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Main > Iceland folktales > Fairy tale "Stéfan and Geirard"

Stéfan and Geirard

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a son of a poor knight whose name was St�fan. This young man was sent by his father to town to do some business. Here Stefan met a young man named Geirald, and the two of them became friends.

Now Geirald was the son of a rich man. For some time, Geirald had set his heart on traveling into foreign countries. After he had been talking for a little while to St�fan, he asked if his new friend would travel with him on his journey.

"There is nothing I would like better," answered St�fan. Then he shook his head sorrowfully. "But my father is very poor, and he could never spare me the money."

"Oh, if that is your only difficulty, it is all right," cried Geirald. "My father has more money than he knows what to do with, and he will give me as much as I want for both of us. Only, there is one thing you must promise me, Geirald. Supposing we have any adventures, you need to let the honor and glory of them fall to me."

"Yes, of course, that is only fair," answered St�fan. "But I cannot go without telling my parents. I am sure they will think me lucky to get such a chance."

St�fan's parents were indeed delighted to hear of his good fortune. His father gave him his own sword, which was growing rusty for want of use, while his mother saw that his leather jerkin was in order.

"Be sure you keep the promise you made to Geirald," said she, as she bade him good-bye, "and, come what may, see that you never betray him."

Full of excitement, St�fan rode off. The next day he and Geirald started off to seek adventures. To their disappointment their own land was so well governed that nothing out of the ordinary was likely to happen, but soon they crossed the border into another kingdom where all seemed lawlessness and confusion.

They had not gone far, when, riding across a mountain, they caught a glimpse of several armed men hiding amongst some trees in their path, and they remembered suddenly some talk they had heard of a band of twelve robbers who lay in wait for rich travelers.

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