Chapter 69 - Arinbjörn and Egil's viking expedition
Arinbjorn stayed at home on his estate that winter, but in the next spring he let it be known that he meant to go a-freebooting. Arinbjorn
had good choice of ships. He made ready in the spring three war-ships, all large, and he had three hundred men. His house-carles he had on his own ship,
which was excellently equipt; he had also with him many landowners' sons. Egil settled to go with him; he steered a ship, and with him went many of the
comrades whom he brought from Iceland. But the merchant-ship which he brought from Iceland he caused to be moved eastwards to Vik, getting some men there
to dispose of the cargo.
But Arinbjorn and Egil with the war-ships held a southward course along the coast; then took their force still southwards to Saxland, where
they harried in the summer and got wealth. As autumn came on they came back northward harrying, and lay off Friesland. One night when the weather was calm
they went up a large river-mouth, where was bad harbourage, and the ebb of the tide was great. There up on land were wide flats with woods hard by. The
fields were soaked because there had been much rain. They resolved to go up there, and left behind a third of their force to guard the ships. They followed
up the river, keeping between it and the woods. Soon they came to a hamlet where dwelt several peasants. The people ran out of the hamlet into the fields,
such as could do so, when they perceived the enemy, but the freebooters pursued them. Then they came to a second village, and a third; all the people fled
before them. The land was level, flat fields everywhere, intersected by dykes full of water. By these the corn-lands or meadows were enclosed; in some places
large stakes were set, and over the dyke, where men should go, were bridges and planks laid. The country folk fled to the forest. But when the freebooters had
gone far into the settled parts, the Frisians gathered them in the woods, and when they had assembled three hundred men, they went against the freebooters
resolved to give them battle. There was then some hard fighting; but the end was that the Frisians fled and the freebooters pursued the fugitives. The
peasants that escaped were scattered far and wide, and so were their pursuers. Thus it happened that on either side few kept together.
Egil was hotly pursuing, and a few with him, after a numerous company that fled. The Frisians came to a dyke, over which they went, and then
drew away the bridge. Then came up Egil and his men on the other bank. Egil at once went at the dyke and leapt it, but it was no leap for other men, and no
one tried it. But when the Frisians saw that but one man was following, they turned back and attacked him, but he defended himself well, and used the dyke to
cover him behind so that they could not attack him on all sides. Eleven men set on him, but the end of their encounter was that he slew them all. After that
Egil pushed out the bridge over the dyke, and crossed it back again. He then saw that all his people had turned back to the ships. He was then near the wood,
and he now went along the wood towards the ships so that he had the choice of the wood if he needed its shelter. The freebooters had brought down to the shore
much booty and cattle. And when they came to the ships, some slaughtered the cattle, some carried out the plunder to the ships, some stood higher up and formed
a shield-burgh; for the Frisians were come down in great force and were shooting at them, being also in battle array. And when Egil came down and saw how
matters stood, he ran at full speed right at the throng. His halberd he held before him grasped in both hands, and slung his shield behind his back. He thrust
forward his halberd, and all before him started aside, and so gat he a passage right through their ranks. Thus he dashed down to his men, who looked on him as
recovered from the dead.
Then they went on ship-board, and loosed from land. They sailed then to Denmark. And when they came to Lima-firth and lay at Hals, Arinbjorn
held a meeting of his men, and laid before them his plans. 'Now will I,' said he, 'go seek Eric's sons with such force as will follow me. I have now learnt
that the brothers are in Denmark here, and maintain a large following, and spend the summers in harrying, but for the winters abide here in Denmark. I now
give leave to all to go to Norway who would rather do that than follow me. For you, Egil, methinks, the best counsel is that, as soon as we part, you return
to Norway, and then on with all speed to Iceland.'
Then the men separated to their several ships. Those who wished to go back to Norway joined Egil, but by far the larger part of the force
followed Arinbjorn. Arinbjorn and Egil parted in love and friendship. Arinbjorn went to seek Eric's sons, and joined the company of Harold Gray-fell his
foster-son, and was with him henceforth so long as they both lived.
Egil went northwards to Vik, and into Osloar-firth. There was his merchant ship which he had caused to be moved thither in the spring. There
were also his cargo and the men who had gone with the ship. Thorstein Thora's son came to seek Egil, and asked him and such men as he would bring to stay with
him that winter. Egil accepted the offer, had his ship set up and the cargo safely bestowed. Of his followers some got quarters there, some went to their
several homes in the north. Egil in a company of ten or twelve went to Thorstein's, and remained there for the winter an honoured guest.
69. kafli - Hernaðr Arinbjarnar ok Egils.
Arinbjörn var þenna vetr heima at búum sínum, en eftir um várit lýsti hann yfir því, at hann ætlar at fara í víking. Arinbjörn hafði
skipakost góðan. Bjó hann um várit þrjú langskip ok öll stór. Hann hafði þrjú hundruð manna. Hafði hann húskarla á skipi sínu, ok var þat allvel skipat.
Hann hafði ok marga bóndasonu með sér. Egill réðst til farar með honum. Stýrði hann skipi, ok fór með honum margt af föruneyti því, er hann hafði haft
með sér af íslandi. En kaupskip þat, er Egill hafði haft af íslandi, lét hann flytja austr í Vík. Fekk hann þar manna til at fara með varnað sinn. En
þeir Arinbjörn ok Egill heldu langskipunum suðr með landi. Síðan stefndu þeir liðinu suðr til Saxlands ok herjuðu þar um sumarit ok fengu sér fé. En er
hausta tók, heldu þeir norðr aftr ok lágu við Frísland.
Einhverja nótt, þá er veðr var kyrrt, lögðu þeir upp í móðu eina, þar er illt var til hafna ok útfiri mikil. Þar váru á land upp sléttur
miklar ok skammt til skógar. Þar váru vellir blautir, því at regn höfðu verit mikil.
Þar réðu þeir til uppgöngu ok létu eftir þriðjung liðs at gæta skipa. Þeir gengu upp með ánni, milli ok skógarins. Þá varð brátt fyrir
þeim þorp eitt, ok byggðu þar margir bændr. Liðit rann ór þorpinu á landit, þar er mátti, þegar er vart varð við herinn, en víkingar sóttu eftir þeim.
Var þá síðan annat þorp ok it þriðja. Liðit flýði allt, þat er því kom við. Þar var jafnlendi ok sléttur miklar. Díki váru skorin víða um landit ok stóð
í vatn. Höfðu þeir lukt um akra sína ok eng, en í sumum stöðum váru settir staurar stórir yfir díkin, þar er fara skildi. Váru brúar, ok lagðir yfir viðir.
Landsfólkit flýði í mörkina. En er víkingar váru komnir langt í byggðina, þá söfnuðust Frísir saman í skóginum, ok er þeir höfðu aukin þrjú hundruð manna,
þá stefna þeir í móti víkingum ok ráða til orrostu við þá. Varð þar harðr bardagi, en svá lauk, at Frísir flýðu, en víkingar ráku flóttann. Dreifðist
bæjarliðit víðs vegar, þat er undan fór. Gerðu þeir ok svá, er eftir fóru. Kom þá svá, at fáir fóru hvárir saman.
Egill sótti þá hart eftir þeim ok fáir menn með honum, en mjök margir fóru undan. Kómu Frísir þar at, er díki var fyrir þeim, ok fóru þar
yfir. Síðan tóku þeir af bryggjuna. Þá koma þeir Egill at öðrum megin. Réð Egill þegar til ok hljóp yfir díkit, en þat var ekki annarra manna hlaup, enda
réð ok engi til. Ok er Frísir sá þat, þá sækja þeir at honum, en hann varðist. Þá sóttu at honum ellifu menn, en svá lauk þeira viðskiptum, at hann felldi
þá alla. Eftir þat skaut Egill yfir brúnni ok fór þá aftr yfir díkit. Sá hann þá, at lið þeira allt hafði snúit til skipanna. Hann var þá staddr nær
skóginum. Síðan fór Egill fram með skóginum ok svá til skipanna, at hann átti kost skógarins, ef hann þyrfti. Víkingar höfðu haft mikit herfang ofan ok
strandhögg, ok er þeir kómu til skipanna, hjuggu sumir búfét, sumir fluttu út á skipin fén þeira, sumir stóðu fyrir ofan í skjaldborg, því at Frísir váru
ofan komnir ok höfðu mikit lið ok skutu á þá. Höfðu Frísir þá aðra fylking. Ok er Egill kom ofan ok hann sá, hvat títt var, þá rann hann at sem snarast,
þar sem múginn stóð. Hafði hann kesjuna fyrir sér ok tók hana tveimr höndum, en kastaði skildinum á bak sér. Hann lagði fram kesjunni, ok stökk frá allt,
þat er fyrir stóð, ok gafst honum svá rúm fram í gegnum fylkingina. Sótti hann svá ofan til manna sinna. Þóttust þeir hafa hann ór helju heimtan. Ganga
þeir síðan á skip sín ok heldu brott frá landi. Sigldu þeir þá til Danmerkr.
Ok er þeir koma til Limafjarðar ok lágu at Hálsi, þá átti Arinbjörn húsþing við lið sitt ok sagði mönnum fyrirætlan sína. "Nú mun ek," segir
hann, "leita á fund Eiríkssona við lið þat, er mér vill fylgja. Ek hefi nú spurt, at þeir bræðr eru hér í Danmörku ok halda sveitir stórar ok eru á sumrum í
hernaði, en sitja á vetrum hér í Danmörk. Vil ek nú gefa leyfi öllum mönnum at fara til Nóregs, þeim er þat vilja heldr en fylgja mér. Sýnist mér þat ráð,
Egill, at þú snúir aftr til Nóregs ok leitir enn sem bráðast til Íslands út, þegar vit skiljumst."
Síðan skiptust menn á skipunum. Réðust þeir til Egils, er aftr vildu fara til Nóregs, en hitt var meiri hluti liðs miklu, er fylgði Arinbirni.
Skilðust þeir Arinbjörn ok Egill með blíðu ok vináttu. Fór Arinbjörn á fund Eiríkssona ok í sveit með Haraldi gráfeld, fóstrsyni sínum, ok var síðan með
honum, meðan þeir lifðu báðir.
Egill fór norðr í Víkina ok helt inn í Óslóarfjörð. Var þar fyrir kaupskip hans, þat er hann hafði látit flytja suðr um várit. Þar var ok
varnaðr hans ok sveitungar, þeir er með skipinu höfðu farit.
Þorsteinn Þóruson kom á fund Egils ok bauð honum með sér at vera um vetrinn ok þeim mönnum, er hann vildi með sér hafa. Egill þekkðist þat,
lét upp setja skip sín ok færa varnað til staðar. En lið þat, er honum fylgði, vistaðist þar sumt, en sumir fóru norðr í land, þar er þeir áttu heimili.
Egill ferr til Þorsteins, ok váru þar saman tíu eða tólf. Var Egill þar um vetrinn í góðum fagnaði.