Chapter 4

Of dissension between Uspak and Odd.

It fell out that harvest that Uspak came north to Swalastead in Willowdale, where dwelt a woman called Swala, who gave him good entertainment; she was a fair woman and a young: she talked to Uspak, biddinghimlook to her matters; " for I have heard that thou art the best of husbandmen."

He took it well, and they talked much together, and either was well pleased with other, and they beheld each other blithely.

So their talk came to this, that he asked who had most to say in the giving of her in marriage. "Of such as are of any account," said she, "none is nigher to me than Thorarin the Sage, the Long-dale-folk's priest."

So Uspak rode to Thorarin, and was straightway greeted of him well, in a way; and there he set forth his errand, and wooed him Swala. Thorarin answers: "I cannot say I am eager for an alliance with thee: folk talk in diverse wise about thy dealings. I can see that it is no good to beat about the bush with such men as thou ; either must I break up her household, and have her hither; or else must ye do as ye will. I will have nought to do with it; nor will I deem myself as consenting to the match."

So thereon Uspak rides his ways, and comes to Swalastead, and tells Swala how matters stood : so they take their own counsel, and she betroths herself to him, and fares home with him to Mel; but they owned the house at Swalastead, and got men to take heed to it. So abideth Uspak at Mel, sustaining the bounteousness of the house; yet was he deemed a masterful man.

So weareth winter, and in spring came Odd into Ramfirth, once again full of wealth and good report of men: he came home to Mel, and looked over his possessions, and deems that they have been well heeded, and speaks well of that; and so wears on the summer.

But on a time Odd falls to talk with Uspak, saying that it were well for him to take his priesthood again. "Yea," said Uspak, "that was even the thing I was most unwilling to take up, and the most unfit to deal with; I am all ready to give it up; but I deem that men are mostly wont to do that at the Leets or the Things." Odd answereth: " So it may well be." Now neareth summer on to the Leet; and on the morning thereof when Odd awakes, he looks about, and findeth few men in the hall, and he has slept fast and long: so he sprang up and found that the men are clean gone from the hall, and deemed it marvellous, but said but little. So he arrayed him, and certain men with him, and rode away to the Leet; but when they came there, they found many men, but these well nigh ready to depart; and the Leet was hallowed. Odd changed countenance, and deemed this impudence marvellous.

Men ride home, and a few days wear away thence; but on a day as Odd sat at table with Uspak over against him, even as he least looked for it Odd sprang from the board, and at Uspak with axe raised aloft, and bade him give up his priesthood now.

Uspak answers: "No need of carrying the matter on with all this violence : thou mayest have the priesthood whenso thou wilt. I wotted not that thou wert so eager to have it" Therewith he stretches out his hand, and gives Odd the priesthood.

Now were things quiet awhile; but henceforth Odd and Uspak had little to do with each other; and Uspak was somewhat cross-grained of temper; and it is deemed that he was minded to have kept the priesthood from Odd, if he had not been cowed out of it when he could not get off.

Now Uspak did nought to help the housekeeping, and Odd never called upon him for any work, and neither spake to other.

So on a day Uspak gat him gone, and Odd made as if he knew it not, and in such wise they parted that no greeting passed between them. Uspak went to his house at Swalastead, but Odd made as if nought had happed, and so all is quiet a space.