"My early days were full of war, and I survived it all; I can remember everything. I was seven years old when Hrethel opened his home and his heart for me, when my king and lord took me from my father and kept me, taught me, gave me gold and pleasure, glad that I sat at his knee.
And he never loved me less than any of his sons - Herbald, the oldest of all, or Hathcyn, or Higlac, my lord. Herbald died a horrible death, killed while hunting: Hathcyn, his brother, stretched his horn-tipped bow, sent an arrow flying, but missed his mark and hit Herbald instead, found him with a bloody point and pierced him through. The crime was great, the guilt was plain, but nothing could be done, no vengeance, no death to repay that death, no punishment, nothing.
"So with the graybeard whose son sins against the king, and is hanged: he stands watching his child swing on the gallows, lamenting, helpless, while his flesh and blood hangs for the ravens to pluck. He can raise his voice in sorrow, but revenge is impossible. And every morning he remembers how his son died, and despairs; no son to come matters, no future heir, to a father forced to live through such misery.
"The place where his son once dwelled, before death compelled him to journey away, is a windy wasteland, empty, cheerless; the childless father shudders, seeing it. So riders and ridden sleep in the ground; pleasure is gone, the harp is silent, and hope is forgotten..."