Sagas & Legends
Egil after Yule-tide was taken with much sadness that he spake not a word. And when Arinbjorn perceived this he began to talk with Egil, and asked what this sadness meant. 'I wish,' said he, 'you would let me know whether you are sick, or anything ails you, that I may find a remedy.'
Egil said: 'Sickness of body I have none; but I have much anxiety about this, how I shall get that property which I won when I slew Ljot the Pale northwards in Mæra. I am told that the king's stewards have taken up all that property, and claimed ownership thereof for the king. Now I would fain have your help in the recovery of this.'
Arinbjorn: 'I do not think your claim to the ownership of that property is against the law of the land; yet methinks the property is now come into strong keeping. The king's treasury hath a wide entrance, but a narrow exit. We have urged many arduous claims of money against powerful persons, but we were in more confidence with the king than now; for the friendship between me and king Hacon is shallow; yet must I act after the old saw: He must tend the oak who is to dwell beneath it.'
'Yet,' said Egil, 'my mind is that, if we have law to show, we should try. Maybe the king will grant us right in this, for I am told that the king is just, and keeps well to the laws which he has made here in the land. I am rather minded to go seek the king and try the matter with him.'
Arinbjorn said that he did not desire this. 'I think, Egil, that these things will be hard to reconcile, your eagerness and daring, and the king's temper and power. For I deem him to be no friend of yours, and for good reason as he thinks. I would rather that we let this matter drop, and did not take it up. But if you wish it, Egil, I will rather myself go to the king and moot the question.'
Egil said that he thanked him heartily, and would choose it to be so.
Hacon was then in Rogaland, but at times in Hordaland; there was no difficulty in finding him. And not long after this talk Arinbjorn made ready for his journey. It was then publicly known that he purposed to seek the king. He manned with his house-carles a twenty-oared galley that he had. Egil was to stay at home; Arinbjorn would not have him go. Arinbjorn started when ready, and his journey went well; he found king Hacon, and was well received.
And when he had been there a little while, he declared his errand before the king, and said that Egil Skallagrimsson was come there in the land, and thought he had a claim to all that property that had belonged to Ljot the Pale. 'We are told, O king, that Egil pleads but law in this; but your stewards have taken up the property, and claimed ownership for you. I would pray you, my lord, that Egil may get law herein.'
The king was slow to speak, but at length answered: 'I know not, Arinbjorn, why thou comest with such pleading for Egil. He came once before me, and I told him that I would not have him sojourn here in the land, for reasons which ye already know. Now Egil must not set up such claim before me ad he did before my brother Eric. And to thee, Arinbjorn, I have this to say, that thou mayest be here in the land only so long as thou preferrest not foreigners before me and my word; for I know that thy heart is with Harold son of Eric, thy foster-son; and this is thy best choice, to go to those brothers and be with them; for I strongly suspect that men like thee will be ill to trust to, if I and Eric's sons ever have to try conclusions.'
And when the king had so spoken, Arinbjorn saw that it would not do to plead this cause any further with him; so he prepared to return home. The king was rather sullen and gloomy towards Arinbjorn after he knew his errand; but Arinbjorn was not in the mood to humble himself before the king about this matter. And so they parted.
Arinbjorn went home and told Egil the issue of his errand. 'I will not,' said he, 'again plead such a cause to the king.'
Egil at this report frowned much; he thought he had lost much wealth, and wrongfully. A few days after, early one morning when Arinbjorn was in his chamber and few men were present, he had Egil called thither; and when he came, then Arinbjorn had a chest opened, and weighed out forty marks of silver, adding these words: 'This money I pay you, Egil, for those lands which belonged to Ljot the Pale. I deem it just that you should have this reward from me and my kinsman Fridgeir for saving his life from Ljot; for I know that you did this for love of me. I therefore am bound not to let you be cheated of your lawful right in this matter.'
Egil took the money, and thanked Arinbjorn. Then Egil again became quite cheerful.
Next: CHAPTER LXXII. Of Arinbjorn's harrying.