Delting Up Helly Aa 1994
About the Jarl's Guizer name
Kari Solmundarson first came to Iceland about the year 994. He went to Iceland with Njal's sons having won their favour by making peace for them with the great Earl of Norway. Njal the Wise was so grateful for Kari's help to his sons, that he adopted him into his family and married him to his daughter Helga.
The steading of Bergthorsknoll now had another mouth to feed, but Kari was worth every spoonful of romegrout that he ate. He was a hard-faced blow-swapper, as nimble as an ape and never forgot nor forgave anybody who did him an injury.
Such a man was Thrain Sigfusson who had betrayed Njals 's sons and Kari when they were voyaging abroad. Kari was sent to Thrain to see what compensation he would give for his deeds. He returned to Bergthorsknoll with a stem face and a hangdog look, which was not like him. Shark-Hedin was enraged by Thrain's answer and vowed to settle the matter.
Njal's sons and Kari went to Thrain's farmhouse, after counting the great fighters that lived with him. They were Killer-Harp, GunnarLambason, Lambi Sigurdarson, Grani Gunnarsson, Lodin and his brother, Torvi, among others.
When they arrived at Thrain's steading, they were not met with the usual Icelandic courtesy, but with insults. Killer-Harp told Thrain not to waste his breath on such mangy dogs, and that they had come like beggars to Thrain's door. Njal's sons and Kari went strolling back to their horses and rode off.
When they told Njal of the insults, Njal asked them if there were any witnesses who would swear to those words at the Alting. Skarp-Hedin shook his head and said "We need no witnesses. This affair will never reach the courts, we promise.
Soon after, just before dawn one day, Njal heard the thump of an axe bumping along the walls. He looked out to see Kari and his sons dressed in bright colours. Kari stood laughing, and waving his shield which had a hawk on it, above his head. In his hand he held his axe, which he called 'Battle-Troll'. He looked for all the world like a king, in his black and red silken cloak and gilded helmet. Old Njal thought that he had seen too many young men setting out on bloody business to be deceived by fine clothes.
Njal asked them where they were going. They replied "Oh, looking for sheep as usual Father".
The sheep, this time, was Thrain and his warriors. Thrain had seen the sunlight flashing on Kari's shield and went down along the river, where they thought they had cover. Kari and the brothers closed in. Thrain and his eight men waited by a hump of ice, ready for a fight. They closed around them like hounds around a stag. Kari killed Tjorvi and the brothers killed all, save Lambi Sigurdarson and Lodin. They never forgave them for this mercy.
It was good to be young and strong in old Iceland; good to wear a silken coat and own a helmet and a keen axe. To live in a warm farmstead with a band of fierce brothers behind you always, was like being a king. You were a man, a warrior, a viking; no one was your master.
The years went by. Old Earl Hakon of Norway died and was replaced by a new king, Olaf Tryggvason. King Olaf brought Christianity to Shetland, Orkney, Faroe and Iceland. With this he sent Thangbrand to convert the fierce Icelanders. The chiefs and law-givers of Iceland smiled and said, 'If we follow this Thangbrand, and let ourselves become baptised, then peace will come to Iceland, there will be no more feuding and murder. After much argument, they were baptised.
As a result of this, the killing of Thrain was brought before the Alting. It was lost by Njal's sons. The highest compensation in Iceland's history was imposed against them. This figure was rejected by Thrain's family. Hosi decided to attack Bergthorsknoll and avenge themselves. They attacked the farmhouse and set it alight. They waited outside until the next day, to make sure nobody escaped. Only one did, Kari. He would have his vengeance. Kari's nostrils flared like a stallion's. "I want nothing less than the deaths of Gunnar Lambason the Burner and Kol Thotsteinsson the Burner. That would pacify me, brother, for it would bring my score up to fifteen men which I calculate to be the equivalent of those who were roasted in the farm fire.
Flosi and Gunnar Lambason took flight. They left Iceland and sailed to Faroe, Shetland and Orkney. They went to Earl Sigurd at Hrossey in Orkney. It was on Yule-day that Kari stormed in and killed them. There was still one more that Kari wanted. He sailed after him to Wales where he killed Kol Thorsteinsson. He threw away his sword, which he had named 'Life-taker', vengeance was his at last.
He remarried Hildigrunn and they were blessed with three sons: Thord, Starkad and Flosi. Three such young hawks no chieftain ever bettered; and all that was sad in the past was forgotten in the gay cries and sunlight of the present.