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Our Fathers' Godsaga : Retold for the Young.
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The Saga of Bosi and Herraud

13: The Abduction of the Bride

The next strange thing to happen was that while they danced happily in the hall, a man went into the hall. He was well built and handsome. He was in a red scarlet tunic and had a silver belt around his waist, and a gold band on his forehead. He was unarmed, and started dancing like the others, until he came before the king. He raised his fist and punched the king on the nose, so hard, that three teeth flew out of his mouth, and blood flowed from his nose and mouth, and he fell in a swoon.

"Sigurd" saw this. He cast his harp up in the bed, and struck the stranger with his fists between the shoulders, so that he turned away. "Sigurd" went after him and Siggeirr and all the others, while others crowded around the king. Smidur took the bride by the hand and led her up in the bed, and locked her inside the harp. The men outside dragged her out through the window, along with Smidur, and rushed down to the ship and then went on board. The man who had struck the king was already there. Sigurd went out on the ship, when he got there, and Siggeirr after him with drawn sword. "Sigurd" turned then against him and pushed him overboard; his men dragged him on land half dead. "Sigurd" cut the moorings and the men hoisted the sail, and they both sailed and rowed and went out to sea as fast as they could. Hraerekr ran to the ship, and many other men with him, but when the ships were launched, the coal-black sea poured in, and they had to make for land. They had to change their plans, since all the men were worse than passed out from drunkenness.

The king then came to, but he was still weak. His men tried to nourish him, but he was quite exhausted. The feast had turned to grief and worry, but when the king had refreshed himself, they made their plans. They decided not to disband the company, and prepared as quickly as they could to follow the foster brothers.

While they were getting ready, we turn the story to the companions, who were sailing to where the way divides, and one way led to Bjarmaland. Bosi told Herraud to sail home to Gautaland, and said that he had business in Bjarmaland.

Herraud said that he did not want to part, - “and what is your business there anyway?”

Bosi said that would be shown later. Smidur offered to stay there five nights. Bosi said that would suffice very well, and they went to land in a boat, two together, and hid the boat in a secret place. They went to the cottage where the old man and woman lived. They had a good-looking daughter. They were given a good welcome, and given good wine to drink in the evening.

Baga-Bosi smiled cheerfully at the farmer's daughter, but she was quite reserved toward him. A little later they went to sleep. Bosi came to the bed of the peasant's daughter. She asked what he wanted. He asked her to put a ring on his stump. She asked what sort of ring that might be. He asked if she didn't have one. She said that she didn't have any that would fit him properly.

“I can make it wider, if it is too narrow,” he said.

“Where is your stump?” she said. “I can imagine what I can expect from my ring hole”

He asked her to touch between his legs. She pulled her hand back and said that his stump was unwelcome.

“What do you think it is like?” he said.

“My father's steel shaft, but the ring broken off.”

“Fault finding are you,” said Baga-Bosi; He took a gold ring off his hand and gave it to her. She asked what he wanted in return.

“ I want to plug up your hole,” he said.

“I don't know what you mean,” she said.

“Lie as widely as you can,” he said.

She did as he asked. He then went between her legs and went then down in her belly, so that everything went up under her rib cage.

She was startled, and said, “You are running the stopper right up to my eyes, man,” she said.

“I'll get it out afterward,” he said, “and how did you like it.”

“Just like a drink of fresh mead,” she said. "Keep the mop lively in the pail."

“He spared nothing, until she warmed up, so that she began to feel nauseous, and asked him to stop. They then took a rest, and she asked him, who he was. He said truthfully and asked her whether she was friendly with the king's daughter, Edda. She said that she often went to the bower of the king's daughter, and was well received there.

“I'll take you in confidence,” he said, “ and I will give you three marks of silver, if you bring the king's daughter to me in the wood. "

He took three walnuts from his purse. They were as if they were made of gold. He gave them to her and told her to tell the king's daughter that he knew a grove in the wood where such nuts were plentiful.

She said that the king's daughter would not be helpless with just one man, and said that a eunuch follows her everywhere, “who is called Skalk, and is so strong that he has the strength of twelve men, whenever there is a need.”

Bosi said that did not bother him, as long as there were no more.

Early in the morning she went to find the king's daughter and show her the gold nuts and to tell her she knew where more such could be found.

“Let's go there immediately,” said the king's daughter, “and we will take my slave with me.” And they did so.

The companions had already come to the wood, and turned toward them. Bosi greeted the maidens and asked why they were traveling so alone. She said that there was nothing to fear in that.

“This is now how it will be,” said Bosi, “Do now what you wish, either to come with me willingly, or I will marry you right now, here in the wood.”

The slave asked now, who the rough fellow was who was so bold, as to swallow such promises. Herraud told him to shut up, and not act like a fool. The slave struck at Herraud with a large cudgel, but Herraud broke it with his shield. The blow was so heavy, that it broke everything. Herraud ran at the slave, but he resisted heartily. There was a hard conflict between them and the slave would not retreat at all. Bosi came then and took the slave's feet out from under him, and then put a noose around the slave's neck, and hanged him there on the oak tree.

Then Bosi took the king's daughter in his arms and carried her to the ship, and set off from land, and traveled, until they found Smidur. The king's daughter was a little carried away, but after Smidur had some words with her, she took everything calmed down, and they sailed home to Gautland.

14: Of the Battle

That so happened now, while the brothers had gathered their forces and had more forces. Because of a heavy box on the ear from Herraud, King Godmund had become unfit to make this journey, and so the brothers had the whole responsibility. They had forty ships from Glaesir Plain, and added many along the way. They came to Bjarmaland and found King Harek, their father, just after Bosi and Herraud had left. King Harek was now fully aware that they had taken away his daughter. He had gathered his own forces and had fifteen large ships. He struck out with the brothers, and they had in all sixteen ships and they sailed now to Gautland.

Now to speak of Herraud and Bosi, that they gathered forces when they came home, and wanted to be prepared, if anyone was following them, and to hold the wedding if there was good leisure time for this. Thvari had had spears, axes and arrows made while they were away, and a large army now came together.

They heard now that King Harek and his sons had come to the land, and there was a lot of commotion. Herraud now had his ships go out against them; he had a large force of freemen, although much less than Harek. Smidur Thvarason set his ship against the king's and Bosi against Hraerek, Herraud against Siggeir. There is no need to ask about the matter. A fierce battle broke out and both of them were the most vehement.

The battle had not been under way for long, when Siggeirr boarded Herraud's ship and killed one of his men. Herraud's forecastle man was named Snidill. He shot a spear at Siggeirr. He grabbed the spear in the air, and shot it back to the person who had sent it. The spear flew right through Siggeirr, right to the ships prow, so that it pinned him against it. Herraud then turned toward Siggeirr and went after him with a halbard, so that it went through the shield, but Siggeir turned the shield so hard that Herraud lost hold of it. He hit Herraud, on his helmet and took off a fourth part of it, and following that his right ear. But Herraud grabbed a large club from the deck and hit him on the nose so that the visor went into his face, and broke his nose and all of his teeth were knocked out. He fell backwards, into his ship and fell into unconsciousness and lay there for a long time.

Smidur fought bravely. King Harek came up to his ship with twelve men, and caused much damage. Smidur turned now toward him and struck at him with a short edged sword, which the old woman Busla had given him, since Harek could not be hurt, except with a weapon that had been charmed by a witch. The blow caught him in the face across the teeth, and knocked them all out. His palate was broken and both lips cut, and a lot of blood poured out of his mouth. But this blow upset him so that he became a flying dragon and spewed poison all over the ship, killing a lot of men. He dived down at Smidur and swallowed him.

They saw now where a bird flew over the land, which was called skergripr. It had a head so huge and fearsome, that it was like a devil, and attacked the dragon, and there was a terrible battle. And so ended their combat, that they both fell down, and skergripr fell down into the sea, but the dragon came down into Siggeirr's ship. Herraud was already there and hurled the club with both hands. He struck at Siggeirr, and the blow came on his ear, his entire skull was broken and he was cast overboard and never came up again.

King Harek then came to and was transformed into a boar. He gripped Herraud with his teeth, and tore off all his coat of mail, fastened its teeth in his breast, and ripped both nipples down to the bone. Herraud struck the boar's snout, and cut it off in below the eyes. Herraud was then so exhausted, that he fell on his back, but the boar trod him underfoot, although it was unable to bite because it's snout had been torn off.

Then a great glutton-dog with huge teeth came onto the ship. It tore a hole in the boar's groin, and tore out its guts, and jumped overboard. Harek was then in human form, and dived overboard after it, and they sank to the bottom, and neither came up again. People thought that this must have been the witch Busla, since she was never seen again after that.

15: The Foster-brothers Achieve Victory

Baga-Bosi now came up to Hraerek's ship and fought quite valiantly. He saw, how his father was floating quite exhausted. He jumped overboard and helped him and brought him up to his ship.

Hraerek had come aboard and had killed many men. Bosi then came up on the ship and was quite exhausted, but he lunged at Hraerek and clove his shield all through, and cut off his foot at the ankle joint. The sword came to the windlass and cut it asunder in the middle. Hraerek struck against him. Bosi turned around. The sword struck his helmet and down on the shoulders, so that he was wounded in the shoulder blades, and so it went down his whole back. All of his clothes were ripped off of him, so that he was naked, and the heel bone cut off his left foot. Bosi thrust up a piece of a yard arm, but Hraerek tried to jump overboard. Bosi struck him asunder with the yard arm, so that both parts fell. By now, most of their forces had fallen, but those who survived were spared.

They then took a tally of their forces, and not more than a hundred men were still able bodied, but the brothers had a great victory to boast. They divided the booty among their men, and tended to those who could be healed.

16: Bosi and Herraud Settle in Their Kingdoms

Afterward Bosi and Herraud arranged their weddings, and there was no shortage of supplies, both ample and good. The feast lasted a month, and men were sent away afterward with worthy gifts. Herraud took the name of king over all of the kingdom, which his father had ruled.

A little later they gathered their forces and went to Bjarmaland. Bosi demanded acceptance there, and it so happened that Edda had inherited her father's land. She was now made his wife. He said that it would be the best way to compensate the landsmen for the loss of men which he had brought them, and for him to be king over them and strengthen them with laws and justice. And since they were without a leader, they realized that there was no better choice than to make him their king. Edda was known to them before, as well as all of her good qualities. So Bosi was made king over Bjarmaland.

He had a son with his lover, who had hardened his earl for him. His son was names Svid the Valiant; he was the father of Vilmund the Far-out.

Bosi traveled eastward to Glaesir Plain, and reconciled King Godmund and Herraud. Herraud and Hleidi loved each other very much. Their daughter was Thora Borgarhjart, who gave birth to Ragnar Lodbrok.

It has been said, that inside the vulture's egg, which they brought from Bjarmaland, was found a little snake, golden in color, and King Herraud gave it to his daughter as a teething gift. She put a piece of gold under the snake, and it grew so big, that it encircled her bower, and was so savage that no one dared come near her except the king, and those who brought it food, The snake needed an old ox for each meal, and everyone thought it was the greatest monstrosity. Herraud vowed solemnly that he would only marry Thora, his daughter, to the man who dared to go into her bower and destroy the snake. But no one dared to do that until Ragnar, son of Sigurd Hring. So Ragnar was afterward called Lodbrokar, or “hairy britches” and he took the name from his clothes, which he had made, when he conquered the snake.

And now we end the saga of Baga-Bosa.


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