Romsdal the fourth part: In which Thorstein comes to the forest.
Fog had hid the highest cliff-tops,
Made a secret of the mountains,
Fold on fold the white fleece mantle
Made a cloak for giant’s shoulders.
Black fjord waters in the valley
Quiet lay, but riding higher
Thorstein heard the river’s clatter,
Thundering through grey broken boulders.
Thorstein rode up to the forest,
There he stopped, his horse to tether,
Where the path ducked neath the branches
As if slipping through a hell-door.
Thorstein hoped that luck would love him
As he stepped into the darkness,
For he thought a hive of killers
Must be waiting in the forest.
Fifteen men in arms together
There had vanished at the new-moon,
Never more were seen in sunlight;
How could one man face such danger?
Long he stole along the pathway
Till he saw a little by-way
Which he followed to a clearing
Where a fine-built hall was standing.
Underneath its great fir lintel
Thorstein passed, and there before him
Stood a table white with linen,
Bright with silver cup and platter.
Finest food awaited someone,
And a big bed, richly curtained,
Thorstein thought with such dimensions
Great must be the man who sleeps there.
And betwixt the bed and chimney
On the wide board floor were lying
Many chests and huge sacks bulging,
All with pillage overflowing-
Saxon silver, cloth from Friesland,
Furs from Jamtland, combs of antler,
Saddles, spears and strong steel mail-coats,
Woven belts, and Viking ingots.
Night was falling in the forest
And the fire low was burning,
Thorstein stirred the flickering flame up,
For this foe unknown sat waiting.
Soon he heard a horse-hoof clatter,
Drawing toward him through the forest,
So he climbed among the treasures,
Nestled down midst sacks and boxes.
Illustration by Theodor Severin Kittelsen