THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG 365
had taken a leading part in passing a law, the object of which was that all berserkers should be outlawed. These berserkers were roving bands of pirates, brave fighters, but respecting no man's property; on the contrary, their chief object was to lay violent hands on women and goods to which they had no title. It is easily to be understood that Thorfinn, in consequence of his action, had incurred their bitterest enmity. One day Grettir observed a ship approaching, rowed by twelve men; it landed near Thornfmn's boatstand, wherein was his boat which was never launched by less than thirty men; nevertheless these twelve pushed it down to the water's edge, laid their own boat upon it, and bore it into the boatstand.
Grettir's suspicions being aroused, he went down, and after giving them a hearty welcome, asked who they were. The leader told him he was known as Thorir Paunch; that his brother was Ogmund, and the rest fellows of theirs. Grettir told them they could not have come at a better time, if, as he thought, they had some grudge against Thorfinn, for he was away from home, and would not be back till Yule was past, but his wife and daughter were in the house. 'Now am I well enough minded to take revenge on Thorfinn,' said Thorir, ' and this man is ready enough of tidings, and no need have we to drag the words out of him.' So they all went up to the farm, but the women were distracted with fear, thinking that Grettir had played false. He, however, induced the berserkers to lay aside their arms, and when evening was come, brought them beer in abundance, and entertained them with tales and merry jests. After a while he proposed to lead them to Thorfinn's treasure house: nothing loth they followed readily; when they were all inside he managed to slip out and lock them in. He then ran back for weapons: a broad-headed barbed spear, his sword and helmet. Now the berserkers knew they had been entrapped;
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