> Þau voru vel að sér og höfðu gnótt fjár.
> They were each one well and had an abundance of wealth.
> They were well accomplished and had an abundance of
> They (man and wife) were well of themselves (ie
> well-to-do?) and had plenty of cattle (or property?).
CV s.v. <vel>: <vel at sér> 'fine'. S.v <at> (C.III.5): of
good breeding, bearing, endowments, character, etc. In ‘An
Appreciation of Joyce Hill’, Roberta Frank says:
In the opening lines of the Icelandic Tristan saga
translated by Joyce, there appears a great English queen
of whom the saga-author says, with typical Norse
understatement: <hún var vel at sér> 'she was OK' = 'a
very distinguished woman'.
The CV definitions suggest that the phrase was virtually
always used with implied understatement.
> Var hún systrungur hans.
> She was his cousin.
> She was his cousin.
> She was his mother’s-sister’s-daughter (ie female cousin).
Female-female-female cousin? <g>
> Maður hét Þórólfur og var kallaður stertimaður.
> A man was named Thorolfur, and he was called a creased
> man. [not sure about “sterti”]
> A man was named Thorolf and was called stiff? man.
> (There) was a man (person) named Þórólfr and (he) was
> called stiff-person (man) (Keneva Kunz´s translation
> suggests Stuck up?).
A connection with <sterta> 'to stiffen' certainly seems
likely and seems to me at least compatible with 'stuck up'.
I’ve the impression that no one is entirely sure of the
meaning. CV and Baetke have a different notion but agree
with each other:
CV: a stately, fine-dressed person
Baetke: stattlicher, vornehm auftretender, stolzer Mann (a
splendid, stylish, proud man)
Kålund, the editor of an old German edition, glosses it
<putzsüchtigen Menschen> 'a person obsessive about
Fritzner admits to uncertainty, suggesting that it may be
synonymous with <uppstertr maðr>; this, according to Zoëga,
would be 'strutting man', and Baetke more or less agrees.
He is later called <stœrimaðr>. According to Kålund this is
the only extant occurrence of the word <stœrimaðr>, but the
word seems fairly self-explanatory: the first element is
apparently akin to <stœrast> 'to pride oneself, boast' and
<stœrð> 'pride', making it 'proud man'. On the whole it
seems to me pretty likely that the sense is 'strutting,
stuck up, full of himself'.
Note that <stœrimaðr> later in the paragraph is not a typo:
he really is given two different bynames.
> Meiddi hann fé manna en gekk eigi undan grjóti.
> It seriously injured people's livestock but didn't escape
> stones. [Does this mean people threw stones at it?
> Something else?]
> It injured people’s livestock and did not go away with
> stones (being pitched at it).
> He damaged (the) cattle (or property?) of men (people) but
> went not away-from stone(s) (ie did not retreat when
> stones were thrown at him).
Livestock/cattle, I think, since damage to things
(haystacks) is mentioned separately.
> Þórður hleypur þá til og hefir spjót í hendi og er boli
> sér það veður hann jörð svo að upp tekur um klaufir.
> Thordur then runs there and has a spear in hand and when
> (the) bull sees that it wades through dirt so to pick up
> around the hoofs.
> Thord runs to it then and has a spear in hand and when
> (the) bull sees it he throws earth (up) so that it is
> taken? up in his cleft hooves???.
> Þórðr runs then towards (the bull) and has a spear in
> (his) hand and when (the) bull sees that it wades through
> (the) earth so that (it, the earth) takes up (extends,
> rises, see taka upp, Z12) around (its) cloven-feet
Which is a pretty graphic description of a furiously