Grettir's Saga has several themes. One of them is the conflict between the Christian world and the survival of the pagan world, as sorcery or heroic pride; the other is the conflict between man's desire for individual freedom and the restrictive bond imposed by society.
This translation is the first into English since 1914; it is based on a more accurate Icelandic text than the earlier translations, and, unlike them, is unexpurgated and in unarchaic English. The saga has an especial modern relevance - a recent translation into Czech reached the top of the best-seller list. The present volume includes genealogies, a study of the legal system, and a critical assessment of the work.
In autumn, King Halfdan proceeded to Vingulmark. One night when he was there in guest quarters, it happened that about midnight a man came to him who had been on the watch on horseback, and told him a war force was come near to the house. The king instantly got up, ordered his men to arm themselves, and went out of the house and drew them up in battle order. At the same moment, Gandalf’s sons, Hysing and Helsing, made their appearance with a large army. There was a great battle; but Halfdan being overpowered by the numbers of people fled to the forest, leaving many of his men on this spot. His foster-father, Olver Spake (the Wise), fell here. The people now came in swarms to King Halfdan, and he advanced to seek Gandalf’s sons. They met at Eid, near Lake Oieren, and fought there. Hysing and Helsing fell, and their brother Hake saved himself by flight. King Halfdan then took possession of the whole of Vingulmark, and Hake fled to Alfheimar.