Romsdal pt. 7

Romsdal pt. 1
Romsdal pt. 2
Romsdal pt.3
Romsdal pt. 4
Romsdal pt. 5
Romsdal pt. 6

Romsdal the seventh part: In which Jokul speaks.

‘Who has dealt me such a sword-blow?’
Cried the man, who fast held Thorstein
Hard against the strong bed panel
While a dark stream from his heart flowed.

Spoke brave Thorstein, knowing surely
That his life was at his mercy,
‘I am Thorstein, son of Ketil,
And I struck this blow for Romsdal.’

Said the man: “You were too hasty.
And alas, I moved too slowly;
I had almost left for Gotland,
Left my evil deeds behind me.

I deserved not Ketil’s vengeance,
At my hand he’s never suffered.
None would blame me if I killed you,
Made you sleep within the forest.

None would know though, what your fate was,
Or of me, when swarms of wood-mice
Would leave two men’s bones here lying
In a lone hall of the mountains.

All my days have I been wicked
But perhaps I’ll die in wisdom.
Gold can give me now no honour;
Thorstein can, if he is living.

I must tell to you my name now –
I am Jokul, son of Ingimund,
Earl upon the isle of Gotland
Where the white rocks wall the sea-waves.

Glittering coins and amber amulets
In dread combat I have taken;
These are yours with just one sword-stroke,
And I give you life now with them.

If you count this gift as worthy,
Go to Gotland, see my father.
First bespeak my mother Vigdis
That she make a peace between you.

Give to her my loving greeting
Tell her what befell between us.
Though she weep, she’ll heed my wishes;
Ask her for my sister Thordis.

My heart tells me you’ll be lucky
Leading men in battle boldly.
Better she wed such a leader
Than to be a Viking’s plunder.

Ingimund will not deny her
If my mother but speak for you.
Of my sister’s sons or grandsons
Give to one the name of Jokul.

Yet I fear to raise a sword-storm:
Heed the warning of a dead man.
When my father dies in Gotland,
Do not stay there with my kinsmen.’

Jokul pressed a golden token
Into Thorstein’s hand, and told him:
‘Take this so they’ll know I sent you;
Now draw out my treacherous weapon.

Only tell my story foul
To your father and my kinsmen.
My wrongdoing is rewarded.
We will not speak here much longer.’

black-death-mice-skeleton
Illustration by Theodor Severin Kittelsen

Romsdal – Conclusion

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