13. OF THE MURDER OF HAREK OF THJOTTA.
Harek of Thjotta sat at home on his farm, till King Magnus Olafson came to the country and was made king. Then Harek went south to Throndhjem to King Magnus. At that time Asmund Grankelson was in the king's house. When Harek came to Nidaros, and landed out of the ship, Asmund was standing with the king in the gallery outside the loft, and both the king and Asmund knew Harek when they saw him. "Now," says Asmund to the king, "I will pay Harek for my father's murder." He had in his hand a little thin hatchet. The king looked at him, and said, "Rather take this axe of mine." It was thick, and made like a club. "Thou must know, Asmund," added he, "that there are hard bones in the old fellow." Asmund took the axe, went down, and through the house, and when he came down to the cross-road Harek and his men coming up met him. Asmund struck Harek on the head, so that the axe penetrated to the brains; and that was Harek's death-wound. Asmund turned back directly to the king's house, and the whole edge of the axe was turned with the blow. Then said the king, "What would thy axe have done, for even this one, I think, is spoilt?" King Magnus afterwards gave him a fief and office in Halogaland, and many are the tales about the strife between Asmund and Harek's sons.
Kalf Arnason had at first, for some time, the greatest share of the government of the country under King Magnus; but afterwards there were people who reminded the king of the part Kalf had taken at Stiklestad, and then it became difficult for Kalf to give the king satisfaction in anything. Once it happened there were many men with the king bringing their affairs before him; and Thorgeir Flek from Sula in Veradal, of whom mention is made before in the history of King Olaf the Saint, came to him about some needful business. The king paid no attention to his words, but was listening to people who stood near him. Then Thorgeir said to the king, so loud that all who were around him could hear: --
"Listen, my lord, to my plain word. I too was there, and had to bear A bloody head from Stiklestad: For I was then with Olaf's men. Listen to me: well did I see The men you're trusting the dead corpse thrusting Out of their way, as dead it lay; And striking o'er your father's gore."
There was instantly a great uproar, and some told Thorgeir to go out; but the king called him, and not only despatched his business to his satisfaction, but promised him favour and friendship.
115. KALF ARNASON FLIES THE COUNTRY
Soon after this the king was at a feast at the farm of Haug in Veradel, and at the dinner-table Kalf Arnason sat upon one side of him, and Einar Tambaskelfer on the other. It was already come so far that the king took little notice of Kalf, but paid most attention to Einar. The king said to Einar, "Let us ride to-day to Stiklestad. I should like to see the memorials of the things which took place there." Einar replies, "I can tell thee nothing about it; but take thy foster-father Kalf with thee; he can give thee information about all that took place." When the tables were removed, the king made himself ready, and said to Kalf, "Thou must go with me to Stiklestad."
Kalf replied, "That is really not my duty."