Egla, 45

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Chapter 45

Egil went in the night and sought the places where boats were. But wheresoever he came to the strand, men were always there before him. He went thus through the whole night, and found never a boat. But when day dawned, he was standing on a certain ness. He saw then another island, and between him and it lay a very wide sound. This was then his counsel: he took helmet, sword, and spear, breaking off the spear-shaft and casting it out into the sea; but the weapons he wrapped round in his cloak and made thereof a bundle which he bound on his back. Then he plunged into the water, nor stayed his swimming till he came to the island. It was called Sheppey; it was an island of no great size covered with brushwood. There were cattle on it, both sheep and oxen, belonging to Atla-isle. But when he came to the island, he wrung his clothes dry.

By this time it was broad daylight, and the sun was risen. King Eric had Atla-island well searched as soon as it was light; this took some time, the island being large, and Egil was not found. Then the king made them row to other islands and seek him. It was evening when twelve men rowed to Sheppey. They were to look for Egil, and had also to bring from thence some cattle for slaughter. Egil saw the boat coming to the island; he then lay down and hid himself in the brushwood before the boat came to land. They left three men behind with the boat; but nine went up, and they separated into three search parties, with three in each. But when a rise in the ground was between them and the boat, then Egil stood up (having before got his weapons ready), and made straight across for the sea, and then along the shore. They who guarded the boat were not aware of it till Egil was upon them. He at once smote one with a death-blow; but another took to his heels, and he had to leap up something of a bank. Egil followed him with a blow cutting off his foot. The third man leapt out into the boat, and pushed off with the pole. Egil drew the boat to him with the rope, and leapt out into it. Few blows were exchanged ere Egil slew him, and pushed him overboard. Then he took oars and rowed the boat away. He went all that night and the day after, nor stayed till he came to lord Thorir's.

As for Aulvir and his comrades, the king let them go in peace, as guiltless in this matter.

But the men who were in Sheppey were there for many nights, and killed cattle for food, and made a fire and cooked them, and piled a large fuel-heap on the side of the island looking towards Atla-isle, and set fire thereto, and let folk know their plight. When that was seen, men rowed out to them, and brought to land those who yet lived.

The king was by this time gone away; he went to another banquet.

But of Aulvir there is this to be told, that he reached home before Egil, and Thorolf and Thorir had come home even before that. Aulvir told the tidings, the slaying of Bard and the rest that had there befallen, but of Egil's goings since he knew nothing. Thorolf was much grieved hereat, as also was Arinbjorn; they thought that Egil would return nevermore. But the next morning Egil came home. Which when Thorolf knew, he rose up and went out to meet him, and asked in what way he had escaped, and what tidings had befallen in his journey. Then Egil recited this stave:[1]

'From Norway king's keeping,
From craft of Gunnhilda,
So I freed me (nor flaunt I
The feat overbold),
That three, whom but I wot not,
The warrior king's liege-men,
Lie dead, to the high hall
Of Hela downsped.'[2]

Arinbjorn spoke well of this work, and said to his father that he would be bound to atone Egil with the king.

Thorir said, 'It will be the common verdict that Bard got his desert in being slain; yet hath Egil wrought too much after the way of his kin, in looking little before him and braving a king's wrath, which most men find a heavy burden. However, I will atone you, Egil, with the king for this time.'

Thorir went to find the king, but Arinbjorn remained at home and declared that one lot should befall them all.[3] But when Thorir came to the king, he offered terms for Egil, his own bail, while the king should doom the fine. King Eric was very wroth,[4] and it was hard to come to speech with him; he said that what his father had said would prove true - that family would never be trustworthy. He bade Thorir arrange it thus: 'Though I accept some atonement, Egil shall not be long harboured in my realm. But for the sake of thy intercession, Thorir, I will take a money fine for this man.' The king fixed such fine as he thought fit; Thorir paid it all and went home.

References

  1. Egill recited this stave: "On the whole there seems to be a marked qualitative difference between the rôle of verse in the Kings Sagas on the one hand and in the Sagas of the Icelanders (Family Sagas) on the other. In the former stanzas are mainly quoted as sources and may as a matter of course be treated as such by scholars. In the latter stanzas are included as a part of the story and are to be considered an integral part of the artistic fabric of the context." Bjarni Einarsson. On the rôle of verse in saga-literature (p. 124).
  2. Of Hela downsped: "That Egil lived up to his early tough-guy promise is evidenced both by the saga writer and by his own verses. In one of the incidents connected with King Eirik Bloodaxe, for example, he prides himself for having hacked and hurled a trio of trusty royal servants down to Hell eternal." Von Nolcken, Christina. Egil Skallagrimsson and the Viking Ideal (n.p.).
  3. one lot should befall them all: "Von Anfang ist der kein Zweifel an seiner (Aribjörns) Haltung, wenn er auf die Probe gestellt wird (…). Arinbjörn ist nicht mit Egill verwandt, d.h. seine Treue Egill gegenüber beruht nur auf Freundschaft; (…). Auf diese Weise stellt die Saga die Bedeutung der Freundschaft noch über die der Verwandschaft." Baldur Hafstað. Das Dilemma des Gefolgsmannes: Freundschaft in der Egils saga (p. 24).
  4. King Eric was very wroth: "It is tempting to suggest that the saga is in fact delicately calculated for a double audience, a Norwegian audience that would have read it as a humorous send-up of a self-willed Icelander and an Icelandic audience that would have read it as a serious celebration of an ancestral hero who could stand up to the kings of Norway, not unlike those Icelandic individualists who people the digressions of Morkinskinna." Andersson, Theodore M.. The King of Iceland (p. 929).

Kafli 45

Egill fór um nóttina og leitaði þar til er skipin voru. En hvar sem hann kom til strandar þá voru þar alls staðar menn fyrir. Fór hann svo nótt þá alla að hann fékk ekki skip.

En er dagaði og lýsa tók þá var hann staddur á nesi nokkuru. Hann sá þá ey aðra og var þar sund í milli furðulega langt. Það var ráð hans að taka hjálminn og sverðið, kesjuna braut hann af skafti og skaut skaftinu á sjó út, en vopnin batt hann í bagga í yfirhöfn sinni og batt svo milli herða sér. Síðan gekk hann á sund og synti til eyjarinnar. Er það ekki mikið land en grasloðin og víða skógarrunnar. Fénaður var þar stórmargur af nautum og sauðum sem konungur hafði til bús síns í Atley. En er Egill kom í eyna þá vatt hann sjó úr fötum sínum og bjóst um. Þá var dagur orðinn allljós og sól farin.

Eiríkur konungur lét þegar rannsaka eyna er lýsa tók og varð það seint að eyin yrði öll könnuð því að Atley er mikið land og fannst Egill eigi.

Þá lét konungur fara til annarra eyja og leita hans. Það var síðast um kveldið að tólf menn fara til Sauðeyjar á skútu og skyldu þar leita Egils og áttu að hafa þaðan sláturfé mikið. Egill sá skipförina til eyjarinnar. Lagðist hann þá niður í hrísið og falst áður skipið kom að landi.

En er þeir gengu upp þá létu þeir eftir þrjá menn að gæta skips en níu gengu upp og skiptu þeir leitinni og fóru þrír í hvern stað. En er leiti bar í milli þeirra og skipsins þá stóð Egill upp og hafði áður greitt til um vopn sín. Hann gekk þvers til sjóvarins og fram með sjónum. En þeir sem skipsins gættu fundu eigi fyrr en hann kom að þeim og hjó þegar einn þeirra banahögg en annar tók þegar á rás og var þar að hlaupa upp á bakka nokkurn. Egill hjó eftir honum og tók af fótinn. Hinn þriðji hljóp á skipið út og skaust undan landi. Egill tók í festina og dró að sér skipið og hljóp síðan út á það. Skiptust þeir litla hríð höggum við áður Egill drap hann og færði útbyrðis. Síðan tók hann árar og reri í brott skipinu og þá nóttu alla og eftir um daginn. Létti hann eigi sinni ferð fyrr en hann kom heim til Þóris.

En Ölvir og þeir förunautar hans voru fyrst að öngu færir. En þegar þeir hresstust leituðu þeir heim. Lét konungur þá fara í friði af þeim sökum.

En þeir menn er í Sauðey voru, voru þar nokkurar nætur og drápu fénað til matar sér og gerðu seyði og bál mikið þar á eynni er vissi til Atleyjar, lögðu þar í eld og gerðu þar vita. En er þetta var séð úr Atley þá var róið til þeirra og voru fluttir til lands þeir er eftir lifðu. Konungur var þá brott úr Atley. Fór hann þá til annarrar veislu.

En af Ölvi er það að segja að hann kom fyrri heim en Egill og voru þeir Þórólfur og Þórir þó áður heim komnir. Ölvir sagði tíðindi, dráp Bárðar og alla þá atburði er áður höfðu gerst. En hann vissi ekki til ferða Egils síðan. Þórólfur varð nú allókátur og svo Arinbjörn, þótti þeim sem Egill mundi eigi aftur koma. En eftir um morguninn þá er ljóst var þá sáu menn að Egill lá í rúmi sínu. En er Þórólfur varð þess vís þá stóð hann upp og gekk til fundar við Egil og spurði með hverju móti hann hafði undan komist eða hvað til tíðinda hefði orðið í ferð hans. Þá kvað Egill vísu:[1]

Svo hef eg leyst úr Lista
láðvarðaðar garði,
né eg fága dul drjúgan,
dáðmildr, og Gunnhildar,
að þrifreynis þjónar
þrír nokkurir Hlakkar
til hásalar Heljar
helgengnir för dvelja.[2]

Arinbjörn lét vel yfir þessum verkum og sagði föður sínum að hann væri skyldur til að sætta Egil og konung.

Þórir sagði að það mun mál manna að Bárður hafði verðleika til að hann væri drepinn „en þér, Egill, er of mjög ættgengt að sjá lítt við því að þú fáir konungs reiði því að flestum verður það þungbært. En þó mun eg við leita að sinni að koma þér í sætt við Eirík konung.“

Þórir gerði brátt heimanferð sína á fund Eiríks konungs en Arinbjörn var heima á meðan og lét hann halda njósnum fyrir þeim Agli og sagði að eitt skyldi yfir þá ganga alla.[3] En er Þórir kom á fund konungs þá bauð hann boð fyrir Egil, bauð festu sína og dóm konungs. Konungur var hinn reiðasti[4] og var við hann orðum allóhægt að koma, sagði að það mundi sannast er Haraldur konungur hafði sagt að þá frændur mundi seint að tryggja mega, bað Þóri svo til haga að Egill væri ekki langvistum í hans ríki „en fyrir sakar bænar þinnar Þórir þá mun eg taka sátt og fébætur fyrir menn þessa.“

Síðan festi Þórir konungi dóm sinn fyrir menn þá er látist höfðu. Skildu þeir konungur svo. Fór Þórir heim. Þórólfur og Egill voru þann vetur með Þóri og Arinbirni í góðu yfirlæti.


Tilvísanir

  1. kvað Egill vísu: "On the whole there seems to be a marked qualitative difference between the rôle of verse in the Kings Sagas on the one hand and in the Sagas of the Icelanders (Family Sagas) on the other. In the former stanzas are mainly quoted as sources and may as a matter of course be treated as such by scholars. In the latter stanzas are included as a part of the story and are to be considered an integral part of the artistic fabric of the context." Bjarni Einarsson. On the rôle of verse in saga-literature (s. 124).
  2. helgengnir för dvelja: "That Egil lived up to his early tough-guy promise is evidenced both by the saga writer and by his own verses. In one of the incidents connected with King Eirik Bloodaxe, for example, he prides himself for having hacked and hurled a trio of trusty royal servants down to Hell eternal." Von Nolcken, Christina. Egil Skallagrimsson and the Viking Ideal (e.b.).
  3. eitt skyldi yfir þá ganga alla : "Von Anfang ist der kein Zweifel an seiner (Aribjörns) Haltung, wenn er auf die Probe gestellt wird (…). Arinbjörn ist nicht mit Egill verwandt, d.h. seine Treue Egill gegenüber beruht nur auf Freundschaft; (…). Auf diese Weise stellt die Saga die Bedeutung der Freundschaft noch über die der Verwandschaft." Baldur Hafstað. Das Dilemma des Gefolgsmannes: Freundschaft in der Egils saga (s. 24).
  4. Konungur var hinn reiðasti: "It is tempting to suggest that the saga is in fact delicately calculated for a double audience, a Norwegian audience that would have read it as a humorous send-up of a self-willed Icelander and an Icelandic audience that would have read it as a serious celebration of an ancestral hero who could stand up to the kings of Norway, not unlike those Icelandic individualists who people the digressions of Morkinskinna." Andersson, Theodore M.. The King of Iceland (s. 929).

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