Now Snorri the Priest hears how the causes stood, and then he begins to draw up his men in arry below "the Great Rift," between it and Hadbooth, and laid down beforehand to his men how they were to behave.
Now the messenger comes to Thorhall Asgrim's son, and tells him how things stood, and how Mord Valgard's son and his friends would all be made outlaws, and the suits for manslaughter be brought to naught.
But when he heard that, he was so shocked at it that he could not utter a word. He jumped up then from his bed, and clutched with both hands his spear, Skarphedinn's gift, and drove it through his foot; then flesh clung to the spear, and the eye of the boil too, for he had cut it clean out of the foot, but a torrent of blood and matter poured out, so that it fell in a stream along the floor. Now he went out of the booth unhalting, and walked so hard that the messenger could not keep up with him, and so he goes until he came to the Fifth Court. There he met Grim the Red, Flosi's kinsman, and as soon as ever they met, Thorhall thrust at him with the spear, and smote him on the shield and clove it in twain, but the spear passed right through him, so that the point came out between his shoulders. Thorhall cast him off his spear.
Then Kari Solmund's son caught sight of that, and said to Asgrim, "Here, now, is come Thorhall thy son, and has straightway slain a man, and this is a great shame, if he alone shall have the heart to avenge the burning."
"That shall not be," says Asgrim, "but let us turn on them now."
Then there was a mighty cry all over the host, and then they shouted their war-cries.
Flosi and his friends then turned against their foes, and both sides egged on their men fast.
Kari Solmund's son turned now thither where Ami Kol's son and Hallbjorn the Strong were in front, and as soon as ever Hallbjorn saw Kari, he made a blow at him, and aimed at his leg, but Kari leapt up into the air, and Hallbjorn missed him. Kari turned on Arni Kol's son and cut at him, and smote him on the shoulder, and cut asunder the shoulder blade and collar-bone, and the blow went right down into his breast, and Ami fell down dead at once to earth.
After that he hewed at Hallbjorn and caught him on the shield, and the blow passed through the shield, and so down and cut off his great toe. Holmstein hurled a spear at Kari, but he caught it in the air, and sent it back, and it was a man's death in Flosi's band.
Thorgeir Craggeir came up to where Hallbjorn the Strong was in front, and Thorgeir made such a spear-thrust at him with his left hand that Hallbjorn fell before it, and had hard work to get on his feet again, and turned away from the fight there and then. Then Thorgeir met Thorwalld Kettle Rumble's son, and hewed at him at once with the axe, "the ogress of war," which Skarphedinn had owned. Thorwalld threw his shield before him, and Thorgeir hewed the shield and cleft it from top to bottom, but the upper horn of the axe made its way into his breast, and passed into his trunk, and Thorwalld fell and was dead at once.
Now it must be told how Asgrim Ellidagrim's son, and Thorhall his son, Hjallti Skeggi's son, and Gizur the White, made an onslaught where Flosi and the sons of Sigfus and the other burners were;--then there was a very hard fight, and the end of it was that they pressed on so hard, that Flosi and his men gave way before them. Gudmund the Powerful, and Mord Valgard's son, and Thorgeir Craggeir, made their onslaught where the Axefirthers and Eastfirthers, and the men of Reykdale stood, and there too there was a very hard fight.
Kari Solmund's son came up where Bjarni Broddhelgi's son had the lead. Kari caught up a spear and thrust at him, and the blow fell on his shield. Bjarni slipped the shield on one side of him, else it had gone straight through him. Then he cut at Kari and aimed at his leg, but Kari drew back his leg and turned short round on his heel, and Bjarni missed him. Kari cut at once at him, and then a man ran forward and threw his shield before Bjarni. Kari cleft the shield in twain, and the point of the sword caught his thigh, and ripped up the whole leg down to the ankle. That man fell there and then, and was ever after a cripple so long as he lived.
Then Kari clutched his spear with both hands, and turned on Bjarni and thrust at him; he saw he had no other chance but to throw himself down sidelong away from the blow, but as soon as ever Bjarni found his feet, away he fell back out of the fight.
Thorgeir Craggeir and Gizur the White fell on there where Holmstein the son of Bersi the Wise, and Thorkel Geiti's son were leaders, and the end of the struggle was, that Holmstein and Thorkel gave way, and then arose a mighty hooting after them from the men of Gudmund the Powerful.
Thorwalld Tjorfi's son of Lightwater got a great wound, he was shot in the forearm, and men thought that Halldor Gudmund the Powerful's son had hurled the spear, but he bore that wound about with him all his life long, and got no atonement for it.
Now there was a mighty throng. But though we here tell of some of the deeds that were done, still there are far many more of which men have handed down no stories.
Flosi had told them that they should make for the stronghold in the Great Rift if they were worsted, "For there," said he, "they will only be able to attack us on one side." But the band which Hall of the Side and his son Ljot led, had fallen away out of the fight before the onslaught of that father and son, Asgrim and Thorhall. They turned down east of Axewater, and Hall said, "This is a sad state of things when the whole host of men at the Thing fight, and I would, kinsman Ljot, that we begged us help even though that be brought against us by some men, and that we part them. Thou shalt wait for me at the foot of the bridge, and I will go to the booths and beg for help."
"If I see," said Ljot, "that Flosi and his men need help from our men, then I will at once run up and aid them."
"Thou wilt do in that as thou pleasest," says Hall, "but I pray thee to wait for me here."
Now flight breaks out in Flosi's band, and they all fly west across Axewater; but Asgrim and Gizur the White went after them and all their host. Flosi and his men turned down between the river and the Outwork booth. Snorri the Priest had drawn up his men there in array, so thick that they could not pass that way, and Snorri the Priest called out then to Flosi, "Why fare ye in such haste, or who chase you?"
"Thou askest not this," answered Flosi, "because thou dost not know it already; but whose fault is it that we cannot get to the stronghold in the Great Rift?"
"It is not my fault," says Snorri, "but it is quite true that I know whose fault it is, and I will tell thee if thou wilt; it is the fault of Thorwalld Cropbeard and Kol."
They were both then dead, but they had been the worst men in all Flosi's band.
Again Snorri said to his men, "Now do both, cut at them and thrust at them, and drive them away hence, they will then hold out but a short while here, if the others attack them from below; but then ye shall not go after them, but let both sides shift for themselves."
The son of Skapti Thorod's son was Thorstein gapemouth, as was written before, he was in the battle with Gudmund the Powerful, his father-in-law, and as soon as Skapti knew that, he went to the booth of Snorri the Priest, and meant to beg for help to part them; but just before he had got as far as the door of Snorri's booth, there the battle was hottest of all. Asgrim and his friends, and his men were just coming up thither, and then Thorhall said to his father Asgrim, "See there now is Skapti Thorod's son, father."
"I see him kinsman," said Asgrim, and then he shot a spear at Skapti, and struck him just below where the calf was fattest, and so through both his legs. Skapti fell at the blow, and could not get up again, and the only counsel they could take who were by, was to drag Skapti flat on his face into the booth of a turf- cutter.
Then Asgrim and his men came up so fast that Flosi and his men gave way before them south along the river to the booths of the men of Modruvale. There there was a man outside one booth whose name was Solvi; he was boiling broth in a great kettle, and had just then taken the meat out, and the broth was boiling as hotly as it could.
Solvi cast his eyes on the Eastfirthers as they fled, and they were then just over against him, and then he said, "Can all these cowards who fly here be Eastfirthers, and yet Thorkel Geiti's son, he ran by as fast as any one of them, and very great lies have been told about him when men say that he is all heart, but now no one ran faster than he."
Hallbjorn the Strong was near by then, and said, "Thou shalt not have it to say that we are all cowards."
And with that he caught hold of him, and lifted him up aloft, and thrust him head down into the broth-kettle. Solvi died at once; but then a rush was made at Hallbjorn himself, and he had to turn and fly.
Flosi threw a spear at Bruni Haflidi's son, and caught him at the waist, and that was his bane; he was one of Gudmund the Powerful's band.
Thorstein Hlenni's son took the spear out of the wound, and hurled it back at Flosi, and hit him on the leg, and he got a great wound and fell; he rose up again at once.
Then they passed on to the Waterfirthers' booth, and then Hall and Ljot came from the east across the river, with all their band; but just when they came to the lava, a spear was hurled out of the band of Gudmund the Powerful, and it struck Ljot in the middle, and he fell down dead at once; and it was never known surely who had done that manslaughter.
Flosi and his men turned up round the Waterfirther's booth, and then Thorgeir Craggeir said to Kari Solmund's son, "Look, yonder now is Eyjolf Bolverk's son, if thou hast a mind to pay him off for the ring."
"That I ween is not far from my mind," says Kari, and snatched a spear from a man, and hurled it at Eyjolf, and it struck him in the waist, and went through him, and Eyjolf then fell dead to earth.
Then there was a little lull in the battle, and then Snorri the Priest came up with his band, and Skapti was there in his company, and they ran in between them, and so they could not get at one another to fight.
Then Hall threw in his people with theirs, and was for parting them there and then, and so a truce was set, and was to be kept throughout the Thing, and then the bodies were laid out and borne to the church, and the wounds of those men were bound up who were hurt.
The day after men went to the Hill of Laws. Then Han of the Side stood up and asked for a hearing, and got it at once; and he spoke thus, "Here there have been hard happenings in lawsuits and loss of life at the Thing, and now I will show again that I am little-hearted, for I will now ask Asgrim and the others who take the lead in these suits, that they grant us an atonement on even terms;" and so he goes on with many fair words.
Kari Solmund's son said, "Though all others take an atonement in their quarrels, yet will I take no atonement in my quarrel; for ye will wish to weigh these manslayings against the burning, and we cannot bear that."
In the same way spoke Thorgeir Craggeir.
Then Skapti Thorod's son stood up and said, "Better had it been for thee, Kari, not to have run away from thy father-in-law and thy brothers-in-law, than now to sneak out of this atonement."
Then Kari sang these verses:
"Warrior wight that weapon wieldest
Spare thy speering why we fled,
Oft for less falls hail of battle,
Forth we fled to wreak revenge;
Who was he, fainthearted foeman,
Who, when tongues of steel sung high,
Stole beneath the booth for shelter,
While his beard blushed red for shame?
"Many fetters Skapti fettered
When the men, the Gods of fight,
From the fray fared all unwilling
Where the skald scarce held his shield;
Then the suttlers dragged the lawyer
Stout in scolding to their booth,
Laid him low amongst the riffraff,
How his heart then quaked for fear.
"Men who skim the main on sea stag
Well in this ye showed your sense
Making game about the Burning,
Mocking Helgi, Grim, and Njal;
Now the moor round rocky Swinestye (1),
As men run and shake their shields,
With another grunt shall rattle
When this Thing is past and gone."
Then there was great laughter. Snorri the Priest smiled and sang this between his teeth, but so that many heard:
"Skill hath Skapti us to tell
Whether Asgrim's shaft flew well;
Holmstein hurried swift to flight,
Thorstein turned him soon to fight."
Now men burst out in great fits of laughter.
Then Hall of the Side said, "All men know what a grief I have suffered in the loss of my son Ljot; many will think that he would be valued dearest of all those men who have fallen here; but I will do this for the sake of an atonement--I will put no price on my son, and yet will come forward and grant both pledges and peace to those who are my adversaries. I beg thee, Snorri the Priest, and other of the best men, to bring this about, that there may be an atonement between us."
Now he sits him down, and a great hum in his favour followed, and all praised his gentleness and goodwill.
Then Snorri the Priest stood up and made a long and clever speech, and begged Asgrim and the others who took the lead in the quarrel to look towards an atonement.
Then Asgrim said, "I made up my mind when Flosi made an inroad on my house that I would never be atoned with him; but now Snorri the Priest, I will take an atonement from him for thy word's sake and other of our friends."
In the same way spoke Thorleif Crow and Thorgrim the Big, that they were willing to be atoned, and they urged in every way their brother Thorgeir Craggeir to take an atonement also; but he hung back, and says he would never part from Kari.
Then Gizur the White said, "Now Flosi must see that he must make his choice, whether he will be atoned on the understanding that some will be out of the atonement."
Flosi says he will take that atonement; "And methinks it is so much the better," he says, "that I have fewer good men and true against me."
Then Gudmund the Powerful said, "I will offer to handsel peace on my behalf for the slayings that have happened here at the Thing, on the understanding that the suit for the burning is not to fall to the ground."
In the same way spoke Gizur the White and Hjallti Skeggi's son, Asgrim Ellidagrim's son and Mord Valgard's son.
In this way the atonement came about, and then hands were shaken on it, and twelve men were to utter the award; and Snorri the Priest was the chief man in the award, and others with him. Then the manslaughters were set off the one against the other, and those men who were over and above were paid for in fines. They also made an award in the suit about the burning.
Njal was to be atoned for with a triple fine, and Bergthora with two. The slaying of Skarphedinn was to be set off against that of Hauskuld the Whiteness Priest. Both Grim and Helgi were to be paid for with double fines; and one full man-fine should be paid for each of those who had been burnt in the house.
No atonement was taken for the slaying of Thord Kari's son.
It was also in the award that Flosi and all the burners should go abroad into banishment, and none of them was to sail the same summer unless he chose; but if he did not sail abroad by the time that three winters were spent, then he and all the burners were to become thorough outlaws. And it was also said that their outlawry might be proclaimed either at the Harvest-Thing or Spring-Thing, whichever men chose; and Flosi was to stay abroad three winters.
As for Gunnar Lambi's son, and Grani Gunnar's son, Glum Hilldir's son, and Kol Thorstein's son, they were never to be allowed to come back.
Then Flosi was asked if he would wish to have a price put upon his wound, but he said he would not take bribes for his hurt.
Eyjolf Bolverk's son had no fine awarded for him, for his unfairness and wrongfulness.
And now this settlement and atonement was handselled and was well kept afterwards.
Asgrim and his friends gave Snorri the priest good gifts, and he had great honour from these suits.
Skapti got a fine for his hurt.
Gizur the White, and Hjallti Skeggi's son, and Asgrim Ellidagrim's son, asked Gudmund the Powerful to come and see them at home. He accepted the bidding, and each of them gave him a gold ring.
Now Gudmund rides home north and had praise from every man for the part he had taken in these quarrels.
Thorgeir Craggeir asked Kari to go along with him, but yet first of all they rode with Gudmund right up to the fells north. Kari gave Gudmund a golden brooch, but Thorgeir gave him a silver belt, and each was the greatest treasure. So they parted with the utmost friendship, and Gudmund is out of this story.
Kari and Thorgeir rode south from the fell, and down to the Rapes (1), and so to Thurso-water.
Flosi, and the burners along with him, rode east to Fleetlithe, and he allowed the sons of Sigfus to settle their affairs at home. Then Flosi heard that Thorgeir and Kari had ridden north with Gudmund the Powerful, and so the burners thought that Kari and his friend must mean to stay in the north country; and then the sons of Sigfus asked leave to go east under Eyjafell to get in their money, for they had money out on call at Headbrink. Flosi gave them leave to do that, but still bade them be ware of themselves, and be as short a time about it as they could.
Then Flosi rode up by Godaland, and so north of Eyjafell Jokul, and did not draw bridle before he came home east to Swinefell.
Now it must be said that Hall of the Side had suffered his son to fall without a fine, and did that for the sake of an atonement, but then the whole host of men at the Thing agreed to pay a fine for him, and the money so paid was not less than eight hundred in silver, but that was four times the price of a man; but all the others who had been with Flosi got no fines paid for their hurts, and were very ill pleased at it.
The sons of Sigfus stayed at home two nights, but the third day they rode east to Raufarfell, and were there the night. They were fifteen together, and had not the least fear for themselves. They rode thence late, and meant to reach Headbrink about even. They baited their horses in Carlinedale, and then a great slumber came over them.
(1) "Swinestye," ironically for Swinefell, where Flosi lived. (2) This is the English equivalent for the Icelandic Hrep, a district. It still lingers in "the Rape of Bramber," and other districts in Sussex and the southeast.