“Let us sit here, Osla,” he said. “I have a new song to sing you.”
“I must bake my cakes,” she answered. “Can you not sing it to us to-night?”
“It concerns only you. Sit here but for a moment; it is not long, and you can escape from me when I have done.”
“Very well,” she said, with a smile and an air of resignation. “I will listen, but do not keep me long.”
“If it will tire you, I can wait.”
“You can try me.”
“I must leave the Holy Isle soon, Osla; I have been too long away from my kinsfolk and my country. It is hard to part, but it must come some day, and these verses are my parting song.”
She was silent, and seemed intently plucking sea pinks.
“I cannot tell you why,” he went on, “but to-day I feel that my hour has come to rove again. I would that I might live here for ever, but I know it is not fated so.”
Then he sang his farewell song:—
“Canst thou spare a sigh, fair Osla? It is fated I must go. Wilt thou think of Vandrad ever When the sea winds hoarsely blow, Or will the memory of my love With absence fainter grow?
“Canst thou spare a tear, sweet Osla, When I sail from this fair land? Wilt thou dream of Vandrad sometimes When the waves boom on the strand? Can visions of a pleasant hour The march of time withstand?
“Osla, when I bear me bravely, ’Midst the lightning of the sword, And the armies meet like torrents When the mountain snows have thawed The thought of thine approving smile Shall be my sole reward.
“Fare thee well, sweet blue-eyed Osla! The sea-king must not stay, E’en for tresses rich as summer And for smile as bright as May; But one hope I cannot part from—We may meet again some day!”
“Then are you going?” she said, more softly than he had ever heard her speak before.
“Do you wish me to stay?”
“Not if you wish to rove the seas again, and fight and plunder, as a brave man should,” she cried with a flash of raillery. “If it is your fate to go, why should I stand in the way? Am I anything to you?”
She gave him no time to answer, but rose and ran lightly away.
Andreas the hermit.
The same day Estein rowed across alone to Hrossey, and started over the hills with his bow and arrows. He walked for some miles through moorland ground, and paused at length on the top of a range of hills, whence he had a wide view over the inland country. There he sat down and mused for long. Below him he saw a valley opening out into a sweep of low-lying land, watered by many lochs, and bounded by heather hills. All round, in glimpses between the highest hill-tops, and in wide, unbroken stretches over the lower ranges, the open sea girdled the island. Gradually the stillness of the place and the freshness of the air told upon him, and at length he fell asleep.