Clothing in “The Saga of the People of Laxardal

Chapter 43


[...] Ingibjorg then reached for a nearby casket, from which she took a white head-dress, embroidered with golden threads, which she gave to Kjartan and said she hoped Gudrun Osvifsdottir would enjoy winding this about her head. [...]

There was a covering of fine fabric around the head-dress. The gift was a great treasure. [...]

Chapter 45


[...] Kjartan gave Hrefna the head-dress as a wedding present, and the gift was renowned throughout the country, as no Icelander was so cultured that he had seen, or so wealthy that he had possessed, such a treasure. According to reliable reports, there were eight ounces of gold woven into the head-dress. [...]

Chapter 44


[...] Kjartan [...] took out the suit of scarlet that King Olaf had given him in parting and other finery. He put on his sword, King’s gift, and on his head had a helmet with gold plating, and a shield with a red front and a gold cross marked on it. He also held a spear, the socket of which was inlaid with gold. All his followers wore brightly coloured clothes. [...]

Chapter 55>


[...] Gudrun was wearing a long tunic, a close-fitting woven bodice and a mantle on her head. She had bound a shawl about her that was decorated in black stitching with fringes at the ends.

Chapter 63


[...] The boy spoke: ‘Next to him sat a man in a gilded saddle; he was wearing a tunic of red scarlet and a gold ring on his hand. About his head was fastened a band of gold-embroidered cloth.’ [...]

Chapter 77


[...] He had become such a fine dresser by the time he returned from his journey abroad that he wore only clothes of scarlet or silk brocade and all his weapons were decorated with gold. He became known as Bolli the Elegant. He declared to his crew that he intended to go westward to visit his own district and left the ship and its cargo in their hands. He took eleven men with him, and all of them were dressed in clothes of scarlet and mounted on gilded saddles. They were all comely men, but Bolli was in a class by himself. He wore a suit of silk brocade given to him by the emperor of Byzantium, with a cloak of red scarlet outermost. About his waist he had girded the sword Leg-biter, now inlaid with gold at the top and shank, and gold bands wound about its hilt. On his head he wore a gilded helmet and he held a red shield at his side with the figure of a knight drawn on it in gold. He had a lance in his hand, as is common in foreign parts. Wherever the group stopped for the night, the women could do nothing but gaze at Bolli and the finery which he and his companions bore. [...]

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Clothes in] The Saga of the People of Laxardal" in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, preface by Jane Smiley, introduction by Robert Kellogg, (New York, London, Victoria (Australia), Toronto, Auckland: The Penguin Group, 2000), 276-241. Notes: Translations first published in "The Complete Sagas of Icelanders," volumes I-V (forty-nine tales), Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Ltd., Iceland, 1997.

Return to parent page