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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Norse

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Norse with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Norse Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Norse language and its speakers' culture.

from the Grettis saga

Ljs brann sklanum um nttina. Ok er af mundi rijungr at ntt, heyri Grettir t dunur miklar. Var farit upp hsin ok riit sklanum ok barit hlunum, sv at brakai hverju tr. v gekk lengi; var farit ofan af hsinum ok til dura gengit. Ok er upp var lokit hurunni, s Grettir at rllinn rtti inn hfuit, ok sndisk honum afskrmiliga mikit ok undarliga strskorit. Glmr fr seint ok rttisk upp, er hann kom inn dyrnar. Hann gnfai ofarliga vi rfrinu. Snr sklanum ok lagi handlegginn upp vertrit ok ggisk inn yfir sklann. Ekki lt bndi heyra til sn, v at honum tti rit um, er hann heyri hvat um var ti. Grettir l kyrr ok hrri sik hvergi. Glmr s at hrga nkkur l setinu, ok rzk n innar eptir sklanum ok reif feldinn stundar fast. Grettir spyrndi stokkinn ok gekk v hvergi. Glmr hnykti annat sinn miklu fastara, ok bifaisk hvergi feldrinn. rija sinn reif hann me bum hndum sv fast at hann rtti Gretti upp r setinu; kiptu n sundr feldinum millum sn.

Glmr leit slitrit er hann helt , ok undraisk mjk hverr sv fast mundi togask vi hann. Ok v hljp Grettir undir hendr honum ok reif um hann mijan ok spenti honum hrygginn sem fastast gat hann, ok tlai hann at Glmr skyldi kikna vi. En rllinn lagi at handleggjum Grettis sv fast at hann hrfai allr fyrir orku sakir. Fr Grettir undan mis setin. Gengu fr stokkarnir, ok alt brotnai at sem fyrir var. Vildi Glmr leita t, en Grettir fri vi ftr hvar sem hann mtti. En gat Glmr dregit hann fram r sklanum. ttu eir allhara skn, v at rllinn tlai at koma honum t r bnum; en sv ilt sem at eiga var vi Glm inni, s Grettir at var verra at fsk vi hann ti, ok v brauzk hann mti af llu afli at fara t. Glmr frisk aukana ok knepti hann at sr, er eir komu anddyrit. Ok er Grettir sr at hann fekk eigi vi spornat, hefir hann alt eitt atriit at hann hleypr sem harast fang rlnum ok spyrnir bum ftum jarfastan stein, er st durunum. Vi essu bjsk rllinn eigi; hann hafi togazk vi at draga Gretti at sr, ok v kiknai Glmr bak aptr ok rauk fugr t dyrnar, sv at herarnar nmu uppdyrit ok rfrit gekk sundr, bi viirnir ok ekjan frerin; fell hann sv opinn ok fugr t r hsinu, en Grettir hann ofan.

Translation

A light burned in the hall through the night. And as the third part of the night passed, Grettir heard great rumblings outside. It came up to the house and passed into the hall and struck with its heels, so that it creaked on every beam. This went on for a bit; then it went from the house and came to the doors. And as the door came open, Grettir watched as the thrall poked his head inside, and seemed to him hideously powerful and outlandishly huge. Glam advanced slowly and stood upright as he came inside through the doors. He extended right up to the roof. He turned to the hall and set his arm upon the crossbeam and peered in across the hall. The yeoman let no sound escape, and this seemed to him sufficient, when he heard what all was outside. Grettir lay quiet and moved not a bit. Glam noticed that some heap lay along the sideboards, and now made his way farther in along the hall and took a strong hold of the cloak. Grettir braced against the plank and did not move at all. Glam pulled a second time, much harder, but the cloak would not budge. The third time he grabbed hold with both hands so hard that he raised Grettir up from the sideboards; they rent the cloak asunder between them.
Glam looked at the rag which he was holding and was quite astonished that someone could pull so hard against him. And at that moment Grettir lept under his hands and grabbed round his midsection and wrapped round his back as tight as he could, as he intended that Glam should give way underneath. But the thrall laid hold of Grettir's arms so tight that he completely gave way on account of his strength. Grettir then slipped away from bed to bed. The planks shot from their settings, and all that came before them was broken. Glam wanted to find a way out, but Grettir would brace his feet everyplace he tried. At last Glam was able to drag him out from the hall. They had such a fierce struggle that the thrall thought to send him out of the house; but as difficult as it was to hold up against Glam inside, nevertheless Grettir saw that it was still worse to struggle with him outside, and for this he strove against his exit with all his might. Glam struck out with everything he had and pulled him to himself as they came to the hall vestibule. And as Grettir saw that he was not able to resist, he executed one fluid motion as he lept as hard as possible against the thrall's breast and kicked him with both feet against a stone set in the ground, which stood before the door. The thrall had not prepared himself for this; he had struggled to drag Grettir to himself, and at that Glam fell to the back and tumbled backwards out towards the door, so that his shoulders struck the lintel and the roof fell apart, both the beams and the frozen thatch; he fell over and backwards out of the house, and Grettir fell on top of him.