366 STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG
breaking down the panelling of a wall they rushed out into the passage, where in the nick of time arrived Grettir, who thrust Thorir through with his spear; Ogmund the Evil was pressing close behind, so that the same thrust which pierced the one transfixed the other also. The remainder defended themselves with logs and whatever lay ready to hand, or tried to escape; but Grettir slew all of them save two, who for the moment escaped, but were found next day under a rock, dead from cold and wounds.
Shortly afterwards Thorfinn returned, and when he was told of the wondrous deeds of Grettir, who had thus saved the honour of his house, he bade him come to him whenever he needed aid; and the two were now close friends ; moreover, Grettir's fame began to spread abroad, and he became renowned all over Norway. Leaving his friend Thorfinn, he took passage in a ship belonging to one Thorkel, who lived in Heligoland. He welcomed Grettir heartily to his house, but with a man called Biorn, who lived there with him, the Icelander could by no means agree, nor indeed did others find it easy, for Biorn's temper was hasty and difficult.
It happened that a savage bear wrought havoc at that time, being so grim that it spared neither man nor beast, so one night Biorn set out to slay it. The bear was in its cave, in the track leading to which Biorn lay down, with his shield over him, to wait for the beast to stir abroad as its manner was. But the beast suspected the presence of the man, and was slow to move: delayed so long indeed that Biorn fell asleep. Now the bear became brisk enough, sallied forth, hooked its claws in Biorn's shield, and threw it over the cliff. Biorn woke suddenly and ran, just escaping its clutch; but the whole proceedings had been watched, and he had to endure many taunts and jeers. Grettir went afterwards and killed the beast, though not without a terrible struggle, in which they both fell over the rocks, but the bear was underneath,