Vandrad the Viking, the Feud and the Spell eBook

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

“Of Olaf?” exclaimed Estein, with a slight start.

“Ay, of Olaf.  Often have I fought by his side on sea and shore, and dearly, more dearly than I ever loved man or woman since, I loved the youth.  Thou even as a child wert strangely like him in features, and as I look upon thee now, there comes back memories of blither days.  Wonder not then that I long was fain to see thee.”

“Then why came you not to my father’s house?” said Estein.  “A friend of his son’s would ever be welcome.”

“Thy father and I fell out,” replied Atli, “the wherefore I must still keep behind the shrouding-curtain, but for my present purpose it matters little.  I could not visit Hakonstad; I could not even stay in the land of my birth.  Olaf fell.”

His voice trembled a little, and he paused.  Estein said nothing, but waited for him to go on.  Then in a brisker tone he continued,- -

“For some years I sailed the west seas; but I was growing old and my strength was wearing away with the wet work and the fighting, so I hied me home again.”

“And my father?” asked Estein.  “Knew not of my coming,” Atli replied.  “Of friends and kinsmen I had few left in the land, but I had long had other thoughts for myself than the tilling of fields and the emptying of horns at Yule.  Often at night had I sat out. [Footnote:  To “sit out” was a method of reading the future practised by sorcerers, in which the magician spent the night under the open sky, and summoned the dead to converse with him.] I had read the stars, and talked with divers magicians and men skilled in the wisdom of things unseen.  I wandered for long among the Finns, I dwelt with the Lapps, and learned the lore of those folks.  Then I came to Jemtland, where cunning men were said to live.”

“Cunning!” exclaimed Estein furiously; “treacherous hounds call them.”

“Cunning, indeed, they are,” said the old man, “but not wise.  This Jomar here is held a spaeman by the people.”

He glanced contemptuously at the sleeping figure on the floor.

“Since I came,” he went on, “I have taught him more than he could have learned in a lifetime here and now, as thou hast seen, he fears and obeys me as a master.  With him I took up my abode, living in a spot known only to few.  Yet my thoughts turned continually to Norway, and chiefly flew to thee, Estein.  I dreamt of thee often, and at last a voice”—­his own sank almost to a whisper as he spoke—­“a voice bade me seek thee.  How I fared thou knowest.”

“I would that I had given more heed to your warning,” said Estein gloomily.

“It all came true then?” cried Atli.  “Nay, there is no need to answer.  Truth I tell, and truth must happen.”

“Have you, then, further rede to give me?”

“Ay, I have heard of this spell and the sore change that has befallen thee, and in my dreams and outsittings I have seen many things—­an old man habited in a strange garb, and a maid by his side.  Ha! flew the shaft true?”

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Vandrad the Viking, the Feud and the Spell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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