Egla, 31

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Chapter 31

Of Skallagrim's children

Skallagrim and Bera had a great many children, but at first they all died. Then they had a son, who was sprinkled with water and named Thorolf. As a child he soon grew to be tall and was fair of countenance. It was the talk of all that he would be just such another as Thorolf Kveldulf's son, after whom he was named. Thorolf was far beyond children of his own age in strength. And as he grew to manhood he became doughty in most accomplishments then in vogue among those who were well trained. Thorolf was of a right cheery mood. Early did he come to such full strength as to be deemed fit for warlike service with other men. He was soon a favourite with all, and his father and mother loved him well. Skallagrim and his wife had two daughters; one was named Sæunn, the other Thorunn. They also were of great promise[1] as they grew up. Then Skallagrim and his wife had yet another son. He was sprinkled with water and named, and his name was Egil. But as he grew up it was soon seen that he would be ill-favoured, like his father, with black hair. When but three years old he was as tall and strong[2] as other boys of six or seven. He was soon talkative[3] and word-wise.[4] Somewhat ill to manage[5] was he when at play with other lads.[6]

That spring, Yngvar went to Borg, his errand being to bid Skallagrim to a feast at his house, he also named for the party his daughter Bera and Thorolf her son, and any others that Skallagrim liked to bring. Skallagrim promised to come. Yngvar then went home, prepared for the banquet, and had ale brewed. But when the set time came that Skallagrim and Bera should go to the feast, Thorolf made him ready to go with them, as also some house-carles, so that they were fifteen in all. Egil told his father that he wished to go.

'I am,' said he, 'as much akin to Yngvar as is Thorolf.'

'You shall not go,'[7] said Skallagrim, 'for you know not how to behave yourself in company where there is much drinking, you who are not good to deal with[8] though you be sober.'

Then Skallagrim mounted his horse and rode away, but Egil was ill content with his lot.

He went out of the yard, and found a draught horse of Skallagrim's, got on its back and rode after Skallagrim's party. No easy way had he over the moor, for he did not know the road; but he kept his eyes on the riders before him when copse or wood were not in the way. And this is to tell of his journey, that late in the evening he came to Swan-ness, when men sat there a-drinking. He went into the room, but when Yngvar saw Egil he received him joyfully, and asked why he had come so late. Egil told of his words with Skallagrim. Yngvar made Egil sit by him, they two sat opposite Skallagrim and Thorolf. For merriment over their ale they fell to reciting staves. Then Egil recited a stave:

'Hasting I came[9] to the hearth fire[10]
Of Yngvar, right fain so to find him,
Him who on heroes bestoweth
Gold that the heather-worm guardeth.
Thou, of the snake's shining treasure
Always a generous giver,
Wilt not than me of three winters
Doughtier song-smith discover.'[11]

Yngvar praised this stave, and thanked Egil much therefore, but on the morrow he brought to Egil as reward for the poem[12] three sea-snail shells and a duck's egg. And next day at the drinking Egil recited another stave about his poem's reward:

'The wielder of keen-biting wound-fowl
Gave unto Egil the talker[13]
Three silent dogs of the surf-swell,
Meet for the praise in his poem.
He, the skilled guide of the sea-horse,
Knowing to please with a present,
Gave as fourth gift to young Egil
Round egg, the brook-bird's bed-bolster.'

Egil's poetry won him thanks[14] from many men. No more tidings were there of that journey. Egil went home with Skallagrim.

References

  1. of great promise: "Ég hef áður fært rök fyrir því að hugmyndir miðaldamanna um efnilegar stúlkur hafi snemma á miðöldum átt við stúlkur sem voru efnilegar í bókstaflegri merkingu þessa orðs. Málið snerist um efnilega kvenkosti og efnilegastar voru þær sem áttu miklar eignir, helst jarðeignir en ekki sakaði að þær voru líka fríðar og miklir kvenskörungar. Þegar leið á miðaldir fór þó hugmyndin um efnilegan kvenkost að breytast verulega.“ Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir. Nokkrar hugleiðingar um kynbundið uppeldi á miðöldum (p. 108).
  2. he was as tall and strong: "From his childhood, Egil‘s personality is an odd mixture of various characteristics and which are good and bad, noble or unattractive. He is a viking type who is cruel, marauding, greedy for money and tangible property but he is also a poet, loving father or loyal friend. He cannot flatter but he can revenge himself mercilessly or he can even help others with respect to community. He avoids company of many people and he is also truly egoistic personally and towards to his family as well." (Czech text: "Povahove vyvíjí se Egil jiz od detství v podivnou smesici různých vlastností, dobrých a zlých, uslechtilých a nepekných. Je typem víkinga, krutého, loupezivého, chtivého penez a statku, ale je také básníkem, je milujícím otcem, je verným prítelem. Neumí lichotiti, dovede se krute mstiti, dovede pomáhati, zvláste kdyz jde o celek spolecnosti, nevyhledává styku s mnoha lidmi, je veliký egoista osobní i rodinný.") Vrátný, Karel. Úvodní poznámka (p. 11).
  3. was soon talkative: “To inherit the family characteristics of physical difference is also to inherit poetic and linguistic skills, as is made abundantly clear in the distinction made between Egill and his brother Þórólfr.” De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (p. 126).
  4. talkative and word-wise: "Egil’s premature verbal skills are a variant of the puer senex topos used in earlier sagas to signal Olaf Tryggvason’s predisposition for Christianity and Magnús’s early political sagacity." Andersson, Theodore M.. Political Ambiguities – Egils saga Skallagrímssonar (p. 105).
  5. ill to manage: "Egill is as extraordinary a child as any future Christian bishop, yet his ugliness, precotiousness, impetuosity, verbosity, and hostility are in direct opposition to the standard qualities of character so often found in the friends of God." Roughton, Philip G. Icelandic Saints in Different Guises (p. 41).
  6. other lads: "This introduction establishes the traits that will characterize the two men for the duration of the narrative. In Ricœurean terms, these introductions mark and almost complete overlapping of ipse and idem since one of the goals of the Sagas of the Icelanders is to show that there is no gap between the heroe's ipse and their idem." De Looze, Laurence. The Concept of the Self in Egil’s Saga (p. 62).
  7. You shall not go: „Atvikið í heild minnir á frásögn af Þéttleifi hinum danska í Þiðreks sögu af Bern. [. . .] Í Þiðreks sögu segir á þessa lund: „Og þá er Bitur-Úlfur býst til þessarar ferðar og hans menn, þá verður Þéttleifur þess var við þessa alla ætlan“ og fer til móður sinnar og „kvaðst vilja fara til veislunnar með henni“ en hún neitar og kallar hann víxling og ættlera. Þá snýr Þéttleifur sér að föður sínum, en fær engu betri undirtektir þaðan; karl er engu síður tregur til að taka pilt með sér í veislu en Skalla-Grímur durginn Egil“. Hermann Pálsson. Ættarmót með Eglu og öðrum skrám (p. 2).
  8. not good to deal with: "deadly 'split' personality, that alternates excesses of violence with hypochondriac crises. […]. Clinically, Egil would be probably regarded as a cyclothymic." Koch, Ludovica. Il corvo della memoria e il corvo del pensiero (pp. 42-43).
  9. Hasting I came: "The first poem ‘happens’ when Egill is denied permission to attend a feast at his maternal grandfather’s because of his intractability after drinking. […] Egill’s speech reflects a resource as yet independent of context, objective, and application. To adapt a modern idiom: Egill is a poem waiting to happen." Sayers, William. Poetry and social agency in Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar (p. 35).
  10. to the hearth fire: "Les différents épisodes, authentiques ou non, ont été disposés sur le fond historique de la poésie scaldique. On peut imaginer que Snorri brodait, pour combler les vides, sur une tradition parfois flottante: il aurait ainsi composé la fameuse strophe qu'Egill est censé avoir écrit à l'âge de trois ans." Boyer, Régis. Notice (pp. 1509-10).
  11. song-smith discover: “Precocious composition that it is, the poem is about its own precociousness.” De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (p. 127).
  12. reward for the poem: "The charming aspect of this story-the childlike reward for adult behavior makes memorable the workings of this kind of poetry: Egil praises his host for his generosity, and then is rewarded." Biggs, Frederick M.. Deor’s Threatened “Blame Poem” (p. 301).
  13. Gave unto Egil the talker: "Egil delivers two verses in this episode and they are both in regular dróttkvætt, except for the first line in the second verse. [...] The story of the boy and his grandfather is an example of the ideal reciprocal relationship between the court poet and his patron, which will not be acted out in Egil's relations with the Norwegian king." Guðrún Nordal. Ars metrica and the composition of Egils saga (p. 44).
  14. won him thanks: "The verses earn popularity for Egill and the episode could be taken to indicate that it is with his poetry that Egill will win the favour of others. Thus it foreshadows his later successful attempt to escape death and the wrath of King Eiríkr through poetry.” Ármann Jakobsson. Troublesome Children in the Sagas of Icelanders (p. 13).

Kafli 31

Hér segir af börnum Skalla-Gríms

Skalla-Grímur og þau Bera áttu börn mjög mörg og var það fyrst að öll önduðust. Þá gátu þau son og var vatni ausinn og hét Þórólfur. En er hann fæddist upp þá var hann snemma mikill vexti og hinn vænsti sýnum. Var það allra manna mál að hann mundi vera hinn líkasti Þórólfi Kveld-Úlfssyni er hann var eftir heitinn. Þórólfur var langt umfram jafnaldra sína að afli. En er hann óx upp gerðist hann íþróttamaður um flesta þá hluti er þá var mönnum títt að fremja, þeim er vel voru að sér gervir. Þórólfur var gleðimaður mikill. Snemma var hann svo fullkominn að afli að hann þótti vel liðfær með öðrum mönnum. Varð hann brátt vinsæll af alþýðu. Unni honum og vel faðir og móðir.

Þau Skalla-Grímur áttu dætur tvær. Hét önnur Sæunn en önnur Þórunn. Voru þær og efnilegar[1] í uppvexti.

Enn áttu þau Skalla-Grímur son. Var sá vatni ausinn og nafn gefið og kallaður Egill. En er hann óx upp þá mátti það brátt sjá á honum að hann mundi verða mjög ljótur og líkur föður sínum, svartur á hár. En þá er hann var þrevetur þá var hann mikill og sterkur[2] svo sem þeir sveinar aðrir er voru sex vetra eða sjö. Hann var brátt málugur[3] og orðvís.[4] Heldur var hann illur viðureignar[5] er hann var í leikum með öðrum ungmennum.[6]

Það vor fór Yngvar til Borgar og var það að erindum að hann bauð Skalla-Grími til boðs út þangað til sín og nefndi til þeirrar ferðar Beru dóttur sína og Þórólf son hennar og þá menn aðra er þau Skalla-Grímur vildu að færu. Skalla-Grímur hét för sinni. Fór Yngvar þá heim og bjó til veislunnar og lét þá öl heita.

En er að þeirri stefnu kemur er Skalla-Grímur skyldi til boðsins fara og þau Bera þá bjóst Þórólfur til ferðar með þeim og húskarlar svo að þau voru fimmtán saman.

Egill ræddi um við föður sinn að hann vildi fara „á eg þar slíkt kynni sem Þórólfur,“ segir hann.

„Ekki skaltu fara,“[7] segir Skalla-Grímur, „því að þú kannt ekki fyrir þér að vera í fjölmenni þar er drykkjur eru miklar er þú þykir ekki góður viðskiptis[8] að þú sért ódrukkinn.“

Steig þá Skalla-Grímur á hest sinn og reið í brott en Egill undi illa við sinn hlut. Hann gekk úr garði og hitti eykhest einn er Skalla-Grímur átti, fór á bak og reið eftir þeim Skalla-Grími. Honum varð ógreiðfært um mýrarnar því að hann kunni enga leið en hann sá þó mjög oft reið þeirra Skalla-Gríms þá er eigi bar fyrir holt eða skóga. Er það að segja frá hans ferð að síð um kveldið kom hann á Álftanes þá er menn sátu þar að drykkju. Gekk hann inn í stofu. En er Yngvar sá Egil þá tók hann við honum feginsamlega og spurði hví hann hefði svo síð komið. Egill sagði hvað þeir Skalla-Grímur höfðu við mælst. Yngvar setti Egil hjá sér. Sátu þeir gagnvert þeim Skalla-Grími og Þórólfi.

Það var þar haft ölteiti að menn kváðu vísur. Þá kvað Egill vísu:

Kominn er eg[9] til erna[10]
Yngvars þess er beð lyngva,
hann var fús að finna
fránþvengjar gefr drengjum.
Munt eigi þú, þægir,
þrevetran mér betri, <
ljósundinna landa
linns, óðar smið finna.[11]

Yngvar hélt upp vísu þeirri og þakkaði vel Agli vísuna. En um daginn eftir þá færði Yngvar Agli að skáldskaparlaunum[12] kúfunga þrjá og andaregg. En um daginn eftir við drykkju kvað Egill vísu aðra um bragarlaun:

Síþögla gaf söglum[13]
sárgagls þrjá Agli
hirðimeiðr við hróðri
hagr brimrótar gagra
og bekkþiðurs blakka
borðvallar gaf fjorða
kennimeiðr, sá er kunni,
kjörbeð, Egil gleðja.

Vel lagði Egill í þökk skáldskap sinn[14] við marga menn.

Ekki varð þá fleira til tíðinda í ferð þeirra. Fór Egill heim með Skalla-Grími.

Tilvísanir

  1. efnilegar: "Ég hef áður fært rök fyrir því að hugmyndir miðaldamanna um efnilegar stúlkur hafi snemma á miðöldum átt við stúlkur sem voru efnilegar í bókstaflegri merkingu þessa orðs. Málið snerist um efnilega kvenkosti og efnilegastar voru þær sem áttu miklar eignir, helst jarðeignir en ekki sakaði að þær voru líka fríðar og miklir kvenskörungar. Þegar leið á miðaldir fór þó hugmyndin um efnilegan kvenkost að breytast verulega.“ Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir. Nokkrar hugleiðingar um kynbundið uppeldi á miðöldum (s. 108).
  2. var hann mikill og sterkur: "From his childhood, Egil‘s personality is an odd mixture of various characteristics and which are good and bad, noble or unattractive. He is a viking type who is cruel, marauding, greedy for money and tangible property but he is also a poet, loving father or loyal friend. He cannot flatter but he can revenge himself mercilessly or he can even help others with respect to community. He avoids company of many people and he is also truly egoistic personally and towards to his family as well." (Czech text: "Povahove vyvíjí se Egil jiz od detství v podivnou smesici různých vlastností, dobrých a zlých, uslechtilých a nepekných. Je typem víkinga, krutého, loupezivého, chtivého penez a statku, ale je také básníkem, je milujícím otcem, je verným prítelem. Neumí lichotiti, dovede se krute mstiti, dovede pomáhati, zvláste kdyz jde o celek spolecnosti, nevyhledává styku s mnoha lidmi, je veliký egoista osobní i rodinný.") Vrátný, Karel. Úvodní poznámka (s. 11).
  3. var brátt málugur: “To inherit the family characteristics of physical difference is also to inherit poetic and linguistic skills, as is made abundantly clear in the distinction made between Egill and his brother Þórólfr” (p. 126). De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (s. 126).
  4. málugur og orðvís: "Egil’s premature verbal skills are a variant of the puer senex topos used in earlier sagas to signal Olaf Tryggvason’s predisposition for Christianity and Magnús’s early political sagacity." Andersson, Theodore M.. Political Ambiguities – Egils saga Skallagrímssonar (s. 105).
  5. illur viðureignar: "Egill is as extraordinary a child as any future Christian bishop, yet his ugliness, precotiousness, impetuosity, verbosity, and hostility are in direct opposition to the standard qualities of character so often found in the friends of God." Roughton, Philip G. Icelandic Saints in Different Guises (s. 41).
  6. öðrum ungmennum: "This introduction establishes the traits that will characterize the two men for the duration of the narrative. In Ricœurean terms, these introductions mark and almost complete overlapping of ipse and idem since one of the goals of the Sagas of the Icelanders is to show that there is no gap between the heroe's ipse and their idem." De Looze, Laurence. The Concept of the Self in Egil’s Saga (s. 62).
  7. Ekki skaltu fara: „Atvikið í heild minnir á frásögn af Þéttleifi hinum danska í Þiðreks sögu af Bern. [. . .] Í Þiðreks sögu segir á þessa lund: „Og þá er Bitur-Úlfur býst til þessarar ferðar og hans menn, þá verður Þéttleifur þess var við þessa alla ætlan“ og fer til móður sinnar og „kvaðst vilja fara til veislunnar með henni“ en hún neitar og kallar hann víxling og ættlera. Þá snýr Þéttleifur sér að föður sínum, en fær engu betri undirtektir þaðan; karl er engu síður tregur til að taka pilt með sér í veislu en Skalla-Grímur durginn Egil“. Hermann Pálsson. Ættarmót með Eglu og öðrum skrám (s. 2).
  8. þykir ekki góður viðskiptis: "deadly 'split' personality, that alternates excesses of violence with hypochondriac crises. […]. Clinically, Egil would be probably regarded as a cyclothymic." Koch, Ludovica. Il corvo della memoria e il corvo del pensiero (s. 42-43).
  9. Kominn er eg: "The first poem ‘happens’ when Egill is denied permission to attend a feast at his maternal grandfather’s because of his intractability after drinking. […] Egill’s speech reflects a resource as yet independent of context, objective, and application. To adapt a modern idiom: Egill is a poem waiting to happen." Sayers, William. Poetry and social agency in Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar (s. 35).
  10. til erna: "Les différents épisodes, authentiques ou non, ont été disposés sur le fond historique de la poésie scaldique. On peut imaginer que Snorri brodait, pour combler les vides, sur une tradition parfois flottante: il aurait ainsi composé la fameuse strophe qu'Egill est censé avoir écrit à l'âge de trois ans." Boyer, Régis. Notice (s. 1509-10).
  11. óðar smið finna: “Precocious composition that it is, the poem is about its own precociousness.” De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (s. 127).
  12. að skáldskaparlaunum: "The charming aspect of this story-the childlike reward for adult behavior makes memorable the workings of this kind of poetry: Egil praises his host for his generosity, and then is rewarded." Biggs, Frederick M.. Deor’s Threatened “Blame Poem” (s. 301).
  13. Síþögla gaf söglum: "Egil delivers two verses in this episode and they are both in regular dróttkvætt, except for the first line in the second verse. [...] The story of the boy and his grandfather is an example of the ideal reciprocal relationship between the court poet and his patron, which will not be acted out in Egil's relations with the Norwegian king." Guðrún Nordal. Ars metrica and the composition of Egils saga (s. 44).
  14. í þökk skáldskap sinn: "The verses earn popularity for Egill and the episode could be taken to indicate that it is with his poetry that Egill will win the favour of others. Thus it foreshadows his later successful attempt to escape death and the wrath of King Eiríkr through poetry.” Ármann Jakobsson. Troublesome Children in the Sagas of Icelanders (s. 13).

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