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Zhe Camelot Series* 

Edited by Ernest Rhys. 



THE STORY OF THE VOLSUNGS. 



LIBRARY 

Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies 

113 ST. JOSEPH -T 

TORONTO, ONT, CANADA M5S U* 



M i 



VOLSUNGA SAGA: THE STORY OF 
THE VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS, 
WITH CERTAIN SONGS FROM 
THE ELDER EDDA. EDITED, WITH 
INTRODUCTION AND NOTES, BY 
H. HALLIDAY SPARLING. 



TRANSLATED FROM THE ICELANDIC BY EIRIKR 
MAGNUSSON (TRANSLATOR OF "LEGENDS OF 
ICELAND " ) ; AND WILLIAM MORRIS (AUTHOR OF 
"THE EARTHLY PARADISE"). 



WALTER SCOTT 
LONDON: 24 WARWICK LANE 

PATERNOSTER ROW 

18S8 



TH« ANNA HEAD SCHOOL 

BKKKiO^Y 4, CALil-OKNLA 



s 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Introduction ...... ix 

Translators' Preface . xxxix 

Names ; &c. . xlix 

^4 Prologue in Verse . . . . li 

CHAP. 

I. Of Sigi, the Son of Odin . . i 

II. Of the Birth of Vol sung, the Son of Rerir, who 

was the Son of Sigi , . .3 

III. Of the Sword that Sigmund, Volsung' s 

Son, drew from the Branstock . . 6 

IV. How King Siggeir wedded Signy, and bade 

King Volsung and his Son to Gothland 9 

V. Of the Slaying of King Volsung . .11 

VI. Of how Signy sent the Children of her and 

Siggeir to Sigmund . . 1 5 

VII. Of the Birth of Sinfjotli, the Son of Sig- 
mund . . . . 17 
VIII. The Death of King Siggeir and of Signy . 20 
IX. Hoiv Helgi, the Son of Sigmund, won King 
Hodbrod and his Realm, and Wedded 
Sigruu . . .27 



vi CONTENTS. 

chap. 1>AGE 

X. The Ending of Sinffot/i, Sigmund's Son . 32 

XL Of King Sigmund's last Battle, and of how 

he must yield up his Sword again . 35 

XII. Of the Shards of the Sword Gram, and 

ho7u Hjordis went to King Alf . 38 

XIII. Of the Birth and Waxing of Sigurd Faf 

nir'd-ba/ie . . . .42 

XIV. Kegin's tale of his Brothers, and of the 

Gold called Andvari's Hoard . . 46 

XV. Of the Welding together of the Shards of 

the Szvord Gram . . • 5° 

• XVI. The Prophecy of Grifir . 5 2 

XVII. Of Sigurd's Avenging of Sigmund his 

Father . . . • 53 

XVI 1 1. Of the Slaying of the Worm Fafnir . 58 

XIX. Of the Slaying of Regin, Son of Hreidmar 63 

XX. Of Sigurd's Meeting with Brynhild on the 

Mountain 

XXI. More Wise Words of Brynhild 

XXII. Of the Semblance and Array of Sigurd 

Fafnir' s-bane 

XXIII. Sigurd comes to Hlymdale 

XXIV. Sigurd sees Brynhild at Hlymdale 
XXV. Of the Dream of Gudrun, Giuki's 

Daughter 
XXVI. Sigurd comes to the Giukings and is 

wedded to Gudrun 
XXVII. The Wooing of Brynhild 
XXVIII. How the Queens held angry co?iverse to 



gether at the Bathing 



68 
76 

78 
80 
82 

86 

90 
94 



9 8 



CONTENTS. vii 

CHAP. PAGE 

XXIX. Of Brynhild's Grief and Mourning . 102 

XXX. Of the Slaying of Sigurd Fafnir" s-bane . 109 

XXXI. Of the Lamentation of Gudrun over Si- 
gurd dead, as it is told in the ancie?it 
Songs . . . .114 

XXXII. Of the Ending oj Brynhild . .122 

XXXIII. Gudrun wedded to Atli . .125 

XXXIV. Atli bids the Giu kings to him . .130 

XXXV. The Dreams of the Wives of the Giukings 134 

XXXVI. Of the Journey of the Giukings to King 

Atli . . . .136 

XXXVII. The Battle in the Burg oj King Atli . 1 39 
XXXVIII. Of the Slaying of the Giukings . .142 

XXXIX. The End of Atli and his Kin and Folk . 146 
XL. How Gudrun cast herself into the Sea, but 

was brought ashore again . .151 

XLI. Of the Wedding and Slaying of Swanhild 152 

XLII. Gud?un sends her Sons to avenge Swan- 
hild . . . . 155 

XLI 1 1. The Latter End of all the Kin of the 

Giukings . . . 157 

SONGS FROM THE ELDER EDDA. 

Part of the Second Lay of Helgi Hundings- 

bane . . . . , .163 

Part of the Lay of Sigrdrifa . . .172 

The Lay called the Short Lay of Sigurd . .176 



viii CONTENTS. 






PAGE 


The Hell-Ride of Brynhild ... 


. 197 


Fragments of the Lay of Brynhild 


202 


The Second or Ancient Lay of Gudrun 


209 


The Song of At/i .... 


. 223 


The Whetting of Gudrun 


237 


The Lay of Hamdir . . 


244 


The Lament of Oddrun 


253 


Lndex. . . 


263 


Book- list . . . ... 


267 





r would seem fitting for a Northern 
folk, deriving the greater and better 
part of their speech, laws, and customs 
from a Northern root, that the North 
should be to them, if not a holy land, 
yet at least a place more to be regarded than any 
part of the world beside ; that howsoever their know- 
ledge widened of other men, the faith and deeds of 
their forefathers would never lack interest for them, 
but would always be kept in remembrance. One 
cause after another has, however, aided in turning 
attention to classic men and lands at the cost of our 
own history. Among battles, "every schoolboy" 
knows the story of Marathon or Salamis, while it 
would be hard indeed to find one who did more than 
recognise the name, if even that, of the great fights of 
Hafrsfirth or Sticklestead. The language and history 
of Greece and Rome, their laws and religions, have 



x INTRODUCTION. 

been always held part of the learning needful to an 
educated man, but no trouble has been taken to 
make him familiar with his own people or their 
tongue. Even that Englishman who knew Alfred, 
Bede, Caedmon, as well as he knew Plato, Caesar, 
Cicero, or Pericles, would be hard bestead were he 
asked about the great peoples from whom we sprang; 
the warring of Harold Fairhair or Saint Olaf; the 
Viking* kingdoms in these (the British) Western 
Isles; the settlement of Iceland, or even of Normandy. 
The knowledge of all these things would now be 
even smaller than it is among us were it not that 
there was one land left where the olden learning 
found refuge and was kept in being. In England, 
Germany, and the rest of Europe, what is left of the 
traditions of pagan times has been altered in a 
thousand ways by foreign influence, even as the 
peoples and their speech have been by the influx 
of foreign blood ; but Iceland held to the old tongue 
that was once the universal speech of northern folk, 
and held also the great stores of tale and poem that 
are slowly becoming once more the common heritage 
of their descendants. The truth, care, and literary 
beauty of its records ; the varied and strong life shown 
alike in tale and history ; and the preservation of 
the old speech, character, and tradition — a people 
placed apart as the Icelanders have been — combine 
to make valuable what Iceland holds for us. Not 
before 1770, when Bishop Percy translated Mallet's 

* Viking (Ice. Vikingr ; vik, a bay or creek, ingr, belonging to, or 
men of) freebooters. 



INTR OB UCT10N. xi 

Northern Antiquities, was anything known here of 
Icelandic, or its literature. Only within the latter 
part of this century has it been studied, and in the 
brief book-list at the end of this volume may be seen 
the little that has been done as yet. It is, however, 
becoming ever clearer, and to an increasing number, 
how supremely important is Icelandic as a word- 
hoard to the English-speaking peoples, and that 
in its legend, song, and story there is a very mine of 
noble and pleasant beauty and high manhood. That 
which has been done, one may hope, is but the 
beginning of a great new birth, that shall give back 
to our language and literature all that heedlessness 
and ignorance bid fair for aw T hile to destroy. 

The Scando-Gothic peoples who poured southward 
and westward over Europe, to shake empires and 
found kingdoms, to meet Greek and Roman in con- 
flict, and levy tribute everywhere, had kept up their 
constantly-recruited waves of incursion, until they 
had raised a barrier of their own blood. It was their 
own kin, the sons of earlier invaders, who stayed the 
landward march of the Northmen in the time of 
Charlemagne. To the Southlands their road by land 
was henceforth closed. Then begins the day of the 
Vikings, who, for two hundred years and more, " held 
the world at ransom." Under many and brave leaders 
they first of all came round the " Western Isles "* 
toward the end of the eighth century ; soon after they 
invaded Normandy, and harried the coasts of France; 
gradually they lengthened their voyages until there 

* " West over the Sea " is the word for the British Isles. 



xii INTRODUCTION, 

was no shore of the then known world upon which 
they were unseen or unfelt. A glance at English 
history will show the large part of it they fill, and 
how they took tribute from the Anglo-Saxons, who, 
by the way, were far nearer kin to them than is 
usually thought. In Ireland, where the old civilisa- 
tion was falling to pieces, they founded kingdoms 
at Limerick and Dublin among other places ;* the 
last named, of which the first king, Olaf the White, was 
traditionally descended of Sigurd the Volsung,t en- 
dured even to the English invasion, when it was taken 
by men of the same Viking blood a little altered. What 
effect they produced upon the natives may be seen 
from the description given by the unknown historian 
of the Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gaill: — " In a 
word, although there were an hundred hard-steeled 
iron heads on one neck, and an hundred sharp, ready, 
cool, never-rusting brazen tongues in each head, and 
an hundred garrulous, loud, unceasing voices from 
each tongue, they could not recount, or narrate, or 
enumerate, or tell what all the Gaedhil suffered in 
common — both men and women, laity and clergy, old 
and young, noble and ignoble — of hardship, and of 
injury, and of oppression, in every house, from these 
valiant, wrathful, purely pagan people. Even though 
great were this cruelty, oppression, and tyranny, 
though numerous were the oft-victorious clans of the 

* See Todd (J. H.). War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill. 

t He was son of Ingiald, son of Thora, daughter of Sigurd Snake-i'- 
th'-eye, son of Ragnar Lodbrok by Aslaug, daughter of Sigurd by 
Brynhild. The genealogy is, doubtless, quite mythical. 



INTRODUCTION. xiii 

many-familied Erinn ; though numerous their kings, 
and their royal chiefs, and their princes ; though 
numerous their heroes and champions, and their 
brave soldiers, their chiefs of valour and renown and 
deeds of arms ; yet not one of them was able to give 
relief, alleviation, or deliverance from that oppression 
and tyranny, from the numbers and multitudes, and 
the cruelty and the wrath of the brutal, ferocious, 
furious, untamed, implacable hordes by whom that 
oppression was inflicted, because of the excellence of 
their polished, ample, treble, heavy, trusty, glittering 
corslets ; and their hard, strong, valiant swords ; and 
their well-riveted long spears ; and their ready, 
brilliant arms of valour besides ; and because of the 
greatness of their achievements and of their deeds, 
their bravery and their valour, their strength, and 
their venom, and their ferocity, and because of the 
excess of their thirst and their hunger for the brave, 
fruitful, nobly-inhabited, full of cataracts, rivers, bays, 
pure, smooth-plained, sweet grassy land of Erinn " 
— (pp. 52-53). Some part of this, however, must be 
abated, because the chronicler is exalting the terror- 
striking enemy that he may still further exalt his own 
people, the Dal Cais, who did so much under Brian 
Boroimhe to check the inroads of the Northmen. 
When a book* does appear, which has been 
announced these ten years past, we shall have more 

* A Collection of Sagas and other Historical Documents relating to 
the Settlements and Descents of the Northmen on the British Isles. 
Ed., G. W. Dasent, D.C.L., and Gudbrand Vigfusson, M.A. In Ute 
Press. Longmans, London. 8vo. 



xiv INTRODUCTION. 

material for the reconstruction of the life of those 
times than is now anywhere accessible. Viking 
earldoms also were the Orkneys, Faroes, and Shet- 
lands. So late as 1171, in the reign of Henry II., the 
year after Beckett's murder, Earl Sweyn Asleifsson of 
Orkney, who had long been the terror of the western 
seas, " fared a sea-roving " and scoured the western 
coast of England, Man, and the east of Ireland, but 
was killed in an attack on his kinsmen of Dublin. 
He had used to go upon a regular plan that may be 
taken as typical of the homely manner of most of his 
like in their cruising : " Sweyn had in the spring hard 
work, and made them lay down very much seed, and 
looked much after it himself. But when that toil 
was ended, he fared away every spring on a viking- 
voyage, and harried about among the southern isles and 
Ireland, and came home after midsummer. That he 
called spring-viking. Then he was at home until the 
corn-fields were reaped down, and the grain seen to 
and stored. Then he fared away on a viking-voyage, 
and then he did not come home till the winter was one 
month off, and that he called his autumn-viking/'* 

Toward the end of the ninth century Harold 
Fairhair, either spurred by the example of Charle- 
magne, or really prompted, as Snorri Sturluson tells 
us, resolved to bring all Norway under him. As 
Snorri has it in Heimskringla : "King Harold sent 
his men to a girl hight Gyda. . . . The king wanted 
her for his leman ; for she was wondrous beautiful but 
of high mood withal. Now when the messengers 

* Orkneyinga Saga, 



INTRODUCTION. xv 

came there and gave their message to her, she made 
answer that she would not throw herself away even 
to take a king for her husband, who swayed no 
greater kingdom than a few districts ; 'and methinks,' 
said she, ' it is a marvel that no king here in Norway 
will put all the land under him, after the fashion that 
Gorm the Old did in Denmark, or Eric at Upsala.' 
The messengers deemed this a dreadfully proud- 
spoken answer, and asked her what she thought 
would come of such an one, for Harold was so 
mighty a man that his asking was good enough for 
her. But although she had replied to their saying 
otherwise than they would, they saw no likelihood, 
for this while, of bearing her along with them against 
her will, so they made ready to fare back again. 
When they were ready and the folk followed them 
out, Gyda said to the messengers — ' Now tell to 
King Harold these my words : — I will only agree to 
be his lawful wife upon the condition that he shall 
first, for sake of me, put under him the whole of 
Norway, so that he may bear sway over that 
kingdom as freely and fully as King Eric over the 
realm of Sweden, or King Gorm over Denmark; for 
only then, methinks, can he be called king of a 
people.' Now his men came back to King Harold, 
bringing him the words of the girl, and saying she 
was so bold and heedless that she well deserved the 
king should send a greater troop of people for her, 
and put her to some disgrace. Then answered the 
king. ' This maid has not spoken or done so much 
amiss that she should be punished, but the rather 



xvi IXTR OB UC TION. 

should she be thanked for her words. She has 
reminded me/ said he, ' of somewhat that it seems 
wonderful I did not think of before. And now/ 
added he, 'I make the solemn vow, and take God, 
who made me and rules over all things, to witness, 
that never shall I clip or comb my hair until I have 
subdued all Norway with scatt, and duties, and lord- 
ships; or, if not, have died in the seeking.' Guttorm 
gave great thanks to the king for his oath, saying it 
was royal work fulfilling royal rede." The new and 
strange government that Harold tried to enforce — 
nothing less than the feudal system in a rough guise — 
which made those who had hitherto been their own 
men save at special times, the king's men at all times, 
and laid freemen under tax, was withstood as long as 
might be by the sturdy Norsemen. It was only by 
dint of hard fighting that he slowly won his way, 
until at Hafrsfirth he finally crushed all effective 
opposition. But the discontented, " and they were a 
great multitude," fled oversea to the outlands, Ice- 
land, the Faroes, the Orkneys, and Ireland. The 
whole coast of Europe, even to Greece and the shores 
of the Black Sea, the northern shores of Africa, and 
the western part of Asia, felt the effects also. Rolf 
Pad-th'-hoof, son of Harold's dear friend Rognvald, 
made an outlaw for a cattle-raid within the bounds of 
the kingdom, betook himself to France, and, with his 
men, founded a new people and a dynasty. 

Iceland had been known for a good many years, 
but its only dwellers had been Irish Culdees, who 
sought that lonely land to pray in peace. Now, 



INTRODUCTION. xvii 

however, both from Norway and the Western Isles 
settlers began to come in. Aud, widow of Olaf the 
White, King of Dublin, came, bringing with her many 
of mixed blood, for the Gaedhil (pronounced Gael, 
Irish) and the Gaill (pronounced Gaul, strangers) not 
only fought furiously, but made friends firmly, and 
often intermarried. Indeed, the Westmen were 
among the first arrivals, and took the best parts of 
the island — on its western shore, appropriately 
enough. After a time the Vikings w r ho had settled 
in the Isles so worried Harold and his kingdom, upon 
which they swooped every other while, that he drew 
together a mighty force, and fell upon them whereso- 
ever he could find them, and followed them up with 
fire and sword ; and this he did twice, so that in those 
lands none could abide but folk who were content to 
be his men, however lightly they might hold their 
allegiance. Hence it was to Iceland that all turned 
who held to the old ways, and for over sixty years 
from the first comer there was a stream of hardy men 
pouring in, with their families and their belongings, 
simple yeomen, great and warwise chieftains, rich 
landowners, who had left their land " for the over- 
bearing of King Harold," as the Landnamabok* has 
it. " There also we shall escape the troubling of 
kings and scoundrels," says the Vatsdoelasaga. So 
much of the best blood left Norway that the king 
tried to stay the leak by fines and punishments, but 
in vain. 

* Landtaking-book — landnam, landtaking, from at nemo, land, 
whence also the enrly settlers were called landvamsmenn. 

b 



xviii INTRODUCTION, 

As his ship neared the shore, the new-coming chief 
would leave it to the gods as to where he settled. 
The hallowed pillars of the high seat, which were 
carried away from his old abode, were thrown over- 
board, with certain rites, and were let drive with wind 
and wave until they came ashore. The piece of land 
which lay next the beach they were flung upon was 
then viewed from the nearest hill-summit, and the 
place of the homestead picked out. Then the land 
was hallowed by being encircled with fire, parcelled 
among the band, and marked out with boundary- 
signs ; the houses were built, the " town " or home- 
field walled in, a temple put up, and the settlement 
soon assumed shape. In iioo there were 4500 
franklins, making a population of about 50,000, fully 
three-fourths of whom had a strong infusion of Celtic 
blood in them. The mode of life was, and is, rather 
pastoral than aught else. In the 39,200 square miles 
of the island's area there are now about 250 acres of 
cultivated land, and although there has been much 
more in times past, the Icelanders have always been 
forced to reckon upon flocks and herds as their chief 
resources, grain of all kinds, even rye, only growing 
in a few favoured places, and very rarely there ; the 
hay, self-sown, being the only certain harvest. On the 
coast fishing and fowling were of help, but nine-tenths 
of the folk lived by their sheep and cattle. Potatoes, 
carrots, turnips, and several kinds of cabbage have, 
however, been lately grown with success. They 
produced their own food and clothing, and could 
export enough wool, cloth, horn, dried fish, etc., as 



INTRODUCTION. xix 

enabled them to obtain wood for building, iron for 
tools, honey, wine, grain, etc, to the extent of their 
simple needs. Life and work was lotted by the 
seasons and their changes ; outdoor work — fishing, 
fowling, herding, hay-making, and fuel-getting — filling 
the long days of summer, while the long, dark winter 
was used in weaving and a hundred indoor crafts. 
The climate is not so bad as might be expected, 
seeing that the island touches the polar circle, the 
mean temperature at Reykjavik being 39 degrees. 

The religion which the settlers took with them into 
Iceland — the ethnic religion of the Norsefolk, which 
fought its last great fight at Sticklestead, where Olaf 
Haraldsson lost his life and won the name of Saint — 
was, like all religions, a compound of myths, those 
which had survived from savage days, and those which 
expressed the various degrees of a growing knowledge 
of life and better understanding of nature. Some 
historians and commentators are still fond of the 
unscientific method of taking a later religion, in this 
case Christianity, and writing down all apparently 
coincident parts of belief, as having been borrowed 
from the christian teachings by the Norsefolk, while 
all that remain they lump under some slighting head. 
Every folk has from the beginning of time sought to 
explain the wonders of nature, and has, after its own 
fashion, set forth the mysteries of life. The lowest 
savage, no less than his more advanced brother, has a 
philosophy of the universe by which he solves the 
world-problem to his own satisfaction, and seeks to 
reconcile his conduct with his conception of the nature 



xx INTR OD UCTION. 

of things. Now, it is not to be thought, save by a 
priori reasoners, that such a folk as the Northmen — 
a mighty folk, far advanced in the arts of life, imagin- 
ative, literary — should have had no further creed 
than the totemistic myths of their primitive state ; a 
state they have wholly left ere they enter history. 
Judging from universal analogy, the religion of which 
record remains to us was just what might be looked 
for at the particular stage of advancement the North- 
men had reached. Of course something may have been 
gained from contact with other peoples — from the 
Greeks during the long years in which the northern 
races pressed upon their frontier ; from the Irish during 
the existence of the western viking-kingdoms; but what 
I particularly warn young students against is the con- 
stant effort of a certain order of minds to wrest facts 
into agreement with their pet theories of religion or 
what not. The whole tendency of the more modern 
investigation shows that the period of myth-trans- 
mission is long over ere history begins. The same 
confusion of different stages of myth-making is to 
be found in the Greek religion, and indeed in those of 
all peoples ; similar conditions of mind produce 
similar practices, apart from all borrowing of ideas 
and manners ; in Greece we find snake-dances, bear- 
dances, swimming with sacred pigs, leaping about 
in imitation of wolves, dog-feasts, and offering of dogs' 
flesh to the gods — all of them practices dating from 
crude savagery, mingled with ideas of exalted and 
noble beauty, but none now, save a bigot, would think 
of accusing the Greeks of having stolen all their 



INTRODUCTION. xxi 

higher beliefs. Even were some part of the matter 
of their myths taken from others, yet the Norsemen 
have given their gods a noble, upright, great spirit, 
and placed them upon a high level that is all their 
own.* From the prose Edda the following all too 
brief statement of the salient points of Norse belief is 
made up :— " The first and eldest of gods is hight 
Allfather ; he lives from all ages, and rules over all 
his realm, and sways all things great and small ; he 
smithied heaven and earth, and the lift, and all that 
belongs to them ; what is most, he made man, and 
gave him a soul that shall live and never perish ; and 
all men that are right-minded shall live and be with 
himself in Vingolf ; but wicked men fare to Hell, and 
thence into Niflhell, that is beneath in the ninth 
world. Before the earth * 'twas the morning of 
time, when yet naught was, nor sand nor sea was 
there, nor cooling streams. Earth was not found, nor 
Heaven above; a Yawning-gap there was, but grass 
nowhere/ Many ages ere the earth was shapen was 
Niflheim made, but first was that land in the southern 
sphere hight Muspell, that burns and blazes, and may 
not be trodden by those who are outlandish and have 
no heritage there. Surtr sits on the border to guard 
the land ; at the end of the world he will fare forth, 
and harry and overcome all the gods and burn the 
world with fire. Ere the races were yet mingled, or 

* To all interested in the subject of comparative mythology, Andrew 
Lang's two admirable books, Ctistom and Myth (1884, 8vo) and Myth, 
Rj'tual, and Religion (2 vols., crown 8vo, 1887), both published by 
Longmans, London, may be warmly recommended. 



xxii INTR OD UCTION. 

the folk of men grew, Yawning-gap, which looked 
towards the north parts, was filled with thick and 
heavy ice and rime, and everywhere within were fogs 
and gusts ; but the south side of Yawning-gap was 
lightened by the sparks and gledes that flew out of 
Muspell-heim ; as cold arose out of Niflheim and all 
things grim, so was that part that looked towards Mus- 
pell hot and bright ; but Yawning-gap was as light as 
windless air, and when the blast of heat met the rime, 
so that it melted and dropped and quickened ; from 
those life-drops there was shaped the likeness of a man, 
and he was named Ymir ; he was bad, and all his kind; 
and so it is said, when he slept he fell into a sweat ; 
then waxed under his left hand a man and a woman, 
and one of his feet got a son with the other, and thence 
cometh the Hrimthursar. The next thing when the 
rime dropped was that the cow hight Audhumla was 
made of it ; but four milk-rivers ran out of her teats, 
and she fed Ymir; she licked rime-stones that were 
salt, and the first day there came at even, out of the 
stones, a man's hair, the second day a man's head, 
the third day all the man was there. He is named 
Turi ; he was fair of face, great and mighty ; he gat a 
son named Bor, who took to him Besla, daughter of 
Bolthorn, the giant, and they had three sons, Odin. 
Vili, and Ve. Bor's sons slew Ymir the giant, but 
when he fell there ran so much blood out of his 
wounds that all the kin of the Hrimthursar were 
drowned, save Hvergelmir and his household, who got 
away in a boat. Then Bor's sons took Ymir and bore 
him into the midst of Yawning-gap, and made of 



INTRO D UC1I0N. xxiii 

him the earth ; of his blood seas and waters, of his 
flesh earth was made ; they set the earth fast, and 
laid the sea round about it in a ring without ;. of his 
bones were made rocks ; stones and pebbles of his 
teeth and jaws and the bones that were broken ; they 
took his skull and made the lift thereof, and set it up 
over the earth with four sides, and under each corner 
they set dwarfs, and they took his brain and cast it aloft, 
and made clouds. They took the sparks and gledes 
that went loose, and had been cast out of Muspellheim, 
and set them in the lift to give light ; they gave 
resting-places to all fires, and set some in the lift ; 
some fared free under it, and they gave them a place 
and shaped their goings. A wondrous great smithy- 
ing, and deftly done. The earth is fashioned round 
without, and there beyond, round about it lies the 
deep sea ; and on that sea-strand the gods gave land 
for an abode to the giant kind, but within on the 
earth made they a burg round the world against 
restless giants, and for this burg reared they the 
brows of Ymir, and called the burg Midgard. The 
gods went along the sea-strand and found two stocks, 
and shaped out of them men ; the first gave soul 
and life, the second wit and will to move, the third 
face, hearing, speech, and eyesight. They gave them 
clothing and names ; the man Ask and the woman 
Embla; thence was mankind begotten, to whom an 
abode was given under Midgard. Then next Bor's 
sons made them a burg in the midst of the world, 
that is called Asgard ; there abode the gods and their 
kind, and wrought thence many tidings and feats, 



xxiv INTRODUCTION. 

both on earth and in the sky. Odin, who is hight 
Allfather, for that he is the father of all men and gods, 
sat there in his high seat, seeing over the whole world 
and each man's doings, and knew all things that he 
saw. His wife was called Frigg, and their offspring 
is the Asa-stock, who dwell in Asgard and the realms 
about it, and all that stock are known to be gods. 
The daughter and wife of Odin was Earth, and of her 
he got Thor, him followed strength and sturdiness, 
thereby quells he all things quick ; the strongest of 
all gods and men, he has also three things of great 
price, the hammer Miolnir, the best of strength belts, 
and when he girds that about him waxes his god 
strength one-half, and his iron gloves that he may not 
miss for holding his hammer's haft. Balldr is Odin's 
second son, and of him it is good to say, he is fair and 
bright in face, and hair, and body, and him all praise ; 
he is wise and fair-spoken and mild, and that nature is 
in him none may withstand his doom. Tyr is daring 
and best of mood ; there is a saw that he is tyrstrong 
who is before other men and never yields ; he is also 
so wise that it is said he is tyrlearned who is wise. 
Bragi is famous for wisdom, and best in tongue-wit,, 
and cunning speech, and song-craft. And many 
other are there, good and great ; and one, Loki, fair 
of face, ill in temper and fickle of mood, is called the 
backbiter of the Asa, and speaker of evil redes and 
shame of all gods and men ; he has above all that 
craft called sleight, and cheats all in all things. 
Among the children of Loki are Fenris-wolf and 
Midgards-worm ; the second lies about all the 



INTRODUCTION. xxv 

world in the deep sea, holding his tail in his 
teeth, though some say Thor has slain him ; 
but Fenris-wolf is bound until the doom of the 
gods, when gods and men shall come to an end, 
and earth and heaven be burnt, when he shall slay- 
Odin. After this the earth shoots up from the sea, 
and it is green and fair, and the fields bear unsown, 
and gods and men shall be alive again, and sit in fair 
halls, and talk of old tales and the tidings that 
happened aforetime, The head-seat, or holiest-stead, 
of the gods is at Yggdrasil's ash, which is of all trees 
best and biggest ; its boughs are spread over the whole 
world and stand above heaven ; one root of the ash is 
in heaven, and under the root is the right holy spring ; 
| there hold the gods doom every day; the second 
root is with the Hrimthursar, where before was 
Yawning-gap; under that root is Mimir's spring, 
where knowledge and wit lie hidden ; thither came 
Allfather and begged a drink, but got it not before 
he left his eye in pledge ; the third root is over 
Niflheim, and the worm Nidhogg gnaws the root 
beneath. A fair hall stands under the ash by the 
spring, and out of it come three maidens, Norns, 
named Has-been, Being, Will-be, who shape the 
lives of men ; there are beside other Norns, 
who come to every man that is born to shape his 
life, and some of these are good and some evil. In 
the boughs of the ash sits an eagle, wise in much, 
and between his eyes sits the hawk Vedrfalnir ; the 
squirrel Ratatoskr runs up and down along the ash, 
bearing words of hate betwixt the eagle and the 



xx vi INTR OD UCTION. 

worm. Those Norns who abide by the holy spring 
draw from it every day water, and take the clay that 
lies around the well, and sprinkle them up over the 
ash for that its boughs should not wither or rot. 
All those men that have fallen in the fight, and have 
borne wounds and toil unto death, from the begin- 
ning of the world, are come to Odin in Valhall ; a 
very great throng is there, and many more shall yet 
come ; the flesh of the boar Soerimnir is sodden for 
them every day, and he is whole again at even ; and 
the mead they drink that flows from the teats of the 
she-goat Heidhrun. The meat Odin has on his 
board he gives to his two wolves, Geri and Freki, and 
he needs no meat, wine is to him both meat and 
drink ; ravens twain sit on his shoulders, and say 
into his ear all tidings that they see and hear ; they 
are called Huginn and Muninn (mind and memory) ; 
them sends he at dawn to fly over the whole world, 
and they come back at breakfast-tide, thereby 
becomes he wise in many tidings, and for this men 
call him Raven's-god. Every day, when they have 
clothed them, the heroes put on their arms and go 
out into the yard and fight and fell each other ; that 
is their play, and when it looks toward mealtime, then 
ride they home to Valhall and sit down to drink. 
For murderers and men forsworn is a great hall, and 
a bad, and the doors look northward ; it is altogether 
wrought of adder-backs like a wattled house, but the 
worms' heads turn into the house, and blow venom, 
so that rivers of venom run along the hall, and 
in those rivers must such men wade forever." There 



INTRODUCTION. xxvii 

was no priest-class ; every chief was priest for his 
own folk, offered sacrifice, performed ceremonies, and 
so on. 

In politics the homestead, with its franklin-owner, 
was the unit ; the thing, or hundred-moot, the primal 
organisation, and the godord, or chieftainship, its tie. 
The chief who had led a band of kinsmen and fol- 
lowers to the new country, taken possession of land, 
and shared it among them, became their head-ruler and 
priest at home, speaker and president of their Thing, 
and their representative in any dealings with neigh- 
bouring chiefs and their clients. He was not a feudal 
lord, for any franklin could change his godord as he 
liked, and the right of "judgment by peers" was in 
full use. At first there was no higher organisation 
than the local thing. A central thing, and a speaker 
to speak a single "law" for the whole island, was 
instituted in 929, and afterwards the island was divided 
in four quarters, each with a court, under the Al-thing. 
Society was divided only into two classes of m^n, the 
free and unfree, though political power was in the 
hands of the franklins alone ; godi and thrall ate the 
same food, spoke the same tongue, wore much the 
same clothes, and were nearly alike in life and habits. 
Among the free men there was equality in all but 
wealth and the social standing that cannot be 
separated therefrom. The thrall was a serf rather 
than a slave, and could own a house, etc., of his own. 
In a generation or so the freeman or landless retainer, 
if he got a homestead of his own, was the peer of the 
highest in the land. During the tenth century 



xxviii INTRODUCTION. 

Greenland was colonised from Iceland, and by the 
end of the same century Christianity was introduced 
into Iceland, but made at first little difference in the 
arrangements of society. In the thirteenth century, 
disputes over the power and jurisdiction of the clergy 
led, with other matters, to civil war, ending in sub- 
mission to Norway, and the breaking down of all the 
native great houses. Although life under the com- 
monwealth had been rough and irregular, it had been 
free and varied, breeding heroes and men of mark ; 
but the " law and order " now brought in left all on a 
dead level of peasant proprietorship, without room for 
hope or opening for ambition. An alien governor 
ruled the island, which was divided under him into 
local counties, administered by sheriffs appointed by 
the king of Norway. The Al-thing was replaced by 
a royal court, the local work of the local things was 
taken by a subordinate of the sheriff, and things, 
quarter-courts, trial by jury, and all the rest, were 
swept away to make room for these " improvements," 
which have lasted with few changes into this century. 
In 1380 the island passed under the rule of Denmark, 
and so continues. During the fifteenth century the 
English trade was the only link between Iceland and 
the outer world ; the Danish government weakened 
that link as much as it could, and sought to shut in 
and monopolise everything Icelandic ; under the 
deadening effect of such rule it is no marvel that 
everything found a lower level, and many things went 
out of existence for lack of use. In the sixteenth 
century there is little to record but the Reformation, 



INTRODUCTION. xxix 

which did little good, if any, and the ravages of 
English, Gascon, and Algerine pirates who made 
havoc on the coast ;* they appear toward the close of 
the century and disappear early in the seventeenth. In 
the eighteenth century small-pox, sheep disease, 
famine, and the terrible eruptions of 1765 and 1783, 
follow one another swiftly and with terrible effect. 
At the beginning of the present century Iceland, 
however, began to shake off the stupor her ill-hap had 
brought upon her, and as European attention had 
been drawn to her, she was listened to. Newspapers, 
periodicals, and a Useful Knowledge Society were 
started ; then came free trade, and the " home-rule " 
struggle, which met with partial success in 1874, and 
is still being carried on. A colony, Gimli, in far-off 
Canada, has been formed of Icelandic emigrants, and 
large numbers have left their mother-land ; but there 
are many co-operative societies organised now, which 
it is hoped will be able to so revive the old resources 
of the island as to make provision for the old popu- 
lation and ways of life. There is now again a 
representative central council, but very many of the 
old rights and powers have not been yet restored. The 
condition of society is peculiar — absence of towns, 
social equality, no abject poverty or great wealth, 
rarity of crime, making it easy for the whole country 
to be administered as a co-operative commonwealth 
without the great and striking changes rendered 
necessary by more complicated systems. 

* These pirates are always appearing about the same time in English 
State papers as plundering along the coasts of the British Isles, 
especially Ireland. 



xxx INTRODUCTION. 

Iceland has always borne a high name for learning 
and literature ; on both sides of their descent her 
people inherited special poetic power. Some of the 
older Eddaic fragments attest the great reach and 
deep overpowering strength of imagination possessed 
by their Norse ancestors ; and they themselves had 
been quickened by a new leaven. During the first 
generations of the "land-taking" a great school 
of poetry which had arisen among the Norsemen 
of the Western Isles was brought by them to 
Iceland.* The poems then produced are quite 
beyond parallel with those of any Teutonic language 
for centuries after their date, which lay between 
the beginning of the ninth and the end of the tenth 
centuries. Through the Greenland colony also came 
two, or perhaps more, great poems of this western 
school. This school grew out of the stress and storm 
of the viking life, with its wild adventure and varied 
commerce, and the close contact with an artistic and 
inventive folk, possessed of high culture and great learn- 
ing. The infusion of Celtic blood, however slight it 
may have been, had also something to do with the 
swift intense feeling and rapidity of passion of the 
earlier Icelandic poets. They are hot-headed and 
hot-hearted, warm, impulsive, quick to quarrel or 
to love, faithful, brave ; ready with sword or song 
to battle with all comers, or to seek adventure 
wheresoever it might be found. They leave 
Iceland young, and wander at their will to different 

* For all the old Scandinavian poetry extant in Icelandic, see 
Corpus Poeticum Borealis of Vigfusson and Powell. 



INTRODUCTION. xxxi 

courts of northern Europe, where they are always 
held in high honour. Gunnlaug Worm-tongue* 
in 1004 came to England, after being in Norway, as 
the saga says : — " Now sail Gunnlaug and his fellows 
into the English main, and come at autumntide south 
to London Bridge, where they hauled ashore their 
ship. Now, at that time King Ethelred, the son of 
Edgar, ruled over England, and was a good lord ; the 
winter he sat in London. But in those days there 
was the same tongue in England as in Norway and 
Denmark ; but the tongues changed when William the 
Bastard won England, for thenceforward French went 
current there, for he was of French kin. Gunnlaug 
went presently to the king, and greeted him well and 
worthily. The king asked him from what land he 
came, and Gunnlaug told him all as it was. ' But/ 
said he, i I have come to meet thee, lord, for that 
I have made a song on thee, and I would that it might 
please thee to hearken to that song/ The king said 
it should be so, and Gunnlaug gave forth the song well 
and proudly, and this is the burden thereof — 

" i As God are all folk fearing 
The free lord King of England \ 
Kin of all kings and all folk, 
To Ethelred the head bow.' 

The king thanked him for the song, and gave him as 
song-reward a scarlet cloak lined with the costliest of 
furs, and golden-broidered down to the hem ; and 
made him his man ; and Gunnlaug was with him all 
the winter, and was well accounted of." 

* Snake-tongue — so called from his biting satire. 



xxxii INTROD UCTION. 

The poems in this volume are part of the wondrous 
fragments which are all that remain of ancient Scan- 
dinavian poetry. Every piece which survives has 
been garnered by Vigfiisson and Powell in the two 
volumes of their Corpus, where those who seek may 
find. A long and illustrious line of poets kept alive 
the old traditions, down even to within a couple of 
centuries, but the earlier great harvest of song was 
never again equalled. After Christianity had entered 
Iceland, and that, with other causes, had quieted men's 
lives, although the poetry which stood to the folk in 
lieu of music did not die away, it lost the exclusive 
hold it had upon men's minds. In a tim2 not so 
stirring, when emotion was not so fervent or so 
swift, when there was less to quicken the blood, 
the story that had before found no fit expression 
but in verse, could stretch its limbs, as it were, 
and be told in prose. Something of Irish in- 
fluence is again felt in this new departure and that 
marvellous new growth, the saga, that came from it, 
but is little more than an influence. Every people find 
some one means of expression which more than all 
else suits their mood or their powers, and this the 
Icelanders found in the saga. This was the life of a 
hero told in prose, but in set form, after a regular 
fashion that unconsciously complied with all epical 
requirements but that of verse — simple plot, events 
in order of time, set phrases for even the shifting 
emotion or changeful fortune of a fight or storm, and 
careful avoidance of digression, comment, or putting 
forward by the narrator of ought but the theme he 






INTRO D UCTION. 



xxxm 



has in hand ; he himself is never seen. Something in 
the perfection of the saga is to be traced to the long 
winter's evenings, when the whole household, gathered 
together at their spinning, weaving, and so on, would 
listen to one of their number who told anew some old 
story of adventure or achievement. In very truth the 
saga is a prose epic, and marked by every quality 
an epic should possess. Growing up while the deeds 
of dead heroes were fresh in memory, most often 
recited before the sharers in such deeds, the saga, in 
its pure form, never goes from what is truth to its 
teller. Where the saga, as this one of the Volsungs, 
is founded upon the debris of songs and poems, even 
then very old, tales of mythological heroes, of men 
quite removed from the personal knowledge of the 
narrator, yet the story is so inwound with the 
tradition of his race, is so much a part of his 
thought-life, that every actor in it has for him a real 
existence. At the feast or gathering, or by the 
fireside, as men made nets and women spun, these 
tales were told over ; in their frequent repetition by 
men who believed them, though incident or sequence 
underwent no change, they would become closer knit, 
more coherent, and each an organic whole. Gradu- 
ally they would take a regular and accepted form, 
which would ease the strain upon the reciter's 
memory and leave his mind free to adorn the story 
with fair devices, that again gave help in the making 
it easier to remember, and thus aided in its preserva^ 
tion. After a couple of generations had rounded and 
polished the sagas by their telling and retelling, they 



XXXIV 



INTR OD UCTION. 



were written down for the most part between 1140 
and 1220, and so much was their form impressed 
upon the mind of the folk, that when learned and 
literary works appeared, they were written in the 
same style ; hence we have histories alike of 
kingdoms, or families, or miracles, lives of saints, 
kings, or bishops in saga-form, as well as subjects 
that seem at first sight even less hopeful. All the 
sagas that have yet appeared in English may be 
found in the book-list at end of this volume, but they 
are not a tithe of those that remain. 

Of all the stories kept in being by the saga-tellers, 
and left for our delight, there is none that so epito- 
mises human experience ; has within the same space 
so much of nature and of life ; so fully expresses 
the temper and genius of the Northern folk, as that 
of the Volsungs and Niblungs, which has in varied 
shapes entered into the literature of many lands. In 
the beginning there is no doubt that the story belonged 
to the common ancestral folk of all the Teutonic or 
Scando-Gothic peoples in the earliest days of their 
wanderings. Whether they came from the Hindu 
Kush, or originated in Northern Europe, brought it 
with them from Asia, or evolved it among the 
mountains and rivers it has taken for scenery, none 
know nor can ; but each branch of their descendants 
has it in one form or another, and as the Icelanders 
were the very crown and flower of the northern folk, 
so also the story which is the peculiar heritage of that 
folk received in their hands its highest expression and 
most noble form. The oldest shape in which we 



INTRODUCTION. xxxv 

have it is in the Eddaic poems, some of which date 
from unnumbered generations before the time to 
which most of them are usually ascribed, the time 
of the viking-kingdoms in the Western Isles. In these 
poems the only historical name is that of Attila, the 
great Hun leader, who filled so large a part of the 
imagination of the people whose power he had broken. 
There is no doubt that, in the days when the king- 
doms of the Scando-Goths reached from the North 
Cape to the Caspian, that some earlier great king 
performed his part ; but, after the striking career of 
Attila, he became the recognised type of a power- 
ful foreign potentate. All the other actors are 
mythic-heroic. Of the Eddaic songs only fragments 
now remain, but ere they perished there arose from 
them a saga, that now given to the readers of this. 
The so-called Anglo-Saxons brought part of the 
story to England in Beowulf; in which also appear 
some incidents that are again given in the Icelandic 
saga of Grettir the Strong. Most widely known is the 
form taken by the story in the hands of an unknown 
medieval German poet, who, from the broken ballads 
then surviving, wrote the Nibelungenlied, or more 
properly Nibelungen N6t (The Need of the Niblungs). 
In this the characters are all renamed, some being 
more or less historical actors in mid-European 
history, as Theodoric of the East-Goths, for instance. 
The whole of the earlier part of the story has dis- 
appeared, and though Siegfried (Sigurd) has slain a 
dragon, there is nothing to connect it with the fate 
that follows the treasure ; Andvari, the Volsungs, 



xxxvi INTR OB UCTION. 

Fafnir, and Regin are all forgotten ; the mythological 
features have become faint, and the general air of 
the whole is that of medieval romance. The sword 
Gram is replaced by Balmung, and the Helm of 
Awing by the Tarn-cap — the former with no gain, the 
latter with great loss. The curse of Andvari, which 
in the saga is grimly real, working itself out with 
slow, sure steps that no power of god or man can turn 
aside, in the medieval poem is but a mere scenic 
effect, a strain of mystery and magic, that runs 
through the changes of the story with much added 
picturesqueness, but that has no obvious relation to 
the working-out of the plot, or fulfilment of their 
destiny by the different characters. Brynhild loses 
a great deal, and is a poor creature when compared 
with herself in the saga ; Grimhild and her fateful 
drink have gone ; Gudrun (Chriemhild) is much more 
complex, but not more tragic; one new character, 
Riidiger, appears as the type of chivalry ; but Sigurd 
(Siegfred) the central figure, though he has lost by 
the omission of so much of his life, is, as before, the 
embodiment of all the virtues that were dear to 
northern hearts. Brave, strong, generous, dignified, 
and utterly truthful, he moves amid a tangle of 
tragic events, overmastered by a mighty fate, and in 
life or death is still a hero without stain or flaw. It 
is no wonder that he survives to this day in the 
national songs of the Faroe Islands and in the 
folk-ballads of Denmark ; that his legend should have 
been mingled with northern history through Ragnar 
Lodbrog, or southern through Attila and Theodoric ; 



INTROD UCTION. xxxvii 

or that it should have inspired William Morris in 
producing the one great English epic of the century ; 
and Richard Wagner in the mightiest among his 
music-dramas. Of the story as told in the saga 
there is no need here to speak, for to read it, as may 
be done a few pages farther on, is that not better 
than to read about it? But it maybe urged upon 
those that are pleased and moved by the passion 
and power, the strength and deep truth of it, to 
find out more than they now know of the folk 
among whom it grew, and the land in which they 
dwelt. In so doing they will come to see how 
needful are a few lessons from the healthy life and 
speech of those days, to be applied in the bettering 
of our own. 

H. HALLIDAY SPARLING. 



TRANSLATORS' PREFACE, 



In offering to the reader this translation of the 
most complete and dramatic form of the great Epic 
of the North, we lay no claim to special critical 
insight, nor do we care to deal at all with vexed 
questions, but are content to abide by existing 
authorities, doing our utmost to make our rendering 
close and accurate, and, if it might be so, at the 
same time, not over prosaic : it is to the lover of 
poetry and nature, rather than to the student, that 
we appeal to enjoy and wonder at this great work, 
now for the first time, strange to say, translated into 
English : this must be our excuse for speaking here, 
as briefly as may be, of things that will seem to the 
student over well known to be worth mentioning, 
but which may give some ease to the general reader 
who comes across our book. 

The prose of the Volsunga Saga was composed 



xl PREFACE. 

probably some time in the twelfth century, from 
floating traditions no doubt ; from songs which, now 
lost, were then known, at least in fragments, to the 
Sagaman ; and finally from songs, which, written 
down about his time, are still existing : the greater 
part of these last the reader will find in this book ; 
some inserted amongst the prose text by the original 
story-teller, and some by the present translators, 
and the remainder in the latter part of the book, 
put togethei as nearly as may be in the order of 
the story, and forming a metrical version of the 
greater portion of it. 

These Songs from the Elder Edda we will now 
briefly compare with the prose of the Volsung Story, 
premising that these are the only metrical sources 
existing of those from which the Sagaman told his 
tale 

Except for the short snatch on p. 24 of our 
translation, nothing is now left of these till we come 
to the episode of Helgi Hundings-bane, Sigurd s 
half-brother ; there are two songs left relating to this, 
from which the prose is put together ; to a certain 
extent they cover the same ground ; but the latter 
half of the second is, wisely as we think, left 
untouched by the Sagaman, as its interest is of itself 



PREFACE. xli 

too great not to encumber the progress of the main 
story ; for the sake of its wonderful beauty, however, 
we could not refrain from rendering it, and it will 
be found first among the metrical translations that 
form the second part of this book. 

Of the next part of the Saga, the deaths of 
Sinfjotli and Sigmund, and the journey of Queen 
Hjordis to the court of King Alf, there is no trace 
left of any metrical origin ; but we meet the Edda 
once more where Regin tells the tale of his kin to 
Sigurd, and where Sigurd defeats and slays the sons 
of Hunding : this lay is known as the Lay of Regin. 

The short chap. xvi. is abbreviated from a long 
poem called the Prophecy of Gripir (the Grifir of the 
Saga), where the whole story to come is told with 
some detail, and which certainly, if drawn out at 
length into the prose, would have forestalled the 
interest of the tale. 

In the slaying of the Dragon the Saga adheres 
very closely to the Lay of Fafnir ; for the insertion 
of the song of the birds to Sigurd the present 
translators are responsible. 

Then comes the waking of Brynhild, and her wise 
redes to Sigurd, taken from the Lay of Sigrdrifa, the 
greater part of which, in its metrical form, is inserted 



xlii PREFACE, 

by the Sagaman into his prose ; but the stanzas 
relating Brynhild's awaking we have inserted into 
the text ; the latter part, omitted in the prose, we 
have translated for the second part of our book. 

Of Sigurd at Hlymdale, of Gudrun's dream, the 
magic potion of Grimhild, the wedding of Sigurd 
consequent on that potion ; of the wooing of Bryn- 
hild for Gunnar, her marriage to him, of the quarrel 
of the Queens, the brooding grief and wrath of 
Brynhild, and the interview of Sigurd with her — of 
all this, the most dramatic and best-considered part 
of the tale, there is now no more left that retains 
its metrical form than the few snatches preserved 
by the Sagaman, though many of the incidents are 
alluded to in other poems. 

Chap. xxx. is met by the poem called the Short 
Lay of Sigurd, which, fragmentary apparently at 
the beginning, gives us something of Brynhild's 
awakening wrath and jealousy, the slaying of Sigurd, 
and the death of Brynhild herself; this poem we 
have translated entire. 

The Fragments of the Lay of Brynhild are what 
is left of a poem partly covering the same ground 
as this last, but giving a different account of Sigurd's 
slaying ; it is very incomplete, though the Sagaman 



PREFACE, xliii 

has drawn some incidents from it ; the reader will 
find it translated in our second part. 

But before the death of the heroine we have in- 
serted entire into the text as chap. xxxi. the First 
Lay of Gudrun, the most lyrical, the most complete, 
and the most beautiful of all the Eddaic poems ; 
a poem that any age or language might count among 
its most precious possessions. 

From this point to the end of the Saga it keeps 
closely to the Songs of Edda ; in chap, xxxii. the 
Sagaman has rendered into prose the Ancient Lay 
of Gudrun, except for the beginning, which gives 
again another account of the death of Sigurd : this 
lay also we have translated. 

The grand poem, called the Hell-ride of Brynhild, 
is not represented directly by anything in the prose 
except that the Sagaman has supplied from it a link 
or two wanting in the Lay of Sigrdrifi/i ; it will be 
found translated in our second part. 

The betrayal and slaughter of the Giukings or 
Niblungs, and the fearful end of Atli and his sons, 
and court, are recounted in two lays, called the Lays 
of Atli ; the longest of these, the Greenland Lay 
of Atli, is followed closely by the Sagaman ; the 
shorter one we have translated. 



xliv PREFACE. 

The end of Gudrun, of her daughter by Sigurd, 
and of her sons by her last husband Jonakr, treated 
of in the last four chapters of the Saga, are very 
grandly and poetically given in the songs called the 
Whetting of Gudrun, and the Lay of Hamdir, which 
are also among our translations. 

These are all the songs of the Edda which the 
Sagaman has dealt with ; but one other, the Lament 
of Oddrun, we have translated on account of its 
intrinsic merit. 

As to the literary quality of this work we might 
say much, but we think we may well trust the 
reader of poetic insight to break through whatever 
entanglement of strange manners or unused element 
may at first trouble him, and to meet the nature and 
beauty with which it is filled : we cannot doubt that 
such a reader will be intensely touched by finding, 
amidst all its wildness and remoteness, such a 
startling realism, such subtilty, such close sympathy 
with all the passions that may move himself to-day. 

In conclusion, we must again say how strange 
it seems to us, that this Volsung Tale, which is in 
fact an unversified poem, should never before have 
been translated into English. For this is the Great 
Story of the North, which should be to all our race 



PREFACE. xlv 

what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks — to all our 
race first, and afterwards, when the change of the 
world has made our race nothing more than a name 
of what has been — a story too — then should it be to 
those that come after us no less than the Tale of 
Troy has been to us. 



THE STORY OF 
THE VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 



THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO ARE MOST 
NOTEWORTHY IN THIS STORY. 



I of Volsung. 



VOLSUNGS. 

Stgi, son of Odin. 

Rerir, son of Sigi, king of Hunland. 

Volsung) son of Rerir. 

Sigmund, son 

Signy, daughter 

Sinfjotli, son of Sigmund and Signy, 

Helgi, son of Sigmund by Borgny. 

SIGURD FAFNIR'S-BANE, posthumous son of Sigmund 

by Hjordis. 
Swanhild, his daughter, by Gudrun, Giuki's daughter. 

People who deal with the Volsungs before 
Sigurd meets Brynhild. 
Siggeir, king of Gothland, husband of Signy. 
Borgny, first wife of Sigmund. 
Hjordis, his second wife. 
King Eylimi, her father. 
Hjalprek, king of Denmark. 
Alf, his son, second husband of Hjordis. 
Regin, the king's smith. 
Fajnlr, his brother, turned into a dragon. 
Otter, his brother, slain by Loki. 
Hreidmar, the father of these brothers. 
Andvari, a dwarf, first owner of the hoard of the Niblungs, 

on which he laid a curse when it was taken from 

him by Loki. 

d 



1 NAMES, ETC. 

GlUKINGS OR NlBLUNGS. 

King Giuki 

Grimhild, his wife. 

Gunnar, \ 

Hogni, \ sons of Giuki. 

Guttorm, J 

Gudrun, daughter of Giuki, wife of Sigurd Fafnir's-bane. 

Budlungs. 

King Budli. 

Atli, his son, second husband of Gudrun. 

Brynhild, daughter of Budli, first betrothed and love of 

Sigurd Fafnir's-bane, wife of Gunnar, son of 

Giuki. 
Bekkhili, daughter of Budli, wife of Heimir of Hlymdale. 

Others who deal with Sigurd and the Giukings. 

Heimer of Hlymdale, foster-father of Brynhild. 

Glaumvor, second wife of Gunnar. 

Kosibera, wife of Hogni. 

Vingi, an evil counsellor of King Atli. 

Niblung, the son of Hogni, who helps Gudrun in the 

slaying of Atli. 
Jormunrek, king of the Goths, husband of Swanhild. 
Randver, his son. 
Bikki, his evil counsellor. 
Jonakr, Gudrun's third husband. 
Sor/i, Hamdir, and Erp, the sons of Jonakr and Gudrun. 



A PROLOGUE IN VERSE. 



O hearken, ye who speak the English Tongue, 
How in a waste land ages long ago, 

The very heart of the North bloomed into song 
After long brooding o'er this tale of woe ! 
Hearken, and marvel how it might be so, 

That such a sweetness so well crowned could be 

Betwixt the ice-hills and the cold grey sea. 

Or rather marvel not, that those should cling 
Unto the thoughts of great lives passed away, 

Whom God has stripped so bare of everything, 
Save the one longing to wear through their day, 
In fearless wise ; the hope the Gods to stay, 

When at that last tide gathered wrong and hate 

Shall meet blind yearning on the Fields of Fate. 

Yea, in the first grey dawning of our race, 

This ruth-crowned tangle to sad hearts was dear. 

Then rose a seeming sun, the lift gave place 
Unto a seeming heaven, far off, but clear ; 
But that passed too, and afternoon is here ; 

Nor was the morn so fruitful or so long 

But we may hearken when ghosts moan of wrong. 



Hi A PROLOGUE IN VERSE. 

For as amid the clatter of the town 

When eve comes on with unabated noise, 

The soaring wind will sometimes drop adown 
And bear unto our chamber the sweet voice 
Of bells that 'mid the swallows do rejoice, 

Half-heard, to make us sad, so we awhile 

With echoed grief life's dull pain may beguile. 

Naught vague, naught base our tale, that seems to 
say,— 
'Be wide-eyed, kind; curse not the hand that smites; 

Curse not the kindness of a past good day, 
Or hope of love ; cast by all earth's delights, 
For very love : through weary days and nights, 

Abide thou, striving howsoe'er in vain, 

The inmost love of one more heart to gain ! ' 






So draw ye round and hearken, English Folk, 
Unto the best tale pity ever wrought ! 

Of how from dark to dark bright Sigurd broke, 
Of Brynhild's glorious soul with love distraught, 
Of Gudrun's weary wandering unto naught, 

Of utter love defeated utterly, 

Of grief too strong to give Love time to die ! 

William Morris. 



THE STORY OF 
THE VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS, 



CHAP. I. 
OfSigi, the Son of Odin, 



TTERE begins the tale, and tells of a man who was 
■*- -*• named Sigi, and called of men the son of Odin ; 
another man withal is told of in the tale, hight Skadi, a 
great man and mighty of his hands; yet was Sigi the 
mightier and the higher of kin, according to the speech 
of men of that time. Now Skadi had a thrall with whom 
the story must deal somewhat, Bredi by name, who was 
called after that work which he had to do ; in prowess and 
might of hand he was equal to men who were held more 
worthy, yea, and better than some thereof. 

Now it is to be told that, on a time, Sigi fared to the 
hunting of the deer, and the thrall with him ; and they 
hunted deer day-long till the evening ; and when they 
gathered together their prey in the evening, lo, greater 
and more by far was that which Bredi had slain than 
Sigi's prey \ and this thing he much misliked, and he said 
that great wonder it was that a very thrall should out-do 

ooi 



2 THE STOR Y OF THE 

him in the hunting of deer : so he fell on him and slew 
him, and buried the body of him thereafter in a snow-drift. 

Then he went home at evening tide and says that Bredi 
had ridden away from him into the wild-wood. "Soon 
was he out of my sight," he says, "and naught more I wot 
of him." 

Skadi misdoubted the tale of Sigi, and deemed that this 
was a guile of his, and that he would have slain Bredi. 
So he sent men to seek for him, and to such an end came 
their seeking, that they found him in a certain snow-drift ; 
then said Skadi, that men should call that snow-drift 
Bredi's Drift from henceforth ; and thereafter have folk 
followed, so that in such wise they call every drift that is 
right great. 

Thus it is well seen that Sigi has slain the thrall and 
murdered him ; so he is given forth to be a wolf in holy 
places,* and may no more abide in the land with his 
father ; therewith Odin bare him fellowship from the land, 
so long a way, that right long it was, and made no stay till 
he brought him to certain war-ships. So Sigi falls to lying 
out a-warring with the strength that his father gave him or 
ever they parted \ and happy was he in his warring, and 
ever prevailed, till he brought it about that he won by his 
wars land and lordship at the last ; and thereupon he 
took to him a noble wife, and became a great and mighty 
king, and ruled over the land of the Huns, and was the 
greatest of warriors. He had a son by his wife, who was 
called Rerir, who grew up in his father's house, and soon 
became great of growth, and shapely. 

* " Wolf in holy places," a man put out of the pale of society for his 
crimes, an outlaw. 



VOLSUNGS AN£> NIB LUNGS. 



CHAP. II. 

Of the Birth of Volsung, the Son of Rerir, who was the 

Son of Sigi. 

TVJ OW Sigi grew old, and had many to envy him, so that 
•^ at last those turned against him whom he trusted 
most ; yea, even the brothers of his wife ; for these fell 
on him at his unwariest, when there were few with him to 
withstand them, and brought so many against him, that 
they prevailed against him, and there fell Sigi and all his 
folk with him. But Rerir, his son, was not in this trouble, 
and he brought together so mighty a strength of his friends 
and the great men of the land, that he got to himself both 
the lands and kingdom of Sigi his father ; and so now, 
when he deems that the feet under him stand firm in his 
rule, then he calls to mind that which he had against his 
mother's brothers, who had slain his father. So the king 
gathers together a mighty army, and therewith falls on his 
kinsmen, deeming that if he made their kinship of small 
account, yet none the less they had first wrought evil against 
him. So he wrought his will herein, in that he departed not 
from strife before he had slain all his father's banesmen, 
though dreadful the deed seemed in every wise. So now he 
gets land, lordship, and fee, and is become a mightier man 
than his father before him. 



4 THE STORY OF THE 

Much wealth won in war gat Rerir to himself, and 
wedded a wife withal, such as he deemed meet for him, 
and long they lived together, but had no child to take the 
heritage after them; and ill-content they both were with 
that, and prayed the Gods with heart and soul that they 
might get them a child. And so it is said that Odin hears 
their prayer, and Freyia no less hearkens wherewith they 
prayed unto her : so she, never lacking for all good counsel, 
calls to her her casket-bearing may,* the daughter of 
Hrimnir the giant, and sets an apple in her hand, and bids 
her bring it to the king. She took the apple, and did on 
her the gear of a crow, and went flying till she came 
whereas the king sat on a mound, and there she let the 
apple fall into the lap of the king ; but he took the apple, 
and deemed he knew whereto it would avail ; so he goes 
home from the mound to his own folk, and came to the 
queen, and some deal of that apple she ate. 

So, as the tale tells, the queen soon knew that she was 
big with child, but a long time wore or ever she might give 
birth to the child : so it befell that the king must needs go 
to the wars, after the custom of kings, that he may keep his 
own land in peace : and in this journey it came to pass 
that Rerir fell sick and got his death, being minded to go 
home to Odin, a thing much desired of many folk in those 
days. 

Now no otherwise it goes with the queen's sickness than 
heretofore, nor may she be the lighter of her child, and 
six winters wore away with the sickness still heavy on her ; 
so that at the last she feels that she may not live long ; 
wherefore now she bade cut the child from out of her ; and 
it was done even as she bade; a man-child was it, and 
great of growth from his birth, as might well be ; and they 
* May (A. S. mag)} a maid* 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 5 

say that the youngling kissed his mother or ever she died ; 
but to him is a name given, and he is called Volsung ; and 
he was king over Hunland in the room of his father. 
From his early years he was big and strong, and full of 
daring in all manly deeds and trials, and he became the 
greatest of warriors, and of good hap in all the battles of 
his warfaring. 

Now when he was fully come to man's estate, Hrimnir 
the giant sends to him Ljod his daughter ; she of whom the 
tale told, that she brought the apple to Rerir, Volsung's 
father. So Volsung weds her withal ; and long they abode 
together with good hap and great love. They had ten sons 
and one daughter, and their eldest son was hight Sigmund, 
and their daughter Signy; and these two were twins, and in 
all wise the foremost and the fairest of the children of 
Volsung the king, and mighty, as all his seed was ; even as 
has been long told from ancient days, and in tales of long 
ago, with the greatest fame of all men, how that the Vol- 
sungs have been great men and high-minded and far above 
the most of men both in cunning and in prowess and 
all things high and mighty. 

So says the story that king Volsung let build a noble 
hall in such a wise, that a big oak-tree stood therein, and 
that the limbs of the tree blossomed fair out over the roof 
of the hall, while below stood the trunk within it, and the 
said trunk did men call Branstock. 



THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. III. 

Of the Sword that Sigmund i Volsung 1 s son, drew from the 

Branstock. 

'T^HERE was a king called Siggeir, who ruled over 
•*■ Gothland, a mighty king and of many folk ; he went 
to meet Volsung, the king, and prayed him for Signy his 
daughter to wife ; and the king took his talk well, and his 
sons withal, but she was loth thereto, yet she bade her 
father rule in this as in all other things that concerned her ; 
so the king took such rede* that he gave her to him, and 
she was betrothed to King Siggeir; and for the fulfilling 
of the feast and the wedding, was King Siggeir to come 
to the house of King Volsung. The king got ready the 
feast according to his best might, and when all things were 
ready, came the king's guests and King Siggeir withal at 
the day appointed, and many a man of great account had 
Siggeir with him. 

The tale tells that great fires were made endlong the 
hall, and the great tree aforesaid stood midmost thereof; 
withal folk say that, whenas men sat by the fires in the 
evening, a certain man came into the hall unknown of 
aspect to all men ; and suchlike array he had, that over him 
was a spotted cloak, and he was bare-foot, and had linen- 
* Rede (A.S. reed), counsel, advice, a tale or prophecy. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 7 

breeches knit tight even unto the bone, and he had a sword 
in his hand as he went up to the Branstock, and a slouched 
hat upon his head : huge he was, and seeming-ancient, and 
one-eyed.* So he drew his sword and smote it into the 
tree-trunk so that it sank in up to the hilts ; and all held 
back from greeting the man. Then he took up the word, 
and said — 

" Whoso draweth this sword from this stock, shall have 
the same as a gift from me, and shall find in good sooth 
that never bare he better sword in hand than is this." 

Therewith out went the old man from the hall, and none 
knew who he was or whither he went. 

Now men stand up, and none would fain be the last to 
lay hand to the sword, for they deemed that he would have 
the best of it who might first touch it ; so all the noblest 
went thereto first, and then the others, one after other ; but 
none who came thereto might avail to pull it out, for in 
nowise would it come away howsoever they tugged at it ; 
but now up comes Sigmund, King Volsung's son, and sets 
hand to the sword, and pulls it from the stock, even as if it 
lay loose before him ; so good that weapon seemed to all, 
that none thought he had seen such a sword before, and 
Siggeir would fain buy it of him at thrice its weight of gold, 
but Sigmund said — 

" Thou mightest have taken the sword no less than I 
from there whereas it stood, if it had been thy lot to bear 
it ; but now, since it has first of all fallen into my hand, 
never shalt thou have it, though thou biddest therefor all 
the gold thou hast." 

King Siggeir grew wroth at these words, and deemed 

* The man is Odin, who is always so represented, because he gave 
his eye as a pledge for a draught from the fountain of Mimir, the 
source of all wisdom. 



8 THE STORY OF THE 

Sigmund had answered him scornfully, but whereas he was 
a wary man and a double-dealing, he made as if he heeded 
this matter in nowise, yet that same evening he thought 
how he might reward it, as was well seen afterwards. 



VOLSUNG S AND NIB LUNGS. 



CHAP. IV. 

How King Siggeir wedded Signy, and bade King Volsung 
and his son to Gothland, 

TVJ OW it is to be told that Siggeir goes to bed by Signy 
■*■ ^ that night, and the next morning the weather was 
fair ; then says King Siggeir that he will not bide, lest the 
wind should wax, or the sea grow impassable ; nor is it said 
that Volsung or his sons letted him herein, and that the 
less, because they saw that he was fain to get him gone 
from the feast. But now says Signy to her father — 

M I have no will to go away with Siggeir, neither does my 
heart smile upon him ; and I wot, by my fore-knowledge, 
and from the fetch* of our kin, that from this counsel will 
great evil fall on us if this wedding be not speedily 
undone." 

" Speak in no such wise, daughter!" said he; "for 
great shame will it be to him, yea, and to us also, to break 
troth with him, he being sackless ;+ and in naught may we 
trust him, and no friendship shall we have of him, if these 
matters are broken oft*; but he will pay us back in as evil 
wise as he may ; for that alone is seemly, to hold truly to 
troth given." 

* Fetch ; wraith, or familiar spirit. 

t Sackless (A.S. sacu, Icel. sok.) blameless. 



io THE STORY OF THE 

So King Siggeir got ready for home, and before he went 
from the feast he bade King Volsung, his father-in-law, 
come see him in Gothland, and all his sons with him, 
whenas three months should be overpast, and to bring such 
following with him, as he would have, and as he deemed 
meet for his honour ; and thereby will Siggeir the king pay 
back for the shortcomings of the wedding-feast, in that he 
would abide thereat but one night only, a thing not 
according to the wont of men. So King Volsung gave his 
word to come on the day named, and the kinsmen-in-law 
parted, and Siggeir went home with his wife. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, n 



CHAP. V. 

Of the Slaying of King Volsung, 

TVT OW tells the tale of King Volsung and his sons that 
* ^ they go at the time appointed to Gothland at the 
bidding of King Siggeir, and put off from the land in three 
ships, all well manned, and have a fair voyage, and made 
Gothland late of an evening tide. 

But that same night came Signy and called her father 
and brothers to a privy talk, and told them what she 
deemed King Siggeir was minded to do, and how that he 
had drawn together an army no man may meet. " And," 
says she, " he is minded to do guilefully by you ; wherefore 
I bid you get ye gone back again to your own land, and 
gather together the mightiest power ye may, and then come 
back hither and avenge you; neither go ye now to your 
undoing, for ye shall surely fail not to fall by his wiles if ye 
turn not on him even as I bid you." 

Then spake Volsung the king, " All people and nations 
shall tell of the word I spake, yet being unborn, wherein I 
vowed a vow that I would flee in fear from neither fire nor 
the sword ; even so have I done hitherto, and shall I depart 
therefrom now I am old? Yea withal never shall the 
maidens mock these my sons at the games, and cry out at 
them that they fear death ; once alone must all men need 



12 THE STORY OF THE 



die, and from that season shall none escape ; so my rede i 
is that we flee nowhither, but do the work of our hands in 
as manly wise as we may ; a hundred fights have I fought, 
and whiles I had more, and whiles I had less, and yet ever 
had I the victory, nor shall it ever be heard tell of me that 
I fled away or prayed for peace." 

Then Signy wept right sore, and prayed that she might 
not go back to King Siggeir, but King Volsung answered — 

" Thou shalt surely go back to thine husband, and abide 
with him, howsoever it fares with us." 

So Signy went home, and they abode there that night ; 
but in the morning, as soon as it was day, Volsung bade 
his men arise and go aland and make them ready for 
battle ; so they went aland, all of them all-armed, and had 
not long to wait before Siggeir fell on them with all his 
army, and the fiercest fight there was betwixt them ; and 
Siggeir cried on his men to the onset all he might ; and so 
the tale tells that King Volsung and his sons went eight 
times right through Siggeir's folk that day, smiting and 
hewing on either hand, but when they would do so even 
once again, King Volsung fell amidst his folk and all his 
men withal, saving his ten sons, for mightier was the power 
against them than they might withstand. 

But now are all his sons taken, and laid in bonds and led 
away ; and Signy was ware withal that her father was slain, 
and her brothers taken and doomed to death; that she 
called King Siggeir apart to talk with her, and said — 

"This will I pray of thee, that thou let not slay my 
brothers hastily, but let them be set awhile in the stocks, 
for home to me comes the saw that says, Sweet to eye while 
seen: but longer life I pray not for them, because I wot 
well that my prayer will not avail me," 

Then answered Siggeir — 



, 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 13 

u Surely thou art mad and witless, praying thus for more 
bale for thy brothers than their present slaying ; yet this 
will I grant thee, for the better it likes me the more they 
must bear, and the longer their pain is or ever death come 
to them." 

Now he let it be done even as she prayed, and a mighty 
beam was brought and set on the feet of those ten brethren 
in a certain place of the wild-wood, and there they sit day- 
long until night ; but at midnight, as they sat in the stocks, 
there came on them a she- wolf from out the wood ; old she 
was, and both great and evil of aspect ; and the first thing 
she did was to bite one of those brethren till he died, and 
then she ate him up withal, and went on her way. 

But the next morning Signy sent a man to the brethren, 
even one whom she most trusted, to wot of the tidings j 
and when he came back he told her that one of them was 
dead, and great and grievous she deemed it, if they should 
all fare in like wise, and yet naught might she avail them. 

Soon is the tale told thereof: nine nights together came 
the she-wolf at midnight, and each night slew and ate up 
one of the brethren, until all were dead, save Sigmund only ; 
so now, before the tenth night came, Signy sent that trusty 
man to Sigmund, her brother, and gave honey into his hand, 
bidding him do it over Sigmund's face, and set a little deal 
of it in his mouth ; so he went to Sigmund and did as he 
was bidden, and then came home again ; and so the next 
night came the she-wolf according to her wont, and would 
slay him and eat him even as his brothers ; but now she 
sniffs the breeze from him, whereas he was anointed with 
the honey, and licks his face all over with her tongue, and 
then thrusts her tongue into the mouth of him. No fear he 
had thereof, but caught the she-wolfs tongue betwixt his 
teeth, and so hard she started back thereat, and pulled 



14 THE STORY OP THE 

herself away so mightily, setting her feet against the stocks, 
that all was riven asunder ; but he ever held so fast that 
the tongue came away by the roots, and thereof she had 
her bane. 

But some men say that this same she-wolf was the mother 
of King Siggeir, who had turned herself into this likeness 
by troll's lore and witchcraft.* 

* See note, p. 20. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 15 



CHAP. VI. 

Of how Signy sent the Children of her and Siggeir to 

Sigmund. 

TVTOW whenas Sigmund is loosed and the stocks are 
broken, he dwells in the woods and holds himself 
there; but Signy sends yet again to wot of the tidings, 
whether Sigmund were alive or no ; but when those who 
were sent came to him, he told them all as it had betid, 
and how things had gone betwixt him and the wolf; so 
they went home and tell Signy the tidings ; but she goes 
and finds her brother, and they take counsel in such wise 
as to make a house underground in the wild-wood ; and so 
things go on a while, Signy hiding him there, and sending 
him such things as he needed ; but King Siggeir deemed 
that all the Volsungs were dead. 

Now Siggeir had two sons by his wife, whereof it is told 
that when the eldest was ten winters old, Signy sends him 
to Sigmund, so that he might give him help, if he would in 
any wise strive to avenge his father; so the youngling goes 
to the wood, and comes late in evening-tide to Sigmund's 
earth-house ; and Sigmund welcomed him in seemly 
fashion, and said that he should make ready their bread ; 
" but I," said he, " will go seek firewood." 

Therewith he gives the meal-b»g into his hands while he 



i6 THE STORY OF THE 

himself went to fetch firing; but when he came back the 
youngling had done naught at the bread-making. Then 
asks Sigmund if the bread be ready — 

Says the youngling, " I durst not set hand to the meal 
sack, because somewhat quick lay in the meal." 

Now Sigmund deemed he wotted that the lad was of no 
such heart as that he would be fain to have him for his 
fellow; and when he met his sister, Sigmund said that he 
had come no nigher to the aid of a man though the 
youngling were with him. 

Then said Signy, " Take him and kill him then ; for 
why should such an one live longer?" and even so he did. 

So this winter wears, and the next winter Signy sent her 
next son to Sigmund ; and there is no need to make a long 
tale thereof, for in like wise went all things, and he slew the 
child by the counsel of Signy. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBL UNGS. 1 7 



CHAP. VII. 

Of the Birth of Sinfjotli the Son of Sigmund, 

COona tide it befell as Signy sat in her bower, that there 
>*? came to her a witch-wife exceeding cunning, and 
Signy talked with her in such wise, " Fain am I," says she, 
"that we should change semblances together." 

She says, " Even as thou wilt then." 

And so by her wiles she brought it about that they 
changed semblances, and now the witch-wife sits in Signy's 
place according to her rede, and goes to bed by the king 
that night, and he knows not that he has other than Signy 
beside him. 

But the tale tells of Signy, that she fared to the earth- 
house of her brother, and prayed him give her harbouring 
for the night ; " For I have gone astray abroad in the 
woods, and know not whither I am going." 

So he said she might abide, and that he would not 
refuse harbour to one lone woman, deeming that she 
would scarce pay back his good cheer by tale-bearing : 
so she came into the house, and they sat down to meat, 
and his eyes were often on her, and a goodly and fair 
woman she seemed to him ; but when they are full, then 
he says to her, that he is right fain that they should 
have but one bed that night ; she nowise turned away 

002 



1 8 THE STORY OF THE 






therefrom, and so for three nights together he laid her in 
bed by him. 

Thereafter she fared home, and found the witch-wife, 
and bade her change semblances again, and she did so. 

Now as time wears, Signy brings forth a man-child, who 
was named Sinfjotli, and when he grew up he was both big 
and strong, and fair of face, and much like unto the kin of 
the Volsungs, and he was hardly yet ten winters old when 
she sent him to Sigmund's earth-house ; but this trial she 
had made of her other sons or ever she had sent them to 
Sigmund, that she had sewed gloves on to their hands 
through flesh and skin, and they had borne it ill and cried 
out thereat ; and this she now did to Sinfjotli, and he 
changed countenance in nowise thereat. Then she flayed 
off the kirtle so that the skin came off with the sleeves, and 
said that this would be torment enough for him; but he 
said — 

"Full little would Volsung have felt such a smart as 
this." 

So the lad came to Sigmund, and Sigmund bade him 
knead their meal up, while he goes to fetch firing ; so he 
gave him the meal-sack, and then went after the wood, and 
by then he came back had Sinfjotli made an end of his 
baking. Then asked Sigmund if he had found nothing in 
the meal. 

"I misdoubted me that there was something quick in the 
meal when I first fell to kneading of it, but I have kneaded 
it all up together, both the meal and that which was therein, 
whatsoever it was." 

Then Sigmund laughed out, he said — 

"Naught wilt thou eat of this bread to-night, for the 
most deadly of worms* hast thou kneaded up therewith." 

* Serpents. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 19 

Now Sigmund was so mighty a man that he might eat 
venom and have no hurt therefrom ; but Sinfjotli might 
abide whatso venom came on the outside of him, but might 
neither eat nor drink thereof. 



2Q THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. VIII. 

The Death of King Siggeir and of Signy. 

HHHE tale tells that Sigmund thought Sinfjotli over young 
•*■ to help him to his revenge, and will first of all harden 
him with manly deeds ; so in summer-tide they fare wide 
through the woods and slay men for their wealth ; Sigmund 
deems him to take much after the kin of the Volsungs, 
though he thinks that he is Siggeir's son, and deems him to 
have the evil heart of his father, with the might and daring 
of the Volsungs ; withal he must needs think him in no- 
wise a kinsome man, for full oft would he bring Sigmund's 
wrongs to his memory, and prick him on to slay King 
Siggeir. 

Now on a time as they fare abroad in the woods for 
the getting of wealth, they find a certain house, and two 
men with great gold rings asleep therein : now these twain 
were spell-bound skin-changers,* and wolf-skins were 

* " Skin-changers" were universally believed in once, in Iceland no 
less than elsewhere, as see Ari in several places of his history, especially 
the episode of Dufthach and Storwolf o' Whale. Men possessing the 
power of becoming wolves at intervals, in the present case compelled to 
so become, wer-wolves or loupsgarou> find large place in medieval 
story, but were equally well-known in classic times. Belief in them 
still lingers in parts of Europe where wolves are to be found. 
Herodotus tells of the Neuri, who assumed once a year the shape of 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 21 

hanging up over them in the house ; and every tenth day 
might they come out of those skins ; and they were kings* 
sons : so Sigmund and Sinfjotli do the wolf-skins on them, 
and then might they nowise come out of them, though 
forsooth the same nature went with them as heretofore ; 
they howled as wolves howl, but both knew the meaning of 
that howling ; they lay out in the wild-wood, and each went 
his way ; and a word they made betwixt them, that they 
should risk the onset of seven men, but no more, and that 
he who was first to be set on should howl in wolfish wise : 
" Let us not depart from this," says Sigmund, " for thou art 
young and over-bold, and men will deem the quarry good, 
when they take thee/' 

Now each goes his way, and when they were parted, 
Sigmund meets certain men, and gives forth a wolfs 
howl; and when Sinfjotli heard it, he went straightway 
thereto, and slew them all, and once more they parted. 
But ere Sinfjotli has fared long through the woods, eleven 
men meet him, and he wrought in such wise that he slew 
them all, and was awearied therewith, and crawls under an 
oak, and there takes his rest. Then came Sigmund 
thither, and said — 

11 Why didst thou not call on me ? " 

Sinfjotli said, " I was loth to call for thy help for the 
slaying of eleven men." 

Then Sigmund rushed at him so hard that he staggered 

wolves ; Pliny says that one of the family of Antaeus, chosen by lot 
annually, became a wolf, and so remained for nine years ; Giraldus 
Cambrensis will have it that Irishmen may become wolves ; and 
Nennius asserts point-blank that " the descendants of wolves are still 
inOssory;" they retransform themselves into v/olves when they bite. 
Apuleius, Petronius, and Lucian have similar stories. The Emperor 
Sigismund convoked a council of theologians in the fifteenth century 
who decided that vver- wolves did exist. 



22 THE STORY OF THE 

and fell, and Sigmund bit him in the throat. Now that 
day they might not come out of their wolf-skins : but 
Sigmund lays the other on his back, and bears him home 
to the house, and cursed the wolf-gears and gave them to 
the trolls. Now on a day he saw where two weasels went, 
and how that one bit the other in the throat, and then ran 
straightway into the thicket, and took up a leaf and laid it 
on the wound, and thereon his fellow sprang up quite and 
clean whole ; so Sigmund went out and saw a raven flying 
with a blade of that same herb to him ; so he took it 
and drew it over Sinfjotli's hurt, and he straightway sprang 
up as whole as though he had never been hurt. There- 
after they went home to their earth-hdtise, and abode there 
till the time came for them to put off the wolf-shapes; 
then they burnt them up with fire, and prayed that no more 
hurt might come to any one from them ; but in that 
uncouth guise they wrought many famous deeds in the 
kingdom and lordship of King Siggeir. 

Now when Sinfjotli was come to man's estate, Sigmund 
deemed he had tried him fully, and or ever a long time has 
gone by he turns his mind to the avenging of his father, if 
so it may be brought about ; so on a certain day the twain 
get them gone from their earth-house, and come to the abode 
of King Siggeir late in the evening, and go into the porch 
before the hall, wherein were tuns of ale, and there they lie 
hid : now the queen is ware of them, where they are, and is 
fain to meet them ; and when they met they took counsel, 
and were of one mind that Volsung should be revenged 
that same night. 

Now Signy and the king had two children of tender age, 
who played with a golden toy on the floor, and bowled it 
along the pavement of the hall, running along with it ; but 
therewith a golden ring from off it trundles away into the 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 23 

place where Sigmund and Sinfjotli lay, and off runs the 
little one to search for the same, and beholds withal where 
two men are sitting, big and grimly to look on, with 
overhanging helms and bright white byrnies ;* so he runs 
up the hall to his father, and tells him of the sight he has 
seen, and thereat the king misdoubts of some guile abiding 
him ; but Signy heard their speech, and arose and took 
both the children, and went out into the porch to them and 
said — 

" Lo ye ! these younglings have bewrayed you ; come 
now therefore and slay them ! " 

Sigmund says, " Never will I slay thy children for telling 
of where I lay hid." 

But Sinfjotli made little enow of it, but drew his sword 
and slew them both, and cast them into the hall at King 
Siggeir's feet. 

Then up stood the king and cried on his men to take 
those who had lain privily in the porch through the night. 
So they ran thither and would lay hands on them, but 
they stood on their defence well and manly, and long 
he remembered it who was the nighest to them ; but in 
the end they were borne down by many men and taken, 
and bonds were set upon them, and they were cast into 
fetters wherein they sit night long. 

Then the king ponders what longest and worst of deaths 
he shall mete out to them ; and when morning came he let 
make a great barrow of stones and turf; and when it was 
done, let set a great flat stone midmost inside thereof, so 
that one edge was aloft, the other alow ; and so great it was 
that it went from wall to wall, so that none might pass it. 

Now he bids folk take Sigmund and Sinfjotli and set 
them in the barrow, on either side of the stone, for the 
* Byrny (A.S. byrne), corslet, cuirass. 



24 THE STOR Y OF THE 

worse for them he deemed it, that they might hear each 
the other's speech, and yet that neither might pass one to 
the other. But now, while they were covering in the 
barrow with the turf-slips, thither came Signy, bearing straw 
with her, and cast it down to Sinfjotli, and bade the thralls 
hide this thing from the king ; they said yea thereto, and 
therewithal was the barrow closed in. 

But when night fell, Sintjotli said to Sigmund, " Belike 
we shall scarce need meat for a while, for here has the 
queen cast swine's flesh into the barrow, and wrapped it 
round about on the outer side with straw." 

Therewith he handles the flesh and finds that therein 
was thrust Sigmund's sword ; and he knew it by the hilts, 
as mirk as it might be in the barrow, and tells Sigmund 
thereof, and of that were they both fain enow. 

Now Sinfjotli drave the point of the sword up into 
the big stone, and drew it hard along, and the sword bit 
on the stone. With that Sigmund caught the sword by 
the point, and in this wise they sawed the stone between 
them, and let not or all the sawing was done that need be 
done, even as the song sings : 

" Sinfjotli sawed 
And Sigmund sawed, 
Atwain with main 
The stone was done." 

Now are they both together loose in the barrow, and 
soon they cut both through stone and through iron, and 
bring themselves out thereof. Then they go home to the 
hall, whenas all men slept there, and bear wood to the hall, 
and lay fire therein ; and withal the folk therein are waked 
by the smoke, and by the hall burning over their heads. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 25 

Then the king cries out, " Who kindled this fire, I burn 
withal ? " 

" Here am I," says Sigmund, lt with Sinfjotli, my sister's 
son \ and we are minded that thou shalt wot well that all 
the Volsungs are not yet dead." 

Then he bade his sister come out, and take all good 
things at his hands, and great honour, and fair atonement 
in that wise, for all her griefs. 

But she answered, "Take heed now, and consider, 
if I have kept King Siggeir in memory, and his slaying of 
Volsung the king ! I let slay both my children, whom I 
deemed worthless for the revenging of our father, and I 
went into the wood to thee in a witch-wife's shape ; and 
now behold, Sinfjotli is the son of thee and of me both ! 
and therefore has he this so great hardihood and fierceness, 
in that he is the son both of Volsung's son and Volsung's 
daughter; and for this, and for naught else, have I so 
wrought, that Siggeir might get his bane at last ; and all 
these things have I done that vengeance might fall on him, 
and that I too might not live long ; and merrily now will I 
die with King Siggeir, though I was naught merry to wed 
him." 

Therewith she kissed Sigmund her brother, and Sinfjotli, 
and went back again into the fire, and there she died with 
King Siggeir and all his good men. 

But the two kinsmen gathered together folk and ships, 
and Sigmund went back to his father's land, and drave 
away thence the king, who had set himself down there in 
the room of king Volsung. 

So Sigmund became a mighty King and far-famed, wise 
and high-minded : he had to wife one named Borghild, 
and two sons they had between them, one named Helgi 
and the other Hamund ; and when Helgi was born, Norns 



26 THE STORY OF THE 

came to him,* and spake over him, and said that he should 
be in time to come the most renowned of all kings. Even 
therewith was Sigmund come home from the wars, and so 
therewith he gives him the name of Helgi, and these 
matters as tokens thereof, Land of Rings, Sun-litten Hill, 
and Sharp-shearing Sword, and withal prayed that he might 
grow of great fame, and like unto the kin of the Volsungs. 

And so it was that he grew up high-minded, and well- 
beloved, and above all other men in all prowess ; and the 
story tells that he went to the wars when he was fifteen 
winters old. Helgi was lord and ruler over the army, 
but Sinfjotli was gotten to be his fellow herein ; and so 
the twain bare sway thereover. 

* " Norns came to him." Nornir are the fates of the northern 
mythology. They are three — Urd, the past ; Verdandi^ the present ; 
and Skuld, the future. They sit beside the fountain of Urd ( Urdarbru- 
nur), which is below one of the roots of Yggdrasil, the world- tree, 
which tree their office it is to nourish by sprinkling it with the waters 
of the fountain. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 27 



CHAP. IX. 

How Helgi, the son of Sigmund, won King Hodbrod and 
his Realm, and wedded Sigrun. 

TVT OW the tale tells that Helgi in his warring met a king 
r ^ hight Hunding, a mighty king, and lord of many 
men and many lands \ they fell to battle together, and 
Helgi went forth mightily, and such was the end of that 
fight that Helgi had the victory, but King Hunding fell and 
many of his men with him ; but Helgi is deemed to have 
grown greatly in fame because he had slain so mighty a king. 

Then the sons of Hunding draw together a great army 
to avenge their father. Hard was the fight betwixt them ; 
but Helgi goes through the folk of those brothers unto 
their banner, and there slays these sons of Hunding, Alf 
and Eyolf, Herward and Hagbard, and wins there a great 
victory. 

Now as Helgi fared from the fight, he met a many 
women right fair and worthy to look on, who rode in 
exceeding noble array ; but one far excelled them all ; then 
Helgi asked them the name of that their lady and queen, 
and she named herself Sigrun, and said she was daughter 
of King Hogni. 

Then said Helgi, " Fare home with us : good welcome 
shall ye have ! " 



28 THE STORY OF THE 



Then said the king's daughter, " Other work lies before 
us than to drink with thee." 

"Yea, and what work, king's daughter? " said Helgi. 

She answers, " King Hogni has promised me to Hod- 
brod, the son of King Granmar, but I have vowed a vow 
that I will have him to my husband no more than if he 
were a crow's son and not a kings ; and yet will the thing 
come to pass, but and if thou standest in the way thereof, 
and goest against him with an army, and takest me away 
withal; for verily with no king would I rather bide on 
bolster than with thee." 

"Be of good cheer, king's daughter," says he, "for certes 
he and I shall try the matter, or ever thou be given to 
him ; yea, we shall behold which may prevail against the 
other ; and hereto I pledge my life." 

Thereafter, Helgi sent men with money in their hands 
to summon his folk to him, and all his power is called 
together to Red-Berg : and there Helgi abode till such 
time as a great company came to him from Hedinsey ; and 
therewithal came mighty power from Norvi Sound aboard 
great and fair ships. Then King Helgi called to him the 
captain of his ships, who was hight Leif, and asked him if 
he had told over the tale of his army. 

"A thing not easy to tell, lord," says he, "on the ships 
that came out of Norvi Sound are twelve thousand men, 
and otherwhere are half as many again." 

Then bade King Helgi turn into the firth, called Varin's- 
firth, and they did so : but now there fell on them so fierce 
a storm and so huge a sea, that the beat of the waves on 
board and bow was to hearken to like as the clashing 
together of high hills broken. 

But Helgi bade men fear naught, nor take in any sail, 
but rather hoist every rag higher than heretofore ; but 






VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 29 

little did they miss of foundering or ever they made land ; 
then came Sigrun, daughter of King Hogni, down on to 
the beach with a great army, and turned them away thence 
to a good haven called Gnipalund ; but the landsmen see 
what has befallen and come down to the sea-shore. The 
brother of King Hodbrod, lord of a land called Swarin's 
Cairn, cried out to them, and asked them who was captain 
over that mighty army. Then up stands Sinfjotli, with a 
helm on his head, bright shining as glass, and a byrny as 
white as snow ; a spear in his hand, and thereon a banner 
of renown, and a gold-rimmed shield hanging before 
him; and well he knew with what words to speak to 
kings — 

"Go thou and say, when thou hast made an end of 
feeding thy swine and thy dogs, and when thou beholdest 
thy wife again, that here are come the Volsungs, and in this 
company may King Helgi be found, if Hodbrod be fain of 
finding him, for his game and his joy it is to fight and 
win fame, while thou art kissing the handmaids by the 
fireside." 

Then answered Granmar, " In nowise knowest thou how 
to speak seemly things, and to tell of matters remembered 
from of old, whereas thou layest lies on chiefs and lords ; 
most like it is that thou must have long been nourished 
with wolf-meat abroad in the wild-woods, and has slain 
thy brethren ; and a marvel it is to behold that thou 
darest to join thyself to the company of good men and 
true, thou, who hast sucked the blood of many a cold 
corpse." 

Sinfjotli answered, "Dim belike is grown thy memory 
now, of how thou wert a witch-wife on Varinsey, and 
wouldst fain have a man to thee, and chose me to that 
same office of all the world \ and how thereafter thou wert 



3© THE STORY OF THE 

a Valkyria* in Asgarth, and it well-nigh came to this, that 
for thy sweet sake should all men fight; and nine wolf- 
whelps I begat on thy body in Lowness, and was the father 
to them all." 

Granmar answers, " Great skill of lying hast thou ; yet 
belike the father of naught at all mayst thou be, since thou 
wert gelded by the giant's daughters of Thrasness ; and lo 
thou art the stepson of King Siggeir, and were wont to lie 
abroad in wilds and woods with the kin of wolves ; and 
unlucky was the hand wherewith thou slewest thy brethren, 
making for thyself an exceeding evil name." 

Said Sinfjotli, " Mindest thou not then, when thou were 
stallion Grani's mare, and how I rode thee an amble on 
Bravoll, and that afterwards thou wert giant Golnir's goat- 
herd?" 

Granmar says, "Rather would I feed fowls with the 
flesh of thee than wrangle any longer with thee." 

Then spake King Helgi, " Better were it for ye, and a 
more manly deed, to fight, rather than to speak such things 
as it is a shame even to hearken to ; Granmar's sons are 
no friends of me and of mine, yet are they hardy men none 
the less." 

So Granmar rode away to meet King Hodbrod, at a 
stead called Sunfells, and the horses of the twain were 
named Sveipud and Sveggjud. The brothers met in the 
castle-porch, and Granmar told Hodbrod of the war-news. 
King Hodbrod was clad in a byrny, and had his helm on 
his head ; he asked — 

" What men are anigh, why look ye so wrathful ? " 

Granmar says, "Here are come the Volsungs, and 

* Valkyrja, " Chooser of the elected." The women were so called 
whom Odin sent to choose those for death in battle who were to join 
the Einherjar in the hall of the elected, " Val-holl" 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 31 

twelve thousand men of them are afloat off the coast, and 
seven thousand are at the island called Sok, but at the 
stead called Grindur is the greatest company of all, and 
now I deem withal that Helgi and his fellowship have good 
will to give battle." 

Then said the king, "Let us send a message through all 
our realm, and go against them, neither let any who is fain 
of fight sit idle at home ; let us send word to the sons of 
Ring, and to King Hogni, and to Alf the Old, for they are 
mighty warriors." 

So the hosts met at Wolfstone, and fierce fight befell 
there ; Helgi rushed forth through the host of his foes, and 
many a man fell there ; at last folk saw a great company of 
shield-maidens, like burning flames to look on, and there 
was come Sigrun, the king's daughter. Then King Helgi 
fell on King Hodbrod, and smote him, and slew him even 
under his very banner ; and Sigrun cried out — 

" Have thou thanks for thy so manly deed ! now shall we 
share the land between us, and a day of great good hap 
this is to me, and for this deed shalt thou get honour and 
renown, in that thou hast felled to earth so mighty a king." 

So Helgi took to him that realm and dwelt there long, 
when he had wedded Sigrun, and became a king of great 
honour and renown, though he has naught more to do with 
this story. 



32 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAR X. 

The Ending of Sinfjotli^ SigmuncPs Son. 

TVT OW the Volsungs fare back home, and have gained 
- ^ great renown by these deeds. But Sinfjotli betook 
himself to warfare anew ; and therewith he had sight of an 
exceeding fair woman, and yearned above all things for her; 
but that same woman was wooed also of the brother of 
Borghild, the king's wife : and this matter they fought out 
betwixt them, and Sinfjotli slew that king ; and thereafter 
he harried far and wide, and had many a battle and ever 
gained the day; and he became hereby honoured and 
renowned above all men ; but in autumn tide he came 
home with many ships and abundant wealth. 

Then he told his tidings to the king his father, and he 
again to the queen, and she for her part bids him get him 
gone from the realm, and made as if she would in nowise 
see him. But Sigmund said he would not drive him away, 
and offered her atonement of gold and great wealth for her 
brother's life, albeit he said he had never erst given were- 
gild* to any for the slaying of a man, but no fame it was to 
uphold wrong against a woman. 

So seeing she might not get her own way herein, she 

* Weregild, fine for man-slaying (wer, man, and gild, a payment). 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS 33 

said, " Have thy will in this matter, O my lord, for it is 
seemly so to be." 

And now she holds the funeral feast for her brother by 
the aid and counsel of the king, and makes ready all things 
therefor in the best of wise, and bade thither many great 
men. 

At that feast, Borghild the queen bare the drink to folk, 
and she came over against Sinfjotli with a great horn, and 
said — 

" Fall to now and drink, fair stepson ! " 

Then he took the horn to him, and looked therein, and 
said — 

" Nay, for the drink is charmed drink." 

Then said Sigmund, " Give it unto me then ; " and there- 
with he took the horn and drank it off. 

But the queen said to Sinfjotli, " Why must other men 
needs drink thine ale for thee ? " And she came again the 
second time with the horn, and said, " Come now and 
drink ! " and goaded him with many words. 

And he took the horn, and said — 

" Guile is in the drink/ ' 

And thereon, Sigmund cried out — 

:i Give it then unto me ! " 

Again, the third time, she came to him, and bade him 
drink off his drink, if he had the heart of a Volsung ; then 
he laid hand on the horn, but said — 

" Venom is therein." 

"Nay, let the lip strain it out then, O son," quoth 
Sigmund ; and by then was he exceeding drunk with drink, 
and therefore spake he in that wise. 

So Sinfjotli drank, and straightway fell down dead to the 
ground. 

Sigmund rose up, and sorrowed nigh to death over him ; 

003 



34 THE STOR Y OF THE 

then he took the corpse in his arms and fared away to the 
wood, and went till he came to a certain firth ; and there 
he saw a man in a little boat ; and that man asked if he 
would be wafted by him over the firth, and he said yea 
thereto ; but so little was the boat, that they might not all 
go in it at once, so the corpse was first laid therein, while 
Sigmund went by the firth-side. But therewith the boat 
and the man therein vanished away from before Sigmund's 
eyes.* 

So thereafter Sigmund turned back home, and drave 
away the queen, and a little after she died. But Sigmund 
the king yet ruled his realm, and is deemed ever the 
greatest champion and king of the old law. 

* The man in the boat is Odin, doubtless. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 35 



CHAP. XL 

Of King Sigmund's last Battle, and of how he must yield 
up his Sword again. 

T^HERE was a king called Eylimi, mighty and of great 
-*- fame, and his daughter was called Hjordis, the 
fairest and wisest of womankind ; and Sigmund hears it told 
of her that she was meet to be his wife, yea if none else 
were. So he goes to the house of King Eylimi, who would 
make a great feast for him, if so be he comes not thither in 
the guise of a foe. So messages were sent from one to the 
other that this present journey was a peaceful one, and not 
for war ; so the feast was held in the best of wise and with 
many a man thereat ; fairs were in every place established 
for King Sigmund, and all things else were done to the 
aid and comfort of his journey : so he came to the feast, 
and both kings hold their state in one hall ; thither also 
was come King Lyngi, son of King Hunding, and he also 
is a-wooing the daughter of King Eylimi. 

Now the king deemed he knew that the twain had come 
thither but for one errand, and thought withal that war and 
trouble might be looked for from the hands of him who 
brought not his end about; so he spake to his daughter, 
and said — 

"Thou art a wise woman, and I have spoken it, that 



36 THE STORY OF THE 

thou alone shalt choose a husband for thyself; choose 
therefore between these two kings, and my rede shall be 
even as thine." 

" A hard and troublous matter," says she; "yet will I 
choose him who is of greatest fame, King Sigmund to wit, 
albeit he is well stricken in years." 

So to him was she betrothed, and King Lyngi gat him 
gone. Then was Sigmund wedded to Hjordis, and now 
each day was the feast better and more glorious than on 
the day before it. But thereafter Sigmund went back 
home to Hunland, and King Eylimi, his father-in-law, with 
him, and King Sigmund betakes himself to the due ruling 
of his realm. 

But King Lyngi and his brethren gather an army 
together to fall on Sigmund, for as in all matters they were 
wont to have the worser lot, so did this Dite the sorest of 
all ; and they would fain prevail over the might and pride 
of the Volsungs. So they came to Hunland, and sent King 
Sigmund word how that they would not steal upon him, 
and that they deemed he would scarce slink away from 
them. So Sigmund said he would come and meet them in 
battle, and drew his power together; but Hjordis was 
borne into the wood with a certain bondmaid, and mighty 
wealth went with them; and there she abode the while 
they fought. 

Now the vikings rushed from their ships in numbers not 
to be borne up against, but Sigmund the King, and Eylimi, 
set up their banners, and the horns blew up to battle ; but 
King Sigmund let blow the horn his father erst had had, 
and cheered on his men to the fight, but his army was far 
the fewest. 

Now was that battle fierce and fell, and though Sigmund 
were old, yet most hardily he fought, and was ever the 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 37 

foremost of his men ; no shield or byrny might hold against 
him, and he went ever through the ranks of his foemen on 
that day, and no man might see how things would fare 
between them ; many an arrow and many a spear was aloft 
in air that day, and so his spae-wrights wrought for him 
that he got no wound, and none can tell over the tale of 
those who fell before him, and both his arms were red 
with blood, even to the shoulders. 

But now whenas the battle had dured a while, there 
came a man into the fight clad in a blue cloak, and with 
a slouched hat on his head, one-eyed he was*, and bare 
a bill in his hand; and he came against Sigmund the 
King, and have up his bill against him, and as Sigmund 
smote fiercely with the sword it fell upon the bill and 
burst asunder in the midst: thenceforth the slaughter 
and dismay turned to his side, for the good-hap of King 
Sigmund had departed from him, and his men fell fast 
about him; naught did the king spare himself, but the 
rather cheered on his men; but even as the saw says, 
No might 'gainst many^ so was it now proven; and in 
this fight fell Sigmund the King, and King Eylimi, his 
father-in-law, in the fore-front of their battle, and therewith 
the more part of their folk. 

* Odin coming to change the ownership of the sword he had given 
Sigmund. See p. 7. 



38 THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. XII. 

Of the Shards of the Sword Gram, and how Hjordis went 

to King Alf. 

1VT0W King Lyngi made for the king's abode, and 
-*■ ^ was minded to take the king's daughter there, but 
failed herein, for there he found neither wife nor wealth : 
so he fared through all the realm, and gave his men 
rule thereover, and now deemed that he had slain all 
the kin of the Volsungs, and that he need dread them 
no more from henceforth. 

Now Hjordis went amidst the slain that night of the 
battle, and came whereas lay King Sigmund, and asked 
if he might be healed ; but he answered — 

" Many a man lives after hope has grown little ; but 
my good-hap has departed from me, nor will I suffer 
myself to be healed, nor wills Odin that I should ever 
draw sword again, since this my sword and his is broken ; 
lo now, I have waged war while it was his will." 

"Naught ill would I deem matters," said she, "if thou 
mightest be healed and avenge my father." 

The king said, "That is fated for another man ; behold 
now, thou art great with a man-child; nourish him well 
and with good heed, and the child shall be the noblest and 
most famed of all our kin : and keep well withal the shards 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 39 

of the sword : thereof shall a goodly sword be made, and 
it shall be called Gram, and our son shall bear it, and shall 
work many a great work therewith, even such as eld shall 
never minish ; for his name shall abide and flourish as long 
as the world shall endure : and let this be enow for thee. 
But now I grow weary with my wounds, and I will go see 
our kin that have gone before me." 

So Hjordis sat over him till he died at the day-dawning ; 
and then she looked, and behold, there came many ships 
sailing to the land : then she spake to the handmaid — 

" Let us now change raiment, and be thou called by my 
name, and say that thou art the king's daughter." 

And thus they did; but now the vikings behold the 
great slaughter of men there, and see where two women 
fare away thence into the wood ; and they deem that 
some great tidings must have befallen, and they leaped 
ashore from out their ships. Now the captain of these 
folks was Alf, son of Hjalprek, king of Denmark, who 
was sailing with his power along the land. So they 
came into the field among the slain, and saw how many 
men lay dead there ; then the king bade go seek for the 
women and bring them thither, and they did so. He 
asked them what women they were; and, little as the 
thing seems like to be, the bondmaid answered for the 
twain, telling of the fall of King Sigmund and King Eylimi, 
and many another great man, and who they were withal 
who had wrought the deed. Then the king asks if they 
wotted where the wealth of the king was bestowed ; and 
then says the bondmaid — 

"It may well be deemed that we know full surely 
thereof." 

And therewith she guides them to the place where 
the treasure lay: and there they found exceeding great 



40 THE STORY OF THE 

wealth ; so that men deem they have never seen so many 
things of price heaped up together in one place. All 
this they bore to the ships of King Alf, and Hjordis and 
the bondmaid went with them. Therewith these sail away 
to their own realm, and talk how that surely on that 
field had fallen the most renowned of kings. 

So the king sits by the tiller, but the women abide in the 
forecastle ; but talk he had with the women and held their 
counsels of much account. 

In such wise the king came home to his realm with 
great wealth, and he himself was a man exceeding goodly 
to look on. But when he had been but a little while 
at home, the queen, his mother, asked him why the fairest 
of the two women had the fewer rings and the less worthy 
attire. 

"I deem," she said, "that she whom ye have held of 
least account is the noblest of the twain." 

He answered : " I too have misdoubted me, that she is 
little like a bondwoman, and when we first met, in seemly 
wise she greeted noble men. Lo now, we will make a 
trial of the thing." 

So on a time as men sat at the drink, the king sat down 
to talk with the women, and said — 

"In what wise do ye note the wearing of the hours, 
whenas night grows old, if ye may not see the lights of 
heaven ? " 

Then says the bondwoman, "This sign have I, that 
whenas in my youth I was wont to drink much in the 
dawn, so now when I no longer use that manner, I am yet 
wont to wake up at that very same tide, and by that token 
do I know thereof." 

Then the king laughed and said, "111 manners for a 
king's daughter ! " And therewith he turned to Hjordis, 



VOLSVNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 41 

and asked her even the same question ; but she an- 
swered — 

" My father erst gave me a little gold ring of such nature, 
that it groweth cold on my finger in the day-dawning ; and 
that is the sign that I have to know thereof." 

The king answered : " Enow of gold there, where a very 
bondmaid bore it ! but come now, thou hast been long 
enow hid from me ; yet if thou hadst told me all from the 
beginning, I would have done to thee as though we had 
both been one king's children : but better than thy deeds 
will I deal with thee, for thou shalt be my wife, and due 
jointure will I pay thee whenas thou hast borne me a 
child." 

She spake therewith and told out the whole truth about 
herself: so there was she held in great honour, and deemed 
the worthiest of women. 



4* THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. XIII. 

Of the Birth and Waxing of Sigurd Fafnir's-bane. 

HP HE tale tells that Hjordis brought forth a man-child, 
-*■ who was straightly borne before King Hjalprek, and 
then was the king glad thereof, when he saw the keen eyes 
in the head of him, and he said that few men would be 
equal to him or like unto him in any wise. So he was 
sprinkled with water, and had to name Sigurd, of whom all 
men speak with one speech and say that none was ever his 
like for growth and goodliness. He was brought up in the 
house of King Hjalprek in great love and honour ; and so 
it is, that whenso all the noblest men and greatest kings are 
named in the olden tales, Sigurd is ever put before them all, 
for might and prowess, for high mind and stout heart, 
wherewith he was far more abundantly gifted than any 
man of the northern parts of the wide world. 

So Sigurd waxed in King Hjalprek's house, and there 
was no child but loved him ; through him was Hjordis 
betrothed to King Alf, and jointure meted to her. 

Now Sigurd's foster-father was hight Regin, the son 
of Hreidmar ; he taught him all manner of arts, the chess 
play, and the lore of runes, and the talking of many 
tongues, even as the wont was with kings' sons in those 
days. But on a day when they were together, Regin 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 43 

asked Sigurd, if he knew how much wealth his father had 
owned, and who had the ward thereof; Sigurd answered, 
and said that the kings kept the ward thereof. 

Said Regin, " Dost thou trust them all utterly ? " 

Sigurd said, " It is seemly that they keep it till I may do 
somewhat therewith, for better they wot how to guard it 
than I do." 

Another time came Regin to talk to Sigurd, and said — 

" A marvellous thing truly that thou must needs be 
a horse-boy to the kings, and go about like a running 
knave." 

" Nay," said Sigurd, "it is not so, for in all things I 
have my will, and whatso thing I desire is granted me with 
good will." 

" Well, then," said Regin, " ask for a horse of them." 

" Yea," quoth Sigurd, " and that shall I have, whenso I 
have need thereof." 

Thereafter Sigurd went to the king, and the king said — 

" What wilt thou have of us ? " 

Then said Sigurd, " I would even a horse of thee for my 
disport." 

Then said the king, "Choose for thyself a horse, and 
whatso thing else thou desirest among my matters." 

So the next day went Sigurd to the wood, and met on 
the way an old man, long-bearded, that he knew not, who 
asked him whither away. 

Sigurd said, " I am minded to choose me a horse ; come 
thou, and counsel me thereon." 

"Well then," said he, "go we and drive them to the 
river which is called Busil-tarn." 

They did so, and drave the horses down into the deeps 
of the river, and all swam back to land but one horse ; and 
that horse Sigurd chose for himself; grey he was of hue, 



44 THE STOR Y OF THE 

and young of years, great of growth, and fair to look on, 
nor had any man yet crossed his back. 

Then spake the grey-beard, " From Sleipnir's kin is this 
horse come, and he must be nourished needfully, for it will 
be the best of all horses ; " and therewithal he vanished 
away. 

So Sigurd called the horse Grani, the best of all the 
horses of the world ; nor was the man he met other than 
Odin himself. 

Now yet again spake Regin to Sigurd, and said — 

" Not enough is thy wealth, and I grieve right sore 
that thou must needs run here and there like a churl's 
son ; but I can tell thee where there is much wealth for 
the winning, and great name and honour to be won in the 
getting of it." 

Sigurd asked where that might be, and who had watch 
and ward over it. 

Regin answered, "Fafnir is his name, and but a little 
way hence he lies, on the waste of Gnita-heath ; and when 
thou comest there thou mayst well say that thou hast never 
seen more gold heaped together in one place, and that 
none might desire more treasure, though he were the most 
ancient and famed of all kings." 

" Young am I," says Sigurd, " yet know I the fashion of 
this worm, and how that none durst go against him, so 
huge and evil is he." 

Regin said, " Nay it is not so, the fashion and the 
growth of him is even as of other lingworms,* and an over 
great tale men make of it ; and even so would thy fore- 
fathers have deemed ; but thou, though thou be of the kin 
of the Volsungs, shalt scarce have the heart and mind 
of those, who are told of as the first in all deeds of fame." 
* Lingworm — longworm, dragon. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 45 

Sigurd said, " Yea, belike I have little of their hardihood 
and prowess, but thou hast naught to do, to lay a coward's 
name upon me, when I am scarce out of my childish years. 
Why dost thou egg me on hereto so busily ? " 

Regin said, " Therein lies a tale which I must needs 
tell thee." 

" Let me hear the same," said Sigurd. 



46 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XIV. 

Regit? s tale of his Brothers \ and of the Gold called 
AndvarVs Hoard. 

'"""PHUS the tale begins," said Regin. " Hreidmar was my 
■ father's name, a mighty man and a wealthy : and his 
first son was named Fafnir, his second Otter, and I was the 
third, and the least of them all both for prowess and 
good conditions, but I was cunning to work in iron, and 
silver, and gold, whereof I could make matters that availed 
somewhat. Other skill my brother Otter followed, and 
had another nature withal, for he was a great fisher, 
and above other men herein ; in that he had the likeness 
of an otter by day, and dwelt ever in the river, and bare 
fish to bank in his mouth, and his prey would he ever bring 
to our father, and that availed him much : for the most 
part he kept him in his otter-gear, and then he would come 
home, and eat alone, and slumbering, for on the dry land 
he might see naught. But Fafnir was by far the greatest 
and grimmest, and would have all things about called 
his. 

" Now," says Regin, " there was a dwarf called Andvari, 
who ever abode in that force, * which was called Andvari's 
force, in the likeness of a pike, and got meat for himself, 
* Waterfall (Ice. foss, fors). 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 4 7 

for many fish there were in the force ; now Otter, my 
brother, was ever wont to enter into the force, and bring 
fish aland, and lay them one by one on the bank. And so 
it befell that Odin, Loki, and Hcenir, as they went their 
ways, came to Andvari's force, and Otter had taken a 
salmon, and ate it slumbering upon the river bank ; then 
Loki took a stone and cast it at Otter, so that he gat 
his death thereby ; the gods were well content with their 
prey, and fell to flaying off the otter's skin ; and in the 
evening they came to Hreidmar's house, and showed him 
what they had taken : thereon he laid hands on them, and 
doomed them to such ransom, as that they should fill the 
otter skin with gold, and cover it over without with red 
gold ; so they sent Loki to gather gold together for them ; 
he came to Ran,* and got her net, and went therewith to 
Andvari's force, and cast the net before the pike, and the 
pike ran into the net and was taken. Then said Loki— 

" < What fish of all fishes, 

Swims strong in the flood, 
But hath learnt little wit to beware ? 

Thine head must thou buy. 

From abiding in hell, 
And find me the wan waters flame.' 

He answered — 

* Ran is the goddess of the sea, wife of JEgir. The otter was held 
sacred by Norsefolk and figures in the myth and legend of most races 
besides ; to this day its killing is held a great crime by the Parsees 
(Haug, Religion of the Parsees, page 212). Compare penalty above 
with that for killing the Welsh king's cat {Ancient Laws and Institutes 
of Wales. Ed., Aneurin Owen. Longman, London, 1841, 2 vols. 
8vo). 



48 THE STORY OF THE 

" c Andvari folk call me, 

Call Oinn my father, 
Over many a force have I fared ; 

For a Norn of ill-luck, 

This life on me lay 
Through wet ways ever to wade.' 

"So Loki beheld the gold of Andvari, and when he 
had given up the gold, he had but one ring left, and that 
also Loki took from him ; then the dwarf went into a 
hollow of the rocks, and cried out, that that gold-ring, yea 
and all the gold withal, should be the bane of every man 
who should own it thereafter. 

" Now the gods rode with the treasure to Hreidmar, and 
fulfilled the otter-skin, and set it on its feet, and they must 
cover it over utterly with gold : but when this was done 
then Hreidmar came forth, and beheld yet one of the 
muzzle hairs, and bade them cover that withal ; then Odin 
drew the ring, Andvari's loom, from his hand, and covered 
up the hair therewith ; then sang Loki — 

" ' Gold enow, gold enow, 

A great weregild, thou hast, 
That my head in good hap I may hold ; 

But thou and thy son 

Are naught fated to thrive, 
The bane shall it be of you both.' 

"Thereafter," says Regin, "Fafnir slew his father and 
murdered him, nor got I aught of the treasure, and so evil 
he grew, that he fell to lying abroad, and begrudged any 
share in the wealth to any man, and so became the worst 
of all worms, and ever now lies brooding upon that 






VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 49 

treasure : but for me, I went to the king and became his 
master-smith ; and thus is the tale told of how I lost the 
heritage of my father, and the weregild for my brother. " 

So spake Regin ; but since that time gold is called 
Ottergild, and for no other cause than this. 

But Sigurd answered, " Much hast thou lost, and 
exceeding evil have thy kinsmen been ! but now, make 
a sword by thy craft, such a sword as that none can be 
made like unto it ; so that I may do great deeds therewith, 
if my heart avail thereto, and thou wouldst have me slay 
this mighty dragon." 

Regin says, " Trust me well herein ; and with that same 
sword shalt thou slay Fafnir." 



004 



So THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. XV. 

Of the Welding together of the Shards of the Sword Gram. 






CO Regin makes a sword, and gives it into Sigurd's 
^ hands. He took the sword, and said — 

" Behold thy smithying, Regin ! " and therewith smote 
it into the anvil, and the sword brake ; so he cast down the 
brand, and bade him forge a better. 

Then Regin forged another sword, and brought it to 
Sigurd, who looked thereon. 

Then said Regin, " Belike thou art well content there- 
with, hard master though thou be in smithying." 

So Sigurd proved the sword, and brake it even as the 
first ; then he said to Regin — 

" Ah, art thou, mayhappen, a traitor and a liar like to 
those former kin of thine ? " 

Therewith he went to his mother, and she welcomed him 
in seemly wise, and they talked and drank together. 

Then spake Sigurd, " Have I heard aright, that King 
Sigmund gave thee the good sword Gram in two pieces ? " 

" True enough," she said. 

So Sigurd said, " Deliver them into my hands, for I 
would have them." 

She said he looked like to win great fame, and gave him 
the sword. Therewith went Sigurd to Regin, and bade 
him make a good sword thereof as he best might ; Regin 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 51 

grew wroth thereat, but went into the smithy with the 
pieces of the sword, thinking well meanwhile that Sigurd 
pushed his head far enow into the matter of smithying. So 
he made a sword, and as he bore it forth from the forge, it 
seemed to the smiths as though fire burned along the edges 
thereof. Now he bade Sigurd take the sword, and said he 
knew not how to make a sword if this one failed. Then 
Sigurd smote it into the anvil, and cleft it down to the stock 
thereof, and neither burst the sword nor brake it. Then 
he praised the sword much, and thereafter went to the 
river with a lock of wool, and threw it up against the 
stream, and it fell asunder when it met the sword. Then 
was Sigurd glad, and went home. 

But Regin said, "Now whereas I have made the sword 
for thee, belike thou wilt hold to thy troth given, and wilt 
go meet Fafnir ? n 

" Surely will I hold thereto/ said Sigurd, " yet first must 
I avenge my father." 

Now Sigurd the older he grew, the more he grew in the 
love of all men, so that every child loved him well. 



TPnt ANNA HEAD SCHOOL 
BK*L&£Lk,\ 4, CALIFORNIA 



5 2 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XVI. 

The Prophecy of Grifir. 

HP HERE was a man hight Grifir, * who was Sigurd's 
-*• mother's brother, and a little after the forging of the 
sword Sigurd went to Grifir, because he was a man who 
knew things to come, and what was fated to men : of him 
Sigurd asked diligently how his life should go ; but Grifir 
was long or he spake, yet at the last, by reason of Sigurd's 
exceeding great prayers, he told him all his life and the 
fate thereof, even as afterwards came to pass. So when 
Grifir had told him all even as he would, he went back 
home ; and a little after he and Regin met. 

Then said Regin, " Go thou and slay Fafnir, even as 
thou hast given thy word." 

Sigurd said, " That work shall be wrought ; but another 
is first to be done, the avenging of Sigmund the king and 
the other of my kinsmen who fell in that their last fight." 

* Called " Gripir " in the Edda. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 53 



CHAP. XVII. 

Of Sigurd's Avenging of Sigmund his Father. 

TVT OW Sigurd went to the kings, and spake thus — 
-*- ^ " Here have I abode a space with you, and I owe 
you thanks and reward, for great love and many gifts and 
all due honour ; but now will I away from the land and go 
meet the sons of Hunding, and do them to wit that the 
Volsungs are not all dead ; and your might would I have 
to strengthen me therein." 

So the kings said that they would give him all things 
soever that he desired, and therewith was a great army got 
ready, and all things wrought in the most heedful wise, 
ships and all war-gear, so that his journey might be of 
the stateliest : but Sigurd himself steered the dragon-keel 
which was the greatest and noblest ; richly wrought were 
their sails, and glorious to look on. 

So they sail and have wind at will ; but when a few days 
were overpast, there arose a great storm on the sea, and the 
waves were to behold even as the foam of men's blood ; 
but Sigurd bade take in no sail, howsoever they might be 
riven, but rather to lay on higher than heretofore. But as 
they sailed past the rocks of a ness, a certain man hailed 
the ships, and asked who was captain over that navy ; then 
was it told him that the chief and lord was Sigurd, the son 



54 THE STORY OF THE 

of Sigmund, the most famed of all the young men who 
now are. 

Then said the man, " Naught but one thing, certes, do 
all say of him, that none among the sons of kings may be 
likened unto him ; now fain were I that ye would shorten 
sail on some of the ships, and take me aboard." 

Then they asked him of his name, and he sang — 

Hnikar I hight, 

When I gladdened Huginn, 

And went to battle, 

Bright son of Volsung ; 

Now may ye call 

The carl on the cliff top, 

Feng or Fjolnir : 

Fain would I with you. 

They made for land therewith, and took that man aboard. 
Then quoth Sigurd,* as the song says — 

Tell me this, O Hnikar, 

Since full well thou knowest 
Fate of Gods, good and ill of mankind, 

What best our hap foresheweth, 

When amid the battle 
About us sweeps the sword edge. 

Quoth Hnikar — 

Good are many tokens 
If thereof men wotted 
When the swords are sweeping : 

* This and verses following were inserted from the Reginsm&l by the 
translators. 






VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 55 

Fair fellow deem I 
The dark-winged raven. 
In war, to weapon-wielder. 



The second good thing : 

When abroad thou goest 
For the long road well arrayed, 

Good if thou seest 

Two men standing, 
Fain of fame within the forecourt. 

A third thing : 

Good hearing, 

The wolf a howling 
Abroad under ash boughs ; 

Good hap shalt thou have 

Dealing with helm-staves, 
If thou seest these fare before thee. 



No man in fight 

His face shall turn 

Against the moon's sister 

Low, late -shining, 

For he winneth battle 

Who best beholdeth 

Through the midmost sword-play, 

And the sloping ranks best shapeth. 

Great is the trouble 
Of foot ill-tripping, 
When arrayed for fight thou farest, 



56 THE STORY OF THE 

For on both sides about 
Are the Disir* by thee, 
Guileful, wishful of thy wounding. 

Fair-combed, well washen 

Let each warrior be, 
Nor lack meat in the morning, 

For who can rule 

The eve's returning, 
And base to fall before fate grovelling. 

Then the storm abated, and on they fared till they came 
aland in the realm of Hunding's sons, and then Fjolnir 
vanished away. 

Then they let loose fire and sword, and slew men and 
burnt their abodes, and did waste all before them : a great 
company of folk fled before the face of them to Lyngi the 
King, and tell him that men of war are in the land, and are 
faring with such rage and fury that the like has never been 
heard of; and that the sons of King Hunding had no great 
forecast in that they said they would never fear the 
Volsungs more, for here was come Sigurd, the son of 
Sigmund, as captain over this army. 

So King Lyngi let send the war-message all throughout 
his realm, and has no will to flee, but summons to him all 
such as would give him aid. So he came against Sigurd 
with a great army, he and his brothers with him, and an 
exceeding fierce fight befell ; many a spear and many an 
arrow might men see there raised aloft, axes hard driven, 

* Dfsir, sing. Dfs. These are the guardian beings who follow a 
man from his birth to his death. The word originally means sister, and 
is used throughout the Eddaic poems as a dignified synonym for woman, 
lady. 



VOLSUJSiGS AND NIB LUNGS. 57 

shields cleft and byrnies torn, helmets were shivered, skulls 
split atwain, and many a man felled to the cold earth. 

And now when the fight has long dured in such wise, 
Sigurd goes forth before the banners, and has the good 
sword Gram in his hand, and smites down both men and 
horses, and goes through the thickest of the throng with 
both arms red with blood to the shoulder; and folk 
shrank aback before him wheresoever he went, nor would 
either helm or byrny hold before him, and no man deemed 
he had ever seen his like. So a long while the battle 
lasted, and many a man was slain, and furious was the on- 
set; till at last it befell, even as seldom comes to hand, 
when a land army falls on, that, do whatso they might, 
naught was brought about; but so many men fell of the 
sons of Hunding that the tale of them may not be told ; 
and now whenas Sigurd was among the foremost, came the 
sons of Hunding against him, and Sigurd smote therewith 
at Lyngi the king, and clave him down, both helm and 
head, and mail-clad body, and thereafter he smote 
Hjorward his brother atwain, and then slew all the other 
sons of Hunding who were yet alive, and the more part of 
their folk withal. 

Now home goes Sigurd with fair victory won, and 
plenteous wealth and great honour, which he had gotten to 
him in this journey, and feasts were made for him against 
he came back to the realm. 

But when Sigurd had been at home but a little, came 
Regin to talk with him, and said — 

" Belike thou wilt now have good will to bow down 
Fafnir's crest according to thy word plighted, since thou 
hast thus revenged thy father and the others of thy kin." 

Sigurd answered, "That will we hold to, even as we 
have promised, nor did it ever fall from our memory." 



S 8 THE STORY OF TBE 



CHAP. XVIII. 

Of the Slaying of the Worm Fafnir. 

"jVTOW Sigurd and Regin ride up the heath along that 
^ ^ same way wherein Fafnir was wont to creep when 
he fared to the water ; and folk say that thirty fathoms was 
the height of that cliff along which he lay when he drank of 
the water below. Then Sigurd spake : 

" How sayedst thou, Regin, that this drake* was no 
greater than other lingworms ; methinks the track of him is 

arvellous great ? " 

Then said Regin, " Make thee a hole, and sit down 
therein, and whenas the worm comes to the water, smite 
him into the heart, and so do him to death, and win for 
thee great fame thereby." 

But Sigurd said, " What will betide me if I be before the 
blood of the worm ? " 

Says Regin, "Of what avail to counsel thee if thou art 
still afeard of everything ? Little art thou like thy kin in 
stoutness of heart." 

Then Sigurd rides right over the heath ; but Regin gets 
him gone, sore afeard. 

But Sigurd fell to digging him a pit, and whiles he was 



* Lat. draco > a dragon. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 59 

at that work, there came to him an old man with a long 
beard, and asked what he wrought there, and he told him. 

Then answered the old man and said, " Thou doest after 
sorry counsel: rather dig thee many pits, and let the 
blood run therein ; but sit thee down in one thereof, and so 
thrust the worm's heart through." 

And therewithal he vanished away ; but Sigurd made the 
pits even as it was shown to him. 

Now crept the worm down to his place of watering, and 
the earth shook all about him, and he snorted forth venom 
on all the way before him as he went ; but Sigurd neither 
trembled nor was adrad at the roaring of him. So whenas 
the worm crept over the pits, Sigurd thrust his sword under 
his left shoulder, so that it sank in up to the hilts ; then up 
leapt Sigurd from the pit and drew the sword back again 
unto him, and therewith was his arm all bloody, up to the 
very shoulder. 

Now when that mighty worm was ware that he had his 
death-wound, then he lashed out head and tail, so that all 
things soever that were before him were broken to pieces. 

So whenas Fafnir had his death-wound, he asked " Who 
art thou ? and who is thy father ? and what thy kin, that 
thou wert so hardy as to bear weapons against me ? " 

Sigurd answered, "Unknown to men is my kin. I am 
called a noble beast :* neither father have I nor mother, 
and all alone have I fared hither." 

Said Fafnir, "Whereas thou hast neither father nor 
mother, of what wonder wert thou born then ? But now, 
though thou tellest me not thy name on this my death-day, 
yet thou knowest verily that thou liest unto me." 

* " Unknown to men is my kin." Sigurd refusing to tell his name 
is to be referred to the superstition that a dying man could throw a 
curse on his enemy. 



6o THE STOR Y OF THE 

He answered, " Sigurd am I called, and my father was 
Sigmund." 

Says Fafnir, " Who egged thee on to this deed, and why 
wouldst thou be driven to it? Hadst thou never heard 
how that all folk were adrad of me, and of the awe of my 
countenance? But an eager father thou hadst, O bright- 
eyed swain ! " 

Sigurd answered, "A hardy heart urged me on hereto ; 
and a strong hand and this sharp sword, which well thou 
knowest now, stood me in stead in the doing of the deed ; 
Seldom hath hardy eld a faint-heart youth? 

Fafnir said, " Well, I wot that hadst thou waxed amid 
thy kin, thou mightest have good skill to slay folk in thine 
anger ; but more of a marvel is it, that thou, a bondsman 
taken in war, shouldst have the heart to set on me, for few 
among bondsmen have heart for the fight? 

Said Sigurd, " Wilt thou then cast it in my teeth that I 
am far away from my kin ? Albeit I was a bondsman, yet 
was I never shackled. God wot thou hast found me 
free enow." 

Fafnir answered, "In angry wise dost thou take my 
speech; but hearken, for that same gold which I have 
owned shall be thy bane too." 

Quoth Sigurd, "Fain would we keep all our wealth till 
that day of days ; yet shall each man die once for all." 

Said Fafnir, "Few things wilt thou do after my counsel ; 
but take heed that thou shalt be drowned if thou farest 
unwarily over the sea ; so bide thou rather on the dry land, 
for the coming of the calm tide." 

Then said Sigurd, " Speak, Fafnir, and say, if thou art so 
exceeding wise, who are the Norns who rule the lot of all 
mothers' sons." 

Fafnir answers, " Many there be and wide apart ; for 



VOLS UNGS AND NIBL UNGS. 6 1 

some are of the kin of the ^Esir, and some are of Elfin 
kin, and some there are who are daughters of Dvalin." 

Said Sigurd, "How namest thou the holm whereon Surt* 
and the ^Esir mix and mingle the water of the sword ? " 

"Unshapen is that holm hight," said Fafnir. 

And yet again he said, " Regin, my brother, has brought 
about my end, and it gladdens my heart that thine too he 
bringeth about; for thus will things be according to his 
will." 

And once again he spake, " A countenance of terror I 
bore up before all folk, after that I brooded over the 
heritage of my brother, and on every side did I spout out 
poison, so that none durst come anigh me, and of no 
weapon was I adrad, nor ever had I so many men before 
me, as that I deemed myself not stronger than all ; for all 
men were sore afeard of me." 

Sigurd answered and said, u Few may have victory by 
means of that same countenance of terror, for whoso 
comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man 
is by so far the mightiest of all." 

Then says Fafnir, " Such counsel I give thee, that thou 
take thy horse and ride away at thy speediest, for ofttimes 
it falls out so, that he who gets a death-wound avenges 
himself none the less." 

Sigurd answered, " Such as thy redes are I will nowise 
do after them ; nay, I will ride now to thy lair and take to 
me that great treasure of thy kin." 

" Ride there then," said Fafnir, "and thou shalt find gold 

enow to suffice thee for all thy life-days ; yet shall that gold 

be thy bane, and the bane of every one soever who owns 

it." 

* Surt ; a fire-giant, who will destroy the world at the Ragnarok, or 
destruction of all things. ^Esir ; the gods. 



62 THE STORY OF THE 

Then up stood Sigurd, and said, " Home would I ride 
and lose all that wealth, if I deemed that by the losing 
thereof I should never die ; but every brave and true man 
will fain have his hand on wealth till that last day; but 
thou, Fafnir, wallow in the death-pain till Death and Hell 
have thee." 

And therewithal Fafnir died. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 63 



CHAP. XIX. 

Of the Slaying of Regin^ Son of Hreidmar* 

HT HEREAFTER came Regin to Sigurd, and said, 
-*■ "Hail, lord and master, a noble victory hast thou 
won in the slaying of Fafnir, whereas none durst heretofore 
abide in the path of him ; and now shall this deed of fame 
be of renown while the world stands fast." 

Then stood Regin staring on the earth a long while, and 
presently thereafter spake from heavy mood : u Mine own 
brother hast thou slain, and scarce may I be called sackless 
of the deed." 

Then Sigurd took his sword Gram and dried it on the 
earth, and spake to Regin — 

" Afar thou faredst when I wrought this deed and tried 
this sharp sword with the hand and the might of me ; with 
all the might and main of a dragon must I strive, while 
thou wert laid alow in the heather-bush, wotting not if it 
were earth or heaven." 

Said Regin, " Long might this worm have lain in his lair, 
if the sharp sword I forged with my hand had not been 
good at need to thee ; had that not been, neither thou nor 
any man would have prevailed against him as at this time." 

Sigurd answers, " Whenas men meet foes in fight, better 
is stout heart than sharp sword." 



64 THE STOR Y OF THE 

Then said Regin, exceeding heavily, "Thou hast 
slain my brother, and scarce may I be sackless of the 
deed." 

Therewith Sigurd cut out the heart of the worm with the 
sword called Ridil ; but Regin drank of Fafnir's blood, and 
spake, " Grant me a boon, and do a thing little for thee to 
do. Bear the heart to the fire, and roast it, and give me 
thereof to eat." 

Then Sigurd went his ways and roasted it on a rod ; and 
when the blood bubbled out he laid his finger thereon to 
essay it, if it were fully done ; and then he set his finger in 
his mouth, and lo, when the heart-blood of the worm 
touched his tongue, straightway he knew the voice of all 
fowls, and heard withal how the wood-peckers chattered in 
the brake beside him — 

u There sittest thou, Sigurd, roasting Fafnir's heart for 
another, that thou shouldest eat thine ownself, and then 
thou shouldest become the wisest of all men." 

And another spake : " There lies Regin, minded to 
beguile the man who trusts in him." 

But yet again said the third, " Let him smite the head 
from off him then, and be only lord of all that gold." 

And once more the fourth spake and said, "Ah, the 
wiser were he if he followed after that good counsel, and 
rode thereafter to Fafnir's lair, and took to him that mighty 
treasure that lieth there, and then rode over Hindfell, 
whereas sleeps Brynhild ; for there would he get great 
wisdom. Ah, wise he were, if he did after your redes, and 
bethought him of his own weal ; for where wolfs ears are^ 
wolfs teeth are near." 

Then cried the fifth : " Yea, yea, not so wise is he as I 
deem him, if he spareth him. whose brother he hath slain 
already." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 65 

At last spake the sixth : " Handy and good rede to slay 
him, and be lord of the treasure ! " 

Then said Sigurd, "The time is unborn wherein Regin 
shall be my bane ; nay, rather one road shall both these 
brothers fare." 

And therewith he drew his sword Gram and struck of] 
Regin's head. 

Then heard Sigurd the wood-peckers a-singing, even as 
the song says.* 

For the first sang : 

Bind thou, Sigurd, 
The bright red rings ! 
Not meet it is 
Many things to fear. 
A fair may know I, 
Fair of all the fairest 
Girt about with gold, 
Good for thy getting. 

And the second : 

Green go the ways 
Toward the hall of Giuki 
That the fates show forth 
To those who fare thither ; 
There the rich king 
Reareth a daughter ; 
Thou shalt deal, Sigurd, 
With gold for thy sweetling. 

* The Songs of the Birds were inserted from Regiminal by the 
translators. 

005 



66 THE STORY OF THE 

And the third : 

A high hall is there 
Reared upon Hindfell, 
Without all around it 
Sweeps the red flame aloft • 
Wise men wrought 
That wonder of halls 
With the unhidden gleam 
Of the glory of gold. 

Then the fourth sang 

Soft on the fell 

A shield-may sleepeth 

The lime-trees' red plague 

Playing about her : 

The sleep-thorn set Odin 

Into that maiden 

For her choosing in war 

The one he willed not. 

Go, son, behold 
That may under helm 
Whom from battle 
Vinskornir bore, 
From her may not turn 
The torment of sleep. 
Dear offspring of kings 
In the dread Norns' despite. 

Then Sigurd ate some deal of Fafnir's heart, and the 
remnant he kept. Then he leapt on his horse and rode 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 67 

along the trail of the worm Fafnir, and so right unto his 
abiding-place; and he found it open, and beheld all the 
doors and the gear of them that they were wrought of 
iron : yea, and all the beams of the house ; and it was dug 
down deep into the earth : there found Sigurd gold 
exceeding plenteous, and the sword Rotti ; and thence he 
took the Helm of Awe, and the Gold Byrny, and many 
things fair and good. So much gold he found there, that 
he thought verily that scarce might two horses, or three 
belike, bear it thence. So he took all the gold and laid it 
in two great chests, and set them on the horse Grani, and 
took the reins of him, but nowise will he stir, neither will 
he abide smiting. Then Sigurd knows the mind or 
the horse, and leaps on the back of him, and smites and 
spurs into him, and off the horse goes even as if he were 
unladen. 



68 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAR XX. 

Of Sigurd 1 s Meeting with Brynhild on the Mountain. 

DY long roads rides Sigurd, till he comes at the last 
■^ up on to Hindfell, and wends his way south to the 
land of the Franks ; and he sees before him on the fell 
a great light, as of fire burning, and flaming up even 
unto the heavens ; and when he came thereto, lo, a shield- 
hung castle before him, and a banner on the topmost 
thereof: into the castle went Sigurd, and saw one lying 
there asleep, and all-armed. Therewith he takes the 
helm from off the head of him, and sees that it is no 
man, but a woman ; and she was clad in a byrny as 
closely set on her as though it had grown to her flesh; 
so he rent it from the collar downwards ; and then the 
sleeves thereof, and ever the sword bit on it as if it were 
cloth. Then said Sigurd that over-long had she lain 
asleep ; but she asked — 

"What thing of great might is it that has prevailed to 
rend my byrny, and draw me from my sleep ? " 

Even as sings the song* — 

*The stanzas on the two following pages were inserted here from 
Sigdrifasm&l by the translators. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 69 

What bit on the byrny, 
Why breaks my sleep away, 
Who has turned from me 
My wan tormenting ? 

"Ah, is it so, that here is come Sigurd Sigmundson, 
bearing Fafnir's helm on his head and Fafnir's bane in 
his hand ? " 

Then answered Sigurd — 

"Sigmund's son 
With Sigurd's sword 
E'en now rent down 
The raven's wall. 

" Of the Volsung's kin is he who has done the deed ; 
but now I have heard that thou art daughter of a mighty 
king, and folk have told us that thou wert lovely and 
full of lore, and now I will try the same." 

Then Brynhild sang — 

" Long have I slept 

And slumbered long, 
Many and long are the woes of mankind, 

By the might of Odin 

Must I bide helpless 
To shake from off me the spells of slumber. 

Hail to the day come back ! 

Hail, sons of the daylight ! 
Hail to thee, dark night, and thy daughter ! 

Look with kind eyes a-down, 

On us sitting here lonely, 
And give unto us the gain that we long for. 



7o THE STOR Y OF THE 

Hail to the ^Esir, 

And the sweet Asyniur I* 

Hail to the fair earth fulfilled of plenty ! 
Fair words, wise hearts, 
Would we win from you, 

And healing hands while life we hold." 



Then Brynhild speaks again and says, "Two kings 
fought, one hight Helm Gunnar, an old man, and the 
greatest of warriors, and Odin had promised the victory 
unto him ; but his foe was Agnar, or Audi's brother : 
and so I smote down Helm Gunnar in the fight; and 
Odin, in vengeance for that deed, stuck the sleep-thorn 
into me, and said that I should never again have the 
victory, but should be given away in marriage ; but there- 
against I vowed a vow, that never would I wed one who 
knew the name of fear." 

Then said Sigurd, " Teach us the lore of mighty 
matters ! " 4 

She said, " Belike thou cannest more skill in all than 
I ; yet will I teach thee ; yea, and with thanks, if there 
be aught of my cunning that will in anywise pleasure 
thee, either of runes or of other matters that are the root 
of things ; but now let us drink together, and may the 
Gods give to us twain a good day, that thou mayst win 
good help and fame from my wisdom, and that thou 
mayst hereafter mind thee of that which we twain speak 
together." 

Then Brynhild filled a beaker and bore it to Sigurd, and 
gave him the drink of love, and spake — 

* Goddesses. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 71 

" Beer bring I to thee, 
Fair fruit of the byrnies' clash, 
Mixed is it mightily, 
Mingled with fame, 
Brimming with bright lays 
And pitiful runes, 
Wise words, sweet words, 
Speech of great game. 

Runes of war know thou, 

If great thou wilt be ! 
Cut them on hilt of hardened sword, 

Some on the brand's back, 

Some on its shining side, 
Twice name Tyr therein. 



Sea-runes good at need, 

Learnt for ship's saving, 
For the good health of the swimming horse ; 

On the stern cut them, 

Cut them on the rudder-blade 
And set flame to shaven oar : 

Howso big be the sea-hills, 

Howso blue beneath, 
Hail from the main then comest thou home. 



Word-runes learn well 
If thou wilt that no man 
Pay back grief for the grief thou gavest ; 
Wind thou these, 
Weave thou these, 



72 THE STORY OF THE 

Cast thou these all about thee, 

At the Thing, 

Where folk throng, 
Unto the full doom faring. 

Of ale-runes know the wisdom 

If thou wilt that another's wife 
Should not bewray thine heart that trusteth 

Cut them on the mead-horn, 

On the back of each hand, 
And nick an N upon thy nail. 

Ale have thou heed 

To sign from all harm 
Leek lay thou in the liquor, 

Then I know for sure 

Never cometh to thee, 
Mead with hurtful matters mingled. 

Help-runes shalt thou gather 

If skill thou wouldst gain 
To loosen child from low-laid mother; 

Cut be they in hands hollow, 

Wrapped the joints round about; 
Call for the Good-folks' gainsome helping. 

Learn the bough-runes wisdom 

If leech-lore thou lovest ; 
And wilt wot about wounds' searching 

On the bark be they scored ; 

On the buds of trees 
Whose boughs look eastward ever. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS, 73 

Thought-runes shalt thou deal with 

If thou wilt be of all men 
Fairest-souled wight, and wisest, 

These areded 

These first cut 
These first took to heart high Hropt. 



On the shield were they scored 

That stands before the shining God, 

On Early-waking's ear, 

On All-knowing's hoof, 

On the wheel which runneth 

Under Rognir's chariot ; 

On Sleipnir's jaw-teeth, 

On the sleigh's traces. 

On the rough bear's paws ? 
And on Bragi's tongue, 
On the wolfs claws, 
And on eagle's bill, 
On bloody wings, 
And bridge's end ; 
On loosing palms, 
And pity's path : 

On glass, and on gold, 

And on goodly silver, 

In wine and in wort, 

And the seat of the witch- wife ; 

On Gungnir's point, 

And Grani's bosom : 



74 THE STOR Y OF THE 

On the Norn's nail, 

And the neb of the night-owl. 

All these so cut, 

Were shaven and sheared, 

And mingled in with holy mead, 

And sent upon wide ways enow ; 
Some abide with the Elves, 
Some abide with the ^Esir, 

Or with the wise Vanir, 

Some still hold the sons of mankind. 

These be the book-runes, 
And the runes of good help, 
And all the ale-runes, 
And the runes of much might ; 
To whomso they may avail, 
Unbewildered unspoilt ; 
They are wholesome to have : 
Thrive thou with these then. 
When thou hast learnt their lore, 
Till the Gods end thy life-days. 

Now shalt thou choose thee 

E'en as choice is bidden, 
Sharp steel's root and stem, 

Choose song or silence ; 

See to each in thy heart. 
All hurt has been heeded." 

Then answered Sigurd — 

" Ne'er shall I flee, 
Though thou wottest me fey ; 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 75 

Never was I born for blenching, 
Thy loved rede will I 

Hold aright in my heart 
Even as long as I may live." 



76 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXI. 

More Wise Words of Brynhild. 

OIGURD spake now, "Sure no wiser woman than thou 
^ art one may be found in the wide world; yea, yea, 
teach me more yet of thy wisdom ! " 

She answers, " Seemly is it that I do according to thy 
will, and show thee forth more redes of great avail, for thy 
prayer's sake and thy wisdom ; " and she spake withal — 

" Be kindly to friend and kin, and reward not their 
trespasses against thee ; bear and forbear, and win for thee 
thereby long enduring praise of men. 

"Take good heed of evil things: a may's love, and a 
man's wife ; full oft thereof doth ill befall ! 

" Let not thy mind be overmuch crossed by unwise men 
at thronged meetings of folk ; for oft these speak worse than 
they wot of; lest thou be called a dastard, and art minded 
to think that thou art even as is said ; slay such an one on 
another day, and so reward his ugly talk. 

" If thou farest by the way whereas bide evil things, be 
well ware of thyself; take not harbour near the highway, 
though thou be benighted, for oft abide there ill wights foi 
men's bewilderment. 

" Let not fair women beguile thee, such as thou mayst 
meet at the feast, so that the thought thereof stand thee in 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 77 

stead of sleep, and a quiet mind ; yea, draw them not to 
thee with kisses or other sweet things of love. 

"If thou hearest the fool's word of a drunken man, 
strive not with him being drunk with drink and witless ; 
many a grief, yea, and the very death, groweth from out 
such things. 

u Fight thy foes in the field, nor be burnt in thine 
house. 

" Never swear thou wrongsome oath ; great and grim is 
the reward for the breaking of plighted troth. 

" Give kind heed to dead men, — sick-dead, sea-dead, or 
sword-dead ; deal needfully with their dead corpses. 

" Trow never in him for whom thou hast slain father, 
brother, or whatso near kin, yea, though young he be; 
for oft waxes wolf in youngling. 

" Look thou with good heed to the wiles of thy friends ; 
but little skill is given to me, that I should foresee the 
ways of thy life ; yet good it were that hate fell not on thee 
from those of thy wife's house." 

Sigurd spake, "None among the sons 01 men can be 
found wiser than thou ; and thereby swear I, that thee will 
I have as my own, for near to my heart thou liest." 

She answers, " Thee would I fainest choose, though I 
had all men's sons to choose from." 

And thereto they plighted troth both of them. 



78 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXII. 

Of the Semblance and Array of Sigurd Fafnir's-baiie* 

1\J OW Sigurd rides away ; many-folded is his shield, and 
^ ^ blazing with red gold, and the image of a dragon is 
drawn thereon ; and this same was dark brown above, and 
bright red below ; and with even such-like image was 
adorned helm, and saddle, and coat-armour ; and he was 
clad in the golden byrny, and all his weapons were gold- 
wrought. 

Now for this cause was the drake drawn on all his 
weapons, that when he was seen of men, all folk might 
know who went there ; yea, all those who had heard of his 
slaying of that great dragon, that the Veerings call Fafnir ; 
and for that cause are his weapons gold-wrought, and brown 
of hue, and that he was by far above other men in courtesy 
and goodly manners, and well-nigh in all things else ; and 
whenas folk tell of all the mightiest champions, and the 
noblest chiefs, then ever is he named the foremost, and his 
name goes wide about on all tongues north of the sea of 
the Greek-lands, and even so shall it be while the world 
endures. 

Now the hair of this Sigurd was golden-red of hue, fair of 

* This chapter is nearly literally the same as chapter 166 of the 
Wilkinasaga; Ed. : Perinskiold, Stockholm, 1 71 5. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 79 

fashion, and falling down in great locks; thick and short 
was his beard, and of no other colour ; high-nosed he was, 
broad and high-boned of face ; so keen were his eyes, that- 
few durst gaze up under the brows of him ; his shoulders 
were as broad to look on as the shoulders of two ; 
most duly was his body fashioned betwixt height and 
breadth, and in. such wise as was seemliest; and this is 
the sign told of his height, that when he was girt with his 
sword Gram, which same was seven spans long, as he went 
through the full-grown rye-fields, the dew-shoe of the said 
sword smote the ears of the standing corn ; and, for all that, 
greater was his strength than his growth : well could he 
wield sword, and cast forth spear, shoot shaft, and hold 
shield, bend bow, back horse, and do all the goodly deeds 
that he learned in his youth's days. 

Wise he was to know things yet undone ; and the voice 
of all fowls he knew, wherefore few things fell on him 
unawares. 

Of many words he was, and so fair of speech withal, that 
whensoever he made it his business to speak, he never left 
speaking before that to all men it seemed full sure, that no 
otherwise must the matter be than as he said. 

His sport and pleasure it was to give aid to his own folk, 
and to prove himself in mighty matters, to take wealth from 
his unfriends, and give the same to his friends. 

Never did he lose heart, and of naught was he adrad. 



8o THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXIII. 



Sigurd comes to Hlymdale. 

T^ORTH Sigurd rides till he comes to a great and goodly 
f* dwelling, the lord whereof was a mighty chief called 
Heimir ; he had to wife a sister of Brynhild, who was hight 
Bekkhild, because she had bidden at home, and learned 
handicraft, whereas Brynhild fared with helm and byrny 
unto the wars, wherefore was she called Brynhild. 

Heimir and Bekkhild had a son called Alswid, the most 
courteous of men. 

Now at this stead were men disporting them abroad, but 
when they see the man riding thereto, they leave their play 
to wonder at him, for none such had they ever seen erst ; 
so they went to meet him, and gave him good welcome ; 
Alswid bade him abide and have such things at his hands 
as he would ; and he takes his bidding blithesomely ; due 
service withal was established for him ; four men bore the 
treasure of gold from off the horse, and the fifth took it 
to him to guard the same ; therein were many things to 
behold, things of great price, and seldom seen ; and great 
game and joy men had to look on byrnies and helms, and 
mighty rings, and wondrous great golden stoups, and all 
kinds of war weapons. 

So there dwelt Sigurd long in great honour holden ; and 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 81 

tidings of that deed of fame spread wide through all lands, 
of how he had slain that hideous and fearful dragon. So 
good joyance had they there together, and each was leal to 
other ; and their sport was in the arraying of their weapons, 
and the shafting of their arrows, and the flying of their 
falcons. 



006 



82 THE STORY OF THE 






CHAP. XXIV. 

Sigurd sees Brynhild at Hlymdale. 

T N those days came home to Heimir, Brynhild, his foster- 
■*■ daughter, and she sat in her bower with her maidens, 
and could more skill in handycraft than other women; 
she sat, overlaying cloth with gold, and sewing therein the 
great deeds which Sigurd had wrought, the slaying of the 
Worm, and the taking of the wealth of him, and the death 
of Regin withal. 

Now tells the tale, that on a day Sigurd rode into the 
wood with hawk, and hound, and men thronging ; and 
whenas he came home his hawk flew up to a high tower, 
and sat him down on a certain window. Then fared Sigurd 
after his hawk, and he saw where sat a fair woman, and 
knew that it was Brynhild, and he deems all things he sees 
there to be worthy together, both her fairness, and the fair 
things she wrought : and therewith he goes into the hall, 
but has no more joyance in the games of the men folk. 

Then spake Alswid, " Why art thou so bare of bliss ? 
this manner of thine grieveth us thy friends ; why then wilt 
thou not hold to thy gleesome ways ? Lo, thy hawks pine 
now, and thy horse Grani droops ; and long will it be ere 
we are booted thereof? " 

Sigurd answered, "Good friend, hearken to what lies 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 83 

on my mind ; for my hawk flew up into a certain tower ; 
and when I came thereto and took him, lo there I saw a 
fair woman, and she sat by a needlework of gold, and did 
thereon my deeds that are passed, and my deeds that are 
to come." 

Then said Alswid, "Thou hast seen Brynhild, Budli's 
daughter, the greatest of great women." 

"Yea, verily," said Sigurd; "but how came she 
hither ? " 

Alswid answered, "Short space there was betwixt the 
coming hither of the twain of you." 

Says Sigurd, " Yea, but a few days agone I knew her for 
the best of the world's women." 

Alswid said, " Give not all thine heed to one woman, 
being such a man as thou art ; ill life to sit lamenting for 
what we may not have." 

"I shall go meet her," says Sigurd, "and get from 
her love like my love, and give her a gold ring in token 
thereof." 

Alswid answered, "None has ever yet been known whom 
she would let sit beside her, or to whom she would give 
drink ; for ever will she hold to warfare and to the winning 
of all kinds of fame." 

Sigurd said, "We know not for sure whether she will give 
us answer or not, or grant us a seat beside her." 

So the next day after, Sigurd went to the bower, but 
Alswid stood outside the bower door, fitting shafts to his 
arrows. 

Now Sigurd spake, "Abide, fair and hale lady, — how 
farest thou?" 

She answered, " Well it fares ; my kin and my friends 
live yet : but who shall say what goodhap folk may bear to 
their life's end ? " 



84 THE STORY OF THE 

He sat him down by her, and there came in four damsels 
with great golden beakers, and the best of wine therein; 
and these stood before the twain. 

Then said Brynhild, " This seat is for few, but and if my 
father come." 

He answered, "Yet is it granted to one that likes me 
well." 

Now that chamber was hung with the best and fairest 
of hangings, and the floor thereof was all covered with 
cloth. 

Sigurd spake, " Now has it come to pass even as thou 
didst promise." 

" O be thou welcome here ! " said she, and arose there- 
with, and the four damsels with her, and bore the golden 
beaker to him, and bade him drink ; he stretched out his 
hand to the beaker, and took it, and her hand withal, and 
drew her down beside him ; and cast his arms round about 
her neck and kissed her, and said — 

" Thou art the fairest that was ever born ! " 

But Brynhild said, " Ah, wiser is it not to cast faith and 
troth into a woman's power, for ever shall they break that 
they have promised." 

He said, " That day would dawn the best of days over 
our heads whereon each of each should be made happy." 

Brynhild answered, " It is not fated that we should abide 
together ; I am a shield-may, and wear helm on head even 
as the kings of war, and them full oft I help, neither is the 
battle become loathsome to me." 

Sigurd answered, "What fruit shall be of our life, if we 
live not together : harder to bear this pain that lies 
hereunder, than the stroke of sharp sword." 

Brynhild answers, " I shall gaze on the hosts of the war- 
kings, but thou shalt wed Gudrun, the daughter of Giuki." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 85 

Sigurd answered, " What king's daughter lives to beguile 
me ? neither am I double-hearted herein • and now I swear 
by the Gods that thee shall I have for mine own, or no 
woman else." 

And even suchlike wise* spake she. 

Sigurd thanked her for her speech, and gave her a gold 
ring, and now they swore oath anew, and so he went his 
ways to his men, and is with them awhile in great bliss. 



86 THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. XXV. 

Of the Dream of Gudrun, GiuMs daughter, 

r T"^HERE was a king hight Giuki, who ruled a realm 
-*- south of the Rhine; three sons he had, thus 
named : Gunnar, Hogni, and Guttorm, and Gudrun was 
the name of his daughter, the fairest of maidens ; and all 
these children were far before all other king's children in 
all prowess, and in goodliness and growth withal ; ever were 
his sons at the wars and wrought many a deed of fame. 
But Giuki had wedded Grimhild the Wise-wife. 

Now Budli was the name of a king mightier than Giuki, 
mighty though they both were : and Atli was the brother 
of Brynhild: Atli was a fierce man and a grim, great 
and black to look on, yet noble of mien withal, and the 
greatest of warriors. Grimhild was a fierce-hearted 
woman. 

Now the days of the Giukings bloomed fair, and chiefly 
because of those children, so far before the sons of men. 

On a day Gudrun says to her mays that she may have no 
joy of heart ; then a certain woman asked her wherefore 
her joy was departed. 

She answered, " Grief came to me in my dreams, there- 
fore is there sorrow in my heart, since thou must needs ask 
thereof." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 87 

"Tell it me, then, thy dream," said the woman, "for 
dreams oft forecast but the weather." 

Gudrun answers, "Nay, nay, no weather is this; I 
dreamed that I had a fair hawk on my wrist, feathered with 
feathers of gold." 

Says the woman, "Many have heard tell of thy beauty, 
thy wisdom, and thy courtesy ; some king's son abides thee, 
then." 

Gudrun answers, " I dreamed that naught was so dear 
to me as this hawk, and all my wealth had I cast aside 
rather than him." 

The woman said, "Well, then, the man thou shalt 
have will be of the goodliest, and well shalt thou love 
him." 

Gudrun answered, " It grieves me that I know not who 
he shall be ; let us go seek Brynhild, for she belike will wot 
thereof." 

So they arrayed them in gold and many a fair thing, and 
she went with her damsels till they came to the hall of 
Brynhild, and that hall was dight with gold, and stood on a 
high hill ; and whenas their goings were seen, it was told 
Brynhild, that a company of women drove toward the burg 
in gilded waggons. 

" That shall be Gudrun, Giuki's daughter," says she : 
"I dreamed of her last night; let us go meet her! no 
fairer woman may come to our house." 

So they went abroad to meet them, and gave them good 
greeting, and they went into the goodly hall together; 
fairly painted it was within, and well adorned with silver 
vessel ; cloths were spread under the feet of them, and all 
folk served them, and in many wise they sported. 

But Gudrun was somewhat silent. 

Then said Brynhild, " 111 to abash folk of their mirth ) 



88 THE STOR Y OF THE 

prithee do not so ; let us talk together for our disport of 
mighty kings and their great deeds." 

"Good talk," says Gudrun, "let us do even so; what 
kings deemest thou to have been the first of all men? " 

Brynhild says, " The sons of Haki, and Hagbard 
withal ; they brought to pass many a deed of fame in their 
warfare." 

Gudrun answers, " Great men certes, and of noble 
fame! Yet Sigar took their one sister, and burned the 
other, house and all ; and they may be called slow to 
revenge the deed ; why didst thou not name my brethren, 
who are held to be the first of men as at this time ? " 

Brynhild says, "Men of good hope are they surely, 
though but little proven hitherto ; but one I know far 
before them, Sigurd, the son of Sigmund the king; a 
youngling was he in the days when he slew the sons of 
Hunding, and revenged his father, and Eylimi, his mother's 
father." 

Said Gudrun, " By what token tellest thou that ? " 

Brynhild answered, "His mother went amid the dead, 
and found Sigmund the king sore wounded, and would 
bind up his hurts ; but he said he grew over old for war, 
and bade her lay this comfort to her heart, that she should 
bear the most famed of sons ; and wise was the wise 
man's word therein : for after the death of King Sigmund, 
she went to King Alf, and there was Sigurd nourished 
in great honour, and day by day he wrought some deed 
of fame, and is ,the man most renowned of all the wide 
world." 

Gudrun says, " From love hast thou gained these tidings 
of him ; but for this cause came I here, to tell thee dreams 
of mine which have brought me great grief." 

Says Brynhild, " Let not such matters sadden thee ; 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 89 

abide with thy friends who wish thee blithesome, all of 
them ! " 

" This I dreamed," said Gudrun, " that we went, a many 
of us in company, from the bower, and we saw an exceed- 
ing great hart, that far excelled all other deer ever seen, 
and the hair of him was golden ; and this deer we were all 
fain to take, but I alone got him ; and he seemed to me 
better than all things else; but sithence thou, Byrnhild, 
didst shoot and slay my deer even at my very knees, and 
such grief was that to me that scarce might I bear it ; 
and then afterwards thou gavest me a wolf-cub, which 
besprinkled me with the blood of my brethren." 

Brynhild answers, " I will arede thy dream, even as 
things shall come to pass hereafter; for Sigurd shall come 
to thee, even he whom I have chosen for my well-beloved ; 
and Grimhild shall give him mead mingled with hurtful 
things, which shall cast us all into mighty strife. Him 
shalt thou have, and him shalt thou quickly miss ; and Atli 
the king shalt thou wed ; and thy brethren shalt thou lose, 
and slay Atli withal in the end." 

Gudrun answers, " Grief and woe to know that such 
things shall be ! " 

And therewith she and hers get them gone home to 
King Giuki. 



go THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXVI. 

Sigurd comes to the Ginkings and is wedded to Gudrun. 

TVT 0W Sigurd goes his ways with all that great treasure, 
and in friendly wise he departs from them ; and on 
Grani he rides with all his war-gear and the burden withal ; 
and thus he rides until he comes to the hall of King Giuki ; 
there he rides into the burg, and that sees one of the king's 
men, and he spake withal — 

" Sure it may be deemed that here is come one of the 
Gods, for his array is all done with gold, and his horse is 
far mightier than other horses, and the manner of his 
weapons is most exceeding goodly, and most of all the man 
himself far excels all other men ever seen." 

So the king goes out with his court and greets the man, 
and asks — 

" Who art thou who thus ridest into my burg, as none 
has durst hitherto without the leave of my sons ? " 

He answered, " I am called Sigurd, son of King 
Sigmund." 

Then said King Giuki, "Be thou welcome here then, 
and take at our hands whatso thou wiliest/' 

So he went into the king's hall, and all men seemed little 
beside him, and all men served him, and there he abode in 
great joyance. 



VOLSUNGS AND MBLUNGS. 91 

Now oft they all ride abroad together, Sigurd and 
Gunnar and Hogni, and ever is Sigurd far the foremost of 
them, mighty men of their hands though they were. 

But Grimhild finds how heartily Sigurd loved Brynhild, 
and how oft he talks of her ; and she falls to thinking how 
well it were, if he might abide there and wed the daughter 
of King Giuki, for she saw that none might come anigh to 
his goodliness, and what faith and goodhelp there was in 
him, and how that he had more wealth withal than folk 
might tell of any man j and the king did to him even as 
unto his own sons, and they for their parts held him of 
more worth than themselves. 

So on a night as they sat at the drink, the queen arose, 
and went before Sigurd, and said — 

" Great joy we have in thine abiding here, and all good 
things will we put before thee to take of us ; lo now, take 
this horn and drink thereof." 

So he took it and drank, and therewithal she said, " Thy 
father shall be Giuki the king, and I shall be thy mother, 
and Gunnar and Hogni shall be thy brethren, and all this 
shall be sworn with oaths each to each ; and then surely 
shall the like of you never be found on earth." 

Sigurd took her speech well, for with the drinking of that 
drink all memory of Brynhild departed from him. So there 
he abode awhile. 

And on a day went Grimhild to Giuki the king, and cast 
her arms about his neck, and spake — 

" Behold, there has now come to us the greatest of great 
hearts that the world holds ; and needs must he be trusty 
and of great avail ; give him thy daughter then, with 
plenteous wealth, and as much of rule as he will ; perchance 
thereby he will be well content to abide here ever." 

The king answered, "Seldom does it befall that kings 



92 THE STORY OF THE 

offer their daughters to any ; yet in higher wise will it be 
done to offer her to this man, than to take lowly prayers for 
her from others." 

On a night Gudrun pours out the drink, and Sigurd 
beholds her how fair she is and how full of all courtesy. 

Five seasons Sigurd abode there, and ever they passed 
their days together in good honour and friendship. 

And so it befell that the kings held talk together, and 
Giuki said — 

" Great good thou givest us, Sigurd, and with exceeding 
strength thou strengthenest our realm." 

Then Gunnar said, " All things that may be will we do 
for thee, so thou abidest here long ; both dominion shalt 
thou have, and our sister freely and unprayed for, whom 
another man would not get for all his prayers." 

Sigurd says, " Thanks have ye for this wherewith ye 
honour me, and gladly will I take the same." 

Therewith they swore brotherhood together, and to be 
even as if they were children of one father and one mother; 
and a noble feast was holden, and endured many days, and 
Sigurd drank at the wedding of him and Gudrun ; and 
there might men behold all manner of game and glee, and 
each day the feast better and better. 

Now fare these folk wide over the world, and do many 
great deeds, and slay many kings' sons, and no man has 
ever done such works of prowess as did they ; then home 
they come again with much wealth won in war. 

Sigurd gave of the serpent's heart to Gudrun, and she ate 
thereof, and became greater-hearted, and wiser than ere 
before : and the son of these twain was called Sigmund. 

Now on a time went Grimhild to Gunnar her son, and 
spake — 

" Fair blooms the life and fortune of thee, but for one 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 93 

thing only, and namely whereas thou art un wedded ; go woo 
Brynhild; good rede is this, and Sigurd will ride with 
thee." 

Gunnar answered, " Fair is she certes, and I am fain 
enow to win her ; " and therewith he tells his father, and 
his brethren, and Sigurd, and they all prick him on to that 
wooing. 



94 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXVII. 

The Wooing of Brynhild. 

TVTOW they array them joyously for their journey, and 
ride over hill and dale to the house of King Budli, 
and woo his daughter of him ; in a good wise he took their 
speech, if so be that she herself would not deny them ; but 
he said withal that so high-minded was she, that that man 
only might wed her whom she would. 

Then they ride to Hlymdale, and there Heimir gave 
them good welcome ; so Gunnar tells his errand ; Heimir 
says, that she must needs wed but him whom she herself 
chose freely ; and tells them how her abode was but a little 
way thence, and that he deemed that him only would she 
have who should ride through the flaming fire that was 
drawn round about her hall ; so they depart and come to 
the hall and the fire, and see there a castle with a golden 
roof-ridge, and all round about a fire roaring up. 

Now Gunnar rode on Goti, but Hogni on Holkvi, and 
Gunnar smote his horse to face the fire, but he shrank 
aback. 

Then said Sigurd, " Why givest thou back, Gunnar ? " 

He answered, " The horse will not tread this fire ; but 
lend me thy horse Grani." 

' 'Yea, with all my good will," says Sigurd. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 95 

Then Gunnar rides him at the fire, and yet nowise will 
Grani stir, nor may Gunnar any .the more ride through that 
fire. So now they change semblance, Gunnar and Sigurd, 
even as Grimhild had taught them ; then Sigurd in the 
likeness of Gunnar mounts and rides, Gram in his hand, 
and golden spurs on his heels ; then leapt Grani into the 
fire when he felt the spurs ; and a mighty roar arose as the 
fire burned ever madder, and the earth trembled, and the 
flames went up even unto the heavens, nor had any dared 
to ride as he rode, even as it were through the deep mirk. 

But now the fire sank withal, and he leapt from his horse 
and went into the hall, even as the song says — 

The flame flared at its maddest, 
Earth's fields fell a-quaking 
As the red flame aloft 
Licked the lowest of heaven. 
Few had been fain, 
Of the rulers of folk, 
To ride through that flame, 
Or athwart it to tread. 

Then Sigurd smote 
Grani with sword, 
And the flame was slaked 
Before the king ; 
Low lay the flames 
Before the fain of fame ; 
Bright gleamed the array 
That Regin erst owned. 

Now when Sigurd had passed through the fire, he came 
into a certain fair dwelling, and therein sat Brynhild. 



96 THE STOR Y OF THE 

She asked, ." What man is it ? " 

Then he named himself Gunnar, son of Giuki, and said 
— "Thou art awarded to me as my wife, by the good-will 
and word of thy father and thy foster-father, and I have 
ridden through the flames of thy fire, according to thy word 
that thou hast set forth." 

"I wot not clearly," said she, "how I shall answer thee." 

Now Sigurd stood upright on the hall floor, and leaned 
on the hilt of his sword, and he spake to Brynhild — 

"In reward thereof, shall I pay thee a great dower in 
gold and goodly things ? " 

She answered in heavy mood from her seat, whereas she 
sat like unto swan on billow, having a sword in her hand, 
and a helm on her head, and being clad in a byrny, " O 
Gunnar," she says, " speak not to me of such things; 
unless thou be the first and best of all men ; for then shalt 
thou slay those my wooers, if thou hast heart thereto ; I 
have been in battles with the king of the Greeks, and our 
weapons were stained with red blood, and for such things 
still I yearn." 

He answered, " Yea, certes many great deeds hast thou 
done ; but yet call thou to mind thine oath, concerning the 
riding through of this fire, wherein thou didst swear 
that thou wouldst go with the man who should do this 
deed." 

So she found that he spake but the sooth, and she paid 
heed to his words, and arose, and greeted him meetly, and 
he abode there three nights, and they lay in one bed 
together ; but he took the sword Gram and laid it betwixt 
them : then she asked him why he laid it there ; and he 
answered, that in that wise must he needs wed his wife or 
else get his bane. 

Then she took from off her the ring Andvari's-loom, 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 97 

which he had given her aforetime, and gave it to him, but 
he gave her another ring out of Fafnir's hoard. 

Thereafter he rode away through the same fire unto his 
fellows, and he and Gunnar changed semblances again, and 
rode unto Hlymdale, and told how it had gone with them. 

That same day went Brynhild home to her foster-father, 
and tells him as one whom she trusted, how that there 
had come a king to her; "And he rode through my 
flaming fire, and said he was come to woo me, and named 
himself Gunnar ; but I said that such a deed might Sigurd 
alone have done, with whom I plighted troth on the 
mountain; and he is my first troth-plight, and my well- 
beloved." 

Heimir said that things must needs abide even as now 
they had now come to pass. 

Brynhild said, " Aslaug the daughter of me and Sigurd 
shall be nourished here with thee." 

Now the kings fare home, but Brynhild goes to her 
father; Grimhild welcomes the kings meetly, and thanks 
Sigurd for his fellowship ; and withal is a great feast made, 
and many were the guests thereat ; and thither came Budli 
the King with his daughter Brynhild, and his son Atli, and 
for many days did the feast endure : and at that feast was 
Gunnar wedded to Brynhild : but when it was brought to 
an end, once more has Sigurd memory of all the oaths that 
he sware unto Brynhild, yet withal he let all things abide 
in rest and peace." 

Brynhild and Gunnar sat together in great game and 
glee, and drank goodly wine. 



007 



9 3 THE STOR Y OF THE 



CHAP. XXVIII. 

Hozv the Queens held angry converse together at the Bathing. 

/~^N a day as the Queens went to the river to bathe 
^-^ them, Brynhild waded the farthest out into the 
river ; then asked Gudrun what that deed might signify. 

Brynhild said, "Yea, and why then should I be equal to 
thee in this matter more than in others ? I am minded to 
think that my father is mightier than thine, and my true- 
love has wrought many wondrous works of fame, and hath 
ridden the flaming fire withal, while thy husband was but 
the thrall of King Hjalprek." 

Gudrun answered full of wrath, "Thou wouldst be wise 
if thou shouldst hold thy peace rather than revile my 
husband : lo now, the talk of all men it is, that none has 
ever abode in this world like unto him in all matters 
soever ; and little it beseems thee of all folk to mock him 
who was thy first beloved : and Fafnir he slew, yea, and he 
rode thy flaming fire, whereas thou didst deem that he was 
Gunnar the King, and by thy side he lay, and took from 
thine hand the ring Andvari's-loom \ — here mayst thou well 
behold it ! » 

Then Brynhild saw the ring and knew it, and waxed as 
wan as a dead woman, and she went home and spake no 
word the evening long. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 99 

So when Sigurd came to bed to Gudrun she asked him 
why Brynhild' s joy was so departed. 

He answered, "I know not, but sore I misdoubt me 
that soon we shall know thereof over well." 

Gudrun said, "Why may she not love her life, having 
wealth and bliss, and the praise of all men, and the man 
withal that she would have ? " 

" Ah, yea ! " said Sigurd, " and where in all the world 
was she then, when she said that she deemed she had the 
noblest of all men, and the dearest to her heart of all ? " 

Gudrun answers, "Tomorn will I ask her concerning 
this, who is the liefest to her of all men for a husband." 

Sigurd said, " Needs must I forbid thee this, and full 
surely wilt thou rue the deed if thou doest it." 

Now the next morning they sat in the bower, and 
Brynhild was silent ; then spake Gudrun— 

" Be merry, Brynhild ! Grievest thou because of that 
speech of ours together, or what other thing slayeth thy 
bliss ? " 

Brynhild answers, "With naught but evil intent thou 
sayest this, for a cruel heart thou hast." 

"Say not so," said Gudrun; "but rather tell me all 
the tale." 

Brynhild answers, " Ask such things only as are good 
for thee to know — matters meet for mighty dames. Good 
to love good things when all goes according to thy heart's 
desire ! " 

Gudrun says, "Early days for me to glory in that; 
but this word of thine looketh toward some foreseeing. 
What ill dost thou thrust at us ? I did naught to grieve 
thee." 

Brynhild answers, " For this shalt thou pay, in that thou 
hast got Sigurd to thee, — nowise can I see thee living in 



ioo THE STORY OF THE 

the bliss thereof, whereas thou hast him, and the wealth 
and the might of him." 

But Gudrun answered, " Naught knew I of your words 
and vows together ; and well might my father look to the 
mating of me without dealing with thee first." 

"No secret speech had we," quoth Brynhild, " though 
we swore oath together \ and full well didst thou know that 
thou wentest about to beguile me ; verily thou shalt have 
thy reward ! " 

Says Gudrun, "Thou art mated better than thou art 
worthy of; but thy pride and rage shall be hard to slake 
belike, and therefor shall many a man pay." 

"Ah, I should be well content," said Brynhild, "if thou 
hadst not the nobler man ! " 

Gudrun answers, " So noble a husband hast thou, that 
who knows of a greater king or a lord of more wealth and 
might?" 

Says Brynhild, " Sigurd slew Fafnir, and that only deed 
is of more worth than all the might of King Gunnar." 

(Even as the song says) : 

The worm Sigurd slew, 
Nor ere shall that deed 
Be worsened by age 
While the world is alive : 
But thy brother the King 
Never durst, never bore 
The flame to ride down 
Through the fire to fare. 

Gudrun answers, " Grani would not abide the fire under 
Gunnar the King, but Sigurd durst the deed, and thy heart 
mav well abide without mocking him." 

,# otMe S /c 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 101 

Brynhild answers, " Nowise will I hide from thee that I 
deem no good of Grimhild." 

Says Gudrun, " Nay, lay no ill words on her, for in all 
things she is to thee as to her own daughter." 

"Ah," says Brynhild, "she is the beginning of all this 
bale that biteth so ; an evil drink she bare to Sigurd, so 
that he had no more memory of my very name." 

" All wrong thou talkest ; a lie without measure is this," 
quoth Gudrun. 

Brynhild answered, "Have thou joy of Sigurd according 
to the measure of the wiles wherewith ye have beguiled me ! 
unworthily have ye conspired against me ; may all things go 
with you as my heart hopes ! " 

Gudrun says, " More joy shall I have of him than thy 
wish would give unto me : but to no man's mind it came, 
that he had aforetime his pleasure of me ; nay not once." 

"Evil speech thou speakest," says Brynhild ; " when thy 
wrath runs off thou wilt rue it; but come now, let us no 
more cast angry words one at the other ! " 

Says Gudrun, " Thou wert the first to cast such words at 
me, and now thou makest as if thou wouldst amend it, but 
a cruel and hard heart abides behind." 

" Let us lay aside vain babble," says Brynhild. " Long 
did I hold my peace concerning my sorrow of heart, and, lo 
now, thy brother alone do I love ; let us fall to other talk." 

Gudrun said, "Far beyond all this doth thine heart 
look." 

And so ugly ill befell from that going to the river, 
and that knowing of the ring, wherefrom did all their talk 
arise. 



io2 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP, XXIX. 

Of Brynhild 1 s great Grief and Mourning. 

A FTER this talk Brynhild lay a-bed, and tidings were 
*•*• brought to King Gunnar that Brynhild was sick ; he 
goes to see her thereon, and asks what ails her; but she 
answered him naught, but lay there as one dead : and when 
he was hard on her lor an answer, she said — 

" What didst thou with that ring that I gave thee, even 
the one which King Budli gave me at our last parting, 
when thou and King Giuki came to him and threatened 
fire and the sword, unless ye had me to wife ? Yea, at that 
time he led me apart, and asked me which I had chosen ot 
those who were come ; but I prayed him that I might abide 
to ward the land and be chie. over the third part of his 
men ; then were there two choices for me to deal betwixt, 
either that I should be wedded to h m whom he would, or 
lose all my weal and friendship at his hands ; and he said 
withal that his friendship would be better to me than his 
wrath : then I bethought me whether I should yield to his 
will, or slay many a man ; and therewithal I deemed that it 
would avail little to strive with him, and so it fell out, that 
I promised to wed whomsoever should ride the horse Grani 
with Fafnir's Hoard, and ride through my flaming fire, and 4 
slay those men whom I called on him to slay, and now so 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 103 

it was, that none durst ride, save Sigurd only, because he 
lacked no heart thereto ; yea, and the Worm he slew, and 
Regin, and five kings beside ; but thou, Gunnar, durst do 
naught ; as pale as a dead man didst thou wax, and no 
king thou art, and no champion ; so whereas I made a vow 
unto my father, that him alone would I love who was the 
noblest man alive, and that this is none save Sigurd, lo, now 
have I broken my oath and brought it to naught, since he is 
none of mine, and for this cause shall I compass thy death; 
and a great reward of evil things have I wherewith to 
reward Grimhild ; — never, I wot, has woman lived eviler or 
of lesser heart than she." 

Gunnar answered in such wise that few might hear 
him, " Many a vile word hast thou spoken, and an evil- 
hearted woman art thou, whereas thou revilest a woman far 
better than thou ; never would she curse her life as thou 
dost ; nay, nor has she tormented dead folk, or murdered 
any ; but lives her life well praised of all." 

Brynhild answered, " Never have I dwelt with evil things 
privily, or done loathsome deeds ; — yet most fain I am to 
slay thee." 

And therewith would she slay King Gunnar, but Hogni 
laid her in fetters ; but then Gunnar spake withal — . 

" Nay, I will not that she abide in fetters." 

Then said she, " Heed it not ! for never again seest thou 
me glad in thine hall, never drinking, never at the chess- 
play, never speaking the words of kindness, never over- 
laying the fair cloths with gold, never giving thee good 
counsel; — ah, my sorrow of heart that I might not get 
Sigurd to me ! " 

Then she sat up and smote her needlework, and rent it 
asunder, and bade set open her bower doors, that far away 
might the wailings of her sorrow be heard; then great 



104 THE STORY OF THE 

mourning and lamentation there was, so that folk heard it 
far and wide through that abode. 

Now Gudrun asked her bower-maidens why they sat so 
joyless and downcast. " What has come to you, that ye fare 
ye as witless women, or what unheard-of wonders have 
befallen you ? " 

Then answered a waiting lady, hight Swaflod, " An 
untimely, an evil day it is, and our hall is fulfilled of 
lamentation." 

Then spake Gudrun to one of her handmaids, "Arise, 
for we have slept long ; go, wake Brynhild, and let us fall 
to our needlework and be merry. " 

"Nay, nay," she says, "nowise may I wake her, or talk 
with her; for many days has she drunk neither mead nor 
wine; surely the wrath of the Gods has fallen upon her." 

Then spake Gudrun to Gunnar, "Go and see her," she 
says, " and bid her know that I am grieved with her grief." 

" Nay," says Gunnar, " I am forbid to go see her or to 
share her weal." 

Nevertheless he went unto her, and strives in many wise 
to have speech of her, but gets no answer whatsoever: 
therefore he gets him gone and finds Hogni, and bids him 
go see her : he said he was loth thereto, but went, and gat 
no more of her. 

Then they go and find Sigurd, and pray him to visit her ; 
he answered naught thereto, and so matters abode for that 
night. 

But the next day, when he came home from hunting, 
Sigurd went to Gudrun, and spake — 

" In such wise do matters show to me, as though great 
and evil things will betide from this trouble and upheaving, 
and that Brynhild will surely die." 

Gudrun answers, " O my lord, by great wonders is she 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 105 

encompassed, seven days and seven nights has she slept, 
and none has dared wake her." 

"Nay, she sleeps not," said Sigurd, "her heart is dealing 
rather with dreadful intent against me." 

Then said Gudrun, weeping, " Woe worth the while for 
thy death ! go and see her ; and wot if her fury may not 
be abated; give her gold, and smother up her grief and 
anger therewith ! " 

Then Sigurd went out, and found the door of Brynhild's 
chamber open ; he deemed she slept, and drew the clothes 
from off her, and said — 

" Awake, Brynhild ! the sun shineth now over all the 
house, and thou hast slept enough ; cast off grief from thee, 
and take up gladness ! " 

She said, "And how then hast thou dared to come to 
me ? in this treason none was worse to me than thou." 

Said Sigurd, " Why wilt thou not speak to folk? for what 
cause sorrow est thou ? " 

Brynhild answers, " Ah, to thee will I tell of my wrath ! " 

Sigurd said, "As one under a spell art thou, if thou 
deemest that there is aught cruel in my heart against thee ; 
but thou hast him for husband whom thou didst choose." 

"Ah, nay," she said, "never did Gunnar ride through 
the fire to me, nor did he give me to dower the host of 
the slain : I wondered at the man who came into my hall ; 
for I deemed indeed that I knew thine eyes ; but I might 
not see clearly, or divide the goqd from the evil, because of 
the veil that lay heavy on my fortune. " 

Says Sigurd, "No nobler men are there than the sons of 
Giuki, they slew the king of the Danes, and that great chief, 
the brother of King Budli." 

Brynhild answered, " Surely for many an ill-deed must I 
reward them ; mind me not of my griefs against them ! 



106 THE STORY OF THE 

But thou, Sigurd, slewest the Worm, and rodest the fire 
through ; yea, and for my sake, and not one of the sons of 
King Giuki." 

Sigurd answers, "I am not thy husband, and thou art 
not my wife ; yet did a farfamed king pay dower to 
thee." 

Says Brynhild, " Never looked I at Gunnar in such a 
wise that my heart smiled on him ; and hard and fell am I 
to him, though I hide it from others." » 

"A marvellous thing," says Sigurd, "not to love such a 
king ; what angers thee most ? for surely his love should be 
better to thee than gold/ 

" This is the sorest sorrow to me," she said, " that the 
bitter sword is not reddened in thy blood." 

" Have no fear thereof ! " says he, " no long while to 
wait or the bitter sword stand deep in my heart ; and no 
worse needest thou to pray for thyself, for thou wilt not live 
when I am dead ; the days of our two lives shall be few 
enough from henceforth." 

Brynhild answers, " Enough and to spare of bale is in 
thy speech, since thou bewrayedst me, and didst twin* me 
and all bliss; — naught do I heed my life or death." 

Sigurd answers, "Ah, live, and love King Gunnar and 
me withal ! and all my wealth will I give thee if thou die 
not." 

Brynhild answers, "Thou knowest me not, nor the heart 
that is in me; for thou art the first and best of all 
men, and I am become the most loathsome of all women 
to thee." 

"This is truer," says Sigurd, "that I loved thee better 
than myself, though I fell into the wiles from whence our 
lives may not escape ; for whenso my own heart and 

* Sunder. 



VOLS UNGS A ND NIBL UNGS. i o 7 

mind availed me, then I sorrowed sore that thou wert 
not my wife ; but as I might I put my trouble from 
me, for in a king's dwelling was I ; and withal and in 
spite of all I was well content that we were all together. 
Well may it be, that that shall come to pass which 
is foretold ; neither shall I fear the fulfilment thereof." 

Brynhild answered, and said, " Too late thou tellest 
me that my grief grieved thee : little pity shall I find 
now." 

Sigurd said, "This my heart would, that thou and 
I should go into one bed together; even so wouldst 
thou be my wife," 

Said Brynhild, "Such words may nowise be spoken, 
nor will I have two kings in one hall ; I will lay my life 
down rather than beguile Gunnar the King." 

And therewith she call to mind how they met, 
they two, on the mountain, and swore oath each to 
each. 

" But now is all changed, and I will not live." 

"I might not call to mind thy name," said Sigurd, 
"or know thee again, before the time of thy wedding; 
the greatest of all griefs is that." 

Then said Brynhild, "I swore an oath to wed the 
man who should ride my flaming fire, and that oath will 
I hold to, or die." 

" Rather than thou die, I will wed thee, and put 
away Gudrun," said Sigurd. 

But therewithal so swelled the heart betwixt the sides 
of him, that the rings of his byrny burst asunder. 

"I will not have thee," says Brynhild, "nay, nor any 
other ! » 

Then Sigurd got him gone. 

So saith the song of Sigurd — 






108 THE STORY OF THE 

" Out then went Sigurd, 
The great kings' well-loved, 
From the speech and the sorrow, 
Sore drooping, so grieving, 
That the shirt round about him 
Of iron rings woven, 
From the sides brake asunder 
Of the brave in the battle." 

So when Sigurd came into the hall, Gunnar asked if he 
had come to a knowledge of what great grief lay heavy 
on her, or if she had power of speech : and Sigurd said 
that she lacked it not. So now Gunnar goes to her 
again, and asked her, what wrought her woe, or if there 
were anything that might amend it. 

"I will not live," says Brynhild, "for Sigurd has 
bewrayed me, yea, and thee no less, whereas thou didst 
suffer him to come into my bed: lo thou, two men in 
one dwelling I will not have; and this shall be Sigurd's 
death, or thy death, or my death ;— for now has he 
told Gudrun all, and she is mocking me even now ! " 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 109 



CHAP. XXX. 

Of the Slaying of Sigurd Fafnir* s-bane. 

THEREAFTER Brynhild went out, and sat under 
■*■ her bower-wall, and had many words of wailing 
to say, and still she cried that all things were loathsome 
to her, both land and lordship alike, so she might not 
have Sigurd. 

But therewith came Gunnar to her yet again, and 
Brynhild spake, " Thou shalt lose both realm and wealth, 
and thy life and me, for I shall fare home to my kin, 
and abide there in sorrow, unless thou slayest Sigurd 
and his son ; never nourish thou a wolfcub." 

Gunnar grew sick at heart thereat, and might nowise 
see what fearful thing lay beneath it all ; he was bound 
to Sigurd by oath, and this way and that way swung 
the heart within him ; but at the last he bethought him 
of the measureless shame if his wife went from him, 
and he said within himself, " Brynhild is bettter to me 
than all things else, and the fairest woman of all 
women, and I will lay down my life rather than lose 
the love of her." And herewith he called to him his 
brother and spake, — 

" Trouble is heavy on me," and he tells him that he 
must needs slay Sigurd, for that he has failed him where 



no THE STORY OF THE 

in he trusted him; "so let us be lords of the gold and 
the realm withal." 

Hogni answers, "111 it behoves us to break our oaths 
with wrack and wrong, and withal great aid we have in 
him; no kings shall be as great as we, if so be the 
King of the Hun-folk may live; such another brother- 
in-law never may we get again ; bethink thee how good 
it is to have such a brother-in-law, and such sons to our 
sister ! But well I see how things stand, for this has 
Brynhild stirred thee up to, and surely shall her counsel 
drag us into huge shame and scathe." 

Gunnar says, "Yet shall it be brought about: and, 
lo, a rede thereto ; — let us egg on our brother Guttorm to 
the deed; he is young, and of little knowledge, and is 
clean out of all the oaths moreover." 

"Ah, set about in ill wise," says Hogni, "and though 
indeed it may well be compassed, a due reward shall 
Ave gain for the bewrayal of such a man as is Sigurd." 

Gunnar says, "Sigurd shall die, or I shall die." 

And therewith he bids Brynhild arise and be glad 
at heart: sc she arose, and still ever she said that 
Gunnar should come no more into her bed till the deed 
was done. 

So the brothers fall to talk, and Gunnar says that it 
is a deed well worthy of death, that taking of Brynhild's 
maidenhead; "So come now, let us prick on Guttorm 
to do the deed." 

Therewith they call him to them, and offer him gold 
and great dominion, as they well have might to do. 
Yea, and they took a certain worm and somewhat of 
wolfs flesh and let seethe them together, and gave him 
to eat of the same, even as the singer sings — 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. in 

Fish of the wild- wood, 
Worm smooth crawling, 
With wolf-meat mingled, 
They minced for Guttorm ; 
Then in the beaker, 
In the wine his mouth knew, 
They set it, still doing 
More deeds of wizards. 

Wherefore with the eating of this meat he grew so wild 
and eager, and with all things about him, and with 
the heavy words of Grimhild, that he gave his word 
to do the deed; and mighty honour they promised him 
in reward thereof. 

But of these evil wiles naught at all knew Sigurd, for 
he might not deal with his shapen fate, nor the measure 
of his life-days, neither deemed he that he was worthy 
of such things at their hands. 

So Guttorm went in to Sigurd the next morning as he 
lay upon his bed, yet durst he not do aught against 
him, but shrank back out again; yea, and even so he 
fared a second time, for so bright and eager were the 
eyes of Sigurd that few durst look upon him. But the 
third time he went in, and there lay Sigurd asleep; 
then Guttorm drew his sword and thrust Sigurd through 
in such wise that the sword point smote into the bed 
beneath him; then Sigurd awoke with that wound, and 
Guttorm gat him unto the door ; but therewith Sigurd 
caught up the sword Gram, and cast it after him, and 
it smote him on the back, and struck him asunder in the 
midst, so that the feet of him fell one way, and the head 
and hands back into the chamber. 

Now Gudrun lay asleep on Sigurd's bosom, but she 



ii2 THE STORY OF THE 






woke up unto woe that may not be told of, all swimming 
in the blood of him, and in such wise did she bewail 
her with weeping and words of sorrow, that Sigurd rose up 
on the bolster, and spake. 

"Weep not," said he, "for thy brothers live for thy 
delight ; but a young son have I, too young to be ware of 
his foes ; and an ill turn have these played against their 
own fortune ; for never will they get a mightier brother-in- 
law to ride abroad with them ; nay, nor a better son to 
their sister, than this one, if he may grow to man's estate. 
Lo, now is that come to pass which was foretold me long 
ago, but from mine eyes has it been hidden, for none may 
fight against his fate and prevail. Behold this has 
Brynhild brought to pass, even she who loves me before 
all men ; but this may I swear, that never have I wrought 
ill to Gunnar, but rather have ever held fast to my oath 
with him, nor was I ever too much a friend to his wife. 
And now if I had been forewarned, and had been afoot 
with my weapons, then should many a man have lost his 
life or ever I had fallen, and all those brethren should 
have been slain, and a harder work would the slaying of me 
have been than the slaying of the mightiest bull or the 
mightiest boar of the wild- wood." 

And even therewithal life left the King; but Gudrun 
moaned and drew a weary breath, and Brynhild heard it, 
and laughed when she heard her moaning. 

Then said Gunnar, "Thou laughest not because thy 
heart-roots are gladdened, or else why doth thy visage wax 
so wan ? Sure an evil creature thou art ; most like 
thou art nigh to thy death ! Lo now, how meet would 
it be for thee to behold thy brother Atli slain before 
thine eyes, and that thou shouldst stand over him dead; 
whereas we must needs now stand over our brother-in-law 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 113 

in such a case — our brother-in-law and our brother's 
bane." 

She answered, "None need mock at the measure of 
slaughter being unfulfilled; yet heedeth not Atli your 
wrath or your threats ; yea, he shall live longer than 
ye, and be a mightier man." 

Hogni spake and said, " Now hath come to pass the 
soothsaying of Brynhild ; an ill work not to be atoned 
for." 

And Gudrun said, " My kinsmen have slain my husband; 
but ye, when ye next ride to the war and are come into the 
battle, then shall ye look about and see that Sigurd is 
neither on the right hand nor the left, and ye shall know 
that he was your good-hap and your strength ; and if he 
had lived and had sons, then should ye have been 
strengthened by his offspring and his kin." 



co8 



ii4 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXXI. 

Of the Lamentation of Gudrun over Sigurd dead, as it is 
told in the ancient Songs* 

r* UDRUN of old days 
^-* Drew near to dying 
As she sat in sorrow 
Over Sigurd ; 
Yet she sighed not 
Nor smote hand on hand, 
Nor wailed she aught 
As other women. 



Then went earls to her 3 
Full of all wisdom, 
Fain help to deal 
To her dreadful heart : 
Hushed was Gudrun 
Of wail, or greeting, 
But with a heavy woe 
Was her heart a-breaking. 

* This chapter is the Eddaic poem, called the first Lay of Gudrun, 
inserted here by the translators. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 11 

Bright and fair 

Sat the great earls' brides ; 

Gold arrayed 

Before Gudrun ; 

Each told the tale 

Of her great trouble, 

The bitterest bale 

She erst abode. 

Then spake Giaflaug, 

Guild's sister : 

u Lo upon earth 

I live most loveless 

Who of five mates 

Must see the ending, 

Of daughters twain 

And three sisters, 

Of brethren eight, 

And abide behind lonely." 

Naught gat Gudrun 

Of wail and greeting, 

So heavy was she 

For her dead husband, 

So dreadful-hearted 

For the King laid dead there. 

Then spake Herborg 
Queen of Hunland — 
" Crueller tale 
Have I to tell of, 
Of my seven sons 
Down in the Southlands, 



n6 THE STORY OF THE 

And the eighth man, my mate, 
Felled in the death-mead. 



" Father and mother, 
And four brothers, 
On the wide sea 

The winds and death played with ; 
The billows beat 
On the bulwark boards. 

" Alone must I sing o'er them, 
Alone must I array them, 
Alone must my hands deal with 
Their departing ; 
And all this was 
In one season's wearing, 
And none was left 
For love or solace. 

" Then was I bound 
A prey of the battle, 
When that same season 
Wore to its ending ; 
As a tiring may 
Must I bind the shoon 
Of the duke's high dame, 
Every day at dawning. 

" From her jealous hate 
Gat I heavy mocking, 
Cruel lashes 
She laid upon me, 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 117 

Never met I 
Better master 
Or mistress worser 
In all the wide world. " 



Naught gat Gudrun 

Of wail or greeting, 

So heavy was she 

For her dead husband, 

So dreadful-hearted 

For the King laid dead there. 



Then spake Gullrond, 
Guild's daughter — 
" O foster-mother, 
Wise as thou mayst be, 
Naught canst thou better 
The young wife's bale." 
And she bade uncover 
The dead King's corpse. 

She swept the sheet 
Away from Sigurd, 
And turned his cheek 
Towards his wife's knees — • 
" Look on thy loved one 
Lay lips to his lips, 
E'en as thou wert clinging 
To thy king alive yet ! " 



Once looked Gudrun 
One look only, 



n8 THE STORY OF THE 

And saw her lord's locks 
Lying all bloody. 
The great man's eyes 
Glazed and deadly, 
And his heart's bulwark 
Broken by sword-edge. 

Back then sank Gudrun, 
Back on the bolster, 
Loosed was her head array. 
Red did her cheeks grow, 
And the rain-drops ran 
Down over her knees. 

Then wept Gudrun, 

Giuki's daughter, 

So that the tears flowed 

Through the pillow ; 

As the geese withal 

That were in the homefield, 

The fair fowls the may owned, 

Fell a-screaming. 

Then spake Gullrond, 

Giuki's daughter — 

" Surely knew I 

No love like your love 

Among all men, 

On the mould abiding ; 

Naught wouldst thou joy in 

Without or within doors, 

O my sister, 

Save beside Sigurd." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 119 

Then spake Gudrun, 
Giuki's daughter — 
" Such was my Sigurd 
Among the sons of Giuki, 
As is the king leek 
O'er the low grass waxing, 
Or a bright stone 
Strung on band, 
Or a pearl of price 
On a prince's brow. 

Ci Once was I counted 
By the king's warriors 
Higher than any 
Of Herjan's mays ; 
Now am I as little 
As the leaf may be, 
Amid wind-swept wood 
Now when dead he lieth, 

" I miss from my seat, 
I miss from my bed, 
My darling of sweet speech. 
Wrought the sons of Giuki, 
Wrought the sons of Giuki, 
This sore sorrow, j 

Yea, for their sister, 
Most sore sorrow. 

" So may your lands 
Lie waste on all sides, 
As ye have broken 
Your bounden oaths ! 



i2o THE STORY OF THE 

Ne'er shalt thou, Gunnar, 
The gold have joy of, 
The dear-bought rings 
Shall drag thee to death, 
Whereon thou swarest 
Oath unto Sigurd. 

" Ah, in the days by-gone 
Great mirth in the homefield 
When my Sigurd 
Set saddle on Grani, 
And they went their ways 
For the wooing of Brynhild ! 
An ill day, an ill woman, 
And most ill hap ! " 



Then spake Brynhild, 
Budli's daughter — 
" May the woman lack 
Both love and children, 
Who gained greeting 
For thee, O Gudrun ! 
Who gave thee this morning 
Many words ! M 

Then spake Gullrond, 
Giuki's daughter — 
u Hold peace of such words 
Thou hated of all folk ! 
The bane of brave men 
Hast thou been ever, 



VOLSUNGS AND N1BLUNGS. 121 

All waves of ill 

Wash over thy mind, 

To seven great kings 

Hast thou been a sore sorrow, 

And the death of good will 

To wives and women." 



Then spake Brynhild, 
Budli's daughter — 
" None but Atli 
Brought bale upon us, 
My very brother 
Born of Budli. 



" When we saw in the hail 
Of the Hunnish people 
The gold a-gleaming 
On the kingly Giukings 3 
I have paid for that faring 
Oft and full, 
And for the sight 
That then I saw." 



By a pillar she stood 

And strained its wood to her; 

From the eyes of Brynhild, 

Budli's daughter, 

Flashed out fire, 

And she snorted forth venom, 

As the sore wounds she gazed on 

Of the dead-slain Sigurd. 



122 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAR XXXII. 

0/ the Ending of Brynhild, 

A ND now none might know for what cause Brynhild 
^ must bewail with weeping for what she had prayed 
for with laughter : but she spake — 

" Such a dream I had, Gunnar, as that my bed was acold, 
and that thou didst ride into the hands of thy foes : lo 
now, ill shall it go with thee and all thy kin, O ye breakers 
of oaths ; for on the day thou slayedst him, dimly didst 
thou remember how thou didst blend thy blood with the 
blood of Sigurd, and with an ill reward hast thou rewarded 
him for all that he did well to thee ; whereas he gave unto 
thee to be the mightiest of men ; and well was it proven 
how fast he held to his oath sworn, when he came to me 
and laid betwixt us the sharp-edged sword that in venom 
had been made hard. All too soon did ye fall to working 
wrong against him and against me, whenas I abode at 
home with my father, and had all that I would, and had no 
will that any one of you should be any of mine, as ye rode 
into our garth, ye three kings together ; but then Atli led 
me apart privily, and asked me if I would not have him 
who rode Grani ; — yea, a man nowise like unto you ; but 
in those days I plighted myself to the son of King Sigmund 
and no other ; and lo, now, no better shall ye fare for the 
death of me." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 123 

Then rose up Gunnar, and laid his arms about her neck, 
and besought her to live and have wealth from him ; and 
all others in likewise letted her from dying ; but she thrust 
them all from her, and said that it was not the part of any 
to let her in that which was her will. 

Then Gunnar called to Hogni, and prayed him for 
counsel, and bade him go to her, and see if he might 
perchance soften her dreadful heart, saying withal, that 
now they had need enough on their hands in the slaking of 
her grief, till time might get over. 

But Hogni answered, " Nay, let no man hinder her from 
dying ; for no gain will she be to us, nor has she been 
gainsome since she came hither ! " 

Now she bade bring forth much gold, and bade all those 
come thither who would have wealth : then she caught up 
a sword, and thrust it under her armpit, and sank aside 
upon the pillows, and said, " Come, take gold whoso will ! " 

But all held their peace, and she said, " Take the gold, 
and be glad thereof ! " 

And therewith she spake unto Gunnar, " Now for a little 
while will I tell of that which shall come to pass hereafter ; 
for speedily shall ye be at one again with Gudrun by the 
rede of Grimhild the Wise-wife ; and the daughter of 
Gudrun and Sigurd shall be called Swanhild, the fairest of 
all women born. Gudrun shall be given to Atli, yet not 
with her good will. Thou shalt be fain to get Oddrun, but 
that shall Atli forbid thee ; but privily shall ye meet, and 
much shall she love thee. Atli shall bewray thee, and cast 
thee into a w T orm-close, and thereafter shall Atli and his 
sons be slain, and Gudrun shall be their slayer ; and after- 
wards shall the great waves bear her to the burg of King 
Jonakr, to whom she shall bear sons of great fame : Swan- 
hild shall be sent from the land and given to King 



i2 4 THE STORY OF THE 

Jormunrek; and her shall bite the rede of Bikki, and 
therewithal is the kin of you clean gone ; and more sorrows 
therewith for Gudrun. 

"And now I pray thee, Gunnar, one last boon. — Let 
make a great bale on the plain meads for all of us ; for me, 
and for Sigurd, and for those who were slain with him, and 
let that be covered over with cloth dyed red by the folk of 
the Gauls,* and burn me thereon on one side of the King 
of the Huns, and on the other those men of mine, two at 
the head and two at the feet, and two hawks withal ; and 
even so is all shared equally ; and lay there betwixt us a 
drawn sword, as in the other days when we twain stepped 
into one bed together ; and then may we have the name 
of man and wife, nor shall the door swing to at the heel of 
him as I go behind him. Nor shall that be a niggard 
company if there follow him those five bond-women and 
eight bondmen, whom my father gave me, and those burn 
there withal who were slain with Sigurd. 

"Now more yet would I say, but for my wounds, but my 
life-breath flits; the wounds open, — yet have I said sooth." 

Now is the dead corpse of Sigurd arrayed in olden wise, 
and a mighty bale is raised, and when it was somewhat 
kindled, there was laid thereon the dead corpse of Sigurd 
Fafnir's-bane, and his son of three winters whom Brynhild 
had let slay, and Guttorm withal ; and when the bale was 
all ablaze, thereunto was Brynhild borne out, when she 
had spoken with her bower-maidens, and bid them take the 
gold that she would give ; and then died Brynhild, and was 
burned there by the side of Sigurd, and thus their life-days 
ended. 

* The original has raudu manna blodi, red-dyed in the blood of men ; 
the Sagaman's original error in dealing with the word Valaript in the 
corresponding passage of the short lay of Sigurd. — Tr. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 125 



CHAP. XXXIII. 

Gudrun wedded to A til. 

TVT OW so it is, that whoso heareth these tidings sayeth, 
r ^ that no such an one as was Sigurd was left behind 
him in the world, nor ever was such a man brought forth 
because of all the worth of him, nor may his name ever 
minish by eld in the Dutch Tongue nor in all the Northern 
Lands, while the world standeth fast. 

The story tells that, on a day, as Gudrun sat in her 
bower, she fell to saying, "Better was life in those days 
when I had Sigurd; he who was far above other men 
as gold is above iron, or the leek over other grass of 
the field, or the hart over other wild things \ until my 
brethren begrudged me such a man, the first and best 
of all men ; and so they might not sleep or they had slain 
him. Huge clamour made Grani when he saw his master 
and lord sore wounded, and then I spoke to him even as 
with a man, but he fell drooping down to the earth, for he 
knew that Sigurd was slain." 

Thereafter Gudrun gat her gone into the wild woods, 
and heard on all ways round about her the howling of 
wolves, and deemed death a merrier thing than life. 
Then she went till she came to the hall of King Alf, 
and sat there in Denmark with Thora, the daughter of 



126 THE STORY OF THE 

Hakon, for seven seasons, and abode with good wel- 
come. And she set forth her needlework before her, 
and did thereinto many deeds and great, and fair plays 
after the fashion of those days, swords and byrnies, and 
all the gear of kings, and the ship of King Sigmund 
sailing along the land; yea, and they wrought there, 
how they fought, Sigar and Siggeir, south in Fion. Such 
was their disport; and now Gudrun was somewhat 
solaced of her grief. 

So Grimhild comes to hear where Gudrun has take up 
her abode, and she calls her sons to talk with her, and 
asks whether they will make atonement to Gudrun for 
her son and her husband, and said that it was but meet 
and right to do so. 

Then Gunnar spake, and said that he would atone for 
her sorrows with gold. 

So they send for their friends, and array their horses, 
their helms, and their shields, and their byrnies, and all their 
war-gear; and their journey was furnished forth in the 
noblest wise, and no champion who was of the great men 
might abide at home ; and their horses were clad in 
mail-coats, and every knight of them had his helm done 
over with gold or with silver. 

Grimhild was of their company, for she said that their 
errand would never be brought fairly to pass if she sat 
at home. 

There were well five hundred men, and noble men rode 
with them. There was Waldemar of Denmark, and 
Eymod and Jarisleif withal. So they went into the hall 
of King Alf, and there abode them the Longbeards, 
and Franks, and Saxons: they fared with all their 
war-gear, and had over them red fur-coats. Even as the 
song says — 






VOLSUNGS AND NIBL UNGS. 1 2 7 

Byrnies short cut, 
Strong helms hammered, 
Girt with good swords, 
Red hair gleaming. 

They were fain to choose good gifts for their sister, and 
spake softly to her, but in none of them would she trow. 
Then Gunnar brought unto her a drink mingled with 
hurtful things, and this she must needs drink, and with the 
drinking thereof she had no more memory of their guilt 
against her. 

But in that drink was blended the might of the earth and 
the sea with the blood of her son ; and in that horn 
were all letters cut and reddened with blood, as is said 
hereunder — 

On the horn's face were there 

All the kin of letters 

Cut aright and reddened, 

How should I rede them rightly ? 

The ling-fish long 

Of the land of Hadding, 

Wheat-ears unshorn, 

And wild things' inwards. 

In that beer were mingled 

Many ills together, 

Blood of all the wood 

And brown-burnt acorns, 

The black dew of the hearth, 

The God-doomed dead beast's inwards, 

And the swine's liver sodden 

Because all wrongs that deadens. 



128 THE STORY OF THE 

And so now, when their hearts are brought anigh to each 
other, great cheer they made : then came Grimhild to 
Gudrun, and spake — 

" All hail to thee, daughter ! I give thee gold and all 
kinds of good things to take to thee after thy father, dear- 
bought rings and bed-gear of the maids of the Huns, the 
most courteous and well dight of all women ; and thus is 
thy husband atoned for : and thereafter shalt thou be 
given to Atli, the mighty king, and be mistress of all his 
might. Cast not all thy friends aside for one man's sake, 
but do according to our bidding." 

Gudrun answers, " Never will I wed Atli the King : 
unseemly it is for us to get offspring betwixt us." 

Grimhild says, " Nourish not thy wrath ; it shall be to 
thee as if Sigurd and Sigmund were alive when thou hast 
borne sons." 

Gudrun says, " I cannot take my heart from thoughts of 
him, for he was the first of all men." 

Grimhild says, " So it is shapen that thou must have this 
king and none else." 

Says Gudrun, "Give not this man to me, for an evil 
thing shall come upon thy kin from him, and to his own 
sons shall he deal evil, and be rewarded with a grim 
revenge thereafter." 

Then waxed Grimhild fell at those words, and spake, 
" Do even as we bid thee, and take therefore great honour, 
and our friendship, and the steads withal called Vinbjorg 
and Valbjorg." 

And such might was in the words of her, that even so 
must it come to pass. 

Then Gudrun spake, " Thus then must it needs befall, 
howsoever against the will of me, and for little joy shall it 
be and for great grief." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 129 

Then men leaped on their horses, and their women 
were set in wains. So they fared four days a-riding 
and other four a-shipboard, and yet four more again 
by land and road, till at the last they came to a 
certain high-built hall ; then came to meet Gudrun 
many folk thronging; and an exceedingly goodly feast 
was there made, even as the word had gone between 
either kin, and it passed forth in most proud and stately 
wise. And at that feast drinks Atli his bridal with 
Gudrun; but never did her heart laugh on him, and 
little sweet and kind was their life together. 



009 



i 3 o THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXXIV. 

Atli bids the Giu kings to him. 



■&■ 



jVTOW tells the tale that on a night King Atli woke 
from sleep and spake to Gudrun — 

"Medreamed," said he, "that thou didst thrust me 
through with a sword." 

Then Gudrun areded the dream, and said that it 
betokened fire, whenas folk dreamed of iron. " It befalls 
of thy pride belike, in that thou deemest thyself the 
first of men." 

Atli said, " Moreover I dreamed that here waxed 
two sorb-tree* saplings, and fain I was that they should 
have no scathe of me ; then these Were riven up by 
the roots and reddened with blood, and borne to the 
bench, and I was bidden eat thereof. 

" Yea, yet again I dreamed that two hawks flew from 
my hand hungry and unfed, and fared to hell, and 
meseemed their hearts were mingled with honey, and 
that I ate thereof. 

" And then again I dreamed that two fair whelps lay 
before me yelling aloud, and that the flesh of them I ate, 
though my will went not with the eating." 

Gudrun says, " Nowise good are these dreams, yet 

* Service-tree ; pyrus sorbus domestical ox p. s. tormentalis. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 131 

shall they come to pass; surely thy sons are nigh to 
death, and many heavy things shall fall upon us." 

" Yet again I dreamed/' said he, " and methought I lay 
in a bath, and folk took counsel to slay me." 

Now these things wear away with time, but in nowise 
was their life together fond. 

Now falls Atli to thinking of where may be gotten 
that plenteous gold which Sigurd had owned, but King 
Gunnar and his brethren were lords thereof now. 

Atli was a great king and mighty, wise, and a lord 
of many men ; and now he falls to counsel with his folk 
as to the ways of them. He wotted well that Gunnar 
and his brethren had more wealth than any others might 
have ; and so he falls to the rede of sending men to 
them, and bidding them to a great feast, and honouring 
them in diverse wise, and the chief of those messengers 
was hight Vingi. 

Now the queen wots of their conspiring, and misdoubts 
her that this would mean some beguiling of her brethren : 
so she cut runes, and took a gold ring, and knit therein 
a wolfs hair, and gave it into the hands of the king's 



messengers. 



Thereafter they go their ways according to the king's 
bidding ; and or ever they came aland Vingi beheld the 
runes, and turned them about in such a wise as if 
Gudrun prayed her brethren in her runes to go meet 
King Atli. 

Thereafter they came to the hall of King Gunnar, 
and had good welcome at his hands, and great fires 
were made for them, and in great joyance they drank of 
the best of drink. 

Then spake Vingi, " King Atli sends me hither, and 
is fain that ye go to his house and home in all glory, 



132 THE STORY OF THE 

and take of him exceeding honours, helms and shields, 
swords and byrnies, gold and goodly raiment, horses, 
hosts of war, and great and wide lands, for, saith he, he 
is fainest of all things to bestow his realm and lordship 
upon you." 

Then Gunnar turned his head aside, and spoke to 
Hogni — 

" In what wise shall we take this bidding ? might and 
wealth he bids us take; but no kings know I who have 
so much gold as we have, whereas we have all the hoard 
which lay once on Gnitaheath ; and great are our 
chambers, and full of gold, and weapons for smiting, and 
all kinds of raiment of war, and well I wot that amidst 
all men my horse is the best, and my sword the sharpest, 
and my gold the most glorious." 

Hogni answers, "A marvel is it to me of his bidding, 
for seldom hath he done in such a wise, and ill- 
counselled will it be to wend to him ; lo now, when 1 
saw those dear-bought things the king sends us I won- 
dered to behold a wolfs hair knit to a certain gold ring j 
belike Gudrun deems him to be minded as a wolf 
towards us, and will have naught of our faring." 

But withal Vingi shows him the runes which he said 
Gudrun had sent. 

Now the most of folk go to bed, but these drank on 
still with certain others ; and Kostbera, the wife of Hogni, 
the fairest of women, came to them, and looked on the 
runes. 

But the wife of Gunnar was Glaumvor, a great- 
hearted wife. 

So these twain poured out, and the kings drank, 
and were exceeding drunken, and Vingi notes it, and 
says — 






VOLSUNGS AND NIBL UNGS. 1 33 

"Naught may I hide that King Atli is heavy of foot and 
over-old for the warding of his realm ; but his sons are 
young and of no account : now will he give you rule over 
his realms while they are yet thus young, and most fain 
will he be that ye have the joy thereof before all others " 

Now so it befell both that Gunnar was drunk, and that 
great dominion was held out to him, nor might he work 
against the fate shapen for him ; so he gave his word to go 
and tells Hogni his brother thereof. 

But he answered, "Thy word given must even stand 
now, nor will I fail to follow thee, but most loth am I to 
this journey." 



TFK AMNA HEAD SCHOOL 

BKKKKLfcY 4. CAJUFORNIA 



i34 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXXV. 

The Dreams of the Wives of the Giukings* 



O when men had drunk their fill, they fared to sleep ; 
^ then falls Kostbera to beholding the runes, and spell- 
ing over the letters, and sees that beneath were other things 
cut, and that the runes are guileful ; yet because of her 
wisdom she had skill to read them aright. So then she 
goes to bed by her husband ; but when they awoke, she 
spake unto Hogni — 

" Thou art minded to wend away from home — ill-coun- 
selled is that ; abide till another time ! Scarce a keen 
reader of runes art thou, if thou deemest thou hast beheld in 
them the bidding of thy sister to this journey : lo, I read 
the runes, and had marvel of so wise a woman as Gudrun 
is, that she should have mi scut them ; but that which lieth 
underneath beareth your bane with it, — yea, either she 
lacked a letter, or others have dealt guilefully with the runes. 

" And now hearken to my dream ; for therein methought 
there fell in upon us here a river exceeding strong, and 
brake up the timbers of the hall." 

He answered, " Full oft are ye evil of mind, ye women, 
but for me, I was not made in such wise as to meet men 
with evil who deserve no evil ; belike he will give us good 
welcome/' 






VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 135 

She answered, " Well, the thing must ye yourselves 
prove, but no friendship follows this bidding : — but yet 
again I dreamed that another river fell in here with a great 
and grimly rush, and tore up the dais of the hall, and brake 
the legs of both you brethren ; surely that betokeneth 
somewhat.'' 

He answers, " Meadows along our way, whereas thou 
didst dream of the river ; for when we go through the 
meadows, plentifully doth the seeds of the hay hang about 
our legs." 

"Again I dreamed," she says, "that thy cloak was afire, 
and that the flame blazed up above the hall." 

Says he, " Well, I wot what that shall betoken ; here lieth 
my fair-dyed raiment, and it shall burn and blaze, whereas 
thou dreamedst of the cloak." 

" Methought a bear came in," she says, " and. brake up 
the king's high-seat, and shook his paws in such a wise that 
we were all adrad thereat, and he gat us all together into 
the mouth of him, so that we might avail us naught, and 
thereof fell great horror on us." 

He answered, " Some great storm will befall, whereas 
thou hadst a white bear in thy mind." 

" An erne methought came in," she says, " and swept 
adown the hall, and drenched me and all of us with blood, 
and ill shall that betoken, for methought it was the double 
of King Atli." 

He answered, " Full oft do we slaughter beasts freely, 
and smite down great neat for our cheer, and the dream of 
the erne has but to do with oxen ; yea, Atli is heart-whole 
toward us." 

And therewithal they cease this talk. 



136 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXXVI. 

Of the Journey of the Giu kings to King AtlL 

1\J0W tells the tale of Gunnar, that in the same wise 
•*■ ^ it fared with him •; for when they awoke, Glaumvor 
his wife told him many dreams which seemed to her like to 
betoken guile coming ; but Gunnar areded them all in 
other wise. 

"This was one of them/' said she; "methought a bloody 
sword was borne into the hall here, wherewith thou 
wert thrust through, and at either end of that sword 
wolves howled," 

The king answered, "Cur dogs shall bite me belike; 
blood-stained weapons oft betoken dogs' snappings." 

She said, "Yet again I dreamed — that women came in, 
heavy and drooping, and chose thee for their mate ; may- 
happen these would be thy fateful women." 

He answered, " Hard to arede is this, and none may set 
aside the fated measure of his days, nor is it unlike that my 
time is short." 

So in the morning they arose, and were minded for the 
journey, but some letted them herein. 

Then cried Gunnar to the man who is called Fjornir — 

" Arise, and give us to drink goodly wine from great tuns, 
because mayhappen this shall be very last of all our feasts ; 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 137 

for belike if we die the old wolf shall come by the gold, 
and that bear shall'nowise spare the bite of his war-tusks." 

Then all the folk of his household brought them on their 
way weeping. 

The son of Hogni said — 

" Fare ye well with merry tide." 

The more part of their folk were left behind ; Solar 
and Gnoevar, the sons of Hogni, fared with them, and a 
certain great champion, named Orkning, who was the 
brother of Kostbera. 

So folk followed them down to the ships, and all 
letted them of their journey, but attained to naught 
therein. 

Then spake Glaumvor, and said — 

"O Vingi, most like that great ill hap will come of thy 
coming, and mighty and evil things shall betide in thy 
travelling." 

He answered, " Hearken to my answer; that I lie not 
aught : and may the high gallows and all things of grame 
have me, if I lie one word ! " 

Then cried Kostbera, " Fare ye well with merry 
days." 

And Hogni answered, " Be glad of heart, howsoever it 
may fare with us ! " 

And therewith they parted, each to their own fate. 
Then away they rowed, so hard and fast, that well-nigh 
the half of the keel slipped away from the ship, and 
so hard they laid on to the oars that thole and gunwale 
brake. 

But when they came aland they made their ship fast, 
and then they rode awhile on their noble steeds through 
the murk wild-wood. 

And now they behold the king's army, and huge 



138 THE STORY OF THE 

uproar, and the clatter of weapons they hear from thence ; 
and they see there a mighty host of men, and the mani- 
fold array of them, even as they wrought there : and all* 
the gates of the burg were full of men. 

So they rode up to the burg, and the gates thereof 
were shut; then Hogni brake open the gates, and 
therewith they ride into the burg. 

Then spake Vingi, " Well might ye have left this deed 
undone; go to now, bide ye here while I go seek your 
gallows-tree ! Softly and sweetly I bade you hither, but 
an evil thing abode thereunder; short while to bide ere ye 
are tied up to that same tree ! " 

Hogni answered, " None the more shall we waver 
for that cause; for little methinks have we shrunk 
aback whenas men fell to fight ; and naught shall it 
avail thee to make us afeard, — and for an ill fate hast thou 
wrought." 

And therewith they cast him down to earth, and smote 
him with their axe-hammers till he died. 

Note. — Parallel beliefs to those in the preceding chapters, and else- 
where in this book, as to spells, dreams, drinks, etc., among the 
English people may be found in Leechdoms, Wort cunning and Star- 
craft of the Anglo-Saxons ; being a collection of Documents illustrating 
the History of Science in this Country befoi'e the Norman Conquest. 
Ed: Rev. T. O. Cockayne, M.A. (3 vols.) Longmans, London, 
1864, Svo. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 139 



CHAP. XXXVIL 

The Battle in the Burg of King Atli. 

n^HEN they rode unto the king's hall, and King Atli 
^ arrayed his host for battle, and the ranks were 
so set forth that a certain wall there was betwixt them 
and the brethren. 

"Welcome hither," said he. " Deliver unto me that 
plenteous gold which is mine of right; even the wealth 
which Sigurd once owned, and which is now Gudrun's of 
right." 

Gunnar answered, " Never gettest thou that wealth ; 
and men of might must thou meet here, or ever we lay 
by life if thou wilt deal with 115 in battle : ah, belike thou 
settest forth this feast like a great man, and wouldst not 
hold thine hand from erne and wolf ! " 

" Long ago I had it in my mind," said Atli, "to take 
the lives of you, and be lord of the gold, and reward you 
for that deed of shame, wherein ye beguiled the best of 
all your affinity ; but now shall I revenge him." 

Hogni answered, " Little will it avail to lie long 
brooding over that rede, leaving the work undone." 

And therewith they fell to hard fighting, at the first brunt 
with shot. 

But therewithal came the tidings to Gudrun, and when 



i 4 o THE STORY OF THE 

she heard thereof she grew exceeding wroth, and cast 
her mantle from her, and ran out and greeted those 
new-comers, and kissed her brethren, and showed them 
all love, — and the last of all greetings was that betwixt 
them. 

Then said she, "I thought I had set forth counsels 
whereby ye should not come hither, but none may deal 
with his shapen fate." And withal she said, " Will it avail 
aught to seek for peace ? " 

But stoutly and grimly they said nay thereto. So she 
sees that the game goeth sorely against her brethren, and 
she gathers to her great stoutness of heart, and does on her 
a mail-coat and takes to her a sword, and fights by her 
brethren, and goes as far forward as the bravest of man- 
folk : and all spoke in one wise that never saw any fairer 
defence than in her. 

Now the men fell thick, and far before all others was 
the fighting of those brethren, and the battle endured a 
long while unto midday; Gunnar and Hogni w r ent right 
through the folk of Atli, and so tells the tale that all 
the mead ran red with blood; the sons of Hogni withal 
set on stoutly. 

Then spake Atli the king, " A fair host and a great 
have we, and mighty champions withal, and yet have 
many of us fallen, and but evil am I apaid in that 
nineteen of my champions are slain, and but six left 
alive. " 

And therewithal was there a lull in the battle. 

Then spake Atli the king, "Four brethren were we, and 
now am I left alone ; great affinity I gat to me, and 
deemed my fortune well sped thereby ; a wife I had, fair 
and wise, high of mind, and great of heart; but no 
joyance may I have of her wisdom, for little peace is 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. r 4 i 

betwixt us, — but ye — ye have slain many of my kin, and 
beguiled me of realm and riches, and for the greatest of all 
woes have slain my sister withal." 

Quoth Hogni, " Why babblest thou thus ? thou wert the- 
first to break the peace. Thou didst take my kinswoman 
and pine her to death by hunger, and didst murder her, 
and take her wealth ; an ugly deed for a king ! — meet for 
mocking and laughter I deem it, that thou must needs 
make long tale of thy woes ; rather will I give thanks to 
the Gods that thou fallest into ill." 



i 4 a THE STOR Y OF THE 



N 



CHAP. XXXVIII. 

Of the Slay iug of the Giukings. 

OW King Atli eggs on his folk to set on fiercely, and 
eagerly they fight ; but the Guikings fell on so hard 
that King Atli gave back into the hall, and within doors 
was the fight, and fierce beyond all fights. 

That battle was the death of many a man, but such was 
the ending thereof, that there fell all the folk of those 
brethren, and they twain alone stood up on their feet, 
and yet many more must fare to hell first before their 
weapons. 

And now they fell on Gunnar the king, and because of 
the host of men that set on him was hand laid on him, 
and he was cast into fetters; afterwards fought Hogni, 
with the stoutest heart and the greatest manlihood ; and he 
felled to earth twenty of the stoutest of the champions of 
King Atli, and many he thrust into the fire that burnt 
amidst the hall, and all were of one accord that such a man 
might scarce be seen ; yet in the end was he borne down 
by many and taken. 

Then said King Atli, "A marvellous thing how many 
men have gone their ways before him ! Cut the heart from 
out of him, and let that be his bane ! * 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 143 

Hogni said, "Do according to thy will ; merrily will I 
abide whatso thou wilt do against me \ and thou shall 
see that my heart is not adrad, for hard matters have I 
made trial of ere now, and all things that may try a man 
was I fain to bear, whiles yet I was unhurt; but now 
sorely am I hurt, and thou alone henceforth will bear 
mastery in our dealings together." 

Then spake a counsellor of King Atli, " Better rede I 
see thereto ; take we the thrall Hjalli, and give respite to 
Hogni ; for this thrall is made to die, since the longer he 
lives the less worth shall he be." 

The thrall hearkened, and cried out aloft, and fled away 
anywhither where he might hope for shelter, crying out 
that a hard portion was his because of their strife and 
wild doings, and an ill day for him whereon he must be 
dragged to death from his sweet life and his swine-keeping. 
But they caught him, and turned a knife against him, and 
he yelled and screamed or ever he felt the point 
thereof. 

Then in such wise spake Hogni as a man seldom 
speaketh who is fallen into hard need, for he prayed for 
the thrall's life, and said that these shrieks he could not 
away with, and that it were a lesser matter to him to play 
out the play to the end ; and therewithal the thrall gat his 
life as for that time : but Gunnar and Hogni are both 
laid in fetters. 

Then spake King Atli with Gunnar the king, and bade 
him tell out concerning the gold, and where it was, if he 
would have his life. 

But he answered, "Nay, first will I behold the bloody 
heart of Hogni, my brother." 

So now they caught hold of the thrall again, and cut the 



144 THE STORY OF THE 

heart from out of him, and bore it unto King Gunnar, bu 
he said — 

" The faint heart of Hjalli may ye here behold, little lib 
the proud heart of Hogni, for as much as it trembleth now, 
more by the half it trembled whenas it lay in the breast of 
him." 

So now they fell on Hogni even as Atli urged them, and 
cut the heart from out of him, but such was the might of 
his manhood, that he laughed while he abode that torment, 
and all wondered at his worth, and in perpetual memory is 
it held sithence.* 

Then they showed it to Gunnar, and he said — 

" The mighty heart of Hogni, little like the faint heart of 
Hjalli, for little as it trembleth now, less it trembled whenas 
in his breast it lay ! But now, O Atli, even as we die so 
shalt thou die ; and lo, I alone wot where the gold is, nor 
shall Hogni be to tell thereof now ; to and fro played the 
matter in my mind whiles we both lived, but now have I 
myself determined for myself, and the Rhine river shall 
rule over the gold, rather than that the Huns shall bear it 
on the hands of them." 

Then said King Atli, " Have away the bondsman ; " and 
so they did. 

But Gudrun called to her men, and came to Atli, and 
said — 

"May it fare ill with thee now and from henceforth, 
even as thou hast ill held to thy word with me ! " 

So Gunnar was cast into a worm-close, and many worms 
abode him there, and his hands were fast bound ; but 
Gudrun sent him a harp, and in such wise did he set forth 
his craft, that wisely he smote the harp, smiting it with his 

* Since (std/i, after, and d/idm, that. ) 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 145 

toes, and so excellently well he played, that few deemed 
they had heard such playing, even when the hand had done 
it. And with such might and power he played, that all 
the worms fell asleep in the end, save one adder only, 
great and evil of aspect, that crept unto him and thrust its 
sting into him until it smote his heart ; and in such wise 
with great hardihood he ended his life days. 



0010 



146 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XXXIX. 

The End of Atli and his Kin and Folk. 

XTOW thought Atli the King that he had gained a 
mighty victory, and spake to Gudrun even as 
mocking her greatly, or as making himself great before 
her. " Gudrun," saith he, "thus hast thou lost thy 
brethren, and thy very self hast brought it about." 

She answers, " In good liking livest thou, whereas thou 
thrustest these slayings before me, but mayhappen thou 
wilt rue it, when thou hast tried what is to come hereafter ; 
and of all I have, the longest-lived matter shall be the 
memory of thy cruel heart, nor shall it go well with thee 
whiles I live." 

He answered and said, " Let there be peace betwixt us ; 
I will atone for thy brethren with gold and dear-bought 
things, even as thy heart may wish." 

She answers, " Hard for a long while have I been in our 
dealings together, and now I say, that while Hogni was yet 
alive thou mightest have brought it to pass; but now 
mayest thou never atone for my brethren in my heart ; yet 
oft must we women be overborne by the might of you 
men; and now are all my kindred dead and gone, and 
thou alone art left to rule over me : wherefore now this is 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 147 

my counsel that we make a great feast, wherein I will hold 
the funeral of my brother and of thy kindred withal." 

In such wise did she make herself soft and kind in words, 
though far other things forsooth lay thereunder, but he 
hearkened to her gladly, and trusted in her words, whereas 
she made herself sweet of speech. 

So Gudrun held the funeral feast for her brethren, and 
King Atli for his men, and exceeding proud and great was 
this feast. 

But Gudrun forgat not her woe, but brooded over it, 
how she rnight work some mighty shame against the king ; 
and at nightfall she took to her the sons of King Atli and 
her as they played about the floor ; the younglings waxed 
heavy of cheer, and asked what she would with them. 

"Ask me not," she said; "ye shall die, the twain of 
you ! " 

Then they answered, "Thou mayest do with thy 
children even as thou wilt, nor shall any hinder thee, but 
shame there is to thee in the doing of this deed." 

Yet for all that she cut the throats of them. 

Then the king asked where his sons were, and Gudrun 
answered, " I will tell thee, and gladden thine heart by the 
telling ; lo now, thou didst make a great woe spring up for 
me in the slaying of my brethren ; now hearken and hear 
my rede and my deed ; thou hast lost thy sons, and their 
heads are become beakers on the board here, and thou 
thyself hast drunken the blood of them blended with wine; 
and their hearts I took and roasted them on a spit, and 
thou hast eaten thereof." 

King Atli answered, " Grim art thou in that thou hast 
murdered thy sons, and given me their flesh to eat, and 
little space passes betwixt ill deed of thine and ill deed." 

Gudrun said, " My heart is set on the doing to thee of as 



148 THE STOR Y OF THE 

great shame as may be ; never shall the measure of ill be 
full to such a king as thou art." 

The king said, "Worser deeds hast thou done than 
men have to tell of, and great unwisdom is there in such 
fearful redes; .most meet art thou to be burned on bal 
when thou hast first been smitten to death with stones, for 
in such wise wouldst thou have what thou hast gone a 
weary way to seek." 

She answered, "Thine own death thou foretellest, but 
another death is fated for me." 

And many other words they spake in their wrath. 

Now Hogni had a son left alive, hight Niblung, and 
great wrath of heart he bare against King Atli ; and he did 
Gudrun to wit that he would avenge his father. And she 
took his words well, and they fell to counsel together 
thereover, and she said it would be great goodhap if it 
might be brought about. 

So on a night, when the king had drunken, he gat him to 
bed, and when he was laid asleep, thither to him came 
Gudrun and the son of Hogni. 

Gudrun took a sword and thrust it through the breast of 
King Atli, and they both of them set their hands to the 
deed, both she and the son of Hogni. 

Then Atli the king awoke with the wound, and cried out, 
" No need of binding or salving here ! — who art thou who 
hast done the deed ? " 

Gudrun says, " Somewhat have I, Gudrun, wrought 
therein, and somewhat withal the son of Hogni." 

Atli said, " 111 it beseemed to thee to do this, though 
somewhat of wrong was between us ; for thou wert wedded 
to me by the rede of thy kin, and dower paid I for thee ; 
yea, thirty goodly knights, and seemly maidens, and many 
men besides ; and yet wert thou not content, but if thou 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 149 

shouldest rule over the lands King Budli owned : and thy 
mother-in-law full oft thou lettest sit a- weeping/' 

Gudrun said, " Many false words hast thou spoken, and 
of naught I account them ; oft, indeed, was I fell of mood, 
but much didst thou add thereto. Full oft in this thy 
house did frays befall, and kin fought kin, and friend fought 
friend, and made themselves big one against the other; 
better days had I whenas I abode with Sigurd, when we 
slew kings, and took their wealth to us, but gave peace to 
whomso would, and the great men laid themselves under 
our hands, and might we gave to him of them who would 
have it ; then I lost him, and a little thing was it that I 
should bear a widow's name, but the greatest of griefs that 
I should come to thee — I who had aforetime the noblest 
of all kings, while for thee, thou never barest out of the 
battle aught but the worser lot." 

King Atli answered, "Naught true are thy words, nor 
will this our speech better the lot of either of us, for all is 
fallen now to naught ; but now do to me in seemly wise, 
and array my dead corpse in noble fashion." 

"Yea, that will I," she says, "and let make for thee a 
goodly grave, and build for thee a worthy abiding place of 
stone, and wrap thee in fair linen, and care for all that 
needful is." 

So therewithal he died, and she did according to her 
word : and then they cast fire into the hall. 

And when the folk and men of estate awoke amid that 
dread and trouble, naught would they abide the fire, but 
smote each the other down, and died in such wise ; so there 
Atli the king, and all his folk, ended their life-days. But 
Gudrun had no will to live longer after this deed so wrought, 
but nevertheless her ending day was not yet come upon 
her. 



ISO THE STORY OF THE 

Now the Volsungs and the Giukings, as folk tell in tale, 
have been the greatest-hearted and the mightiest of all 
men, as ye may well behold written in the songs of old 
time. 

But now with the tidings just told were these troubles 
stayed. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 151 



CHAP. XL. 

How Gudrun cast herself into the Sea, but was brought 
ashore again. 

/^UDRUN had a daughter by Sigurd hight Swanhild; 
p-* she was the fairest of all women, eager-eyed as her 
father, so that few durst look under the brows of her ; 
and as far did she excel other woman-kind as the sun excels 
the other lights of heaven. 

But on a day went Gudrun down to the sea, and caught 
up stones in her arms, and went out into the sea, for she 
had will to end her life. But mighty billows drave her 
forth along the sea, and by means of their upholding 
was she borne along till she came at the last to the burg of 
King Jonakr, a mighty king, and lord of many folk. And 
he took Gudrun to wife, and their children were Hamdir, 
and Sorli, and Erp; and there was Swanhild nourished 
withal. 



152 THE STORY OF THE 



CHAP. XLL 

Of the Wedding and Slaying of Swanhild. 

JORMUNREK was the name of a mighty king of those 
days, and his son was called Randver. Now this king 
called his son to talk with him, and said, "Thou shalt fare 
on an errand of mine to King Jonakr, with my counsellor 
Bikki, for with King Jonakr is nourished Swanhild, the 
daughter of Sigurd Fafnir's-bane ; and I know for sure that 
she is the fairest may dwelling under the sun of this world j 
her above all others would I have to my wife, and thou 
shalt go woo her for me." 

Randver answered, " Meet and right, fair lord, that I 
should go on thine errands." 

So the king set forth this journey in seemly wise, and 
they fare till they come to King Jonakr's abode, and behold 
Swanhild, and have many thoughts concerning the treasure 
of her goodliness. 

But on a day Randver called the king to talk with 
him, and said, iC Jormunrek the King would fain be thy 
brother-in-law, for he has heard tell of Swanhild, and his 
desire it is to have her to wife, nor may it be shown that 
she may be given to any mightier man than he is one." 

The King says, " This is an alliance of great honour, for 
a man of fame he is." 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 153 

Gudrun says, " A wavering trust, the trust in luck that 
it change not ! " 

Yet because of the king's furthering, and all the matters 
that went herewith, is the wooing accomplished ; and 
Swanhild went to the ship with a goodly company, and sat 
in the stern beside the king's son. 

Then spake Bikki to Randver, " How good and right it 
were if thou thyself had to wife so lovely a woman rather 
than the old man there." 

Good seemed that word to the heart of the king's son, 
and he spake to her with sweet words, and she to him 
in like wise. 

So they came aland and go unto the king, and Bikki said 
unto him, "Meet and right it is, lord, that thou shouldst 
know what is befallen, though hard it be to tell of, for the 
tale must be concerning thy beguiling, whereas thy son has 
gotten to him the full love of Swa- ild, nor is she other 
than his harlot ; but thou, let not the deed be unavenged." 

Now many an ill rede had he given the king or this, 
but of all his ill redes did this sting home the most ; and 
still would the king hearken to all his evil redes ; where- 
fore he, who might nowise still the wrath within him, 
cried out that Randver should be taken and tied up to 
the gallows-tree. 

And as he was led to the gallows he took his hawk 
and plucked the feathers from off it, and bade show it 
to his father; and when the king saw it, then he said, 
" Now may folk behold that he deemeth my honour 
to be gone away from me, even as the feathers of this 
hawk ; " and therewith he bade deliver him from the 
gallows. 

But in that while had Bikki wrought his will, and 
Randver was dead-slain. 



154 THE STORY OF THE 

And, moreover, Bikki spake, "Against none hast thou 
more wrongs to avenge thee of than against Swanhild ; let 
her die a shameful death." 

" Yea," said the king, " we will do after thy counsel. " 
So she was bound in the gate of the burg, and horses 
were driven at her to tread her down ; but when she 
opened her eyes wide, then the horses durst not trample 
her ; so when Bikki beheld that, he bade draw a bag over 
the head of her ; and they did so, and therewith she lost 
her life.* 

* In the prose Edda the slaying of Swanhild is a spontaneous and 
sudden act on the part of the king. As he came back from hunting one 
day, there sat Swanhild washing her linen, and it came into the king's 
mind how that she was the cause of all his woe, so he and his men rode 
over her and slew her. — Tr. 



VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS, 155 



CHAP. XLII. 

Gudrun sends her Sons to avenge Swanhild. 



"6" 



TVTOW Gudrun heard of the slaying of Swanhild, and 
7 ^ spake to her sons, " Why sit ye here in peace amid 
merry words, whereas Jormunrek hath slain your sister, and 
trodden her under foot of horses in shameful wise ? No 
heart ye have in you like to Gunnar or Hogni ; verily they 
would have avenged their kinswoman ! " 

Hamdir answered, " Little didst thou praise Gunnar and 
Hogni, whereas they slew Sigurd, and thou wert reddened 
in the blood of him, and ill were thy brethren avenged by 
the slaying of thine own sons : yet not so ill a deed were it 
for us to slay King Jormunrek, and so hard thou pushest 
us on to this that we may naught abide thy hard words." 

Gudrun went about laughing now, and gave them to 
drink from mighty beakers, and thereafter she got for them 
great byrnies and good, and all other weed* of war. 

Then spake Hamdir, " Lo now, this is our last parting, 
for thou shalt hear tidings of us, and drink one grave-alef 
over us and over Swanhild. " 

So therewith they went their ways. 

* Weed (A. S. weodo)> clothing. t Grave- ale, burial -feast. 



156 THE STORY OF THE 

But Gudrun went unto her bower, with heart swollen 
with sorrow, and spake — 

"To three men was I wedded, and first to Sigurd 
Fafnir's-bane, and he was bewrayed and slain, and of all 
griefs was that the greatest grief. Then was I given to 
King Atli, and so fell was my heart toward him that I slew 
in the fury of my grief his children and mine. Then gave 
I myself to the sea, but the billows thereof cast me out 
aland, and to this king then was I given; then gave I 
Swanhild away out of the land with mighty wealth ; and lo 
my next greatest sorrow after Sigurd, for under horses' feet 
was she trodden and slain ; but the grimmest and ugliest of 
woes was the casting of Gunnar into the Worm-close, and 
the hardest was the cutting of Hogni's heart from him. 

" Ah, better would it be if Sigurd came to meet me, and 
I went my ways with him, for here bideth now behind with 
me neither son nor daughter to comfort me. Oh, mindest 
thou not, Sigurd, the words we spoke when we went into 
one bed together, that thou wouldst come and look on me ; 
yea, even from thine abiding place among the dead ? " 

And thus had the words of her sorrow an end. 






VOLSUNGS AND NIBLUNGS. 157 



CHAP. XLIII. 

The Latter End of all the Kin of the Ginkings. 

TVTOW telleth the tale concerning the sons of Gudrun, 
^ ^ that she had arrayed their war -raiment in such 
wise, that no steel would bite thereon ; and she bade them 
play not with stones or other heavy matters, for that it 
would be to their scathe if they did so. 

And now, as they went on their way, they met Erp, 
their brother, and asked him in what wise he would help 
them. 

He answered, " Even as hand helps hand, or foot helps 
foot." 

But that they deemed naught at all, and slew him there 
and then. Then they went their ways, nor was it long or 
ever Hamdir stumbled, and thrust down his hand to 
steady himself, and spake therewith — 

" Naught but a true thing spake Erp, for now should I 
have fallen, had not hand been to steady me." 

A little after Sorli stumbled, but turned about on his 
feet, and so stood, and spake — 

" Yea now had I fallen, but that I steadied myself with 
both feet." 

And they said they had done evilly with Erp their 
brother. 

But on they fare till they come to the abode of King 



158 THE STORY OF THE 

Jormunrek, and they went up to him and set on him 
forthwith, and Hamdir cut both hands from him and Sorli 
both feet. Then spake Hamdir — 

" Off were the head if Erp were alive ; our brother, 
whom we slew on the way, and found out our deed too 
late." Even as the Song says, — 

Off were the head 
If Erp were alive yet, 
Our brother the bold, 
Whom we slew by the way, 
The well-famed in warfare. 

Now in this must they turn away from the words of 
their mother, whereas they had to deal with stones. For 
now men fell on them, and they defended themselves in 
good and manly wise, and were the scathe of many a man, 
nor would iron bite on them. 

But there came thereto a certain man, old of aspect 
and one-eyed,* and he spake — 

"No wise men are ye, whereas ye cannot bring these 
men to their end." 

Then the king said, ''Give us rede thereto, if thou 
canst." 

He said, " Smite them to the death with stones." 

In such wise was it done, for the stones flew thick 
and fast from every side, and that was the end of their 
life-days. 

And now has come to an end the whole root and stem 
of the Giukings.f 



* Odin ; he ends the tale as he began it. 

t " And now," etc., inserted by translators from the prose Edda ; 
the stanza at the end from the Whetting of Gudrun. 






VOLSUNGS AND NIB LUNGS. 159 

now may all earls 

Be bettered in mind, 

May the grief of all maidens 

Ever be minished, 

For this tale of trouble 

So told to its ending. 



CERTAIN SONGS 



FROM 



THE ELDER EDDA, 

WHICH DEAL WITH THE STORY OF THE VOLSUNGS. 



OOII 



163 



PART OF THE SECOND LAY OF 
HELGI HUNDING'S-BANE.* 



T T ELGI wedded Sigrun, and they begat sons together, 
•*■ -*■ but Helgi lived not to be old ; for Dag,t the son 
of Hogni, sacrificed to Odin, praying that he might avenge 
his father. So Odin lent Dag his spear, and Dag met 
Helgi, his brother-in-law, at a place called Fetter-grove, 
and thrust him through with that spear, and there fell 
Helgi dead ; but Dag rode to Sevafell, and told Sigrun of 
the news. 

Loth am I, sister, 

Of sorrow to tell thee, 

For by hard need driven 

Have I drawn on thee greeting 3 

This morning fell 

In Fetter-grove 

The king well deemed 

The best in the wide world, 

Yea, he who stood 

On the necks of the strong. 

* Only that part of the song is given which completes the episode of 
Helgi Hunding's-bane ; the earlier part of the song differs little from 
the Saga. 

t Hogni, the father of Dag and Sigrun, had been slain by Helgi in 
battle, and Helgi had given peace to, and taken ©aths ©f Dag. 



i6 4 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 



Sigrun. 



All oaths once sworn 
Shall bite thee sore, 
The oaths that to Helgi 
Once thou swarest 
At the bright white 
Water of Lightening,* 
And at the cold rock 
That the sea runneth over. 



May the ship sweep not on 
That should sweep at its swiftest, 
Though the wind desired 
Behind thee driveth ! 
May the horse never run 
That should run at his most might 
When from thy foe's face 
Thou hast most need to flee ! 



May the sword never bite 
That thou drawest from scabbard, 
But and if round thine head 
In wrath it singeth ! 



Then should meet price be paid 
For Helgi's slaying 
When a wolf thou wert 
Out in the wild-wood, 

• One of the rivers of the under-world. 



THE LA Y OF HELGI. 165 

Empty of good things, 
Empty of gladness, 
With no meat for thy mouth 
But dead men's corpses ! 



Dag 



With mad words thou ravest, 
Thy wits are gone from thee, 
When thou for thy brother 
Such ill fate biddest ; 
Odin alone 

Let all this bale loose. 
Casting the strife-runes 
'Twixt friends and kindred. 

Rings of red gold 
Will thy brother give thee. 
And the stead of Vandil 
And the lands of Vigdale ; 
Have half of the land 
For thy sorrow's healing, 
O ring-arrayed sweetling 
For thee and thy sons ! 



Sigrun. 



No more sit I happy 
At Sevafell ; 
At day-dawn, at night 
Naught love I my life 
Till broad o'er the people 
My lord's light breaketh ; 



166 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Till his war-horse runneth 
Beneath him hither, 
Well wont to the gold bit — 
Till my king I welcome. 

In such wise did Helgi 
Deal fear around 
To all his foes 
And all their friends 
As when the goat runneth 
Before the wolfs rage 
Filled with mad fear 
Down from the fell. 

As high above all lords 

Did Helgi bear him 

As the ash-tree's glory 

From the thorn ariseth, 

Or as the fawn 

With the dew-fall sprinkled 

Is far above 

All other wild things, 

As his horns go gleaming 

'Gainst the very heavens. 

A barrow was raised above Helgi, but when he came to 
Valhall, then Odin bade him be lord of all things there, 
even as he ; so Helgi sang — 

Now shalt thou, Hunding, 
For the help of each man 
Get ready the foot-bath, 
And kindle the fire ; 



THE LA Y OF HELGI. 167 

The hounds shalt thou bind 
And give heed to the horses, 
Give wash to the swine 
Ere to sleep thou goest. 

A bondmaid of Sigrun went in the evening-tide by 
Helgi's mound, and there she saw how Helgi rode toward 
it with a great company ; then she sang — 

It is vain things' beguiling 
That methinks I behold, 
Or the ending of all things, 
As ye ride, O ye dead men, 
Smiting with spurs 
Your horses' sides ? 
Or may dead warriors 
Wend their ways homeward ? 

The Dead. 

No vain things' beguiling 

Is that thou beholdest, 

Nor the ruin of all things ; 

Though thou lookest upon us, 

Though we smite with spurs 

Our horses' sides ; 

Rather dead warriors 

May wend their ways homeward. 

Then went the bondmaid home, and told Sigrun, and 
sang — 



1 68 SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

Go out, Sigrun 

From Sevafell, 

If thou listest to look on 

The lord of thy people ! 

For the mound is uncovered 

Thither is Helgi come, 

And his wounds are bleeding, 

But the king thee biddeth 

To come and stay 

That stream of sorrow. 



So Sigrun went into the mound to Helgi, and sang— 

Now am I as fain 

Of this fair meeting, 

As are the hungry 

Hawks of Odin, 

When they wot of the slaying 

Of the yet warm quarry, 

Or bright with dew 

See the day a-dawning. 



Ah, I will kiss 

My king laid lifeless, 

Ere thou castest by 

Thy blood-stained byrny. 

O Helgi, thy hair 

Is thick with death's rime, 

With the dew of the dead 

Is my love all dripping ; 



THE LA Y OF HELGL 169 

Dead-cold are the hands 
Of the son of Hogni ! 
How for thee, O my king, 
May I win healing ? 



Helgi. 

Thou alone, Sigrun 
Of Sevafell, 

Hast so done that Helgi 
With griefs dew drippeth ; 
O clad in gold 
Cruel tears thou weepest, 
Bright May of the Southlands, 
Or ever thou sleepest : 
Each tear in blood falleth 
On the breast of thy lord, 
Cold-wet and bitter-sharp 
Swollen with sorrow. 

Ah, we shall drink 

Dear draughts and lovely, 

Though we have lost 

Both life and lands \ 

Neither shall any 

Sing song of sorrow, 

Though in my breast 

Be wounds wide to behold : 

For now are brides 

In the mound abiding ; 

Kings' daughters sit 

By us departed. 



i7o SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

Now Sigrun arrayed a bed in the mound, and sang : 

Here, Helgi, for thee 
A bed have I dight, 
Kind without woe, 
O kin of the Ylfings ! 
To thy bosom, O king, 
Will I come and sleep soft, 
As I was wont 
When my lord was living. 

Helgi. 

Now will I call 

Naught not to be hoped for 

Early or late 

At Sevafell, 

When thou in the arms 

Of a dead man art laid, 

White maiden of Hogni, 

Here in the mound : 

And thou yet quick, 

O King's daughter ! 

Now needs must I ride 
On the reddening ways ; 
My pale horse must tread 
The highway aloft : 
West must I go 
To Windhelm's bridge 
Ere the war-winning crowd 
*Hall-crower waketh. 

* Hall-crower, Salgofnir: lit. Hall-gaper, the cock ofValhall. 



THE LA Y OF HELGI. 171 

So Helgi rode his ways : and the others gat them gone 
home to the house. But the next night Sigrun bade the 
bondwoman have heed of the mound. So at nightfall, 
whenas Sigrun came to the mound, she sang : 

Here now would he come, 

If to come he were minded ; 

Sigmund's offspring 

From the halls of Odin. 

O me the hope waneth 

Of Helgi's coming \ 

For high on the ash-boughs 

Are the ernes abiding, 

And all folk drift 

Toward the Thing of the dreamland. 

The Bondmaid. 

Be not foolish of heart, 

And fare all alone 

To the house of the dead, 

O Hero's daughter ! 

For more strong and dreadful 

In the night season 

Are all dead warriors 

Than in the daylight. 

But a little while lived Sigrun, because of her sorrow and 
trouble. But in old time folk trowed that men should be 
born again, though their troth be now deemed but an old 
wife's doting. And so, as folk say, Helgi and Sigrun were 
born again, and at that tide was he called Helgi the Scathe 
of Hadding, and she Kara the daughter of Halfdan 5 and 
she was a Valkyria, even as is said in the Lay of Kara. 



172 



PART OF THE LAY OF SIGRDRIFA.* 



Now this is my first counsel, 

That thou with thy kin 
Be guiltless, guileless ever, 

Nor hasty of wrath, 

Despite of wrong done — 
Unto the dead good that doeth. 

Lo the second counsel, 

That oath thou swearest never, 
But trusty oath and true : 

Grim tormenting 

Gripes troth-breakers ; 
Cursed wretch is the wolf of vows. 

This is my third rede, 

That thou at the Thing 
Deal not with the fools of folk ; 

For unwise man 

From mouth lets fall 
Worser word than well he wotteth. 

* This continues the first part of the lay given in Chap. xx. of th< 
Saga ; and is, in fact, the original verse of Chap. xxi. 



THE LA Y OF SIGRDRIFA. 173 

Yet hard it is 

That holding of peace 
When men shall deem thee dastard, 
Or deem the lie said soothly \ 
But woeful is home-witness, 
Unless right good thou gettest it. 

Ah, on another day 

Drive the life from out him, 
And pay the liar back for his lying. 



Now behold the fourth rede : 
If ill witch thee bideth, 

Woe-begetting by the way, 
Good going further 
Rather than guesting, 

Though thick night be on thee. 



Far-seeing eyes 
Need all sons of men 

Who wend in wrath to war ; 
For baleful women 
Bide oft by the highway, 

Swords and hearts to soften. 



And now the fifth rede : 

As fair as thou seest 
Brides on the bench abiding, 

Let not love's silver 

Rule over thy sleeping ; 
Draw no woman to kind kissing ! 



174 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

For the sixth thing, I rede 
When men sit a-drinking 

Amid ale-words and ill-words, 
Deal thou naught 
With the drunken fight-staves, 

For wine stealeth wit from many. 

Brawling and drink 

Have brought unto men 
Sorrow sore oft enow 3 

Yea, bane unto some, 

And to some weary bale ; 
Many are the griefs of mankind. 

For the seventh, I rede thee, 

If strife thou raisest 
With a man right high of heart, 

Better fight a-field 

Than burn in the fire 
Within thine hall fair to behold. 

The eighth rede that I give thee : 

Unto all ill look thou, 
And hold thine heart from all beguiling ; 

Draw to thee no maiden, 

No man's wife bewray thou, 
Urge them not unto unmeet pleasure. 

This is the ninth counsel : 

That thou have heed of dead folk 
Whereso thou findest them a-field ; 

Be they sick-dead, 

Be they sea-dead, 
Or come to ending by war-weapons. 



THE LA Y OF SIGRDRIFA. 175 

Let bath be made 

For such men fordone, 
Wash thou hands and feet thereof, 

Comb their hair and dry them 

Ere the coffin has them ; 
Then bid them sleep full sweetly. 

This for the tenth counsel : 

That thou give trust never 
Unto oaths of foeman's kin, 
Be'st thou bane of his brother, 
Or hast thou felled his father ; 
Wolf in young son waxes, 
Though he with gold be gladdened. 

For wrong and hatred 

Shall rest them never, 
Nay, nor sore sorrow. 

Both wit and weapons 

Well must the king have 
Who is fain to be the foremost. 

The last rede and eleventh : 

Until all ill look thou, 
And watch thy friends' ways ever. 

Scarce durst I look 

For long life for thee, king : 
Strong trouble ariseth now already. 



176 



THE LAY CALLED THE SHORT 
LAY OF SIGURD. 



Sigurd of yore, 

Sought the dwelling of Giuki, 

As he fared, the young Volsung, 

After fight won ; 

Troth he took 

From the two brethren ; 

Oath swore they betwixt them, 

Those bold ones of deed. 



A may they gave to him 
And wealth manifold, 
Gudrun the young, 
Giuki's daughter : 
They drank and gave doom 
Many days together, 
Sigurd the young, 
And the sons of Giuki. 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 177 

Until they wended 
For Brynhild's wooing, 
Sigurd a-riding 
Amidst their rout ; 
The wise young Volsung 
Who knew of all ways — 
Ah ! he had wed her, 
Had fate so willed it. 



Southlander Sigurd 

A naked sword, 

Bright, well grinded, 

Laid betwixt them \ 

No kiss he won 

From the fair woman, 

Nor in arms of his 

Did the Hun King hold her, 

Since he gat the young maid 

For the son of Giuki. 



No lack in her life 
She wotted of now, 
And at her death-day 
No dreadful thing 
For a shame indeed 
Or a shame in seeming ; 
But about and betwixt 
Went baleful fate. 

Alone, abroad, 

She sat of an evening, 

0012 



17S SONGS FROM THE EDDA, 

Of full many things 
She fell a-talking : 
" for my Sigurd ! 
I shall have death, 
Or my fair, my lovely, 
Laid in mine arms. 



" For the word once spoken, 

I sorrow sorely — 

His queen is Gudrun, 

I am wed to Gunnar ; 

The dread Norns wrought for us 

A long while of woe." 



Oft with heart deep 
In dreadful thoughts, 
O'er ice-fields and ice-hills 
She fared a-night time, 
When he and Gudrun 
Were gone to their fair bed, 
And Sigurd wrapped 
The bed-gear round her. 



" Ah ! now the Hun King 
His queen in arms holdeth, 
While love I go lacking, 
And all things longed for 
With no delight 
But in dreadful thought." 






THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 179 

These dreadful things 
Thrust her toward murder : 
— "Listen, Gunnar, 
For thou shalt lose 
My wide lands, 
Yea, me myself! 
Never love I my life, 
With thee for my lord — 



" I will fare back thither 
From whence I came, 
To my nighest kin 
And those that know me 
There shall I sit 
Sleeping my life away, 
Unless thou slayest 
Sigurd the Hun King, 
Making thy might more 
E'en than his might was ! 



" Yea, let the son fare 
After the fathe^, 
And no young wolf 
A long while nourish ! 
For on each man lieth 
Vengeance lighter, 
And peace shall be surer 
If the son live not." 



Adrad was Gunnar, 
Heavy-hearted was he, 



180 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

And in doubtful mood 

Day-long he sat. 

For naught he wotted, 

Nor might see clearly 

What was the seemliest 

Of deeds to set hand to \ 

What of all deeds 

Was best to be done : 

For he minded the vows 

Sworn to the Volsung, 

And the sore wrong 

To be wrought against Sigurd. 

Wavered his mind 

A weary while, 

No wont it was 

Of those days worn by, 

That queens should flee 

From the realms of their kings. 



" Brynhild to me 

Is better thaw all, 

The child of-Budli 

Is the best of women. 

Yea, and my life 

Will I lay down, 

Ere I am twinned 

From that woman's treasure." 

He bade call Hogni 

To the place where he bided ; 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 181 

With all the trust that might be, 
Trowed he in him. 

"Wilt thou bewray Sigurd 
For his wealth's sake ? 
Good it is to rule 
O'er the Rhine's metal ] 
And well content 
Great wealth to wield, 
Biding in peace 
And blissful days." 

One thing alone Hogni 
Had for an answer : 
" Such doings for us 
Are naught seemly to do ; 
To rend with sword 
Oaths once sworn, 
Oaths once sworn, 
And troth once plighted. 

" Nor know we on mould, 
Men of happier days, 
The while we four 
Rule over the folk ; 
While the bold in battle, 
The Hun King, bides living. 

" And no nobler kin 
Shall be known afield, 
If our five sons 
We long may foster ; 



1 82 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Yea, a goodly stem 

Shall surely wax. 

— But I clearly see 

In what wise it standeth, 

Brynhild's sore urging 

O'ermuch on thee beareth. 



" Guttorm shall we 
Get for the slaying, 
Our younger brother 
Bare of wisdom ; 
For he was out of 
All the oaths sworn, 
All the oaths sworn, 
And the plighted troth,'" 



Easy to rouse him 
Who of naught recketh ! 
— Deep stood the sword 
In the heart of Sigurd. 



There, in the hall, 

Gat the high-hearted vengeance 3 

For he cast his sword 

At the reckless slayer : 

Out at Guttorm 

Flew Gram the mighty, 

The gleaming steel 

From Sigurd's hand. 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD: 183 

Down fell the slayer 

Smitten asunder ; 

The heavy head 

And the hands fell one way, 

But the feet and such like 

Aback where they stood. 



Gudrun was sleeping 
Soft in the bed, 
Empty of sorrow 
By the side of Sigurd : 
When she awoke 
With all pleasure gone, 
Swimming in blood 
Of Frey's beloved. 



So sore her hands 

She smote together, 

That the great-hearted 

Gat raised in bed ; 

— " O Gudrun, weep not 

So woefully, 

Sweet lovely bride, 

For thy brethren live for thee ! 



" A young child have I 
For heritor ; 
Too young to win forth 
From the house of his foes. 



184 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Black deeds and ill 
Have they been a-doing, 
Evil rede 
Have they wrought at last. 



" Late, late, rideth with them 
Unto the Thing, 
Such sister's son, 
Though seven thou bear, — 
— But well I wot 
Which way all goeth ; 
Alone wrought Brynhild 
This bale against us. 



" That maiden loved me 
Far before all men, 
Yet wrong to Gunnar 
I never wrought ; 
Brotherhood I heeded 
And all bounden oaths, 
That none should deem me 
His queen's darling." 

Weary sighed Gudrun, 
As the king gat ending, 
And so sore her hands 
She smote together, 
That the cups arow 
Rang out therewith, 
And the geese cried on high 
That were in the homefield. 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 185 

Then laughed Brynhild 
Budli's daughter, 
Once, once only, 
From out her heart \ 
When to her bed 
Was borne the sound 
Of the sore greeting 
Of Giuki's daughter. 



Then, quoth Gunnar, 
The king, the hawk-bearer, 
" Whereas, thou laughest, 
O hateful woman, 
Glad on thy bed, 
No good it betokeneth : 
Why lackest thou else 
Thy lovely hue ? 
Feeder of foul deeds. 
Fey do I deem thee, 



" Well worthy art thou 

Before all women, 

That thine eyes should see 

Atli slain of us ; 

That thy brother's wounds 

Thou shouldst see a-bleeding, 

That his bloody hurts 

Thine hands should bind/' 



" No man blameth thee, Gunnar, 
Thou hast fulfilled death's measure 



1 86 SONGS FROM THE HDD A. 

But naught Atli ieareth 

All thine ill will ; 

Life shall he lay down 

Later than ye, 

And still bear more might 

Aloft than thy might. 



" I shall tell thee, Gunnar, 

Though well the tale thou knowest, 

In what early days 

Ye dealt abroad your wrong : 

Young was I then, 

Worn with no woe, 

Good wealth I had 

In the house of my brother ! 



11 No mind had I 
That a man should have me, 
Or ever ye Giukings, 
Rode into our garth ; 
There ye sac on your steeds 
Three kings of the people — 
— Ah ! that that faring 
Had never befallen ! 



" Then spake Atli 
To me apart, 
And said that no wealth 
He would give unto me, 
Neither gold nor lands 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 187 

If I would not be wedded \ 
Nay, and no part 
Of the wealth apportioned, 
Which in my first days 
He gave me duly ; 
Which in my first days 
He counted down. 

" Wavered the mind 

Within me then, 

If to fight I should fall 

And the felling of folk, 

Bold in byrny 

Because of my brother \ 

A deed of fame 

Had that been to all folk. 

But to many a man 

Sorrow of mind. 

"So I let all sink 
Into peace at the last : 
More grew I minded 
For the mighty treasure, 
The red-shining rings 
Of Sigmund's son ; 
For no man's wealth else 
Would I take unto me. 

" For myself had I given 
To that great king 
Who sat amid gold 
On the back of Grani : 



188 SONGS FROM THE EDDA, 

Nought were his eyen 

Like to your eyen, 

Nor in any wise 

Went his visage with yours ) 

Though ye might deem you 

Due kings of men. 



"One I loved, 

One, and none other, 

The gold-decked may 

Had no doubtful mind ; 

Thereof shall Atli 

Wot full surely, 

When he getteth to know 

I am gone to the dead. 

" Far be it from me, 
Feeble and wavering, 
Ever to love 
Another's love — 
— Yet shall my woe 
Be well avenged." 

Up rose Gunnar, 
The great men's leader, 
And cast his arms 
About the queen's neck ; 
And all went nigh 
One after other, 
With their whole hearts 
Her heart to turn. 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 189 

But then all these 
From her neck she thrust, 
Of her long journey 
No man should let her. 



Then called he Hogni 

To have talk with him : 

" Let all folk go 

Forth into the hall, 

Thine with mine — 

— O need sore and mighty ! — 

To wot if we yet 

My wife's parting may stay. 

Till with time's wearing 

Some hindrance wax." 

/ 
One answer Hogni 

Had for all ; 

"Nay, let hard need 

Have rule thereover, 

And no man let her 

Of her long journey ! 

Never born again, 

May she come back thence ! 



" Luckless she came 

To the lap of her mother, 

Born into the world 

For utter woe, 

To many a man 

For heart-whole mourning." 



1 9 o SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

Upraised he turned 
From the talk and the trouble, 
To where the gem-field 
Dealt out goodly treasure ; 
As she looked and beheld 
All the wealth that she had, 
And the hungry bondmaids, 
And maids of the hall. 



With no good in her heart 
She donned her gold byrny, 
Ere she thrust the sword-point 
Through the midst of her body : 
On the bolster's far side 
Sank she adown, 
And, smitten with sword, 
Still bethought her of redes. 



" Let all come forth 

Who are fain the red gold, 

Or things less worthy 

To win from my hands ; 

To each one I give 

A necklace gilt over, 

Wrought hangings and bed-gear, 

And bright woven weed." 



All they kept silence, 
And thought what to speak, 
Then all at once 
Answer gave : 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 191 

" Full enow are death-doomed. 
Fain are we to live yet, 
Maids of the hall 
All meet work winning." 



From her wise heart at last 
The linen-clad damsel, 
The one of few years 
Gave forth the word : 
" I will that none driven 
By hand or by word, 
For our sake should lose 
Well-loved life. 



"Thou on the bones of you 

Surely shall burn, 

Less dear treasure 

At your departing 

Nor with Menia's Meal* 

Shall ye come to see me." 

a Sit thee down, Gunnar, 
A word must I say to thee 
Of the life's ruin 
Of thy lightsome bride — 
- — Nor shall thy ship 
Swim soft and sweetly 
For all that I 
Lay life adown. 



" Menia's Meal — " periphrasis for gold. 



192 SONGS FROM THE EDJDA. 

" Sooner than ye might deem 
Shall ye make peace with Gudrun, 
For the wise woman 
Shall lull in the young wife 
The hard memory 
Of her dead husband. 



" There is a may born 
Reared by her mother, 
Whiter and brighter 
Than is the bright day ; 
She shall be Swanhild, 
She shall be Sunbeam. 



" Thou shalt give Gudrun 

Unto a great one, 

Noble, well-praised 

Of the world's folk • 

Not with her goodwill, 

Or love shalt thou give her ; 

Yet will Atli 

Come to win her, 

My very brother, 

Born of Budli. 



— " Ah ! many a memory 
Of how ye dealt with me, 
How sorely, how evilly 
Ye ever beguiled me, 
How all pleasure left me 
The while my life lasted !-— 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 193 

" Fain wilt thou be 
Oddrun to win, 
But thy good liking 
Shall Atli let ; 
But in secret wise 
Shall ye win together, 
And she shall love thee 
As I had loved thee, 
If in such wise 
Fate had willed it 



" But with all ill 
Shall Atli sting thee, 
Into the strait worm-close 
Shall he cast thee. 



" But no long space 

Shall slip away 

Ere Atli too 

All life shall lose. 

Yea, all his weal 

With the life of his sons, 

For a dreadful bed 

Dights Gudrun for him, 

From a heart sore laden, 

With the sword's sharp edge. 

" More seemly for Gudrun, 
Your very sister, 
In death to wend after 
Her love first wed ; 

0013 

TFTK ANNA KKAD SOHOOT 



i 9 4 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Had but good rede 

To her been given, 

Or if her heart 

Had been like to my heart. 



— " Faint my speech groweth- 
But for our sake 
Ne'er shall she lose 
Her life beloved ; 
The sea shall have her, 
High billows bear her 
Forth unto Jonakr's 
Fair land of his fathers. 



" There shall she bear sons, 
Stays of a heritage, 
Stays of a heritage, 
Jonakr's sons \ 
And Swanhild shall she 
Send from the land, 
That may born of her, 
The may born of Sigurd 

" Her shall bite 
The rede of Bikki, 
Whereas for no good 
Wins Jormunrek life ; 
And so is clean perished 
All the kin of Sigurd, 
Yea, and more greeting, 
And more for Gudrun. 



THE LA Y OF SIGURD. 195 

" And now one prayer 
Yet pray I of thee — 
The last word of mine 
Here in the world — 
So broad on the field 
Be the burg of the dead 
That fair space may be left 
For us all to lie down, 
All those that died 
At Sigurd's death ! 



" Hang round that burg 
Fair hangings and shields, 
Web by Gauls woven, 
And folk of the Gauls : 
There burn the Hun King 
Lying beside me. 



" But on the other side 
Burn by the Hun King 
Those who served me 
Strewn with treasure ; 
Two at the head, 
And two at the feet, 
Two hounds therewith, 
And two hawks moreover 
Then is all dealt 
With even dealing. 

" Lay there amidst us 
The ring-dight metal, 



196 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

The sharp-edged steel, 

That so lay erst ; 

When we both together 

Into one bed went, 

And were called by the name 

Of man and wife. 

" Never, then, belike 
Shall clash behind him 
Valhall's bright door 
With rings bedight : 
And if my fellowship 
Followeth after, 
In no wretched wise 
Then shall we wend. 

" For him shall follow 
My five bondmaids, 
My eight bondsmen, 
No borel folk : 
Yea, and my fosterer. 
And my father's dower 
That Budli of old days 
Gave to his dear child. 

c< Much have I spoken, 

More would I speak, 

If the sword would give me 

Space for speech ; 

But my words are waning, 

My wounds are swelling — 

Naught but truth have I told- 

— And now make I ending." 



i 9 7 



THE HELL-RIDE OF BRYNHILD. 



A FTER the death of Brynhild were made two bales, one 
^-^ for Sigurd, and that was first burned ; but Brynhild 
was burned on the other, and she was in a chariot hung 
about with goodly hangings. 

And so folk say that Brynhild drave in her chariot down 
along the way to Hell, and passed by an abode where dwelt 
a certain giantess, and the giantess spake : — 



" Nay, with my goodwill 
Never goest thou 
Through this stone-pillared 
Stead of mine ! 
More seemly for thee 
To sit sewing the cloth, 
Than to go look on 
The love of another. 



" What dost thou, going 
From the land of the Gauls, 
O restless head, 
To this mine house ? 



193 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Golden girl, hast thou not, 
If thou listest to hearken, 
In sweet wise from thy hands 
The blood of men washen ? " 



Brynhild. 

" Nay, blame me naught, 
Bride of the rock-hall, 
Though I roved a warring 
In the days that were ; 
The higher of us twain 
Shall I ever be holden 
When of our kind 
Men make account. " 

The Giant-woman, 

"Thou, O Brynhild, 
Budli's daughter, 
Wert the worst ever born 
Into the world : 
For Giuki's children 
Death hast thou gotten, 
And turned to destruction 
Their goodly dwelling." 

Brynhild. 

" I shall tell thee 
True tale from my chariot, 
O thou who naught wottest, 
If thou listest to wot ; 



THE HELL-RIDE OF BRYNHILD. 199 

How for me they have gotten 
Those heirs of Giuki, 
A loveless life, 
A life of lies. 



" Hild under helm, 
The Hlymdale people, 
E'en those who knew me. 
Ever would call me. 

" The changeful shapes 

Of us eight sisters, 

The wise king bade 

Under oak-tree to bear : 

Of twelve winters was I, 

If thou listest to wot, 

When I sware to the young lord 

Oaths of love. 

<c Thereafter gat I 
Mid the folk of the Goths, 
For Helmgunnar the old, 
Swift journey to Hell, 
And gave to Aud's brother 
The young, gain and glory \ 
Whereof overwrath 
Waxed Odin with me. 

" So he shut me in shield- wall 
In Skata grove, 
Red shields and white 
Close set around me ; 



200 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

And bade him alone 
My slumber to break 
Who in no land 
Knew how to fear. 



" He set round my hall, 
Toward the south quarter, 
The Bane of all trees 
Burning aloft ; 
And ruled that he only 
Thereover should ride 
Who should bring me the gold 
O'er which Fafnir brooded. 



" Then upon Grani rode 
The goodly gold-strewer 
To where my fosterer 
Ruled his fair dwelling. 
He who alone there 
Was deemed best of all, 
The War-lord of the Danes, 
Well worthy of men. 



" In peace did we sleep 

Soft in one bed, 

As though he had been 

Naught but my brother : 

There as we lay 

Through eight nights wearing, 

No hand in love 

On each other we laid. 



THE HELL-RIDE OF BRYNHILD, 201 

" Yet thence blamed me, Gudrun, 

Giuki's daughter, 

That I had slept 

In the arms of Sigurd ; 

And then I wotted 

As I fain had not wotted, 

That they had bewrayed me 

In my betrothals. 

" Ah ! for unrest 

All too long 

Are men and women 

Made alive ! 

Yet we twain together 

Shall wear through the ages, 

Sigurd and I. — 

— Sink adown, giant- wife ! " 



202 



FRAGMENTS OF THE LAY OF 
BRYNHILD. 



Hogni said. 



'«5 



What hath wrought Sigurd 
Of any wrong-doing 
That the life of the famed one 
Thou art fain of taking ? 



Gunnar said. 

To me has Sigurd 
Sworn many oaths, 
Sworn many oaths, 
And sworn them lying, 
And he bewrayed me 
When it behoved him 
Of all folk to his troth 
To be the most trusty 



THE LA Y OF BR YNHILD. 203 



Hogni said. 

Thee hath Brynhild 
Unto all bale, 
And all hate whetted, 
And a work of sorrow ; 
For she grudges to Gudrun 
All goodly life ; 
And to thee the bliss 
Of her very body. 



Some the wolf roasted, 
Some minced the worm, 
Some unto Guttorm 
Gave the wolf-meat, 
Or ever they might 
In their lust for murder 
On the high king 
Lay deadly hand. 



Sigurd lay slain 
On the south of the Rhine. 
High from the fair tree 
Croaked forth the raven, 
" Ah, yet shall Atli 
On you redden edges, 
The old oaths shall weigh 
On your souls, O warriors. 5 * 



2o 4 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Without stood Gudrun, 

Giuki's daughter, 

And the first word she said 

Was even this word : 

" Where then is Sigurd, 

Lord of the Warfolk, 

Since my kin 

Come riding the foremost ? " 



One word Hogni 

Had for an answer : 

" Our swords have smitten 

Sigurd asunder, 

And the grey horse hangs drooping 

O'er his lord lying dead." 

Then quoth Brynhild, 
Budli's daughter ; 
" Good weal shall ye have 
Of weapons and lands, 
That Sigurd alone 
Would surely have ruled 
If he had lived 
But a little longer. 



" Ah, nothing seemly 
For Sigurd to rule 
Giuki's house 
And the folk of the Goths, 
When of him five sons 
For the slaying of men, 



THE LA Y OF BR YNHILD. 205 

Eager for battle 

Should have been begotten ! " 



Then laughed Brynhild — 

Loud rang the whole house 

One laugh only 

From out her heart : 

" Long shall your bliss be 

Of lands and people, 

Whereas the famed lord 

You have felled to the earth ! ' 



» 



Then spake Gudrun, 
Giuki's daughter \ 
" Much thou speakest, 
Many things fearful. 
All grame be on Gunnar 
The bane of Sigurd ! 
From a heart full of hate 
Shall come heavy vengeance/' 



Forth sped the even 
Enow there was drunken, 
Full enow was there 
Of all soft speech ; 
And all men got sleep 
When to bed they were gotten \ 
Gunnar only lay waking 
Long after all men. 



206 SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

His feet fell he to moving, 

Fell to speak to himself 

The waster of men, 

Still turned in his mind 

What on the bough 

Those twain would be saying, 

The raven and erne, 

As they rode their ways homeward. 

But Brynhild awoke, 

Budli's daughter, 

May of the shield-folk, 

A little ere morning ; 

" Thrust ye on, hold ye back, 

— Now all harm is wrought, — 

To tell of my sorrow, 

Or to let all slip by me ? " 

All kept silence 
After her speaking, 
None might know 
That woman's mind, 
Or why she must weep 
To tell of the work 
That laughing once 
Of men she prayed. 

Brynhild spake. 

In dreams, O Gunnar, 
Grim things fell on me 5 
Dead-cold the hall was, 
And my bed was a-cold. 



THE LA Y OF BR YNHILD. 207 

And thou, lord, wert riding 

Reft of all bliss, 

Laden with fetters 

'Mid the host of thy foemen. 

So now all ye, 
O House of the Niblungs, 
Shall be brought to naught, 
O ye oath-breakers ! 

Think'st thou not, Gunnar, 
How that betid, 
When ye let the blood run 
Both in one footstep ? 
With ill reward 
Hast thou rewarded 
His heart so fain 
To be the foremost ! 

As well was seen 
When he rode his ways, 
That king of all worth, 
Unto my wooing ; 
How the host-destroyer 
Held to the vows 
Sworn beforetime, 
Sworn to the young king. 

For his wounding-wand 
All wrought with gold, 
The king beloved 
Laid between us ; 



208 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Without were its edges 
Wrought with fire, 
But with venom-drops 
Deep dyed within. 

Thus this # song telleth of the death of Sigurd, and 
setteth forth how that they slew him without doors ; but 
some say that they slew him within doors, sleeping in 
his bed. But the Dutch Folk say that they slew him 
out in the wood : and so sayeth the ancient song of 
Gudrun, that Sigurd and the sons of Giuki were riding 
to the Thing whenas he was slain. But all with one 
accord say that they bewrayed him in their troth with 
him, and fell on him as he lay unarrayed and unawares. 



209 



THE SECOND OR ANCIENT LAY 
OF GUDRUN. 



^HIODREK the King was in Atli's house, and had lost 
there the more part of his men : so there Thiodrek 
and Gudrun bewailed their troubles one to the other, and 
she spake and said : — 



A may of all mays 
My mother reared me 
Bright in bower; 
Well loved I my brethren, 
Until that Giuki 
With gold arrayed me, 
With gold arrayed me, 
And gave me to Sigurd. 



Such was my Sigurd, 
Among the sons of Giuki 
As is the green leek 
O'er the low grass waxen, 

0014 



2io SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Or a hart high-limbed 
Over hurrying deer, 
Or glede-red gold 
Over grey silver. 



Till me they begrudged, 
Those my brethren, 
The fate to have him, 
Who was first of all men ; 
Nor might they sleep, 
Nor sit a-dooming, 
Ere they let slay 
My well-loved Sigurd. 

Grani ran to the Thing, 
There was clatter to hear, 
But never came Sigurd 
Himself thereunto ; 
All the saddle-girt beasts 
With blood were besprinkled, 
As faint with the way 
Neath the slayers they went. 



Then greeting I went 

With Grani to talk, 

And with tear-furrowed cheeks 

I bade him tell all ; 

But drooping laid Grani, 

His head in the grass, 

For the steed well wotted 

Of his master's slaying. 



ANCIENT LA Y OF GUDRUN 211 

A long while I wandered, 
Long my mind wavered, 
Ere the kings I might ask 
Concerning my king. 



Then Gunnar hung head, 
But Hogni told 
Of the cruel slaying 
Of my Sigurd : 
" On the water's far side 
Lies, smitten to death, 
The bane of Guttorm 
To the wolves given over. 



c; Go, look on Sigurd, 

On the ways that go southward; 

There shalt thou hear 

The ernes high screaming, 

The ravens a-croaking 

As their meat they crave for ; 

Thou shalt hear the wolves howling 

Over thine husband." 



" How hast thou, Hogni, 

The heart to tell me, 

Me of joy made empty, 

Of such misery ? 

Thy wretched heart 

May the ravens tear 

Wide over the world, 

With no men mayst thou wend 



212 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

One thing Hogni 

Had for answer, 

Fallen from his high heart. 

Full of all trouble : 

" More greeting yet, 

Gudrun, for thee, 
If my heart the ravens 
Should rend asunder ! ;; 

Thence I turned 

From the talk and the trouble 

To go a leasing* 

What the wolves had left me ; 

No sigh I made 

No smote hands together, 

Nor did I wail 

As other women 

When I sat over 

My Sigurd slain. 

Night methought it, 
And the moonless dark, 
When I sat in sorrow 
Over Sigurd : 
Better than all things 

1 deemed it would be 
If they would let me 
Cast my life by, 

Or burn me up 

As they burn the birch-wood. 

* The original has " a vid lesa." " Leasing " is the word still used for 
gleaning in many country sides in England. 



ANCIENT LAY OF G UDR UN 213 

From the fell I wandered 
Five days together, 
Until the high hall 
Of Half lay before me 3 
Seven seasons there 
I sat with Thora, 
The daughter of Hacon, 
Up in Denmark. 



My heart to gladden 
With gold she wrought 
Southland halls 
And swans of the Dane-folk ; 
There had we painted 
The chiefs a-playing ; 
Fair our hands wrought 
Folk of the kings. 



Red shields we did, 

Doughty knights of the Huns, 

Hosts spear-dight, hosts helm-dight, 

All a high king's fellows ; 

And the ships of Sigmund 

From the land swift sailing ; 

Heads gilt over 

And prows fair graven. 



On the cloth we broidered 
That tide of their battling, 
Siggeir and Siggar, 
South in Fion. 



214 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Then heard Grimhild, 

The Queen of Gothland, 

How I was abiding, 

Weighed down with woe ; 

And she thrust the cloth from her 

And called to her sons, 

And oft and eagerly 

Asked them thereof, 

Who for her son 

Would their sister atone, 

Who for her lord slain 

Would lay down weregild. 



Fain was Gunnar 

Gold to lay down 

All wrongs to atone for, 

And Hogni in likewise ; 

Then she asked who was fain 

Of faring straightly, 

The steed to saddle 

To set forth the wain, 

The horse to back, 

And the hawk to fly, 

To shoot forth the arrow 

From out the yew-bow. 



Valdarr the Dane-king 
Came with Jarisleif 
Eymod the third went 
Then went Jarizskar : 



ANCIENT LA Y OF G UDR UN 215 

In kingly wise 

In they wended, 

The host of the Longbeards \ 

Red cloaks had they, 

Byrnies short-cut, 

Helms strong hammered, 

Girt with glaives, 

And hair red-gleaming. 

Each would give me 

Gifts desired, 

Gifts desired, 

Speech dear to my heart, 

If they might yet, 

Despite my sorrow, 

Win back my trust, 

But in them nought I trusted. 

Then brought me Grimhild 

A beaker to drink of, 

Cold and bitter, 

Wrong's memory to quench ; 

Made great was that drink 

With the might of the earth, 

With the death-cold sea 

And the blood that Son* holdeth. 

On that horn's face were there 
All the kin of letters 
Cut aright and reddened, 
How should I rede them rightly ? 

* Son was the vessel into which was poured the blood of Quasir, the 
God of Poetry. 



216 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

The ling-fish long 
Of the land of Hadding, 
Wheat-ears unshorn, 
And wild things' inwards. 

In that mead were mingled 

Many ills together, 

Blood of all the wood, 

And brown-burnt acorns ; 

The black dew of the hearth,* 

And god-doomed dead beasts' inwards, 

And the swine's liver sodden, 

For wrongs late done that deadens. 

Then waned my memory 
When that was within me, 
Of my lord 'mid the hall 
By the iron laid low. 
Three kings came 
Before my knees 
Ere she herself 
Fell to speech with me. 

" I will give to thee, Gudrun. 

Gold to be glad with, 

All the great wealth 

Of thy father gone from us, 

Rings of red gold 

And the great hall of Lodver, 

And all fair hangings left 

By the king late fallen. 

* This means soot. 



ANCIENT LAY OF G UDR UN 2 1 7 

" Maids of the Huns 
Woven pictures to make, 
And work fair in gold 
Till thou deem'st thyself glad. 
Alone shalt thou rule 
O'er the riches of Budli, 
Shalt be made great with gold. 
And be given to Atli." 

u Never will I 
Wend to a husband, 
Or wed the brother 
Of Queen Brynhild : 
Naught it beseems me 
With the son of Budli 
Kin to bring forth, 
Or to live and be merry." 



" Nay, the high chiefs 
Reward not with hatred, 
For take heed that I 
Was the first in this tale ! 
To thy heart shall it be 
As if both these had life, 
Sigurd and Sigmund, 
When thou hast borne sons/" 



" Naught may I, Grimhild, 
Seek after gladness, 
Nor deem aught hopeful 
Of any high warrior, 



2i8 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Since wolf and raven 

Were friends together, 

The greedy, the cruel, 

O'er great Sigurd's heart-blood. 



" Of all men that can be 
For the noblest of kin 
This king have I found, 
And the foremost of all ; 
Him shalt thou have 
Till with eld thou art heavy- 
Be thou ever unwed, 
If thou wilt naught of him ! 5 ' 



" Nay, nay, bid me not 
With thy words long abiding 
To take unto me 
That balefullest kin ; 
This king shall bid Gunnar 
Be stung to his bane, 
And shall cut the heart 
From out of Hogni. 



" Nor shall I leave life 
Ere the keen lord, 
The eager in sword-play, 
My hand shall make end of. ;5 

Grimhild a-weeping 
Took up the word then. 



ANCIENT LA Y OF GUDRUN. 219 

When the sore bale she wotted 
Awaiting her sons, 
And the bane hanging over 
Her offspring beloved. 



" I will give thee, moreover, 

Great lands, many men, 

Wineberg and Valberg, 

If thou wilt but have them 5 

Hold them lifelong, 

And live happy, O daughter ! " 

" Then him must I take 
From among kingly men, 
'Gainst my heart's desire, 
From the hands of my kinsfolk : 
But no joy I look 
To have from that lord : 
Scarce may my brother's bane 
Be a shield to my sons." 



Soon was each warrior 
Seen on his horse, 
But the Gaulish women 
Into wains were gotten 5 
Then seven days long 
O'er a cold land we rode, 
And for seven other 
Clove we the sea-waves. 
But with the third seven 
O'er dry land we wended. 



220 SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

There the gate-wardens 

Of the burg, high and wide, 

Unlocked the barriers 

Ere the burg-garth we rode to.- 



Atli woke me 

When meseemed I was 

Full evil of heart 

For my kin dead slain. 



" In such wise did the Norns 

Wake me or now." — 

Fain was he to know 

Of this ill foreshowing — 

" That methought, O Gudrun, 

Giuki's daughter, 

That thou setst in my heart 

A sword wrought for guile." 



" For fires tokening I deem it 
That dreaming of iron, 
But for pride and for lust 
The wrath of fair women 
Against some bale 
Belike, I shall burn thee 
For thy solace and healing 
Though hateful thou art. : 






ANCIENT LAY OF G UDR UN. 221 

" In the fair garth methought 
Had saplings fallen 
E'en such as I would 
Should have waxen ever ; 
Uprooted were these, 
And reddened with blood, 
And borne to the bench, 
And folk bade me eat of them. 



" Methought from my hand then 
Went hawks a-flying 
Lacking their meat 
To the land of all ill ; 
Methought that their hearts 
Mingled with honey, 
Swollen with blood 
I ate amid sorrow. 



11 Lo, next two whelps 
From my hands I loosened, 
Joyless were both, 
And both a-howling ; 
And now their flesh 
Became naught but corpses, 
Whereof must I eat 
But sore against my will." 

16 O'er the prey of the fishers 
Will folk give doom ; 
From the bright white fish 
The heads will they take \ 



222 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Within a few nights, 

Fey as they are, 

A little ere day 

Of that draught will they eat." 

Ne'er since lay I down, 
Ne'er since would I sleep, 
Hard of heart, in my bed : — 
That deed have I to do.* 

* The whole of this latter part is fragmentary and obscure ; there 
seems wanting to two of the dreams some trivial interpretation by 
Gudrun, like those given by Hogni to Kostbera in the Saga, of which 
nature, of course, the interpretation contained in the last stanza but one 
is, as we have rendered it : another rendering, from the different 
reading of the earlier edition of Edda (Copenhagen, 1818) would 
make this refer much more directly to the slaying of her sons by 
Gudrun. 



223 



THE SONG OF ATLI 



r^ UDRUN, Giuki's daughter, avenged her brethren, as is 
^-* told far and wide : first she slew the sons of Atli, and 
then Atli himself; and she burned the hall thereafter, and 
all the household with it : and about these matters is this 
song made : — 

In days long gone 
Sent Atli to Gunnar 
A crafty one riding, 
Knefrud men called him ; 
To Giuki's garth came he, 
To the hall of Gunnar, 
To the benches gay-dight, 
And the gladsome drinking. 

There drank the great folk 
'Mid the guileful one's silence, 
Drank wine in their fair hall : 
The Huns' wrath they feared, 
When Knefrud cried 
In his cold voice. 



24 SONGS FROM THE EDDA, 

As he sat on the high seat, 
That man of the Southland : 



" Atli has sent me 

Riding swift on his errands 

On the bit-griping steed 

Through dark woodways unbeaten, 

To bid thee, King Gunnar, 

Come to his fair bench 

With helm well-adorned, 

To the home of King Atli. 



"Shields shall ye have there 
And spears ashen-shafted, 
Helms ruddy with gold, 
And hosts of the Huns \ 
Saddle-gear silver-gilt, 
Shirts red as blood. 
The hedge of the warwife, 
And horses bit-griping. 



" And he saith he will give you 
Gnitaheath widespread, 
And whistling spears 
And prows well-gilded, 
Mighty wealth 
With the stead of Danpi, 
And that noble wood 
Men name the Murkwood." 



SONG OF ATLL 225 

Then Gunnar turned head 

And spake unto Hogni : 

" What rede from thee, high one, 

Since such things we hear ? 

No gold know I 

On Gnitaheath, 

That we for our parts 

Have not portion as great. 



" Seven halls we have 
Fulfilled of swords, 
And hilts of gold 
Each sword there has ; 
My horse is the best, 
My blade is the keenest ; 
Fair my bow o'er the bench is, 
Gleams my byrny with gold ; 
Brightest helm, brightest shield, 
From Kiar's dwelling ere brought— 
Better all things I have 
Than all things of the Huns." 



Hogni said. 

" What mind has our sister 
That a ring she hath sent us 
In weed of wolves clad ? 
Bids she not to be wary ? 
For a wolfs hair I found 
The fair ring wreathed about ; 
Wolf beset shall the way be 
If we wend on this errand." 

0015 



26 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

No sons whetted Gunnar, 

Nor none of his kin, 

Nor learned men nor wise men, 

Nor such as were mighty. 

Then spake Gunnar 

E'en as a king should speak, 

Glorious in mead-hall 

From great heart and high : 

" Rise up now, Fiornir, 
Forth down the benches 
Let the gold-cups of great ones 
Pass in hands of my good-men ! 
Well shall we drink wine, 
Draughts dear to our hearts, 
Though the last of all feasts 
In our fair house this be ! 

" For the wolves shall rule 
O'er the wealth of the Niblungs, 
With the pine-woods' wardens 
If Gunnar perish : 
And the black-felled bears 
With fierce teeth shall bite 
For the glee of the dog-kind, 
If again comes not Gunnar." 

Then good men never shamed, 

Greeting aloud, 

Led the great king of men 

From the garth of his home ; 

And cried the fair son 

Of Hogni the king : 



SONG OF ATLL 227 

"Fare happy, O Lords, 
Whereso your hearts lead you ! " 

Then the bold knights 
Let their bit-griping steeds 
Wend swift o'er the fells, 
Tread the murk-wood unknown, 
All the Hunwood was shaking 
As the hardy ones fared there ; 
O'er the green meads they urged 
Their steeds shy of the goad. 

Then Atli's land saw they ; 

Great towers and strong, 

And the bold men of Bikki, 

Aloft on the burg : 

The. Southland folks' hall 

Set with benches about, 

Dight with bucklers well bounden, 

And bright white shining shields. 

There drank Atli, 
The awful Hun king, 
Wine in his fair hall ; 
Without were the warders, 
Gunnar's folk to have heed of, 
Lest they had fared thither 
With the whistling spear 
War to wake 'gainst the king. 

But first came their sister 
As they came to the hall, 



228 SOJS/GS FROM THE EDDA. 

Both her brethren she met, 
With beer little gladdened : 
" Bewrayed art thou, Gunnar ! 
What dost thou great king 
To deal war to the Huns ? 
Go thou swift from the hall ! 



" Better, brother, hadst thou 
Fared here in thy byrny 
Than with helm gaily dight 
Looked on Atli's great house : 
Thou hadst sat then in saddle 
Through days bright with the sun 
Fight to awaken 
And fair fields to redden : 



"O'er the folk fate makes pale 
Should the Norn's tears have fallen, 
The shield-mays of the Huns 
Should have known of all sorrow ; 
And King Atli himself 
To worm-close should be brought ; 
But now is the worm-close 
Kept but for thee." 

Then spake Gunnar 
Great 'mid the people : 
" Over-late sister 
The Niblungs to summon ; 
A long way to seek 
The helping of warriors, 



SONG OF ATLI. 229 

The high lords unshamed, 
From the hills of the Rhine ! " 



Seven Hogni beat down 

With his sword sharp-grinded, 

And the eighth man he thrust 

Amidst of the fire. 

Ever so shall famed warrior 

Fight with his foemen, 

As Hogni fought 

For the hand of Gunnar. 



But on Gunnar they fell, 
And set him in fetters, 
And bound hard and fast 
That friend of Burgundians ; 
Then the warrior they asked 
If he would buy life, 
Buy life with gold 
That king of the Goths. 

Nobly spake Gunnar, 
Great lord of the Niblungs ; 
" Hogni's bleeding heart first 
Shall lie in mine hand, 
Cut from the breast 
Of the bold-riding lord, 
With bitter-sharp knife 
From the son of the king. r? 



230 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

With guile the great one 
Would they beguile, 
On the wailing thrall 
Laid they hand unwares, 
And cut the heart 
From out of I-Jjalli, 
Laid it bleeding on trencher 
And bare it to Gunnar. 



" Here have I the heart 
Of Hjalli the trembler, 
Little like the heart 
Of Hogni the hardy : 
As much as it trembleth 
Laid on the trencher, 
By the half more it trembled 
In the breast of him hidden.' 



Then laughed Hogni 
When they cut the heart from him, 
From the crest-smith yet quick, 
Little thought he to quail. 
The hard acorn of thought 
From the high king they took, 
Laid it bleeding on trencher 
And bare it Gunnar. 



u Here have I the heart 
Of Hogni the hardy, 
Little like to the heart 
Of Hjalli the trembler. 



SONG OF ATLI. 231 

Howso little it quaketh 
Laid here on the dish, 
Yet far less it quaked 
In the breast of him laid. 



" So far may st thou bide 
From men's eyen, O Atli, 
As from that treasure 
Thou shalt abide ! 

" Behold in my heart 
Is hidden for ever 
That hoard of the Niblungs, 
Now Hogni is dead. 
Doubt threw me two ways 
While the twain of us lived, 
But all that is gone 
Now I live on alone. 



" The great Rhine shall rule 
O'er the hate-raising treasure, 
That gold of the Niblungs, 
The seed of the gods : 
In the weltering water 
Shall that wealth lie a-gleaming 
Or it shine on the hands 
Of the children of Huns ! " 



6J 



Then cried Atli, 

King of the Hun-folk, 

" Drive forth your wains now 

The slave is fast bounden." 



232 SONGS EROM THE EDDA. 

And straightly thence 
The bit-shaking steeds 
Drew the hoard-warden, 
The war-god to his death. 



Atli the great king, 
Rode upon Glaum, 
With shields set round about, 
And sharp thorns of battle : 
Gudrun, bound by wedlock 
To these, victory made gods of, 
Held back her tears 
As the hall she ran into. 



" Let it fare with thee, Atli, 
E'en after thine oaths sworn 
To Gunnar full often ; 
Yea, oaths sworn of old time, 
By the sun sloping southward. 
By the high burg of Sigty, 
By the fair bed of rest, 
By the red ring of Ull ! " 



Now a host of men 
Cast the high king alive 
Into a close 
Crept o'er within 
With most foul worms, 
Fulfilled of all venom, 
Ready grave to dig 
In his doughty heart. 



SONG OF ATLI. 2 33 

Wrathful-hearted he smote 
The harp with his hand, 
Gunnar laid there alone ; 
And loud rang the strings. — 
In such wise ever 
Should hardy ring-scatterer 
Keep gold from all folk 
In the garth of his foemen. 



Then Atli would wend 
About his wide land, 
On his steed brazen-shod, 
Back from the murder. 
Din there was in the garth, 
All thronged with the horses ; 
High the weapon-song rose 
From men come from the heath. 



Out then went Gudrun, 
'Gainst Atli returning, 
With a cup gilded over, 
To greet the land's ruler ; 
" Come, then, and take it, 
King glad in thine hall, 
From Gudrun's hands, 
For the hell-farers groan not ! " 

Clashed the beakers of Atli, 
Wine-laden on bench, 
As in hall there a-gathered, 
The Huns fell a-talking, 



234 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

And the long-bearded eager ones 
Entered therein, 
. From a murk den new-come, 
From the murder of Gunnar. 



Then hastened the sweet-faced 
Delight of the shield-folk, 
Bright in the fair hall, 
Wine to bear to them : 
The dreadful woman 
Gave dainties withal 
To the lords pale with fate, 
Laid strange word* upon Atli : 

" The hearts of thy sons 
Hast thou eaten, sword-dealer, 
All bloody with death 
And drenched with honey : 
In most heavy mood 
Brood o'er venison of men ! 
Drink rich draughts therewith, 
Down the high benches send it ! 



" Never callest thou now 
From henceforth to thy knee 
Fair Erp or fair Eitil, 
Bright-faced with the drink ; 
Never seest thou them now 
Amidmost the seat, 
Scattering the gold, 
Or shafting of spears ; 



SONG OF ATLI. 235 

Manes trimming duly, 
Or driving steeds forth ! " 



Din arose from the benches, 
Dread song of men was there, 
Noise 'mid the fair hangings, 
As all Hun's children wept ; 
All saving Gudrun, 
Who never gat greeting, 
For her brethren bear-hardy, 
For her sweet sons and bright, 
The young ones, the simple 
Once gotten with Atli. 



The seed of gold 

Sowed the swan-bright woman, 

Rings of red gold 

She gave to the house-carls \ 

Fate let she wax, 

Let the bright gold flow forth, 

In naught spared that woman 

The store-houses' wealth, 

Atli unaware 

Was a-weary with drink ; 

No weapon had he, 

No heeding of Gudrun — 

Ah, the play would be better, 

When in soft wise they twain 



236 SONGS FROM THE EJDDA. 

Would full often embrace 
Before the great lords ! 

To the bed with sword-point 
Blood gave she to drink 
With a hand fain of death, 
And she let the dogs loose : 
Then in from the hall-door — 
— Up waked the house-carls— 
Hot brands she cast, 
Gat revenge for her brethren. 



To the flame gave she all 
Who therein might be found ; 
Fell adown the old timbers, 
Reeked all treasure-houses ; 
There the shield-mays were burnt, 
Their lives' span brought to naught ; 
In the fierce fire sank down 
All the stead of the Budlungs. 



Wide told of is this — 
Ne'er sithence in the world, 
Thus fared bride clad in byrny 
For her brothers' avenging ; 
For behold, this fair woman 
To three kings of the people, 
Hath brought very death 
Or ever she died ! 



237 



THE WHETTING OF GUDRUN. 



/"^UDRUN went down unto the sea whenas she had 
^* slain Atli, and she cast herself therein, for she was 
fain to end her life : but nowise might she drown. She 
drave over the firths to the land of King Jonakr, and he 
wedded her, and their sons were Sorli, and Erp, and Hamdir, 
and there was Swanhild, Sigurd's daughter, nourished : and 
she was given to Jormunrek the Mighty. Now Bikki was 
a man of his, and gave such counsel to Randver, the king's 
son, as that he should take her; and with that counsel 
were the young folk well content. 

Then Bikki told the king, and the king let hang Randver, 
but bade Swanhild be trodden under horses' feet. But 
when Gudrun heard thereof, she spake to her sons — 

Words of strife heard I, 
Huger than any, 
Woeful words spoken, 
Sprung from all sorrow, 
When Gudrun fierce-hearted 
With the grimmest of words 
Whetted her sons 
Unto the slaying. 



238 SONGS FROM THE EDJDA. 

" Why are ye sitting here ? 
Why sleep ye life away ? 
Why doth it grieve you nought ? 
Glad words to speak, 
Now when your sister — 
Young of years was she — 
Has Jormunrek trodden 
With the treading of horses ? — 



"Black horses and white 
In the highway of warriors ; 
Grey horses that know 
The roads of the Goths. — 



" Little like are ye grown 

To that Gunnar of old days ! 

Nought are your hearts 

As the heart of Hogni ! 

Well would ye seek 

Vengeance to win 

If your mood were in aught 

As the mood of my brethren, 

Or the hardy hearts 

Of the Kings of the Huns ! » 



Then spake Hamdir, 
The high-hearted — 
" Little didst thou 
Praise Hogni's doings, 
When Sigurd woke 
From out of sleep, 



THE WHETTING OP GUDRVN. 239 

And the blue-white bed-gear 
Upon thy bed 

Grew red with man's blood — 
With the blood of thy mate ! 



" Too baleful vengeance 

Wroughtest thou for thy brethren 

Most sore and evil 

When thy sons thou slewedst, 

Else all we together 

On Jormunrek 

Had wrought sore vengeance 

For that our sister. 

" Come, bring forth quickly 
The Hun kings' bright gear, 
Since thou hast urged us 
Unto the sword-Thing ! " 



Laughing went Gudrun 
To the bower of good gear, 
Kings' crested helms 
From chests she drew, 
And wide-wrought byrnies 
Bore to her sons : 
Then on their horses 
Load laid the heroes. 



Then spake Hamdir, 
The high-hearted — 
" Never cometh again 



2 4 o SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

His mother to see 
The spear-god laid low 
In the land of the Goths. 
That one arvel mayst thou 
For all of us drink, 
For sister Swanhild, 
And us thy sons." 

Greeted Gudrun, 
Giuki's daughter ; 
Sorrowing she went 
In the forecourt to sit, 
That she might tell, 
With cheeks tear-furrowed, 
Her weary wail 
In many a wise. 

" Three fires I knew, 
Three hearths I knew, 
To three husbands' houses 
Have I been carried ; 
And better than all 
Had been Sigurd alone, 
He whom my brethren 
Brought to his bane. 

" Such sore grief as that 
Methought never should be, 
Yet more indeed 
Was left for my torment 
Then, when the great ones 
Gave me to Atli. 



THE WHETTING OF GUDRUN. 241 

" My fair bright boys 
I bade unto speech, 
Nor yet might I win 
Weregild for my bale, 
Ere I had hewn off 
Those Niblungs' heads. 

" To the sea-strand I went 
With the Norns sorely wroth, 
For I would thrust from me 
The storm of their torment ; 
But the high billows 
Would not drown, but bore me 
Forth, till I stepped a-land 
Longer to live. 

" Then I went a-bed — 
—Ah, better in the old days, 
This was the third time ! — 
To a king of the people : 
Offspring I brought forth, 
Props of a fair house, 
Props of a fair house, 
Jonakr's fair sons. 

" But around Swanhild 
Bond-maidens sat, 
Her, that of all mine 
Most to my heart was ; 
Such was my Swanhild, 
In my hall's midmost, 
As is the sunbeam 
Fair to behold. 

0016 



242 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

" In gold I arrayed her, 

And goodly raiment, 

Or ever I gave her 

To the folk of the Goths. 

That was the hardest 

Of my heavy woes, 

When the bright hair, — 

O the bright hair of Swanhild ! 

In the mire was trodden 

By the treading of horses. 

" This was the sorest, 

When my love, my Sigurd, 

Reft of glory 

In his bed gat ending : 

But this the grimmest 

When glittering worms 

Tore their way 

Through the heart of Gunnar. 

" But this the keenest 
When they cut to the quick 
Of the hardy heart 
Of the unfeared Hogni. 
Of much of bale I mind me, 
Of many griefs I mind me ; 
Why should I sit abiding 
Yet more bale and more ? 

" Thy coal-black horse, 
O Sigurd, bridle, 
The swift on the highway ! 
O let him speed hither ! 



THE WHETTING OF GUDRUN. 243 

Here sitteth no longer 
Son or daughter, 
More good gifts 
To give to Gudrun ! 

" Mindst thou not, Sigurd, 
Of the speech betwixt us, 
When on one bed 
We both sat together, 

my great king — 

That thou wouldst come to me 
E J en from the hall of Hell, 

1 to thee from the fair earth ? 

" Pile high, O earls, 
The oaken pile, 
Let it be the highest 
That ever queen had ! 
Let the fire burn swift, 
My breast with woe laden, 
And thaw all my heart, 
Hard, heavy with sorrow ! " 

Now may all earls 

Be bettered in mind, 

May the grief of all maidens 

Ever be minished, 

For this tale of sorrow 

So told to its ending. 



244 



THE LAY OF HAMDIR, 



Great deeds of bale 
In the garth began, 
At the sad dawning 
The tide of Elves' sorrow 
When day is a-waxing 
And man's grief awake ih, 
And the sorrow of each one 
The early day quickeneth. 

Not now, not now, 

Nor yesterday, 

But long ago 

Has that day worn by, 

That ancientest time, 

The first time to tell of, 

Then, whenas Gudrun, 

Born of Giuki, 

Whetted her sons 

To Swanhild's avenging. 

" Your sister's name 
Was naught but Swanhild, 



THE LA Y OF HAMDIR. 

Whom Jormunrek 

With horses has trodden ! — 

White horses and black 

On the war-beaten way, 

Grey horses that go 

On the roads of the Goths. 

" All alone am I now 

As in holt is the aspen ; 

As the fir-tree of boughs, 

So of kin am I bare ; 

As bare of things longed for 

As the willow of leaves 

When the bough-breaking wind 

The warm day endeth. 

"Few, sad, are ye left, 
O kings of my folk ! 
Yet alone living 
Last shreds of my kin ! 

" Ah, naught are ye grown 
As that Gunnar of old days ; 
Naught are your hearts 
As the heart of Hogni ! 
Well would ye seek 
Vengeance to win 
If your hearts were in aught 
As the hearts of my brethren ! " 

Then spake Hamdir 
The high-hearted : 



246 SONGS FROM THE EDDA 

" Nought hadst thou to praise 
The doings of Hogni, 
When they woke up Sigurd 
From out of slumber, 
And in bed thou sat'st up 
'Mid the banes-men's laughter. 



" Then when thy bed-gear, 

Blue-white, well woven 

By art of craftsmen 

All swam with thy king's blood ; 

Then Sigurd died, 

O'er his dead corpse thou sattest, 

Not heeding aught gladsome, 

Since Gunnar so willed it. 



"Great grief for Atli 
Gatst thou by Erp's murder. 
And the end of thine Eitil, 
But worse grief for thyself. 
Good to use sword 
For the slaying of others 
In such wise that its edge 
Shall not turn on ourselves ! " 



Then well spake Sorli 
From a heart full of wisdom 
" No words will I 
Make with my mother, 
Though both ye twain 
Need words belike — 



THE LA Y OF HAMDIR. 247 

What askest thou, Gudrun, 
To let thee go greeting ? 

" Weep for thy brethren, 
Weep for thy sweet sons, 
And thy nighest kinsfolk 
Laid by the fight-side ! 
Yea, and thou Gudrun, 
May'st greet for us twain 
Sitting fey on our steeds 
Doomed in far lands to die.' 7 

From the garth forth they went 
With hearts full of fury, 
Sorli and Hamdir, 
The sons of Gudrun, 
And they met on the way 
The wise in all wiles : 
" And thou little Erp, 
What helping from thee ? " 

He of alien womb 
Spake out in such wise : 
" Good help for my kin, 
Such as foot gives to foot, 
Or flesh-covered hand 
Gives unto hand ! " 

" What helping for foot 
That help that foot giveth, 
Or for flesh-covered hand 
The helping of hand ? " 



248 SONGS FROM THE ED DA, 

Then spake Erp 

Yet once again 

Mock spake the prince 

As he sat on his steed : 

" Fool's deed to show 

The way to a dastard ! " 

" Bold beyond measure," 

Quoth they, " is the base-born ! J7 

Out from the sheath 
Drew they the sheath-steel, 
And the glaives' edges played 
For the pleasure of hell ; 
By the third part they minished 
The might that they had, 
Their young kin they let lie 
A-cold on the earth. 

Then their fur-cloaks they shook 
And bound fast their swords, 
In webs goodly woven 
Those great ones were clad ; 
Young they went o'er the fells 
Where the dew was new-fallen 
Swift, on steeds of the Huns, 
Heavy vengeance to wreak. 

Forth stretched the ways, 
And an ill way they found, 
Yea, their sister's son* 
Hanging slain upon tree — 

* Randver, the son of their sister's husband. 



THE LA Y OF HAMDIR. 249 

Wolf-trees by the wind made cold 
At the town's westward 
Loud with cranes' clatter — 
111 abiding there long ! 



Din in the king's hall 
Of men merry with drink, 
And none might hearken 
The horses' tramping 
Or ever the warders 
Their great horn winded. 

Then men went forth 

To Jormunrek 

To tell of the heeding 

Of men under helm : 

" Give ye good counsel ! 

Great ones are come hither, 

For the wrong of men mighty 

Was the may to death trodden." 

Loud Jormunrek laughed, 

And laid hand to his beard, 

Nor bade bring his byrny, 

But with the wine fighting, 

Shook his red locks, 

On his white shield sat staring, 

And in his hand 

Swung the gold cup on high. 

" Sweet sight for me 
Those twain to set eyes on, 



2 5 o SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Sorli and Hamdir, 

Here in my hall ! 

Then with bowstrings 

Would I bind them, 

And hang the good Giukings 

Aloft on the gallows ! " 



Then spake Hrothglod 

From off the high steps, 

Spake the slim-fingered 

Unto her son, — 

— For a threat was cast forth 

Of what ne'er should fall — 

" Shall two men alone 

Two hundred Gothfolk 

Bind or bear down 

In the midst of their burg ? " 



Strife and din in the hall, 

Cups smitten asunder 

Men lay low in blood 

From the breasts of Goths flowing:, 



Then spake Hamdir, 
The high-hearted : 
" Thou cravedst, O king, 
For the coming of us, 



THE LA Y OF HAMDIR. 2 si 

The sons of one mother, 
Amidmost thine hall — 
Look on these hands of thine, 
Look on these feet of thine, 
Cast by us, Jormunrek, 
On to the flame ! " 

Then cried aloud 
The high Cods' kinsman,* 
Bold under byrny, — 
Roared he as bears roar ; 
" Stones to the stout ones 
That the spears bite not, 
Nor the edges of steel, 
These sons of Jonakr ! n 



Quoth SorlL 



"Bale, brother, wroughtst thou 
By that bag'sf opening, 
Oft from that bag 
Rede of bale cometh ! 
Heart hast thou, Hamdir, 
If thou hadst heart's wisdom 
Great lack in a man 
Who lacks wisdom and lore ! " 

Hamdir said. 

" Yea, off were the head 
If Erp were alive yet, 

* Odin, namely. t u Bag," his mouth. 



252 SONGS FROM THE EJDDA. 

Our brother the bold 

Whom we slew by the way ; 

The far-famed through the world. — 

Ah, the fates drave me on, 

And the man war made holy, 

There must I slay ! " 

Sorli said. 

" Unmeet we should do 
As the doings of wolves are, 

Raising wrong each 'gainst other 
As the dogs of the Norns, 
The greedy ones nourished 

In waste steads of the world. 

In strong wise have we fought, 

On Goths' corpses we stand, 

Beat down by our edges, 

E'en as ernes on the bough. 

Great fame our might winneth, 

Die we now, or to-morrow, — 

No man lives till eve 

Whom the fates doom at morning. * 

At the hall's gable-end 

Fell Sorli to earth, 

But Hamdir lay low 

At the back of the houses. 

Now this is called the Ancient Lay of Hamdir. 



*53 



THE LAMENT OF ODDRUN. 



HTHERE was a king night Heidrik, and his daughter 
. was called Borgn)^ and the name of her lover was 
Vilmund. Nov/ she might nowise be made lighter of a 
child she travailed with, before Oddrun, Atli's sister, came 
to her, — she who had been the love of Gunnar, Giuki's 
son. But of their speech together has this been sung : 

I have heard tell 
In ancient tales 
How a may there came 
To Morna-land, 
Because no man 
On mould abiding 
For Heidrik's daughter 
Might win healing. 

All that heard Oddrun, 
Atli's sister, 
How that the damsel 
Had heavy sickness, 
So she led from stall 
Her bridled steed, 



254 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

And on the swart one 
Laid the saddle. 



She made her horse wend 
O'er smooth ways of earth, 
Until to a high-built 
Hall she came ; 
Then the saddle she had 
From the hungry horse, 
And her ways wended 
In along the wide hall, 
And this word first 
Spake forth therewith : 

" What is most famed, 
Afield in Hunland, 
Or what may be 
Blithest in Hunland ? " 

Quoth the handmaid. 

" Here lieth Borgny, 
Borne down by trouble, 
Thy sweet friend, O Oddrun, 
See to her helping ! " 

Oddrun said. 

"Who of the lords 
Hath laid this grief on her, 
Why is the anguish 
Of Borgny so weary ? " 



THE LAMENT OE ODDRUN. 255 



The handmaid said. 

" He is hight Vilmund, 
Friend of hawk-bearers, 
He wrapped the damsel 
In the warm bed-gear 
Five winters long 
Without her father's wotting." 

No more than this 
They spake methinks ; 
Kind sat she down 
By the damsel's knee ; 
Mightily sang Oddrun, 
Eagerly sang Oddrun, 
Sharp piercing songs 
By Borgny's side : 

Till a maid and a boy 

Might tread on the world's ways, 

Blithe babes and sweet 

Of Hogni's bane : 

Then the damsel fore wearied 

The word took up, 

The first word of all 

That had won from her : 

" So may help thee 
All helpful things, 
Fey and Freyia, 
And all the fair Gods, 



256 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

As thou hast thrust 
This torment from me ! " 

Oddrun said, 

" Yet no heart had I 
For thy helping, 
Since never wert thou 
Worthy of helping, 
But my word I held to, 
That of old was spoken 
When the high lords 
Dealt out the heritage, 
- That every soul 
I would ever help." 

Borgny said, 

" Right mad art thou, Oddrun, 

And reft of thy wits, 

Whereas thou speakest 

Hard words to me 

Thy fellow ever 

Upon the earth 

As of brothers twain, 

We had been born." 

Oddrun said, 

" Well I mind me yet, 
What thou saidst that evening, 
Whenas I bore forth 
Fair drink for Gunnar ; 



THE LAMENT OF O DDR UN. 2 si 

Such a thing, saidst thou, 
Should fall out never, 
For any may 
Save for me alone.'' 



Mind had the damsel 
Of the weary day 
Whenas the high lords 
Dealt out the heritage, 
And she sat her down, 
The sorrowful woman, 
To tell of the bale, 
And the heavy trouble. 

" Nourished was I 

In the hall of kings — 

Most folk were glad — 

'Mid the council of great ones 

In fair life lived I, 

And the wealth of my father 

For five winters only, 

While yet he- had life. 



" Such were the last words 
That ever he spake, 
The king forewearied, 
Ere his ways he went ; 
For he bade folk give me 
The gold red-gleaming, 
And give me in Southlands 
To the son of Grimhild, 

UOT? 



258 SONGS FROM THE ED DA, 

"But Brynhild he bade 
To the helm to betake her, 
And said that Death-chooser 
She should become ; 
And that no better 
Might ever be born 
Into the world, 
If fate would not spoil it. 



" Brynhild in bower 
Sewed at her broidery, 
Folk she had 
And fair lands about her ; 
Earth lay a-sleeping, 
Slept the heavens aloft 
When Fafnir's-bane 
The burg first saw. 



" Then was war waged 

With the Welsh-wrought sword 

And the burg all broken 

That Brynhild owned ; 

Nor wore long space, 

E'en as well might be, 

Ere all those wiles 

Full well she knew. 

" Hard and dreadful 

Was the vengeance she drew down, 

So that all we 

Have woe enow. 



THE LAMENT OF ODD RUN. 259 

Through all lands of the world 
Shall that story fare forth 
How she did her to death 
For the death of Sigurd. 



" But therewithal Gunnar 
The gold-scatterer 
Did I fall to loving 
And she should have loved him. 
Rings of red gold 
Would they give to Atli, 
Would give to my brother 
Things goodly and great. 

" Yea, fifteen steads 
Would they give for me, 
And the load of Grani 
To have as a gift ; 
But then spake Atli, 
That such was his will, 
Never gift to take 
From the sons of Giuki. 

" But we in nowise 
Might love withstand, 
And mine head must I lay 
On my love, the ring-breaker ; 
And many there were 
Among my kin, 
Who said that they 
Had seen us together. 



2 6o SONGS FROM THE ED DA. 

"Then Atli said 
That I surely never 
Would fall to crime 
Or shameful folly : 
But now let no one 
For any other, 
That shame deny 
Where love has dealing. 

" For Atli sent 
His serving-folk 
Wide through the murkwood 
Proof to win of me, 
And thither they came 
Where they ne'er should have come, 
Where one bed we twain 
• Had dight betwixt us. 

" To those men had we given 

Rings of red gold, 

Naught to tell 

Thereof to Atli, 

But straight they hastened 

Home to the house, 

And all the tale 

To Atli told. 

11 Whereas from Gudrun 
Well they hid it, 
Though better by half 
Had she have known it. 



THE LAMENT OF ODDRUN. 261 

" Din was there to hear 
Of the hoofs gold-shod, 
When into the garth 
Rode the sons of Giuki, 

" There from Hogni 

The heart they cut, 

But into the worm-close 

Cast the other. 

There the king, the wise-hearted, 

Swept his harp-strings, 

For the mighty king 

Had ever mind 

That I to his helping 

Soon should come. 

" But now was I gone 
Yet once again 
Unto Geirmund, 
Good feast to make ; 
Yet had I hearing, 
E'en out from Hlesey, 
How of sore trouble 
The harp-strings sang. 

" So I bade the bondmaids 
Be ready swiftly, 
For I listed to save 
The life of the king, 
And we let our ship 
Swim over the sound, 
Till Atli's dwelling 
We saw all clearly. 



262 SONGS FROM THE EDDA. 

Then came the wretch* 
Crawling out, 
E'en Atli's mother, 
All sorrow upon her ! 
A grave gat her sting 
In the heart of Gunnar, 
So that no helping 
Was left for my hero. 

" O gold-clad woman, 
Full oft I wonder 
How I my life 
Still hold thereafter, 
For methought I loved 
That light in battle, 
The swift with the sword, 
As my very self. 

" Thou hast sat and hearkened 
As I have told thee 
Of many an ill-fate, 
Mine and theirs — 
Each man liveth 
E'en as he may live — 
Now hath gone forth 
The greeting of Oddrun." 



* Atli's mother took the form of the only adder that was not lulled 
to sleep by Gunnar's harp-p'aying, and who slew him. 



ALPHABETICAL LIST OF PERSONS, PLACES, 
AND THINGS IN THE STORY. 



.Esir, 6 1 (et passim) 

Agnar, or Audi's brother, 70 

Alf, the son of Hjalprek, king of 

Denmark, 39, 126 
Alf, the son of Hunding, 27 
Alf the Old, king,3i, 88' 
Alswid, son of Heimir, 80 
Andvari, son of Oinn, a dwarf, 46 
Andvari's force (a waterfall), 46 
And van's gift (a ring), 48 
Asgarth, abode of the ^Esir, the 

Gods, 30 
Aslaug, daughter of Sigurd Faf- 

nir's-bane, 97 
Atli, Budli's son, brother of 

Brynhild, $6 

Bekkhild, daughter of Budli, 
wife of Heimir, 80 

Bikki, King Jormunrek's coun- 
sellor, 154 

Borghild, Queen of Sigmund 
Volsungson, 25 

Bravoll (a field), 30 

Bredi, thrall of Skadi, 1 

Brynhild, daughter of Budli, 
64 {et passim) 

Budli, king, 86 

Busil-tarn, a river, 43 



Denmark, 125 
Dragonkeel (a ship), 
Dvalin, a dwarf, 62 



53 



Erp, son of Jonakr, 151 
Eylimi, King, 35 



Eymod, 126 

Eyolf, son of Hunding, 27 

Fafnir, son of Hreidmar, 44 

Feng (Odin), 54 

Fjolnir (Odin), 54 

Fion, 126 

Fjornir, 136 

Frankland, 68 

Franks, 126 

Freyia, 4 

Giaflaug, 115 

Giuki, a king, 86 

Glaumvor, second wife of Gun- 

nar, Giuki's son, 132 
Gnoevar, son of Hogni Giukisson, 

137 

Gnipalund, 29 

Gnita-heath, 44 

Golnir, a giant, 30 

Gothland, 6 

Goti, a horse, 94 

Gram, the family sword of the 

Volsungs, 39 
Grani, 30 
Grani, horse of Sigurd Fafnir's- 

bane, 44 
Granmar, 28 
Greeks, 96 
Grinr (Edda Gripir)), son of 

Eylimi, 52 
Grimhild, Giuki's queen, 86 
Grindur, 31 
Gudrun, daughter of Giuki, 84 

(et passim) 



264 



INDEX. 



Gullrond, a daughter of Giuki, 
118 

Gungnir, a sword, J3 

Gunnar, son of Giuki, 86 (et pas- 
sim) 

Guttorm, son of Giuki, 86 

Hacon, father of Thora, 126 

Hadding, 127 

Hsenir, one of the /Esir, 152 

Hagbard, 88 

Hagbard, son of Hunding, 27 

Haki's sons, 88 

Hamdir, son of Jonakr, -151 

Hamund, son of Sigmund, 25 

Hedinsey, 28 

Heimir, 80 

Ilelgi, son of Sigmund, called 

Hunding's-bane, 25 
Helm Gunnar, a king, 27 
Herborg, 115 

Hervard, son of Hunding, 27 
Hindfell, 64 
Hjalli, a thrall, 143 
Hjalprek, king of Denmark, 39 
Hjordis, daughter of Eylimi, 35 
Hlymdale, 97 
Hnikar, 54 

Hodbrod, son of Granmar, 29 
Hogni, son of Giuki, 86 
Hogni, king, Sigrun's father, 27 
Holkvir (not Holkvi), the horse 

of Gunnar, 94 
Hreidmar, 42 
Hrimnir, a giant, 4 
Hropt (Odin), 73 
Huginn (Odin's raven), 54 
Hunding, King, 27 
Huns, 2 

Jarisleif, 126 

Jonakr, 152 

Jormunrek (Ermanarik), 152 

Kostbera, wife of Hogni Giukis- 
son, 134 



Leif, a ship-captain, 28 
Ljod, daughter of the giant Hrim- 
nir, 4 
Loki, one of the ^Esir, 47 
Longbeards, 126 
Lowness, 30 
Lyngi, king, son of Hunding, 35 

Niblung, son of Hogni Giukis- 

son, 148 
Norfis-sound, 28 
Norns (of threefold kin), 61 

Oddrun, King Atli's sister, 123 

Odin, 1 (et passim) 

Oinn, 48 

Orkning, brother to Kostbera, 

137 
Otter, son of Hreidmar, 46 

Ran, the sea goddess, 47 
Randver, son of Jormunrek 

153 
Red-berg, 28 

Regin, son of Hreidmar, 42 
Rerir, son of Sigi, 2 
Rhine, 86 
Ring, 31 

Ridil, a sword, 64 
Rognir (Odin), 73 
Rotti, a sword, 67 

Saxons, 126 

Sigar, 88 

Siggeir, King of Gothland, 6 

Sigi, son of Odin, 1 

Sigmund, son of Sigurd Fafnir's- 

bane, 92 
Sigmund, son of Volsung, 5 
Signy, daughter of Volsung, 5 
Sigrun, daughter of Hogni, 27 
Sigurd, son of Sigmund, called 

Fafnir's-bane, 68 (et passim) 
Sinfjotli, son of Sigmund, 17 
Skadi, I 

Sleipnir, Odin's steed, 77 
Sok, an island, 31 



INDEX. 



265 



Solar, son of Hogni Giukisson, 

137 

Sorli, son of Jonakr, 151 
Sunfells (Sunlitten hills, 26), 30 
Surt, a fire-giant, 62 
Swanhild, daughter of Sigurd 

Fafnir's-bane, 152 
Swarin's-cairn, 29 
Sveggjud, a horse, 30 
Sveipud, a horse, 30 



Thora, daughter of Hacon, 129 
Thrasness, 30 



Unshapen, a holm, 61 

Valbiorg, 128 

Vanir, 74 

Varin's-firth, 28 

Varinsey, 29 

Vinbjorg, 128 

Vingi, King Atli's messenger, 

. I 3 I 

Vinskornir, a horse, 66 

Volsung, son of Rerir, 5 

Waldemar of Denmark, 126 
Wolfstone, a field of battle, 31 



BOOK LIST. 



Some pains have been taken in compiling this list, in order to make 
it as complete, each entry as full, and all as correct as might be. It 
were idle to suppose that all the books named are equally well worth 
reading. The reader, to whom all are open, will find them vary, after 
the manner of books ; but this volume will go into the hands of many 
to whom such free range is denied, and for their sake the list has been 
made long, in the hope that it may include one book at least for all 
who seek it. He who cannot buy may yet, with the help of this list 
in his hand, find some one book in well-nigh any library ; where also 
the index of magazine articles will guide him to much matter of learn- 
ing and amusement. Deeper students have (on p, 273) direction for 
further search. 



Andersen (Caul C. T.).— Three 
sketches of life in Iceland ; 
tr. M. Fenton. R. Wash- 
bourne, London, 1877, 8vo. 

Anderson (Joseph).— See Ork- 
neyinga Saga. 

Anderson (Rasmus B.) and 
Bjarnason (Jon). — Yiking 
tales of the North. The Sagas 
of Thorstein, Viking's son, 
and Fridthjof the bold. Tr. 
from the Icelandic by R. B. 
A. and J. B. Also Tegner's 
Fridthiofs Saga, tr. G. 
Stephens. S. C. Griggs & Co., 
Chicago, 1877, 12mo. 

History of the literature of 

the Scandinavian North, from 
the most ancient times to the 
present, by Frederik Winkel 
Horn, Ph. D., tr. by R. B. A., 
with Bibliography of Scan- 
dinavia by Thorvald Solberg. 
Griggs, Chicago, 1884, 8vo. 



Anderson (Rasmus B.) and 
Bjarnason (Jon). — Norse 
Mythology ; or, the religion of 
our forefathers. Myths of the 
Eddas systematised and inter- 
preted, with in trod., vocab., and 
index. Griggs, Chicago >, 1875, 
8vo. 

The Scandinavian languages, 

their value, elucidated by 
quotations. Madison (Wis,, 
U.S.A.), 1873, 8vo. 

See Edda Snorra Stur- 



LUSONAR. 

Anson (W, S. W.).—See Wagner 
(Dr. W.). 

Arnason (Jon). — Icelandic 
Legends. Tr. G. E. J. Powell 
and Eiiikr Magniisson. 1st 
series, JR. Bcntlcy, London, 
1864, 8vo. 2nd series, Notes 
and Introductory Essay, Long- 
mans, London, 1866, 8vo. 

Asgbimsson (Eystein). — See 
Magnusson (Eirikr). 



268 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



Baring-Gould (Sabine). — Ice- 
land : its scenes and sagas. 
Smith, Elder, & Co , London, 
1863, 8vo. 

Barnard {Rev. M. R.). — See 
Paijkull (C. W. von). 

Barrow (John). — A visit to Ice- 
land. . . . Summer 1834. J. 
Murray, London, 1835, 12mo. 

Beresford (Rev. Jas., M.A.). 
The Song of the Sun, a poem 
of the Eleventh Century, from 
the Elder Edda, imitated by J. 
B. With, preface, notes, and a 
short account of the author. 
Ice., Lat., and Eng. London, 
.1805, 8vo. 

Bibliography of Scandinavia. 
— See Anderson (R. B.). 

Bjarnason (Jon). — See Ander- 
son (R. B.). 

Blackwell (J. A.) — See Edda 
Snorra Sturlusonar. 

Burton (R. Francis). — Ultima 
Thule ; or, a Summer in Ice- 
land. W. P. Nimmo, Edin- 
burgh, 1875, 2 vols., 8vo. 

Cassell's Illustrated Travels. 
Ed., H. W. Bates. Cassell, 
London, 1869-74, 6 vols, in 3, 
4to. Contains Hjaltalin (Jon 
A.) — Notes on Iceland (v. ii.); 
Hekla(v. iii.) ; T. (J. E. H.)- 
Journey from Reikyavik to 
Kreisuvig (v. vi. ) ; V. (Lt. von) — 
From end to end of Stromoe 
(v. vi.). 

Clark (J. W.)— See Galton (F.). 

Cleasby (R.) and Vigfusson 
(Gudbrand). — An Icelandic- 
English Dictionary. With In- 
troduction and life of R. 
Cleasby by G. W. Dasent. 
[Together with a Grammar.] 
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1874, 
4to. 



Coles (J.) — Summer Travelling in 
Iceland. With chapter on 
Askja by E. Delmar Morgan, 
and literal translation of three 
sagas : The story of Thordr 
hreda — Banda-manna Saga — 
The story of Hrafnkell, Frey's 
Priest.) Murray, London, 
1882, 8vo. 

CONYBEARE (C. A. VANSITTART). 

— The place of Iceland in the 
history of European Institutions. 
Lothian prize essay. Parker 
and Co., Oxford and London, 
1877, 8vo. 

Cooper (C. F.).— See Pfeiffer 
(I.R.). 

Cottle (A. S.) — See Edda 
Saemundar. 

Dasent (Sir G. Webbe). — Jest 
and Earnest. Chapman & Hall, 
London, 1873, 2 vols., 8vo. 

The Story of Burnt Njal ; or, 

life in Iceland at the end of the 
tenth century. From the Ice- 
landic of the Njals Saga. 
Edmonston & Douglas, Edin- 
burgh, 1861, 2 vols., 8vo. 

The Story of Gisli the Out- 
law. From the Icelandic. E. 
& D.,Edin., 1866, sm. 4to. 

The Norsemen in Iceland. In 

Oxford Essays. Parker, Lon- 
don, 1858, 4 vols, 8vo. 

The Vikings of the Baltic. A 

tale of the north in the tenth 
century. 2 vols. Chapman, 
London, 1875, 8vo. 

See also Edda Snorra Stur- 



lusonar. See also Rask (R.C.). 

De Fonblanque (Miss C. A.). — 
Five weeks in Iceland. Bentley, 
London, 1880, 8vo. 

Dillon (Hon. A. E. D. ; Vis- 
count). — A Winter in Iceland 
and Lapland. Colburn, London, 
1840, 2 vols., 12mo. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



269 



Domestic Scenes in Greenland 
and Iceland (Anon.). Van 
Voorst, London, 1850, 16mo. 

Dufferin (F. T. H. Black- 
wood, Earl of). — Letters from 
High Latitudes, being some 
account of a voyage ... to 
Iceland. . . . Murray , London 
(fifth edition), 8vo, 1867. 

Edda Saemundar. — Icelandic 
poetry, or the Eddaof Saemund, 
tr. into English verse, by 
A. S. Cottle. N. Briggs, Bris- 
tol, 1797, 8vo. 

Edda Saemundar bins froda. 

The Edda of Saemund the 
learned; tr., etc., by Ben. 
Thorpe. Trubner, London, 
1866, 2 vols. 9 8vo. 

See also Yigfusson (G.), and 



Powell (F. T.) — See Yolsunga 
Saga.— See Head (^VG. W.). 
— See Beresford (Rev. Jas.) 



Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. — 
The Prose Edda, tr. by J. A. 
Blackwell. In Mallet (P. H. ). 
Northern Antiquities. Bohn 
(Antiq. Lib.), London, 1847, 
12mo. 



The 



Prose or 
. tr. by 



Younger 
G. W. 



Edda 

Dasent, Stockholm, 1842, 8vo. 
The Younger Edda : also 



called Snorre's Edda, or the 
prose Edda. Tr., with notes, 
etc., by R. B. Anderson. 
Griggs & Co., Chicago, 1880 
[1879], 8vo. 

See also Snorri Sturluson. 

Fenton (Myfanwy). — See 
Andersen (Carl C. T\). 

Forbes (C. Stuart). — Iceland ; 
its volcanoes, geysers, and gla- 
ciers. Murray, London, 1860, 
8vo. 

Galton (Fras.). — Yacation 
Tourists and notes of travel in 



1860-61-62-63. Macmillan, Lon- 
don, 1861-4, 8 vo. (contains, 1860, 
Journal of a Yacht voyage to the 
Faroe Islands and Iceland. By 
J. W. Clark, pp. 318-361.) 

Gisli Saga Stjrsonnar. — See 
Dasent (G. W.). 

Grettis Saga. — See Magnusson 
(Eirikr) and Morris (Wm.). 

Grimm (J. L. C. ). — Teutonic 
Mythology. Sonnenschein, Lon- 
don, 1880, 8vo. 

Gunnlatjgs Saga Ormstunga ok 
Skald- Hrafns. — See Magnusson 
(Eirikr) and Morris (Wm.). 

Handbook for travellers in Den- 
mark and Iceland. Murray, 
London, 1858, 12mo. 

Head (Sir Edm. W.).— -Yiga 
Glums Saga. The story of Yiga 
Glum, tr. from the Icelandic. 
Williams & Norgate, London, 
1866, 8vo. 

Headley (Ph. C.).— The Island 
of Fire. Lee & Shepard, Bos- 
ton, 1875, 12mo. 

Henderson (Rev. E.) — Iceland; 
the journal of a resident, 1814 
and 1815. Oliphant, Edin- 
burgh, 1818, 2 vols., 8vo. 

Herbert (Hon. Wm.). — Select 
Icelandic poetry ; tr. , with notes. 
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Historical (An) and descriptive 
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270 



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Mathias (T. J.).— The Garland 
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Metcalfe (Fred.).— The Saxon 
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Orkneyinga Saga. — Tr. from 
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Percy (T., Bp.ofDromore).— Five 
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Pigott (Gren.). Manual of Scan- 
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Powell (G. E. J.).— See Arnason 
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Short . . . method of learn- 
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Shepherd (C. W.).— The North- 
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Sturltjnga Saga ; including the 
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Thordarson (Sturla). — The 
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Thoegeieson (N.). — See Dasent 
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Thoekelin (Geime Jonsson). — 
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Thoepe (Ben.). — See Edda 
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Todd (J. H.).— The War of the 
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Van Geuisen (N. L., Jr.). — A 
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Vigfusson (Gudbeand) and 
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Corpus poeticum Boreale. 

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Wagnee (Dr. W.). — Asgard and 
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Wallee (S. E. ). — Six weeks in 
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Snioland ; or, Iceland, its 

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Yacht (A) Yoyage to Iceland in 
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Zimmeen (Helen). — Tales from 
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Bibliographies. 

Jonsson (J.), Borgfirdingur. — 
Soguagrip um prentsmidjur og 
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Einaesson (H.). — Historia liter- 
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Moebius (Th.) — Catalogus lib- 
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Yerzeichniss der auf dem 

gebiete der altnordischen (alt- 
islandischen und altnorvvegis- 
chen), Sprache und Literatur 
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Titles of works and names of 
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0018 



274 



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with references showing the 
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the volume in which each woik 
cited will be found in the 
Library of the British Museum. 
Manuscript. Catalogue Desk. 
Brit. Mus. Lib. 
See also Publications of the 
Jslenzka B6kmentaf6lag. Copen- 
hagen. 

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Age of Igneous Rocks of I. (J. 

Geikie). Nature, 1881, 6o$. 
Annals of I. (W. Fiske). N. Y. 

Nation, 1880, 63. 
Bishops of I., Early. Christ. 

Kemem., 1868, 311. 
Boiling Springs of I. Westm. Rev., 

1857, 198. 
Cataract at Fossvollum. Penny 

AJ., 1838, 449. 
Caverns and Banditti in I. Penny 

M., 1838, 409. 
Celebration in I., 1874 (C. W. 

Field). St James Mag., 1874, 

559. 
Change of Faith in 1. Queer., 

1862, 115. 
Edda, The (E. W. Gosse), Ency. 

Brit., 9th edition, 1881.— (C. 

Lottner) Fraser, 1861, 190. 

—Knick., 1847, 294.— For. 

Q. 1827, 210.— Ethic Ideas 

of the E. (Karl Blind), Dub. 

Univ. Mag., 1878, 392, 520.— 

Free trans, from . . . E. (E. 

Head), Fraser, 1865, 370.- 

Rhymes from E. , Bub. Univ. 

Mag., 1853, 578.— Symbolism 

of E., Nat. Q., 1866, 67.— E. 

doctrine and its origin. — For. Q., 

1827, 210. 
Egills Saga (Eng. epitome by E. 

\V. Gosse), Corn., 1879, 21. 



Eruption of Mt. Hecla in 1845, 
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Eruptive Phenomena of I. (J. 
Tyndall). Journal Franklin 
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Flora of I. (W. L. Lindsay). 
Ed. New Philos. J, 1861, 64. 

Geysers of I., Penny 31., 1833, 
473; St. James's Mag., 1862, 
334.— Visit to G. of I., Ev. Sett., 
1868,487. G. Action of, Westm., 
1857, 207.— G., and how they 
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Hecla, Mount, Penny M., 1833, 
495.— Ascent of Mt. H. (G. F 
Rodwell), Nature, 1878, 596 ; 
Chamb. J, 1867,407.— Descrip- 
tion of Mt. H.(S. Baring-Gould), 
Once a week, 1867, 657. — Erup- 
tion Mt. H. in 1845, Dub. Rev., 
1848, 1.— Lavas of Mt. H. (G. 
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280. 

Home Life of old Norsemen. 
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Impressions of I. (Jas Bryce). 
Corn., 1874, 553 

Ibn Fozlan. — Description by an 
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1873, 518. 

Iceland (geog. and descrip., H. A. 
Hjaltalin ; lit. and hist., F. Y. 
Powell), Encyc. Brit., 9th ed., 
1881.— (Syd. Smith), Ed. Rev., 
1804,334.— (A. Trollope), i^r^, 
1878, 175.— (Sir D. Wedder- 
burn), mh Cent, 1880, 218.— 
Chamb. J, 1875, 741.— Dub. 
Univ. Mag., 1874, 349.— 
Eclectic R., 1862, 114. 

I. and its Phenomena. — Bond. 
Quart, 1863, 121.— I. and Faroe 
Islands, Visit to (R. Chambers), 
Chamb. J, 1855, 129-282.— I. 



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and its geysers, St. James's 
Mag., 1862, 334.— I. and the 
Icelanders, Christ Bememb., 
1852, 225.— New. Eng. Mag., 
1831, 311. — I. and its explorers , 
Ed. Rev., 1876, 222—1. and its 
physical curiosities, Brit. 
Quart., 1861, 525.— In I. (E. J. 
Oswald), Good Words, 1876, 
472, 543, 632.— I. in the year 
1000, Eraser, 1852, 643.— I. in 
the year 1100, Ed. Bev., 1861, 
425.— To I. (Mrs. Blackburn), 
Good Words, 1879, 429-622.— 
What I saw in I., Eclectic Mag., 
1862 (v. i.), 518.— Physico-geo- 
graphical sketch of I., Westm., 
1849, 264. 

Icelanders. Benny M., 1833, 442, 
452. 

Irish monks and the Norsemen 
(H. H. Howorth). B. His. Soc. 
Trans., Bond., 1880, 281. 

J6n Jonsson's Saga : the genuine 
autobiography of a modern Ice- 
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Journey into I. (S. Baring- 
Gould). Good Words, 1867, 
87. 

King of I. Colburn, 1862, 118. 

Legendary Lore of I. Westm., 
1866, 122. 

Legends, Icelandic. Dub. Univ. 

Mag., 1864, 65. 
Literary Societies of I. For. Quart. 

1831,41. 

Literature, Icelandic. Nat. Quart, 
1870, 256—1874, 61. Origin 
... of I. hist. lit., Am. Eclectic, 
1841, v. i., 446, v. ii. 131.— 
Ancient I. L.,Am. Church Bev., 
1872, 274.— I., L. m,EncyBrit., 
9th edition, 1881.— Northern 
L., Dub. Bev. 1850, 354—1852, 
112.— Eclec. Bev. 1852, 592.— 



Old N. L., Am. Whig. Bev. 
1845, 250. 

Lore and Scenery, Icelandic. Dub. 
Univ. Mag., 1863, 469. 

Millenary of I. Nature, 1874, 
279. 

Modern I., autobiography of Jon 
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Moors of I. (D. Ker). Appleton, 
1878, 38. 

Mythology, Scandinavian. West- 
minster, 1854, 311.; Dublin 
Beview, 1852, 112. (H. 
Wheaton) ; No. Am., 1829, 18. 
S. M. and the nature of its 
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Northern M. Dub. Univ. 

Mag., 1838, 86 ; Westm., 1854, 
311.— Old Norse M. Dub. Univ., 
1872, 481, 599. 

Norse. Our N. forefathers (C. 
Kingsley). Overland, 1874, 88. 
N. element in later English 
history. (R. E. Thompson). 
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Northmen. (Mrs. L. M. Child.) 
HotviWs Jnl., 1847, 163. N., 
Heathen and Christian. Blackw. 
1869, 323 ; Eclec. Mag., 1869 
(v. 2), 697, (v. 3) 54. History 
of the N. (W. Irving.) No. 
Am. Bev., 1832, 342; Am. 
Quart., 1831, 311 ; Westm., 
1831, 442. 

Odin, The Northern God of War. 
Every Saturday, 11, 79.— 
Wodan, the Wild Huntsman. 
(K. Blind). Gent. M., N.S., 
25, 32. 
Odinic Songs in Shetland, Dis- 
covery of. (Karl Blind.) \\*th 
Cent, 5, 1091. 
Olaf the Sinner and Olaf the 
Saint. Geod Words, 1862, 23. 

Poetry, Early Norse. Dub. B., 
1850, 78. 



276 



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Religious Song, Icelandic. Dub. 

Univ. Mag., 1871, 354. 
Sagas and Scenes, Icelandic. Dub. 

Univ. Mag., 1863, 459. 
Saga, Faroese. Blackw., 1869, 

618, 701. 
Saga of King Hjorward's Death. 

(M. L. Woods.) MacmiL, 1880, 

353. 
Sagas, Icelandic. (E. of Dufferin. ) 

Canad. Mo., 1872, 550. Lond. 

Q., 1871, 35. 
Sagas of the Kings of Norway. 

Eclec. Rev., 1860, 631. 
Sea-kings at Home. Chamb. Jul., 

1869, 254. 
Sigurd, The story of, and its 

Sources. (F. HuefFer.) Gent. 

M., N. S., 1877, 46. 
Sulphur in I. Dub. Univ. Mag., 

1874, 397. 

Summer in I. Chamb. J., 1869, 

27. 
Thor and the Giant Thrym. ( Tr. , 

R. B. Anderson.) Overland, 

1875, 295. —Thor and the 
Giants. Househohl Words, 
1857, 282.— Thor's Hunt for his 



Hammer : a Norse Poem. Once 

a Wee\ 1861, 125. 
Tree of Existence, Teutonic. (Karl 

Blind.) Fraser, 1877, 101. 
Vatna Jokull, on the. (W. L. 

Watts.) Fraser, 1874, 693. 
Viking's Ransom. Tinsley's, 1877, 

638.— Viking's Ship. (J. H, 

Stone.) Good Words, 1881. 

759 ; Eclec. Engin., 1880, 320. 

—Viking's Skin. (D. Cook.) 

Once a Week, 1867, 49. 

Visit to I. 1857. (J. W. 
Bushby.) Colburn, 1858 (v.i.), 
429; (v.ii.), 118, 344. 

Vital Statistics of I. (P. A. 
Schleisner.) Jour. Stat. Soc. 
Lond., 1851, 1. 

Walhalla. (R. H. Davis). Scrib- 
ners, 1879, 139 ; Fenny Maga- 
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Weather in Iceland, Register of 
the. [1811-1813.] (D. Glad- 
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1818: 96, 169, 414. 

Woman among the Old Scandi- 
navians, Rights of. (J. A. 
Hjaltalin.) Edin. Jnl. of Juris- 
prudence, 1872, 505. 



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ROMANCE OF KING ARTHUR Edited by E. Rhys. 
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DEFOE'S CAPTAIN SINGLETON. ' 

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LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON. By Colonel F. Grant. 

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CHARLOTTE BRONTE. By Augustine Birrell. 

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LIFE OF THOMAS CARLYLE. By Richard Garnett, LL.D. 

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LIFE OF ADAM SMITH. By R. B. Haldane, M.P. 

" Written throughout with a perspicuity seldom exemplified when dealing 
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LIFE OF KEATS. By W. M. Rossetti. 

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LIFE OF SHELLEY. By William Sharp. 

" Another fit memorial of a beautiful soul. ... it is a worthy addition, 
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LIFE OF SMOLLETT. By David Hannay. 

* ' An exceptionally manly and capable record of a writer who, with all 
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LIFE OF GOLDSMITH. By Austin Dobson. 

LIFE OF SCOTT. By Professor Yonge. [Ready Jan. 25th. 

LIFE OF BURNS. By Professor Blackie. [Ready Feb. 2bth. 

A complete Bibliography to each volume, compiled by J. P. Anderson of the 

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THE NATURALISTS' MONTHLY: 

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CONTENTS. 

Volcanoes and their Relations to Comets. — Dr. J. W. Williams, 

M.A. 
The Foraminifera of the London Clay. — F. Chapman. 
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Notes on Stinging Nettles.— Rev. F. H. Arnold, M.A., LL.B. 
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Batchelor. 
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WIDE, WIDE WORLD. 
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LAST OF THE BARONS. 
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London : Walter Scott, 24 Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row. 



PT 7287 .V7 ESS 1888 IMS 
Volsunga saga. English* 
Volsunga saga 47087392 



OH MEDIAEVAL STUDIO 

59 QUEFN'S PARK 



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