Njal’s saga 2

‘The seeds of evil have been sown, and evil will be the harvest.’ – Flosi Thordarson

Njal’s saga is 159 chapters long. Complementing my earlier post which lists the events of the first 80 chapters, this synopsis lists the events of the second half, starting at chapter 81, immediately after the last stand and death of the hero Gunnar Hámundarson.

81 – A short haunting chapter dedicated to the romantic and mysterious afterlife of Gunnar’s brother, Kolskegg. (Both the brothers had been outlawed from Iceland for defending themselves against the ambush of the two Thorgeirs at Rang River in chapter 72. At the last moment Gunnar looks up and sees the loveliness of his native hills and refuses to leave. He returns to his homestead where he is surrounded and killed by his enemies.) Meanwhile, Kolskegg had obeyed his outlawry, taken ship to Norway and then south to Denmark where he became liegeman to King Sweyn Forkbeard (986-1014). He has a mysterious vision of becoming God’s knight, is baptised and heads east then south and ends up serving in the Varangian Guard at Constantinople. 82 – Thrain Sigfusson, uncle to Gunnar, sails to Norway and goes to see its ruler Earl Hakon. He serves the Earl by doing battle with a notorious pirate, Kol, and killing him. The Earl awards him the ship Vulture. 83 – Meanwhile Njal’s sons Helgi and Grim voyage in a merchant ship to Norway but are blown off course and encounter Vikings who say your money or your lives. The Njalssons refuse to back down. 84 – Naval battle with the Vikings in the middle of which a small fleet comes rowing their way led by one Kari Solmundarson who fights on their side, and they win. 85 – Kari serves the ruler of Orkney, Earl Sigurd Hlodvisson, and they go stay with him. In a vision Hogni sees that the Earl’s steward in Scotland has been attacked. 86 – Scouts prove this to be true and the Earl raises an army to attack the Scots and the Njalsons help him win the Battle of Duncansby Head. Much thanks then they go a-viking with Kari round the coast of Scotland.

They were with the earl that winter and the summer after, till Kari went sea-roving; then they went with him, and harried far and wide that summer, and everywhere won the victory. They fought against Godred, King of Man, and conquered him; and after that they fared back, and had gotten much goods.

In the spring they depart for Norway promising to meet Kari who is going in summer.

87 – A criminal called Hrapp hitches a lift on a boat over to Norway where he goes to see Gudbrand one of Earl Hakon’s closest friends. He is taken in and starts making advances to Gudbrand’s wife Gudrun. Gudbrand’s supervisor Asvardd finds them in the woods making love and Hrapp breaks Asvard’s back with an axe. He goes tells Gudbrand but runs off before his guard can catch him. He escapes and shacks up with another outlaw in the deepest forest. 88 – Earl Hakon comes to feast with Gudbrand. In the night Hrapp ransacks the local temple, stealing the gold and dragging the idols out onto the grass. He is attacked by six men but fights them off, killing three and mortally wounding Gudbrand’s son Thrand. Hrapp escapes to Lade where Thrain and the Njalssons are preparing to return to iceland. He begs the Njalssons to hide him and they refuse. Then he begs Thrain to hide him and, inexplicably, he does. Three times the earl  rows out to Thrain’s boat, Thrain denies it and hides Hrapp in different locations. Finally Thrain sails off successfully, sets Hrapp up in Iceland. Hrapp goes to Grjotriver where it is rumoured he sleeps with Hallgerd, that woman of ill-omen. 89 – Livid, Earl Hakon decides the Njalssons are to blame and sails out to their boat with a force. They fight back killing the Earl’s men until overcome, tied up and thrown in prison. Here they cut their bonds with an axe and escape to an island where they encounter Kari. He offers ot mediate with the Earl and things improve enough for the Earl’s son, Eirik, to give them a feast and reparation for their ill treatment. Then they go a-viking with Kari, raising around Wales, the Hebrides, Kintyre. 90 – Finally they return to Iceland and Kari is invited to stay at Bergthorsknoll where he falls in love and proposes to Njal’s daughter, Helga. 91 – The Njalssons want reparation for their ordeal which was caused by Thrain. Thrain gathers round him his liegemen as well as Killer-Hrapp and Gunnar’s ‘bad’ son Grani Gunnarson. They congregate at Grjotriver where bad Hallgerd lives with Grani. Hrapp, Grani and Hallgerd abuse the Njalssons. Tempers fray. The Njalssons persuade Kari to ride with them to Grjotriver where there’s a standoff from a Western and much abuse.

92 – The Battle of Markar River Runolf of Dale invites Thrain and his posse to stay. After some time they set off back from Dale. At Markar river the eight of them are attacked by the Njalssons, Kari and Helgi kill Thrain Sigfusson and Hrapp, and two others, letting the rest live. Bad mistake. 93 – Ketil of Mork is Thrain’s brother but married to Njal’s daughter ie brother-in-law to his brother’s killers. He works with Njal to reach a settlement with much compensation. He offers to Thrain’s widow to foster Thrain’s son, Hoskuld. 94 – Njal visits Ketil of Mork and is so taken with the boy that he asks to become foster-father to Hoskuld. He becomes part of the household and an inseparable friend of the Njalssons.

Hoskuld Thrainson becomes a chieftain, is renamed Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest, and marries Hildigunn
95 – Introducing Flosi of Svinafell, a big powerful chieftain with a half-brother, four other brothers and a beautiful daughter Hildigunn. 96 – Introducing Hall of Sida, his brother and five sons. 97 – Njal suggests to Hoskuld that he marry Hildigunn. They ride to Svinafell to negotiate with Flosi but Hildigunn was promised a chieftain. Through a set of complicated manoeuvres Njal gets the Althing to institute a fifth Court and to appoint Hoskuld Thrainsson chieftain of Hvitaness, whereupon he becomes Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest. He marries Hildigunn.

Lyting kills Hoskuld Njalsson and is counterattacked
98 – Lyting of Samstead is married to Thrain Sigfusson’s sister Steinvor. Njal has an illegitimate son by his mistress Hrodny, who is also named Hoskuld. Lyting holds a feast at which he invites Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest or the Lambusons or Grani Gunnarson to kill Hoskuld Njalson as revenge for Thrain. They all refuse and ride off cursing Lyting. But Lyting sets off with his thug brothers, ambushes and kills Hoskuld N. Shepherds bring him to his mother Hrodny who refuses to accept he’s dead and props him up in a barn. Bergthora urges on the Njalssons to take revenge quickly before blood cools. 99 – The Njalssons ride up to the stream where Lyting is resting. They attack and kill his brothers but Lyting escapes wounded. He rides to Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest’s house and begs him to  make a settlement. H H-P rides to Njal’s house and does just that, with compensation given for Hoskuld Thrainson and a promise of no further violence.

The Christianisation of Iceland 100-105
Quite abruptly five chapters are inserted, apparently copied from another written source, describing the conversion of Iceland to Christianity. – Bishop Thangbrand arrives. He kills a man with a crucifix. He survives a wizard making the ground open up under him. Njal and all his household convert. Mord Valgardsson doesn’t. Steinum tries to convert Thangbrand to paganism: a theological debate. Hjalti Skeggjason composes an anti=pagan lampoon for which he is outlawed. Thangbrand helps kill the feared berserkr Otrygg. Back in Norway Thangbrand tells King Olaf Tryggvason how stubbornly resistant to Christianity the Icelanders are and, enraged, the king threatens to imprison and kill ever Icelander in Norway (!). Gizur the White pleads for their lives and sails back to Iceland and rides to the Althing, along with a growing army of Christians. they are met with the assembled pagans and it looks like there’ll be a big fight. 105 – The famous meeting of the Althing where the decision is given to Thorgeir the Priest who spends a day with his cloak over his head before emerging to say the entire island must become Christian.

106 – Three years later Hoskuld Njalsson’s son, Amundi the Blind, confronts Lyting at the Althing, wishing he could see and – thanks be to God! – he can see for long enough to kill Lyting and then – he is rendered blind again.

The plot to kill Njal
107 – Valgard the Grey starts the plot to kill Njal and his sons. He returns from abroad to find his chieftaincy fallen into decay under his son Mord and that of Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest flourishing. This makes him so cross he vows to take his revenge on Hoskuld and the whole Njal clan. 108 – Mord sucks up to the Njalssons, holding feasts, giving them gifts. 109 – Mord systematically blackens Hoskuld’s name to the Njalssons, and tells Hoskuld the Njalssons were plotting to kill him. 110 – His slanders to the Njalssons take affect and they vow to go kill Hoskuld. 111 – The Njalssons ride to Ossaby and kill Hoskuld as he sows seed. Return to Bergthorsknoll and tell Njal who is devastated and predicts they will die as a result. 112 – Hoskuld’s wife Hildigunn finds his body and wipes it clean with his cloak. Mord inveigles with Ketil of Mork and takes the lead in getting witnesses and going to the Althing. 113 – Introducing Gudmund the Powerful. 114 – Introducing Snorri the Priest, both friends of Asgrim Ellida-Grimsson. 115 – The impact on Flosi Thordarson of Svinafell who gave his niece Hildigunn to marry Hoskuld. to whom it falls to avenge the murder. 116 – Flosi rides to Ossaby to meet Hildigunn who goads him and wraps him in Hoskuld’s bllody claok. Flosi recruits more eminent supporters. 117 – Flosi meets the Sigfussons, brothers of the murdered Thrain, uncles of Thrain’s murdered son, Hoskuld. 118 – Njal travels to the Althing, gathering recruits.

At the Althing
119 – Hall of Sida joins forces with Flosi though warns him against Mord. Asgrim takes the Njalssons to recruit help: at a series of booths Skalp-Hedin loiters at the back and exchanges sardonic remarks with the booth’s owner; more than one points out that he is a man of bad luck. 120 – They encounter Thorkel the Braggart who refuses them help if Gudmund has refused help. At which point he and Skarp-Hedin exchange insults and S-H runs up with his axe as if to kill him. Many people are happy at Thorkel getting his comeuppance. 121 – The court case begins with the various groups standing round highly armed. Thorhall Asgrimsson, who has been foster-son in Njal’s home and learned law from him, destroys the prosecution case by showing that Mord didn’t reveal himself as an assailant in the killing of Hoskuld. 122 – Njal makes a moving plea that he would rather his own sons had died rather than Hoskuld whom he loved, and begs Flosi for a settlement to be made. Others add their voices and finally they agree to give the case to a dozen men, six from each side, to settle, and all shake hands. 123 – The arbitrators are men of standing and honour such as Hall of Sida and Snorri the Priest. Snorri suggests setting the highest compensation ever, 600 ounces of silver but, strangely, with the expectation that most of the arbitrators will themselves contribute, which they do. The fatal cloak Njal tops off the pile with a silk cloak and a pair of boots. Flosi is brought to the booth to inspect the pile and asks who gave the cloak. Skarp-Hedin asks why he wants to know. Flosi says it was probably given by Old Beardless as nobody knows whether he’s a man or woman. Then it’s suitable, replies Skarp-Hedin, as he’s heard Flosi takes it from the Svinafell Troll every ninth night. At which point the furious Flosi kicks the pile and declares he will accept nothing but blood vengeance and stalks out.

The burning of Njal
124 – Flosi assembles up to 100 supporters near the Althing and makes them swear an oath to support his cause. He tells them all to go home for the summer haymaking then in eight weeks they will attack. Kari assures Njal he will stick with the Njalssons. Back at Bergthorasknoll the old woman Sæunn beats the chickweed then explains it is because it will be used in the fire. 125 – A boy at Reykis named Hildiglum sees the ‘witch-ride’ ie a man riding a grey horse in a ring of fire who throws a firebrand into the mountains which explode into flames. 126 – Two months before winter Flosi gathers his forces and rides west accumulating allies. 127 – At Bergthorsknoll Bergthora says she thinks she is serving the last ever meal in that house, and Njal has a vision of the gable walls torn down and blood al over the tables and food. 128 – Flosi and his posse hide in a knoll until well on into the night then ride up the house. Njal and his sons and kin and servants are standing outside, some 30 men. As Flosi approaches Njal takes the fateful decision to shepherd his people into the house, against Skarp-Hedin’s advice. Flosi immediately surrounds the house and posts men at the door but the Njalssons are able to poke out halberds and spears and wound people. Flosi takes the decision to burn the house. 129 – Flosi lets the women and children exit, but refuses Njal’s last offer of a deal and settlement. He invites Bergthora to leave but she prefers to stay with her husband, they go lie on the bed with little Thord, Kari’s son, get a servant to cover them with an ox hide and there they die. The sons fight on but the Sigfussons manage to set fire to the attic using the fateful chickweed and the house collapses on the inmates. Skarp-Hedin helps Kari escape. 130 – Skarp-Hedin swaps taunts with the Burners up to the last moment when he is trapped under a falling beam. They all die. Flosi and his men wait till the flames have died down. Then Geirmund rides up to tell them that Kari escaped, and they realise there will be vengeance. Among the ashes they hear the dead Skarp-Hedin singing. They ride to kill Ingjald Hoskuldson who had sworn to be part of their band but then talked out of it by his sister Hrodny. they wound him but he kills ones of them and makes his escape to join Kari. 131 – Kari goes to see Mord Valgardsson of all people and other allies and Ingjald joins him and they plan to let the Sigfussons return to their farms and pick them off. Realising this the Sigfussons ride east with Flosi. 132 – Kari and Injald sift through the wreckage finding the various bodies, 11 in all, and take them to the church for burial. Kari goes to consult with Asgrim who invites all the survivors to go live at Tongue and enumerates their supporters including Mord and Gizur the White. Kari can’t sleep and makes poems. 133 – Flosi also can’t sleep and dreams of Iron-Grim who calls his followers to their deaths. Both sides plan for their confrontation at the spring Althing.

The Aftermath
134 – Flosi goes on a grand tour of kin and powerful men gathering allies, returning hom to his father-in-law’s Hall of Sida. 135 – Kari goes ot see Gizur the White who advises him to force Mord to take on the case against Flosi: they ride to Mord’s and force him much against his will, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t do it well. Mord starts the complex procedure of naming witnesses and actions, then Kari rides home. 136 – Flosi’s gang go visit Asgrim Ellida-Grimsson at Tongue, eating his food, making themselves at home, provoking him until he attacks but Flosi spares him. Then they travel on to Hall of Sida.

At the Althing
137 – Asgrim and his alllies arrive at the same time as Flosi and fighting nearly breaks out. 138 – Flosi tours the booths asking for support and persuades Eyjolf Bolversksson to take on the case, giving him a solid gold arm bracelet which Snorri the Priest later discovers, predicting it will cost Eyjolf. As it does. 139 – Asgrim and Gizur go seeking support. Akapti Thoroddsson refuses. Snorri the Priest says yes. 140 – They secure the support of Gudmund the Powerful. 141 – At the Law Rock Mord Valgardsson, then Thorgeir, Kari et al raise cases against all the Burners. Eyjolf suggests a strategem: Flosi hand over his chieftaincy to a neighbouring chieftain, and become the liegeman of a chieftain in a different area: this will invalidate Mord’s prosecution.

The Great Law Case
142 – A battle of wits between Mord who brings point after poiint against the Burners only to be refuted by Eyjolf, and forced to resort to Thorhill Asgrimsson who was fostered by Njal who taught him so much law as to become the best lawyer in Iceland. He gives counter-strategies which become so recondite that Flosi and Eyjolf have to counter-check with Skapti the Law Speaker. 143 – Eyjolf reveals that Mord’s whole case is invalid because Flosi has transferred his allegiance to a chieftain who resides in a different area, and thus the entire case should have been presented in a different court! 144 – Thorhill advises they charge Flosi at the Law Rock with bribing Eyjolf, then go to the Fifth Court to lay further charges; but while they’re at the Law Rock Flosi beats them to the Fifth Court and lays charges against them! 144 – Mord makes a long recapitulation of the case but makes a vital blunder: he excludes six judges (from 48) from giving a verdict and then invites Flosi and Eyjolf themselves to exclude six; they refuse the option. Mord then asks the judges for a verdict BUT he has forgotten that, if Flosi and Eyjolf fail to reject six judges he, Mord, must do so. Eyjolf immediately calls for Mord’s entire case to be thrown out and Mord to be made an outlaw. 145 – As soon as Thorhall hears about this turn of events he lances the boil in his thigh which had been incapacitating him and emerges from his booth and starts killing Flosi’s supporters. This is the trigger which starts The Battle of the Althing which turns into a full-scale slaughter. Half the Sigfussons are killed, Eyjolf the lawyer, and Hall of Sida’s son, Ljot. Eventually Hall and Snorri the priest broker a ceasefire which is followed by a full legal settlement with lots of compensation, Flosi is exiled for three years, the other Burners for the rest of their lives.

Kari’s revenge
146 – Kari Sigmundarson and Thorgeir Skorar-Geir, nephew of Njal, refuse the settlement and ride off in pursuit of the Sigfussons. The Battle of Kerlingardale River Two men attack fifteen, kill five and put the rest to flight who flee to Svinafell and tell Flosi. Flosi stays home throughout the winter and into the spring. Hall of Sida advises him to make a settlement with Thorgeir to isolate Kari. 147 – Hall of Sida rides to Holt and persuades Thorgeir to reach a settlement; he’s reluctant to abandon Kari until Kari himself threatens to become his enemy. 148 – Hall brokers the deal: Thorgeir and Flosi shake on it. Kari refuses to stay with Thorgeir as it might jeopardise him and rises off to stay with Bjorn the White. 149 – Flosi and the Sigfussons buy a ship from Eyjolf Nose in exchange for buying him land. They all believe the rumour spread by Bjorn that Kari has ridden north. They ride to administer their farms. 150 – Kari and Bjorn ambush the Sigfussons at Skapt River and kill five of them. 151 – Six of the Burners attack Kari and Bjork and they kill three before they break off. 152 – Kari arranges for Bjorn’s safety, then rides to tell Asgrim and then Gizur the Whie what he has done. 153 – Flose and the Sigfussons set sail for Norway but are shipwrecked on Orkney. They surrender to Earl Sigurd Hlodvisson where Flosi admits that he killed Helgi Njalsson who had been one of the Earl’s favourite retainers (85). The Earl has the seized and is about to kill them but for the intervention of Thorstein, son of Hall of Sida, Flosi’s brother-in-law as Flosi is married to Thorstein’s sister Steinvor. He spares Flosi and lets him become one of his retainers.

Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf
154-157 are judged to be an interpolation added from another manuscript. They describe the complex dynastic disputes and rivalries which lead to the Battle of Clontarf outside Dublin on Good Friday 1014. Kari and Holbein sail to Fair Isle where they are greeted by Kari’s friend David the White. Earl Sigurd of Orkney invites Earl Gilli of the Hebrides to go visit. King Sigtrygg from Ireland is also there. Sigtrygg’s mother is the wicked Kormlod. Kormlod is divorced from King Brian and hates him and incites Sigtrygg to kill him and to gain Earl Sigurd’s support first. Hence he is in Orkney at the same time as Earl Gilli is visiting. All three are in the big hall for a Christmas Day feast with Flosi and Thorstein when the Earl wants to hear the story of the burning of Njal. Gunnar Lambason was chosen to tell the story. 155 – Kari and Kolbein and David the White sail to Mainland and arrive at the hall during the feast and just as Gunnar Lambason starts telling the story. He lies. Enraged, Kari bursts into the hall runs up and beheads Gunnar Lambason whose head lands on the table in front of the earl and kings. The earl calls for Kari to be seized and killed but noone moves. Kari had also been a member of the earl’s retinue and was popular. Even Flosi, his enemy, speaks up for him and says he was provoked and has done what was honourable. Kari leaves the hall without anyone moving, goes back to the ship and sails to Caithness. After this interruption Sigtrygg goes back to persuading Earl Sigurd, much against his men’s advice, to join the army against King Brian; Sigurd says he will join if he can a) marry Kormlod b) become king of all Ireland once they’ve defeated Brian. Kormlod says they need more forces for the rebellion so she sends Sigtrygg to parlay with two Vikings with thirty ships anchored off the Isle of Man. Ospak refuses to join but Brodir says he will rejoin the rebellion if he can get Kormlod’s hand in marriage and the kingship of Ireland ie the same terms offered Earl Sigurd. 156 – Brodir’s men and boats experience three nights of weird phenomena: night one, boiling blood falls out of the sky, scalding them; night two, the weapons, the swords and spears leap up and fight of their own accord; night three, ravens fly down and attack them. Ospak tells him these omens mean he is doomed. Furious, Brodir returns to his ship planning to attack Ospak in the morning. Realising this Ospak sails to Ireland, goes to meet King Brian, tells him all the plans of hte coming attack, takes baptism and pledges to serve him. Brian calls all his forces to convene outside Dublin on Palm Sunday. 157 – Earl Sigurd marshals his forces and sails to Ireland. Flosi offers to come but the earl tells him he must finish his pilgrimage to Rome.  The Battle of Clontarf On one side Brodir the Viking, King Sigtrygg (son of Brian and the vengeful Kormlod who set this all in motion) and Earl Sigurd; on the other King Brian, his sons, Ulf Hreda and Ospak the Viking. Fierce fighting: everyone who holds Earl Sigurd’s banner is killed including the earl himself. Wounded, Ospak advances through the ranks and puts Sigtrygg to flight at which point the attacking army breaks and flees. Hrafn the Red is chased into a river where devils from Hell seize him. The Viking Brodir springs form the woods and chops of King Brian’s head. Brodir is captured and his intestines tied to a tree and he is carried round it so that his intestines wind round it until he dies. In Caithness a man called Dorrud has a vision of 12 riders going into a woman’s house where women sit weaving using human heads as weights and intestines for thread. A whole suite of miracles and visions accompany the battle. Earl Gilli in the Hebrides has a vision of a man who recites a poem about the battle. Only a week later does a messenger arrive. Flosi learns that all of  his men, the Burners, were killed. He vows to continue his pilgrimage and sails to Wales.

158 – Kari, David and Kolbein meet men from the Hebrides who tell them about the battle in Ireland and that Flosi has gone to Wales. They sail there and moor. Kari goes inland and comes across Kol Thorstainsson the braggartiest of the Burners and chops off  his head with one blow. Flosi buries Kol then walks all the way to Rome where he is given absolution by the Pope. He travels back north and stays the winter on Norway and is given a ship by king Eirik to sail home to Iceland where he returns to his home at Svinafell, having fulfilled the terms of the settlement, exile and compensation. 159 – Kari sails to Normandy then walks to Rome to receive absolution. He walks back and sails round the coast to Caithness. Next summer Kari sails back to Iceland though is boat is shipwrecked. His men ask, what now, and Kari leads them through a blizzard to Svinafell. They walk in covered in snow and Flosi jumps up and embraces kari, and gives him the place of honour next to himself. They are fully reconciled and Flosi gives Kari his niece Hildigunn (widow of Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest) in marriage. In old age Flosi sets out with companions to fetch timber and is never seen again.

Motives and causes

  • The Njalssons kill Thrain Sigfusson because he refused to make it clear to Earl Hakon that he, not the Njalsons, was harbouring Killer-Hrapp, and then refused to give them any compensation for the trouble he caused ie Earl Hakon attacking them and throwing them into prison. The more they insist on compensation the more Thrain associates with a cohort who badmouth the Njalssons. After the stand-off at Hallgerd and Grani Gunnarson’s farm, Grjotriver, violence becomes inevitable and the Njalssons ambush Thrain’s posse at the frozen Markar River.
  • The Njalssons kill Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest entirely as a result of the ill-feeling Mord Valgardsson creates between them. But this second killing crystallises the enmity of all the Sigfussons, their kin and allies against Njal’s family who are felt to have got off lightly for killing first Thrain then his son.
  • Njal is burnt because a large alliance of men crystallises around Flosi of Svinafell who had given his niece Hildigunn to Hoskuld Hvitaness-Priest and therefore is duty-bound to avenge his murder. The Sigfussons are brothers to the murdered Thrain Sigfusson and all uncles to the murdered Hoskuld, but they are happy to take their lead in vengeance from the more powerful figure of Flosi. Njal nearly saves himself with the epic deal done at the Althing, which only comes undone because of the silk cloak Njal places atop the 600 ounces of silver, and then the insults Skarp-Hedin is quick to throw at Flosi. Ie it could so easily have been averted, and so many good men wanted a peaceful settlement.

The Supernatural

  • Njal’s predictions always come true, rather as Hrut’s did in part one.
  • Helgi Njalsson has second sight: he sees the Earl of Orkney’s steward has been killed.
  • Omens before the burning: Hildiglum sees the Witches Ride; Sæunn knows the chickweed will be used to start the fire.
  • The Burners hear Skarp-Hedin, indubitably dead, reciting poetry from the ashes.
  • Njal and Bergthora are untouched by the flames – their Christian faith keeps them pure.
  • Flosi sees Iron-Grim in a dream.
  • There is a florid set of Christian miracles and visions surrounding the Battle of Clontarf. This is one reason for regarding it as copied from a different text.

Saga sayings

  • Far from home is far from joy (6)
  • The hand is soon sorry that it struck (42, 90, 134)
  • Cold are the counsels of women (116)
  • No tree falls at the first stroke (138)
  • One’s back is bare without a brother (152)

Eminent people

Kári Sölmundarson of Suderoerne comes at the help for Njal's sons Grim and Helgi (Andreas Bloch/Wikimedia Commons)

Kári Sölmundarson of Suderoerne comes to the help for Njal’s sons Grim and Helgi (Andreas Bloch/Wikimedia Commons)

Other sagas

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