STORY OF GRETTIR THE STRONG 379
seeing blood washed down by the swirling waters, and thinking Grettir was killed, fled in alarm and spread the report of his death. Grettir meanwhile stayed in the cave till far on into the night; he found there the bones of two men, which he put in a bag; swimming with them to the rope, he shook it, but as the priest had gone he had to draw himself up by strength of hands. He took the bones to the church, where he left them, returning himself to Sandheaps. When the priest saw Grettir, the latter taxed him with breach of faith in quitting the rope, which charge the priest must needs admit; however, no great harm had resulted, the bones were buried, and the district was freed from hauntings. Grettir received much credit, in so far as he had cleansed the land from these evil wights who had wrought the loss of the men there in the dale.
Our hero remained in hiding at Sandheaps, but Thorir of Garth heard of him and sent men to take him. Grettir accordingly left the place and went to Maddervales, to Gudmund the Rich, of whom he begged shelter. Gud-mund, however, dared not harbour him, but advised him to seek shelter in an isle called Drangey in Skagafirth. The place, he said, was excellent for defence, for without ladders no one could land. Grettir agreed to go, and went home to Biarg to bid his mother farewell. His brother, Hlugi, was now fifteen years old, a handsome boy, and he overheard Grettir's conversation with his mother about his proposed departure to Drangey. ' I will go with thee, brother,' said he, ' though I know not that I shall be of any help to thee, unless that I shall be ever true to thee, nor run from thee whiles thou standest up.' Asdis bade them farewell, warning Grettir against sorcery; yet well she knew that she would never see either of her sons again. They left Biarg, going north towards Drangey ; and on the way met with a big ill-clad loon called Thorbiorn Noise, a man too lazy to work, and a great swaggerer; but they allowed him to join them.