“It will be a good fortune if thou art by my side,” said Eric, “so good that I doubt greatly if I may find it, for I am Eric the Unlucky. Swanhild must yet be reckoned with, Gudruda. Yes, thou art right: thou must go hence, Gudruda, and swiftly, though it grieves me much to part with thee.”
Then Eric called Skallagrim and bade him make things ready to ride down to Middalhof with the Lady Gudruda.
This Skallagrim did swiftly, and afterwards Eric and Gudruda kissed and parted, and they were sad at heart to part.
Now on the fifth day after the going of Gudruda, Skallagrim came back to Mosfell somewhat cold and weary. And he told Eric, who could now walk and grew strong again, that he and Jon had ridden with Gudruda the Fair to Horse-Head Heights, seeing no man, and had left her there to go on with her thralls. He had come back also seeing no one, for the weather was too cold for the men of Gizur to watch the fell in the snows.
Now Gudruda came safely to Middalhof, having been eleven days gone, and found that few had visited the house, and that these had been told that she lay sick abed. Her secret had been well kept, and, though Swanhild had no lack of spies, many days went by before she learned that Gudruda had gone up to Mosfell to nurse Eric.
After this Gudruda began to make ready for her flight from Iceland. She called in the moneys that she had out at interest, and with them bought from a certain chapman a good trading-ship which lay in its shed under the shelter of Westman Isles. This ship she began to make ready for sea so soon as the heart of the winter was broken, putting it about that she intended to send her on a trading voyage to Scotland in the spring. And also to give colour to this tale she bought many pelts and other goods, such as chapmen deal in.
Thus the days passed on—not so badly for Gudruda, who strove to fill their emptiness in making ready for the full and happy time; but for Eric in his cave they were very heavy, for he could find nothing to do except to sleep and eat, and think of Gudruda, whom he might not see.
For Swanhild also, sitting at Coldback, the days did not go well. She was weary of the courting of Gizur, whom she played with as a cat plays with a rat, and her heart was sick with love, hate, and jealousy. For she well knew that Gudruda and Eric still clung to each other and found means of greeting, if not of speech. At that time she wished to kill Eric if she could, though she would rather kill Gudruda if she dared. Still, she could not come at Eric, for her men feared to try the narrow way of Mosfell, and when they met him in the open they fled before him.
Presently it came to her ears that Gudruda made a ship ready to sail to Scotland on a trading voyage, and she was perplexed by this tale, for she knew that Gudruda had no love of trading and never thought of gain. So she set spies to watch the ship. Still, the slow days drew on, and at length the air grew soft with spring, and flowers showed through the snow.