DIRECTOR   Mictlantecuhtli Sauvageon


A day was settled on which the suitors were invited to meet at a banquet in Thord's house, where all the splendour the times could afford was displayed, in order to give the Jarl's son an imposing idea of his future father-in-law's riches ; for Thord's pride could not brook being second, and wealth was, therefore, made to balance rank. The massive and elaborately carved beams of the great banqueting hall, called Skaalen, were hung with rich tapestry and shining weapons; along its whole length were spread tables groaning under the weight of heavy dishes, and tankards and goblets of silver and bronze, filled with the choicest viands, and home-brewed beer, luscious mead, and even wine from the sunny south, whence the Norwegian Vikings in the earliest times already brought to their rude country the products of a higher civilization. In the high seat or dais at the upper end of the first table sat Thord Bonde, a tall and powerful figure, with long grey locks and flowing beird, and fiery eyes under his bushy brows, clad in the simple white woollen kirtle of the peasant, which formed a striking contrast to the scarlet doublet of the Jarl's son, who sat on his right hand, as the most honoured guest. On Thord's left sat the suitor next in importance, and thus further, side by side, according to precedence of rank, stranger guests, and friends and neighbours, as many as the hall could hold, nay more, for beyond the door, which was thrown open, and far out on the greensward bank under the open sky, table was joined to table, and here the more humble inhabitants of the Bygd enjoyed their share of the good cheer. Attendants, musicians, and jesters moved about in the hall as well as outside, and did their.utmost to increase the noise and mirth, which were at their height when Thord Bonde suddenly rose, and rapping the table, (the usual signal that the host was about to address the company) when silence was established, spoke as follows: " Numerous and highly estimable are the men who have honoured Thord Bonde's house by asking his daughter in marriage; and difficult, nay impossible, would it be for me to choose among them, as I would fain have all for my sons-in-law. But as this cannot be, as one only must be selected, and as it would be showing but little consideration to allow so many gallant suitors to waste their time longer in vain expectation, I have placed the decision in the hands of my daughter, whom, unquestionably, it most concerns. She will, therefore, now appear among us openly to declare her choice. Him to whom here, in the presence of all, she stretches forth her hand, him I promise to take for. my son-in-law."