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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370 STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG
and every bone of him broken. Next night Grettir sat up to watch; and when a third of the night wras past, he heard a terrible din as of one riding the roof, and driving his heels against the thatch so that every rafter cracked again. He went to the door, and saw Glam, whose head, as it appeared to him, was monstrously big. Glam came slowly in and took hold of a bundle lying on the seat, but Grettir planted his foot against a beam, seized the bundle also, and pulled against Glam with such strength that the wrapper was rent between them. Glam wondered who might this be that pulled with such strength against him, when Grettir rushed in, seized him round the waist, and tried to force him down backwards ; but he shrank all aback by reason of Glam's strength, which, indeed, seemed to be almost greater than his own. A wondrous hard wrestling bout was that; but at last Grettir, gathering up his strength for a sudden effort, drove against Glam's breast, at the same moment pushing with both feet against the half-sunken stone that stood in the threshold of the door. For this Glam was not ready, therefore he reeled backwards and spun against the door, so that his shoulders caught against the upper part of it; the roof burst — both rafters and frozen thatch — and he fell open-armed back­wards out of the house with Grettir over him.
It was bright moonlight without, with drift scudding over the moon; at that instant the moon's face cleared, and Glam glared up against her. By that sight only Gret­tir confessed himself dismayed beyond all that he had ever seen ; nor, for weariness and fear together, could he draw his sword to strike off Glam's head withal. But Glam was crafty beyond other ghosts, so that now he spoke: ' Ex­ceeding eager hast thou been to meet me, Grettir, but it will be deemed no wonder if this meeting work thee harm. This must I tell thee, that thou now hast but half the strength and manhood which was thy lot if thou hadst not met me; I may not take from thee the strength that was thine before, but this may I rule — that thou shalt never
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