Chapter 10

Of Ufeig and his Talk with Gellir.

So departed Ufeig from Egil, and went his ways: he went wandering among the booths, still somewhat dragging of gait, howbeit not so downcast of heart as tottering of foot, and nought so easily tripped in his case, as he is lame of foot. At last he cometh to the booth of Gellir Thordson and has him called out; he came forth, and greeted Ufeig first, for he was a lowly-mannered man, and asked what his errand was; Ufeig answers: "I was just wandering about here."

Gellir said: " Thou wilt be wanting to talk about Odd's case?" "Nay," says Ufeig, "I will not be talking of it: I wash my hands of it: other pastime, I would have than that."

Gellir said; "What wilt thou talk of then?"

Ufeig said: "I hear say that thou art a wise man, and a good game I deem it to talk with wise men."

So they sit down together and fall to talk, and Ufeig asks: "Which of the young folk in the west country deemest thou like to turn out a great man?"

Gellir said there was good choice of such, and named the sons of Snorri the Priest and the Ere-men. "I hear tell" said Ufeig, "that so it is; and moreover I am now come to the right place to learn tidings, whereas I am now talking to a man both truthful and straightforward: but now which of the women west-away there are accounted the best matches?"

Gellir named the daughters of Snorri the Priest, and of Steinthor of Ere.

"So I hear tell," said Ufeig; "and yet, how comes it? hast thou ne'er a daughter?"

Gellir said yea, certes he had.

"How was it that thou namedst her not, then?" said Ufeig; "sure none shall be fairer than thy daughters, if likelihood shall rule: are they unwedded yet?"

"Yea," said he. "How comes that?" said Ufeig.

Says Gellir: "Because no one has come a-wooing as yet, who was both wealthy and a man of rule over folk, of great kin and of good conditions: for though I be not a wealthy man in money, yet am I hard to please because of my high blood and great honour. But come, let us talk the matter down to the bottom by question: what man of the north country is likely for a chieftain, thinkest thou?"

Ufeig answers: "There is good choice of men: first I account Einar Jarnskeggi's son, or Hall Styrmir's son; yea, and some there are who deem Odd my son like to be somewhat; and herewith am I come to the word he bade me give thee, that he would ally himself with thee, and wed Ragnheid thy daughter."

"Yea, yea," said Gellir; "time was when that would have won a good answer, but as things go now it must be put off, meseemeth."

"How so?" said Ufeig.

Said Gellir: "Well, as things go, thy son Odd rseemeth somewhat under a cloud."

Ufeig answered: "I tell thee of a sooth thou wilt never wed her better: none may gainsay it that he is as well of manners as the best, nor lacketh he either for wealth or good kin: thou moreover art pretty much of a lack-penny, and it might well be that thou shalt be strengthened in him, a man most great-hearted to his friends."

Gellir says: "The thing might be looked at, but for this suit that hangs over him."

Ufeig answers: "Speak not of that wretched matter, which is for nought but the shame and disgrace of all such as have meddled therein."

Gellir answers: "None the less it is to be looked for that it will go otherwise; so I will not assent to the match, though if the suit might be got rid of, I were full fain thereof."

Answereth Ufeig: "Belike, Gellir, ye shall all make your fortunes out of this, and I may as well tell thee what thy share shall be, for I know all about it: well, at the best ye eight Banded Men will have half of the lands of Mel between you: nor do I deem thy share then a good one; the gain of a little wealth to wit, and the loss therewith of good report and manliness; thou who wert called erewhile one of the best of men in the whole land."

Gellir asked how that might be, and Ufeig answered: "Meseemeth, forsooth, that Odd is now at sea with all he hath, save the land at Mel: it was not to be looked for that he would lie shiftless before you, and should let you pick and choose in all between you.

"Nay," quoth Ufeig, "rather said he that if he should come to Broadfirth he might happen on thy house, and then could he wive himself out of thy walls; and he said moreover that he had tinder enough to burn up thy house if he would: yea, or were he to be in Burgfirth, he hath heard tell that it is no great way up from the sea to Burg; or, quoth he, if he came into Eyiafirth he might stumble upon Jarnskeggi's stead; or in likewise should he come unto the Eastern-firths, he might come across Skeggbroddi's dwelling: nor maketh he much account of it if he never come back to Iceland again : but ye shall have out of all this a meet lot, shame to wit, and dishonour; and ill I deem it that a chieftain so good as thou should be so evilly bestead, and fain had I spared it thee."

Gellir answered : "Yea, it will be true enough belike; and I should heed it little though the getting of the money slipped through: for herein I let myself be drawn by my friends rather than that my heart was set on it."

Ufeig said: "So wilt thou look on it as soon as thou growest cool, that thou wilt deem it the more honourable part to wed thy daughter to Odd my son, even as I said at the first: lo! here is the money that he sent thee, saying that he himself will pay her dower, for he knoweth thee a poor man: two hundreds in silver, lo! and such silver as may scarce be gotten. Note now what a man offers thee this choice! to wed thy daughter, and he himself to pay her dower; and for thyself, it is most like he will never use thee miserly; while thy daughter hath gotten all good fortune."

Gellir answered: "This is a thing so great that it is hard to value; but for nought can I bring myself to betray those that trust me: yet see I that nought will come of it but mocking and scorn."

Then answered Ufeig: "Wondrous wise forsooth are ye great men! who asked of thee to betray them that trust in thee? or tread thine oath under foot? Nay but mayhappen the award shall come into thine hands, and then mayest thou make it little, and yet hold to thine oath."

Gellir said: "True is that, and thou art a shifty carle, and wondrous cunning: yet may I not alone fly in the face of all these men."

Ufeig said: "How would it be if I got another to be with thee? wouldst thou help the case then?"

"That will I" said Gellir, " if thou bring it about that I have a hand in the award."

Ufeig said: "Whom dost thou choose to be with thee?"

Gellir answers: "Egil will I choose; he is nighest allied to me."

"Folly," said Ufeig, "to choose him who is worst of all your company; I were loth indeed to give him any honour, and I wot not whether I will set my hand to it."

"Have thine own way then," said Gellir.

Ufeig said: " Wilt thou take up the case if I bring him into it with thee? for meseemeth he will have wits to know whether it is good to take honour or not"

"Seeing my good bargain," said Gellir, "I am minded to risk it."

Said Ufeig: "Then have Egil and I talked the matter over already, and he deemed it nought hard to handle, and is come into the case. So now shall I counsel thee what to do. The company of you Banded Men are ever wont to go to church together, nor will any man misdoubt it though thou and Egil talk what ye will as ye go to evensong."

So Gellir took the money, and all is settled between them.

Then Ufeig went his ways towards Egil's booth, going neither slowly nor swerving about, nor bowed down ; and he telleth Egil how the matter standeth now, and that liketh him well.

So afterward in the evening men go to evensong, and Egil and Gellir talk the matter over, and settle all between them, and no man misdoubted of it any whit.