Chapter 9 - Battle in Hafr's Firth.
King Harold proclaimed a general levy, and gathered a fleet, summoning his forces far and wide through the land. He went out from
Throndheim, and bent his course southwards, for he had heard that a large host was gathered throughout Agdir, Rogaland, and Hordaland, assembled
from far, both from the inland parts above, and from the east out of Vik, and many great men were there met who purposed to defend their land from
the king. Harold held on his way from the north, with a large force, having his guards on board. In the forecastle of the king's ship were Thorolf
Kveldulfsson, Bard the White, Kari of Berdla's sons, Aulvir Hnuf and Eyvind Lambi, and in the prow were twelve Berserks of the king.
The fleets met south in Rogaland in Hafr's Firth. There was fought the greatest battle that king Harold had had, with much slaughter in either host.
The king set his own ship in the van, and there the battle was most stubborn, but the end was that king Harold won the victory. Thorir Longchin, king
of Agdir, fell there, but Kjotvi the wealthy fled with all his men that could stand, save some that surrendered after the battle. When the roll of
Harold's army was called, many were they that had fallen, and many were sore wounded. Thorolf was badly wounded, Bard even worse; nor was there a man
unwounded in the king's ship before the mast, except those whom iron bit not to wit the Berserks.
Then the king had his men's wounds bound up, and thanked them for their valour, and gave them gifts, adding most praise where he thought it most
deserved. He promised them also further honour, naming some to be steersmen, others forecastle men, others bow-sitters. This was the last battle king
Harold had within the land; after this none withstood him; he was supreme over all Norway.
The king saw to the healing of his men, whose wounds gave them hope of life, as also to the burial of the dead with all customary honours. Thorolf and
Bard lay wounded. Thorolf's wounds began to heal, but Bard's proved mortal. Then Bard had the king called to him, and spoke thus:
'If it so be that I die of these wounds, then I would ask this of thee, that I may myself name my heir.'
To this when the king assented, then said he:
'I will that Thorolf my friend and kinsman take all my heritage, both lands and chattels. To him, also, will I give my wife and the bringing up of my son,
because I trust him for this above all men.'
This arrangement he made fast, as the law was, with the leave of the king. Then Bard died, and was buried, and his death was much mourned. Thorolf was
healed of his wounds, and followed the king, and had won great glory.
In the autumn the king went north to Throndheim. Then Thorolf asked to go north to Halogaland, to see after those gifts which he had received in the
summer from his kinsman Bard. The king gave leave for this, adding a message and tokens that Thorolf should take all that Bard had given him, showing
that the gift was with the counsel of the king, and that he would have it so. Then the king made Thorolf a baron, and granted him all the rights which
Bard had had before, giving him the journey to the Finns on the same terms. He also supplied to Thorolf a good long-ship, with tackling complete, and had
everything made ready for his journey thence in the best possible way. So Thorolf set out, and he and the king parted with great affection.
But when Thorolf came north to Torgar, he was well received. He told them of Bard's death; also how Bard had left him both lands and chattels, and her that
had been his wife; then he showed the king's order and tokens. When Sigridr heard these tidings, she felt her great loss in her husband, but with Thorolf
she was already well acquainted, and knew him for a man of great mark; and this promise of her in marriage was good, and besides there was the king's
command. So she and her friends saw it to be the best plan that she should be betrothed to Thorolf, unless that were against her father's mind. Thereupon
Thorolf took all the management of the property, and also the king's business.
Soon after this Thorolf started with a long-ship and about sixty men, and coasted northwards, till one day at eventide he came to Sandness in Alost; there
they moored the ship. And when they had raised their tent, and made arrangements, Thorolf went up to the farm buildings with twenty men. Sigurd received
him well, and asked him to lodge there, for there had been great intimacy between them since the marriage connection between Sigurd and Bard. Then Thorolf
and his men went into the hall, and were there entertained. Sigurd sat and talked with Thorolf, and asked tidings. Thorolf told of the battle fought that
summer in the south, and of the fall of many men whom Sigurd knew well, and withal how Bard his son-in-law had died of wounds received in the battle. This
they both felt to be a great loss. Then Thorolf told Sigurd what had been the covenant between him and Bard before he died, and he declared also the orders
of the king, how he would have all this hold good, and this he showed by the tokens.
After this Thorolf entered on his wooing with Sigurd, and asked Sigridr, his daughter, to wife. Sigurd received the proposal well; he said there were many
reasons for this; first, the king would have it so; next, Bard had asked it; and further he himself knew Thorolf well, and thought it a good match for his
daughter. Thus Sigurd was easily won to grant this suit; whereupon the betrothal was made, and the wedding was fixed for the autumn at Torgar.
Then Thorolf went home to his estate, and his comrades with him. There he prepared a great feast, and bade many thereto. Of Thorolf's kin many were present,
men of renown. Sigurd also came thither from the north with a long-ship and a chosen crew. Numerously attended was that feast, and it was at once seen that
Thorolf was free-handed and munificent. He kept about him a large following, whereof the cost was great, and much provision was needed; but the year was good,
and needful supplies were easily found.
During that winter Sigurd died at Sandness, and Thorolf was heir to all his property; this was great wealth.
Now the sons of Hildirida came to Thorolf, and put in the claim which they thought they had on the property that had belonged to their father Bjorgolf.
Thorolf answered them thus:
'This I knew of Brynjolf, and still better of Bard, that they were men so generous that they would have let you have of Bjorgolf's heritage what share they
knew to be your right. I was present when ye two put in this same claim on Bard, and I heard what he thought, that there was no ground for it, for he called
Harek said that they would bring witnesses that their mother was duly bought with payment.
'It is true that we did not at first treat of this matter with Brynjolf our brother it was a case of sharing between kinsmen, but of Bard we hoped to get
our dues in every respect, though our dealings with him were not for long. Now however this heritage has come to men who are in nowise our kin, and we cannot
be altogether silent about our wrong; but it may be that, as before, might will so prevail that we get not our right of thee in this, if thou refuse to hear
the witness that we can bring to prove us honourably born.'
Thorolf then answered angrily:
'So far am I from thinking you legitimate heirs that I am told your mother was taken by force, and carried home as a captive.'
After that they left talking altogether.
9. kafli - Orrosta í Hafrsfirði. Kvánfang Þórólfs.
Haraldr konungr bauð út leiðangri miklum ok dró saman skipaher, stefndi til sín liði víða um land. Hann fór ór Þrándheimi ok stefndi suðr í land.
Hann hafði þat spurt, at herr mikill var saman dreginn um Agðir ok Rogaland ok Hörðaland ok víða til safnat, bæði ofan af landi ok austan ór Vík, ok var þar margt
stórmenni saman komit ok ætlar at verja land fyrir Haraldi konungi.
Haraldr konungr helt norðan liði sínu. Hann hafði sjálfr skip mikit ok skipat hirð sinni. Þar var í stafni Þórólfr Kveld-Úlfsson ok Bárðr hvíti ok synir
Berðlu-Kára, Ölvir hnúfa ok Eyvindr lambi, en berserkir konungs tólf váru í söxum. Fundr þeira var suðr á Rogalandi í Hafrsfirði. Var þar in mesta orrosta, er
Haraldr konungr hafði átta, ok mikit mannfall í hvárratveggju liði. Lagði konungr framarliga skip sitt, ok var þar ströngust orrostan. En svá lauk, at Haraldr
konungr fekk sigr, en þar fell Þórir haklangr, konungr af Ögðum, en Kjötvi inn auðgi flýði ok allt lið hans, þat er upp stóð, nema þat, er til handa gekk eftir
Þá er kannat var lið Haralds konungs, var margt fallit, ok margir váru mjök sárir. Þórólfr var sárr mjök, en Bárðr meir, ok engi var ósárr á konungsskipinu fyrir
framan siglu nema þeir, er eigi bitu járn, en þat váru berserkir. Þá lét konungr binda sár manna sinna ok þakkaði mönnum framgöngu sína ok veitti gjafar ok lagði
þar mest lof til, er honum þótti makligir, ok hét þeim at auka virðing þeira, nefndi til þess skipstjórnarmenn ok þar næst stafnbúa sína ok aðra frambyggja. Þá
orrostu átti Haraldr konungr síðast innan lands, ok eftir þat fekk hann enga viðstöðu, ok eignaðist hann síðan land allt. Konungr lét græða menn sína, þá er lífs
var auðit, en veita umbúnað dauðum mönnum, þann sem þá var siðvenja til.
Þórólfr ok Bárðr lágu í sárum. Tóku sár Þórólfs at gróa, en Bárðar sár gerðust banvæn.
Þá lét hann kalla konung til sín ok sagði honum svá: "Ef svá verðr, at ek deyja ór þessum sárum, þá vil ek þess biðja yðr, at þér látið mik ráða fyrir arfi
En er konungr hafði því játat, þá sagði hann: "Arf minn allan, vil ek, at taki Þórólfr, félagi minn ok frændi, lönd ok lausa aura. Honum vil ek ok gefa konu
mína ok son minn til uppfæðslu, því at ek trrúi honum til þess bezt allra manna."
Hann festir þetta mál, sem lög váru til, at leyfi konungs. Síðan andast Bárðr, ok var honum veittr umbúnaðr, ok var hann harmdauði mjök. Þórólfr varð heill
sára sinna ok fylgði konungi um sumarit ok hafði fengit allmikinn orðstír.
Konungr fór um haustit norðr til Þrándheims. Þá biðr Þórólfr orlofs at fara norðr á Hálogaland at vitja gjafar þeirar, er hann hafði þegit um sumarit at Bárði,
frænda sínum. Konungr lofar þat ok gerir með orðsending ok jartegnir, at Þórólfr skal þat allt fá, er Bárðr gaf honum, lætr þat, at sú gjöf var ger með ráði
konungs ok hann vill svá vera láta. Gerir konungr þá Þórólf lendan mann. ok veitir honum þá allar veizlur þær, sem áðr hafði Bárðr haft, fær honum finnferðina
með þvílíkum skildaga sem áðr hafði haft Bárðr. Konungr gaf Þórólfi langskip gott með reiða öllum ok lét búa ferð hans þaðan sem bezt. Síðan fór Þórólfr þaðan
ferð sína, ok skilðust þeir konungr með inum mesta kærleik.
En er Þórólfr kom norðr í Torgar, þá var honum þar vel fagnat. Sagði hann þá fráfall Bárðar ok þat með, at Bárðr hafði gefit honum eftir sik lönd ok lausa aura
ok kvánfang þat, er hann hafði áðr átt, berr fram síðan orð konungs ok jartegnir. En er Sigríðr heyrði þessi tíðendi, þá þótti henni skaði mikill eftir mann sinn.
En Þórólfr var henni áðr mjök kunnigr, ok vissi hon, at hann var inn mesti merkismaðr ok þat gjaforð var allgott. Ok með því at þat var konungs boð, þá sá hon þat
at ráði ok með henni vinir hennar at heitast Þórólfi, ef þat væri feðr hennar eigi í móti skapi. Síðan tók Þórólfr þar við forráðum öllum ok svá við konungssýslu.
Þórólfr gerði heimanför sína ok hafði langskip ok á nær sex tigu manna ok fór síðan, er hann var búinn, norðr með landi. Ok einn dag at kveldi kom hann í Álöst á
Sandnes, lögðu skip sitt til hafnar. En er þeir höfðu tjaldat ok um búizt, fór Þórólfr upp til bæjar með tuttugu menn. Sigurðr fagnaði honum vel ok bauð honum þar
at vera, því at þar váru áðr kunnleikar miklir með þeim, síðan er mægð hafði tekizt með þeim Sigurði ok Bárði. Síðan gengu þeir Þórólfr inn í stofu ok tóku þar
gisting. Sigurðr settist á tal við Þórólf ok spurði at tíðendum. Þórólfr sagði frá orrostu þeiri, er verit hafði um sumarit suðr á landi, ok fall margra manna,
þeira er Sigurðr vissi deili á. Þórólfr sagði, at Bárðr, mágr hans, hafði andazt ór sárum þeim, er hann fekk í orrostu. Þótti þat báðum þeim inn mesti mannskaði.
Þá segir Þórólfr Sigurði, hvat verit hafði í einkamálum með þeim Bárði, áðr hann andaðist, ok svá bar hann fram orðsendingar konungs, at hann vildi þat allt
haldast láta, ok sýndi þar með jartegnir. Síðan hóf Þórólfr upp bónorð sitt við Sigurð ok bað Sigríðar, dóttur hans. Sigurðr tók því máli vel, sagði, at margir
hlutir heldu til þess, sá fyrstr, at konungr vill svá vera láta, svá þat, at Bárðr hafði þess beðit, ok þat með, at Þórólfr var honum kunnigr ok honum þótti dóttir
sín vel gift. Var þat mál auðsótt við Sigurð. Fóru þá fram festar ok á kveðin brullaupsstefna í Torgum um haustit.
Fór þá Þórólfr heim til bús síns ok hans förunautar ok bjó þar til veizlu mikillar ok bauð þangat fjölmenni miklu. Var þar margt frænda Þórólfs göfugra. Sigurðr
bjóst ok norðan ok hafði langskip mikit ok mannval gott. Var at þeiri veizlu it mesta fjölmenni.
Brátt fannst þat, at Þórólfr var örr maðr ok stórmenni mikit. Hafði hann um sik sveit mikla, en brátt gerðist kostnaðarmikit ok þurfti föng mikil. Þá var ár gott
ok auðvelt at afla þess, er þurfti.
Á þeim vetri andaðist Sigurðr á Sandnesi, ok tók Þórólfr arf allan eftir hann. Var þat allmikit fé.
Þeir synir Hildiríðar fóru á fund Þórólfs ok hófu upp tilkall þat, er þeir þóttust þar eiga um fé þat, er átt hafði Björgólfr, faðir þeira.
Þórólfr svarar svá: "Þat var mér kunnigt of Brynjólf ok enn kunnara um Bárð, at þeir váru manndómsmenn svá miklir, at þeir myndi hafa miðlat ykkr þat af arfi
Björgólfs, sem þeir vissi, at réttendi væri til. Var ek nær því, at þit hófuð þetta sama ákall við Bárð, ok heyrðist mér svá sem honum þætti þar engi sannendi
til, því at hann kallaði ykkr frillusonu."
Hárekr sagði, at þeir myndi vitni til fá, at móðir þeira var mundi keypt, - "en satt var þat, at vit leituðum ekki fyrst þessa mála við Brynjólf, bróður okkarn.
Var þar ok með skyldum at skipta. En af Bárði væntum vit okkr sæmðar í alla staði. Urðu ok eigi löng vár viðskipti. En nú er arfr þessi kominn undir óskylda menn
okkr, ok megum vit nú eigi með öllu þegja yfir missu okkarri. En vera kann, at enn sé sem fyrr sá ríkismunr, at vit fáim eigi rétt af þessu máli fyrir þér, ef þú
vill engi vitni heyra, þau er vit höfum fram at flytja, at vit sém menn aðalbornir."
Þórólfr svarar þá styggliga: "Því síðr ætla ek ykkr arfborna, at mér er sagt móðir ykkur væri með valdi tekin ok hernumin heim höfð."
Eftir það skilðu þeir þessa ræðu.