Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda


The Complete

Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda

Legendary Sagas of the Northland

in English Translation

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Norna-Gestr Saga The Story of Norna-Gest
 Early 14th century Translated by George L. Hardman
© 2011
1. Gestr kom til Óláfs konungs Chapter 1.
 Gest Comes to King Olaf
SVÁ er sagt, at á einum tíma, þá er Óláfr konungr Tryggvason sat í Þrándheimi, bar svá til, at einn maðr kom til hans at áliðnum degi ok kvaddi hann sæmiliga. Konungr tók honum vel ok spurði, hverr hann væri, en hann sagðist Gestr heita. Konungr svarar: "Gestr muntu hér vera, hversu sem þú heitir." Gestr svarar: "Satt segi ek til nafns míns, herra, en gjarna vilda ek at yðr gisting þiggja, ef kostr væri." Konungr sagði honum þat til reiðu vera. En með því at áliðinn var dagr, vildi konungr ekki tala við gestinn, því at hann gekk þá skjótt til aptansöngs ok síðan til borðs ok þá til svefns ok náða. Ok á þeiri sömu nótt vakti Óláfr konungr Tryggvason í sæng sinni ok las bænir sínar, en aðrir menn allir sváfu í því herbergi. Þá þótti konungi einn álfr eða andi nokkurr koma inn í húsit ok þó at luktum dyrum öllum. Hann kom fyrir rekkju hvers manns, er þar svaf, ok at lyktum kom hann til sængr eins manns, er þar lá utarliga. Þá mælti álfrinn ok nam staðar: "Furðu sterkr láss er hér fyrir tómu húsi, ok er konungr eigi jafnvíss um slíkt sem aðrir láta, er hann sé allra manna spakastr, er hann sefr nú svá fast." Eptir þat hverfr sá á brott at luktum dyrum. En snemma um morgininn eptir sendi konungr skósvein sinn at verða víss, hverr þessa sæng hafði byggt um nóttina; prófaðist svá, at þar hafði legit gestrinn. Konungr lét kalla hann fyrir sik ok spurði, hvers son hann væri. En hann svarar: "Þórðr hét faðir minn ok var kallaðr þingbítr, danskr at kyni. Hann bjó á þeim bæ í Danmörk, er Græningr heitir."



"Þrifligr maðr ertu," segir konungr.



Gestr sjá var djarfr í orðum ok meiri en flestir menn aðrir, sterkligr ok nokkut hniginn í efra aldr. Hann biðr konung at dveljast þá lengr með hirðinni. Konungr spurði, ef hann væri kristinn. Gestr lézt vera prímsigndr, en eigi skírðr. Konungr sagði honum heimilt at vera með hirðinni, -- "en skamma stund muntu með mér óskírðr." En því hafði álfrinn svá til orðs tekit um lásinn, at Gestr signdi sik um kveldit sem aðrir menn, en var þó reyndar heiðinn. Konungr mælti: "Ertu nokkurr íþróttamaðr?" Hann kvaðst leika á hörpu eða segja sögur, svá at gaman þætti at Konungr sagði þá: "Illa gerir Sveinn konungr þat, at hann lætr óskírða menn fara ór ríki sínu landa á meðal." Gestr svarar: "Ekki er þat Dana konungi at kenna, því at miklu fyrr fór ek burt ór Danmörk en Ottó keisari lét brenna Danavirki ok kúgaði Harald konung Gormsson ok Hákon blótjarl at taka við kristni."

Margra hluta spyrr konungr Gest, en hann leysti flest vel ok vitrliga.

Svá segja menn, at Gestr þessi kæmi á þriðja ári ríkis Ólafs konungs til hans. Á því ári kómu ok til hans þeir menn, er Grímar hétu ok váru sendir af Guðmundi af Glasisvöllum. Þeir færðu konungi horn tvau er Guðmundr gaf honum. Þau kölluðu þeir ok Gríma. Þeir höfðu ok fleiri erendi til konungs, sem síðar mun sagt verða.

Nú er þat at segja, at Gestr dvaldist með konungi. Er honum skipat utar frá gestum. Hann var siðsamr maðr ok látaðr vel. Var hann ok þokkasamr af flestum mönnum ok virðist vel.

 


It is said that at one time, when King Olaf Tryggvason was staying in Thrandheim, it so happened that a man came to him as day was drawing to an end, and spoke to him honorably. The king received him well, and asked who he was, and he said that he was named Gest.The king answered: "You shall be a guest here, whatever your name is."Gest answered: "I say my name truly, sire, and I will gladly accept your hospitality, if possible."The king said to him that he was ready. But since the day was ending, the king did not want to talk to his guest, since he was going straight to his evening-songs and then to eat and then to rest and quiet.And on the same night King Olaf Trygvasson was awake in his bed and reading his prayers, when everyone else was sleeping in the room. Then the king thought that some sort of elf or spirit had come into the house, even though all the doors were locked. He came before the bed of each man sleeping there, and finally he came to the bed of one man who was lying there near the entrance.Then the elf stopped and said: "A wonderfully strong lock here, before an empty house, and the king is not so wise about such things as others say, even if he is the wisest of all men, and sleeps now so soundly."Then he disappeared through the locked door.Early the next morning the king sent his servant to ascertain, who had occupied this bed during the night; it proved to be that the guest had lain there. The king had him called before him, and asked whose son he was.He answered: "My father was named Thord, and was called 'Thingbitr,' because he was so argumentative at the assembly. He was of Danish ancestry. He lived at a farm in Denmark that was called Graening."

"Good-looking man, you are," said the king.

Gest was bold in words and more than other men before, strong, and somewhat advanced in age. He asked the king to stay there longer with his men. The king asked if he was Christian. Gest said that he had been christened but not baptized.The king said that he should be baptized with his troops, --"for you must be unbaptized for only a short time with me."The elf had spoken so about the lock, because Gest had crossed himself in the evening like other men, even though he was actually heathen.The king said: "Do you have any sk
ills?"He said that he played the harp and recited sagas, so that people were pleased.The king said then: "King Sveinn does ill, that he lets unbaptized men travel out of his realm among the lands."Gest answered: "The Danish king has no way of knowing that I traveled out of Denmark long before Kaiser Otto had Denmark burned and tyrannized King Harald Gormsson and Hakon Blotjarl to receive Christianity.

"The king asked Gest about many things, and he explained them well and wisely.

People say that this Gest came to King Olaf in the third year of his reign. In that year there came to him also men who were called Grimar, and were sent from Gudmund from Glasir Plain. They brought the king two horns which Gudmund gave to him. They were also called Grim. They also had much business for the king, of which w
ill be spoken later.

Now it is to be said that Gest dwelled with the king. He was placed apart from the guests. He was a good-mannered man and conducted himself well. He was also well liked by most men and well esteemed.
2. Veðjan Gests ok hirðmanna Chapter 2
The Wager of Gest and his Troops

Litlu fyrir jól kom Úlfr heim inn rauði ok sveit manna með honum. Hann hafði verit um sumarit í konungs erendum, því at hann var settr til landsgæzlu um haustit í Víkinni við áhlaupum Dana. Var hann jafnan vanr at vera með Óláfi konungi um hávetri.
Úlfr hafði at færa konungi marga góða gripi, er hann hafði aflat um sumarit, ok einn gullhring hafði hann aflat, er Hnituðr hét. Hann var hnitaðr saman í sjau stöðum, ok var með sínum lit hverr hlutrinn. Miklu var hann gullbetri en aðrir hringar. Þann hring hafði gefit Úlfi einn bóndi, er Loðmundr hét, en þenna hring hafði átt áðr Hálfr konungr, er Hálfsrekkar eru frá komnir ok við kenndir, er þeir höfðu kúgat fé af Hálfdani konungi í Ylfing. En Loðmundr beiddi Úlf í móti, at hann mundi halda bænum fyrir honum með fulltingi Óláfs konungs. Úlfr játaði honum því. Heldr konungr nú jól sín ríkuliga ok sitr í Þrándheimi. En inn átta dag jóla gefr Úlfr inn rauði hringinn Hnituð Óláfi konungi. Konungr þakkar honum gjöfina ok alla sína trúlynda þjónustu, er hann hefði jafnan veitt honum. Ferr þessi hringr víða um herbergi, þar er menn drukku inni, því at þá váru eigi hallir smíðaðar í þann tíma í Noregi. Sýnir nú hverr öðrum, ok þykkjast menn eigi sét hafa jafngott gull sem í hringnum var. Ok at lyktum kemr hann á gestabekk ok svá fyrir Gest inn ókunna. Hann lítr á ok selr aptr hringinn yfir þvera höndina, þá er hann helt áðr á kerinu. Finnst honum fátt til ok talar ekki til þessa gripar, en hefir gamanræður sem áðr við sína félaga. Einn herbergis sveinn skenkti utar á bekkinn gestanna. Hann spyrr: "Lízt yðr vel á hringinn? "Allvel," sögðu þeir, "utan Gesti inum nýkomna. Honum finnst ekki til, ok þat hyggjum vér, at hann kunni ekki til at sjá, at hann anzar ekki um slíka hluti." Herbergis sveinninn gengr innar fyrir konung ok segir honum þessi in sömu orð gestanna ok þessi inn komni gestr, hversu hann anzaði lítt til þessa gripar, er honum var sýnd slík gersimi. Konungr sagði þá: "Gestr inn komni mun fleira vita en þér munuð ætla, ok skal hann koma til mín í morgin ok segja mér nokkura sögu." Nú talast þeir við gestirnir utar á bekkinn. Þeir spyrja inn nýkomna gest, hvar hann hefir sét jafngóðan hring eða betra. Gestr svarar: "Með því at yðr þykkir undarligt, at ek tala svá fátt til, þá hefi ek víst sét þat gull, at engum mun er verra, nema betra sýnist." Nú hlæja konungsmenn mjök ok segja, at þar horfist til gamans mikils, -- "ok muntu vilja veðja við oss, at þú hafir sét jafngott gull sem þetta, svá at þú megir þat sanna. Skulum vér við setja fjórar merkr gangsilfrs, en þú kníf þinn ok belti, ok skal konungr um segja, hvárir sannara hafa."


Gestr sagði þá: "Eigi skal nú hvárttveggja gera, vera í kallsi með yðr, enda halda eigi ummæli þau, sem þér biðið, ok skal víst veðja hér um ok svá mikit við leggja sem þér hafið mælt, en konungr skal um segja, hvárir sannara hafa."Hætta þeir nú sínu tali. Tekr Gestr hörpu sína ok slær vel ok lengi um kveldit, svá at öllum þykkir unað í á at heyra, ok slær þó Gunnarsslag bezt. Ok at lyktum slær hann Guðrúnarbrögð in fornu. Þau höfðu menn eigi fyrr heyrt. Ok eptir þat sváfu menn af um nóttina.
 

   Shortly before Yule, Ulf the Red came home and his men with him. He had been off during the summer on the king's business, since he was assigned to watch over the land in the bays during the fall, in anticipation of an attack by the Danes. He was accustomed to be with King Olaf during the height of winter.

Ulf had brought the king much good treasure, which he he had gained during the summer, and he had gotten a gold ring, which was named Hnitud. It was welded together in seven places, and each part had its own color. The gold was much better than other rings. A farmer named Lothmund had given it to Ulf. The ring had previously belonged to King Half, from whom the Halfsrekkar are descended and known. They had forced treasure from King Halfdan in Ylfing. But Lodmund had asked Ulf in return for it, that he guard his farm for him with the assistance of King Olaf. Ulf had agreed to that.The king was now holding a magnificent Yule celebration at his court in Thrandheim. On the eighth day of Yule, Ulf the Red gave the ring Hnitud to King Olaf. The king thanked him for the gift, and for all of his faithful service, which he had always shown him. The ring was circulated widely around the room, where men were drinking, since there were no halls built at that time in
Norway. Each man showed it to the other, and it seemed to the men that they had never seen such fine gold as was in the ring. Eventually it came to the guest bench, and so to the stranger Gest. He looked at it and handed it back, in the palm of the hand in which he had previously held his goblet. He did not think much of it, and did not say much about this treasure, but continued to talk merrily as before with his companions.A room servant served drinks at the end of the guest bench. He asked: "Don't you like the ring?""Quite well," they said, "except for the new arrival Gest. He doesn't find anything in it, and we think that he doesn't appreciate it, since he doesn't notice such things."The room servant went in before the king and told him this in the same words that the guests had used, and that when the new-comer came in, he had taken little notice of the treasure, even when he was shown such a valuable thing.The king said: "The newcomer Gest must know a lot more than you suspect, and he shall come to me in the morning and tell me a story." Now guests at the other end of the table were talking among one another. They asked the newly arrived guest, where he had ever seen such an equally good ring or better.

Gest answered: "Since you think it is strange, that I speak so little, I should say that I have seen gold that seems not at all worse, but actually better."Now the king's men laughed a lot and said, that this appeared to be a great entertainment, -- "and w
ill you wager us, that you have seen gold which is equally as good as that, so that you can prove it. We will put forth four marks of current silver coins, and you your knife and belt, and the king will say who is right."Gest then said: "I will not do either, to be in mockery with you, or to fail to hold to the wager, which you offer. And I shall certainly wager right here and lay out against it what you have said, and the king will say who is right." They stopped their discussion. Gest took his harp and played it well, and long into the evening, so that everyone was delighted to hear it, and he played the Gunnarsslag best. At the end he played the ancient Gudrunarbrogd. No one had heard that before. And after that, they went to sleep for the night.
3. Gestr vann veðféit Chapter 3.
Gest Wins the Bet

Konungr stendr snemma upp um morguninn ok hlýðir tíðum. Ok er þeim er lokit, gengr konungr til borðs með hirð sinni. Ok er hann er kominn í hásæti, gengr gestasveitin innar fyrir konung ok Gestr með þeim ok segja honum sín ummæli öll ok veðjan þá, sem þeir höfðu haft áðr.

Konungr svarar: "Lítit er mér um veðjan yðra, þó at þér setið peninga yðra við. Get ek þess til, at yðr hafi drykkr í höfuð fengit, ok þykki mér ráð, at þér hafið at engu, allra helzt ef Gesti þykkir svá betr."

Gestr svarar: "Þat vil ek, at haldist öll ummæli vár."

Konungr mælti: "Svá lízt mér á þik, Gestr, at mínir menn muni hafa mælt sik í þaular um þetta mál meir en þú, en þó mun þat nú skjótt reynt verða."

Eptir þat gengu þeir í brott, ok fóru menn at drekka. Ok er drykkjuborð váru upp tekin, lætr konungr kalla Gest ok talar svá til hans: "Nú verðr þú skyldr til at bera fram gull nokkut, ef þú hefir til, svá at ek megi segja um veðjanina með yðr."

"Þat munu þér vilja, herra," sagði Gestr.

Hann þreifar þá til sjóðs eins, er hann hafði við sik, ok tók þar upp eitt knýti ok leysir til ok fær í hendr konungi. Konungr sér, at þetta er brotit af söðulhringju, ok sér, at þetta er allgott gull. Hann biðr þá taka hringinn Hnituð.

Ok er svá var gert, berr konungr saman gullit ok hringinn ok mælti síðan: "Víst lízt mér þetta betra gull, er Gestr hefir fram borit, ok svá mun lítast fleirum mönnum, þó at sjái."

Sönnuðu þetta þá margir menn með konungi. Síðan sagði hann Gesti veðféit. Þóttust gestirnir þá ósvinnir við orðnir um þetta mál.

Gestr mælti þá: "Takið fé yðvart sjálfir, því at ek þarf eigi at hafa, en veðið ekki optar við ókunna menn, því at eigi viti þér, hvern þér hittið þann fyrir, at bæði hefir fleira sét ok heyrt en þér. En þakka vil ek yðr, herra, órskurðinn."

Konungr mælti þá: "Nú vil ek, at þú segir, hvaðan þú fekkt gull þat, er þú ferr með."

Gestr svarar: "Trauðr em ek þess, því at þat mun flestum þykkja ótrúligt, er ek segi þar til."

"Þó viljum vér heyra," segir konungr, "með því at þú hefir oss áðr heitit sögu þinni."

Gestr svarar: "Ef ek segi yðr, hversu farit er um gullit, þá get ek, at þér vilið heyra aðra sögu hér með."

"Vera má þat," segir konungr, "at rétt getir þú þessa."

  The king got up early in the morning and attended mass. And when it was finished, the king went to eat with his troops. And when he came to the high seat, the guests went in before the king and Gest with them, and told him all about what was said, and the wager, which they had made.
The king answered: "Your wager does not mean much to me, though you have staked your own money on it. I suspect that you had gotten drink in your heads, and it seems to me that you should have nothing of it, all the more if Gest thinks it would be better."
Gest answered: "I want for the whole agreement to be held to."
The king said: "It seems to me, Gest, that my men must have talked themselves into trouble about the matter more than you have, but that will soon be determined."
After that, they went away to drink. And when the drinking tables were taken away, the king had Gest called to him and spoke thus to him: "Now you will be obliged to bring forth some gold, if you have any, so that I may decide your wager."
"That shall be as you wish, sire," said Gest.
He thrust his hand into his purse, which he had with him, and took up a bag, which he loosened and put into the hand of the king. The king saw that it was broken from a saddle ring, and said that it was extremely fine gold. He asked then to take the ring Hnitud.
When this was done, the king compared the gold and the ring and then said: "It certainly seems to me that the gold, which Gest has produced, is better, and so it should seem to anyone who sees it."
Many men agreed with the king. Afterward he declared Gest the winner. It seemed to the other guests that they had been unwise about the situation.
Then Gest said: "Take your money yourselves, since I don't need to have it, but don't bet any more with strangers, for you never know whether you may have met someone who has seen and heard more than you have. I thank you, sire, for your decision."

The king said: "Now I would like you to tell me, where you got that gold, which you carry with you."


Gest answered: "I am reluctant to do so, for most people would think unbelievable, what I would say about it."


"We would like to hear it, though," said the king, "since you have promised us before that you would tell us your story."


Gest answered: "If I tell you what has happened about the gold, then I expect that you will want to hear the other story also."


"I suspect," said the king, "that you are right about that."
4. Gestr segir frá Völsungum Chapter 4.
Gest Tells of the Volsungs
"Þá mun ek segja frá því, er ek fór suðr í Frakkland. Vilda ek forvitnast um konungs siðu ok mikit ágæti, er fór frá Sigurði Sigmundarsyni um vænleik hans ok þroska. Varð þá ekki til tíðenda, fyrr en ek kom til Frakklands ok til móts við Hjálprek konung. Hann hafði mikla hirð um sik. Þar var þá Sigurðr Sigmundarson, Völsungssonar, ok Hjördísar Eylimadóttur. Sigmundr fell í orrustu fyrir Hundings sonum, en Hjördís giftist Hálfi, syni Hjálpreks konunngs. Vex Sigurðr þar upp í barnæsku ok allir synir Sigmundar konungs. Váru þeir um fram alla menn um afl ok vöxt, Sinfjötli ok Helgi, er drap Hunding konung, ok því var hann Hundingsbani kallaðr. Þriði hét Hámundr. Sigurðr var þó allra þeira bræðra framast. Er mönnum þat ok kunnigt, at Sigurðr hefir verit göfgastr allra herkonunga ok bezt at sér í fornum sið. Þá var ok kominn til Hjálpreks konungs Reginn, sonr Hreiðmars. Hann var hverjum manni hagari ok dvergr á vöxt, vitr maðr, grimmr ok fjölkunnigr. Reginn kenndi Sigurði marga hluti ok elskaði hann mjök. Hann sagði þá frá foreldrum sínum ok svá atburðum undarligum, er þar höfðu gerzt. Ok er ek hafða skamma stund þar verit, gerðumst ek þjónustumaðr Sigurðar sem margir aðrir. Allir elskuðu hann mjök, því at hann var bæði blíðr ok lítillátr ok mildr af fé við oss.

 

 

Then I must tell you how I went south in Frakkland. I was curious to know about the king's customs, and great praise that had emerged about Sigurd Sigmundarson, about his handsomeness and courage. There was nothing newsworthy, until I came to Frakkland and met King Hjalprek. He had a great army around himself. There was Sigurd Sigmundarson, son of the Volsungs, and Hjordis Eylimadottir. Sigmund fell in battle before the sons of the Hundings and Hjordis married Halfi, son of King Hjalprek. Sigurd grew up there in childhood, along with all of the sons of King Sigmund. They were superior to all men in strength and size, Sinfljotli and Helgi, who killed King Hunding and so was called "Hundingsbani." The third was called Hamund. Sigurd was the greatest of all the brothers. Everyone knows that Sigurd had been the most noble of all the warrior kings, and the best in ancient times.At the same time, Regin, son of Hreithmar, had also come to King Hjalprek. He was the most cunning of men, but a dwarf in stature, a wise man, but stern and skilled in magic. Regin taught Sigurd many things, and loved him greatly. He spoke of his ancestors, and wondrous occurrences, which had happened there. And when I had been there a short time, I was made a retainer to Sigurd, like many others. All were devoted to him, since he was both friendly and humble and generous to us.
5. Frá Hundingssonum Chapter 5.
Of the Sons of Hunding
 Þat var einn dag, at vér kómum til húsa Regins, ok var Sigurði þá vel fagnat. Þá kvað Reginn vísu þessa:

"Kominn er hingat
konr Sigmundar,
seggr inn snarraði,
til sala várra,
megn hefir mikit,
en ek maðr gamall,
er mér fangs ván
af frekum úlfi."  

Ok enn kvað hann:
 
"Ek mun fræða
fólkdjarfan gram.
Nú er Yngva konr
með oss kominn.
Sjá mun ræsir
ríkstr und sólu,
frægr um lönd
öll með lofi sínu."

 


Sigurðr var þá jafnan með Regin, ok hann sagði honum margt af Fáfni, er hann lá á Gnitaheiði í orms líki ok at hann var undarliga mik
ill vexti. Reginn gerði Sigurði sverð, er Gramr hét. Þat var svá snarpeggjat, at hann brá því í ána Rín ok lét reka ofan at ullarlagð fyrir strauminum, ok tók í sundr lagðinn. Síðan klauf Sigurðr steðja Regins með sverðinu. Eptir þat eggjaði Reginn Sigurð at drepa Fáfni, bróður sinn, ok kvað vísu þessa:

 "Hátt munu hlæja
 Hundings synir,
 þeir er Eylima
aldrs vörnuðu,
ef mik tegar
meir at sækja
hringa rauða
en hefna föður."
 

Eptir þetta býr Sigurðr ferð sína ok ætlar at herja á Hundings sonu, ok fær Hjálprekr konungr honum margt lið ok nokkur herskip. Í þeiri ferð var með Sigurði Hámundr, bróðir hans, ok Reginn dvergr. Ek var ok þar, ok kölluðu þeir mik þá Norna-Gest. Var Hjálpreki konungi kunnleiki á mér, þá er hann var í Danmörk með Sigmundi Völsungssyni. Þá átti Sigmundr Borghildi, ok skildu þau svá, at Borghildr drap Sinfjötla, son Sigmundar, með eitri. Síðan fekk Sigmundr suðr í Frakklandi Hjördísar Eylima dóttur, er Hundings synir drápu, ok átti Sigurðr bæði at hefna föður síns ok móðurföður. Helgi Sigmundarson, er Hundingsbani var kallaðr, var bróðir Sigurðar, er síðan var kallaðr Fáfnisbani. Helgi, bróðir Sigurðar, hafði drepit Hunding konung ok sonu hans þrjá, Eyjólf, Herröð, Hjörvarð. Lyngvi komst undan ok tveir bræðr hans, Álfr ok Hemingr. Váru þeir inir frægstu menn um alla atgervi, ok var Lyngvi fyrir þeim bræðrum. Þeir váru mjök fjölkunnigir. Þeir höfðu kúgat marga smákonunga ok marga kappa drepit ok margar borgir brennt ok gerðu it mesta hervirki í Spáníalandi ok Frakklandi. En þá var eigi keisararíki komit norðr hingað yfir fjallit. Hundings synir höfðu tekit undir sik þat ríki, er Sigurðr átti í Frakklandi, ok váru þeir þar mjök fjölmennir.
One day, we came to the house of Regin, and Sigurd was welcomed there. Then Regin spoke these verses: 


"The son of Sigmund
Has come here
The resolute man
To our hall
He has great strength
But I, an old man,
Vanquished by the grasp
Of the greedy wolf."

He spoke further:

"But I must honor
The warrior, brave in battle.
Now Yngvar's son
Has come to us.
This chieftain must be
The most powerful under the sun
Renowned in all lands
With his praise."
 

Sigurd was then always with Regin, and he told him much of Fafnir, how he lived at Gnitahaedi in the form of a snake and that he was wondrously great in size. Regin made a sword for Sigurd, which was called Gram. It was exceedingly sharp-edged, so that when he thrust it into the River Rhine and tossed a flock of wool in the stream, it cut it asunder. Then Sigurd cut the anvil of Regin with the sword. After that, Reginn encouraged Sigurd to kill Fafnir, his brother, and spoke these lines: 

"Loudly would laugh
The sons of Hunding
Those who denied
Old age to Eylimi,
If I was enticed
To seek more
A red-gold ring
Than vengeance for his father."
 

After that Sigurd prepared his journey and decided to harry the sons of Hunding, and King Hjalprek gave him many men and some warships. Hamund, his brother, was with Sigurd on the expedition, and the dwarf Regin. I was there too, and they called me Norna-Gest. King Hjalprek was familiar to me, since he was in Denmark with Sigmund Volsungsson. At that time, Sigmund was married to Borghild, but they separated since Borghild killed Sinfjotli, son of Sigmund, with poison. Then Sigmund went south to Frakkland, and married Hjordis, daughter of Eylimi. The Hunding's sons slew him, and thus Sigurd had to avenge both his father and his mother's father.Helgi Sigmundarson, who was called Hundingsbani, Slayer of Hunding, was the brother of Sigurd, who afterward was called Fafnisbani, Slayer of Fafnir. Helgi, the brother of Sigurd, had killed King Hunding, and his three sons, Eyjolf, Herrod, and Hjorvard. Lyngvi escaped and his two brothers, Alf and Heming. They were the most famous men in all achievements, and Lyngvi excelled his brothers. They were very skilled in magic. They had tyrannized many minor kings and killed many champions and burned many cities, and did most of their pillaging in Spain and France. At that time the imperial power had not reached north over the mountains. Hunding's sons had conquered the realm that Sigurd had in France, and there were large forces there.
6. Sigurðr felldi Hundingssonu Chapter 6.
Sigurd Felled the Sons of Hunding
Nú er at segja frá því, er Sigurðr bjóst til bardaga í mót Hundings sonum. Hann hafði mikit lið ok vel vápnat. Reginn hafði mjök ráðagerð fyrir liðinu. Hann hafði sverð þat, er Riðill hét, er hann hafði smíðat. Sigurðr bað Regin ljá sér sverðit. Hann gerði svá ok bað hann drepa Fáfni, þá er hann kæmi aptr ór þessi ferð. Sigurðr hét honum því. Síðan sigldum vér suðr með landi. Þá fengum vér gerningaveðr stór, ok kenndu þat margir Hundings sonum. Síðan sigldum vér nokkuru landhallara. Þá sám vér mann einn á bjargsnös nokkurri, er gekk fram af sjóvarhömrum. Hann var í heklu grænni ok blám brókum ok kneppta skó á fótum uppháva ok spjót í hendi. Þessi maðr ljóðr á oss ok kvað:


 
"Hverir ríða hér
Rævils hestum
hávar unnir,
haf glymjanda?

Eru segl yður
sjóvi stokkin.
Mun-at vágmarar
vind of standask."
 

Reginn kvað í móti:  

"Hér erum vér Sigurðr
á sjá komnir.
Er oss byrr gefinn
við bana sjálfan.
Fellr brattr breki
bröndum hæra.
Hlunnvigg hrapa.
Hverr spyrr at því?"
 

Heklumaðrinn kvað.:  

"Hnikar hétu mik,
þá er hugin gladdi
Völsungr víða ok
vegit hafði.
Nú máttu kalla
karl á bjargi
Feng eða Fjölni.
Far vil ek þiggja."
 

Þá vikum vér at landi, ok lægði skjótt veðrit, ok bað Sigurðr karl ganga út á skipit. Hann gerði svá. Þá fell þegar veðrit, ok gerði inn bezta byr.

Karl settist niðr fyrir kné Sigurði ok var mjök makráðr. Hann spurði, ef Sigurðr vildi nokkut ráð af honum þiggja. Sigurðr kveðst vilja, sagðist þat ætla, at hann mundi verða ráðdrjúgr, ef hann vildi mönnum gagn
gera. Sigurðr kvað til heklumanns:  

"Segðu mér þat, Hnikarr,
alls þú hvárttveggja veizt,
goða he
ill ok guma:
Hverjar eru beztar,
ef berjast skal,
he
illir at sverða svipan?"

 
Hnikarr kvað:  

"Mörg eru góð
ef gumnar vitu
he
ill at sverða svipan.

Dyggva fylgju
hygg ek ins dökkva vera
 af hrottameiði hrafns.

Þat er annat,
ef þú ert út of
kominn ok til
brottferðar búinn:

Tvá þú lítr
á tái standa
hróðrfulla hali.

Þat er it þriðja,
ef þú þjóta heyrir
 úlf und asklimum.

He
illa auðit verðr
þér af hjálmstöfum,
ef þú lítr
þá fyrr fara.

Engi skal
gumna í gegn
vega síð skínandi
systur Mána.

 Þeir sigr hafa, er sjá kunnu,
hjörleiks hvatir,
eða hamalt fylkja.

Þat er fár mikit,
ef þú fæti drepr,
þá er at vígi vegr:
 


Tálar dísir standa þér á tvær hliðar Ok vilja þik sáran sjá. Kembdr ok þveginn skal kennast hverr ok at morgni mettr, því at óvíst er, hvat at aptni kemr. Illt er fyr he
ill at hrapa."  

Ok eptir þat sigldum vér suðr fyrir Holsetuland ok fyrir austan Frísland ok þar at landi. Þegar fregna Hundings synir um ferð vára ok safna liði ok verða brátt fjölmennir. Ok er vér finnumst, tekst harðr bardagi. Var Lyngvi þeira bræðra fremstr í allri framgöngu. Sóttu þó allir fast fram. Sigurðr sækir i móti svá hart, allt hrökk fyrir honum, því at Sverðit Gramr verðr þeim skeinuhætt, en Sigurði þarf eigi hugar at frýja. Ok er þeir Lyngvi finnast, skiptust þeir mörgum höggum við ok berjast alldjarfliga. Verðr þá hvíld á bardaganum, því at menn horfa á þetta einvígi. Þat var langa hríð, at hvárrgi þeira kom sári á annan, svá váru þeir vígfimir. Síðan sækja bræðr Lyngva fast fram ok drepa margan mann, en sumir flýjsta. Þá snýr Hámundr, bróðir Sigurðar, í móti þeim ok ek með honum. Verðr þá nokkur móttaka. En svá lýkr með þeim Sigurði ok Lyngva, at Sigurðr gerir hann handtekinn, ok var hann settr í járn. En er Sigurðr kom til vár, þá verða skjót umskipti. Falla þá Hundings synir ok allt lið þeira, enda myrkvir þá af nótt.

Ok þá er lýsti um morgininn, var Hnikarr horfinn ok sást eigi síðan. Hyggja menn, at þat hafi Óðinn verit. Var þá um þat talat, hvern dauða Lyngvi skyldi hafa. Reginn lagði þat til ráðs, at rísta skyldi blóðörn á baki honum. Tók Reginn þá við sverði sínu af mér ok reist með því bak Lyngva, svá at hann skar rifin frá hryggnum ok dró þar út lungun. Svá dó Lyngvi með mik
illi hreysti. Þá kvað Reginn:  

"Nú er blóðugr örn breiðum hjörvi bana Sigmundar á baki ristinn. Fár var fremri, sá er fold rýðr, hilmis nefi, ok hugin gladdi." 

Þar var allmikit herfang. Tóku liðsmenn Sigurðar þat allt, því at hann vildi ekki af hafa. Var þar mikit fé í klæðum ok vápnum. Síðan drap Sigurðr þá Fáfni ok Regin, því at hann vildi svíkja hann.


Tók Sigurðr þá gull Fáfnis ok reið á burt með. Var hann síðan kallaðr Fáfnisbani. Eptir þat reið hann upp á Hindarheiði ok fann þar Brynhildi, ok fóru svá þeira skipti sem segir í sögu Sigurðar Fáfnisbana
.
 Now it is to be told of how Sigurd prepared for battle against the sons of Hunding. He had a large and well armed force. Regin had planned much for the troops. He had a sword called Ridil, which he had forged. Sigurd bade Regin to lend him the sword. He did so, and bade him kill Fafnir, when he returned from this journey. Sigurd promised him this.Then we sailed south along the coast. Then we met up with a storm raised by witchcraft, and many recognized the work of the sons of Hunding. Then we sailed along the shore a bit. There we saw a man standing on a promontory, which went out from the sea-cliffs. He was dressed in a green cloak and blue pants, and high buttoned shoes on his feet, with a spear in his hand. This man sang to us and said:

 

"Who rides here
Raevil's horse
On the high waves
And resounding sea?
Are your sails
Swollen with the sea
Will the wave steed
Withstand the wind."

Regin said in reply:

"Here are we, with Sigurd,
Come on the sea
Good wind is given to us
To death itself.
The waves break high
Over the ship's prow
Hlunvigg w
ill plunge down
Who asks of this?"

The man in the cloak said:

"I am called Hnikar
Who gladdened Odinn's wise raven
And as a Volsung
Vanquished widely.
Now you must call
The man on the cliff
Feng or Fjolnir
Such a journey w
ill I accept."

 
Then we made for land, and the weather immediately lessened, and Sigurd bade the man to come out onto the ship. He did so. Now the weather fell, and the most favorable breeze sprang up.

The man sat at Sigurd's knee and was most pleasant. He asked if Sigurd would accept some advice from him. Sigurd said that he would, and said that he supposed that he must have a lot of good advice, if he wished people to benefit from it. Sigurd said to the cloaked man:

 

"Tell me, Hnikar
All you know
Of both the gods and men:
Which are the best
If there shall be fighting
Fortunate when swords are sweeping."


Hnikar said:

 

"Much is good
If men know
Fortunate when swords are sweeping.

A faithful companion
I think the dark raven
To be for a warrior.

That is the second
If you have come outside
And prepared for a journey:

You gaze at two
Praiseworthy men
Standing on the path.

That is the third
If you hear the whistling
Of the wolf and ash tree.

Destined for good luck
From the helmeted head to you
If you wish to travel on.

A man shall not see
Against the horizon
The late shining
Of the moon's sister.

They have victory
Who can see
The rapid sword-play
Or the column arrayed.

That is great harm
If your feet stumble
On the way to battle:
Guileful spirits
Stand on two cliffs
And wish to see you injured.

Combed and washed
Shall each appear
And at morning meal
Although it is unknown
What comes after.
It is
ill to stumble before good luck."

 

 And after that, we sailed south along Holsetuland and east of Friesland, and there to land. There the sons of Hunding heard of our expedition, and collected troops and soon there was a large army. When we met them, there was a great battle. Of the brothers, Lyngvi was the most valiant in all of the advances. They all fought bravely. Sigurd advanced so forcefully that everyone fell back before him, since the sword Gram was likely to wound them, but there was no need to question Sigurd's courage. And when he met Lyngvi, they exchanged many blows and fought quite bravely. There was a pause in the battle, as people were watching hand-to-hand combat. For a long time, neither of them could inflict a wound on the other, since they were so skilled in arms. Then Lyngvi's brothers attacked fiercely and killed many men, although some fled. Then Hamund, Sigurd's brother, turned toward them and I with him. There was then another encounter. It so ended with Sigurd and Lyngvi, that Sigurd seized him, and he was set in irons. But when Sigurd joined us, there was soon a change. Hunding's sons and all of their troops fell, as night was coming on.

When morning light came, Hnikar had disappeared, and was never seen again. Men think that it must have been Odinn.There was then a discussion of what sort of death Lyngvi should have. Regin advised that a blood eagle should be carved on his back.. Regin then took his sword from me, and with it carved Lyngvi's back until the ribs were cut from the back, and the lungs drawn out. Thus Lyngvi died with great valor. Then Regin said:

 

"Now the blood eagle
With a broad sword
The k
iller of Sigmund
Carved on the back.

Fewer were more valiant
As the troops dispersed
A chief of people
Who made the raven glad.

 There was much booty. Sigurd's troops took it all, since he did not want to have any of it. There was much treasure in clothes and weapons. Then Sigurd slew Fafnir and Regin, since he had intended to cheat him. Sigurd then took Fafnir's gold and rode away with it. He was afterward called Fafnisbani, the Slayer of Fafnir.

 

7. Frá Sigurði ok Starkaði Stórverkssyni Chapter 7.
Of Sigurd and Starkad Storverksson
Síðan fær Sigurðr Guðrúnar Gjúkadóttur. Var hann þá um hríð með Gjúkungum, mágum sínum. Ek var með Sigurði norðr í Danmörk. Ek var ok með Sigurði, þá er Sigurðr konungr hringr sendi Gandálfs sonu, mága sína, til móts við Gjúkunga, Gunnar ok Högna, ok beiddi, at þeir mundi lúka honum skatt eða þola her ella, en þeir vildu verja land sitt. Þá hasla Gandálfs synir Gjúkungum völl við landamæri ok fara aptr síðan. En Gjúkungar biðja Sigurð Fáfnisbana fara til bardaga með sér. Hann sagði svá vera skyldu. Ek var þá enn með Sigurði. Sigldum vér þá enn norðr til Holtsetulands ok lendum þar, sem Járnamóðir heitir. En skammt frá höfninni váru settar upp heslistengr, þar sem orrostan skyldi vera.

Sjám vér þá mörg skip sigla norðan. Váru Gandálfs synir fyrir þeim. Sækja þá hvárirtveggja. Sigurðr hringr var eigi þar, því at hann varð at verja land sitt, Svíþjóð, því at Kúrir ok Kvænir herjuðu þangat. Sigurðr var þá gamall mjök. Síðan lýstr saman liðinu, ok verðr þar mikil orrosta ok mannskæð. Gandálfs synir gengu fast fram, því at þeir váru bæði meiri ok sterkari en aðrir menn. Í þeira liði sást einn maðr, mik
ill ok sterkr. Drap þessi maðr menn ok hesta, svá at ekki stóð við, því at hann var líkari jötnum en mönnum. Gunnarr bað Sigurð sækja í móti mannskelmi þessum, því at hann kvað eigi svá mundu duga. Sigurðr réðst nú í móti þeim mikla manni ok nokkurir menn með honum, ok váru þá flestir þess ófúsir. "Finnum vér þá skjótt inn mikla mann," segir Gestr, "ok frétti Sigurðr hann at nafni ok hvaðan hann væri. Hann kveðst Starkaðr heita Stórverksson norðan af Fenhring ór Noregi. Sigurðr kveðst hans heyrt hafa getit ok optast at illu. "Eru slíkir menn eigi sparandi til ófagnaðar." Starkaðr mælti: "Hverr er þessi maðr, er mik lýtir svá mjök í orðum?" Sigurðr sagði til sín. Starkaðr mælti: "Ertu kallaðr Fáfnisbani?" "Svá er," segir Sigurðr. Starkaðr vill þá undan leita, en Sigurðr snýr eptir ok færir á lopt sverðit Gram ok lamdi hann með hjöltunum jaxlgarðinn, svá at hrutu ór honum tveir jaxlar. Var þat meiðsla högg. Sigurðr bað þá mannhundinn brott dragast þaðan. Starkaðr snarast þá í brott þaðan. En ek tók annan jaxlinn ok hefi ek með mér. Er sá nú hafðr í klukkustreng í Danmörk ok vegr sjau aura. Þykkir mönnum forvitni at sjá hann þar.

Eptir flótta Starkaðar flýja Gandálfs synir. Tókum vér þá mikit herfang, ok fóru síðan konungar heim í ríki sitt ok setjast þar um hríð.
 
Later Sigurd married Gudrun Gjukadottir. He stayed for a while with the Gjukungs, his in-laws.I was with Sigurd north in Denmark. I was also with Sigurd, when King Sigurd Hring sent Gandalf's son, his in-law, against the Gjukungs, Gunnar and Hogna, and demanded that they pay him treasure or otherwise suffer here. However, they wished to defend their country. Then Gandalf's sons challenged the Gjukungs to a duel on the boundary, and then returned home. But the Gjukungs asked Sigurd Fafnisbani to go to battle along with them. He said that he would do so. I was still with Sigurd. We then sailed still further north to Holsetuland, and landed there at a place called Jarnamodir. A short way from the harbor, hazel poles were set up, where the battle was supposed to be.
We then saw many ships sailing from the north. Gandalf's sons were in command of them. Both of them attacked. Sigurd Hring was not there, since he had to defend his land,
Sweden, since the Kurir and Kvaenir were raiding there. Sigurd was by that time quite old. Then the forces collided, and there was a great battle and loss of life. Gandalf's sons advanced bravely, since they were both bigger and stronger than other men.In their troops was seen a man, big and strong. This man killed men and horses so that no one could withstand him, for he was more like a giant that a man. Gunnar bade Sigurd to attack the man-devil, since he said that as things were, there would be no success. Sigurd then prepared to go against the huge man, and some others with him, but most of them were not too eager to do so. "We immediately came upon the huge man," said Gest, "and Sigurd asked his name and where he came from. He said that he was named Starkad Storverksson, from the north, from Fenhring in Norway."Sigurd said that he had heard of him, most often not favorably. "Such men are not merciful to those who are unwelcome."Starkad said: "Who is this man, who casts so many words of blame?"Sigurd said who he was.Starkad said: "Are you the one who is called Fafnisbani?""So it is," said Sigurd.Starkad then tried to escape, but Sigurd turned after him and lifted aloft the sword Gram, and thrashed him with the sword guard on the jaw so that two teeth fell from his mouth. That was a maiming blow. Then Sigurd told the scoundrel to drag himself off from there. Starkad turned quickly away from there. I took one of the teeth and took it with me. It is now on a bell rope in Denmark, and weighs seven ounces. People think it is a curiosity to see it there.

After Starkad took flight, the sons of Gandalf fled also. We seized much booty, and then the king went home to his realm and stayed there for a while.

 

8. Hversu Gestr eignaðist gullit Chapter 8. How Gest Got the Gold
Litlu síðar heyrðum vér getit níðingsvígs Starkaðar, er hann hafði drepit Ála konung í laugu. Var þat einn dag, at Sigurðr Fáfnisbani reið til einhverrar stefnu, þá reið hann í einhverja veisu, en hestrinn Grani hljóp upp svá hart, at í sundr stökk brjóstgjörðin ok fell niðr hringjan. En er ek sá, hvar at hún glóaði í leirinum, tók ek upp ok færða ek Sigurði, en hann gaf mér. Hafi þér nú fyrir litlu sét þetta sama gull. Þá stökk Sigurðr af baki, en ek strauk hest hans, ok þó ek leir af honum, ok tók ek einn lepp ór tagli hans til sýnis vaxtar hans." Sýndi Gestr þá leppinn, ok var hann sjau álna hár. Óláfr konungr mælti: "Gaman mikit þykki mér at sögum þínum." Lofuðu nú allir frásagnir hans ok frækleik. Vildi konungr, at hann segði miklu fleira um atburði frænda sinna. Segir Gestr þeim marga gamansamliga hluti allt til aptans. Fóru menn þá at sofa.

En um morgininn eptir lét konungr kalla Gest ok vill enn fleira tala við Gest. Konungr mælti: "Eigi fæ ek skilit til fulls um aldr þinn, hver líkendi þat má vera, at þú sér maðr svá gamall, at værir við staddr þessi tíðendi. Verðr þú at segja sögu aðra, svá at vér verðim sannfróðari um slíka atburði."

Gestr svarar: "Vita þóttumst ek þat fyrir, at þér mundið heyra vilja aðra sögu mína, ef ek segða um gullit, hversu farit væri."

Konungr mælti: "Segja skaltu víst."
 A short time later we heard that Starkad had committed foul murder, and that he had killed King Ali in the bath.
One day Sigurd Fafnisbani rode to some gathering or other, and rode into a puddle, and his horse Grani leaped up so vigorously that the saddle-girth broke apart and the ring fell down. When I saw where it was shining in the mud, I took it up and brought it to Sigurd, but he gave it to me. You saw that same gold piece a short time ago. Then Sigurd dismounted, and I stroked his horse and washed the mud off of it, and took a lock of hair from its tail to show its size.Gest then showed the lock, and it was seven ells high.King Olaf said: "I find much pleasure in your stories."They all praised his stories and honor. The king wished that he would say much more about the exploits of his kinsmen. Gest told them of many amusing matters until the evening. Then everyone went to bed.The following morning, the king had Gest called and wanted to talk to him even more. The king said: "I can't really estimate your age, or how likely it can be that you are a man so old that you were present at these events. You will have to tell another story, so that we can be well informed about such matters."
Gest answered: "I knew beforehand, that you would want to hear another of my stories, if I told you about what happened about the gold."

The king said: "You must certainly tell me."
9. Frá Brynhildi ok Loðbrókarsonum Chapter 9:  Of Brynhild and Lodbrokarson
"Þá er nú enn at segja," segir Gestr, "at ek fór norðr til Danmerkr, ok settumst ek þar at föðurleifð minni, því at hann andaðist skjótt. Ok litlu síðar frétta ek dauða Sigurðar ok svá Gjúkunga, ok þótti mér þat mikil tíðendi."

Konungr mælti: "Hvat varð Sigurði at bana?"

Gestr svarar: "Sú er flestra manna sögn, at Guttormr Gjúkason legði hann sverði í gegnum sofanda í sæng Guðrúnar. En þýðverskir menn segja Sigurð drepinn hafa verit úti á skógi. En igðurnar sögðu svá, at Sigurðr ok Gjúka synir hefði riðit til þings nokkurs ok þá dræpi þeir hann. En þat er alsagt, at þeir vágu at honum liggjanda ok óvörum ok sviku hann í tryggð."

En hirðmaðr einn spyrr: "Hversu fór Brynhildr þá með?"

Gestr svarar: "Þá drap Brynhildr sjau þræla sína ok fimm ambáttir, en lagði sik sverði í gegnum ok bað sik aka með þessa menn til báls ok brenna sik dauða. Ok svá var gert, at henni var gert annat bál, en Sigurði annat, ok var hann fyrri brenndr en Brynhildr. Henni var ekit í reið einni, ok var tjaldat um guðvef ok purpura, ok glóaði allt við gull, ok svá var hún brennd." Þá spurðu menn Gest, hvárt Brynhildr hefði nokkut kveðit dauð.

Hann kvað þat satt vera. Þeir báðu hann kveða, ef hann kynni. Þá mælti Gestr: "Þá er Brynhildi var ekit til brennunnar á helveg, ok var farit með hana nær hömrum nokkurum. Þar bjó ein gýgr. Hún var úti fyrir hellis dyrum ok var í skinnkyrtli ok svört yfirlits.

Hún hefir í hendi sér skógarvönd langan ok mælti: "Þessu vil ek beina til brennu þinnar, Brynhildr, ok væri betr, at þú værir lifandi brennd fyrir ódáðir þínar þær, at þú lézt drepa Sigurð Fáfnisbana, svá ágætan mann, ok opt var ek honum sinnuð, ok fyrir þat skal ek ljóða á þik með hefndarorðum þeim, at öllum sér þú at leiðari, er slíkt heyra frá þér sagt."

Eptir þetta ljóðast þær á, Brynhildr ok gýgr. Gýgr kvað:

 

"Skaltu í gegnum
ganga eigi
grjóti studda
garða mína.
Betr sæmdi þér
borða at rekja
heldr en at vitja
várra ranna.

Hvat skaltu vitja
af Vallandi,
hverflynt höfuð,
húsa minna?
Þú hefir vörgum,
ef þín vitja,
mörgum til matar
manns blóð gefit."

Þá kvað Brynhildr:
"Bregðu mér eigi,
brúðr ór steini,
þótt væra ek fyrr
í víkingu.
Ek mun okkar
æðri þykkja,
hvars eðli menn
okkart kunnu."

Gýgr kvað:

Þú ert, Brynhildr
Buðladóttir,
heilli verstu
í heim borin.
Þú hefir Gjúka
of glatat börnum
ok búi þeira
brugðit góðu."

Brynhildr kvað:

"Ek mun segja þér
sanna ræðu,
vélgjarnt höfuð,
ef þik vita lystir,
hvé gerðu mik
Gjúka arfar
ástalausa
ok eiðrofa.

Lét mik af harmi
hugfullr konungr,
átta systur
undir eik búa.
Var ek vetra tólf,
ef þik vita lystir,
þá er ek ungum gram
eiða svarðak.

Ek lét gamlan
gýgjar bróður,
Hjálmgunnar, næst
heljar ganga.
Gaf ek ungum sigr
Auða bróður.
Þar var mér Óðinn
ofgreypr fyrir.

Lauk hann mik skjöldum
í Skatalundi
rauðum ok hvítum.
Randir snurtust.
Þann bað hann slíta
svefni mínum,
er hvergi lands
hræðask kynni.

Lét hann um sal minn
sunnanverðan
hávan brenna
hrotgarm viðar.
Þar bað hann þegar einn
yfir um ríða,
þann er færði mér
Fáfnis dýnu.

Reið góðr Grana
gullmiðlandi,
þar er fóstri minn
fletjum stýrði.
Einn þótti hann þar
öllum betri
víkingr Dana
í verðungu.

Sváfum vit ok undum
í sæng einni,
sem hann bróðir minn
of borinn væri.
Hvárki mátti
hönd yfir annat
átta nóttum
okkart leggja.

Því brá mér Guðrún
Gjúkadóttir,
at ek Sigurði
svæfi í armi.
Þá varð ek þess vís,
at ek vilda eigi,
at þau véltu mik
í verfangi.

Munu við ofstríð
alls til lengi
konur ok karlar
kvikvir fæðask.
Vit skulum okkrum
aldri slíta,
Sigurðr, saman.
Sökkstu nú, gýgr."

 

Þá æpti gýgr ógurligri röddu ok hljóp inn í bjargit.

Þá sögðu hirðmenn konungs: "Gaman er þetta,  ok segðu enn fleira."

Konungr mælti: "Eigi er nauðsyn at segja fleira frá þvílíkum hlutum."

Konungr mælti: "Vartu nokkut með Loðbrókar sonum?"

Gestr svarar: "Skamma stund var ek með þeim. Ek kom til þeira, þá er þeir herjuðu suðr at Mundíafjalli ok brutu Vífilsborg. Þá var allt við þá hrætt, því at þeir höfðu sigr, hvar sem þeir kómu, ok þá ætluðu þeir at fara til Rómaborgar. Þat var einn dag, at maðr nokkurr kom fyrir Björn konung járnsíðu ok heilsar honum. Konungr tekr honum vel ok spurði, hvaðan hann væri at kominn. Hann sagðist kominn sunnan frá Rómaborg.

Konungr spurði: "Hvé langt er þangat?"

Hann svaraði:

"Hér máttu sjá, konungr, skó, er ek hefi á fótum." Tekr hann þá járnskó af fótum sér, ok váru allþykkir ofan, en mjök slitnir neðan. "Svá er löng leið heðan til Rómaborgar sem þér meguð nú sjá á skóm mínum, hversu hart at þeir hafa þolat."

Konungr mælti: "Furðu löng leið er þetta at fara, ok munum vér aptr snúa ok herja eigi á Rómaríki."

Ok svá gera þeir, at þeir fara eigi lengra, ok þótti hernum þetta undarligt, at snúa svá skjótt sínu skapi við eins manns orð, er þeir höfðu áðr allt ráðs fyrir gert. Fóru Loðbrókar synir við þetta aptr ok heim norðr ok herjuðu eigi lengra suðr."

Konungr sagði: "Auðsýnt var þat, at helgir menn í Róma vildu eigi yfirgang þeira þangat, ok mun sá andi af guði sendr verit hafa, at svá skiptist skjótt þeira fyrirætlan at gera ekki spellvirki inum helgasta stað Jesú Kristí í Rómaborg."

 "It is now yet to be told," said Gest, "that I traveled north to Denmark, and settled down on my inheritance, since my father had died shortly before. Shortly afterward I heard of the death of Sigurd and the Gjukungs, and I thought that was important news."

The king said: "How was Sigurd slain?"
Gest answered: "Most men say that Guttorm Gjukason ran a sword through him when he was sleeping in Gudrun's bed. The German men say that Sigurd was slain out in the woods. But small birds said that Sigurd and the sons of Gjuki had ridden to a Thing and they slew him then. But one thing is said by all, that they ventured on him when he was lying down and unprotected, and betrayed him during a truce."
One of the men asked: "How did Brynhild respond then?"

Gest answered: "Then Brynhild killed seven of her slaves and five handmaidens, and ran a sword through herself, and bade that she be taken to the pyre along with these people and burned to death. And so it was done, that one pyre was made for her, and another for Sigurd, and he was burned before Brynhild. She was driven in a chariot, with a canopy of velvet and costly stuff, and everything gleamed with gold, and so she was burned.

Then people asked Gest, if Brynhild had chanted anything when she was dead. He said that this was true. They bade him chant it, if he could.Then Gest said: "When Brynhild was taken to the pyre on the way to Hell, she was taken near some cliffs. There a giantess dwelled. She was out before the doors of her cave and was in a black leather kirtle."

She had a long wand from the forest in her hand, and said: "I will offer this for your burning, Brynhild, and it would be better if you were burned alive for your deeds, that you had Sigurd Fafnisbani, such a splendid man, slain. I was often his companion, and because of that, I will address you in song with words of vengeance, so that everyone will see you as loathsome who hears such things about you.

After that, Brynhild and the giantess chanted to one another. The giantess sang:

 

"You shall not
Go through
The stone portals
Of my courtyard.

It would have seemed better for you
To weave a tapestry
Rather than to attack
A comfortable house.

Why shall you
Visit my house
From Vallandi
Fickle head.

You have given the robber-wolves
If they come to attack
Many a man's blood
For food."

 Then Brynhild sang:

 

"Do not reproach me
Bride from the stone
Although I was formerly
Involved in plundering
I must, of us two
Appear the higher
wherever noble men
knew us."

 The giantess sang:

 

"You are, Brynhild
Daughter of Budli.

In an evil hour
You were born into the world
You have destroyed
The children of Gjuki
And broken up
Their good home."

 Brynhild sang:

 

"I must say to you
True words
Deceitful woman
If you wish to know
How the heirs
Of Gjuki made me
without love
and with broken vows.

The courageous king
Delivered me from sorrow.

Eight sisters
Living under the oak.

I was twelve years old
If you wish to know
When I swore an oath
To the young king.

I caused the old
Brother of a giantess,
Hjalmgunnar, the next one
To be doomed to die.

I gave to victory to the young
Brother of Auda.

 

Odinn was wrathful
Because of that.
He surrounded me with shields
Edges touching
Red and white
In Skatland.

Then he bade him
To tear me from my sleep,
Who in no land
Knew fear.

He caused to burn
Around my south-facing hall
Howling dogs of fire
The masts from on high.

Then he bade him
Alone to ride over.

Then is brought to me
The gold of Fafnir.

The bestower of gold
rode good Grani
there where my foster father
ruled his hall
Alone he seemed there
The Danish Viking,
Best to all
In high worth.

We slept and were content in one bed
As if he as my brother
Had been born.

Each of us could
Lie there
One hand over the other
For eight nights.

Thus Gudrun reproached me
Daughter of Gjuki
That I slept
In Sigurd's arms.

Then I became aware
Of that I wished not to know
That they had betrayed me
In taking a husband.

In adversity
All too long
Women and men
Shall be born living.

We shall never
Tear ourselves apart
Sigurd, together.
Sink now, giantess."

 Then the giantess cried out a terrible scream, and leaped into the cliff.
Then the king's retainers said: "That is fine, and tell us more."
The king said: "There is no need to say more of such things."
The king said: "Were you ever with Lodbrok's sons.

Gest answered: "I was with them for a short time. I came to them when they were plundering south in the Alps and destroyed Vifilsborg. Everyone was terrified of them, since they were victorious wherever they went, and they intended at that time to go to Rome.

One day a man came from King Bjorn Ironside and greeted him. The king received him well and asked from where he might have come. He said that he had come from the south, from Rome."

The king asked: "How long is it to there."

He answered: "Here you must see, O king, the shoe which I have on my foot."

 

He then took an iron-shoe from his foot, and it was very thick on top, but quite ragged underneath. "The way to Rome is so long as you can see from my shoes, how badly they have suffered."

The king said: "It is a terribly long journey to travel, and we must turn around and not plunder in Rome."

And they did so, traveling no longer, and everyone thought that it was extraordinary, to change their minds so suddenly, on the word of one man, all of which they had previously resolved to. After that, the sons of Lodbrok returned home to the north, and no longer plundered in the south."

The king said: "It was obvious that the holy men in Rome would not allow their passage there, and the man must have been a spirit sent by God, that they changed their plans so suddenly and not do damage to the holiest place of Jesus Christ in Rome."
10. Hvar Gesti þótti bezt hirðvist 10: Where Gest Thought it Best to be a King's Man
 Enn spurði konungr Gest: "Hvar hefir þú þess komit til konunga, er þér hefir bezt þótt?"

 Gestr segir: "Mest gleði þótti mér með Sigurði ok Gjúkungum. En þeir Loðbrókar synir váru menn sjálfráðastir at lifa sem menn vildu. En með Eireki at Uppsölum var sæla mest. En Haraldr konungr hárfagri var vandastr at hirðsiðum allra fyrrnefndra konunga. Ek var ok með Hlöðvé konungi á Saxlandi, ok þar var ek prímsigndr því at ek mátti eigi þar vera elligar, því at þar var kristni vel haldin, ok þar þótti mér at öllu bezt."

Konungr mælti: "Mörg tíðendi muntu segja kunna, ef vér viljum spyrja." Konungr fréttir nú margs Gest. En Gestr segir þat allt greiniliga, ok um síðir talar hann svá: "Nú má ek segja yðr, hví at ek em Norna-Gestr kallaðr." Konungr sagðist þat heyra vilja.
 
The king asked Gest further: "Where have you come to the king, whose court seemed best to you?"

Gest said: "I found it most enjoyable with Sigurd and the sons of Gjuki. But the sons of Lodbrok allowed their men to live most independently, as they wished. But with Eirik at Uppsala there was the most happiness. Harald Fair-haired was more difficult with his retainers than any of the previously named kings. I was also with King Hlodve of Saxony, and was given the sign of the cross, for otherwise I would not be allowed there, since Christianity was observed carefully there, and there it seemed to me, on the whole, the best."

The king said: "You can tell us much news, if we wish to ask."The king then asked many things of Gest. Gest told him everything quite distinctly, until as last he spoke so: "Now I must tell you, why I am called Norna-Gest."The king said that he wished to hear that.
11. Nornir spáðu Gesti 11: The Prophesy of Norna-Gest
 "Þar var, þá er ek var fæddr upp með föður mínum í þeim stað, er Græningr heitir. Faðir minn var ríkr at peningum ok helt ríkuliga herbergi sín. Þar fóru þá um landit völur, er kallaðar váru spákonur ok spáðu mönnum aldr. Því buðu menn þeim ok gerðu þeim veizlur ok gáfu þeim gjafir at skilnaði. Faðir minn gerði ok svá, ok kómu þær til hans með sveit manna, ok skyldu þær spá mér örlög. Lá ek þá í vöggu, er þær skyldu tala um mitt mál. Þá brunnu yfir mér tvau kertisljós. Þær mæltu þá til mín ok sögðu mik mikinn auðnumann verða mundu ok meira en aðra mína foreldra eða höfðingja syni þar í landi ok sögðu allt svá skyldu fara um mitt ráð. In yngsta nornin þóttist of lítils metin hjá hinum tveimr, er þær spurðu hana eigi eptir slíkum spám, er svá váru mikils verðar. Var þar ok mikil ribbalda sveit, er henni hratt ór sæti sínu, ok fell hún til jarðar.
Af þessu varð hún ákafa stygg. Kallar hún þá hátt ok reiðiliga ok bað hinar hætta svá góðum ummælum við mik, --"því at ek skapa honum þat, at hann skal eigi lifa lengr en kerti þat brennr, er upp er tendrat hjá sveininum."
Eptir þetta tók in ellri völvan kertit ok slökkti ok biðr móður mína varðveita ok kveykja eigi fyrr en á síðasta degi lífs míns. Eptir þetta fóru spákonur í burt ok bundu ina ungu norn ok hafa hana svá í burt, ok gaf faðir minn þeim góðar gjafir at skilnaði. Þá er ek em roskinn maðr, fær móðir mín mér kerti þetta til varðveizlu. Hefi ek þat nú með mér." Konungr mælti: "Hví fórtu nú hingað til vár?"

Gestr svarar: "Þessu sveif mé í skap. Ætlaða ek mik af þér nokkura auðnu hljóta mundu, því at þér hafið fyrir mér verit mjök lofaðr af góðum mönnum ok virtum." Konungr sagði: "Viltu nú taka helga skírn?" Gestr svarar: "Þar vil ek gera at yðru ráði." Var nú svá gert, ok tók konungr hann í kærleika við sik ok gerði hann hirðmann sinn. Gestr varð trúmaðr mikill ok fylgdi vel konungs siðum. Var hann ok vinsæll af mönnum.
I was brought up in my father's house in that place called Graening. My father was quite wealthy and kept his house in a lavish manner. At that time seeresses, who were called prophetesses, traveled around the land, and told people the future. For this reason, people used to invite them to their houses and prepared feasts for them, and gave them gifts when they parted. My father also did so, and they came to him with a company of men, and they were to foretell my fate. I lay in my cradle, and they were to speak of my fate. Two candles were burning above me. They spoke to me and said that I would be very lucky, greater than my other forbears, or sons of chieftains in the land, and said that everything would come to pass according to my fate. The youngest Norn thought that she was too little valued compared to the other two, since they did not ask her about such prophesies, and so they were valued more. There were also a number of ribald men there, who pushed her off her seat so that she fell to the ground.
She was quite angry at this. She called out loudly and angrily, and bade them cease such good prophesies about me, -- " for I assign his future, that he shall not live longer than that candle burns, which is lighted beside him."After that, the oldest seeress took the candle and extinguished it, and bade my mother keep it safely and not to light it until the last day of my life. After that, the prophetesses went away, and bundled up the young Norn and so kept her away, and my father gave them good gifts at their departure. When I was full-grown, my mother gave me the candle for safe-keeping. I have it with me now.The king said: "Why did you come here to us?"Gest answered: "This came into my mind. I came here hoping that some good fortune would be allotted to me, since you have been very much praised by good and wise men."The king said: "W
ill you take holy baptism now?"Gest answered: "I will do whatever you advise."It was then done, and the king took him into his affection and made him one of his retainers. Gest was loyal to the king, and followed the customs of the king well. He was beloved by everyone.
12. Dauði Gests 12: The Death of Gest
Þat var einn dag, at konungr spurði Gest: "Hversu lengi vildir þú nú lifa, ef þú réðir?" Gestr svarar: "Skamma stund heðan af, ef guð vildi þat." Konungr mælti: "Hvat mun líða, ef þú tekr nú kerti þitt?" Gestr tók nú kerti sitt ór hörpustokki sínum. Konungr bað þá kveykja, ok svá var gert. Ok er kertit var tendrat, brann þat skjótt. Konungr spurði Gest: "Hversu gamall maðr ertu?" Gestr svarar: "Nú hefi ek þrjú hundruð vetra." "Allgamall ertu," sagði konungr. Gestr lagðist þá niðr. Hann bað þá ólea sik. Þat lét konungr gera. Ok er þat var gert, var lítit óbrunnit af kertinu. Þat fundu menn þá, at leið at Gesti. Var þat ok jafnskjótt, at brunnit var kertit ok Gestr andaðist, ok þótti öllum merkiligt hans andlát. Þótti konungi ok mikit mark at sögum hans, ok þótti sannast um lífdaga hans, sem hann sagði. One day, the king asked Gest: "How long do you wish to live, if you could choose?Gest answered: "Just a short time, if God wills it."The king said: "What will happen, if you take your candle now?"Gest then took his candle from the frame of his harp. The king bade it to be lit, and so it was done. And when the candle was lighted, it burned quickly.The king asked Gest: "How old a man are you?"Gest answered: "I am now three hundred years old.""You are quite old," said the king. Gest lay down. He asked them to anoint him with oil. The king had it done. And when it was done, there were very little of the candle left unburned. Then people realized that Gest had little time left. Gest passed away just as the candle was fully burned, and everyone thought that his passing was remarkable. The king thought much of his story, and thought that what he said of his life was quite true.
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SCHOLARSHIP & COMMENTARY
John McKinnell, Meeting the Other in Old Norse Myth and Legend, p. 100: "Prophecies over new-born infants sometimes involve three nornir 'fates', rather than a single völva; they include Norna-Gests Þáttur, ch. 12, the story of Fridlevus and Olvarus, Saxo VI; Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, 2-4, and the same story in Volsungasaga".