Romsdal the second part: In which Ketil speaks to Thorstein.
Grey-haired Ketil heard the murmur,
Heard the talking of his neighbours,
But said nothing, thought in silence,
And did not lead out his servants.
One day Ketil, at the feast-board
Spoke to Thorstein sitting by him
At this time the fair-haired Thorstein
Eighteen years had lived in Romsdal.
‘These days young men choose the home-hearth
Where they sit in idle feasting,
Meat and ale are all they dream of
Never honour’s daring exploits.
As a young man I won honour
Going raiding, facing danger,
I won wealth in hard-fought duels;
Courage called me, and I followed
You’re not great in strength or stature,
And I think your deeds and courage
Will prove small and show your spirit
Small as well – as all men see you.
You’ve no heart to follow forebears,
Vikings who in long sea journeys
Got renown and riches also,
Wrote their names with bloody sword stroke.
They won treasures, rings and armour,
Clasps of fine wrought gold and garnets;
Not for sons the wealth was gathered
But in death to lay beside them.
Greater honor to my family
Would a gap be in our lineage,
Than that there be one like Thorstein
Who knows sword-play like a woman.’
Illustration by Halfdan Egedius