Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Einarr Skúlason (biog. vol. 2), Geisli, 58 [Vol. 7, 54-5]

[All]: Sts 58-61, like sts 37-9, mention a miracle of S. Óláfr that must have been a little delicate for Einarr to treat, as it again involved the mother of King Sigurðr munnr, Þóra Gutthormsdóttir, and her brothers Einarr and Andréas. It concerned an English priest named Ríkarðr who, Einarr and Andreas believed, was having an affair with Þóra. In order to punish him for this supposed insult to the family honour, they persuaded him to undertake a short journey and, on the way, they, with a servant, attacked him with an axe, breaking a leg, knocking out his eyes from their sockets, and cutting out his tongue. He did not die, but took refuge with a peasant household where he prayed to S. Óláfr. The saint appeared to him in a dream and cured his injuries. This narrative is found in all prose versions of the legend of S. Óláfr (Chase 2005, 43 and n. 132). The rather oblique and general statements of st. 58 are presumably Einarr Skúlason’s way of deflecting absolute blame for the attack on a priest from Sigurðr’s mother’s brothers onto generalised rumour-mongering, while at the same time implying the priest Ríkarðr’s innocence.


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