Sagas & Legends
Egil comes to landowner Alf.
Egil said to his comrades that he would go on his way and abide no longer. Thorfinn had a son named Helgi, a valiant man. Father and son offered Egil their company through the wood. They said they knew for a fact that Armod Beard had put six men into the wood to lie in wait for them, and it was likely that there would be more ambushed in the wood in case the first should fail. There were with Thorfinn four that offered to go. Then Egil sang a stave:
'If four with me follow,
Thou findest not six men
With us bloody sword-blows
To barter in fight.
And if he with eight go,
Undaunted in courage
On twelve black-browed Egil
The battle will dare.'
Thorfinn and his men decided to go into the wood with Egil: thus they were eight in all. And when they came where the ambush was set, they saw men there. But these house-carles of Armod who were in ambush, on seeing that the travellers were eight in number, thought they were overmatched, and hid them away in the wood. And when Egil's party came where the liers-in-wait had been, they saw that all was not peaceful. And now Egil said that Thorfinn and his men should go back, but they offered to go further. However Egil would not have it, and bade them go home; so they did so and turned back.
But Egil and his men went on forward, being now four. And as the day wore on they perceived that there were six men in the wood, and they were pretty sure that these also were house-carles of Armod. Up leapt the liers-in-wait and made at them, and they met their charge: and the encounter ended in Egil's saying two and the rest running back into the wood.
Then Egil's company went on their way, and nothing more happened till they got out of the wood and found lodging near the wood with a landowner named Alf, who was called Alf the wealthy. He was an old man, wealthy in money, of a strange temper, so that he could keep but few in his household. A good reception Egil found there, and with him Alf was talkative. Egil asked many questions, and Alf told him what he asked. They spoke much about the earl and the king of Norway's messengers, who had before gone eastward to gather the tribute. Alf in his talk was no friend to the earl.
Next: CHAPTER LXXVII. Egil gathers tribute.