Duel on Samsey as told in Arrow-Odd's Saga:
following must now be told of Odd. He and Hjalmar get two ships ready and have
forty men in each ship. Now they put out to sea. It so happens that the weather
drives them, and they put in at an island called Samsey. This is where the inlets
of Munway are to be found.
They drop anchor in the bay and put up awnings on
board. But after a day, the figurehead on Odd's ship has got broken. So when morning
comes, they go up onto the land, Odd and Hjalmar, to cut themselves some timber.
Hjalmar was in the habit of wearing his armour, as if he was fighting a battle.
Odd had left his quiver back on the ship, but he kept his shirt on night and day.
Their whole crew was asleep.
They hadn't been gone long
when vikings arrived, and their leader was called Angantyr. There were twelve
of them, and they were all brothers. They'd travelled far and wide, never more
than just the twelve of them, and never met any resistance. Now they come to where
Odd and Hjalmar had left their ships. They rush aboard and - what more is there
to say? - kill every last man on the ships. Then they start talking amongst themselves,
"It's got to be said, our father Arngrim
never told a bigger lie than when he claimed these men were big hard vikings,
and no shield could hold them back, but then when we get here, a very sorry show
they made of themselves. They really were the worst fighters we've seen yet, and
the most useless. Let's go home and kill the old shit, and he'll get that for
But some of them say, "It's one of
two things. Either Odd and Hjalmar have got scared, or else they've gone up on
land while the weather is good. Now we should go and look for them, rather than
turning back from our business."
So this is what they
do, the twelve brothers, and now as they walk along the berserk state comes on
them, and they scream. Then the berserk state comes on Angantyr too, and that
had never happened before.
Meanwhile Odd and Hjalmar are
coming down from the wood. Suddenly, Odd stops. Hjalmar asks what's up. Odd said,
"I can hear a strange noise. Sometimes it seems like a bull bellowing, and
sometimes like a dog's bark, and sometimes it's like they're shrieking, or have
you heard of any sort of men who make a noise like that?"
said Hjalmar, "I know of these twelve brothers
you know their names?"
A song came then to Hjalmar's
Barri and Toki,
Tind and Tyrfing,
the two Haddings.
brothers were born
in Bolm to the east,
sons of Arngrim
the meanest men
I heard mention,
the least inclined
stripped two ships
of stout soldiers."
Odd sees where the berserks were walking and a song came to his lips:
see men marching
from Munway Bays
itching for battle
in iron shirts.
from the fight
with fury they land.
On the shore empty
our ships now
Then Odd spoke: "This is not much use,"
said he, "I've left my quiver and bow down on the ship, and all I've got
is this little wood-axe."
"One time only
when from warships
they walked roaring
(and loud yowling
the island climbed).
I found that day,
hard to kill."
Odd now goes back into the woods and cuts
himself a club, and Hjalmar calls to him. And as he comes back down, the berserks
approach from below. Then Hjalmar spoke thus:
from terror of war
never, though panic
appeal to us;
with Odin tonight,
and those twelve live."
Odd says this:
"No way, I say,
these words deny it:
be Odin's guests,
while we two live."
a verse came to Angantyr's lips:
"Here you've hurried,
soldiers out the wave-wood,
all your comrades,
now you're off to hell."
Then spoke Odd:
twelve all together,
they'll get no honour.
would seem fairer
for keen troopers
or does your courage droop?"
are these men that we've met here?" said Odd.
man's called Anganyr," the berserks said, "he's the leader of the band.
We are twelve brothers, the sons of Jarl Arngrim and Eyfura, from the east of
"And who wants to know?" said
"Odd son of Grim Shaggy-Cheek, and Hjalmar
"That's good," said Angantyr,
"because we've come a long way looking for you."
you been on our ships by any chance?" said Odd.
went there," said Angantyr, "and took the lot."
are you off now?" asked Hjalmar, "to look for us?"
here," said Angantyr, "as you said before, to fight one on one, and
I choose Odd for myself, because you've got that shirt on which no iron will bite,
so it was foretold, and I have that sword called Tyrfing, which was made by dwarves
who swore that every blow would find its mark, be it through iron or stone. We'll
split our band in half: seven in one group, and me with the other four. That balances
out, me in this lot and the Haddings with the other. Then they get one more, to
make up for Tyrfing."
But Hjalmar spoke up: "I
wish to fight with Angantyr, as I have this byrnie in which I've never been wounded.
It's made of quadrupled rings."
a mistake," said Odd, "They'll give way if I fight Angantyr, otherwise
nothing is certain."
"I will decide how it goes,"
Then Angantyr spoke. "This is my wish,"
said Angantyr, "if any of us gets away from here, they leave the others'
weapons. I want Tyrfing in my grave with me, if I die. Likewise, Odd will have
his shirt and shot, and Hjalmar his byrnie." And they also agreed to this,
that whoever survived would make a mound for the others.
Haddings step forward first now, and Odd strikes each of them a blow with his
club, and this is all it takes. Then the berserks rise, one after another, those
who were meant to fight with Odd, and by the end he's killed the lot, all of those
assigned to him. Now Odd takes a rest.
Then Hjalmar stands
up and one of them comes at him. It isn't long before the berserk falls. Then
the next one gets up, and the third and the fourth. Then Angantyr stands, and
the fight between those two is hard and long, but in the end Angantyr falls to
Hjalmar. Then Hjalmar went over to a some nearby knoll and sets himself down,
and sinks to the ground. Odd goes to him and says a verse:
Changed your hue, there?
I say, many wounds
do weary you.
helm is hewn,
and the hauberk on your side;
I say your life
"And it's turned out just as I said: they
wouldn't yield if you fought Angantyr."
said Hjalmar, "everyone dies in time," and he sang:
a slit byrnie,
there's clouds before my eyes -
It entered my heart,
"Now I've suffered the greatest loss,"
said Odd, "It will never be healed as long as I live, and all because of
your stubborness, because we would have had a great victory here if I'd had my
"Sit down," said Hjalmar, "and
I'll give you some verses to take home to Sweden." He went on thus:
"Lasses won't say
I lacked mettle
before hard blows
on the field of battle.
She won't have to laugh,
in Sigtun when she hears;
I sought not to flee.
from womens' song,
fair-sounding notes -
I feared no joy;
Soti I sailed
to sea hastened,
joined forces with him
one final time,
She led me out,
the lord's daughter,
on the ocean side;
all too true
what she told me then,
would I be back.
I turned from young
soon figured that
on the fated day:
One grief will fix
fast in her mind,
we're not going
to meet again.
Take as proof,
helm and hauberk
to the hall of the king.
It will move her to see
king's fair daughter,
cover the breastplate.
farms to my name
but that was never
enough for me;
with little might,
on Samsey Isle.
from my hand
the red-gold ring,
and bring it to young
grief will fix
fast in her mind,
we'll meet again.
see where they sit
at home in Sigtun,
the girls who begged
me not to
no joy for Hjalmar
in the hall after this,
with ale and men,
"Now I also want you to take my verses to all our
bench-mates, and I'm going to name them:
"We drank and
many days together,
Alf and Atli,
Stein and Kari,
Styr and Ali,
Gylfri and Gauti,
Gjafar and Ragnar.
Frosti and Beinir,
Tind and Tyrfing,
the two Haddings,
Stein and Kari,
We all of us
on one bench then,
it was a laugh, my friends,
that's why I'm loath
Saebjorn and Kol,
Thorolf and Sval,
Hrappi and Hadding,
and Ingvari too.
"Now I want to ask you,"
said Hjalmar to Odd, "not to let me be laid in a grave beside these bastard
berserks, because I reckon I'm a much better man than any of them."
grant you that," said Odd, "what you ask, as it seems to me your time
"Glad the guests
of the good king
makes the men sleepy
on Samsey torment.
And from the south
after him eagle
in escort flies;
flesh I offer them,
feed the eagle -
he leaves his branch.
He will lap my blood."
after that Hjalmar died. Odd dragged the berserks together into a heap and bent
branches over it. It was near the sea. He laid beside them their weapons and clothes,
stealing nothing. Then he covered the outside with sods and sprinkled sand on
top. Then he lifts Hjalmar on his back, goes down to the sea and lowers him onto
the beach, and he goes out to the ship and carries back all the men who had fallen,
and makes another mound for them. And it is said by people who have been there
that the monument, which Odd made then, is visible to this day.
Odd carries Hjalmar out to the ship and casts anchor. Then Odd practices the special
skills that were granted him, hoists sail and heads home to Sweden with Hjalmar's
body. He landed at a place of his choosing. He draws up his ship, puts Hjalmar
on his back, and goes home to Uppsala with him and sets him down before the hall
doors. He goes into the hall with Hjalmar's armour and helmet in his hands and
lays them down on the floor of the hall and told the king tidings of what had
Then he went to where Ingibjorg sat. She was
sewing a shirt for Hjalmar.
"Here is the ring,"
said Odd, "that Hjalmar sent you on his dying day and his verses too."
takes the ring and gazes at it, but makes no reply. She falls back on the carved
chair-posts and dies right there. Odd bursts out laughing and said, "It's
been a while since anything good happened. We ought to be celebrate. They'll find
joy in death, those who couldn't in life."
her up and carries her in his arms and lies her in Hjalmar's arms in front of
the hall and sends men in to the king asking him to come and see what how he'd
arranged them. After this the king welcomes him and sets him in the high-seat
beside him. And as soon as Odd had taken a rest, the king said that he wishes
to hold a memorial feast for Hjalmar and Ingibjorg and raise a mound to them.
The king has everything done just as Odd had said. When the helm and byrnie that
Hjalmar had owned were brought forward, everyone is filled with admiration for
his achievements and for the greatness he'd shown in his final battle, and now
they're lain both together in the same howe. Everyone went to see that great monument,
and Odd had it all done with great respect.