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The Bondman A New Saga   By: (1853-1931)

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A New Saga.



Author of "The Deemster," etc., etc.

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay."

New York: A. L. Burt, Publisher.



The central date of this story (a Saga in the only sense accepted among Icelanders) is 1800, when Iceland, in the same year as Ireland, lost the last visible sign of her ancient independence as a nation. But, lest the historical incidents that stand as a background to simple human passions should seem to clash at some points, I hasten to say that I have not thought it wise to bind myself to the strict chronology of history, Manx or Icelandic, for some years before and after. I am partly conscious that the Iceland I have described is the Iceland of an earlier era; but Icelanders will not object to my having tried to bring within my too narrow limits much of what is beautiful and noble and firing to enthusiasm in their old habits, customs and laws. To the foolish revolt which occurred at Reykjavik early in this century I have tried to give the dignity of a serious revolution such as, I truly think, Icelanders may yet make in order to become masters in their own house. For a great deal of my data towards this sort of secondary interest I am indebted to many books, Icelandic and English; and for some personal help I owe my thanks to Herra Jon A. Hjaltalin of Modruvellir, who is not, however, to be charged with my mistakes too numerous I have no doubt. For my descriptions of Icelandic scenes and character I can claim no authority but that of my own observation.

H. C.





There is a beautiful Northern legend of a man who loved a good fairy, and wooed her and won her for his wife, and then found that she was no more than a woman after all. Grown weary, he turned his back upon her and wandered away over the mountains; and there, on the other side of a ravine from where he was, he saw, as he thought, another fairy, who was lovely to look upon and played sweet music and sang a sweet song. Then his heart was filled with joy and bitterness, and he cried, "Oh, that the gods had given me this one to wife and not the other." At that, with mighty effort and in great peril, he crossed the ravine and made towards the fairy, and she fled from him; but he ran and followed her and overtook her, and captured her and turned her face to his face that he might kiss her, and lo! she was his wife!

This old folk tale is half my story the play of emotions as sweet and light as the footsteps of the shadows that flit over a field of corn.

There is another Northern legend of a man who thought he was pursued by a troll. His ricks were fired, his barns unroofed, his cattle destroyed, his lands blasted, and his firstborn slain. So he lay in wait for the monster where it lived in the chasms near his house, and in the darkness of night he saw it. With a cry he rushed upon it, and gripped it about the waist, and it turned upon him and held him by the shoulder. Long he wrestled with it, reeling, staggering, falling and rising again; but at length a flood of strength came to him and he overthrew it, and stood over it, covering it, conquering it, with his back across his thigh and his right hand set hard at its throat. Then he drew his knife to kill it, and the moon shot through a rack of cloud, opening an alley of light about it, and he saw its face, and lo! the face of the troll was his own!

This is the other half of my story the crash of passions as bracing as a black thunderstorm.



In the latter years of last century, H. Jorgen Jorgensen was Governor General of Iceland... Continue reading book >>

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