Chapter 46 - Of Thorolf's and Egil's harrying.
Thorolf and Egil stayed that winter with Thorir, and were made much of. But in spring they got ready a large war-ship and gathered men
thereto, and in summer they went the eastern way and harried; there won they much wealth and had many battles. They held on even to Courland, and made a
peace for half a month with the men of the land and traded with them. But when this was ended, then they took to harrying, and put in at divers places.
One day they put in at the mouth of a large river, where was an extensive forest upon land. They resolved to go up the country, dividing their force into
companies of twelve. They went through the wood, and it was not long before they came to peopled parts. There they plundered and slew men, but the people
fled, till at last there was no resistance. But as the day wore on, Thorolf had the blast sounded to recall his men down to the shore. Then each turned
back from where they were into the wood. But when Thorolf mustered his force, Egil and his company had not come down; and the darkness of night was closing
in, so that they could not, as they thought, look for him.
Now Egil and his twelve had gone through a wood and then saw wide plains and tillage. Hard by them stood a house. For this they made, and
when they came there they ran into the house, but could see no one there. They took all the loose chattels that they came upon. There were many rooms, so
this took them a long time. But when they came out and away from the house, an armed force was there between them and the wood, and this attacked them.
High palings ran from the house to the wood; to these Egil bade them keep close, that they might not be come at from all sides. They did so. Egil went
first, then the rest, one behind the other, so near that none could come between.
The Courlanders attacked them vigorously, but mostly with spears and javelins, not coming to close quarters. Egil's party going forward
along the fence did not find out till too late that another line of palings ran along on the other side, the space between narrowing till there was a bend
and all progress barred. The Courlanders pursued after them into this pen, while some set on them from without, thrusting javelins and swords through the
palings, while others cast clothes on their weapons. Egil's party were wounded, and after that taken, and all bound, and so brought home to the farmhouse.
The owner of that farm was a powerful and wealthy man; he had a son grown up. Now they debated what they should do with their prisoners. The
goodman said that he thought this were best counsel, to kill them one on the heels of another. His son said that the darkness of night was now closing in,
and no sport was thus gotten by their torture; he bade them be let bide till the morning. So they were thrust into a room and strongly bound. Egil was bound
hand and foot to a post. Then the room was strongly locked, and the Courlanders went into the dining-hall, ate, drank, and were merry.
Egil strained and worked at the post till he loosed it up from the floor. Then the post fell, and Egil slipped himself off it. Next he loosed
his hands with his teeth. But when his hands were loose, he loosed therewith the bonds from his feet. And then he freed his comrades; but when they were all
loosed they searched round for the likeliest place to get out. The room was made with walls of large wooden beams, but at one end thereof was a smooth
planking. At this they dashed and broke it through. They had now come into another room; this too had walls of wooden beams. Then they heard men's voices
below under their feet. Searching about they found a trapdoor in the floor, which they opened. Thereunder was a deep vault; down in it they heard men's
voices. Then asked Egil what men were these. He who answered named himself Aki. Would he like to come up, asked Egil. Aki answered, they would like it much.
Then Egil and his comrades lowered into the vault the rope with which they had been bound, and drew up thence three men. Aki said that these
were his two sons, and they were Danes, who had been made prisoners of war last summer.
'I was,' he said, 'well treated through the winter, and had the chief care of the goodman's property; but the lads were enslaved and had a
hard lot. In spring we made up our minds to run away, but were retaken. Then we were cast into this vault.'
'You must know all about the plan of this house,' said Egil; 'where have we the best hope to get out?'
Aki said that there was another plank partition: 'Break you up that, you will then come into a corn-store, whereout you may go as you will.'
Egil's men did so; they broke up the planking, came into the granary, and thence out. It was pitch dark.
Then said Egil's comrades that they should hasten to the wood. But Egil said to Aki, 'If you know the house here, you can show us the way to
Aki said there was no lack of chattels. 'Here is a large loft in which the goodman sleeps; therein is no stint of weapons.'
Egil bade them go to that loft. But when they came to the staircase head they saw that the loft was open. A light was inside, and servants,
who were making the beds. Egil bade some stay outside and watch that none came out. Egil ran into the loft, seized weapons, of which there was no lack. They
slew all the men that were in there, and they armed themselves fully. Aki went to a trapdoor in the floor and opened it, telling them that they should go down
by this to the store-room below. They got a light and went thither. It was the goodman's treasury; there were many costly things, and much silver. There the
men took them each a load and carried it out. Egil took under his arm a large mead-cask, and bare it so.
But when they came to the wood, then Egil stopped, and he said:
'This our going is all wrong, and not warlike. We have stolen the goodman's property without his knowing thereof. Never ought that shame to be
ours. Go we back to the house, and let him know what hath befallen.'
All spoke against that, saying they would make for the ship.
Egil set down the mead-cask, then ran off, and sped him to the house. But when he came there, he saw that serving-lads were coming out of the
kitchen with dishes and bearing them to the dining-hall. In the kitchen (he saw) was a large fire and kettles thereon. Thither he went. Great beams had been
brought home and lighted, as was the custom there, by setting fire to the beam-end and so burning it lengthwise. Egil seized a beam, carried it to the
dining-hall, and thrust the burning end under the eaves, and so into the birch bark of the roof, which soon caught fire. Some fagot-wood lay hard by; this Egil
brought and piled before the hall-door. This quickly caught fire. But those who sate drinking within did not find it out till the flame burst in round the
roof. Then they rushed to the door; but there was no easy way out, both by reason of the fagot-wood, and because Egil kept the door, and slew most who strove
to pass out either in the doorway or outside.
The goodman asked who had the care of the fire.
Egil answered, 'He has now the care of the fire whom you yester-even had thought least likely; nor will you wish to bake you hotter than I
shall kindle; you shall have soft bath before soft bed, such as you meant to give to me and my comrades. Here now is that same Egil whom you bound hand and
foot to the post in that room you shut so carefully. I will repay you your hospitality as you deserve.'
At this the goodman thought to steal out in the dark, but Egil was near, and dealt him his death-blow, as he did to many others. Brief moment
was it ere the hall so burned that it fell in. Most of those who were within perished.
But Egil went back to the wood, where he found his comrades, and they all went together to the ship. Egil said he would have the mead-cask
which he carried as his own special prize; it proved to be full of silver. Thorolf and his men were overjoyed when Egil came down. They put out from land as
soon as day dawned; Aki and his two sons were with Egil's following. They sailed in the summer, now far spent, to Denmark, where they lay in wait for
merchant-ships, and plundered when they got the chance.
46. kafli - Hernaðr Þórólfs ok Egils á Kúrlandi.
Þeir Þórólfr ok Egill váru með Þóri í góðu yfirlæti, en þeir bjuggu um várit langskip míkit ok fengu menn til ok fóru um sumarit í
Austrveg ok herjuðu ok fengu of fjár ok áttu margar orrostur. Heldu þeir ok út til Kúrlands ok lögðu þar við land með hálfs mánaðar friði ok kaupstefnu.
En er því var lokit, þá tóku þeir at herja ok lögðu at í ýmsum stöðum.
Einn dag lögðu þeir at við árós einn mikinn, enda var þar mörk mikil. Þeir réðu þar til uppgöngu, ok var skipt í sveitir, tólf mönnum
saman. Þeir gengu á skóginn, ok var þar ekki langt, áðr byggðin tók við. Þeir ræntu þar ok drápu menn, en liðit flýði undan, ok fengu þeir enga viðrtöku.
En er á leið daginn, lét Þórólfr blása liðinu til ofangöngu. Sneru menn þá aftr á skóginn, þar sem þá váru staddir, en svá fremi mátti kanna liðit, er þeir
kómu til strandar.
En er Þórólfr var ofan kominn, var Egill eigi kominn, en þá tók at myrkva af nótt, ok þóttust þeir eigi mega leita hans. Egill hafði gengit
yfir skóginn ok tólf menn með honum, ok sá þeir þá sléttur miklar ok byggðir. Bær einn stóð skammt frá þeim, ok stefndu þeir þar til, ok er þeir koma þar
til, hlaupa þeir í húsin inn ok urðu við enga menn varir, en tóku fé þat, er laust var. Þar váru mörg hús, ok dvalðist þeim þar lengi, en er þeir váru út
komnir ok frá bænum, þá var lið komit milli þeira ok skógarins, ok sótti þat at þeim.
Skíðgarðr var hár gerr millum þeira ok skógarins. Þá mælti Egill, at þeir skyldi fylgja honum, svá at eigi mætti öllum megin at þeim ganga.
Gekk Egill þá fyrst, en þá hverr at öðrum svá nær, at ekki mátti milli þeira komast. Kúrir sóttu at þeim fast ok mest með lögum ok skotum, en gengu ekki í
höggorrostu. Þeir Egill fundu eigi fyrr, er þeir ganga með görðunum, en garðr gekk á aðra hönd þeim, ok mátti eigi fram komast. Kúrir sóttu eftir þeim í
kvína, en sumir sóttu útan at ok lögðu spjótum ok sverðum í gegnum garðana, en sumir báru klæði á vápn þeira. Urðu þeir sárir ok því næst handteknir bk allir
bundnir, leiddir svá heim til bæjarins.
Maðr sá, er bæ þann átti, var ríkr ok auðigr. Hann átti son roskinn. Síðan var um rætt, hvat við þá skyldi gera. Sagði bóndi, at honum þótti
þat ráð, at drepinn væri hverr á fætr öðrum. Bóndason sagði, at þá gerði myrkt af nótt, ok mætti þá enga skemmtun af hafa at kvelja þá. Bað hann láta bíða
morgins. Var þeim þá skotit í hús eitt ok bundnir. rammliga. Egill var bundinn við staf einn, bæði hendr ok fætr. Síðan var húsit læst rammliga, en Kúrir
gengu inn í stofu ok mötuðust ok váru allkátir ok drukku. Egill færðist við ok treysti stafinn, til þess er upp losnaði ór gólfinu. Síðan fell stafrinn.
Smeygðist Egill þá af stafnum. Síðan leysti hann hendr sínar með tönnum, en er hendr hans váru lausar, leysti hann bönd af fótum sér. Síðan leysti hann félaga
En er þeir váru allir lausir, leituðust þeir um í húsin, hvar líkast var út at komast. Húsit var gert at veggjum af timbrstokkum stórum, en í
annan enda hússins var skjaldþili flatt. Hljópu þeir þar at ok brutu þilit. Var þar hús annat, er þeir kómu í. Váru þar ok timbrveggir um.
Þá heyrðu þeir manna mál undir fætr sér niðr. Leituðust þeir þá um ok fundu hurð í gólfinu. Luku þeir þar upp. Var þar undir gröf djúp. Heyrðu
þeir þangat manna mál. Síðan spurði Egill, hvat manna þar væri. Sá nefndist Áki, er við hann mælti. Egill spurði, ef hann vildi upp ór gröfinni. Áki segir, at
þeir vildu þat gjarna. Síðan létu þeir Egill síga festi ofan í gröfina, þá er þeir váru bundnir með, ok drógu þar upp þrjá menn.
Áki sagði, at þat váru synir hans tveir ok þeir váru menn danskir, höfðu þar orðit herteknir it fyrra sumar. "Var ek," sagði hann, "vel
haldinn í vetr. Hafða ek mjök fjárvarðveizlur búanda, en sveinarnir váru þjáðir ok unðu því illa. Í vár réðum vér til ok hljóp um á brott ok urðum síðan
fundnir. Várum vér þá hér settir í gröf þessa."
"Þér mun hér kunnigt um húsaskipan," segir Egill. "Hvar er oss vænst á brott at komast?"
Áki sagði, at þar var annat skjaldþilit. "Brjótið þér þat upp. Munuð þér þá koma fram í kornhlöðu, en þar má út ganga, sem vill."
Þeir Egill gerðu svá, brutu upp þilit, gengu síðan í hlöðuna ok þaðan út. Niðamyrkr var á. Þá mæltu þeir förunautar, at þeir skyldi skunda á
Egill mælti við Áka: "Ef þér eru hér kunnig hýbýli, þá muntu vísa oss til féfanga nökkurra."
Áki segir, at eigi myndi þar skorta lausafé. "Hér er loft mikit, er bóndi sefr í. Þar skortir eigi vápn inni."
Egill bað þá þangat fara til loftsins, en er þeir kómu upp í riðit, þá sá þeir, at loftit var opit. Var þar ljó3 inni ok þjónustumenn ok
bjuggu rekkjur manna. Egill bað þá suma úti vera ok gæta, at engi kæmist út. Egill hljóp inn í loftit, greip þar vápn, því at þau skorti þar eigi inni, drápu
þar menn alla, þá er þar váru inni. Þeir tóku sér allir alvæpni. Áki gekk til, þar er hlemmr var í gólfþilinu, ok lauk upp, mælti, at þeir skyldi þar ofan
ganga í undirskemmuna. Þeir tóku sér ljós ok gengu þangat. Váru þar féhirzlur bónda ok gripir góðir ok silfr mikit. Tóku menn sér þar byrðar ok báru út. Egill
tók undir hönd sér mjöðdrekku eina vel mikla ok bar undir hendi sér. Fóru þeir þá til skógar.
En er þeir kómu í skóginn, þá nam Egill stað ok mælti: "Þessi ferð er allill ok eigi hermannlig. Vér höfum stolit fé bónda, svá at hann veit
eigi til. Skal oss aldregi þá skömm henda. Förum nú aftr til bæjarins ok látum þá vita, hvat títt er."
Allir mæltu því í mót, sögðu, at þeir vildu fara til skips. Egill setr niðr mjöðdrekkuna. Síðan hefr hann á rás ok rann til bæjarins. En er
hann kom heim til bæjarins, þá sá hann, at þjónustusveinar gengu frá eldaskála með skutildiska ok báru inn í stofuna. Egill sá, at í eldahúsinu var eldr mikill
ok katlar yfir. Gekk hann þangat til. Þar höfðu verit stokkar stórir fluttir heim ok svá eldar gervir, sem þar er siðvenja til, at eldinn skal leggja í stokks
endann, ok brennr svá stokkrinn. Egill greip um stokkinn ok bar heim til stofunnar ok skaut þeim endanum, er logaði upp undir ufsina ok svá upp í næfrina.
Eldrinn las skjótt tróðviðinn. En þeir, er við drykkjuna sátu, fundu eigi fyrr en loginn stóð inn um ræfrit. Hljópu menn þá til duranna, en þar var ekki
greiðfært út, bæði fyrir viðunum, svá þat, at Egill varði dyrrnar. Felldi hann menn bæði í durunum ok úti fyrir durunum. En þat var svipstund ein, áðr stofan
brann, svá at hon fell ofan. Týndist þar lið allt, er þar var inni, en Egill gekk aftr til skógarins, fann þar förunauta sína. Fara þá allir saman til skips.
Sagði Egill, at mjöðdrekku þá vill hann hafa at afnámsfé, er hann fór með, en hon var reyndar full af silfri.
Þeir Þórólfr urðu allfegnir, er Egill kom ofan. Heldu þeir þegar frá landi, er morgnaði. Áki ok þeir feðgar váru í sveit Egils. Þeir sigldu um
sumarit, er á leið, til Danmarkar ok lágu þar enn fyrir kaupskipum ok ræntu þar, er þeir kómust við.