The Poetic Edda by Jackson Crawford

The Poetic Edda by Jackson Crawford

Author:Jackson Crawford [Crawford, Jackson]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781624663567
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Published: 2015-03-15T07:00:00+00:00

{177} Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar

Concerning Hjorvarth and Sigerlinn

A king was named Hjorvarth; he had four wives. One was named Alfhild, and their son was named Hethin. The second was named Saereith, and their son was named Humlung. The third was named Sinrjoth, and their son was named Hymling.

King Hjorvarth had sworn an oath to marry the most beautiful woman he saw. He learned that King Svafnir had a daughter who was most beautiful of all, named Sigerlinn. King Hjorvarth had a man at his court named Ithmund, and Ithmund’s son Atli went to ask for Sigerlinn’s hand in marriage to King Hjorvarth. Atli stayed the whole winter with King Svafnir. King Svafnir had an important follower named Franmar, and he was the foster-father of Sigerlinn. Franmar had a daughter named Alof. Franmar told Atli that the girl would not be married to King Hjorvarth, and then Atli rode away.

Atli stood one day in a grove, and he heard a bird sitting in the tree branches above him; the bird had heard Atli’s men say that there was no woman more beautiful than King Hjorvarth’s wives. The bird called, and Atli listened to what it said.

The bird said:


Svafnir’s daughter,

the most beautiful woman

in the entire world?

She’s more beautiful

than Hjorvarth’s wives,

though they seem beautiful enough

to the men at Glasislund.”

Atli said:

[2] “Will you say more

to Atli,

son of Ithmund,

you wise-remembering bird?”

{178} The bird said:

“I would—if you, young man,

would give me a sacrifice.

I’ll choose what I want

from the king’s household.”

Atli said:

[3] “Don’t choose Hjorvarth,

nor his sons,

nor the king’s

lovely brides,

the wives

of King Hjorvarth.

But we’ll make a good deal;

that’s the way of friends.”

The bird said:

[4] “I will choose a temple,

many altars,

and golden-horned cows

from the king’s household,

if what I say brings Sigerlinn

to sleep in his arms,

if that woman

marries him of her free will.”

This was before Atli’s journey to King Svafnir. When Atli came home, King Hjorvarth asked him his news, and Atli said:

[5] “We had trouble,

the errand was not accomplished.

We wore out our horses

on the high mountains,

and then we had to wade

the river Saemorn.

And then Svafnir’s

ring-decked daughter,

the girl we went there to get,

was denied to us.”

{179} King Hjorvarth asked them to go a second time, and he went along himself this time. And when they went up on a mountain, they saw wildfires burning in Svavaland, and they saw huge clouds of dust kicked up by horses’ hooves. Then the king rode down from the mountain and spent the night by a river. Atli stood on guard, and he went over the river. There he found a house. A large bird sat on the house and kept watch, but it had fallen asleep. Atli threw a spear at the bird and killed it.

In the house, Atli found Sigerlinn, the daughter of King Svafnir, and Alof, the daughter of Jarl Franmar, and he took them away from there.

Hrothmar, another king who had courted Sigerlinn, had killed King Svafnir and then burned and robbed the country. Jarl Franmar had turned himself into an eagle, and he had been guarding the women with his magic.


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