Egla, 73

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Chapter 73

Journey to Vermaland

Egil with three comrades made him ready for the journey. They had horses and sledges, and so had the king's men. There was then deep snow, and all the roads were effaced. They betook them to their journey when they were ready, and sledged up the land; and when they came eastwards near Eida, it happened one night that so much fresh snow fell that they could not see the way. On the morrow they traveled slowly, because there were snowdrifts directly one left the track. And as the day wore on they stopped to bait their horses; this was near a wooded ridge. Then spoke the king's men with Egil: 'Here now the roads divide; forward below the ridge dwells a landowner named Arnold, our friend; we with our party will go and lodge there. But you shall go yonder up the ridge, and when you come over it you will soon have before you a large house where you are sure of lodging.[1] A wealthy man dwells there, Armod Beard by name. But to-morrow early we will again join company and go on the next evening to Eida-wood. There dwells a worthy landowner named Thorfinn.'

Upon this they separated, Egil and his men going up the ridge. But of the king's men this is to be told, that no sooner were they and Egil out of sight of each other, than they took their snow-shoes (which they had brought with them) and put them on; then they retraced their way as fast as they could. Night and day they travelled, and turned toward Upland, thence north by the Dovre-fell, nor stayed they till they came before king Hacon, and told him of their journey, how it had sped.

Egil and his comrades crossed the ridge that evening. To be brief, so soon as they left the main road and got upon the ridge, they found deep snow, steep rocks, tangled copsewood. Now and again in the snow the horses so plunged and lay that they had to be pulled up out of it, and over rocks and crags was a hard struggle. Much ado had they with the horses; but the walking for the men was of the heaviest, and sorely wearied were they when they came off the ridge and saw before them a large house, for which they made.

And when they came to the enclosure, they saw men standing outside, Armod and some of his household. They exchanged words and asked each other's tidings, and when Armod knew that they were messengers of the king, he offered them lodging. This they accepted. Armod's house-carles took their horses and harness; but the master bade Egil go into the hall, and they did so.

Armod made Egil sit in the high seat on the lower bench, and his comrades outside him. They spoke much of what a toilsome way they had come that evening, but the house-carles thought it a great marvel that they had won through it at all; it was, they said, no road for man even were it free of snow.

Then said Armod: 'Think ye not this were the best hospitality, that a table should be set for you and supper given you now, and then you should sleep? This will best rest you.'

'We should like this right well,' said Egil.

So Armod had a table set for them, whereon were placed large bowls full of curds. Then said Armod that he was sorry he had no beer to give them. Egil and his men were very thirsty from weariness; they took up the bowls and drank the curds eagerly, Egil drinking far the most. No other food was brought.

The household was numerous. The mistress sat on the cross-bench, and beside her the other women. The master's daughter,[2] ten or eleven years old, was running about the hall-floor. The mistress called her to her side, and spoke in her ear. Then the girl went out to where Egil sat, and recited a verse:

'To thee with this message
My mother doth send me,
To bear word that Egil
Be wary and wait.
"So temper thy stomach,"
Thus sayeth our lady,
"With fare far more worthy
Soon feed we our guests."'[3]

Armod struck the girl, and bade her hold her tongue: 'You are always,' said he, 'saying what least suits.'

The girl went away; but Egil threw down the curd-bowl, which was now nearly empty. The bowls were then removed from them.

And now the household took their seats, and tables were set all round the hall, and food served; dishes of meat were brought in and set before Egil and the rest. After this ale was borne in, beer of the strongest. Soon they began to drink bumpers, each man was to drink off the horn; and especial care was taken that Egil and his companions should drink hard. Egil drank without shirking a drop for a long while, but when his companions were become helpless, then he drank for them what they could not. So matters went on till the tables were removed, and by then all in the room were well drunk.

But before each cup that he drank Armod said: 'I drink to you, Egil,' and the house-carles drank to Egil's companions with the same preface. A man was appointed to bear every cup to Egil's party, and he urged them to drink it off quick. Egil told his companions to drink no more, but himself drank for them what they could not avoid.

Egil soon found that it would not do for him to go on so. Wherefore he stood up, went across the floor to where Armod sat, took him with his hands by the shoulders, and forced him back against the inner posts, and spat[4][5] in his face.[6][7] There was an outcry and uproar, but Egil went back to his place, sate him down, and bade them serve him drink.

Armod leapt up and ran out; Egil continued to drink for a while, as did some others in the hall; but there was little merriment. Soon Egil and his men stood up, and took their weapons from the wall where they had hung them up; they then went to the granary in which their horse were, and laid themselves down in the straw, and slept through the night.

References

  1. you are sure of lodging: "At first glance the suggestion appears to be a friendly one; since the group is large, they need to split up, each seeking shelter with friends. There is of course something slightly foreboding about the suggestion: Armod Beard is not only not a friend of Egil and his men but is in fact completely unknown to them, having been introduced into the saga at that very moment” Tangherlini, Timothy R.. Facebook for Vikings (p. 149).
  2. The master's daughter: „En in Mikla móðir er ekki öll þar sem hún er séð. Hún birtist jafnan í gervi ungar telpu“. Einar Pálsson. Bræður himins og Egils saga (p. 6).
  3. feed we our guests: “Guests at a feast are receiving a better drink after having been served a worse one. This is reminiscent of one of the most commented passages of the New Testament: the wedding at Cana (John 2). [...] The wedding guests at Cana got “æðra nest á frestum.” The better drink came first.” Torfi H. Tulinius. Political exegesis or personal expression? The problem of Egils saga (p. 135).
  4. and spat: "That Egill had eaten a large amount of skyr just before implies that the vomit would contain the white material, and this strengthens the parallel between the vomit and ejaculate, but here Egill asserts his dominance and displays phallic aggression rather than showing himself to be passive." Tirosh, Yoav. Argr Management (p. 263).
  5. spat: "The theme of Egill's relation to his god Óðinn, … seems to have directed the writer of Egils saga, or his source, in the choice, or invention, of congruous incidents throughout Egill's life-story … . This Odinic theme developed in association perhaps with another that we may discern, that of the dark clan to which Egill belongs, … . Thematic structuring of this kind may be highly developed in some sagas, less consistently maintained in others, and in others again, perhaps not present at all, in accordance with the skill and insight of those who gave articulation to the traditions at any stage in their transmission." Dronke, Ursula. Sem jarlar forðum (p. 57).
  6. spat in his face: “Marvellously comic, this scene is also carefully crafted and shrewdly associates various aspects of the poetic process. The base man – in this case Ármóðr – simply spews; the poet, by contrast, transforms his vomit into poetry, and thus redeems baseness and outrage through poetry and art.” De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (p. 134).
  7. spat in his face: "Significantly, the saga of the great early poet, Egil, was written by the master of mediaeval Icelandic verse, Snorri Sturluson, and we might find, in the author’s delight in the details of alcoholic excess, the manner in which inspiration overcomes decorum, a sublime indication of Odin at work. " Edwards, Paul. Alcohol into Art: Drink and Poetry in Old Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon (pp. 88-9).

Kafli 73

Vermalandsferð

Egill bjóst til ferðar og þrír menn aðrir hans förunautar. Höfðu þeir hesta og sleða svo sem konungsmenn. Þá voru snjóvar miklir og breyttir vegir allir. Ráða þeir til ferðar er þeir voru búnir og óku upp á land. Og er þeir sóttu austur til Eiða þá var það á einni nótt að féll snjór mikill svo að ógerla sá veguna. Fórst þeim þá seint um daginn eftir því að kafhlaup voru þegar af fór veginum.

Og er á leið daginn dvöldust þeir og áðu hestum sínum. Þar var nær skógarháls einn.

Þá mæltu þeir við Egil: „Nú skiljast hér vegar en hér fram undan hálsinum býr bóndi sá er heitir Arnaldur, vinur vor. Munum vér förunautar fara þangað til gistingar en þér skuluð fara hér upp á hálsinn og þá er þér komið þar mun brátt verða fyrir yður bær mikill og er yður þar vís gisting.[1] Þar býr stórauðigur maður er heitir Ármóður skegg. En á morgun árdegis skulum vér hittast og fara annað kveld til Eiðaskógs. Þar býr góður bóndi er Þorfinnur heitir.“

Síðan skiljast þeir. Fara þeir Egill upp á hálsinn en frá konungsmönnum er það að segja að þegar er sýn fal í milli þeirra Egils þá tóku þeir skíð sín er þeir höfðu haft og stigu þar á, létu síðan ganga aftur á leið sem þeir máttu. Fóru þeir nótt og dag og sneru til Upplanda og þaðan norður um Dofrafjall og léttu eigi fyrr en þeir komu á fund Hákonar konungs og sögðu um sína ferð sem farið hafði.

Egill og förunautar hans fóru um kveldið yfir hálsinn. Var það þar skjótast af að segja að þeir fóru þegar af veginum. Var snjórinn mikill. Lágu hestarnir á kafi annað skeið svo að draga varð upp. Þar voru kleifar og kjarrskógar nokkurir en um kjörrin og kleifarnar var alltorsótt. Var þeim þá seinkan mikil að hestunum en mannfærðin var hin þyngsta. Mæddust þeir þá mjög en þó komust þeir af hálsinum og sáu þá fyrir sér bæ mikinn og sóttu þangað til.

Og er þeir komu í túnið þá sáu þeir að þar stóðu menn úti, Ármóður og sveinar hans. Köstuðust þeir orðum á og spurðust tíðinda. Og er Ármóður vissi að þeir voru sendimenn konungs þá bauð hann þeim þar gisting. Þeir þekktust það. Tóku húskarlar Ármóðs við hestum þeirra og reiða en bóndi bað Egil ganga inn í stofu og þeir gerðu svo. Ármóður setti Egil í öndvegi á hinn óæðra bekk og þar förunauta hans utar frá. Þeir ræddu margt um hversu erfiðlega þeir höfðu farið um kveldið en heimamönnum þótti mikið undur er þeir höfðu fram komist og sögðu að þar væri engum manni fært þó að snjólaust væri.

Þá mælti Ármóður: „Þykir yður eigi sá beini bestur að yður sé borð sett og gefinn náttverður en síðan farið þér að sofa? Munuð þér þá hvílast best.“

„Það líkar oss allvel,“ segir Egill.

Ármóður lét þá setja þeim borð en síðan voru settir fram stórir askar fullir af skyri. Þá lét Ármóður að honum þætti það illa er hann hafði eigi mungát að gefa þeim. Þeir Egill voru mjög þyrstir af mæði. Tóku þeir upp askana og drukku ákaft skyrið og þó Egill miklu mest. Engi kom önnur vistin fram.

Þar var margt hjóna. Húsfreyja sat á þverpalli og þar konur hjá henni. Dóttir bónda[2] var á gólfinu, tíu vetra eða ellefu. Húsfreyja kallaði hana til sín og mælti í eyra henni. Síðan fór mærin utar fyrir borðið þar er Egill sat. Hún kvað:

Því sendi mín móðir
mig við þig til fundar
og orð bera Agli
að ég varir skylduð.
Hildr mælti það horna:
Haga svo maga þínum,
eiga órir gestir
æðra nest á frestum.[3]

Ármóður laust meyna og bað hana þegja „mælir þú það jafnan er verst gegnir.“

Mærin gekk á brott en Egill skaut niður skyraskinum og var þá nær tómur. Voru þá og brott teknir askarnir frá þeim. Gengu þá og heimamenn í sæti sín og voru borð upp tekin um alla stofu og sett á vist. Því næst komu inn sendingar og voru þá settar fyrir Egil sem fyrir aðra menn.

Því næst var öl inn borið og var það hið sterkasta mungát. Var þá brátt drukkinn einmenningur. Skyldi einn maður drekka af dýrshorni. Var þar mestur gaumur að gefinn er Egill var og sveitungar hans, skyldu drekka sem ákafast. Egill drakk ósleitilega fyrst langa hríð. En er förunautar hans gerðust ófærir þá drakk hann fyrir þá það er þeir máttu eigi. Gekk svo til þess er borð fóru brott. Gerðust þá og allir mjög drukknir þeir er inni voru, en hvert full er Ármóður drakk þá mælti hann: „Drekk eg til þín, Egill.“ En húskarlar drukku til förunauta Egils og höfðu hinn sama formála. Maður var til þess fenginn að bera þeim Agli hvert full og eggjaði sá mjög að þeir skyldu skjótt drekka. Egill mælti við förunauta sína að þeir skyldu þá ekki drekka en hann drakk fyrir þá það er þeir máttu eigi annan veg undan komast.

Egill fann þá að honum mundi eigi svo búið eira. Stóð hann þá upp og gekk um gólf þvert þangað er Ármóður sat. Hann tók höndum í axlir honum og kneikti hann upp að stöfum. Síðan þeysti Egill upp úr sér spýju[4][5] mikla[6][7] og gaus í andlit Ármóði, í augun og nasirnar og í munninn, rann svo ofan um bringuna. En Ármóði var við andhlaup og er hann fékk öndunni frá sér hrundið þá gaus upp spýja. En allir mæltu þeir er hjá voru, húskarlar Ármóðs, að Egill skyldi fara allra manna armastur og hann væri hinn versti maður af þessu verki er hann skyldi eigi ganga út er hann vildi spýja en verða eigi að undrum inni í drykkjustofunni.

Egill segir: „Ekki er að hallmæla mér um þetta þótt eg geri sem bóndi gerir. Spýr hann af öllu afli eigi síður en eg.“

Síðan gekk Egill til rúms síns og settist niður, bað þá gefa sér að drekka. Þá kvað Egill við raust:

Títt erumk verð að votta,
vætti berk að eg hætti
þung til þessar göngu, þinn kinnalá minni.
Margr velr gestr, þar er gistir,
gjöld, finnumst vér sjaldan,
Ármóði liggr, æðri,
öldra dregg í skeggi.

Ármóður hljóp upp og út en Egill bað gefa sér drekka. Þá mælti húsfreyja við þann mann er þeim hafði skenkt um kveldið að hann skyldi gefa drykk svo að þá skyrti eigi meðan þeir vildu drekka. Síðan tók hann dýrshorn mikið og fyllti og bar til Egils. Egill kneyfði af horninu í einum drykk. Þá kvað hann:

Drekkum úr, þó að Ekkils
eykríðr beri tíðum
horna sund að hendi,
hvert full, bragar Ulli.
Leifi eg vætr, þó að laufa
leikstærir mér færi
hrosta tjörn í horni,
horn til dags að morgni.

Egill drakk um hríð og kneyfði hvert horn er að honum kom en lítil var þá gleði í stofunni þótt nokkurir menn drykkju. Síðan stendur Egill upp og förunautar hans og taka vopn sín af veggjum er þeir höfðu uppfest, ganga síðan til kornhlöðu þeirrar er hestar þeirra voru inni. Lögðust þeir þar niður í hálm og sváfu um nóttina.


Tilvísanir

  1. er yður þar vís gisting: "At first glance the suggestion appears to be a friendly one; since the group is large, they need to split up, each seeking shelter with friends. There is of course something slightly foreboding about the suggestion: Armod Beard is not only not a friend of Egil and his men but is in fact completely unknown to them, having been introduced into the saga at that very moment” Tangherlini, Timothy R.. Facebook for Vikings (s. 149).
  2. Dóttir bónda: „En in Mikla móðir er ekki öll þar sem hún er séð. Hún birtist jafnan í gervi ungar telpu“. Einar Pálsson. Bræður himins og Egils saga (s. 6).
  3. æðri nest á frestum: “Guests at a feast are receiving a better drink after having been served a worse one. This is reminiscent of one of the most commented passages of the New Testament: the wedding at Cana (John 2). [...] The wedding guests at Cana got “æðra nest á frestum.” The better drink came first.” Torfi H. Tulinius. Political exegesis or personal expression? The problem of Egils saga (s. 135).
  4. þeysti Egill upp úr sér spýju: "That Egill had eaten a large amount of skyr just before implies that the vomit would contain the white material, and this strengthens the parallel between the vomit and ejaculate, but here Egill asserts his dominance and displays phallic aggression rather than showing himself to be passive." Tirosh, Yoav. Argr Management (s. 263).
  5. spýju: "The theme of Egill's relation to his god Óðinn, … seems to have directed the writer of Egils saga, or his source, in the choice, or invention, of congruous incidents throughout Egill's life-story … . This Odinic theme developed in association perhaps with another that we may discern, that of the dark clan to which Egill belongs, … . Thematic structuring of this kind may be highly developed in some sagas, less consistently maintained in others, and in others again, perhaps not present at all, in accordance with the skill and insight of those who gave articulation to the traditions at any stage in their transmission." Dronke, Ursula. Sem jarlar forðum (s. 57).
  6. spýju mikla: “Marvellously comic, this scene is also carefully crafted and shrewdly associates various aspects of the poetic process. The base man – in this case Ármóðr – simply spews; the poet, by contrast, transforms his vomit into poetry, and thus redeems baseness and outrage through poetry and art.” De Looze, Laurence. Poet, Poem and Poetic Process in Egils Saga (s. 134).
  7. spýju mikla: "Significantly, the saga of the great early poet, Egil, was written by the master of mediaeval Icelandic verse, Snorri Sturluson, and we might find, in the author’s delight in the details of alcoholic excess, the manner in which inspiration overcomes decorum, a sublime indication of Odin at work. " Edwards, Paul. Alcohol into Art: Drink and Poetry in Old Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon (s. 88-9).

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