Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Honor of Egil's Fight with the Frisians

I'm reading Egil's Saga...Yes, again! Each time I read it, I discover something new. This time, it was the magic used by Atli in his duel with Egil. For some reason, it simply didn't filter into my head that Atli, "skilled in magic arts," was blunting Egil's sword strokes with magic! Yet, the text is quite clear. Most marvelously and quite in character, Egil gets around the magic thus,

He threw down his sword and shield, ran for Atli and grabbed him with his hands. By his greater strength, Egil pushed Atli over backwards, then sprawled over him and bit through his throat. Atli died on the spot. -transl Bernard Scudder

This outrageous act is followed by Egil running over to the sacrificial bull and breaking its neck. He follows this up by, of all things, a poetic recitation of his own composition.

I'm so smitten with Egil and his feats that I wrote him a poem, In Honor of Egil's Fight with the Frisians.

Egil and his sea wolves chased the Frisians who fled

across a bridge over a ditch to a farther field.

Once over, the Frisians pulled the spanning planks

but Egil leapt running across the banks.

Too bad none of his band was as largely bred.

The Vikings left Egil forfeited,

but he fought eleven till the field ran red

then returned to the wolves who had thought him dead.

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