“And what of the treasure?” I asked. “Shall that go with him?”
“It is Gerda’s, and she must say,” he answered. “Yet she will need it.”
Then Dalfin said:
“It will be hard to tell her so, but she must not part with it. It stands between her and want, if it may be saved for her. Yet, if it was the will of the old king that it should be set in his grave, I do not know how we can persuade her to keep it. He is not here to say that he does not need it; for he has learnt that now.”
I glanced at the penthouse with the thought of that strange vision of mine. I could not tell my comrades of it, but I thought that, if need was, I might tell Gerda presently. I said in answer to Dalfin that he was right, and that we must set the matter thus before Gerda.
“The sooner the better,” said Bertric. “Do you go and speak with her. We must not let the night pass without this being done, as I think”
Chapter 7: The Treasure Of The King.
Gerda heard me coming, and met me at the same spot where we had first spoken of this matter. She saw that I had come to tell her what we had said thereof.
“What of the others?” she asked anxiously.
“They have spoken in all thought for you, even as I knew they would,” I answered. “We are at one in thinking that the sea grave is most fitting.”
She asked me why, as if to satisfy some doubts which she yet had, and I must needs tell her therefore what our own dangers were, though I made as light of them as I could. I told of the perils of a lee shore to this under-manned ship; of the chance of meeting another ship at any time here on the Norway coast; of crews and of wreckers who would hold naught sacred; of the chance of our drifting thus idly for many days in this summer weather—all chances which were more likely than the quiet coming to the islands where my father’s name was known and honoured enough for us to find help. From these chances it was best to save the king, who was our care, and at once. She heard me very bravely to the end.
“So let it be,” she said, sighing. “You will suffer the treasure to go with him?”
“That is as you will, lady,” I said; “it is yours. Was it the wish of Thorwald that it should pass to the mound with him?”
She glanced at me, half proudly and half as in some rebuke.
“Thorwald would ask for naught but his arms,” she said. “The treasure was mine, for he did but hoard to give. I would set him forth as became Odin’s champion. He was no gold lover.”
“Should it not be, then, as he would have wished?” I said. “Let him pass to the depths with his war gear, and so through Aegir’s halls to the place of Odin, as a warrior, and unburdened with the gold he loved not at all.”
She looked sharply at me, and shrank away a little, half turning from me.
“Is the treasure so dear to you men after all?” she asked coldly.