|The Story of Rolf and the Viking's Bow|
|by Allen French|
|Relates the thrilling exploits of Rolf in the land of the Vikings: how he becomes an outlaw, and a thrall, and at long last gains his freedom and avenges the unlawful slaying of his father. Through his trials Rolf is challenged to grow in manliness, developing courage, self-control, patriotism, and perseverance, and in the end rising above the feud that has consumed him for so long. The story, inspired by Icelandic sagas, serves as an excellent introduction to the prevailing values of the Viking era. Ages 11-14 |
ROLF AND FRODI FARE ABROAD
OLF comes to Frodi where he
works in his smithy, there at the
head of Hvammfirth. Now the
weather is rough, and a strong sea rages
among the islands at the mouth of the
firth, and the tide-rips are bad. Rolf
comes into the smithy, and Frodi greets
"How went thy suit at the Althing?" asks he.
Then Rolf tells him all, how he was
now an outlaw, and how he escaped.
"And men are out to catch me, for as I
came down over the hill, I met one who
said that armed men were at the ferry
below, waiting for someone. Now lend
 me thy boat, Frodi, that I may cross to
Hvamm, and seek passage on that ship
which is there outfitting."
"Remain with me overnight," answered
Frodi, "for the wind is rough." But
Rolf would not stay. "Then," said
Frodi, "I will row with thee, to help
against the wind, and coming back I can
row easily alone."
"Thou wouldst thus come into danger
for forwarding an outlaw," replied Rolf,
and on no account would he suffer Frodi
to go. So perforce Frodi lent him the
boat, and they bade each other God-speed,
and Rolf set out.
That was a hard row in the face of the
wind, yet Rolf got safely to Hvamm.
Then, desiring that his enemies should
think him dead, he set the boat adrift,
and the oars separately, and saw the waves
carry them from the shore. Then he went
on his way to the ship which was fitting
 for the outward voyage; and because it
was the law that no shipmaster might
refuse passage to an outlaw, Rolf was sure
of safety. As he went he met a man of
Snorri the Priest, and Rolf sent by him a
message to his master: "Forget not thy
promise to keep my mother till my return."
And so he came to the ship, and
But that boat drifted across the firth,
and the wind and tide brought it again
to Frodi's smithy, where it lay and beat
upon the beach. Frodi went out and
drew it up, and knew it as his own, and
believed that Rolf was drowned. He went
back to his smithy, and sat there weeping.
Then came that way men of Einar's,
Hallvard and Hallmund, with Ondott
Crafty; and seeing they were three, and
Frodi so mild of temper, they went into
the smithy to taunt him with the misfortunes
of Rolf. Because he wept, they
 fell to laughing, and asked him: "Why
weepest thou, Whittle-Frodi?"
Frodi told them that Rolf was dead.
"For he took my boat to row across the
firth, and now is the boat come empty to
land, without oars or thole-pins."
Then they laughed the more, and
taunted him grievously, saying they were
glad at the news, and mocking his weeping.
So Hallmund came near, and put
his hand on Frodi, calling him a fool.
Frodi seized the hand, and rose, and they
all saw his face was changed.
"Never in my life," said Frodi, "have
I been angry till now!" He drew the
man to him, and snapped the bones of his
arm; then he raised him and cast him at
Hallvard, so that the two fell, but Ondott
"Now, Ondott," quoth Frodi, "here is
the whittle which once thou badst me draw.
Let us see if it will cut!" But when he
 drew the whittle, Ondott fled, and the
others scrambled together out of the smithy.
Then Frodi was afraid of the law, for
he thought: "They will make me an
outlaw for this assault." So he took his
boat, and got new oars and thole-pins.
Then he fetched his money from his
sleeping loft, and fared across Hvammfirth to
that same ship where Rolf was. Great
was his joy when he saw Rolf.
"What dost thou here?" asked Rolf.
"I will go with thee," answered Frodi.
Then he paid the shipmaster his faring,
and paid Rolf's also. Two days
thereafter they sailed down Broadfirth, and
saw Cragness at a little distance. The
cairn of Hiarandi was to be seen at the
edge of the cliff, but many persons were
at work in the field. Rolf knew that his
enemies had already set up their household
there; but the ship took him, heavy-hearted, east over the sea.
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