More Njála

Hildigunn then went out and opened up her chest. She took from it the cloak with Flosi had given Hoskuld and in which Hoskuld was slain, and which she kept there with all its blood. She went back into the main room with the cloak. She walked silently up to Flosi. Flosi had finished eating and the table had been cleared. Hildigunn placed the cloak on Flosi’s shoulders; the dried blood poured down all over him.

Then she spoke: “This cloak, Flosi, was your gift to Hoskuld, and now I give it back to you. He was slain in it. In the name of God and all good men I charge you, but the powers of your Christ and by your courage and manliness, to avenge all the wounds which he received in dying–or else be an object of contempt to all men.”

Flosi flung off the cloak and threw it into her arms and said, “You are the worst monster and want us to take the course which will be worst for us all. Cold are the counsels of women.”

Flosi was so stirred that his face was, in turn, as red as blood, as pale as grass, and as black as Hel itself.

Hallgerd wasn’t the only woman to be seriously reckoned with in the sagas, at all.

(This is a different Hoskuld, by the way; there are at least three in Njál’s Saga. This one is Hallgerd’s grandson, rather than her father.)

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