Friday, June 27, 2008

Viking Parties

In response to a question below (and in an effort to have some original content in a week devoted to entertaining family), the saga I've been reading is Egil's Saga, Bernard Scudder's translation, from the Penguin Classics The Sagas of the Icelanders, or as I call it, "The Big Book of Sagas."

I finished "Egil's Saga" today and started working on "The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal," which proposes, among other things, that the best way to ingratiate yourself to your future in-laws is to stab their ne'er-do-well son in his sleep.

My favorite section of "Egil's Saga" is:
Everyone became very drunk, and for every toast that Armod drank he said, "I drink this to your health, Egil."
The men of the household drank to his companions' health, with the same words. A man was given the job of keeping Egil and his companions served with one toast after another, and he urged them to drink it up at once. Egil told his companions that they should not drink any more, and he drank theirs for them too when there was no way to avoid it.
Egil started to feel that he would not be able to go on like this. He stood up and walked across the floor to where Armod was sitting, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him up against a wall-post. Then Egil spewed a torrent of vomit that gushed all over Armod's face, filling his eyes and nostrils and mouth and pouring down his beard and chest. Armod was close to choking, and when he managed to let out his breath, a jet of vomit gushed out with it. All Armod's men who were there said that Egil had done a base and despicable deed by not going outside when he needed to vomit, but had made a spectacle of himself in the drinking-room instead.
Egil said, "Don't blame me for following the master of the house's example. He's spewing his guts up just as much as I am." (138-139)

And that, my friends, is a classic of world literature. What did you have to read for your job today?

2 comments:

  1. And what every woman who reads this thinks....

    'And just who is left to clean up this mess?'!

    They best go off pillaging before they face someone's awful wrath!

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  2. Lovely passage :)

    ReplyDelete