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The Saga of Bosi and Herraud

9: About the Battle of Brow Plain

Soon after, when they got a breeze, they set sailed for Bjarmaland, and there is nothing to be heard of their journey, until they came home to Gautaland. They had been away for two winters. They then went before the king, and Bosi brought him the egg. The shell had broken, but it was still worth ten marks of gold, and the king used the shell for a table cup. Bosi gave the king the goblet, which he had taken from Jomala, and they were now reconciled.

In that time, Dagfari and Nattfari came into the service of the king, the brothers of the queen. They were sent by King Harald Wartooth to ask for assistance since there was a time set for the battle at Brow Plain, the greatest there ever was in the North Lands, as it told in the Saga of Sigurd Hring, father of Ragnar Lodbrokar. King Hring asked Herraud to go in his place, and said that he would care for his bride in the meantime, and that everything was reconciled about that which had come between them in the past. Herraud did as his father asked, and he and Bosi traveled with the brothers with five hundred men and went to meet King Harald. King Harald fell in this battle, and with him one hundred and fifteen other kings, as is told in his saga, and also many other heroes, even greater than the kings. Dagfari and Nattfari both fell, and Herraud and Bosi were both wounded, but both survived the battle. However, there were changes in Gautland, as will be told later, while they were away.

10: The Fall of King Hring

Now since it is not possible to say more than one story at the same time, it must now be explained what happened previously in the saga, and to deal first about when Hleidi, sister of King Godmund, disappeared from Glaesir Plain. As soon as the king realized that she was gone, he had a search for her both on sea and land, but he could not get any news of her. The brothers were then with the king, Hraerek and Siggeirr. The king asked Siggeirr to take charge of the search for Hleidi, and as a reward, he would win her as his wife. Siggeirr said that he would do this, but that it would not be easy to find her, if the temple priestess in Bjarmaland did not know anything about her. They prepared to leave the land, with five ships and set sail for Bjarmaland. They found King Harek and told him of their mission. He told them to go to the temple, but said that it would not be easy to seize her, if Jomala or the priestess knew nothing of her. They went now to the temple, but found only a heap of ashes, and saw no remnants of anything that should have been there.

They now went around the forest, until they came to Hoketil's house, and asked if they knew anything about who had destroyed the temple. The man said that he did not know, although he said that two men from Gautland had been at anchor off Vinuskog for a long time, and one was called Herraud and the other Baga-Bosi. He said that it seemed to him most likely that they had done such an ambitious thing. But the peasant's daughter said that she had met them on the road, when they went to the ship, and that they had Hleidi with them, the sister of King Godmund from Glaesir Plain, and told the girl that if anyone was looking for her, they should come to them.

When they were certain of this, they told the king, and collected an army from all over Bjarmaland, and got twenty-three ships. They sailed then to Gautland, and arrived at the time that the foster brothers were at the battle of Brow Plain. King Hring was at home with only a small number of men, and they told him either to fight or give up the maid. The king chose rather to fight, but soon there was a turn of events. King Hring fell, along with the greater part of his forces. They then took the maid, and fled with all the money and sailed away afterward, and did not stop until they came back to Glaesir Plain. King Godmund welcomed his sister, and thanked them profusely for the journey, which she thought was the most renowned. Siggeirr asked Hleidi for her hand, but she was reluctant, and said that it would be more proper for her to give benefit to the man who had saved her from the hands of the trolls.

The king said that Siggeirr had won her well, and said that he was the one to settle her betrothal - "and no foreign chieftains will succeed in owning you, if you will not trust my advice,” and so it was as the king willed.

And we had better let them get on with their preparations to marry, since they are looking forward to them, but it might still be that something will happen to spoil the comfort of the guests.

11: Bosi Gets News from Glaesir Plain

Now it must be told, that Herraud and Bosi came home to Gautland half a month after Siggeirr and his men had sailed away. They missed their friends in the town, but they took stock of the situation and Bosi sought out his father for advice. He said that they were too late to gather a great troop, and so he said that they should instead rescue the king's daughter with carefully laid plans and a swift attack. He advised them to set up a ship with thirty men. Smidur should now travel with them and have complete charge of the expedition. The man gave them much advice, and also Busla. They then sailed, when they were prepared. Smidur always had a favorable wind, when he steered, and so their journey went much faster than anyone would have thought, and they came quickly east to Glaesir Plain, and cast anchor off an isolated wood. Smidur threw a helmet over their ship that would make it invisible.

Herraud and Bosi went on land. They came to a small, humble cottage. An old man and woman lived there. They had a beautiful, well-informed daughter. The peasant offered to have them stay the night; they accepted that. It was a good homestead.

They were given good accommodations, and the table was set up and they were given ale to drink. The peasant was reserved and not inquisitive. His daughter was most affable, and served the guests. Bosi was of good humor, and flirted a bit, which she did in return.

At evening-time they shown to their beds, and when the light was turned off, Baga-Bosi came to where the peasant girl lay, and lifted the bedclothes from her. She asked who was there, and Baga-Bosi told her.

“What do you want?” she said.

“I want to water my foal at your wine-well,” he said.

“Do you think it will be possible, my man?” she said; “it is not used to the sort of springhouse that I have.”

“I'll lead it there,” he said, “and push it deep, if it does not want to drink otherwise.”

“Where is your foal, sweetheart?” she said.

“Between my legs, my love,” he replied, “and you may touch him, but quietly, since he is very shy.”

She took hold of his staff and stroked it and said, “It is a nimble foal, although rather straight at the neck.”

“His head is not very well placed,” he said, “ but his neck curves better, when he has had something to drink.”

“See to it all, now,” she said.

“Lie as it pleases you,” he said, “and keep calm.”

He now watered the foal rather generously, so that it dove in completely. The peasant girl was very startled at that, so that she could hardly speak.. “Aren't you going to drown the foal?” she said.

“He shall have as much as he can take,” he said, “since he is often unruly when he is not able to drink when he wants to.”

He continued as long as he wanted, and then rested. The peasant girl wondered where the wetness had come from, which she had in her cleft, since the whole bed was in a lather under her.

She said, “Could it be that your foal has drunk more than is good for him, and has vomited up more than he has drunk?”

“Something is wrong with him,” he said, "since he is soft as a lung.”

“He must be ale-sick,” she said, "like other drunkards.”

“That is certain,” he said. They enjoyed themselves now as they wished, and the peasant girl was sometimes on top, and sometimes underneath, and she said that she had never ridden such an easy-going foal as this one.

After a lot of enjoyable play, she asked who he was. He answered truthfully, and asked in return, what the news was in the land. She said that the latest news was that the brothers, Hraerek and Siggeirr had gotten Hleidi, the king's sister, and killed King Hring in Gautland – “and therefore they are so notorious for this, that no one seems their equal in Austrveg. The king has given his sister to Siggeirr, even though it is against her will, and the wedding is to be within three nights. They are so wary, that they have lookouts on every street, and in every harbor. It is impossible to take them by surprise, and it never seems to them unexpected, that Herraud and Bosi will come to fetch the maid. The king has had a hall built that is so big, that it has a hundred doors, and the same distance between all of them; a hundred men can easily sit between each door; two guardsmen are at each door, and no one can go in who is not known by one of the doorkeepers. Those who are not recognized are taken into custody until it is determined who they are. There is a bed in the middle of the hall floor, and five steps going up to it. There the bride and bridegroom will lie, and all the retainers will keep watch around them, so that nothing will surprise them."

Bosi said, “Who does the king value the most?”

“He is called Sigurd,” he said. “He is an advisor to the king, and so great a master at music, that no one is his equal, although searched far and wide. He is especially skilled at playing the harp. He has gone to his mistress; she is a farmer's daughter here by the wood, and he has her sew his clothes and he tunes his instruments."

Then their conversation ended, and they slept the night.

12: About the Wedding Feast

Early in the morning Bosi came to Herraud and said to him that what he had heard during the night, and then they prepared to leave. Bosi gave the peasant's daughter a gold ring, and they followed her instructions until they saw the farm, where Sigurd was. They saw now where he was going, with a servant, and was heading home to the hall. They went then onto the road in front of Sigurd. Bosi ran his spear through him, and Herraud strangled the servant to death. Then Bosi flayed the skin off them both, and went to the ship, and told Smidur what they had achieved. They made their plans. Smidur put Bosi in the death mask of Sigurd, and put himself in the other, and dressed as the servant, and Bosi in the clothes that Sigurd had.

They told Herraud everything that he should do, and they went home to the town, and came to the hall door, where King Godmund was waiting. He thought that he recognized "Sigurd", and greeted him well, and led him in. He then took charge of the treasure house of the king and the supplies of ale, and the cellars, and decided to whom the ale should go first and told the cup-bearers how generously they should pour drinks. He told them that it was most important that people should get as drunk as possible in the first evening, since in that was they would stay drunk the longest. Next, the chieftains were shown to their seats and the bride was led in and seated on her bench and with her many good mannered maids.

King Godmund sat in the high seat and the bridegroom next to him. Hraerek served the bridegroom. It is not recorded how the chieftains were divided, but it is known that "Sigurd" played the harp for the bridal party. When the toasts were brought in, "Sigurd" played so, that people said that his equal was not to be had. But he said that this just marked the beginning. The king bade him not to spare his effort. And when the memorial cup, dedicated to Thor, was brought in, "Sigurd" changed the tune. Everything that was loose began to move, knives and table dishes and everything that was not held onto, and the mass of people rose up from their seats and waved to and fro on the floor. This went on for a long time. Next came the toast, which was dedicated to all the gods. "Sigurd" once again changed the tune, and played so loud that there was an echo in the hall. Everyone who was inside stood up, except the bridegroom and bride and the king, and everyone was moving around inside the hall. This went on for a long time.

The king then asked if he knew any more tunes, but he said that there were a few small ones and suggested that everyone take a rest first. Then people settled down to drink. He played the “Ogress tune” and “Dreamshop” and “Plundering-song.” Next there was a toast to Odinn. Then "Sigurd" opened the harp. It was so big that a man could stand upright in its belly, and it was all set with gold. He then took up a white glove, embroidered in gold. He then struck the tune, which is called “Coif-Tosser,” and then all the coifs were raised off the women, and danced around up above on the crossbeams. The women and all the men jumped up, and nothing at all remained in its place.

When that toast was finished, the toast was brought in which was dedicated to Freyja, and that was the last to be drunk. "Sigurd" then took that string, which lies crosswise on the other strings, and bade the king prepare for the tune called “Powerful Blow.” But the king was so startled that he jumped up and so did the bridegroom and bride, and no one danced more heartily than they did. This went on for a long time. Smidur then took hold of the bride and danced all the more vigorously. He took the service from the table and threw it up in the bed sheets, when he had the opportunity.

It is said of Herraud, that he had his men damage all the ships, which were along the seacoast, so that they were not seaworthy. He had some go home to the town, and they carried the gold and treasure, which Smidur had laid at ready, down to the sea. It was now getting very dark. Some were up on the roof of the hall and were watching, what was going on inside, and dragged out of the window what was cast into the sheets. Some carried it down to the ships and turned the prow from land.

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