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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 320 pages of information about Eric Brighteyes.

Bjoern took a bow and set a shaft upon the string.  He drew it and the arrow sung through the air and smote her, speeding through her heart.  With a cry Groa threw up her arms.

Then down she plunged.  She fell on Wolf’s Fang, where Eric once had stood and, bouncing thence, rushed to the boiling deeps below and was no more seen for ever.

Thus, then, did Asmund the Priest wed Unna, Thorod’s daughter, and this was the end of the feasting.

Thereafter Bjoern, Asmund’s son, ruled at Middalhof, and was Priest in his place.  He sought for Koll the Half-witted to kill him, but Koll took the fells, and after many months he found passage in a ship that was bound for Scotland.

Now Bjoern was a hard man and a greedy.  He was no friend to Eric Brighteyes, and always pressed it on Gudruda that she should wed Ospakar Blacktooth.  But to this counsel Gudruda would not listen, for day and night she thought upon her love.  Next summer there came tidings that Eric was safe in Ireland, and men spoke of his deeds, and of how he and Skallagrim had swept the ship of Ospakar single-handed.  Now after these tidings, for a while Gudruda walked singing through the meads, and no flower that grew in them was half so fair as she.

That summer also Ospakar Blacktooth met Bjoern, Asmund’s son, at the Thing, and they talked much together in secret.

XVIII

HOW EARL ATLI FOUND ERIC AND SKALLAGRIM ON THE SOUTHERN ROCKS OF STRAUMEY ISLE

Swanhild, robed in white, as though new risen from sleep, stood, candle in hand, by the bed of Atli the Earl, her lord, crying “Awake!”

“What passes now?” said Atli, lifting himself upon his arm.  “What passes, Swanhild, and why dost thou ever wander alone at nights, looking so strangely?  I love not thy dark witch-ways, Swanhild, and I was wed to thee in an ill hour, wife who art no wife.”

“In an ill hour indeed, Earl Atli,” she answered, “an ill hour for thee and me, for, as thou hast said, eld and youth are strange yokefellows and pull different paths.  Arise now, Earl, for I have dreamed a dream.”

“Tell it to me on the morrow, then,” quoth Atli; “there is small joyousness in thy dreams, that always point to evil, and I must bear enough evil of late.”

“Nay, lord, my rede may not be put aside so.  Listen now:  I have dreamed that a great dragon of war has been cast away upon Straumey’s south-western rocks.  The cries of those who drowned rang in my ears.  But I thought that some came living to the shore, and lie there senseless, to perish of the cold.  Arise, therefore, take men and go down to the rocks.”

“I will go at daybreak,” said Atli, letting his head fall upon the pillow.  “I have little faith in such visions, and it is too late for ships of war to try the passage of the Firth.”

“Arise, I say,” answered Swanhild sternly, “and do my bidding, else I will myself go to search the rocks.”

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