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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


When these marvels had reached this pitch, it happened one day that Kjartan went to Helga-fell to see his uncle Snorri, and asked his advice as to what should be done. There had then come to Helga-fell a priest whom Gizurr the white had sent to Snorri, and this priest Snorri sent to Froda along with Kjartan, his son Thord, and six other men. He also gave them this advice, that they should burn all Thorgunna's bed-hangings and hold a law court at the door, and there prosecute all those men who were walking after death. He also bade the priest hold service there, consecrate water, and confess the people. They summoned men from the nearest farms to accompany them, and arrived at Froda on the evening before Candlemas, just at the time when the fires were being kindled. Thurid the housewife had then taken the sickness after the same fashion as those who had died. Kjartan went in at once, and saw that Thorodd and the others were sitting by the fire as usual. He took down Thorgunna's bed-hangings, went into the hall, and carried out a live coal from the fire: then all the bed-gear that Thorgunna had owned was burned.

After this Kjartan summoned Thorir Wooden-leg, and Thord summoned Thorodd, on the charge of going about the homestead without leave, and depriving men of both health and life; all those who sat beside the fire were summoned in the same way. Then a court was held at the door, in which the charges were declared, and everything done as in a regular law court; opinions were given, the case summed up, and judgment passed. After sentence had been pronounced on Thorir Wooden- leg, he rose up and said: "Now we have sat as long as we can bear". After this he went out by the other door from that at which the court was held. Then sentence was passed on the shepherd, and when he heard it he stood up and said: "Now I shall go, and I think it would have been better before". When Thorgrima heard sentence pronounced on her, she rose up and said: "Now we have stayed while it could be borne". Then one after another was summoned, and each stood up as judgment was given upon him; all of them said something as they went out, and showed that they were loath to part. Finally sentence was passed on Thorodd himself, and when he heard it, he rose and said: "Little peace I find here, and let us all flee now," and went out after that. Then Kjartan and the others entered and the priest carried holy water and sacred relics over all the house. Later on in the day he held solemn service, and after this all the hauntings and ghost-walkings at Froda ceased, while Thurid recovered from her sickness and became well again.

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