|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 |
THE SUMMONING OF HIARANDI
HEN that man who had brought
the news and made the false
swearing was well out of the
country, then Ondott bestirred himself
to go against Hiarandi. Said he to
"It is time that we summon Hiarandi
soon to answer to the blood-suit, for the
sitting of the Althing draws nigh."
To that Einar assented, and on the
morrow Ondott bade two men arm
themselves and go with them to Cragness.
"Why need we men?" asked Einar.
"We must have witnesses to the summoning," answered Ondott.
"But it is not necessary to bear arms," said Einar.
 "We will prepare ourselves," replied
Ondott, "as becomes thy dignity and as
regards thy safety, for Hiarandi hath a
quick temper." Then Einar said no
more, and they rode to Cragness. But
Ondott knew well that at such
summonings quarrels often arose; and he
said privily to his men, Hallmund and
"Look that your swords be loose in their sheaths."
They rode into the yard at Cragness and
called Hiarandi from his house. Hiarandi
came, and with him Rolf, bearing his bow,
for he was about to go out for birds.
"Hiarandi," said Einar, "we have come
to speak of the blood-suit for the slaying
of my kinsman."
"That thy kinsman is slain I knew,"
answered Hiarandi, "but I see not how it
affects me in any way, so long as my
brother be living."
 "But thy brother is dead," replied
Einar, and told that Kiartan was
shipwrecked in the Orkneys.
"This is the first I have heard of it,"
Then Ondott spoke. "Knowing thy
suspicious nature," said he, "I brought
with us the men who were witnesses to
the oath the messenger made. Thus
canst thou know thy brother is truly
Hallvard and Hallmund said they had
witnessed the oath. Hiarandi answered
no word, but looked from one to the
"Now," said Ondott, "these same men
will be witnesses to what we say here
together." And this he said in a manner
to provoke Hiarandi, yet he still answered
"Is it not better," asked Einar, "that
this matter be settled here quietly,
be-  tween neighbors, rather than be brought
before the judges at the Althing?"
"Quietly settled is always best," answered Hiarandi. "Yet I see not how
this matter is to be settled at all, seeing
I have no money to make atonement."
"Now," said Ondott quickly to Einar,
"let me speak for thee in this affair."
Then Einar gave the matter into the
hands of Ondott.
"All men know," began Ondott then,
"that thou art poor, Hiarandi." And he
saw Hiarandi flush with anger. Then he
went on to propose that an exchange
be made of Cragness for some parts of
Einar's land, much less in value. And
he spoke with such words that Hiarandi
would feel insulted, and marked him
grow ever redder in the face. When he
had finished, Hiarandi burst out upon him.
"Foolish are ye to suppose," cried
Hiarandi, "that I will ever give up this
 stead which my fathers have settled. Let
this matter come to the courts of law."
Ondott spoke to Einar. "There is no
reasoning with a madman. Thou must
recite the summons."
Then Einar, who knew the law well,
spoke the summons, and named the deed
which was done on his kinsman, and made
Hiarandi answerable; and called him to
appear before the Quarter Court at the
Althing, there to justify the slaying, or
pay the blood-fine, or be made an outlaw.
Everything he said in due legal form,
and Ondott and the two men were named
Then he prepared to ride away, but
Ondott spoke once more. "If thou canst
not keep land, Hiarandi, better than thy
father, then must thou lose this place in
Hiarandi could not restrain his wrath.
He spoke no word; but he strode to
 Ondott, and smote with his staff. Ondott
warded the blow, but the arm was broken
at the wrist.
Then Ondott cried to Hallvard and
Hallmund: "Set upon him!" Those
two drew their swords, and in that moment
Hiarandi stood in danger of his life.
But Rolf had strung his bow and set
an arrow on the string. He drew the
shaft to its head, and aimed at Einar,
and cried: "Now Einar dies if my father
They drew away hastily, and dared do
no more, for they knew the aim of the
lad. Nothing more was done in violence;
yet before he rode away did Ondott summon
Hiarandi for that hurt to him. And
there the matter rested, with two suits
against Hiarandi. Then all was quiet
until the time came for folk to ride to the
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