E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Brother of Weland, the Vulcan of Northern mythology. Egil was a great archer, and a tale is told of him the exact counterpart of the famous story about William Tell: One day King Nidung commanded Egil to shoot an apple off the head of his son. Egil took two well-selected arrows from his quiver, and when asked by the king why he took two, replied (as the Swiss peasant to Gessler), To shoot thee, O tyrant, with the second, if I fail.