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 gerði ferð sína suðr á Hörðaland. Hann hafði til þeirar ferðar róðrarferju ok þar á þrjá tigu manna. Þeir koma einn dag í Fenhring
á Ask. Gekk Egill þar til með tuttugu menn, en tíu gættu skips. Atli inn skammi var þar fyrir með nökkura menn. Egill lét hann út kalla ok segja, at Egill
Skalla-Grímsson átti erendi við hann. Atli tók vápn sín ok allir þeir menn, er þar váru vígir fyrir, ok gengu út síðan.
Egill mælti: "Svá er mér sagt, Atli, at þú munir hafa at varðveita fé þat, er ek á at réttu ok Ásgerðr, kona mín. Muntu heyrt hafa þar fyrr um rætt, at ek
kallaða mér arf Bjarnar hölðs, er Berg-Önundr, bróðir þinn, helt fyrir mér. Em ek nú kominn at vitja fjár þess, landa ok lausaaura, ok krefja þik, at þú
látir laust ok greiðir mér í hendr."
Atli segir: "Lengi höfum vér þat heyrt, Egill, at þú sér ójafnaðarmaðr, en nú mun ek at raun um koma, ef þú ætlar at kalla til þess fjár í hendr mér, er
Eiríkr konungr dæmði Önundi, bróður mínum. Átti Eiríkr konungr þá at ráða boði ok banni hér í landi. Hugða ek nú, Egill, at þú myndir fyrir því hér kominn
at bjóða mér gjöld fyrir bræðr mína, er þú tókt af lífi, ok þú mundir bæta vilja rán þat, er þú ræntir hér á Aski. Mynda ek þá veita svör þessu máli, ef þú
flyttir þetta erendi fram, en hér kann ek engu svara."
"Þat vil ek," segir Egill, "bjóða þér, sem ek bauð Önundi, at Gulaþingslög skipi um mál okkur. Tel ek bræðr þína hafa fallit ógilda á sjálfra sinna verkum,
því at þeir höfðu áðr rænt mik lögum ok landsrétti ok tekit fé mitt at herfangi. Hefi ek til þessa konungsleyfi at leita laga við þik um þetta mál. Vil ek
stefna þér til Gulaþings ok hafa þar lagaórskurð um þetta mál."
"Koma mun ek," segir Atli, "til Gulaþings, ok megum vit þar ræða um þessi mál."
Síðan fór Egill í brott með föruneyti sitt. Fór hann þá norðr í Sogn ok inn á Aurland til Þórðar ok dvalðist þar til Gulaþings.
Ok er menn kómu til þings, þá kom Egill þar. Atli inn skammi var ok þar kominn. Tóku þeir þá at tala sín mál ok fluttu fram fyrir þeim mönnum, er um skyldu
dæma. Flutti Egill fram fjárheimtu, en Atli bauð lögvörn í mót, tylftareiða, at hann hefði ekki fé þat at varðveita, er Egill ætti.
Ok er Atli gekk at dómum með eiðalið sitt, þá gekk Egill mót honum ok segir, at eigi vill hann eiða hans taka fyrir fé sitt. "Vil ek bjóða þér önnur lög,
þau, at vit gangim á hólm hér á þinginu, ok hafi sá fé þetta, er sigr fær."
Þat váru ok lög, er Egill mælti, ok forn siðvenja, at hverjum manni var rétt at skora á annan til hólmgöngu, hvárt er hann skyldi verja sakar fyrir sik eða
Atli sagði, at hann myndi eigi synja at ganga á hólm við Egil, - "því at þú mælir þat, er ek ætta at mæla, því at ærinna harma á ek at hefna á þér. Þú hefir
at jörðu lagt bræðr mína tvá, ok er mér mikilla muna vant, at ek halda réttu máli, ef ek skal heldr láta lausar eignir mínar aflaga fyrir þér en berjast við
þik, er þú býðr mér þat."
Síðan taka þeir Atli ok Egill höndum saman ok festa þat með sér, at þeir skulu á hólm ganga ok sá, er sigr fær, skal eiga jarðir þær, er þeir deildu áðr um.
Eftir þat búast þeir til hólmgöngu. Gekk Egill fram ok hafði hjálm á höfði ok skjöld fyrir sér ok kesju í hendi, en sverðit Dragvandil festi hann við hægri
hönd sér. Þat var siðr hólmgöngumanna at þurfa ekki at bregða sverði sínu á hólmi, láta heldr sverðit hendi fylgja, svá at þegar væri sverðit tiltækt, er hann
vildi. Atli hafði inn sama búnað sem Egill. Hann var vanr hólmgöngum. Hann var sterkr maðr ok inn mesti fullhugi.
Þar var leiddr fram graðungr mikill ok gamall. Var þat kallat blótnaut. Þat skyldi sá höggva, er sigr hefði. Var þat stundum eitt naut, stundum lét sitt hvárr
fram leiða, sá er á hólm gekk.
Ok er þeir váru búnir til hólmgöngu, þá hlaupast þeir at ok skutu fyrst spjótum, ok festi hvártki spjótit í skildi, námu bæði í jörðu staðar. Síðan taka þeir
báðir til sverða sinna, gengust þá at fast ok hjuggust til. Gekk Atli ekki á hæl. Þeir hjuggu títt ok hart, ok ónýttust skjótt skildirnir. Ok er skjöldr Atla
var mjök ónýttr, þá kastaði hann honum, tók þá sverðit tveim höndum ok hjó sem tíðast. Egill hjó til hans á öxlina, ok beit ekki sverðit. Hann hjó annat ok it
þriðja. Var honum þá hægt at leita höggstaðar á Atla, at hann hafði enga hlíf. Egill reiddi sverðit af öllu afli, en ekki beit, hvar sem hann hjó til.
Sér þá Egill, at eigi mun hlýða svá búit, því at skjöldr hans gerðist þá ónýtr. Þá lét Egill laust sverðit ok skjöldinn ok hljóp at Atla ok greip hann höndum.
Kenndi þá aflsmunar, ok fell Atli á bak aftr, en Egill greyfðist at niðr ok beit í sundr í honum barkann. Lét Atli þar líf sitt. Egill hljóp upp skjótt ok þar
til, er blótnautit stóð, greip annarri hendi í granarnar, en annarri í hornit ok snaraði svá, at fætr vissu upp, en í sundr hálsbeinit. Síðan gekk Egill þar
til, er stóð föruneyti hans. Þá kvað Egill:
Beitat nú, sás brugðum,
blár Dragvandill randir,
af þvít eggjar deyfði
Atli framm enn skammi.
Neyttak afls við ýti
Jaxlbróður létk eyða,
ek bar af sauði, nauðum.
Síðan eignaðist Egill jarðir þær allar, er hann hafði til deilt ok hann kallaði, at Ásgerðr, kona hans, hefði átt at taka eftir föður sinn. Ekki er getit, at
þá yrði fleira til tíðenda á því þingi. Egill fór þá fyrst inn í Sogn ok skipaði jarðir þær, er hann hafði þá fengit at eiginorði. Dvalðist hann þar mjök lengi
um várit. Síðan fór hann með föruneyti sitt austr í Vík. Fór hann þá á fund Þorsteins ok var þar um hríð.