876 THE BISHOP OF BORGLUM AND HIS KINSMEN
singing brings up strange thoughts in the hearers—thoughts of the old times into which we are carried back.
On the coast a ship is stranded ; and the bishop's warriors are there, and spare not those whom the sea has spared. The sea washes away the blood that has flowed from the cloven skulls. The stranded goods belong to the bishop, and there is a store of goods here. The sea casts up casks and barrels filled with costly wine for the convent cellar, and in the convent is already good store of beer and mead. There is plenty in the kitchen—dead game and poultry, hams and sausages ; and fat fish swim in the ponds without.
The Bishop of Borglum is a mighty lord. He has great possessions, but still he longs for more—everything must bow before the mighty Olaf Glob. His rich cousin at Thyland is dead. ' Kinsman is worst to kinsman': his widow will find this saying true. Her husband has possessed all Thyland, with the exception of the Church property. Her son was not at home. In his boyhood he had already been sent abroad to learn foreign customs, as it was his wish to do. For years there had been no news of him. Perhaps he had long been laid in the grave, and would never come back to his home, to rule where his mother then ruled.
' What has a woman to do with rule ? ' said the bishop.
He summoned the widow before a law court; but what did he gain thereby ? The widow had never been disobedient to the law, and was strong in her just rights.
Bishop Olaf of Borglum, what dost thou purpose ? What writest thou on yonder smooth parchment, sealing it with thy seal, and entrusting it to the horsemen and servants, who ride away—far away—to the city of the Pope ?
It is the time of falling leaves and of stranded ships, and soon icy winter will come.
Twice had icy winter returned before the bishop welcomed the horsemen and servants back to their home. They came from Rome with a papal decree—a ban, or bull, against the widow who had dared to offend the pious bishop. * Cursed be she and all that belongs to her. Let her be expelled from the congregation and the Church. Let no man stretch forth a helping hand to her, and let friends and relations avoid her as a plague and a pestilence !'