Legendary Sagas of the Northland
in English Translation
|Norna-Gestr Saga||The Story of Norna-Gest|
|Early 14th century||
Translated by George L. Hardman
|1. Gestr kom til Óláfs konungs||
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
"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 w
"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
"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
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||
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.
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
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
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
|3. Gestr vann veðféit||
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||
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 lít
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 k
|5. Frá Hundingssonum||
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
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
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
"Hátt munu hlæja
þeir er Eylima
ef mik tegar
meir at sækja
en hefna föður."
One day, we came to the house of Regin, and Sigurd was welcomed there.
Then Regin spoke these verses:
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."
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."
|6. Sigurðr felldi Hundingssonu||
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 Rið
"Hverir ríða hér
Eru segl yður
vind of standask."
á sjá komnir.
Er oss byrr gefinn
við bana sjálfan.
Fellr brattr breki
Hverr spyrr at því?"
þá er hugin gladdi
Völsungr víða ok
Nú máttu kalla
karl á bjargi
Feng eða Fjölni.
Far vil ek þiggja."
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
alls þú hvárttveggja veizt,
Hverjar eru beztar,
ef berjast skal,
ef gumnar vitu
hygg ek ins dökkva vera
af hrottameiði hrafns.
Þat er annat,
ef þú ert út of
kominn ok til
Tvá þú lítr
á tái standa
Þat er it þriðja,
ef þú þjóta heyrir
úlf und asklimum.
þér af hjálmstöfum,
ef þú lítr
þá fyrr fara.
gumna í gegn
vega síð skínandi
Þeir sigr hafa, er sjá kunnu,
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
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
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 k
"Who rides here
Regin said in reply:
"Here are we, with Sigurd,
The man in the cloak said:
"I am called Hnikar
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
"Much is good
A faithful companion
That is the second
You gaze at two
That is the third
Destined for good luck
A man shall not see
They have victory
That is great harm
Combed and washed
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:
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.
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.
"Now the blood eagle
Fewer were more valiant
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||
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
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
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
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,
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 v
Konungr mælti: "Segja skaltu víst."
A short time later we heard that Starkad had committed foul murder, and that he had k
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 w
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:
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?"
"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."
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."
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 k
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 w
"You shall not
It would have seemed better for you
Why shall you
You have given the robber-wolves
Then Brynhild sang:
"Do not reproach me
The giantess sang:
"You are, Brynhild
In an evil hour
"I must say to you
The courageous king
I was twelve years old
I caused the old
I gave to victory to the young
Odinn was wrathful
Then he bade him
He caused to burn
Then he bade him
Then is brought to me
The bestower of gold
We slept and were content in one bed
Each of us could
Thus Gudrun reproached me
Then I became aware
We shall never
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
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
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
The king said: "It is a terribly long journey to
travel, and we must turn around and not plunder in
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
|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
|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
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 w
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".|