Short summary - Egil's Saga - Epic

Scandinavian literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - Egil's Saga

Salbjarg, Kari's daughter, becomes the wife of Ulf, nicknamed Kveldulf ("Evening Wolf"). They have two sons, Thorolf and Grim.

Harald, nicknamed Shaggy, defeats the neighboring kings and becomes the sovereign king of Norway. At his insistence, Kveldulf sends his son Thorolf to him; Kveldulf himself believes that Harald will do much harm to his family, but Thorolf can act in his own way. And Thorolf leaves.

A man named Bjargolf has a son named Brynjolf. In old age, Bjargolf takes a woman named Hildirid and plays an incomplete wedding with her, because her father is an ignoble person. Bjargolf and Hildirid have two sons, Harek and Hrerek. Bjargolf dies, and as soon as he is carried out of the house, Brynjolf tells Hildirid and his sons to go away. Brynjolf has a son named Bard, he and the sons of Hildirid are almost the same age. Bard marries Sigrid, daughter of Sigurd.

In autumn, Bard and Thorolf, the son of Kveldulf, come to King Harald and receive them well. They become the warriors of the king. In winter, Brynjolf dies, and Bard receives all the inheritance. In the same winter, King Harald gives the last battle and takes possession of the whole country. Thorolf and Bard fight bravely and receive many wounds. But Thorolf's wounds begin to heal, while Bard's wounds become life-threatening. And he entrusts his wife and son to Thorolf, and gives all his property. After his death, Thorolf takes charge of Bard's patrimony and proposes to Sigrid, Bard's wife. Having received consent, Thorolf arranges a big wedding feast, and everyone sees that Thorolf is a noble and generous man.

The sons of Hildirid come to Thorolf and demand that they be given the property that used to belong to Bjargolf. Thorolf answers that Bard did not consider them legitimate sons, because violence was committed against their mother and she was brought into the house as a prisoner, Bard did not recognize them, and he does not recognize them. That's where the conversation ends.

In winter, Thorolf with a large retinue goes to the Lapps. He collects tribute from them and at the same time trades with them. Thorolf gets a lot of good and becomes a powerful man.

In the summer, Thorolf invites the king to his feast. The king sits in a place of honor, looks at the numerous guests and is silent. Everyone can see that he is angry.

On the day of departure, Thorolf calls the king to the shore and there he gives him a ship with a dragon's head. The king and Thorolf part as good friends.

The sons of Hildirid also invite the king to their feast. After the feast, Harek slanders the king about Thorolf as if he wants to kill the king. The king believes the words of Harek. Then the king goes his own way, and the sons of Hildirid think up a business for themselves and go to the same place as the king, meet him here and there, and he always listens to them with attention. And now the people of the king begin to plunder the ships of Thorolf and oppress his people, and Thorolf in response kills the people of the king.

Grim, the son of Kveldulf, marries Beru, the daughter of Ingvar. Grim is twenty-five years old, but he is already bald, and he is nicknamed Skallagrim ("Bald Grim").

Once Thorolf was feasting with his retinue, and the king treacherously attacked him: he surrounded his house and set it on fire. But Thorolf's men break through the wall and go out. A battle breaks out, and in it Thorolf dies, He is buried with due honors.

Kveldulv learns about the death of his son, is sad, goes to bed, then equips the ship, sails to Iceland and dies on the way. Skallagrim settles in Iceland.

Skallagrim and Bera have a son, Thorolf, who is similar to Thorolf, the son of Kveldulf. Thorolf is very cheerful and everyone loves him.

Another son will be born to Skallagrim, and they give him the name Egil. He grows up, and it is clear that he will be ugly and black-haired, like his father.

A man named Bjarn marries Thor, Thorir's sister, against her brother's wishes. The king drives Bjorn out of Norway. He goes to Iceland and is nailed to Skallogrim. There their daughter Asgerd is born.

Thorolf becomes attached to Bjarn. Skallagrim sends messengers to Thorir, and he, having obeyed their persuasion, forgives Bjarn. Bjarne returns to Norway, and his daughter Asgerd remains in the upbringing of Skallagrim.

In the spring, Thorolf and Bjarn equip ships and set off on a campaign. In autumn they return with rich prey.

King Harald is getting old. His son Eirik, nicknamed the Bloody Ax, is brought up by Thorir, and is very disposed towards him.

Bjarn and Thorolf go to visit Thorir. There Thorolf gives the king's son a ship, and he promises him his friendship.

Eirik and Thorolf become friends. Eirik marries Gunnhild, she is beautiful, smart and knows how to conjure.

In his fiefdom, Skallagrim arranges a contest of strength and games. Seven-year-old Egil loses to a twelve-year-old boy, grabs an ax and hacks the unwitting offender, and then says a visu (a poetic phrase).

At the age of twelve, Egil leaves with Thorolf.

Arriving in Norway, Thorolf and his brother go to Bjarn to give him his daughter Asgerd. Thorir also has a son named Arinbjarn. Egil is friends with him, but there is no friendship between the brothers.

Soon Thorolf asks Asgerd, the daughter of Byarn, to be his wife. Having received consent, he goes to gather everyone for the wedding feast. But Egil falls ill and cannot go. And Thorolf leaves without him. Egil, having recovered, goes after him. On the way, he kills the king's man. Upon learning of this, the king orders Egil to be killed. Thorir asks the king for forgiveness for Egil, and Egil is expelled from the state.

Thorolf and Egil equip a large warship and make several campaigns. Then they enter the service of the English king Adadstein. Adalstein is cunning, he breaks the kings who opposed him. But in these battles, Thorolf dies. Egil buries his brother with full honors. King Adelstein gives Egil a golden wrist and two chests of silver. Egil cheers up and says to the visa.

In the spring, Egil goes to Norway, where he learns that Thorir has died, and his inheritance has passed to Arinbjorn. At Arinbjorn, Egil spends the winter.

Upon learning of the death of Thorolf, Asgerd is very sad. Egil wooed her, and Asgerd agreed. After the wedding feast, on the advice of Arinbjorn, Egil sails to Iceland to Skallagrim. Egil lives with Skallagrim and does housework with him. He becomes as bald as his father.

One day, the news reaches Egil that Bjarn has died, and his lands have passed to his son-in-law Berganund, who is very favored by King Eirik and his wife Gunnhild. Egil decides to regain these lands, and Asgerd goes with him to Norway.

Egil takes the case to the Thing, where he proves that his wife Asgerd is the heiress of Bjarne. Berganund proves otherwise. In response, Egil speaks to the visa. The king is angry, and Egil leaves the Thing empty-handed.

Egil goes to the lands of Berganund, kills him and one of the sons of the king. The property that he cannot take away, he sets on fire, and then speaks to the visa and sends a curse of spirits on Eirik and his wife Gunnhild. Then Egil returns to Iceland, where he takes care of the household, for Skallagrim is already old and weak. Soon Skallagrim dies, and all his goodness goes to Egil.

Arinbjorn brings up the children of the king and is always near him. Egil comes to him, and Arinbjorn advises him to come to the king and confess. Egil is guilty and composes a song of praise in honor of the king. The king likes the song, and he allows Egil to leave him safe and sound, Egil goes to Arinbjorn, and then they say goodbye and part as friends.

In autumn, King Hakon begins to rule in Norway. Egil decides to obtain the return of his property, which, after Berganund, is owned by his brother Atli the Short. He comes to King Hakon and asks to give his wife Asgerd the property that Bjarn once owned. Hakon welcomes Egil favorably.

Egil comes to Atli the Short and calls him to the Thing. At the Thing, Egil demands the return of Bjorn's property to him and offers to settle the lawsuit by a duel. In single combat, Egil kills Atli and speaks to the visa.

Egil goes home to Iceland. He brings a lot of good from a foreign land, becomes a very rich man and lives in this country without harming anyone. And in the summer, Egil and Arinbjorn go on a campaign, where they get a lot of goods and livestock. Arinbjorn and Egil part on friendly terms.

Egil spends the winter at home. Budward, Egil's young son, drowns in the bay. Upon learning of what happened, Egil digs up Skallagrim's grave mound and puts Badward's body there. Then he composes a memorial song for Budward. Egil had another son, Gunnar, but he also died. Egil celebrates feast for both sons.

Egil lives in Iceland, where he grows old. And the sons of Eirik come to Norway and fight with King Hakon. Arinbjorn becomes an adviser to Harald, Eirik's son, and he showers him with honors. Egil composes a song of praise in honor of Arinbjorn.

Gradually, Egil, the son of Skallagrim, becomes very old, his hearing weakens, and his legs do not obey well. He sits by the fire and says visa. With the onset of autumn, he falls ill, and the disease brings him to the grave. He is buried along with his weapons and attire.