... That which caused the
burning of the worthy Njall his wife and sons, in their house, was the
taunt of a certain Skarpedin, who threw a pair of breeches at a certain
Flossi and bade him wear them, as he was a woman every ninth day.
This was an insult that could be expunged only with blood or fire.
In the Gullathing laws is one condemning to outlawry any man who charged
another with change of sex, or with having given birth to a child.
When Thorvald the Wide-travelled went round Iceland with a German
missionary Bishop named Frederick, preaching the Gospel, the smooth face
and long petticoats, and perhaps the portly paunch of the prelate, gave
rise to bitter jests. A local poet sang:
"Nine bairns born
The Bishop hath,
And of all and eke
Is Thorvald father."
This was more than Thorvald
could endure, and he hewed down the scald with his battle-axe. (Family
Names and Their Story, Baring-Gould, 1910).