THE SHORT MAGNUS SAGA
HERE BEGINS THE SAGA OF MAGNUS THE ISLE-EARL.
1. That earl ruled over the Orkneys whose name was Thorfinn, the son of Sigurd Hlödver's son; he had to wife Ingibjorg, who was called earl's-mother, she was a daughter of earl Finn Arni's son, but her mother was Bergliot, the daughter of Halfdan, the son of Sigurd sow and Asta. The sons of those two, earl Thorfinn and Ingibjorg were Paul and Erlend, who took the realm in the Orkneys after their father. They were great men and fair, and took much after their mother's kindred, wise men and meek-hearted. Earl Pau got to wife a daughter of earl Hacon Ivar's son and Ragnhilda the daughter of king Magnus the good; their son was earl Hacon. Earl Erlend had to wife a woman named Thora, she was the daughter of Somerled the son of Ospak. The mother of Ospak was Thordis, a daughter of Hall of the Side. The sons of Erlend were called Erling and Magnus, but their daughters were Cecilia and Gunnhilda; she, Gunnhilda, was the mother of earl Rognvald-Kali.
2. But when those brothers Paul and Erlend ruled over the Orkneys, then was there good agreement between them. But when their sons got to be full grown men they were very overbearing, that is to say Hacon and Erling, but Magnus was the quietest of them. They were all strong and proper men. But Hacon would be first and foremost, for he thought he was of better birth by his mother's side. But that did not suit them at all, and it so came about that they could not be together, for there was always risk of their falling out. Then the earls took part in setting them at one again, and meeting was settled. But as soon as the earls began to talk it was seen that each leaned towards his own son, and thus no settlement was made. Then their friends tried what they could do, and set them at one again on such terms as that the isles were shared into halves between those brothers, as they had been of old time; and then things stood so for awhile. But after some time had passed since the settlement, then Hacon grew so unfair a man, and pressed so hard on those men who served earl Erlend, that they fell out again and fared the one side against the other with a host of men. Then Havard Gunni's son and other friends of the earls again brought about a meeting for an atonement between them, but earl Erlend would not agree to any terms if earl Hacon were by. But for that it seemed to their friends that there was great peril in their quarrels, then the freemen besought earl Hacon and his friends that he would not let that stand in the way, but rather fare away out of the isles. They said 'twere good counsel if he fared east across the sea to seek his friends, so many and so noble as he had both in Norway and Sweden. So at the persuasions of men, and also because there was envy in the heart of Hacon against his kinsmen there in the isles, and because he thought it good to learn the customs of other chiefs, he fared away out of the isles east across the sea.
3. When Magnus barelegs king of Norway held on with his host west across the sea, as is written in his Saga, and when he came to the Orkneys, he took prisoners the earls Paul and Erlend, and sent them east to Norway, but he set his son Sigurd over the isles, and gave him a council, and said thus, that the earls should never have the realm in the Orkneys while he was king in Norway. Thence he fared to the Southern isles, and took along with him Erling and Magnus, the sons of earl Erlend. Then also was with him there Hacon Paul's son. And when he had got under the lee of Scotland there came against him a mighty host in Anglesea-sound, and two earls, Hugh the proud, and Hugh the stout, ruled over that fleet. They were brothers and sons of Kostnomi king in Ireland. And when they met the king made ready to battle against them. But while men were arming themselves, Magnus sat him down. The king asked him why he sat and did not take his arms. Magnus said he had no quarrel with any man there. "And that is why I will not fight," says he. "Then take thy weapons and help thyself," says the king. He answers, "Let God shield me: I shall not die if he wills that I should live; I will rather die than wage a wrongful battle." The king said, "Get thee down under the planks, and lie not under the feet of men if thou darest not to fight; for I think not that thou doest this for faith's sake." Magnus took a psalter and sang while they fought, but did not shield himself, and yet was not wounded. This battle was both hard and long, and ended thus, that Hugh the proud fell there. After that the Welchmen fled, and had lost much people, but king Magnus had the victory, and yet he lost many men of rank, and some died afterwards of their wounds.
4. King Magnus had made Magnus Erlend's son his trencher-page, and he always served at the king's board. But after the battle the king laid great hatred on him, and says that he had behaved there like a craven. It fell on a night, as the king lay off Scotland, that Magnus Erlend's son ran away from the ship, when he thought he had the best chance of flying from the king. He swam to land, and ran off into the wood, and had on only his linen underclothes. He struck his foot and hurt himself as he was barefoot, and then he could fare no further. But he had so made up his berth that it seemed as though a man were lying there. He came to the wood to a great tree and clomb up into its branches and bound up his foot, and so lay hid in the branches for a while. But the day after when men went to the board on the king's ship, the king asked where Magnus Erlend's son might be. He was told that he lay in his berth and slept. Then the king bade them wake him up, and said more must be under it than sleep alone, when he lay longer than he was wont. But when they came to the berth then he was missed, and the king bade them search for him, and made them let slip after him the slot-hounds. But when the slot-hounds were let loose, they followed up his trail and ran off to the wood, and came to that tree, in the branches of which Magnus was. Then one hound ran round the tree in a ring and bayed. Magnus had a wooden staff in his hand and threw it at the hound, and smote it on the side; but the hound put his tail between his legs and ran off to the ships, and the others after. So the king's men could not find Magnus. He lay hid for a while in the wood, and came after a time to the court of Malcolm, the Scot-king, and stayed there a while, but sometimes with a bishop in Wales. Then again he was in England in various places with his friends, and came not to the Orkneys while king Magnus lived.
5. But when king Magnus came back to the Orkneys from his warfare, he heard of the death of earl Erlend, east across the sea. He had breathed his last in Nidaros, and is there buried. But earl Paul had died in Bergen, and is buried there. In the spring, king Magnus married Kol, the son of Kali Seabear's son, to Gunnhilda, earl Erlend's daughter, as an atonement for his father's death, for Kali had died of those wounds which he got in Anglesea-sound. Along with Gunnhilda followed certain estates as her dower in the Orkneys and a homestead in Paplay. Some men say that Erling son of earl Erlend fell in Anglesea-sound. Snorri Sturla's son says he has fallen in Ulster, in Ireland, with king Magnus. But when Sigurd, son of king Magnus, heard of his father's fall in the Orkneys, where he then was and had the government of the land as his father had arranged, then he thought there was small outlook for peace if he sat there west across the sea, and so he fared at once that harvest east to Norway with that force which had come to him, and which had been of his father's following to Ireland. And when he came to Norway he was taken to be king along with his brothers, Eystein and Olaf.
6. One winter or two after the fall of king Magnus, Hacon Paul's son came to Norway from the west across the sea. He fared to see those brothers, and they took to him kindly, for he had been a dear friend of their father, king Magnus. Those brothers, sons of king Magnus, gave Hacon the title of earl, and such power in the Orkneys as he could claim by birth. After that he fared west across the sea, and took under him the whole realm in the isles, and so he ruled over it for a while. And when Hacon had ruled over the Isles but a short time, then came Magnus Erlend's son from Scotland and begged to take the inheritance of his father. That was well pleasing to the freemen, for every man was his friend there. Besides he had there many kinsfolk and connexions, who were ready to stand by him in his claim to rule. A noble man, named Sigurd, had married his mother, Thora; their son was Hacon carle, and they had their abode in Paplay. But when earl Hacon learned that Magnus was come thither, he gathered a force together, and would not split his realm. After that their friends came between them, and tried to bring about an atonement. And so it came about that they were made friends on these terms, that earl Hacon should give up half the realm of the Orkneys if that were the will of the kings of Norway, and so they agreed. After that Magnus fared east to seek Eystein and Olaf, for king Sigurd had fared to Jerusalem. Those kings greeted Magnus well, and gave up to him the heritage of his father, half the Orkneys and the title of earl. Then he fared west over the sea to his realm, and all the people were fain to see him. Then he and Hacon got on well together. And then were there good crops and sure peace so long as the friendship of those kinsmen lasted.
7. Magnus was the most famous man in his chieftainship. He was virtuous and dutiful, victorious, and a sage in wit; a good speaker and lordly tempered, and his praise was in every man's mouth. He was generous of his goods, and a good counsellor, bold in battle, and a sure friend. He was ever chastising theft and robbery, and other misdeeds. He had vikings and wrongdoers slain. Often he gave great gifts to chiefs, but unfailingly gave to needy men much comfort for God's sake. In all things he strictly held God's commandments, and was unmerciful against his own self. So it is said that he abode with his wife for ten years, so that they kept their purity of life; but when he felt temptation coming over him he went into cold water and begged for support of God. Those kinsmen, earl Magnus and Hacon, had the wardship of the land in the Orkneys for some time, during which they were well agreed. It is so said in those songs which have been made on them that they fought against a chief, called Duffnjal, was the son of earl Duncan, who was the earl's first cousin once removed, and slew him. Thorbjorn was the name of a noble man whom they slew in Borgarfirth (Burrafirth) in Shetland, but it is so said that they took the house over his head and burnt him inside it.
8. When earl Magnus and Hacon had not long ruled over the Orkneys, it came about as often happens, that ill willing men spoil their kinship, and earl Hacon fell into the hands of those wicked men who did their best to spoil their friendship; for he was already very jealous of the friendships and lordiness of earl Magnus. Two men are named who were with earl Hacon, who played the worst part between them. The one's name was Sigurd, and the others Sighvat sock. This backbiting went so far, that those kinsmen gathered force together and each fared against the other, and both shaped their course for Hrossey. There was the place of meeting of the Orkneyingers. And when they came thither each side went on land and made them ready to battle. There were then with the earls nearly all the great chiefs. There, too, were friends of both, who went between them with good will and tried to set them as one again. This meeting was in Lent, a little before Palm Sunday. And so it was because men of good intent took part in the atonement, that it was settled that the earls should be atoned on those terms, that well disposed men should settle matters between them, and the meeting for the full atonement was to be in Egelsha, after Easter week. Each of them was to have but two ships at this meeting, and just as many men as the other. Both took oaths to keep the atonement which should be then declared.
9. After Easter they made ready to this voyage. It is so said that earl Magnus summoned to him all the best men who were in his realm, and who seemed to him likeliest to mend matters between them. And when he was ready he held on for Egelsha and they were rowing in a calm sea. Then it so fell out that a billow rose alongside the ship which the earl steered, and fell aboard the ship, and into the stern where he sat. Men wondered at this, as no man thought a sea could have fallen there, and the water was deep under the ship. The earl said, "This is not wonderful, though ye wonder at this thing which has happened and which is so strange; but it is my foreboding that this is a token of my life's end. May be that now is coming to pass which was spaed aforetime, that Paul's son should do a mighty misdeed. We must now look upon our business," says he, "as though my kinsman Hacon means mischief against us." The earl's men grew frightened at his words and bade him guard his life, and not fare to meet earl Hacon. He answers, "Of a surety will I go." May all that befalls us on our journey be after God's will.
10. Now must be told of earl Hacon that he summons a great band, and had eight warships, and all manned for battle. And when the company gathered together he gave it out plainly to the people that he meant at that meeting to settle matters once for all between those kinsmen, so that both of them should not be able to tell the tale afterwards. Many of his men were well pleased at this plan, and added many unseemly words to those; and Sigurd and Sighvat sock they were still the worst of all. And so they rowed mightily. Havard Gunni's son was on board earl Hacon's ship; he was a great friend of both of them and their connexion, and Hacon had hidden from him this ill counsel. But when he knew that the earl had set his heart on doing this he would not join in it, and leapt overboard and swam to a little isle where no man dwelt.
11. Now when earl Magnus saw the coming of Hacon and how he had eight ships, they thought they knew that he meant to play them false. Then earl Magnus landed on the island with all his company and to the church, and he was there during the night. His men offered to guard him, but he answered, "I will not lay your lives in peril for me, and if there is not to be peace fixed between us kinsmen, then let God's will be done." Then his men thought how true that was which he had said to them when the billow fell on the ship. But because he knew beforehand as to his life's end, whether it was from his own wit or from heavenly revelation, so he would not fly from meeting his foes; and for faith's sake he sought the church and prayed there vigorously out loud, and gave himself over into God's hand. Next morning he went out of the church with two men up into the island and down to the shore to a certain hiding place, and there he prayed to God. Some men say that earl Magnus made them say mass to him ere he went from the church, and that he took the Lord's Body.
12. Earl Hacon and his men ran up on the island in the morning, and first to the church, and sought for earl Magnus and could not find him there. Then they looked for him about the island. But when earl Magnus saw where they went, he called out to them and said "Here I am." And when Hacon saw that, they ran thither. Then he said, "Thou didst not well kinsmen when thou wentest back on thy oaths; but I trow thou didst this more from others badness than thine own. Now I will offer thee three choices. This is the first, that I will fare away from the land to Rome, or all the way to Jerusalem, and seek holy places, and have two ships and what we need, and so I will make amends for the soul of each of us. I will also swear never to come back to the Orkneys while I live." But Hacon refused this. Then earl Magnus said, "Now for that my life is in your hand, and because I know that I have done many things against God's will, and so need to do penance for that, and because I see it is unseemly in thee to slay me: so send me to our friends and let me be kept close there, and two men with me to amuse me, and see thou to that that I do not come out of their keeping save with thy will." This earl Hacon refused quickly and his men with him, and they found many reasons that this should not be. Then earl Magnus spoke again, "Now there is but one thing left, and God knows that I have an eye more to thy honour than to my health. Let me be maimed in my limbs or robbed of my eyes, and throw me in that plight into a darksome dungeon." Earl Hacon answers, "This agreement I accept, and I ask nothing further." Then the chiefs sprang up and said, "We will now slay one or other of you twain, and ye two shall not rule the land, both of you from this day forth." Then earl Hacon answers, "If ye will be so stern in this matter, then will I far rather choose to live and hold the realm." Thus hath spoken of their parley the man whose name is Holdbodi, a truth telling man, who was then with earl Magnus with another man. And this he said that earl Magnus behaved with great steadfastness of heart, when his adversaries spoke such things as are now said, and that he spoke neither with anger nor wrath. After that he fell to prayers, and hid his face in the palms of his hands, and shed many tears before the face of God.
13. When earl Magnus was doomed to death, earl Hacon bade his standard-bearer, whose name was Ofeig, to hew off earl Magnus's head; then he refused that with mickle wrath. Then the earl forced his cook to do it, whose name was Lifolf; but then he began to weep with a loud voice. Then earl Magnus spoke and said, "Thou shalt not weep," says he, "that is unmanly, but it is fame to do such a deed. Be of steadfast heart, for thou shalt have my clothes and weapons, as is the custom and law of men of old time. Thou shalt not be afraid, for thou doest this against thy will, and he that forces thee to this is a greater misdoer than thou." After that he threw off his kirtle and gave it to him, and asked for leave to pray first, and that was granted him. Then he fell all his length along the earth and gave himself to God, and so offered himself up to him. And not alone prayed he for himself and his friends, but rather for his foes and murderers; and forgave them of his whole heart what they had misdone towards him, and confessed from his whole heart his misdeeds before God, and prayed they might be washed away by the out-shedding of his blood; and commended his soul into God's hand, and prayed him to send his angels to meet him, and bring it into the heavenly Paradise. But when he was led to be beheaded he said to Lifolf, "Stand thou before me and smite me on the head, for that it is not seeming to behead chieftains like thieves. Strengthen thyself, wretched man, and be not afraid, for I prayed God that he would have mercy on thee." After that he signed himself with the cross, and bowed him under the stroke, and was smitten in mid forehead with a single blow, and passed so from the world to God. That spot where earl Magnus was smitten was stony and mossy. But a little while after his worthiness before God was made bright, so that there was a fair field, and he won the fairness and greenness of Paradise, which is called the land of living men. There was afterwards built a church. Earl Hacon would not give leave that the body of earl Magnus should be carried to a church.
14. Learned men say that about spring in Lent, after the agreement in Hrossey, Thora, the mother of earl Magnus had bidden both earls to a feast as they came from Egelsha after the meeting. But after the death of earl Magnus earl Hacon went to the feast on the day fixed. Thora went herself to wait on the earl. And when drink began to take hold on him, then went Thora before him and said, "Now art thou come hither alone, but I looked for you both. Thou wilt now be willing to gladden me before the eyes of God and man; and be now to me instead of a son, but I will be to thee instead of a mother. I stand much in need of thy pity, by God's help, that thou wouldst suffer me that my son be brought to church. Be now with me so in my prayer as ye wish God to listen to you at doomsday." The earl held his peace and thought over his share in this business, and was now touched by those shocking deeds which weighed on him. Then he looked towards her and shed tears and said, "Bury thy son where thou likest." After that earl Magnus was borne and buried in Christchurch in Birsay, in that church where earl Thorfinn had caused to be built.
15. Soon after that a heavenly light was often seen at nights over the grave of earl Magnus. Later, men took to vowing to him in their needs, if they were placed in peril, and their business was granted as they asked. About the same time a heavenly fragrance was perceived over his grave, and thence men got back their health. Next after that men fared from Shetland and the Orkneys, who were past cure and watched at his tomb, and got healing for their hurts. But for all that men dared not make much stir about this so long as earl Hacon lived. It is so said that those men who were the greatest traitors against earl Magnus died most of them by ill and awful deaths. At this time William was bishop in the Orkneys. The bishop's see was then at Christchurch in Birsay, where earl Magnus the saint was buried. He doubted long about his holiness and kept down this new thing before the people.
16. After the death of earl Magnus, Hacon took the whole realm under himself. Then he made all men come and take an oath to be faithful to him who had before served earl Magnus. Then he became a great chieftain. He laid heavy burdens on those men whom he thought had been most against him in the quarrels of those kinsfolk. Some winters after he fared away out of the land to Rome, and there he got absolution of his case from the Pope. In that journey he fared out to Jerusalem, and sought the halidoms, and bathed in the river Jordan, as is palmers' wont. After that he came home to his realm. Then he became a good ruler and kept his realm well at peace. Then he laid down new laws, and with such things his friendships began to grow. Then it came about that the Orkneyingers cared for nothing else than to have earl Hacon as a chief over them, and his offspring after him. Bergfinn Starri's son [In the Orkn. Saga he is called Skati's son.] was the name of a freeman from the north in Shetland. He was sightless and fared south to the Orkneys and watched at the tomb of earl Magnus the saint. Along with him watched two men, one's name was Sigurd and the other's Thorbjorn, they were both cripples. Earl Magnus the saint appeared to them all and made them quite cured. Again twenty-four men watched at earl Magnus' tomb and all got healing for their hurts. Many men spoke of this before bishop William and egged him on to speak about it to Paul Hacon's son who then ruled over the isles after his father, and to ask him to give leave that the halidom (the relics) of earl Magnus might be taken up out of the earth; but the bishop took that heavily. Ofttimes was he reminded in dreams that he should come to a clear understanding as to the earl's holiness and yet he would not believe in it. After that it so came about that he was forced by divine chastisements to honour the tokens and holiness of earl Magnus.
17. It befell one summer that bishop William sailed east to Norway on some needful business and back again at once in the autumn, and about the first winter night he came to Shetland. Then foul winds came on and storms. But when for a long while in the winter there was no fair wind for the isles, then the bishop was in doubt whether he should get back to his see before spring. The captain asked whether he would agree to the holiness of earl Magnus if he sang mass the next Lord's day at home. The bishop gave his consent to this so to speak, but more because of his need than as a free vow. But when this was agreed, then the weather changed and a steady fair wind soon sprang up. And after that they sailed for the Orkneys and he got home before the next Lord's day, and all praised God and his holy martyr earl Magnus. Some men prove it as a truth that bishop William would not consent to take the halidom of earl Magnus out of the earth before this token happened there at home on day, that he could not walk out of the church. For he had become blind, and could not find the door until he repented him of his unbelief, and wept mightily and prayed God that he might find the tomb of earl Magnus. And when he came thither he fell down flat on the earth and vowed to take his halidom straightway out of the earth when he got back his sight. And when he had ended his prayer he got his eyesight again there at the tomb.
18. After that he gathered the wisest men together and the best born in the Orkneys and then a mighty crowd came to Christchurch in Birsay. Then the halidom of earl Magnus was taken out of the earth, and then the bones were already almost come out of the ground. He caused the bones to be washed and take a joint and tried it in hallowed fire thrice. But it burnt not, but rather became as silver purified in the fire. It it is the saying of some men, that it melted and ran into the shape of a cross. Then there were wrought many tokens by the halidom. After that learned clerks took the halidom and laid it in a shrine, and set it over the altar. That was on Lucia's mass before Yule, and then there had passed twenty years from the death of earl Magnus. The day of his death is kept in the spring on the xvi. of the kalends of May. Bishop William then bade them keep holy both days all over his bishoprick; and ever after he was in great love towards earl Magnus the saint. William was the first bishop in the Orkneys, and ruled the see sixty-six years. [He died in 1168. Cf. Isl. Ann. s.a.]
Gunni was the name of a trustworthy yeoman in Westray. He dreamt that earl Magnus the saint came to him and said, "This shalt thou say to bishop William, that I will fare away out of Birsay east to Kirkwall, and I know that God will there grant me of his mercy that they shall become healed of their ailments who seek to meet me with true faith. Thou shalt tell thy dream boldly." But when he woke up, he dared not tell his dream, because he feared the wrath of earl Paul. The next night after earl Magnus appeared to him and bade him tell the dream when most men were by. "But if thou dost not so then shalt thou bring punishment on thyself in this world and more in the next world." And when he woke up he was full of fear; and fared to Hrossey to see the bishop, and tells the dream at the bishop's mass in a mighty crowd of men. Earl Paul was there then, and all the people bade the bishop to bear the halidom to Kirkwall, as earl Magnus had revealed. But earl Paul stood silent by, and turned as red as blood. After that bishop William fared east to Kirkwall with a worthy company and brought thither the halidom of earl Magnus. The shrine was set over the altar in the church that is there. The market town at Kirkwall had then few houses, but it has since spread out much. Thither after that fared many men and watched there in the church at the halidom and got cure for their ailments if they vowed to earl Magnus with true faith.
Then fared Bergfin the second time from Shetland with his leprous son, and they watched at the halidom. Then Bergfinn gave much money to earl Magnus the saint. And on the third night of watching he showed himself to both father and son in their sleep and stroked the body of Halfdan the son, and gave him back his health. Bergfinn thought also that he put his hands on his eyes and said, "Thou shalt get thy sight again such as it was when thou wast most sharp-sighted, for thou has fared now hither in true faith and gavest much fee hither to God's glory, and didst not doubt of my holiness." Bergfinn was then a sharp-sighted man when he awoke.
Thord Dragon-beak is a man's name, he was the hireling of Bergfinn the yeoman. He thrashed corn in the barn the next day before Magnus-mass in the winter, but as the day changed colour at dawn, Bergfinn went out and bade him stop work. Thord answereth, "It is not often thou thinkest I work too long." Bergfinnsaid, "This mass day which comes tomorrow we are bound to keep as we can best." Then the master went away but Thord worked on as hard as ever. But in a little while the master went out again, and spoke to Thord in wrath, "It mislikes me much that thou workest now, because this day was then laid down by law when the halidom of earl Magnus was tried and laid in the shrine. Leave off straightway on the spot." But Thord still worked on. And when men had eaten and were quite full, then in came Thord in work a day clothes, and drank at once. And when he had drunk, he got so mad that they had to throw him into bonds at once, and so it went on for six days. Then Bergfinn vowed for him to give half a mark of silver to the shrine of earl Magnus, and to make Thord watch there three nights, if he might be made whole. And Thord got back his health on the self-same night that the vow was made.
There was a man named Ogmund, he was a sister's son of goodman Bergfinn. A cross-tree fell on his head, and crushed the skull much, but Bergfinn vowed for him and cast lots whether he should vow a pilgrimage to Rome or to set a slave free, or money for the shrine of earl Magnus. But the lot came up to give money for the shrine, and he got back his speech at once, and fared to earl Magnus the saint, and there he became whole. But goodman Bergfinn gave half a mark of silver to the shrine as he had vowed. Amundi was the name of a man, the son of Illugi. He had the worst leprosy. He fared to earl Magnus the saint and watched and prayed for his health. The holy earl Magnus appeared to him in sleep, and passed his hands over his body and gave him his health. --------- Sigurd was a man's name. He was mad so that he was sewn up in a hide; after that he was borne to earl Magnus the saint, and there he got his health.
Thorbjorn was a man's name. He lost his wife and was borne to earl Magnus, and there he took his health again. Sigurd was a man's name from Fetlar, in the north; his hand was so cramped that the fingers lay in the palm. He fared to the holy earl Magnus, and there got quite whole. ------ Sigrid was the name of a woman, the daughter of Sigurd, who was blind from childhood and till she was twenty. Her father brought her to earl Magnus, and made her watch there, and gave much money for her cure, and there she got her eyesight. ----- There was another woman whose name was also Sigrid, who broke her leg in two bits; she too was borne to earl Magnus the saint, and there she got her cure. ----- Sigrid was the name of a third woman, she was with Thorlak, who dwelt at Baltastede. She sewed when other men made holiday on the day before Magnus-mass. Thorlak asked why she worked so long, but she said she was just about to stop. He came back again and asked why she did so ill. "Go away and work no longer here." She said she had only a little bit left unsewn, and went on working as before till it was dark. But when men busked them to supper, she lost her wits; and men threw her into bonds, but Thorlak vowed for her, and lots were cast whether she should vow a pilgrimage to Rome or to set a slave free, or to give money to the shrine of earl Magnus. But the lot came up to give the money. Thorlak bore her to earl Magnus, and she got her cure there and went a pilgrimage south afterwards.
Thorkell was a man's name, who dwelt in the Orkneys, he fell from his barley-stack and crushed all one side. He was brought to the holy earl Magnus and got there his cure. ---- Groa was a woman's name, she got mad and was brought to earl Magnus and got her health there, and there she stayed all her life afterwards.
Two men broke off gold from the shrine of earl Magnus the saint; one was a Caithness man, but the other was a Orkneyman. The Caithness man was lost in the Pentlandfirth, and his name was Gilli; but the other went mad, and said in his raving what they had done; and then a vow was vowed for him to go a pilgrimage south if he were made whole at the shrine of earl Magnus. After that he was led thither and there he got his cure.
In England, were two men who laid great sums on casting dice, and when one of them had lost much, then he staked a barge and all that he owned. But the other threw first and threw two sixes. Then he thought that all hope was over, and vowed to earl Magnus the saint, that he might not lose, and threw; but the dice broke in sunder and two sixes and an ace turned up, and so he won all and gave afterwards much goods to earl Magnus.
When earl Rognvald-Kali, the sister's son of earl Magnus the saint, had come to rule in the Orkneys, and was quietly seated, then he let be marked out the groundplan to Magnus' church in Kirkwall, and got smiths for it, and that work went on both well and swiftly, and it is a noble building and well furnished. After that the halidom of earl Magnus ws brought thither, and many tokens are wrought there at his halidom. There is now also a bishop's see, which was before at Christchurch in Birsay.
There was a man named Eldjarn, who was the son of Vardi; he had a wife and many children, and abode north in Kelduhverf, [A place in the north of Iceland.] but in a great dearth he became poor and feeble, so that he could not take care of himself, and at last he had so little strength that he could not walk, and was driven about from farm to farm. It fell in the spring after Easter, that he had been driven Thursday and Friday and Saturday, and had no food. At nones on Saturday he came to where a priest dwelt, and was there the night over. And next morning, when men went to matins, he begged that he might be carried to church, and that was done. After matins men went indoors between the services, but he lay outside in the place where his bed was made. He was then so strengthless, that he thought he must die there and then. It came also into his heart what his condition had been before, when he had so much goods all together; and that prayer which he prayed touched him so much that he thought much on it. Then he took and vowed six days fasting, if God would give him any health; this fast he vowed both before Olaf's-mass and Magnus-mass. When he had uttered his vow, men fared to prayers and the priest sang mass. When the epistle was read he fell asleep, but those who were by thought he must be about to die. In his slumber a vision came over him, so that he thought he saw a great light in the choir, and that came outside to him. He saw with the light a fair man and he spoke to him. "Eldjarn" quoth he "hast thou little strength now?" He thought he answered "So methinks; but so it may be that it is not so. But who art thou?" He answers "Here is the saint earl Magnus Erlend's son, wilt thou be made whole?" He answers "I will." That man answers, "The saint king Olaf heard thy prayer and that vow which thou madest to both of us for thy healing. But he sent me hither to give thee health; for a woman made a vow to him away west in the Firths, and he fared thither to make her whole." Then earl Magnus began to pass his hands over him; but he woke up when the gospel was begun. He spoke to those men who were nearest that they should raise him up. But they answered, "Why should we raise thee up when thou hast no strength in thee." He answers, "I think I am now whole." Then they took him and raised him on his feet, and he stood all through the gospel, and so on thenceforth all through the mass. After the mass he went in to the priest and tells the miracle how God had given him his health. But all praised God for those mercies which he had granted him for the worthiness of earl Magnus. May he bestow on us mercy and remission of sins, before our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, for ever and ever. Amen.