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This is a simplified retelling of chapter 31 from the medieval Icelandic saga Egils saga. The story takes place in the 10th century and was written in the 13th century. The main character of the story is an aggressive bully named Egill, a great poet who travels around Northern Europe. It is among the most commonly read sagas.
The year is 1907.the yearÁrið iser nineníu hundredhundruð andog sevensjö. Egill is a three year old boy who lives in Iceland.Egill iser Genitive/4th casethreeþriggja (three) years (old)ára boystrákur who, thatsem livesbýr “on”iná IcelandÍslandi. He has black hair and is very ugly.heHann “is with”haser með blacksvart hairhár andog iser verymjög uglyljótur. His father's name is Grímur, and he is bald.fatherPabbi “of him”hishans is named, is calledheitir Grímur andog iser baldsköllóttur (bald), That's why he's called Bald-Grímur.for that reason, that's whyþess vegna iser hehann calledkallaður Bald-GrímurSkalla-Grímur. Despite the fact that he is just three years old, Egill is very strong and is a very good poet.despiteÞrátt fyrir beingað vera justbara Genitive/4th casethreeþriggja years (old)ára iser Egill verymjög strongsterkur andog verymjög goodgott poetskáld (poet). He is a difficult child and is bad with other kids.heHann iser difficulterfitt childbarn andog iser mean, badvondur tovið otheraðra kidskrakka.
Tonight there is a party at Egill's grandfather's house.tonightÍ kvöld iser partyveisla at homeheima athjá grandfatherafa of his, belonging to himhans Egill's, of EgillEgils. Egill's family is going (to go) to the party.the familyFjölskyldan of his, belonging to himhans Egill's, of EgillEgils intends, is planning to go toætlar intoí the partyveisluna.
"Can I come with you?" Egill asks his father.„am allowed toMá Iég comekoma withmeð?“ asksspyr Egill fatherpabba hissinn.
"No, you cannot come with us."„noNei, youþú are allowed tomátt notekki comekoma withmeð. "This is a huge party and everyone there will be drunk."thisÞetta iser hugerisastór partyveisla andog everyone, allallir thereþarna will beverða "Fullur" means "full", but it can also mean "full of alcohol", referring to being drunk.drunkfullir (drunk). "You are a sufficiently difficult child when you aren't drunk." answers Bald-Grímur.youÞú areert absolutely, quitealveg enoughnógu difficulterfiður whenþegar youþú areert notekki drunkfullur.“ answerssvarar Bald-GrímurSkalla-Grímur.
Egill is not happy with this answer.Egill iser notekki happy, contentánægður withmeð thisþetta answersvar. When his family is gone Egill finds a horse and follows them.whenÞegar the familyfjölskyldan “of him”hishans iser gonefarin findsfinnur Egill horsehest andog goes after, follows afterfer á eftir themþeim. It's late in the evening when Egill finally shows up at the party.itÞað iser lateseint during the eveningum kvöld whenþegar Egill shows upmætir finallyloksins iní the partyveisluna, There people are sitting and drinking beer.thereþar sitssitur peoplefólk andog drinksdrekkur beerbjór.
Egill's grandfather sees him.grandfatherAfi Egill's, of EgillEgils seessér himhann. „Egill! Why are you coming this late?whyAf hverju “come you”you comekemurðu so, suchsvona lateseint? Wouldn't you like to come sit here by me?do you wantViltu notekki to comekoma andog to sit downsetjast herehérna byhjá memér?“
"Yes, thank you," answers Egill, and he sits down by his grandfather„yes (responding to a negative)Jú thankstakk“ answerssvarar Egill andog sits downssest byhjá grandfatherafa hissínum. His father and brother are sitting opposite him.fatherPabbi “of him”hishans andog brotherbróðir “of him”hishans sitsitja opposite, againstá móti himhonum.
The party is big and the people there are drinking a lot.the partyVeislan iser bigstór andog the peoplefólkið thereþar drinkdrekkur a lot, muchmikið. Egill creates a poem about his grandfather and reads it for the people.Egill composessemur (composes) poemljóð aboutum grandfatherafa hissinn andog readsles itþað forfyrir the peoplefólkið.
"Wow!" says his grandfather.„wowVá!“ sayssegir grandfatherafi. "This is a really great poem.„thisÞetta iser absolutely, quitealveg greatfrábært poemljóð. Thank you, my Egill."thank youTakk, Egill myminn.“
The next days he gives Egill three shells and a duck egg for the poem.(the) nextNæsta daydag givesgefur himhann This is the dative case (3rd case) of "Egill"(to) EgillAgli threeþrjár shellsskeljar (shells) andog duck eggandaregg (duck egg) forfyrir the poemljóðið. Egill is very happy with the gifts and writes a poem about them.Egill iser verymjög happy, content, satisfiedánægður withmeð the giftsgjafirnar andog composes, draftssemur poemsljóð aboutum themþær. The people are very happy with Egill's poems.the peopleFólkið “is”areer verymjög happy, content, satisfiedánægt withmeð the poemsljóðin “of him”hishans Egill's, of EgillEgils.
In summary, Egill is an unruly three year old boy who disobeys his father to go to a party, where he composes an extremely complex poem praising his grandfather. The poems are not published above, but can be seen here (English translation here). The poems are likely an embellishment, as it is unlikely a three year old could write them.
As exemplified by this chapter, there is great honor in being a good poet.
You can click here to see what the original text looks like, but don’t expect to be able to understand much.