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Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 67

From her third brother, Asbrand, who had only one son, Biargey asked a turf-cutter, as hers was not keen enough to cut all she wanted; again she was offered her choice, and chose the new, untried cutter, instead of the old, rusty, notched one. Then Biargey bade farewell to Asbrand, refusing his offer of hospitality, and went home to Howard, and told him of her quests and the promises she had received. The old couple knew what the promises meant, but they said nothing to each other about it.

The Arousing of Howard

When seven days had passed Biargey came to Howard, saying: “Arise now, and play the man, if thou wilt ever win vengeance for Olaf. Thou must do it [Pg 114] now or never, since now the opportunity has come. Knowest thou not that to-day Thorbiorn returns to Bathstead, and thou must meet him to-day? And have I not found helpers for thee in my nephews? Thou wilt not need to face the strife alone.”

Hereupon Howard sprang up joyfully from his bed, and was no longer lame or halt, nor looked like an old man, but moved briskly, clad himself in good armour, and seemed a mighty warrior. His joy broke forth in words, and he chanted songs of gladness in vengeance, and joy in strife, and evil omen to the death-doomed foe. Thus gladly, with spear in hand, he went forth to find his enemy and avenge his son; but he turned and kissed his brave wife farewell, for he said: “It may well be that we shall not meet again.” Biargey said: “Nay, we shall meet again, for I know that thou bearest a bold heart and a strong arm, and wilt do valiantly.”

Howard Gathers his Friends

Howard and one fighting-man took their boat and rowed to Valbrand’s house, and saw him and his sons making hay. Valbrand greeted Howard well, for he had not seen him for long, and begged him to stay there, but Howard would not. “I am in haste, and have come to fetch the two new seal-nets thou didst lend to my wife,” he said; and Valbrand understood him well. He called to his sons, “Come hither, lads; here is your kinsman Howard, with mighty work on hand,” and the two youths ran up hastily, leaving their hay-making. Valbrand went to the house, and returned bearing good weapons, which he gave to his sons, bidding them follow their kinsman Howard and help in his vengeance.

They three went down to the boat, took their [Pg 115] seats beside


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