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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380 STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG
Now Drangey was an island whose cliffs rose sheer up from the sea; there was good pasturage on it, and many sheep and cattle, owned by about twenty men, who amongst them held the island in shares. Two men called Hialti and Thorbiorn Angle, being the richest men, had the largest shares. When the men got ready to fetch their beasts from the island for slaughter, they found it occupied, which they thought strange ; but supposing the men in possession to be shipwrecked sailors, they rowed to the place where the ladders were, but found these drawn up. Persuasion was of no avail, so the baffled owners retired, and in one way or another made over their respective shares to Angle, on the understanding that he would free the island from these unwelcome in­truders. The months wore on, and brought no change; but now Grettir said he would go to the mainland and get victuals. Disguising himself, he carried out his plan, leaving Illugi and Noise to guard the ladders. Sports were being held at a place called Heron-ness, and the stranger was asked if he would wrestle. ' Time was,' he said, ' when he had been fond of it, but he had now given it up; yet, upon condition of peace and safe con­duct being assured to him until such time as he returned home, he was willing to try a bout.' This was agreed to, whereupon he cast aside his disguise, and stood revealed as Grettir the outlaw. All saw that they had been be­guiled, yet, for their oath's sake, they could do nothing. First Hialti alone tried to throw Grettir, but met with nothing but a mighty fall; then he and his brother Angle tried together, but though each of them had the strength of two men they were no match for their antag­onist, and had to retire discomfited.
Then Grettir went back to Drangey. Two winters had now been spent on the island, but firewood was hard to come by; Noise was sent down to gather drifted logs from the sea, but he grew lazier and grumbled more and more every day, letting the fire out on one occasion,
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