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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 126 pages of information about Vandrad the Viking, the Feud and the Spell.

“I would slay him, Helgi, like a dog, were it not that something within me bids me ask in this wise the wishes of Odin.”

“’Tis the voice of yon witch.”

“She is no witch, Helgi, only the fairest girl in all the North.  Listen, and I will tell you the story of this spell; but remember it is to you alone I tell it, and never must another know of my shame.”

“Have you ever known me betray your trust?”

“Never, Helgi, my brother, or you would not hear this tale.  To me it seems the story of six years of my life, though it was scarcely as many weeks; but I shall make it as brief as I may.”

“The hour is yet early.”

“After the battle, Helgi, I should have been drowned but for that maid you saw.  She saved my life, and that at least I owe her.  She brought me to the abode of her father, the hermit of the Holy Isle; and there I learned to love her.  For six weeks I was no Viking.  I forgot my kinsfolk and my country, forgot all but Osla.”

“Call you not that a spell?”

“Did you not say yourself that you had known many spells like that, cast on men by maids?  It was the magic of love that entangled me.”

“Men said the hermit was a wizard.”

“No wizard, Helgi, or he had never let me come there.  He was a moody and fitful old man.  I pleased him with my songs, talked to him of the strange religion he professes—­for he is what men call a Christian—­and grew in time to think of him as a friend.  (Verily, I think there must have been magic!) All this while I spoke no word of love to Osla, though I think she was not indifferent to me.”

“It was easy to see that.”

“Twice on that island a voice I could not name warned me from beyond the grave, but I heeded it not. (Can the man have been a wizard?) One night—­it was the night you landed, Helgi—­I sat alone with the hermit.  Something had moved him to talk.  I remember now! it was a song I sung myself.  He told me a tale of a burning.

“Helgi, he had hardly begun ere I knew the end, and could name my warning voice.  The tale was the burning of Laxafiord, and the voice was my brother Olaf’s.”

“And the hermit?”

“Is Thord the Tall, the last of the burners.”

“Is!  Then you slew him not?”

“My dagger was drawn, I was bending towards him, when I heard without the steps of Osla.  I fled—­ask me not what I thought or what I did.  Thord the Tall and I both live, and I would know whether the gods would have it so.  Wherefore I meet Liot this morning.”

“Then you have spared Olaf’s burner for the sake of the burner’s daughter?”

“I had eaten his bread and shared his dwelling for six weeks, and but for that daughter I had never lived to meet him.”

“He slew your brother, Estein.”

“There is no need to remind me of that.”

“Methinks there is; he still lives.”

“And I still love his daughter.”

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