Grettir rode over to Thorhallsstead and
the farmer welcomed him warmly. He asked
Grettir where he was going, and Grettir said
he would like to spend the night there, if
the farmer didn't mind. Thorhall said
he would be very grateful if Grettir stayed. "But
lately few people have found it desirable
to spend any time here. You must have heard
about our trouble, and I shouldn't like
you to come to grief because of me. Even
if you manage to get safely away yourself,
I know for certain that you will lose your
horse, for no one who comes here can keep
his horse safe."
Grettir said that horses were easy enough
to get, if anything should happen to his.
Thorhall was delighted that Grettir was staying
and received him with open arms. They stabled
Grettir's horse and put a strong lock
on the door, and then they went to bed. The
night passed and Glam did not come to the
Thorhall said, "Your visit has certainly
brought about an improvement here, for Glam
has been in the habit of straddling the roof
or breaking the doors every night, as indeed
you can see clearly for yourself."
Grettir said, "This can mean only one
of two things: either Glam will resume his
old habit very soon, or else he will give
it up for more than one night. So I'm
going to stay another night and see what
Then they went to Grettir's horse, and
he had not been tampered with. The farmer
thought that every sign was pointing the
same way. Grettir stayed for the second night,
and the thrall did not come to the house.
The farmer thought this very promising, and
went to look at Grettir's horse, but
this time the stable had been broken into,
the horse dragged out through the door, and
every bone in its body broken apart.
Thorhall told Grettir what had happened,
and said that he should save his own life. "You
are sure to die if you wait for Glam," he
said. Grettir answered, "The very least
I can have in return for my horse is to get
a glimpse of the thrall."
The farmer said that it would do him no
good to see Glam. "For he does not look
like any human being," he said. "But
every hour that you are willing to spend
here is a great comfort for me."
The day passed, and when the people went
to bed, Grettir did not take off his clothes,
but lay down on the bench opposite the farmer's
bedcloset. He covered himself with a shaggy
fur cloak, wrapping one end of it around
his feet and the other around his head in
such a way that he could see out through
the neck-hole. The front bench-board was
strong, and Grettir put his feet against
it. The entire frame of the outer door had
been broken away, and a crude hurdle tied
carelessly in its place. The wooden partition,
which before had separated the hall from
the entrance passage, was also broken away,
both below and above the crossbeam. All the
beds had been moved out of place, and the
house seemed rather uninviting. A light was
kept burning in the hall throughout the night.
When about a third of the night had passed,
Grettir heard a great noise outside. Someone
seemed to be climbing the house and then
straddling the rooftop above the hall, and
beating his heels against the roof so that
every beam in the house was cracking. This
went on for a long time, and then it was
as if someone was climbing down from the
roof, and coming to the door. Then the door
was opened, and Grettir saw the thrall stretching
his head through it, and the head was hideously
huge, with enormous features.
Glam moved slowly, and when he was inside
the door he stretched himself up to his full
height so that he towered up to the rafters.
He turned towards the hall, laid his arms
on the crossbeam, and stretched his head
into the hall. The farmer did not utter a
single sound, for he thought that the noise
outside had been quite enough. Grettir lay
still and did not move at all.
Glam noticed a heap lying on the bench,
so he crossed the hall and pulled hard at
the cloak, but Grettir braced his feet against
the beam and did not budge. Glam pulled at
the cloak a second time, and much harder,
but the cloak did not move at all. The third
time Glam seized hold of the cloak with both
hands and pulled at it so violently that
Grettir was forced up from the bench, and
then they tore the cloak in two between them.
Glam looked at the torn piece he held in
his hand and wondered who could have pulled
so hard against him. At that moment Grettir
leapt under his arms, grasped him around
the waist, and clasped him as hard as he
could, hoping to bring him down. But the
thrall gripped his arms so tightly that he
was forced to break away. Grettir kept retreating
from one bench to the other, and they started
breaking up the beams and smashing everything
that was in their way. Glam wanted to get
outside, but Grettir braced his feet against
anything he could, and yet Glam succeeded
in dragging him out of the hall. Then they
had a fierce struggle, for the thrall wanted
to force Grettir out of the house, but Grettir
realized that, difficult as it was to deal
with Glam inside, it would be even worse
in the open, and so he struggled with all
his might against being dragged outside.
Glam was now using all his power, and when
he reached the vestibule he pulled Grettir
towards him. Grettir realized that he could
resist no longer, and so he flung himself
violently into the thrall's arms and
at the same time braced his feet against
a half-sunken boulder that stood in the entrance.
Glam had been striving hard to pull Grettir
his way, so he was unprepared for this. He
fell backwards and crashed out through the
door, his shoulders catching the lintel so
that the roof was torn apart, both the rafters
and the frozen roof-sods, and as he fell
on his back out of the house, Grettir landed
on top of him.
Outside the moonlight was bright but intermittent,
for there were dark clouds which passed before
the moon and then went away. At the very
moment when Glam fell, the clouds cleared
away, and Glam glared up at the moon. Grettir
himself once said that that was the only
sight he ever saw which frightened him. Then,
because of exhaustion and the sight of Glam
rolling his eyes so fiercely, Grettir was
overcome by such a faintness that he could
not draw his short sword, and so he remained
there lying closer to death than to life.
Glam, who was endowed with more power for
evil than any other revenant, then spoke
the following words:
"You have been very determined to meet
me, Grettir, but it will hardly surprise
you if you do not get much luck from me.
I will tell you this: you have acquired by
now only half of the strength and vigor which
you were destined to get if you had not met
me. I cannot take away from you what you
already have, but I can see to it that you
will never be stronger than you are now,
and yet you are strong enough, as many will
find to their cost. Up until now your deeds
have brought you fame, but from now on outlawry
and slaughter will come your way, and most
of your acts will bring you ill luck and
misfortune. You will be made an outlaw and
forced to live by yourself. I also lay this
curse on you: you will always see before
you these eyes of mine, and they will make
your solitude unbearable, and this shall
drag you to your death."
As soon as Glam had spoken these words the
faintness that had come over Grettir left
him. He drew his short sword, cut off Glam's
head, and placed it against his buttocks.
Then the farmer came outside. He had put
on his clothes while Glam was making his
speech, but had not dared to come anywhere
near until Glam was laid low. Thorhall praised
God and thanked Grettir warmly for vanquishing
this unclean spirit. Then they set to work
and burned Glam to ashes, gathered them into
a skin bag, and buried them at a place far
away from all paths of men and pastures of
animals. After that they went back home.
It was about daybreak, and Grettir lay down
to rest, for he was very stiff.
Thorhall sent for men from the neighboring
farms, and showed them and told them what
had happened. All who heard about this deed
were greatly impressed by it, and said that
no man in the entire country was Grettir
Asmundarson's equal in strength, in courage,
or in accomplishments. Thorhall gave him
fine gifts when he left, a good horse, and
splendid clothes, for the ones he had been
wearing were torn into tatters. They parted
the best of friends.
From there Grettir rode over to As in Vatnsdale.
Thorvald gave him a good welcome, and questioned
him closely about his encounter with Glam.
Grettir told him all about their dealings
and said that this long struggle had been
the greatest test of his strength he had
ever experienced. Thorvald warned Grettir
to restrain himself. "If you do that,
all will go well with you, but otherwise
you will have much bad luck."
Grettir said that this incident had done
little to improve his temper, and that he
had now much less control over himself than
before, and found it more difficult to put
up with any offences. He also said that he
could notice one change: he had become so
frightened of the dark that he did not dare
go anywhere alone after nightfall, because
all kinds of phantoms appeared to him then.
It has since become a common saying that
people who suffer hallucinations have Glam's
vision, or that Glam has lent them his eyes.
Afterwards Grettir rode back home to Bjarg,
and he stayed there for the rest of the winter.