Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XLV.: gunnar's slaying. - The Story of Burnt Njal
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CHAPTER XLV.: gunnar's slaying. - Burnt Njal, The Story of Burnt Njal 
The Story of Burnt Njal. The Great Icelandic Tribune, Jurist, and Counsellor, translated from the Njals Saga by the Late Sir George Webbe Dasent. With Editor’s Prefatory Note and Author’s Introduction. Hon. Rasmus B. Anderson, Editor in Chief (London: Norroena Society, 1907).
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Gunnar woke up in his hall and said—
“Thou hast been sorely treated, Sam, my fosterling, and this warning is so meant that our two deaths will not be far apart.”
Gunnar's hall was made all of wood, and roofed with beams above, and there were window-slits under the beams that carried the roof, and they were fitted with shutters.
Gunnar slept in a loft above the hall, and so did Hallgerda and his mother.
Now when they were come near to the house they knew not whether Gunnar were at home, and bade that some one would go straight up to the house and see if he could find out. But the rest sat them down on the ground.
Thorgrim the Easterling went and began to climb up on the hall; Gunnar sees that a red kirtle passed before the window-slit, and thrusts out the bill, and smote him on the middle. Thorgrim's feet slipped from under him, and he dropped his shield, and down he toppled from the roof.
Then he goes to Gizur and his band as they sat on the ground.
Gizur looked at him and said—
“Well, is Gunnar at home?”
“Find that out for yourselves,” said Thorgrim; “but this I am sure of, that his bill is at home,” and with that he fell down dead.
Then they made for the buildings. Gunnar shot out arrows at them, and made a stout defence, and they could get nothing done. Then some of them got into the outhouses and tried to attack him thence, but Gunnar found them out with his arrows there also, and still they could get nothing done.
So it went on for a while, then they took a rest, and made a second onslaught. Gunnar still shot out at them, and they could do nothing, and fell off the second time. Then Gizur the white said—
“Let us press on harder; nothing comes of our onslaught.”
Then they made a third bout of it, and were long at it, and then they fell off again.
Gunnar said, “There lies an arrow outside on the wall, and it is one of their shafts; I will shoot at them with it, and it will be a shame to them if they get a hurt from their own weapons.”
His mother said, “Do not so, my son; nor rouse them again when they have already fallen off from the attack.”
But Gunnar caught up the arrow and shot it after them, and struck Eylif Aunund's son, and he got a great wound; he was standing all by himself, and they knew not that he was wounded.
“Out came an arm yonder,” says Gizur, “and there was a gold ring on it, and took an arrow from the roof, and they would not look outside for shafts if there were enough in doors! and now ye shall make a fresh onslaught.”
“Let us burn him house and all,” said Mord.
“That shall never be,” says Gizur, “though I knew that my life lay on it; but it is easy for thee to find out some plan, such a cunning man as thou art said to be.”
Some ropes lay there qn the ground, and they were often used to strengthen the roof. Then Mord said— “Let us take the ropes and throw one end over the end of the carrying beams, but let us fasten the other end to these rocks and twist them tight with levers, and so pull the roof off the hall.”
So they took the ropes and all lent a hand to carry this out, and before Gunnar was aware of it, they had pulled the whole roof off the hall.
Then Gunnar still shoots with his bow so that they could never come nigh him. Then Mord said again they must burn the house over Gunnar's head. But Gizur said—
“I know not why thou wilt speak of that which no one else wishes, and that shall never be.”
Just then Thorbrand Thorleik's son sprang up on the roof, and cuts asunder Gunnar's bowstring. Gunnar clutches the bill with both hands, and turns on him quickly and drives it through him, and hurls him down on the ground.
Then up sprung Asbrand his brother. Gunnar thrusts at him with the bill, and he threw his shield before the blow, but the bill passed clean through the shield and broke both his arms, and down he fell from the wall.
Gunnar had already wounded eight men and slain those twain. By that time Gunnar had got two wounds, and all men said that he never once winced either at wounds or death.
Then Gunnar said to Hallgerda, “Give me two locks of thy hair, and ye two, my mother and thou, twist them together into a bowstring for me.”
“Does aught lie on it?” she says.
“My life lies on it,” he said; “for they will never come to close quarters with me if I can keep them off with my bow.”
“Well!” she says, “now I will call to thy mind that slap on the face which thou gavest me; and I care never a whit whether thou holdest out a long while or a short.”
“Every one has something to boast of,” says Gunnar, “and I will ask thee no more for this.”
“Thou behavest ill,” said Rannveig, “and this shame shall long be had in mind.”
Gunnar made a stout and bold defence, and now wounds other eight men with such sore wounds that many lay at death's door. Gunnar keeps them all off until he fell worn out with toil. Then they wounded him with many and great wounds, but still he got away out of their hands, and held his own against them a while longer, but at last it came about that they slew him.