Sagas & Legends
Egil and Thorstein go before the king.
King Hacon Athelstan's foster-son then ruled Norway, as was told before. That winter the king held court in the north in Throndheim. But as the winter wore on, Thorstein started on his journey and Egil with him, and they had about thirty men. When ready they first went to Upland, thence northwards by the Dovre-fell to Throndheim, where they came before king Hacon. They declared their errand with the king. Thorstein explained his cause, and produced witnesses that he was rightful owner of all that inheritance which he claimed. The king received this matter well, and let Thorstein obtain his possessions, and therewith he was made a baron of the king even as his father had been.
Egil also went before king Hacon and declared his errand, giving therewith king Athelstan's message and tokens. Egil claimed property that had belonged to Bjorn Yeoman, lands and chattels. Half of this property he claimed for himself and Asgerdr his wife; and he offered witness and oaths to his cause. He said, too, that he had set all this before king Eric, adding that he had then not got law, owing to king Eric's power and the prompting of Gunnhilda. Egil set forth the whole cause which had been tried at the Gula-thing. He then begged the king to grant him law in this matter.
King Hacon answered: 'This have I heard, that my brother Eric and with him Gunnhilda both assert that thou, Egil, hast cast a stone beyond thy strength in thy dealings with them. Now, methinks, though I and Eric have not the luck to agree, yet thou mightest be well content should I do nothing in this cause.'
Egil said: 'Thou mayest not, O king, be silent about causes so great, for all men here in the land, natives or foreigners, must hearken to thy bidding or banning. I have heard that thou establishest here in the land law and right for everyone. Now I know that thou wilt let me get these even as other men. Methinks I am of birth and have strength of kinsfolk enough here in the land to win right against Atli the Short. But as for the cause between me and king Eric, there is this to say to thee, that I went before him, and that we so parted that he bade me go in peace whither I would. I will offer thee, my lord, my following and service. I know that there will be here with thee men who can in no wise be thought of more martial appearance than I am. My foreboding is that it will not be long ere thou and king Eric meet, if ye both live. And I shall be surprised if thou come not then to think that Gunnhilda has borne too many sons.'
The king said: 'Thou shalt not, Egil, become my liege-man. Thy kin have hewn far too many gaps in our house for it to be well that thou shouldst settle here in this land. Go thou out to Iceland, and dwell there on thy father's inheritance. No harm will there touch thee from our kin; but in this land 'tis to be looked for that through all thy days our kin will be the more powerful. Yet for the sake of king Athelstan, my foster-father, thou shalt have peace here in the land, and shalt get law and land-right, for I know that he holds thee right dear.'
Egil thanked the king for his words, and prayed that the king would give him sure tokens to Thord in Aurland, or to other barons in Sogn and Hordaland. The king said that this should be done.
Next: CHAPTER LXVII. Egil slays Ljot the Pale.