Chapter 65 - Of Egil's journeyings.

Egil went on southwards to Hordaland, taking for this journey a rowing vessel, and thereon thirty men. They came on a day to Askr on Fenhring island. Egil went up to the house with twenty men, while ten guarded the ship.

Atli the Short was there with some men. Egil bade him be called out and told that Egil Skallagrimsson had an errand with him. Atli took his weapons, as did all the fighting men that were there, and then they went out.

Egil spoke: 'I am told, Atli, that you hold in keeping that property which of right belongs to me and my wife Asgerdr. You will belike have heard it talked of ere now how I claimed the inheritance of Bjorn Yeoman, which Bergonund your brother kept from me. I am now come to look after that property, lands and chattels, and to beg you to give it up and pay it into my hands.'

Said Atli: 'Long have we heard, Egil, that you are a most unjust man, but now I shall come to prove it, if you mean to claim at my hands this property, which king Eric adjudged to Bergonund my brother. King Eric had then power to bid and ban in this land. I was thinking now, Egil, that you would be come here for this end, to offer me a fine for my brothers whose lives you took, and that you would pay atonement for the pillage committed by you here at Askr. I would make answer to this proposal, if you should plead this errand; but here to this other I can make none.'

'I shall then,' said Egil, 'offer you, as I offered Onund, that Gula-thing laws decide our cause. Your brothers I declare to have fallen without claim for fine and through their own wrong deeds, because they had first plundered me of law and land-right, and taken my property by force of arms. I have the king's leave herein to try the law with you in this cause. I summon you to the Gula-thing, there to have lawful decision on this matter.'

'To the Gula-thing,' said Atli, 'I will come, and we can there speak of this matter.'

Hereupon Egil with his comrades went away. He went north to Sogn, then into Aurland to Thord, his wife's kinsman, and there he stayed till the Gula-thing. And when men came to the Thing, then came Egil thither. Atli the Short was also there. They began to declare their cause, and pleaded it before those who were to judge. Egil made his demand of money due, but Atli offered against it as a lawful defence the oath of twelve men that he, Atli, had in keeping no money that belonged to Egil. And when Atli went before the court with his twelve who would swear, then went Egil to meet him, and said that he would not accept Atli's oaths for his own property. 'I will offer you other law, that we do battle here at the Thing, and he shall have the property who wins the victory.'

This was also law, that Egil proposed, and ancient custom, that any man had a right to challenge another to wager of battle, whether he were defendant in a cause or prosecutor.

Atli said that he would not refuse this to do battle with Egil. 'For,' said he, 'you propose what I ought to have proposed, seeing that I have enough loss to avenge on you. You have done to death my two brothers, and far shall I be from upholding the right if I yield to you mine own possessions unlawfully rather than fight with you when you offer me this choice.'

So then Atli and Egil joined hands and pledged them to do battle, the victor to own the lands for which they had been disputing.

After this they arrayed them for combat. Egil came forward with helm on head, and shield before him, and halberd in hand, but his sword Dragvandill he suspended from his right arm. It was the custom with those who fought in single combats so to arrange that the sword should need no drawing during the fight, but be attached to the arm, to be ready at once when the combatant willed. Atli had the same arming as Egil. He was experienced in single combats, was a strong man, and of a good courage. To the field was led forth a bull, large and old 'sacrificial beast' such was termed, to be slain by him who won the victory. Sometimes there was one such ox, sometimes each combatant had his own led forth.

And when they were ready for the combat, then ran they each at the other, and first they threw their halberds, neither of which stood fast in the foeman's shield, but both struck in the ground. Then took they both to their swords, and went at it with a will, blow upon blow. Atli gave no ground. They smote fast and hard, and full soon their shields were becoming useless. And when Atli's shield was of no use, then he cast it from him, and, grasping his sword with both hands, dealt blows as quickly as possible. Egil fetched him a blow on the shoulder, but the sword bit not. He dealt another, and a third. It was now easy to find parts in Atli that he could strike, since he had no cover; and Egil brandished and brought down his sword with all his might, yet it bit not, strike he where he might. Then Egil saw that nothing would be done this way, for his shield was now rendered useless. So Egil let drop both sword and shield, and bounding on Atli, gripped him with his hands. Then the difference of strength was seen, and Atli fell right back, but Egil went down prone upon him and bit through his throat. There Atli died.

Egil leapt up at once and ran to where the victim stood; with one hand he gripped his lips, with the other his horn, and gave him such a wrench, that his feet slipped up and his neck was broken; after which Egil went where his comrades stood, and then he sang:

      'I bared blue Dragvandill,
      Who bit not the buckler,
      Atli the Short so blunted
      All edge by his spells.
      Straining my strength I grappled,
      Staggered the wordy foeman;
      My tooth I bade bite him,
      Best of swords at need.'

Then Egil got possession of all those lands for which he had contended and claimed as rightfully coming to his wife Asgerdr from her father. Nothing is told of further tidings at that Thing. Egil then went first into Sogn and arranged about those lands that he now got into his own power. He remained there for a great part of the spring. Afterwards he went with his comrades eastwards to Vik, then to seek Thorstein, and was there for awhile.


65. kafli - Egill drap Atla inn skamma.

Egill geri fer sna sur Hraland. Hann hafi til eirar ferar rrarferju ok ar rj tigu manna. eir koma einn dag Fenhring Ask. Gekk Egill ar til me tuttugu menn, en tu gttu skips. Atli inn skammi var ar fyrir me nkkura menn. Egill lt hann t kalla ok segja, at Egill Skalla-Grmsson tti erendi vi hann. Atli tk vpn sn ok allir eir menn, er ar vru vgir fyrir, ok gengu t san.

Egill mlti: "Sv er mr sagt, Atli, at munir hafa at varveita f at, er ek at rttu ok sgerr, kona mn. Muntu heyrt hafa ar fyrr um rtt, at ek kallaa mr arf Bjarnar hls, er Berg-nundr, brir inn, helt fyrir mr. Em ek n kominn at vitja fjr ess, landa ok lausaaura, ok krefja ik, at ltir laust ok greiir mr hendr."

Atli segir: "Lengi hfum vr at heyrt, Egill, at sr jafnaarmar, en n mun ek at raun um koma, ef tlar at kalla til ess fjr hendr mr, er Eirkr konungr dmi nundi, brur mnum. tti Eirkr konungr at ra boi ok banni hr landi. Huga ek n, Egill, at myndir fyrir v hr kominn at bja mr gjld fyrir brr mna, er tkt af lfi, ok mundir bta vilja rn at, er rntir hr Aski. Mynda ek veita svr essu mli, ef flyttir etta erendi fram, en hr kann ek engu svara."

"at vil ek," segir Egill, "bja r, sem ek bau nundi, at Gulaingslg skipi um ml okkur. Tel ek brr na hafa fallit gilda sjlfra sinna verkum, v at eir hfu r rnt mik lgum ok landsrtti ok tekit f mitt at herfangi. Hefi ek til essa konungsleyfi at leita laga vi ik um etta ml. Vil ek stefna r til Gulaings ok hafa ar lagarskur um etta ml."

"Koma mun ek," segir Atli, "til Gulaings, ok megum vit ar ra um essi ml."

San fr Egill brott me fruneyti sitt. Fr hann norr Sogn ok inn Aurland til rar ok dvalist ar til Gulaings.

Ok er menn kmu til ings, kom Egill ar. Atli inn skammi var ok ar kominn. Tku eir at tala sn ml ok fluttu fram fyrir eim mnnum, er um skyldu dma. Flutti Egill fram fjrheimtu, en Atli bau lgvrn mt, tylftareia, at hann hefi ekki f at at varveita, er Egill tti.

Ok er Atli gekk at dmum me eiali sitt, gekk Egill mt honum ok segir, at eigi vill hann eia hans taka fyrir f sitt. "Vil ek bja r nnur lg, au, at vit gangim hlm hr inginu, ok hafi s f etta, er sigr fr."

at vru ok lg, er Egill mlti, ok forn sivenja, at hverjum manni var rtt at skora annan til hlmgngu, hvrt er hann skyldi verja sakar fyrir sik ea skja.

Atli sagi, at hann myndi eigi synja at ganga hlm vi Egil, - "v at mlir at, er ek tta at mla, v at rinna harma ek at hefna r. hefir at jru lagt brr mna tv, ok er mr mikilla muna vant, at ek halda rttu mli, ef ek skal heldr lta lausar eignir mnar aflaga fyrir r en berjast vi ik, er br mr at."

San taka eir Atli ok Egill hndum saman ok festa at me sr, at eir skulu hlm ganga ok s, er sigr fr, skal eiga jarir r, er eir deildu r um.

Eftir at bast eir til hlmgngu. Gekk Egill fram ok hafi hjlm hfi ok skjld fyrir sr ok kesju hendi, en sverit Dragvandil festi hann vi hgri hnd sr. at var sir hlmgngumanna at urfa ekki at brega sveri snu hlmi, lta heldr sverit hendi fylgja, sv at egar vri sverit tiltkt, er hann vildi. Atli hafi inn sama bna sem Egill. Hann var vanr hlmgngum. Hann var sterkr mar ok inn mesti fullhugi.

ar var leiddr fram graungr mikill ok gamall. Var at kallat bltnaut. at skyldi s hggva, er sigr hefi. Var at stundum eitt naut, stundum lt sitt hvrr fram leia, s er hlm gekk.

Ok er eir vru bnir til hlmgngu, hlaupast eir at ok skutu fyrst spjtum, ok festi hvrtki spjtit skildi, nmu bi jru staar. San taka eir bir til svera sinna, gengust at fast ok hjuggust til. Gekk Atli ekki hl. eir hjuggu ttt ok hart, ok nttust skjtt skildirnir. Ok er skjldr Atla var mjk nttr, kastai hann honum, tk sverit tveim hndum ok hj sem tast. Egill hj til hans xlina, ok beit ekki sverit. Hann hj annat ok it rija. Var honum hgt at leita hggstaar Atla, at hann hafi enga hlf. Egill reiddi sverit af llu afli, en ekki beit, hvar sem hann hj til.

Sr Egill, at eigi mun hla sv bit, v at skjldr hans gerist ntr. lt Egill laust sverit ok skjldinn ok hljp at Atla ok greip hann hndum. Kenndi aflsmunar, ok fell Atli bak aftr, en Egill greyfist at nir ok beit sundr honum barkann. Lt Atli ar lf sitt. Egill hljp upp skjtt ok ar til, er bltnautit st, greip annarri hendi granarnar, en annarri hornit ok snarai sv, at ftr vissu upp, en sundr hlsbeinit. San gekk Egill ar til, er st fruneyti hans. kva Egill:

      Beitat n, ss brugum,
      blr Dragvandill randir,
      af vt eggjar deyfi
      Atli framm enn skammi.
      Neyttak afls vi ti
      rmlgastan hjrva.
      Jaxlbrur ltk eya,
      ek bar af saui, nauum.

San eignaist Egill jarir r allar, er hann hafi til deilt ok hann kallai, at sgerr, kona hans, hefi tt at taka eftir fur sinn. Ekki er getit, at yri fleira til tenda v ingi. Egill fr fyrst inn Sogn ok skipai jarir r, er hann hafi fengit at eiginori. Dvalist hann ar mjk lengi um vrit. San fr hann me fruneyti sitt austr Vk. Fr hann fund orsteins ok var ar um hr.

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