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Sigurd was the name of an earl who ruled over the Orkneys; he was the son of Hlodver, the son of Thorfinn the skullsplitter, the son of Turf-Einar, the son of Rognvald, Earl of Moeren, the son of Eystein the Noisy. Kari was one of Earl Sigurd's body-guard, and had just been gathering scatts in the Southern Isles from Earl Gilli. Now Kari asks them to go to Hrossey (1), and said the earl would take to them well. They agreed to that, and went with Kari and came to Hrossey. Kari led them to see the earl, and said what men they were.

"How came they," says the earl, "to fall upon thee?"

"I found them," says Kari, "in Scotland's firths, and they were fighting with the sons of Earl Moldan, and held their own so well that they threw themselves about between the bulwarks, from side to side, and were always there where the trial was greatest, and now I ask you to give them quarters among your body-guard."

"It shall be as thou choosest," says the earl, "thou hast already taken them so much by the hand."

Then they were there with the earl that winter, and were worthily treated, but Helgi was silent as the winter wore on. The earl could not tell what was at the bottom of that, and asked why he was so silent, and what was on his mind. "Thinkest thou it not good to be here?"

"Good, methinks, it is here," he says.

"Then what art thou thinking about?" asks the earl.

"Hast thou any realm to guard in Scotland?" asks Helgi.

"So we think," says the earl, "but what makes thee think about that, or what is the matter with it?"

"The Scots," says Helgi, "must have taken your steward's life, and stopped all the messengers, that none should cross the Pentland Firth."

"Hast thou the second sight?" said the earl.

"That has been little proved," answers Helgi.

"Well," says the earl, "I will increase thy honour if this be so, otherwise thou shalt smart for it."

"Nay," says Kari, "Helgi is not that kind of man, and like enough his words are sooth, for his father has the second sight."

After that the earl sent men south to Straumey (2) to Arnljot, his steward there, and after that Arnljot sent them across the Pentland Firth, and they spied out and learnt that Earl Hundi and Earl Melsnati had taken the life of Havard in Thraswick, Earl Sigurd's brother-in-law. So Arnljot sent word to Earl Sigurd to come south with a great host and drive those earls out of his realm, and as soon as the earl heard that, he gathered together a mighty host from all the isles.


(1) The mainland of Orkney, now Pomona. (2) Now Stroma, in the Pentland Firth.

Next: 85. The Battle With The Earls