Egla, 74

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Chapter 74

Parting of Egil and Armod

Egil rose up in the morning as soon as it was day. He and his made them ready, and when ready went at once to the house to seek Armod. And when they came to the apartments where slept Armod and his wife and daughter, then Egil burst open the door and approached Armod's bed. He then drew his sword, but with the other hand grasped the beard of Armod, and forced him forward to the edge of the bed. But Armod's wife and daughter leapt up and prayed Egil not to slay Armod. Egil said he would spare him for their sakes; 'For,' said he, 'this is but meet; yet has he deserved to die.'

After this Egil cut off his beard close to his chin,[1] and put out one of his eyes.[2] Then he went out to his companions.

They went on their way and came a day-meal-time to the house of Thorfinn. He dwelt by Eida-wood. Of him they craved a day-meal and to bait their horses. Thorfinn granted this, and Egil with his men went into the hall. Egil asked if Thorfinn had seen anything of the rest of his party.

'We appointed,' he said, 'to meet here.'

Thorfinn said: 'Here passed six men together a little before day; and they were well armed.'

Then said a house-carle: 'I was driving a sledge in the night to fetch wood, and I came upon six men on the road; they were house-carles of Armod; but that was long before day. Now I am not sure whether these will be the same as the six of whom you spoke.'

Thorfinn said that the six men whom he had met had passed after the house-carle came back with the load of wood.

While they sat at meat Egil saw that a woman lay sick on the daïs at the ends of the hall. He asked who was that woman in such sad case. Thorfinn said she was named Helga, and was his daughter; she had long been ill; her complaint was a pining sickness; she got no sleep at night, and was as one possessed.

'Has anything,' asked Egil, 'been tried for her ailment?'

'Runes have been graven,' said Thorfinn; 'a landowner's son hard by did this; and she is since much worse than before. But can you, Egil, do anything for such ailments?'

Egil said: 'Maybe no harm will be done by my taking it in hand.'

And when Egil had finished his meal, he went where the woman lay and spoke with her. Then he bade them lift her from her place and lay clean clothes under her, and they did so. Next he searched the bed in which she had lain, and there he found a piece of whalebone whereon were runes. Egil read them, then cut the runes and scraped them off into the fire. He burned the whole piece of whalebone, and had the bed-clothes that she had used hung out to air. Then Egil sang:

'Runes none[3] should grave ever
Who knows not to read them;
Of dark spell full many
The meaning may miss.[4]
Ten spell-words writ wrongly[5]
On whale-bone were graven:
Whence to leek-tending maiden,
Long sorrow and pain.'

Egil then graved runes, and laid them under the bolster of the bed where the woman lay. She seemed as if she waked out of sleep, and said she now felt well, but she was weak. But her father and mother were overjoyed. And Thorfinn offered to Egil all the furtherance that he might think needful.

References

  1. off his beard close to his chin: „Egill’s liquid emission is full of intent. However, there is still something shameful about this act, and Egill himself admits it, and thus on the following morning he enters Ármóðr’s bedroom and in the presence of his wife and daughter cuts off his beard and plucks out his eye, two signs of symbolic emasculation.” Tirosh, Yoav. Argr Management (p. 264).
  2. put out one of his eyes: „The mead myth as related by Snorri has terminated at stage two. The evolutionary process can be dramatically demonstrated for this myth by citing the occurrence of a complex of related motifs which no longer function in their original meaning but have been used for a new purpose. Their relevance to the new context can be easily defended“. Stevens, John. The Mead of Poetry: Myth and Metaphor (p. ??).
  3. Runes none: "It appears then most likely that the runic verse preserves an older half-stanza that was remoulded by tradition or by the author of Egils saga into the first half of the stanza Skalat maðr rúnar rísta." Knirk, James E.. Runes from Trondheim and a Stanza by Egill Skalla-Grímsson (p. 418).
  4. The meaning may miss: "The motif of the incorrect carving, due to ignorance or purposefully crafted, is present in the Atlamál as well [9-12], where it does not have any magical connotation though, since here the runic inscription ultimately conveys a message." Meli, Marcello. Rune e magia nella saga di Egill (p. 333).
  5. Ten spell-words writ wrongly: "Daß Egil diese Zahl ausdrücklich nennt, läßt darauf schließen, daß der Fehler mit ihr zusammenhängt," Genzmer, Felix. Die Geheimrunen der Egilssaga (p. 182).

Kafli 74

Egill fann Ármóð skegg

Egill stóð upp um morguninn þegar er dagaði. Bjuggust þeir förunautar og fóru þegar er þeir voru búnir aftur til bæjarins og leita Ármóðs. Og er þeir komu til skemmubúrs þess er Ármóður svaf í og kona hans og dóttir þá hratt Egill upp hurðunni og gekk til rekkjunnar Ármóðs. Hann brá þá sverði en annarri hendi greip hann í skegg Ármóði og hnykkti honum á stokk fram en kona Ármóðar og dóttir hljópu upp og báðu Egil að hann dræpi eigi Ármóð.

Egill segir að hann skyldi það gera fyrir þeirra sakir „því að það er maklegt en hefði hann verðleika til að eg dræpi hann.“ Þá kvað Egill:

Nýtr illsögull ýtir
armlinns konu sinnar,
oss er við ógnar hvessi
óttalaust, og dóttur.
Þeygi muntu við þenna
þykkju verðr fyrir drykkju
grepp, skulum á veg vappa
vítt, hlíta svogeru.

Síðan sneið Egill af honum skeggið við hökuna.[1] Síðan krækti hann fingrinum í augað[2] svo að úti lá á kinninni. Eftir það gekk Egill á brott og til förunauta sinna.

Fara þeir þá leið sína, koma að dagverðarmáli til bæjar Þorfinns. Hann bjó við Eiðaskóg. Þeir Egill kröfðu dagverðar og æja hestum sínum. Þorfinnur bóndi lét heimult skyldi það. Ganga þeir Egill þá inn í stofu.

Egill spurði ef Þorfinnur hefði var orðið við förunauta hans „höfðum vér hér mælt mót með oss.“

Þorfinnur segir svo: „Fóru hér sex menn saman nokkuru fyrir dag og voru vopnaðir mjög.“

Þá mælti húskarl Þorfinns: „Eg ók í nótt eftir viði og fann eg sex menn á leið og voru það húskarlar Ármóðs og var það miklu fyrir dag. Nú veit eg eigi hvort þeir munu allir einir og hinir sex menn er þú sagðir frá.“

Þorfinnur segir að þeir menn er hann hafði hitt höfðu síðar farið en húskarlinn kom heim með viðarhlassið.

Og er þeir Egill sátu og mötuðust þá sá Egill að kona sjúk lá í þverpallinum. Egill spurði Þorfinn hver kona sú væri er þar var svo þunglega haldin.

Þorfinnur segir að hún hét Helga og var dóttir hans „hefir hún haft langan vanmátt“ og það var kröm mikil. Fékk hún enga nótt svefn og var sem hamstoli væri.

„Hefir nokkurs í verið leitað,“ segir Egill, „um mein hennar?“

Þorfinnur segir: „Ristnar hafa verið rúnar og er sá einn bóndason héðan skammt í brott er það gerði og er síðan miklu verr en áður eða kanntu Egill nokkuð gera að slíkum meinum?“

Egill segir: „Vera kann að ekki spillist við þó að eg komi til.“

Og er Egill var mettur gekk hann þar til er konan lá og ræddi við hana. Hann bað þá hefja hana úr rúminu og leggja undir hana hrein klæði og nú var svo gert. Síðan rannsakaði hann rúmið er hún hafði hvílt í og þar fann hann tálkn og voru þar á rúnar. Egill las þær og síðan telgdi hann af rúnarnar og skóf þær í eld niður. Hann brenndi tálknið allt og lét bera í vind klæði þau er hún hafði haft áður. Þá kvað Egill:

Skalat maðr rúnar rista[3]
nema ráða vel kunni.
Það verðr mörgum manni
er um myrkvan staf villist.[4]
Sá ég á telgdu tálkni
tíu launstafi ristna.[5]
Það hefir fengið lauka lindi
langs oftrega fengið.

Egill reist rúnar og lagði undir hægindið í hvíluna þar er hún hvíldi. Henni þótti sem hún vaknaði úr svefni og sagði að hún var þá heil en þó var hún máttlítil en faðir hennar og móðir urðu stórum fegin. Bauð Þorfinnur að Egill skyldi þar hafa allan forbeina þann er hann þóttist þurfa.

Tilvísanir

  1. skeggið við hökuna: „Egill’s liquid emission is full of intent. However, there is still something shameful about this act, and Egill himself admits it, and thus on the following morning he enters Ármóðr’s bedroom and in the presence of his wife and daughter cuts off his beard and plucks out his eye, two signs of symbolic emasculation.” Tirosh, Yoav. Argr Management (s. 264).
  2. krækti hann fingrinum í augað: „The mead myth as related by Snorri has terminated at stage two. The evolutionary process can be dramatically demonstrated for this myth by citing the occurrence of a complex of related motifs which no longer function in their original meaning but have been used for a new purpose. Their relevance to the new context can be easily defended“. Stevens, John. The Mead of Poetry: Myth and Metaphor (s. ??).
  3. rúnar rista: "It appears then most likely that the runic verse preserves an older half-stanza that was remoulded by tradition or by the author of Egils saga into the first half of the stanza Skalat maðr rúnar rísta." Knirk, James E.. Runes from Trondheim and a Stanza by Egill Skalla-Grímsson (s. 418).
  4. um myrkvan staf villist: "The motif of the incorrect carving, due to ignorance or purposefully crafted, is present in the Atlamál as well [9-12], where it does not have any magical connotation though, since here the runic inscription ultimately conveys a message." Meli, Marcello. Rune e magia nella saga di Egill (s. 333).
  5. tíu launstafi ristna: "Daß Egil diese Zahl ausdrücklich nennt, läßt darauf schließen, daß der Fehler mit ihr zusammenhängt." Genzmer, Felix. Die Geheimrunen der Egilssaga (s. 182).

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