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chest of silver


In the later days of Hakon the Great I was in my ninth decade of years, and save for my blindness was a hale and hearty man. One summer, when men made ready to go to the Althing, I asked Grim that I might ride with him to the Althing. Grim was slow to grant this. And when Grim and Thordis talked together, Grim told her what I had asked.

One of the servants told me about their conversation. Grim asked her to find out what I had in mind.

Thordis then came to talk with me.  I always found great pleasure to talk to her. And when she met me she asked “Is it true, uncle, that you wish to ride to the Althing? I want you to tell me what plan you have in this?”

“I will tell you,” I said, “what I have thought of. I mean to take with me to the Althing two chests that king Athelstan gave me, each of which is full of English silver. I mean to have these chests carried to the Hill of Laws just when it is most crowded. Then I mean to broadcast the silver. I shall be surprised if they share it fairly between them. I think there will be blows and kicks. It will end in a general fight of the assembled Althing.”

Thordis said “A famous plan, and it will be remembered so long as Iceland is inhabited.”

They, Thordis and Grim, foiled my plan. While everyone else was enjoying the Althing I sat at home; blind and brooding.

But I did not brood for nothing. I made a plan. I forced two of Grim’s servants to ready a horse for a ride to the hot springs. I took my two chests of English silver and rode out. No one ever saw the two chests or the two slaves again.

I finally confessed to Grim that I killed the two slaves.

In the autumn following I fell sick and died. When I was dead, Grim had me dressed in my blue and gold embroidered cloak. He carried me down to Tjalda-ness. Then he made a sepulchral mound. There I was temporarily buried, with my weapons and beautiful clothes.

People still find silver English coins in a certain river. They are sure that it is part of the two chests that I buried. On the other hand I may have put them in the bog.

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