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NOW it is said that there were not more than two years left after these happenings that the dream-woman said Gisli had still to live. And when summer drew to a close, he was at Geirthjofsfirth, and all his dreams returned, and nightmares. There came to him now generally the worse dream-wife, though at other times the better one.
One night there was when Gisli dreamed that the friendly
woman came to him. It seemed that she was riding a gray horse and bade Gisli go
with her to her abode, and that he yielded to her wish. They came to a house
which was nearly like a hall, and she led him inside. Soft down there was in
the pillow and the bed was made, all ready. She bade him lie down, and he
rested. "And thou shalt hither fare when thou diest," said she,
"and have wealth and happiness." And at that point he awoke and made
strophes about what he had dreamed:
This wife of my dreams (this Saumhlok who sews)
Bade the spear-gladdened warrior to ride her gray horse.
This bride was so friendly to one who adorns
Words of praise in his verse. Goddess Sol of the gold
(The fire of the sea and the sea-mews' earth-home)
Gave promise to me she would heal all my pain.
About that I remember the words that she said,
Who bears drink 'round to men, ale-flood of the horn.
This goddess of gold (the sea's gleaming fire)
Then revealed to the steerer, the maker of drapa,30
A seat where lay bolsters, all soft-filled with down.
That picture I long shall remember. And me
Then she led by the hand, wise Nauma, the sewer,
To a bed that was soft, to this poet allotted;
Not a lump, no unevenness could I see in it.
"To this place at thy death shalt thou certainly come,
Who makest the fir-trees and arrows to fall,"
To the maker of song, quoth this Hild, banded well.
"Thou man rich and generous (Thou Ullr of gold)
Shalt rule o'er these riches; thy Ilm,31 too, as well,
Of the headdress, beloved, shall be at thy call."
Us two this suffices in fortune or wealth.
It is further said that one time Helgi was sent again to spy around Geirthjofsfirth, for it seemed to certain men likely that Gisli might be there. A man named Havard went with him; he was a kinsman of Gest Oddleif's son, and had come out to Iceland the summer before. These two were sent into the woods to hew timber, and though that was the reason given to their journey, this was at the bottom of it, that they should search for Gisli and see whether they could find his hiding place.
And one day at evening they saw a fire on the cliff south of the river. It was the hour about nightfall and pitch-dark as could be. Then asked Havard of Helgi what was to be done. "For thou must be," said he, "much more used to such things than I."
"One thing we must do," said Helgi, "pile up stones here on this hill where we are now standing, and by the time the light of day comes, we shall have finished; and then look from the pile of stones at the cliff which is but a short way off."
This they then decided to do, and when they had heaped up some stones, Havard said he was so tired that he could do nothing but go to sleep. So he did, but Helgi stayed awake, and piled up what still remained undone. And when he had finished, Havard awoke and told Helgi to go to sleep while he then kept watch.
So Helgi slept awhile. And as he slept, Havard went to work and carried away all the pile, every single stone, in the darkness of the night. And when he had done all this, he picked up a great stone and hurled it down on the rocks near Helgi's head, so that the earth trembled therefrom. Helgi jumped up, much afraid, and asked what it was.
Havard answered: "There's a man somewhere in the woods. Many such stones have come here in the night."
"That must have been Gisli," said Helgi. "He must have become aware of us, and this thou canst see, my fellow, that it will do us little good if a rock such as that lands upon us. There is left nothing to be done but to get out of here, and that quickly." Then he ran his fastest, but Havard followed after and asked Helgi not to run away from him. Helgi, however, gave no heed to that and fared thence as fast as his feet could carry him. At last they both came to their boat and jumped aboard. They dashed the oars into the water and rowed as hard as they could, and rested not till they came home to Otradale. Helgi told them there that he was now certain where Gisli had settled to roost.
Eyjolf acted at once and set out with eleven men. Helgi and Havard were in the party. They all journeyed till they came to Geirthjofsfirth and rambled over all the woods in search of the stone pile and the hiding-place of Gisli, but found neither. Then Eyjolf asked Havard where they had built the pile of stones. Havard answered: "That I can never know, both because I was sa sleepy that I noticed few things roundabout me and, too, because Helgi piled up the stones while I was asleep. It seems to me not unlikely that Gisli got wind of us and then bore the stones away when daylight came and we had gone our way."
Then said Eyjolf: "Much bad luck we have in this business. We can do nought but turn back." They did so, and Eyjolf said that, before they left, he wished to see Aud. They turned aside to the house and went in, and Eyjolf sat down to hold speech with her. Thus he began: "I will have bargain with thee, Aud, that thou tell me of Gisli, and I shall give thee three hundred silver, which I have taken for his head. Thou needest not be along when we take him from life. This, too, shall follow, that I shall make a match for thee that will be better than this one has been. Thou mightest also think of this, how much it is to thy discomfort to lie alone here on this desolate firth, and to suffer all this because of the ill luck of Gisli, and never to see kinsmen and near-relatives again."
She answered: "It seems to me unlikely that we should ever agree on this, that thou couldst get me a match which seems equal to the one I have had, but true it is, as hath oft been spoken, that the money is as much and as fine as thou sayest."
He poured out the money into her lap. She held her hands in it, and he counted it out and showed it before her.
Gudrid, her foster-daughter, took to weeping and went out to meet Gisli, and said to him, "My fostermother is now become witless, and wills to betray thee."
"Rest thyself easy in mind," he replied. "Not will that cause my death of which Aud is the contriver.
And he spoke a strophe:
It is told me that Hlin, slender goddess of gold
(Fire of sea, land of ship, the elk of the firth)
For her husband plans evil, awry in her mind;
But I know that sits weeping this goddess of gold
(Bed of serpent, the fish of the earth's stony floor)
And little of truth do I deem thou hast said,
Proud Jord, earth goddess of flames of the sea.
Thereafter the girl went home and said nothing of where she had been. Eyjolf had by now counted out the silver, and Aud said to him: "In no way is the money less or worse that thou hast said. Now it will seem right to thee that I have the silver unto myself to do with it as seems best?"
Eyjolf agreed gladly and bade her certainly to do with it as she wished. Aud thereupon took the silver and put it into a great moneybag. Then she rose up and drove the purse with the silver so hard against Eyjolf's nose that blood gushed forth and flooded all over him. Therewith she shouted: "Take that for thy dullness, and the hurt that goes with it. Thou didst not have hope, didst thou, that I would betray my husband into thy hands, thou rogue? Have now that, to both thy shame and disgrace. This thou shalt remember, wretch, as long as thou livest, that a woman hath beaten thee, and thou wilt not any the more get what thou hadst as thy wish and desire.
Then said Eyjolf, "Take the dog and kill it, though it's only a bitch."
Havard spoke up, "Still, as it is, has our journey been the worst it could be, even though we do not do such coward's work. Stand up, men, and let him not get hold of her."
"True it is," replied Eyjolf, "and oft said of old, that without ill is one's luck unless he bring it from home."
Havard was a man blessed with friends and many were ready either to aid him in this or to save Eyjolf from disgrace. But as matters stood, Eyjolf was to have the shame, and carried it away with him.
Before Havard went outside, Aud said to him, "Not at all likely is it that I shall hold back the debt which Gisli owes to thee. Here is a finger-ring, all gold, which it is my will that thou shouldst have." "Not at all would I have claimed or expected it," answered Havard.
"I will give it to thee, none the less," said Aud. And she gave him the ring for his goodwill.
Havard took his horse and fared south to Strand to the home of Gest Oddlief's son, for he would no longer be in company with Eyjolf.
Eyjolf went back home to Otradale and had nought but ill from his journey, and to his men especially this trip seemed the most deserving of contempt
30. Old skaldic heroic poetry: poems of praise.