STORY OF G RETTIR THE STRONG 361
Thorkel then allowed Grettir his choice : whether to go on to the Thing, or return home. He chose the first alternative ; but a lawsuit was set on foot by the heirs of the dead man. Thorkel paid the necessary fines, but Grettir was outlawed, banished from the country, and had to stay abroad three years.
Asmund entrusted his son to the keeping of a man called Haflidi, the captain of a ship that was sailing for Norway ; father and son parted with but little sorrow between them, but Asdis accompanied the boy part of the way, and gave him a sword which had been owned by Jo-kul, her grandfather; for which Grettir thanked her well, saying he deemed it better than things of more worth, so he came to the ship. With the sailors he was no more popular than he had been elsewhere, for he would work only by fits and starts, as he pleased ; besides, he had a gift of making very biting rhymes, which he indulged in at the expense of all on board. But when he did condescend to work he was a match for any four, or, as some say, for any eight men by reason of his strength. After they had sailed some way east over the sea, and had much thick weather, one night they ran aground on a rock near an island which turned out to be Haramsey, off Norway. The lord of that island was called Thorfinn, son of Karr the Old. When day dawned he sent down a boat to rescue the shipwrecked sailors, who were saved, with their merchandise, but their vessel broke up. Grettir remained with Thorfinn some time ; and was fond of rambling about the island, going from house to house; and he made friends with one Audun, not, of course, the one who has already been mentioned.
One night the two noticed a great blaze on a ness or headland, and Grettir asked the reason of it, adding, that in his country such a fire would only burn above hidden treasure. Audun told him he had better not inquire too closely into the matter, which, however, as one might expect, only whetted his curiosity the more. He was