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Gaming the system: Gift-Ref

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Chapter Summary

A certain Jarl Neri refuses to accept gifts because he cannot bear parting with his own goods to repay them. Once, against his practice, he accepts an ox from a troubled boy named Ref, and though he cannot suffer repaying the ox out of his own goods, he still feels obliged to make some repayment. He requites Ref with shrewd advice about how to make a killing by trading up gifts of increasing value by involving kings in a generosity competition. By the time it is over, Ref is a jarl married to a king’s daughter. Gift-Ref ’s Saga is a pure folk tale; it is combined with several folkloric tales to make up what is called Gautreks saga. The sources of increasing value of Ref ’s gifts track some of those noted in Audun’s Story.

Keywords: Audun’s Story; Gautreks saga; Gift-Ref; Jarl Neri

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