Chapter 40 - Of Egil's and Skallagrim's games.
Skallagrim took much pleasure in trials of strength and games; he liked to talk about such. Ball-play was then a common game. Plenty of
strong men there were at that time in the neighbourhood, but not one of strength to match with Skallagrim. He was now somewhat stricken in years. There
was a man named Thord, son of Grani, at Granastead, who was of great promise; he was then young; very fond he was of Egil, Skallagrim's son. Egil often
engaged in wrestling; he was headstrong and hot-tempered, but all had the sense to teach their sons to give way to Egil. A game of ball was held at
White-river-dale in the early winter, to which was a great gathering of people from all the country-side. Thither went many of Skallagrim's household
to the game. Chief among them was Thord, Grani's son. Egil asked Thord to let him go with him to the game; he was then in his seventh winter. Thord let
him do so, and Egil mounted behind him. But when they came to the play-meeting, then the men made up sides for the play. Many small boys had come there
too, and they made up a game for themselves. For this also sides were chosen.
Egil was matched to play against a boy named Grim, son of Hegg, of Hegg-stead. Grim was ten or eleven years old, and strong for his age.
But when they played together Egil got the worst of it. And Grim made all he could of his advantage. Then Egil got angry and lifted up the bat and struck
Grim, whereupon Grim seized him and threw him down with a heavy fall, and handled him rather roughly, and said he would thrash him if he did not behave.
But when Egil got to his feet, he went out of the game, and the boys hooted at him.
Egil went to Thord and told him what had been done. Thord said:
'I will go with you, and we will be avenged on them.'
He gave into his hands a halberd that he had been carrying. Such weapons were then customary. They went where the boys' game was. Grim
had now got the ball and was running away with it, and the other boys after him. Then Egil bounded upon Grim, and drove the axe into his head, so that
it at once pierced his brain. After this Egil and Thord went away to their own people. The Myramen ran to their weapons, and so did either party. Oleif
Halt, with his following, ran to help the Borgarmen, who were thus far the larger number, and they parted without doing more. But hence arose a quarrel
between Oleif and Hegg. They fought at Laxfit, by Grims-river; there seven men fell, but Hegg was wounded to death, and his brother Kvig fell. But when
Egil came home, Skallagrim said little about it; but Bera said Egil had in him the makings of a freebooter, and that 'twould be well, so soon as he were
old enough, to give him a long-ship. Then Egil made a stave:
'Thus counselled my mother,
For me should they purchase
A galley and good oars
To go forth a-roving.
So may I high-standing,
A noble barque steering,
Hold course for the haven,
Hew down many foemen.'
When Egil was twelve years old, he was grown so big that there were but few men howso large and strong that he could not overcome in games.
In his twelfth winter he was often at games. Thord Grani's son was then twenty years old; he was very strong. As the winter wore on, if often chanced that
the two, Egil and Thord, were matched against Skallagrim. And once in the winter it so befell that there was ball-play at Borg, southwards in Sandvik. Thord
and Egil were set against Skallagrim in the game; and he became weary before them, so that they had the best of it. But in the evening after sunset it began
to go worse with Egil and his partner. Skallagrim then became so strong and he caught up Thord and dashed him down so violently that he was all bruised and at
once got his bane. Then he seized Egil. Now there was a handmaid of Skallagrim's named Thorgerdr Brak, who had nursed Egil when a child; she was a big woman,
strong as a man, and of magic cunning. Said Brak:
'Dost thou turn they shape-strength, Skallagrim, against thy son?'
Whereat Skallagrim let Egil loose, but clutched at her. She broke away and took to her heels with Skallagrim after her. So went they to the
utmost point of Digra-ness. Then she leapt out from the rock into the water. Skallagrim hurled after her a great stone, which struck her between the shoulders,
and neither ever came up again. The water there is now called Brakar-sound. But afterwards, in the evening, when they came home to Borg, Egil was very angry.
Skallagrim and everybody else were set at table, but Egil had not yet come to his place. He went into the fire-hall, and up to the man who there had the
overseeing of work and the management of moneys for Skallagrim, and was most dear to him. Egil dealt him his deathblow, then went to his seat. Skallagrim spoke
not a word about it then, and thenceforward the matter was kept quiet. But father and son exchanged no word good or bad, and so that winter passed.
The next summer after this Thorolf came out, as was told above. And when he had been in Iceland one winter, in the spring following he made
ready his ship in Brakar-sound. But when he was quite ready, then one day Egil went to his father, and asked him to give him an outfit.
'I wish,' said he, 'to go out with Thorolf.'
Skallagrim asked if he had spoken at all on that matter with Thorolf. Egil said he had not. Skallagrim bade him do that first. But when Egil
started the question with Thorolf, he said:
'Tis not likely that I shall take you abroad with me; if your father thinks he cannot manage you here in his house, I have no confidence for
this, to take you with me to foreign lands; for it will not do to show there such temper as you do here.'
'Maybe,' said Egil, 'neither of us will go.'
In the night came on a furious gale, a south-wester. But when it was dark, and now flood-tide, Egil came where the ship lay. He went out on to
the ship, and outside the tenting; he cut asunder the cables that were on the seaward side; then, hurrying back to land by the bridge, he at once shot out the
bridge, and cut the cables that were upon land. Then the ship was driven out into the firth. But when Thorolf's men were aware that the ship was adrift, they
jumped into the boat; but the wind was far too strong for them to get anything done. The ship drifted over to Duck-kyle, and on the islands there; but Egil
went home to Borg.
And when people got to know of the trick that Egil had played, the more part blamed it. Egil said he should before long do Thorolf more harm
and mischief if he would not take him away. But then others mediated between them, and the end was that Thorolf took Egil, and he went out with him that
When Thorolf came on shipboard, at once taking the axe which Skallagrim had given into his hands, he cast it overboard into the deep so that it
nevermore came up. Thorolf went his way in the summer, and his voyage sped well, and they came out to Hordaland. He at once stood northwards to Sogn. There it
had happened in the winter that Brynjolf had fallen sick and died, and his sons had shared the heritage. Thord had Aurland, the estate on which his father had
dwelt. He had become a liege-man of the king, and was made a baron. Thord's daughter was named Rannveig, the mother of Thord and Helgi, this Thord being father
if Ingiridr whom king Olaf had to wife. Helgi was father of Brynjolf, father of Serk, Sogn, and Svein.
40. kafli - Frá knattleikum. Útanför Egils.
Skalla-Grímr hendi mikit gaman at aflraunum ok leikum. Um þat þótti honum gott at ræða. Knattleikar váru þá tíðir. Var þar í sveit gott til
sterkra manna í þann tíma, en þó hafði engi afl við Skalla-Grím. Hann gerðist þá heldr hniginn at aldri.
Þórðr hét sonr Grana at Granastöðum, ok var hann inn mannvænligsti maðr ok var á ungum aldri. Hann var elskr at Agli Skalla-Grímssyni. Egill
var mjök at glímum. Var hann kappsamr mjök ok reiðinn, en allir kunnu þat at kenna sonum sínum, at þeir vægði fyrir Agli.
Knattleikr var lagiðr á Hvítárvöllum allfjölmennr á öndverðan vetr. Sóttu menn þar til víða um herað. Heimamenn Skalla-Gríms fóru þangat til
leiks margir. Þórðr Granason var helzt fyrir þeim. Egill bað Þórð at fara með honum til leiks. Þá var hann á sjaunda vetr. Þórðr lét þat eftir honum ok reiddi
hann at baki sér.
En er þeir kómu á leikmótit, þá var mönnum skipt þar til leiks. Þar var ok komit margt smásveina, ok gerðu þeir sér annan leik. Var þar ok
Egill hlaut at leika við svein þann, er Grímr hét, sonr Heggs af Heggsstöðum. Grímr var ellifu vetra eða tíu ok sterkr at jöfnum aldri. En er
þeir lékust við, þá var Egill ósterkari. Grímr gerði ok þann mun allan, er hann mátti. Þá reiddist Egill ok hóf upp knatttrét ok laust Grím, en Grímr tók hann
höndum ok keyrði hann niðr fall mikit ok lék hann heldr illa ok kveðst mundu meiða hann, ef hann kynni sik eigi. En er Egill komst á fætr, þá gekk hann ór
leiknum, en sveinarnir æpðu at honum.
Egill fór til fundar við Þórð Granason ok sagði honum, hvat í hafði gerzt.
Þórðr mælti: "Ek skal fara með þér, ok skulum vit hefna honum."
Hann seldi honum í hendr skeggöxi eina, er Þórðr hafði haft í hendi. Þau vápn váru þá tíð. Ganga þeir þar til, er sveinaleikrinn var. Grímr
hafði þá hent knöttinn ok rak undan, en aðrir sveinarnir sóttu eftir. Þá hljóp Egill at Grími ok rak öxina í höfuð honum svá at þegar stóð í heila. Þeir Egill
ok Þórðr gengu í brott síðan ok til manna sinna. Hljópu þeir Mýramenn þá til vápna ok svá hvárirtveggju. Óleifr hjalti hljóp til þeira Borgarmanna með þá menn,
er honum fylgðu. Váru þeir þá miklu fjölmennri, ok skilðust at svá gervu.
Þaðan af hófust deildir með þeim Óleifi ok Hegg. Þeir börðust á Laxfit við Grímsá. Þar fellu sjau menn, en Heggr varð sárr til ólífis, ok Kvígr
fell, bróðir hans.
En er Egill kom heim, lét Skalla-Grímr sér fátt um finnast, en Bera kvað Egil vera víkingsefni ok kvað þat mundu fyrir liggja, þegar hann hefði
aldr til, at honum væri fengin herskip. Egill kvað vísu:
Þat mælti mín móðir,
at mér skyldi kaupa
fley ok fagrar árar,
fara á brott með víkingum,
standa upp í stafni,
stýra dýrum knerri,
halda svá til hafnar,
höggva mann ok annan.
Þá er Egill var tólf vetra gamall, var hann svá mikill vexti, at fáir váru menn svá stórir ok at afli búnir, at Egill ynni þá eigi flesta
menn í leikum.
Þann vetr, er honum var inn tólfti, var hann mjök at leikum. Þórðr Granason var þá á tvítugs aldri. Hann var sterkr at afli. Þat var oft, er á
leið vetrinn, at þeim Agli ok Þórði tveimr var skipt í móti Skalla-Grími.
Þat var eitt sinn um vetrinn, er á leið, at knattleikr var at Borg suðr í Sandvík. Þá váru þeir Þórðr í móti Skalla-Grími í leiknum, ok mæddist
hann fyrir þeim, ok gekk þeim léttara. En um kveldit eftir sólarfall, þá tók þeim Agli verr at ganga. Gerðist Grímr þá svá sterkr, at hann greip Þórð upp ok
keyrði niðr svá hart, at hann lamðist allr, ok fekk hann þegar bana. Síðan greip hann til Egils.
Þorgerðr brák hét ambátt Skalla-Gríms. Hon hafði fóstrat Egil í barnæsku. Hon var mikil fyrir sér, sterk sem karlar ok fjölkunnig mjök.
Brák mælti: "Hamast þú nú, Skalla-Grímr, at syni þínum."
Skalla-Grímr lét þá lausan Egil, en þreif til hennar. Hon brást við ok rann undan, en Skalla-Grímr eftir. Fóru þau svá í útanvert Digranes. Þá
hljóp hon út af bjarginu á sund. Skalla-Grímr kastaði eftir henni steini miklum ok setti milli herða henni, ok kom hvártki upp síðan. Þar er nú kallat
En eftir um kveldit, er þeir kómu heim til Borgar, var Egill allreiðr. En er Skalla-Grímr hafði setzt undir borð ok alþýða manna, þá var Egill
eigi kominn í sæti sitt. Þá gekk hann inn í eldahús ok at þeim manni, er þar hafði þá verkstjórn ok fjárforráð með Skalla-Grími ok honum var kærstr. Egill hjó
hann banahögg ok gekk síðan til sætis síns. En Skalla-Grímr ræddi þá ekki um, ok var þat mál þaðan af kyrrt, en þeir feðgar ræddust þá ekki við, hvárki gott né
illt, ok fór svá fram þann vetr.
En it næsta sumar eftir kom Þórólfr út, sem fyrr var sagt. En er hann hafði verit einn vetr á Íslandi, þá bjó hann eftir um várit skip sitt í
En er hann var albúinn, þá var þat einn dag, at Egill gekk til fundar við föður sinn ok bað hann fá sér fararefni. "Vil ek," sagði hann, "fara
útan með Þórólfi."
Grímr spurði, ef hann hefði nökkut þat mál rætt fyrir Þórólfi. Egill segir, at þat var ekki. Grímr bað hann þat fyrst gera.
En er Egill vakði þat mál við Þórólf, þá kvað hann þess enga ván, - "at ek muna þik flytja með mér á brott. Ef faðir þinn þykkist eigi mega um
þik tæla hér í hýbýlum sínum, þá ber ek eigi traust til þess at hafa þik útanlendis með mér, því at þér mun þat ekki hlýða at hafa þar slíkt skaplyndi sem
"Vera má," sagði Egill, "at þá fari hvárrgi okkarr."
Um nóttina eftir gerði á æðiveðr, útsynning. En um nóttina, er myrkt var ok flóð var sjóvar, þá kom Egill þar ok gekk fyrir útan tjöldin. Hjó
hann í sundr festar þær, er á útborða váru. Gekk hann þegar sem skjótast upp um bryggjuna, skaut út þegar bryggjunni ok hjó þær festar, er á land upp váru. Rak
þá út skipit á fjörðinn. En er þeir Þórólfr urðu varir við, er skipit rak, hljópu þeir í bátinn, en veðrit var miklu hvassara en þeir fengi nökkut at gert. Rak
skipit yfir til Andakíls ok þar á eyrar upp, en Egill fór heim til Borgar.
En er menn urðu varir við bragð þat, er Egill hafði gert, þá löstuðu þat flestir. Hann sagði, at hann skyldi skammt til láta at gera Þórólfi
meiri skaða ok spellvirki, ef hann vildi eigi flytja hann í brott. En þá áttu menn hlut at í milli þeira, ok kom svá at lykðum, at Þórólfr tók við Agli, ok fór
hann útan með honum um sumarit.
Þegar Þórólfr kom til skips, þá er hann hafði tekit við öxi þeiri, er Skalla-Grímr hafði fengit í hendr honum, þá kastaði hann öxinni fyrir
borð á djúpi, svá at hon kom ekki upp síðan.
Þórólfr fór ferðar sinnar um sumarit ok greiddist vel um hafit, ok kómu útan at Hörðalandi. Stefnir Þórólfr þegar norðr til Sogns. En þar höfðu
þau tíðendi orðit um vetrinn, at Brynjólfr hafði andazt af sótt, en synir hans höfðu skipt arfi. Hafði Þórðr Aurland, bæ þann, er faðir þeira hafði búit á.
Hafði hann gerzt konungi handgenginn ok gerzt lendr maðr.
Dóttir Þórðar hét Rannveig, móðir þeira Þórðar ok Helga. Þórðr var faðir Rannveigar, móður Ingiríðar, er átti Óláfr konungr. Helgi var faðir
Brynjólfs, föður þeira Serks ór Sogni ok Sveins.