(The following is a short translated excerpt from the first saga in the grand tale that is Larsktur Larason’s Saga.)
In the middle of Norway, there once lived a brave and mighty warrior named Bjørn; he was the son of Leif Vidarsønn. Leif had been one of the Jarl of Lade’s men and a very bold man like his father, Vidar of Verdal. Bjørn was an impressive sight and the strongest man in the village. After long service to the jarl, he acquired a large farm and married a very beautiful wife. He also had a son, of whom this saga is concerned.
Lara was a man of insignificant ancestry that lived outside Tronnem with his wife. He was quite feeble and made a living begging in the streets. He was also without a child, so one day he went to Bjørn’s farm and bought young Larsktur, Bjørn’s son, while his father was out in the fields. And thus he raised Larsktur. Poorly. Several winters went by until Larsktur became a grown man. His wild hair framed a clever face. He worked as the village lumberjack and was equally skilled in cutting his axe into a skull as a tree. The bold skald, Håvard the Silent, son of Flosi Haraldsbane, was his companion and the two often left the village to go adventuring in the surrounding area. It so happened that Larsktur was smitten by the fair Gertrud Gerdsdotter. Unfortunately there was another in the village who had eyes for the beautiful maiden; Håvar the Lame. He was not, as his name might suggest, physically debilitated. In fact he was always out practicing his athletic talents. He was the best in the village at running and riding and was also an acclaimed fighter. His name came from those in the village that disliked his conduct.
Thus it came to pass that the two met with Oddgeirr, Gertrud’s father. Oddgeirr, son of Nidulf of the fjords, was an old man, quite near-sighted and had a bad hearing. Gertrud was his only child with his late wife, Gerd. Håvar was let in without question, despite his somewhat unattractive looks. When he was to ask for Gertrud’s hand, Larsktur said the following:
“Your beautiful face fills me with such exuberance I cannot fathom how I could live without you by my side. Give me your hand and I will be faithful to you forever, for I cannot think of life devoid of your fairness. I will give to you all the gold and riches I own if you will only choose me instead of this dim-witted oaf.”
Håvar the Lame answered thus:
“Ah can dance.”
And so Gertrud was promised to Håvar the Lame.