Sagas & Legends
Parting of Egil and Armod.
Egil rose up in the morning as soon as it was day. He and his made them ready, and when ready went at once to the house to seek Armod. And when they came to the apartments where slept Armod and his wife and daughter, then Egil burst open the door and approached Armod's bed. He then drew his sword, but with the other hand grasped the beard of Armod, and forced him forward to the edge of the bed. But Armod's wife and daughter leapt up and prayed Egil not to slay Armod. Egil said he would spare him for their sakes; 'For,' said he, 'this is but meet; yet has he deserved to die.'
After this Egil cut off his beard close to his chin, and put out one of his eyes. Then he went out to his companions.
They went on their way and came a day-meal-time to the house of Thorfinn. He dwelt by Eida-wood. Of him they craved a day-meal and to bait their horses. Thorfinn granted this, and Egil with his men went into the hall. Egil asked if Thorfinn had seen anything of the rest of his party.
'We appointed,' he said, 'to meet here.'
Thorfinn said: 'Here passed six men together a little before day; and they were well armed.'
Then said a house-carle: 'I was driving a sledge in the night to fetch wood, and I came upon six men on the road; they were house-carles of Armod; but that was long before day. Now I am not sure whether these will be the same as the six of whom you spoke.'
Thorfinn said that the six men whom he had met had passed after the house-carle came back with the load of wood.
While they sat at meat Egil saw that a woman lay sick on the daïs at the ends of the hall. He asked who was that woman in such sad case. Thorfinn said she was named Helga, and was his daughter; she had long been ill; her complaint was a pining sickness; she got no sleep at night, and was as one possessed.
'Has anything,' asked Egil, 'been tried for her ailment?'
'Runes have been graven,' said Thorfinn; 'a landowner's son hard by did this; and she is since much worse than before. But can you, Egil, do anything for such ailments?'
Egil said: 'Maybe no harm will be done by my taking it in hand.'
And when Egil had finished his meal, he went where the woman lay and spoke with her. Then he bade them lift her from her place and lay clean clothes under her, and they did so. Next he searched the bed in which she had lain, and there he found a piece of whalebone whereon were runes. Egil read them, then cut the runes and scraped them off into the fire. He burned the whole piece of whalebone, and had the bed-clothes that she had used hung out to air. Then Egil sang:
'Runes none should grave ever
Who knows not to read them;
Of dark spell full many
The meaning may miss.
Ten spell-words writ wrongly
On whale-bone were graven:
Whence to leek-tending maiden,
Long sorrow and pain.'
Egil then graved runes, and laid them under the bolster of the bed where the woman lay. She seemed as if she waked out of sleep, and said she now felt well, but she was weak. But her father and mother were overjoyed. And Thorfinn offered to Egil all the furtherance that he might think needful.
Next: CHAPTER LXXVI. Egil comes to landowner Alf.