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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

Ljós brann í skálanum um nóttina. Ok er af mundi þriðjungr at nótt, heyrði Grettir út dunur miklar. Var þá farit upp á húsin ok riðit skálanum ok barit hælunum, svá at brakaði í hverju tré. Því gekk lengi; þá var farit ofan af húsinum ok til dura gengit. Ok er upp var lokit hurðunni, sá Grettir at þrællinn rétti inn hǫfuðit, ok sýndisk honum afskræmiliga mikit ok undarliga stórskorit. Glámr fór seint ok réttisk upp, er hann kom inn í dyrnar. Hann gnæfaði ofarliga við ræfrinu. Snýr skálanum ok lagði handlegginn upp á þvertréit ok gægðisk inn yfir skálann. Ekki lét bóndi heyra til sín, því at honum þótti œrit um, er hann heyrði hvat um var úti. Grettir lá kyrr ok hrœrði sik hvergi. Glámr sá at hrúga nǫkkur lá í setinu, ok rézk nú innar eptir skálanum ok þreif í feldinn stundar fast. Grettir spyrndi í stokkinn ok gekk því hvergi. Glámr hnykti í annat sinn miklu fastara, ok bifaðisk hvergi feldrinn. Í þriðja sinn þreif hann í með báðum hǫndum svá fast at hann rétti Gretti upp ór setinu; kiptu nú í sundr feldinum í millum sín.

Glámr leit á slitrit er hann helt á, ok undraðisk mjǫk hverr svá fast mundi togask við hann. Ok í því hljóp Grettir undir hendr honum ok þreif um hann miðjan ok spenti á honum hrygginn sem fastast gat hann, ok ætlaði hann at Glámr skyldi kikna við. En þrællinn lagði at handleggjum Grettis svá fast at hann hǫrfaði allr fyrir orku sakir. Fór Grettir þá undan í ýmis setin. Gengu þá frá stokkarnir, ok alt brotnaði þat sem fyrir varð. Vildi Glámr leita út, en Grettir fœrði við fœtr hvar sem hann mátti. En þó gat Glámr dregit hann fram ór skálanum. Áttu þeir þá allharða sókn, því at þrællinn ætlaði at koma honum út ór bœnum; en svá ilt sem at eiga var við Glám inni, þá sá Grettir at þó var verra at fásk við hann úti, ok því brauzk hann í móti af ǫllu afli at fara út. Glámr fœrðisk í aukana ok knepti hann at sér, er þeir komu í anddyrit. Ok er Grettir sér at hann fekk eigi við spornat, hefir hann alt eitt atriðit at hann hleypr sem harðast í fang þrælnum ok spyrnir báðum fótum í jarðfastan stein, er stóð í durunum. Við þessu bjósk þrællinn eigi; hann hafði þá togazk við at draga Gretti at sér, ok því kiknaði Glámr á bak aptr ok rauk ǫfugr út á dyrnar, svá at herðarnar námu uppdyrit ok ræfrit gekk í sundr, bæði viðirnir ok þekjan frerin; fell hann svá opinn ok ǫfugr út ór húsinu, en Grettir á 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.