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Sturla The Historian 50

The following stories do not form a comprehensive selection; this I have endeavored to give in the List of Stories. The stories given are chiefly taken from my own répertoire, and have been so constantly asked by teachers that I am glad of an opportunity of presenting them in full.

Then Sturla got ready to sail away with the king, and his name was put on the list. He went on board before many men had come; he had a sleeping bag and a travelling chest, and took his place on the foredeck. A little later the king came on to the quay, and a company of men with him. Sturla rose and bowed, and bade the king "hail," but the king answered nothing, and went aft along the ship to the quarter-deck. They sailed that day to go south along the coast. But in the evening when men unpacked their provisions Sturla sat still, and no one invited him to mess. Then a servant of the king's came and asked Sturla if he had any meat and drink. Sturla said "NO." Then the king's servant went to the king and spoke with him, out of hearing, and then went forward to Sturla and said: "You shall go to mess with Thorir Mouth and Erlend Maw." They took him into their mess, but rather stiffly. When men were turning in to sleep, a sailor of the king's asked who should tell them stories. There was little answer. Then said he: "Sturla the Icelander, will you tell stories?" "As you will," said Sturla. So he told them the story of Huld, better and fuller than any one there had ever heard it told before. Then many men pushed forward to the fore-deck, wanting to hear as clearly as might be, and there was a great crowd. The queen asked: "What is that crowd on deck there?" A man answered: "The men are listening to the story that the Icelander tells." "What story is that?" said she. He answers: "It is about a great troll-wife, and it is a good story and well told." The king bade her pay no heed to that, and go to sleep. She says: "I think this Icelander must be a good fellow, and less to blame than he is reported." The King was silent.

So the night passed, and the next morning there was no wind for them, and the king's ship lay in the same place. Later in the day, when men sat at their drink, the king sent dishes from his table to Sturla. Sturla's messmates were pleased with this: "You bring better luck than we thought, if this sort of thing goes on." After dinner the queen sent for Sturla and asked him to come to her and bring the troll-wife story along with him. So Sturla went aft to the quarter-deck, and greeted the king and queen. The king answered little, the queen well and cheerfully. She asked him to tell the same story he had told overnight. He did so, for a great part of the day. When he finished, the queen thanked him, and many others besides, and made him out in their minds to be a learned man and sensible. But the king said nothing; only he smiled a little. Sturla thought he saw that the king's whole frame of mind was brighter than the day before. So he said to the king that he had made a poem about him, and another about his father: "I would gladly get a hearing for them." The queen said: "Let him recite his poem; I am told that he is the best of poets, and his poem will be excellent." The king bade him say on, if he would, and repeat the poem he professed to have made about him. Sturla chanted it to the end. The queen said: "To my mind that is a good poem." The king said to her: "Can you follow the poem so clearly?" "I would be fain to have you think so, Sir," said the queen. The king said: "I have learned that Sturla is good at verses." Sturla took his leave of the king and queen and went to his place. There was no sailing for the king all that day. In the evening before he went to bed he sent for Sturla. And when he came he greeted the king and said: "What will you have me to do, Sir?" The king called for a silver goblet full of wine, and drank some and gave it to Sturla and said: A health to a friend in wine!" (Vin skal til vinar drekka ). Sturla said: "God be praised for it!" "Even so, " says the king, "and now I wish you to say the poem you have made about my father." Sturla repeated it: and when it was finished men praised it much and most of all the queen. The king said: "To my thinking, you are a better reciter than the Pope."—Sturlunga Saga.

Reference book: The Art Of The Story-Teller

Tags: Speech, public speaking, story telling, stories, ,

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