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Repaying the bear

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Chapter Summary

King Svein asks if Audun admires an especially fine ship. Audun says he does. No doubt Svein’s asking Audun’s opinion of the ship is a fairly formal prologue to making a gift of it. Audun has to know what such a question is leading to, and hence knows exactly what form his answer must take regarding the attractiveness of the ship. The gift of the ship was fairly direct, a ritual of repayment clearly “for the bear.” Svein has observed that Audun is a committed narrator of his own adventures, and he is now giving him the substance of the story he will tell Harald Hardradi, pretty near dictating the lines. Audun is being asked, ever so subtly, to play the role we saw him play in the opening lines of the story: a middleman between the two real parties of interest to an exchange.

Keywords: Audun; bear; Harald Hardradi; King Svein



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