Chapter 71 - Egil met Ármóð the Farmer
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. 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
The household was numerous. The mistress sat on the cross-bench, and beside her the other women. The master's daughter, 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
'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."'
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 in his face. Wherefore he stood up, walked across the floor to Armod, put both
hands on his shoulders and pressed him up against the pillar, then heaved up a vomit of massive proportions that gushed all over Armod's face, into his eyes,
nostrils and mouth, and flooded down his chest so that he was almost suffocated. When he recovered his breath he spewed up and all of his servants there began
to swear at Egil.
What he'd just done, they said, made him the lowest of the low, and if he'd wanted to vomit he should have gone outside, not made a fool of himself inside the
'I shouldn't be blamed by anyone for this,' said Egil, 'I'm only doing the same as the farmer. He's spewing with all his might, just like me.'
Then Egil went back to his seat, sat down and asked for a drink. After that he recited this verse at the top of his voice:
'With my spew I swear
Thanks for your sociability!
We have witnesses that
I could walk the floor:
Many a guest's gift
Is even more gushing:
Now the ale has ended up
All over Armod.'
Armod jumped to his feet and ran out, but Egil asked for something more to drink. The housewife told the man who had been serving all evening to carry on as
long as they wanted to drink, and make sure they had enough. The man took a great ox-horn, filled it and gave it to Egil, who swilled it down in one draught.
Then he said:
'Let's swallow each swig
This sailor keeps serving;
The bard is kept busy
With barely a break:
Not a lick shall I leave
Of this malted liquor,
Though the fellow keep filling
Fresh horns till day break.'
Egil kept on drinking for some time, tossing down each horn he was given, but there was little fun to be had in the room as not many
were still drinking. Then 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.
71. kafli - Egill fann Ármóð skegg.
Egill bjóst til ferðar ok þrír menn aðrir hans förunautar. Höfðu þeir hesta ok sleða svá sem konungsmenn. Þá váru snjóvar miklir ok
breyttir vegar allir. Ráða þeir til ferðar, er þeir váru búnir, ok óku upp á land, ok er þeir sóttu austr til Eiða, þá var þat á einni nótt, at fell
snjór mikill, svá at ógerla sá vegana. Fórst þeim þá seint um daginn eftir, því at kafhlaup váru, þegar af fór veginum.
Ok er á leið daginn, dvölðust þeir ok 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 Arnaldr, vinr várr. Munum vér förunautar
fara þangat til gistingar, en þér skuluð fara hér upp á hálsinn, ok þá er þér komið þar, mun brátt verða fyrir yðr bær mikill, ok er yðr þar vís gisting.
Þar býr stórauðigr maðr, er heitir Ármóðr skegg. En á morgin árdegis skulum vér hittast ok fara annat kveld til Eiðaskógs. Þar býr góðr bóndi, er Þorfinnr
Síðan skiljast þeir. Fara þeir Egill upp á hálsinn, en frá konungsmönnum er þat at segja, at þegar er sýn fal í milli þeira Egils, þá tóku
þeir skíð sín, er þeir höfðu haft, ok stigu þar á, létu síðan ganga aftr á leið, sem þeir máttu. Fóru þeir nótt ok dag ok sneru til Upplanda ok þaðan norðr
um Dofrafjall ok léttu eigi fyrr en þeir kómu á fund Hákonar konungs ok sögðu um sína ferð sem farit hafði.
Egill ok förunautar hans fóru um kveldit yfir hálsinn. Var þat þar skjótast af at segja, at þeir fóru þegar af veginum. Var snjórinn mikill.
Lágu hestarnir á kafi annat skeið, svá at draga varð upp. Þar váru kleifar ok kjarrskógar nökkurir, en um kjörrin ok kleifarnar var alltorsótt. Var þeim þá
seinkan mikil at hestunum, en mannfærðin var in þyngsta. Mæddust þeir þá mjök, en þó kómust þeir af hálsinum ok sá þá fyrir sér bæ mikinn ok sóttu þangat til.
Ok er þeir kómu í túnit, þá sá þeir, at þar stóðu menn úti, Ármóðr ok sveinar hans. Köstuðust þeir orðum á ok spurðust tíðenda. Ok er Ármóðr
vissi, at þeir váru sendimenn konungs, þá bauð hann þeim þar gisting. Þeir þekkðust þat. Tóku húskarlar Ármóðs við hestum þeira ok reiða, en bóndi bað Egil
ganga inn í stofu, ok þeir gerðu svá. Ármóðr setti Egil í öndvegi á inn óæðra bekk ok þar förunautar hans útar frá. Þeir ræddu margt um, hversu erfilliga þeir
höfðu farit um kveldit, en heimamönnum þótti mikit undr, er þeir höfðu fram komizt, ok sögðu, at þar væri engum manni fært, þó at snjólaust væri.
Þá mælti Ármóðr: "Þykkir yðr eigi sá beini beztr, at yðr sé borð sett ok gefinn náttverðr, en síðan farið þér at sofa? Munuð þér þá hvílást
"Þat líkar oss allvel," segir Egill.
Ármóðr lét þá setja þeim borð, en síðan váru settir fram stórir askar, fullir af skyri. Þá lét Ármóðr, at honum þætti þat illa, er hann hafði
eigi mungát at gefa þeim. Þeir Egill váru mjök þyrstir af mæði. Tóku þeir upp askana ok drukku ákaft skyrit ok þó Egill miklu mest. Engi kom önnur vistin fram.
Þar var margt hjóna. Húsfreyja sat á þverpalli ok þar konur hjá henni. Dóttir bónda var á gólfinu, tíu vetra eða ellifu. Húsfreyja kallaði hana
til sín ok mælti í eyra henni. Síðan fór mærin útar fyrir borðit, þar er Egill sat. Hon kvað:
Ármóðr laust meyna ok bað hana þegja. "Mælir þú þat jafnan, er verst gegnir."
Mærin gekk á brott, en Egill skaut niðr skyraskinum, ok var þá nær tómr. Váru þá ok brott teknir askarnir frá þeim. Gengu þá ok heimamenn í
sæti sín ok váru borð upp tekin um alla stofu ok sett á vist. Því næst kómu inn sendingar ok váru þá settar fyrir Egil sem fyrir aðra menn.
Því næst var öl inn borit, ok var þat it sterkasta mungát. Var þá brátt drukkinn einmenningr. Skyldi einn maðr drekka af dýrshorni. Var þar
mestr gaumr at gefinn, er Egill var ok sveitungar hans, skyldu drekka sem ákafast. Egill drakk ósleitiliga fyrst langa hríð. En er förunautar hans gerðust
ófærir, þá drakk hann fyrir þá þat, er þeir máttu eigi. Gekk svá til þess, er borð fóru brott. Gerðust þá ok allir mjök drukknir, þeir er inni váru, en hvert
full, er Ármóðr drakk, þá mælti hann: "Drekk ek til þín, Egill." En húskarlar drukku til förunauta Egils ok höfðu inn sama formála. Maðr var til þess fenginn
at bera þeim Agli hvert full, ok eggjaði sá mjök, at þeir skyldi skjótt drekka. Egill mælti við förunauta sína, at þeir skyldi þá ekki drekka, en hann drakk
fyrir þá þat, er þeir máttu eigi annan veg undan komast.
Egill fann þá, at honum myndi eigi svá búit eira. Stóð hann þá upp ok gekk um gólf þvert, þangat er Ármóðr sat. Hann tók höndum í axlir honum
ok kneikði hann upp at stöfum. Síðan þeysti Egill upp ór sér spýju mikla, ok gaus í andlit Ármóði, í augun ok nasarnar ok í munninn, rann svá ofan um bringuna,
en Ármóði varð við andhlaup, ok er hann fekk öndinni frá sér hrundit, þá gaus upp spýja. En allir mæltu þat, þeir er hjá váru, húskarlar Ármóðs, at Egill
skyldi fara allra manna armastr ok hann væri inn versti maðr af þessu verki, er hann skyldi eigi ganga út, er hann vildi spýja, en verða eigi at undrum inni í
Egill segir: "Ekki er at hallmæla mér um þetta, þótt ek gera sem bóndi gerir, spýr hann af öllu afli eigi síðr en ek."
Síðan gekk Egill til rúms síns ok settist niðr, bað þá gefa sér at drekka. Þá kvað Egill við raust:
Títt erum verð at Vátta,
vætti berk at hættak
þung til þessar göngu,
þinn kinnalá minni.
Margr velr gestr, þars gistir,
gjöld, finnumsk vér sjaldan,
Ármóði liggr, æðri,
ölðra dregg í skeggi.
Ármóðr hljóp upp ok út, en Egill bað gefa sér drekka. Þá mælti húsfreyja við þann mann, er þeim hafði skenkt um kveldit, at hann skyldi gefa
drykk, svá at þá skyrti eigi, meðan þeir vildi drekka. Síðan tók hann dýrshorn mikit ok fylldi ok bar til Egils. Egill kneyfði af horninu í einum drykk. Þá
Drekkum ór, þótt Ekkils
eykríðr beri tíðum
horna sund at hendi,
hvert full, bragar Ulli.
Leifik vætr, þótt Laufa
leikstærir mér færi,
hrosta tjarnar horni,
horn til dags at morni.
Egill drakk um hríð ok kneyfði hvert horn, er at honum kom, en lítil var þá gleði í stofunni, þótt nökkurir menn drykki. Síðan stendr Egill
upp ok förunautar hans ok taka vápn sín af veggjum, er þeir höfðu upp fest, ganga síðan til kornhlöðu þeirar, er hestar þeira váru inni. Lögðust þeír þar niðr
í hálm ok sváfu um nóttina.