Cannon Street

Medieval Icelandic Sagas

The Saga of Grettir the Strong

14th century, Old Norse.

Grettir intended to find out what he was like, the occupant of this grave-mound whose ghost had been walking the countryside round about.

Soon after dawn, Grettir gathered all the tools his workman had collected and they made their way to the burial mound. Grettir dug into it, shifting a great deal of earth until he came to the timber boards that formed the roof of the cavity. It was nearly sunset as he pulled away a large enough opening for him to squeeze through.

His companion urged him not to go down, but Grettir instructed him to keep a tight hold of the rope, because he intended to find out what he was like, this dead man whose ghost had been walking the countryside round about.

The space inside the mound was black and airless. Grettir stumbled over the bones of a horse. He came upon a large chair upon which he sensed a man was sitting. Around this chair was strewn gold and silver and there was a box full of silver at the foot of the chair. Grettir collected up as much of the treasure as he could and turned to make his way back to the rope when suddenly he felt himself seized by a strong hand. Dropping what he was carrying and turning to face his assailant, he parried a violent attack by the occupant of the burial mound. They grappled with one another, breaking everything around them. Grettir then drew his sword Jokulsnaut, cut off the head of the howedweller and laid it between his thighs.

Story fragment recounted from: Online Medieval and Classical Library. Grettir's Saga. Translation by G H Hight, 1914. London. Also: Faulkes, Anthony, Johnston, George and Foote, Peter, 2001, reprinted 2004. Three Icelandic Outlaw Sagas: Saga of Gisli, Saga or Grettir, Saga of Hord. Viking Society for Northern Research. The Saga of Grettir. Entry into the tomb of Kar the Old, chapter 18.

See for yourself

Icelandic saga – Wikipedia

Sagas of Icelanders – Wikipedia

Grettis saga – Wikipedia

Grettir's Saga – Text obtained at the Online Medieval and Classical Library. Code and format by Northvegr.

Dead and yet alive

District Line

entrance to a passage grave
dark interior of a man-made cavern with a standing stone rising from the floor

Navigate the tunnel

Shared motifs

Dead and yet alive: summary

Current location, and view all motifs

hawk in flight
Advanced Tips
Type Example Notes
Fuzzy kettle~ Contain terms that are close to the word kettle, such as cattle
Wild cat* Contain terms that begin with cat, such as category and the extact term cat itself
Exact-Single orange Contain the term orange
Exact-Phrase "dnn is awesome" Contain the exact phase dnn is awesome
OR orange bike Contain the term orange or bike, or both. OR, if used, must be in uppercase
orange OR bike
AND orange AND bike Contain both orange and bike. AND must be in uppercase
Combo (agile OR extreme) AND methodology Contain methodology and must also contain agile and/or extreme
Results per Page:
Limit the search results with the specified tags.
Limit the search results modified within the specified time.
Limit the search results from the specified source.
Search results must be an exact match for the keywords.
dark interior of a man-made cavern with a standing stone rising from the floor