Sagas & Legends
Egil gathers tribute.
Egil made him ready early next morning to continue his journey, as did his comrades, but at parting Egil gave Alf a fur cloak. Alf took the gift with thanks, saying, 'A good mantle have I here.' And he bade Egil visit him on the way back. They parted friends; and Egil going on his way came on the evening of a day to earl Arnvid's court, where he found a good reception. He and his comrades were placed next to the sitter in the seat opposite the earl.
When Egil had been there for a night, he declared his errand with the earl, and the message of the king from Norway, and said that he wished to have all that tribute from Vermaland that had been owing since Arnvid had been set over the land. The earl said that he had paid out of hand all the tribute, and delivered it into the hands of the king's messengers. 'But I know not,' he said, 'what they have since done with it, whether they brought it to the king or ran away with it out of the land. However, as ye bear sure tokens that the king has sent you, I will pay all the tribute to which he has a right, and deliver it into your hands: but I will not be answerable afterwards for how you fare with it.' Egil and his men remained there for awhile. But before Egil went away the earl paid them the tribute. Part was in silver, part in gray fur.
And when Egil's party were ready they started to return. At their parting Egil said to the earl: 'Now we will bear to the king this tribute which we have received. But know, earl, that this is much less money than the king deems to be his due here; and that too without counting that, as he thinks, thou oughtest to pay atonement for the messengers whom common rumour says thou didst cause to be slain.' The earl said that that was not true. With this they parted.
Now when Egil was gone, the earl called to him his two brothers, each of whom was named Ulf, and spoke thus: 'That big fellow Egil, who was here for awhile, will, I expect, do us an ill turn when he comes to the king. We may by this mark how he will bear our matter before the king, that he threw in our face such a charge, the taking the life of the king's men. Now must ye two go after their party and slay them all, and let none bear this slander before the king. Methinks the wisest plan were to lie in wait for them in Eida-wood. Take with you so many men as to make sure that not one of them escape, while ye get no less of men from them.'
Then did the brothers make them ready for their journey, and they took thirty men. They went to the wood, of which they knew every path: then they watched for Egil's coming. There were two roads through the wood. One led over a certain ridge, and there was a steep cliff, and only a path for one; this was the shorter road. The other led round the edge of the ridge, over wide bogs, across which hewn wood was laid, there too making a causeway for but one to pass. And they lay in wait fifteen in either place.
Next: CHAPTER LXXVIII. Egil and his band slay twenty-five men.