STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG 375
luckless a man to abide with us, and if ever man has been cursed, of all men must thou have been,' said he; and advised him to go back to Iceland in the summer. Meanwhile Asmund the Greyhaired died, and was buried at Biarg, and Atli succeeded to his goods, but was soon afterwards basely murdered by a neighbouring chief who bore him ill-will for his many friendships, and grudged him his possessions. Thorir of Garth brought a suit at the Thing to have Grettir outlawed for the burning of his sons ; but Skapti the Lawman thought it scarcely fair to condemn a man unheard, and spoke these wise words: 'A tale is half told if one man tells it, for most folk are readiest to bring their stories to the worser side when there are two ways of telling them.' Thorir, however, was a man of might, and had powerful friends; these between them pushed on the suit, and with a high hand rather than according to law obtained their decree. Thus was Grettir outlawed for a deed of which he was innocent. These three pieces of bad news greeted him all at once on his return to Iceland: his father's death, his brother's murder, and his own outlawry.
One of the first things he did was to avenge his brother's murder, but there was a price on his head, and he wandered about from place to place in the wilderness. On one occasion, as he lay asleep, some men of Icefirth came upon him, and though they were ten in number they had much ado to take him; but at last they bound him, and put up a gallows, for they intended to hang him. Fortunately for Grettir, at that moment there rode along the wife of the ruling chief of that district, who interposed and set him free, on his promise not to stir up strife in that neighbourhood. His next adventure was at a place called Ernewaterheath where he had built himself a hut, and lived by fishing in the river. There were other outlaws, who, on hearing that Grettir was in the neighbourhood, made a bargain with one Grim that he should slay him. Grim begged Grettir to take him into his hut, which