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Medieval Icelandic Sagas

Kormak's Saga: Walrus

13th century, Old Norse, 14th century MS at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Reykjavik

People thought they recognised Thorveig's eyes when they saw the walrus.

There was a woman named Thorveig, who was very skilled in magic and when Kormak killed her son Odd in a squabble over the daughter of one of the local farmsteaders, she laid a curse upon him. And the curse was this: that he and Steingerd would never enjoy one anothers’ love. And this curse was borne out, for Kormak never married Steingerd, although his love for her never diminished.

When Kormak had failed to turn up to his wedding with Steingerd, she married a man called Bersi the Dueller instead. But she soon left Bersi and afterwards she was betrothed to a man named Thorvald Eysteinsson.

Kormak, who was preparing to sail with his brother for Scandinavia at this time, heard of this betrothal and rode to speak with Steingerd; but she did not welcome his visit and their meeting was acrimonious. Returning to the fjord: When the brothers put out from their place of anchorage, a walrus surfaced beside the ship. Kormak fired a weighted staff at it, hitting the animal, so that it sank. People thought they recognised Thorveig’s eyes when they saw it. The animal did not surface from then on; and it was reported of Thorveig that she was dangerously ill, and people say that she died as a result.

Eiríksson, Leifur. 1997. Kormak's Sage (translated by Rory McTurk). In: Whaley, Diana, 2002. Sagas of the Warrior Poets. Penguin Books Limited. Incident with the walrus: p 45.

See for yourself

Sagas of Icelanders – Wikipedia

Kormák's Saga – Wikipedia

Kormák's Saga – English translation by W. G. Collingwood and Jón Stefánsson 1901. Project Gutenberg

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