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Our Fathers' Godsaga : Retold for the Young.
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The Saga of Halfdan Eysteinsson

19. Halfdan Comes to the Castle

In the morning, Halfdan saw the castle, to which he had been directed. That morning Earl Skuli had gone to a battle against King Harek and the brothers, and was far away from the castle. He had a much smaller army. The castle was empty of any men who were able to fight, but women stood at the ramparts, when Halfdan came there. He saw a maiden there, who was quite pleasing to him. She went over to the gate and greeted Halfdan by name. He received her greeting well.

She said to him: "It must seem high time for you to see the glove and gold, which you lost in Adeigjuborg."

"Did you cause that?" said Halfdan.

"You can do a lot about that," she said. "My foster father is now at the battle, and he has need of troops and good companions, and I must see to it, that he achieves victory."

"I don't have any goods to repay your foster father," said Halfdan, "but if you will pledge me your loyalty, then I can go to the battle with him."

She then threw the glove out to him, and bade him have that as a pledge, -- "but the gold will stay with me, until we triumph next. The castle will never be won by men, even though it will never be defended except by women."

20. Skuli and Halfdan are Victorious

  Halfdan went now to the battle, and many men fell there. Svidi bore the standard of Earl Skuli, and proceeded so bravely, that he killed the standard bearer of King Harek, who was named Krabbi. Halfdan did not stop there. He rode first toward those commanded by Floki, King of the Finns. The king shot three arrows from his bow at the same time, and each stuck a man. Halfdan rode toward him, and struck at the bow with his sword, so that it broke, and cut off Floki's hand, so that it flew up into the air. The king raised the stump up toward it, and the hand came down to it and was then healed. Fidr, king of the Finns, saw that, and turned himself into a walrus, and ran up on top of those who were fighting against him. There were fifteen men under him, and all were killed. The dog Selsnautr ran toward him, and tore him apart with his teeth, but the walrus struck his jaw to pieces. The dog Karlsnautr ran into the jaw, and all the way down into the belly and tore him inside, and cut out his heart. Then he ran out, and fell down dead. Halfdan now brandished his sword, and struck at Floki again, but he blew against him, so that the sword flew out of Halfdan's hand, and came down far away. Floki struck at Halfdan, but hit the stone necklace and broke the sword, and Halfdan was wounded on the neck, there where the stone was broken. He would have lost his head, if the stone necklace had not protected him. Halfdan grasped at Floki and thrust him into a great fall. Then Ulfkell the Heroic came, and Halfdan had much to contend with. The dog came and tore off all of Floki's face, but Floki clasped his arms around the back of the dog, and broke all of its bones, and they both lay there dead. Halfdan saw that there was nothing else to do but to go after Ulfkell. He grabbed his sword from him, and struck with the flat of it on his nose, and told him to defend himself, and then Halfdan was able to get the sword. Then they went after each other and fought, and it ended up that Ulfkell the Heroic was killed. Earl Skuli then killed Ulf the Evil.

Then Harek, the King of Bjarmaland came toward Skuli and attacked him, and they had a hard clash of weapons. Harek struck at Skuli and took away all of his shield, and he got a wound to his fingers, although not severe. Skuli struck back and cut off one of the king's ears, and flesh of his cheeks, so that the skin was taken away to the shoulders. Then Harek turned into a flying dragon, and struck Skuli with its tail, so that he was knocked out. Then a warrior advanced, who was named Grubs, and cut off the dragon's foot, but the dragon hooked Grubs with his other claws, and tore open his groin. Then Halfdan recovered and struck the dragon on the neck, and that was the end of him.

The ranks broke in flight, and the vikings retreated to the ships and three escaped. The ship that Ingigerd, the daughter of Kol, was on, ran onto a skerry, and every living soul that was on it was drowned. Halfdan now turned to where the battle had been, and there was much booty to share. They did not find Earl Skuli, and so went home to the castle. The wounds of the men were bound, and the booty was carried home. Ingigerd received them well.

And when three nights had past, she ordered an assembly, and all those who were in the castle came there. Ingigerd also came to the assembly. She sat down at Halfdan's knee, and gave herself and all her possessions to his power, and gave him the gold, as was described before.

"We will be satisfied now, Ingigerd," said Halfdan, "if you will say to me, what you told your mother, before my father was killed."

"I asked, that she should open the chamber that night, and I will now make amends for all that, however it seems fit to you, and for everything else, although here, according to higher laws, each side has a point."

21. Halfdan Married Ingigerd

Next they saw a man coming, and recognized Earl Skuli there. He was well dressed for battle. He went before Halfdan, took off his helmet, and said: "Now it has come to pass, Halfdan, that I will offer you reconciliation and the right to judgment in all of those matters in which I have wronged you. Herewith, I will offer you blood-brotherhood, and therewith give you Ingigerd, my foster daughter, but if you do not wish to make that choice, then I must not risk many meetings with you, and things will happen as they will."

"It's not enough," said Halfdan, "to run away and then look back later. I would not have had much to say, when we fought Ulfkell the Heroic, if you had not shown me bravery"

"You have avenged him by now," said Skuli.

Then Ingigerd determined that they should be reconciled, and that was easily done, and most men thought that they both acted honorably, and people were pleased with their reconciliation. The booty was then divided, and there was so much treasure, that now many were rich who had been poor before. Halfdan prepared for his wedding, and while that was being done, he fetched the treasure, which the robbers had. It was so much booty, that fifteen great ships were laden with all sorts of jewels. He also sought the old man, Hrifling, and all of his household, and made him quite rich.

Halfdan then celebrated his wedding, and invited all of the chieftains. Earl Skuli was in charge, and the feast proceeded handsomely. All of the men were paid out with suitable gifts, and Halfdan was quite hospitable, so that everyone wanted to serve him.

22. Of the Military Expedition

Next Halfdan had an assembly with his landsmen, and revealed that they would march to Bjarmaland within a month. People were happy about that, and they all prepared in haste, and arrived in Bjarmaland, and Earl Skuli was there on the journey. There was not a great deal of resistance there. They took control of all of the land. Halfdan took Edny, the daughter of King Harek, under his power. The son of King Harek was called Grundi. He was three years old. He was fostered by Earl Bjartmar, the son of King Raknar, who had made the ship Raknarsslodan. He became a retainer to Halfdan.

After that, Halfdan made ready to leave from there, and returned home to Aldeigjuborg. He had been away for five winters. People were overjoyed at his return there. The queen gave a hearty welcome to her daughter and thanked both Halfdan and Earl Skuli for the good treatment they had given her.

23. Of Queen Isgerd

Sigmund Hlodvisson was in charge of defenses in Russia. He was the brother of Queen Isgerd. He came to meet Halfdan with many troops, and was received well. Then Halfdan had an assembly called.

He spoke thus: "Now I have been in Austrveg for sixteen years, and there are two issues: that we came in here forcibly, and indeed had much loss of men here, and each side at one point or another has borne the burden. But now we must let that be, if we intend to have friendship between us. Now I make known to you, that there has been a report that Ulfkell the Heroic has married Ingigerd, the daughter of King Hergeir, but now Ulfkell and his wife are dead. Therefore I wish now to learn the truth of the matter from Queen Isgerd, and Sigmund, her brother, and Earl Skuli, my foster-brother, whether this Ingigerd, who I have brought here, is the daughter of Kol or of King Hergeir, since I would have intended a better match for myself, if possible, than to marry the daughter of Kol."

Then Queen Isgerd answered: "Although we have struggled forcibly together, I will not trick you in anything, Halfdan, since you have proved to be fair in our dealings together. Thus I say to you, that this Ingigerd, who you have brought here, is my daughter, and the daughter of King Hergeir, and she is the proper heir to this land, and so I proclaim here, that I give myself and my daughter, and that kingdom to Halfdan, to full ownership, and may each side compensate the harm done to the other. But I would wish to know, that Earl Skuli would have honorable terms, which would please him well."

24. Halfdan's Parting

Earl Skuli now began his story, and said that he had set Kol as the chieftain of his army, and how they exchanged names, and that he and Ingigerd had been the man and wife, who fled from Halfdan at Alaborg, when he wanted to seize them; and declared that he and his kingdom were under the power of Halfdan.

The Halfdan said: "Now it has come to pass, that these lands all are subject to me. Therefore I will now inform you how I will have things: I will give Queen Isgerd in marriage to Earl Skuli , along with that realm that she has here in Russia. I now have in my power Bjarmaland, and Edny, daughter of King Harek. That kingdom I will give to Sigmund, and the maiden with it, if that is agreeable to them both.

Sigmund indicated that he liked that very much, if the maiden agreed, and Edny indicated that she wasn't expecting any other courting, -- "so that will please me well."

Halfdan said that he would visit the kingdom that he had in Norway, -- "since everyone will be most happy where he was born."

It came to pass, that this weddings were toasted with much praise, and when it was over, each of the chieftains went to his home. Halfdan stayed there for the winter, and loved Ingigerd very much. They sent Svidi the Valiant east to Kirjalabotn, and he was to be chieftain there, and have that kingdom from Earl Skuli.

But in the spring, when the ice loosened up, Halfdan gathered both ships and men around him, and along with Sigmund and Earl Skuli, proceeded to Bjarmaland. Their journey proceeded well, and the land lay in their power without resistance. Sigmund was made chieftain over it, along with Halfdan. Earl Skuli proceeded home to Alaborg, and he and Queen Isgerd loved each other very much. Their son was Hreggvid, father of Ingigerd, who married Gongu-Hrolf.

25. Halfdan Took the Kingdom in Thrandheim

Now it is to be told of Halfdan, that he set out for Norway, and Sigmund went with him and Odd the Dandy, his brother. They had a fine army, and when Halfdan came to Norway, he was well received by his friends, and he was made king of Thrandheim, and all of the realm, that King Eysteinn, his father, had owned. He was very popular with his subjects. He and Ingigerd had two sons. One was named Thor the Hart and the other Eysteinn the Noisy.

Odd the Dandy was made one of Halfdan's superintendants, and was quite a valiant man. He went to Iceland in his old age, and had many descendants there.

Sigmund's men next came from the east, from Bjarmaland, and said that Vikings were plundering Bjarmaland and Nogard. They had killed Svidi the Valiant, and taken control of Kirjalabotn and much of Russia. And when Halfdan and Sigmund heard that, they gathered an army and went east to Bjarmaland.

26. Of the Battle in Bjarmaland

At that time there was a king, named Agnar, who ruled Gestrekaland and all of the realms east of Kjol. He was married to Hildigun, sister of the late Harek, king of Bjarmaland. They had two sons. One was named Raknar, and the other Val. They were Vikings and set out in the Dumbshaf and harried the giants.

Raknar had a ship that was called Raknarsslod. It had a hundred rowing spaces. It was the biggest long-ship built in Norway, other than the Long Serpent. It was manned by all sorts of shady characters. There were fifteen sons of whores in each rowing bench. Raknar took control of the wastelands of Helluland and cleared them of all giants.

His brother, Val, stayed in Dumbshaf , and there is quite a story about him. The two brothers thought that they had gotten the rights to Bjarmaland from Harek, their uncle. Val had two sons. One was named Kott, and the other Kisi. They were large and strong men. Val had killed Svidi, and taken control of Kirjalabotn. He had gotten so much gold, that it could not be counted, and he took it from the giant Svadi, who lived in the mountain called Blesanerg. That is north of Dumbshaf. Svadi was the son of the god, Thor. Val had a sword called Hornhjalti. It was inlaid with much gold, and never failed in its strokes.

Halfdan and Sigmund came now east to Bjarmaland, and inquired, where Val was. They met him north of Grandvik, and set to battle. Two of Sigmund's men are named. One was named Hauk, and the other Gauk. They were forecastle men on his ship. Agnar, the son of Raknar, set his ship along side of Halfdan's, and their conflict was quite fierce. Hauk and Gauk sailed free, and set out against the outermost ships, and cleared all of them. Val leaped up on Sigmund's ship, and Kott and Kisi with him, and made havoc. Val struck at Sigmund and cut his shield away. The sword struck the outside of his foot and cut off two toes. Sigmund struck back. Val had a golden helmet, and the sword came down on it and shattered the hilt. Val was ready to strike, and stood upright. Sigmund rushed at him and thrust him back over the side of the ship, and he fell down to the bottom of the sea. But when he came up from the dive, his men dragged him up onto a ship.

Kottr and Kisi were now repelled from the ship. But when they came to their own ship, Odd the Dandy and Gauk and Hauk charged at them, and there was a fierce attack on them. Because Val had given up, they fled in one ship, but Odd went after them and drove them to land, where a great river fell from the cliffs down to the sea. Val was with them. He seized two chests of gold. They were so heavy, that two men could hardly carry them. Odd ran after him, but when they came to the waterfall, Val cast himself down into it, and so got away from them.

Then Kott, Kisi, Gauk and Hauk came, and when they came to the waterfall, Kott grabbed Hauk, and Kisi Gauk, and dived with them down into the waterfall, and killed them both. A huge cave was under the waterfall, and Val and his sons dove there, and lay down on the gold, and became winged dragons. They had helmets on their heads, and swords under their flippers. They lay there, until Gull-Thorir took possession of the waterfall.

Odd was the only one to return. Halfdan and Sigmund had killed all of the Vikings, except for Agnar, who fled in one ship. He came to Halogaland and was a huge troublemaker. He collected much treasure, and finally made a large grave mound, and went into it alive, as his father had done, with all of his ship's crew, and turned into a troll, along with the treasure.

27. The End of the Saga

Halfdan and Sigmund now went home to Bjarmaland, and Sigmund settled there in his realm. Halfdan went on to Norway, and there is much to be told about him. He died of old age, and the Queen Ingigerd likewise, and there are many great men who have descended from them in Norway and the Orkneys.

And so we end this saga, and peace be with you.  

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