How a Viking Love Triangle and Affair Resulted in a Cycle of Murder

There was once an intelligent and beautiful girl named Gudrun (Guðrún). Despite her beauty and wit, she wasn’t successful in the love department and had to suffer due to love affairs. It was a life full of despair, and it was unfortunate that her four marriages didn’t have a happy ending.

This pretty girl first got married when she was just 15 years old. However, this marriage didn’t last long because she couldn’t tolerate what she found out. Even though she made her husband a shirt, she was surprised to discover that he wore women's clothes. This shocked her and she divorced him on the spot. 

After that, she had another marriage but it was short lived. So Gudrun had to move on again and start a new chapter in her life again after two failed marriages.       

The time came when she was again involved with someone from the opposite gender. But this time around, she was involved with not just one but two!  The names of these men were Bolli and Kjartan. 

So a guy named Olaf happened to be related to these two men. Kjartan was Olaf’s son, while Bolli was Kjartan’s foster brother. 

Since these two were so tight, they felt incomplete without each other. However, this close bond would change when Kjartan and Gudrun became a couple. 

One day, the two brothers decided they wanted to travel overseas. Since Gudrun didn’t want to be left behind, she asked his lover Kjartan to bring her along,  but he refused because no one was going to take care of their house. So Gudrun ended up not joining the two and she was told by Kjartan to wait for 3 years.         

So once the two brothers reached Norway, they found out that there was a new king. Having a new ruler meant new rules and regulations. One of the rules was that people had to follow his religion. Failure to do so resulted in being held hostage and Kjartan was one of the unlucky ones who were captured along with other Icelandic people. Meanwhile, his foster brother Bolli was able to luckily go home.    

Upon Bolli’s arrival, he told Gudrun what had happened. He lied to her and told her that Kjartan became close to the beautiful sister of the King of Norway.  He then asked for her hand in marriage and they got married a few days after.       

Since Kjartan wouldn’t be able to come home right away, Bolli was able to get away with his lies for a while. But when he was released after a few years, he discovered upon going home that his brother had deceived him. Since it was painful to be betrayed by someone you trusted, Kjartan had no plans to rekindle his relationship with Bolli even though he tried very hard to make up and compensate for his mistakes. 

Kjartan eventually married another woman but his hatred towards his brother stayed with him. So one day, he wanted to seek revenge and asked his men, including the brother of Gudrun, to attack Bolli’s farm. 

When Bolli saw what was going on, he didn’t want to fight and hurt his brother. But he was persuaded by his brother-in-law, so he drew his sword and attacked Kjartan which ended his life.

As soon as Kjartan fell on the ground, Bolli instantly regretted what he did to his brother. He held him in his arms and felt sorry at what happened. 

After Kjartan died, his other siblings sought revenge on Bolli so he died before he could even see his baby son. 

When his son Bolli Jr grew up, Bolli and the sons of Helgi called out a truce (an agreement between opponents or enemies to halt arguing or fighting for a period of time).

There you have it. That is how this story from the Laxdaela Saga ended. What we can learn from this is that we should never betray the trust of people, especially those who are close to us because it has bad consequences.                  


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