmstead where Agdi lived. There was a barred gate before the orchard, and a young woman was standing there. She was Agdi’s daughter, and was named Godrun. She was tall and good looking. She greeted her father and asked the news.

"There is enough," he said. "King Geirrod is dead, and Godmund of Glaesir Plain has tricked us all and has hidden a Christian man there, who is called Thorsteinn House-power. He has poured fire in our eyes. I am planning to kill all his men now."

He then cast down the horn, Hviting, and ran to the woods, as if he was crazy.

Thorsteinn went to Godrun. She greeted him and asked his name. He said that he was called Thorsteinn House-child, a retainer of King Olaf.

"The biggest must be very large, if you are the child," she said.

"Will you come with me," said Thorsteinn, "and take our faith?"

"There is not much pleasure for me here," she said, "since my mother is dead. She was the daughter of Earl Ottar from Holmgard, and quite unlike my father in temperament, for my father is quite like a troll, and I see now that he is doomed. If you will bring me back here, then I will go with you."

Then she took her things, and Thorstein took the horn Hviting. Then they went to the wood and saw where Agdi went. He bellowed a lot, and held his eyes. Two things then happened at the same time. When he saw Thorsteinn’s ship, there was so much pain in his eyes, that he saw nothing. Sunset had come by the time they came to the ships. Thorsteinn’s men were ready to leave, but when they saw Thorsteinn, they were joyful. Thorsteinn then boarded the ship, and sailed away. There is nothing to be said about his journey, until he arrived home in Norway.


That winter King Olaf sat in Thrandheim. Thorsteinn found the king at Christmastime and brought him the treasure that Godmund sent him, and the horn Hviting and many other treasures. He told the king of his journeys and introduced Godrun to him. The king thanked him and praised all his valor and thought much of him. Then he had Godrun baptized and instructed in the Christian faith. Thorsteinn played the "whip game" at Christmas and many thought this was great entertainment. The Hvitings were used in toasts, and there were two men to each horn. But no one could drink from the loving cup that Godmund had sent to the king, other than Thorsteinn House-child. The handkerchief would not burn, even though it was thrown in the fire, and was cleaner afterward than previously.

Thorsteinn spoke to the king, that he would like to marry Godrun, and the king granted this, and there was a splendid feast. And the first night, when they got into one bed, the curtain crashed down, and the paneling over Thorsteinn’s head burst, and Earl Agdi appeared there, intent on killing him. But there was such a blast of hot air against him, that he did not dare to go in. He then turned away. Then the king came and hit him with a gold-ornamented staff in the head, so that he was hammered right into the ground. The king continued this all night, and in the morning the Hviting horns had vanished. The feast continued very well. Thorsteinn stayed with the king for the winter, and he and Godrun loved each other very much.

In the spring, Thorsteinn asked permission to sail toward the east, to find King Godmund. But the king said that he could not do this, unless he promised to return. Thorsteinn made this promise. The king bade him to keep his faith well, - "and trust yourself more than the Easterners there."

They parted in friendship, and everyone wished him well,, since Thorsteinn had become very well liked. He sailed toward the east, and there is no news other than that his voyage went well. He came to Glaesisvoll, and Godmund received him well.

Thorsteinn said: "what news do you have of Geirrodgard?"

"I went there," said Godmund, "and they gave the land over to my rule, and my son Heidrik Wolf-skin is ruling there."

"Where is Earl Agdi?" said Thorsteinn.

"He had a burial mound built for him, after you left," said Godmund, "and went there with much wealth. Jokull and Frosti were drowned in the Hemra River, when they returned from the feast, and I now have power over the Grundir district."

"A lot depends now," said Thorsteinn, "on how much you will divide with me, since it seems to me that Godrun owns all the inheritance from her father, Earl Agdi."

"If you will be my man," said Godmund.

"Then you won’t find fault with my faith," said Thorsteinn.

"That I will do," said Godmund. Then they went to Grundir, and Thorsteinn took the district under his rule.


Thorsteinn rebuilt the house at Gnipalundi, as Earl Agdi had returned and destroyed the house. Thorsteinn became a great chieftain. Godrun gave birth to a big boy a little later, and he was called Brynjolf. There was no protection from Earl Agdi playing tricks on Thorsteinn. One night Thorsteinn got out of his bed and saw where Agdi was going. He did not dare to go in the gate, because there was a cross before each door. Thorsteinn went to the burial mound. It was open, and he went in and took away the Hviting horns. Then Earl Agdi came to the mound, but Thorsteinn ran up beside him and put a cross in the door, and the mound closed up behind him, and there has been no word of Agdi since then.

The following summer Thorsteinn traveled to Norway, and brought the Hviting horns to King Olaf. Then he got permission to sail to his own possessions. The king bade him keep his faith well. We have no news of Thorsteinn since then. And when King Olaf disappeared from the Long Serpent, the Hviting horns vanished.

Here we end the story of Thorsteinn House-power.

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