Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 7

Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 7
evening, and rode at once into the town. He had now a hood drawn over his helm, and was fully armed. Egil inquired where in the town Arinbjorn was housed. It was told him. Thither he rode to the house. When the came to the hall-door, he dismounted from his horse, and found a man to speak to. It was told him that Arin- bjorn sat at meat. Egil said: “I would fain, good fellow, you should go into the hall and ask Arinbjorn whether he will speak to Egil Skallagrims- son”. And when Arinbjorn met Egil, he greeted him well, and asked why he was come there. Egil in few words told him clearly of his journey: “And now you shall see what counsel I ought to take, if you will give me any help”. “Have you”, said Arinbjorn, “before you came to this house met any men in the town “None”, said Egil. who are likely to have known you?” “Let men then take their weapons”, said Arinbjorn. They did so. But when all were armed, then went they to the king’s house. And when they came to the hall, then Arinbjorn knocked at the door, asking them to open, and saying who was there. The door-keepers at once opened the door. The king was sitting at table. Arinbjorn then bade that they should go in twelve in number, naming for this Egil and ten others. “Now shall you, Egil, bring the king your head and clasp his foot, but I will be your spokesman”. Then they went in. Arinbjorn went before the king and saluted him. The king received him, and asked what he would have. Arinbjorn said: “I lead hither one who has come a long way to seek thee in thy place, and to be reconciled to thee. Great is this honour to thee, my lord, when thine enemies travel of their own free will from other lands, and deem they cannot endure thy wrath though thou be nowhere near. Now show thyself princely to this man. Let ‘him get of thee good terms, seeing that he hath so magnified thine honour, as thou now mayst see, by braving many seas and dang- ers to come hither from his own home. No compulsion drove him to this journey, nought but goodwill to thee”. Then the king looked round, and saw over men’s heads where Egil stood. The king knew him at once, and, darting a keen glance at him, said: “How wert thou so bold, Egil, that thou daredst to come before me? Thy last parting from me was such that of life thou couldst have from me no hope”. Then went Egil up to the table, and clasped the foot of the king. He then sang: “With cross-winds far cruising I came on my wave-horse, Eric England’s warder Eager soon to see. Now wielder of wound-flash, Wight dauntless in daring That strong strand of Harold’s Stout lineage I meet”. King Eric said: “I need not to count the crimes on thy hands, for they are so many and great that each one might well warrant that thou go not hence alive. Thou hast not- hing else to expect but that here thou must die. This thou mightest know before, that thou wouldst get no terms from me”. Gunnhilda said: “Why shall not Egil be slain at once? Rememberest thou no more, O king, what Egil hath done to thee—slain thy friends and kin, ay, even thine own son to boot, and cursed thyself? Where ever was it known that a king was thus dealt with?” Arinbjorn said: “If Egil have spoken evil of the king, for that he can now atone in words of praise that shall live for all time”. Gunnhilda said: “We will hear none of his praise. O king, bid Egil be led out and be- headed. I will neither hear his words nor see him”. Then said Arinbjorn: “The king will not let himself be egged on to all thy dastardly work. He will not have Egil slain by night, for night- slaying is murder”. The king said: “So shall it be, Arinbjorn, as thou demandest. Egil shall live this night. Take thou him home with thee, and bring him to me in the morning”. Conutinued on page 27. CHRISTMAS IN ICELAND 5


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