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.’
Illustration by Theodor Severin Kittelsen