Chapter 64 - Egil slays Ljot the Pale.

Thorstein and Egil made ready for their journey so soon as they had ended their errand. They then went their way back, and when they came south over the Dovre-fell, then said Egil that he would go down to Raumsdale, and after that south by way of the sounds. 'I will,' said he, 'finish my business in Sogn and Hordaland, for I would fain in the summer take my ship out to Iceland.' Thorstein bade him settle his journey as he would. So Thorstein and Egil separated.

Thorstein went south by the dales all the way till he came to his estates. There he produced the tokens of the king and his message before the stewards, that they should give up all that property which they had taken and Thorstein claimed. No one spoke against it, and he then took all his property.

Egil went his way, they being twelve in all. They came on to Raumsdale, there got them conveyance, and then went south to Mri. Nothing is told of their journey before they came to the island called Hod, and went to pass the night at a farm named Bindheim. This was a well-to-do homestead, in which dwelt a baron named Fridgeir. He was young in years, and had but lately inherited his father's property. His mother was named Gyda; she was a sister of lord Arinbjorn, a woman of a noble presence and wealthy. She managed the house for her son Fridgeir: they lived in grand style. There Egil and his company found good welcome. In the evening Egil sat next to Fridgeir, and his comrades outside him. There was much drink and sumptuous viands. Gyda, the house-mistress, in the evening had some talk with Egil. She inquired about Arinbjorn, her brother, and other of her kinsmen and friends who had gone to England with Arinbjorn. Egil answered her inquiries. She asked what tidings had befallen in Egil's journey. He told her plainly. Then he sang:

'Gloomy on me glowered
In gruesome wrath a king:
But cuckoo faints and fails not
For vulture flapping near.
Aid good from Arinbjorn,
As oft, and peace I gat.
He falls not whom true friends
Help forward on his way.'

Egil was very cheerful that evening, but Fridgeir and his household were rather silent. Egil saw there a maiden fair and well dressed; he was told that she was Fridgeir's sister. The maiden was sad and wept constantly that evening, which they thought strange. They were there for the night, but in the morning the wind was blowing hard, and there was no putting to sea. They need a boat to take them from the island. Then went Fridgeir and with him Gyda to Egil, and offered that he and his comrades should stay there till it was good travelling weather, and should have thence such help for the journey as they needed. This Egil accepted. They stayed there weather-bound for three nights, most hospitably entertained. After that the weather became calm.

Then Egil and his men rose up early in the morning and made ready; then went to meat, and ale was given them to drink, and they sat awhile. Then they took their clothes. Egil stood up and thanked the master and mistress of the house for their entertainment; then they went out. The master and his mother went out into the path with them. Gyda then went to speak with her son Fridgeir, and talked low with him, Egil standing the while and waiting for them.

Egil said to the maiden: 'Why weep you, maiden? I never see you cheerful.'

She could not answer, but wept the more. Fridgeir now said to his mother aloud: 'I will not now ask this. They are even now ready for their journey.'

Then Gyda went to Egil and said: 'I will tell you, Egil, how things stand here with us. There is a man named Ljot the Pale. He is a Berserk and a duellist; he is hated. He came here and asked my daughter to wife; but we answered at once, refusing the match. Whereupon he challenged my son Fridgeir to wager of battle; and he has to go to-morrow to this combat on the island called Vors. Now I wished, Egil, that you should go to the combat with Fridgeir. It would soon be shown if Arinbjorn were here in the land, that we should not endure the overbearing of such a fellow as is Ljot.'

Egil said: ''Tis but my bounden duty, lady, for the sake of Arinbjorn thy kinsman that I go, if Fridgeir thinks this any help to him.'

'Herein you do well,' said Gyda. 'So we will go back into the hall, and be all together for the whole day.'

Then Egil and the rest went into the hall and drank. They sate there for the day. But in the evening came those friends of Fridgeir who had appointed to go with him, and there was a numerous company for the night, and a great banquet. On the morrow Fridgeir made ready to go, and many with him, Egil being one of the party. It was now good travelling weather.

They now start, and soon come to the island. There was a fair plain near the sea, which was to be the place of combat. The ground was marked out by stones lying round in a ring. Soon came thither Ljot and his party. Then he made him ready for the combat. He had shield and sword. Ljot was a man of vast size and strong. And as he came forward on the field to the ground of combat, a fit of Berserk fury seized him; he began to bellow hideously, and bit his shield. Fridgeir was not a tall man; he was slenderly built, comely in face, not strong. He had not been used to combats. But when Egil saw Ljot, then he sang a stave:

'It fits not young Fridgeir
To fight with this warrior,
Grim gnawer of shield-rim,
By his gods who doth curse.
I better may meet him,
May rescue the maiden;
Full fearsome he stareth,
Yet "fey" are his eyes.'

Ljot saw where Egil stood, and heard his words. He said: 'Come thou hither, big man, to the holm, and fight with me, if thou hast a wish that way. That is a far more even match than that I should fight with Fridgeir, for I shall deem me no whit the greater man though I lay him low on earth.'

Then sang Egil:

'Ljot asketh but little,
Loth were I to baulk him.
Pale wight, my hand pliant
Shall play on his mail.
Come, busk we for combat;
Nor quarter expect thou:
Strife-stirrer, in Mri
Stern shield-cutting ours.'

After this Egil made him ready for combat with Ljot. Egil had the shield that he was wont to have, was girded with the sword which he called Adder, but in his hand he had Dragvandill. He went in over the boundary that marked the battle-ground, but Ljot was then not ready. Egil shook his sword and sang:

'Hew we with hilt-wands flashing,
Hack we shield with falchion,
Test we moony targets,
Tinge red sword in blood.
Ljot from life be sundered,
Low stern play shall lay him,
Quelled the quarrel-seeker:
Come, eagles, to your prey.'

Then Ljot came forward on the field and declared the law of combat, that he should ever after bear the name of dastard who should draw back outside the boundary stones that were set up in a ring round the field of combat. This done, they closed, and Egil dealt a blow at Ljot, which Ljot parried with his shield, but Egil then dealt blow upon blow so fast that Ljot got no chance for a blow in return. He drew back to get room for a stroke, but Egil pressed as quickly after him, dealing blows with all his vigour. Ljot went out beyond the boundary stones far into the field. So ended the first bout. Then Ljot begged for a rest. Egil let it be so. They stopped therefore and rested. And Egil sang:

'Free-handed gold-giver,
Back goeth yon champion,
In craven fear crouches
This wealth-craving wight.
Not strongly fights spearmen
His strokes who delayeth.
Lo beat by a bald-head
This bragging pest flies.'

These were the laws of wager of battle in those times, that when one man challenged another on any claim, and the challenger gained the victory, then he should have as prize of victory that which he had claimed in his challenge. But if he were vanquished, then should he ransom himself for such price as should be fixed. But if he were slain on the field, then had he forfeited all his possessions, and he who slew him in the combat should take his inheritance. This was also law, that if a foreigner died who had no heir in the land, then that inheritance fell to the king's treasury.

And now Egil bade Ljot be ready.

'I will,' he said, 'that we now try to the uttermost this combat.'

Ljot sprang swiftly to his feet. Egil bounded at him and dealt at once a blow at him. He pressed him so close, that he was driven back, and the shield shifted from before him. Then smote Egil at Ljot, and the blow came on him above the knee, taking off his leg. Ljot then fell and soon expired. Then Egil went to where Fridgeir and his party stood. He was heartily thanked for this work. Then sang Egil:

'Fall'n lies the wolf-feeder,
Foul worker of mischief:
Ljot's leg by skald sever'd
Leaves Fridgeir in peace.
From the free gold-giver
Guerdon none I seek me,
Sport I deem the spear-din,
Sport with such pale foe.'

Ljot's death was little mourned, for he had been a turbulent bully. He was a Swede by birth, and had no kin there in the land. He had come thither and amassed him wealth by duels. He had slain many worthy landowners, whom he had first challenged to wager of battle for their lands and heritages; he had now become very wealthy both in lands and chattels.

Egil went home with Fridgeir from the field of combat. He stayed there but a short time before going south to Mri. Egil and Fridgeir parted with much affection. Egil charged Fridgeir with the securing of those lands that had belonged to Ljot. Egil went on his way and came to the Firths, whence he went into Sogn to seek Thord in Aurland. Thord received him well; he declared his errand and the message of king Hacon. These words of Egil were taken well by Thord, who promised him his help in this matter. Egil remained there with Thord far into the spring.


64. kafli - Egill drap Ljt inn bleika.

orsteinn ok Egill bjuggu fer sna, egar eir hfu lokit erendum snum. Fara eir aftr lei. Ok er eir koma sur um Dofrafjall, segir Egill, at hann vill fara ofan til Eaumsdals ok san sur sundalei. "Vil ek," segir hann, "lka erendum mnum Sogni ok Hralandi, v at ek vil ba skip mitt sumar til slands t."

orsteinn ba hann ra fer sinni. Skiljast eir orsteinn ok Egill. Fr orsteinn sur um Dali ok alla lei, til ess er hann kom til ba sinna. Bar hann fram jartegnir konungs ok orsending fyrir rmennina, at eir skyldi lta f at allt, er eir hafa upp tekit ok orsteinn kallai til.

Egill fr leiar sinnar ok eir tlf saman. Kmu eir fram Raumsdal, fengu sr flutningar, fru san sur Mri. Er ekki sagt fr fer eira, fyrr en eir kmu ey , er H heitir, ok fru til gistingar b ann, er heitir Blindheimi. at var gfugr br. ar bj lendr mar, er Frigeirr ht. Hann var ungr at aldri, hafi ntekit vi furarfi snum. Mir hans ht Gya. Hon var systir Arinbjarnar hersis, skrungr mikill ok gfug kona. Hon var at rum me syni snum, Frigeiri. Hfu au ar rausnarb mikit. ar fengu eir allgar vitkur. Sat Egill um kveldit it nsta Frigeiri ok frunautar hans ar tar fr. Var ar drykkja mikil ok drlig veizla.

Gya hsfreyja gekk um kveldit til tals vi Egil. Hon spuri at Arinbirni, brur snum, ok enn at fleirum frndum snum ok vinum, eim er til Englands hfu farit me Arinbirni. Egill sagi henni at, er hon spuri. Hon spuri, hvat til tenda hefi gerzt ferum Egils. Hann segir henni af it ljsasta. kva hann:

      Urumk lei en ljta
      landbeiaar reii.
      Sgrat gaukr, ef glamma
      gamm veit of sik ramma.
      ar nautk enn sem oftar
      arnstalls sjtulbjarnar.
      Hngrat allr, ss holla
      hjalpendr of fr gjalpar.

Egill var allktr um kveldit, en Frigeirr ok heimamenn vru heldr hljir. Egill s ar mey fagra ok vel bna. Honum var sagt, at hon var systir Frigeirs. Mrin var kt ok grt einart um kveldit. at tti eim undarligt.

ar vru eir um kveldit. En um morgininn var ver hvasst ok eigi sfrt. ar urftu eir far r eyjunni. gekk Frigeirr ok bi au Gya til fundar vi Egil. Buu au honum ar at sitja me frunauta sna, til ess er gott vri friver, ok hafa aan fararbeina, ann sem eir yrfti. Egill ekkist at. Stu eir ar verfastir rjr ntr, ok var ar inn mesti mannfagnar. Eftir at geri ver lygnt. Stu eir Egill upp snemma um morgininn ok bjuggust, gengu til matar, ok var eim gefit l at drekka, ok stu eir um hr. San tku eir kli sn. Egill st upp ok akkai bnda ok hsfreyju beina sinn, ok gengu san t.

Bndi ok mir hans gengu gtu me eim. gekk Gya til mls vi Frigeir, son sinn, ok talai vi hann lgt. Egill st mean ok bei eira.

Egill mlti vi meyna: "Hvat grtr , mr? Ek s ik aldri kta."

Hon mtti engu svara ok grt at meir. Frigeirr svarar mur sinni htt: "Ekki vil ek n bija ess. eir eru n bnir ferar sinnar."

gekk Gya at Agli ok mlti: "Ek mun segja r, Egill, tendi au, sem hr eru me oss. Mar heitir Ljtr inn bleiki. Hann er berserkr ok hlmgngumar. Hann er okkasll. Hann kom hr ok ba dttur minnar, en vr svruum skjtt ok synjuum honum rsins. San skorai hann til hlmgngu Frigeir, son minn, ok skal morgin koma til hlmsins ey , er Vrl heitir. N vilda ek, Egill, at frir til hlmsins me Frigeiri. Myndi at sannast, ef Arinbjrn vri hr landi, at vr myndim eigi ola ofrki slkum manni sem Ljtr er."

"Skylt er at, hsfreyja, fyrir sakar Arinbjarnar, frnda ns, at ek fara me syni num, ef honum ykkir sr at nkkurt fullting."

" gerir vel," segir Gya, "skulum vr ganga inn stofu ok vera ll saman daglangt."

Ganga eir Egill inn stofu ok drukku. Stu eir ar um daginn, en um kveldit kmu vinir Frigeirs, eir er til ferar vru rnir me honum, ok var fjlmennt um nttina. Var ar veizla mikil.

En eftir um daginn bjst Frigeirr til ferar ok margt manna me honum. Var ar Egill fr. var gott friver. Fara eir san ok koma eyna Vrl. ar var fagr vllr skammt fr sjnum, er hlmstefnan skyldi vera. Var ar markar hlmstar, lagir steinar tan um.

N kom ar Ljtr me li sitt. Bjst hann til hlmgngu. Hann hafi skjld ok sver. Ljtr var allmikill mar ok sterkligr. Ok er hann gekk fram vllinn at hlmstanum, kom hann berserksgangr. Tk hann at grenja illiliga ok beit skjld sinn. Frigeirr var mar ekki mikill, grannligr ok frr sjnum ok ekki sterkr. Hafi hann ok ekki stait bardgum. Ok er Egill s Ljt, kva hann vsu:

      Esa Frigeiri fri,
      frum holms vit, srvar,
      skulum banna mjk manni
      mey, rlygi at heyja
      vi anns btr ok bltar
      bnd lhvtu Gndlar,
      alfeigum sktr gir
      augum, skjld at baugi.

Ljtr s, hvar Egill st, ok heyri or hans ok mlti: "Gakk hingat, inn mikli mar, hlminn ok berst vi mik, ef ert allfss til, ok reynum me okkr. Er at miklu jafnligra en ek berjumst vi Frigeir, v at ek ykkjumst eigi at meiri mar, at ek leggja hann at jru."

kva Egill:

      Esat ltillar Ljti,
      leik ek vi hal bleikan
      vi bifteini, bnar,
      brynju, rtt at synja.
      Bumk til vgs, en vgar
      vn ltka ek hnum,
      skapa verum vit skaldi
      skru, drengr, Mri.

San bjst Egill til hlmgngu vi Ljt. Egill hafi skjld ann, sem hann var vanr at hafa, en hann var gyrr sveri v, er hann kallai Nar, en hann hafi Dragvandil hendi. Hann gekk inn yfir mark at, er hlmstefnan skyldi vera, en Ljtr var eigi binn. Egill skk sverit ok kva vsu:

      Hggum hjaltvnd skyggan.
      Hfum rnd me brandi.
      Reynum randar mna.
      Rjum sver bli.
      Stfum Ljt af lfi.
      Leikum srt vi bleikan.
      Kyrrum kappa errinn,
      komi rn hr, jrnum.

kom Ljtr fram vgvllinn, ok san rennast eir at, ok heggr Egill til Ljts, en Ljtr br vi skildinum, en Egill hj hvert hgg at ru, sv at Ljtr fekk ekki hggvit mti. Hann hopai undan til hggrmsins, en Egill fr jafnskjtt eftir ok hj sem kafast. Ljtr fr t um marksteinana ok va um vllinn. Gekk sv in fyrsta hr. beiddist Ljtr hvldar. Egill lt at ok vera. Nema eir sta ok hvla sik. kva Egill:

      Fyrir ykki mr fra
      fleins stkkvandi nkkvat,
      hrisk hodda beiir
      happlauss, fara kappi.
      Stendrat fast, ss frestar
      fleindggvar stafr, hggum.
      Vbeia ferr van
      vll fyr rotnum skalla.

at vru hlmgngulg ann tma, at s, er skorar mann annan til eins hvers hlutar, ok fengi s sigr, er skorai, skyldi s hafa sigrml at, er hann hafi til skorat, en ef hann fengi sigr, skyldi hann leysa sik vlku f sem kveit vri. En ef hann felli hlminum, hafi hann fyrirvegit allri sinni eigu, ok skyldi s taka arf hans, er hann felldi hlmi. at vru ok lg, ef tlendr mar andaist, s er ar landi tti engan erfingja, gekk s arfr konungsgar.

Egill ba, at Ljtr skyldi binn vera. "Vil ek, at vr reynim n hlmgngu essa."

San hljp Egill at honum ok hj til hans. Gekk hann sv nr honum, at hann hrkk fyrir, ok bar skjldinn af honum. hj Egill til Ljts, ok kom fyrir ofan kn ok tk af ftinn. Fell Ljtr ok var egar rendr. gekk Egill ar til, er eir Frigeirr vru. Var etta verk honum allvel akkat. kva Egill:

      Fell ss flest et illa,
      ft hj skald af Ljti,
      ulfgrennir hefr unnit.
      Eir veittak Frigeiri.
      Ska lns til launa
      logbrjtanda mti.
      Jafn vas mr gn geira
      gamanleikr vi hal bleikan.

Ljtr var ltt harmar af flestum mnnum, v at hann hafi verit inn mesti eirumar. Hann var snskr at tt ok tti enga frndr ar landi. Hann hafi komit angat ok aflat sr fjr hlmgngum. Hann hafi fellt marga ga bndr ok skorat r til hlmgngu ok til jara eira ok ala, var orin strauigr bi at lndum ok lausum aurum.

Egill fr heim me Frigeiri af hlmstefnunni. Dvalist hann ar litla hr, r hann fr sur Mri. Skilust eir Egill ok Frigeirr me miklum krleik. Bau Egill Frigeiri um at heimta jarir r, er Ljtr hafi tt. Fr Egill sna lei, kom fram Fjrum. aan fr hann inn Sogn fund rar Aurlandi. Tk hann vel vi honum. Bar hann fram erendi sn ok orsendingar Hkonar konungs. Tk rr vel rum Egils ok ht honum liveizlu sinni um at ml. Dvalist Egill ar lengi um vrit me ri.

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