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IF THE Lay of Eric was “made to order” by an unknown poet, as the eulogium of an unpopular, though brave, king, the Lay of Hákon is composed by the best-known of Norwegian skalds, unquestionably of his own accord, to commemorate his generally beloved leader. Hence the warmth of feeling, the note of personal loss, which pervades this splendid poem.

Hákon, surnamed the Good, a child of Harold Hairfair’s old age, had been fostered by King Æthelstan of England, and thus brought up a Christian. After overthrowing his half brother Eric he tried to introduce the new faith, but met with stubborn opposition and had to desist in order to keep his throne. He is described as an ideal ruler for the times, handsome, generous, warlike though not aggressive, during whose reign of twenty-six years Norway enjoyed comparative peace and good harvests. He repelled several attempts of the sons of Eric to repossess themselves of the kingdom with the help of the Danes, but was wounded in a (victorious) battle against them on the island of Storth in southwest Norway (961) and died soon thereafter.

The poet Eyvind Finnsson was himself a distant relative of the king. We know that he lived in moderate circumstances and was a man of character. His (much-debated) epithet of skáldaspillir seems to mean “despoiler of skalds”; and if so, must have been given him by his enemies who readily fastened on the fact that his best works, Hákonarmól and Háleygiatal—the latter a long genealogical poem—are quite evidently patterned, the one after Eiriksmól, the other, after Ynglingatal, by the earlier poet, Thióthólf of Hvin.

If, notwithstanding this lack of original inspiration, the Lay of Hákon has been generally admired, then as well as now, this is due, not only to the genuine warmth and sincerity, but also to the superior artistry which makes it, all in all, perhaps the finest monument of its kind erected by Northern antiquity.

Central, and similar down to details, in both Eiriksmól and Hákonarmól, is the hero-king’s advent in Valholl; but whereas the former does not change scene (and thus achieves greater unity) the latter, with richer content, shifts from earth to heaven and back again to earth as it ebbs in the poet’s plaint over the loss of the peerless king. Also in style Hákonarmól shows more variety—consciously striven for. Thus, the straightforward and sober style of the narrative stanzas contrasts with the typically skaldic, baroque overloading of the battle-scene, clamorous with gorgeous and bizarre kennings, and that again with the highly charged dramatic force of the dialogues and the elegiac sorrow of the final dirge. The meter likewise shows a carefully considered correspondence to the style and theme—simple, impressive lióthaháttr for the epic-dramatic and lyric portions, against the martial tramp and blare of málaháttr descriptive of the carnage.

Eyvind had no doubt both a political and an apologetic aim with his poem: it was to be a counterblast to Eiriksmól and outdo it in splendor, but also to save the king’s good heathen reputation. If Hákon at his entrance in Valholl is suspicious of Óthin’s attitude and refuses to abandon his arms, he has abundant cause to fear the god’s wrath—his abortive defection from the heathen cause. And the good reception accorded him because he had “protected” the heathen fanes which, in fact, he had been powerless to destroy, may not have been altogether convincing to his contemporaries.1 Also the heathen trappings, the copious reminiscences from such arch heathen poems as Voluspó and Hóvamól, the interest in the king shown by the valkyries, the delegation to receive him composed of the gods Bragi and Hermóth—the same who was to fetch Baldr back from Hel2—all seem deliberately chosen to link the king with the old religion and to rehabilitate him in the eyes of his people.

The complete poem is found in Snorri Sturlason’s History of the Norwegian Kings (Heimskringla), at the end of Hákonarsaga gótha. Portions of it are transmitted also in Fagrskinna.

Note: There are numbered references in the following Lay. The explanations for these can be found in the FOOTNOTES section

1 Gautatýr3 sent forth Gondul and Skogul4 to choose among kings’ kinsmen: who of Yngvi’s offspring5 should with Óthin dwell,and wend with him to Valholl.

2 They found Biorn’s brother6 his byrnie donning, under standard standing the stalwart leader—were darts uplifted and spearshafts lowered; up the strife then started.

3 Called on Hálogaland’s7 heroes and Horthaland’s wordsmen the Northmen’s folkwarder, ere he fared to battle: a good host had he of henchmen from Norway—the Danes’-terror donned his bronze-helm.8

4 Threw down his war-weeds, thrust off his byrnie9 the great-hearted lord, ere began the battle—laughed with his liege-men; his land would he shield now,10 the gladsome hero ’neath old-helm standing.

5 Cut then keenly the king’s broadsword through foemen’s war-weeds, as though water it sundered.11 Clashed then spear-blades, cleft were war-shields; did ring-decked12 war-swords rattle on helmets.

6 Were targes trodden by the Týr-of-shields,13 by the hard-footed hilt-blade, and heads eke of Northmen; battle raged on the island,14 athelings reddened the shining shield-castles15 with shedded life-blood,

7 Burned the wound-fires16 in bloody gashes, were the long-beards17 lifted against the life of warriors—the sea-of-wounds18 surged high around the swords’ edges,ran the stream-of-arrows18 on the strand of Storth-isle.

8 Reddened war-shields rang ’gainst each other, did Skogul’s-stormblasts19 scar red targes; billowed blood-waves in the blast-of-Óthin20—was many a man’s son mowed down in battle.

9 Sate21 then the liege-lords with swords brandished, with shields shattered and shredded byrnies: not happy in their hearts was that host of men, and to Valholl wended their way.

10 Spoke then Gondul, on spearshaft leaning: “groweth now the gods’ following,22 since Hákon hath been with host so goodly hidden home by holy gods.”

11 Heard the war-lord what the valkyries spoke of, high-hearted, on horsehack—wisely they bore them, sitting war- helmeted, and with shields them sheltering.

HÁKON said:

12 “Why didst Geirskogul,23 grudge us victory? Yet worthy were we that the gods granted it.”

SKOGUL said:

13 “ ’Tis owing to us that the issue was won and your foemen did flee.

14 Ride forth now shall we,” said fierce Skogul, “to the green homes of the godheads,—there to tell Óthin that the atheling will now come to see him himself.”

15 “Hermóth and Bragi!” called out Hróptatýr:24 “Go ye to greet the hero; for a king cometh who hath keenly foughten, to our halls hither.”

16 Said the war-worker, wending from battle—was his byrnie all bloody: “Angry-minded Óthin meseemeth.Be we heedful of his hate!”

17 “All einheriar shall swear oaths to thee: share thou the æsir’s ale, thou enemy-of-earls!25 Here within hast thou brethren eight,” said Bragi.

18 “Our gear of war,” said the goodly king, “we mean to keep in our might. helmet and hauberk one should heed right well: ’tis good to guard one’s spear.”26

19 Then was it seen how that sea-king had upheld the holy altars, since Hákon all did hail with welcome, both gods and heavenly hosts.

20 On a good day is born that great-souled lord who hath a heart like his; aye will his times be told of on earth, and men will speak of his might.27

21 Unfettered will fare the Fenriswolf, and fall on the fields of men, ere that there cometh a kingly lord as good, to stand in his stead.28

22 Cattle die and kinsmen die,29 land and lieges are whelmed; since Hákon to the heathen gods fared many a host is harried.30

From OLD NORSE POEMS

Old Norse Poems - Cover

Old Norse Poems – Cover

ISBN: 9781907256509
URL: @ Publisher’s Discount http://abelapublishing.com/old-norse-poems_p31498693.htm

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/Norse-Poe…/1907256504/ref=sr_1_1…

AMAZON dot-COM: https://www.amazon.com/Old-Norse-Poems-Lee-Ho…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

________________________________________
FOOTNOTES
1 Though we may in this stanza also see a reflection on his successors who ravaged the sanctuaries and hid the gold.
2 Cf. Baldr’s Dreams.
3 “The God of the Gauts.” i.e., Óthin.
4 Valkyries.
5 Yngvi generally stands for Freyr in his capacity of progenitor of the Swedish kings. Here, however, he stands for Óthin, the progenitor of the royal race of Norway.
6 Hákon. Biorn was one of the many sons of Harold Fairhair.
7 Cf. Haraldskvæthi, note 37. Horthaland is here substituted for the Rogaland of the text. It is directly south of the latter.
8 The change to the golden helmet (in the next stanza) has been referred to an episode of the battle as told by Snorri: “Hákon was more easily recognized than other men, and his helmet glittered when the sun shone on it. He always was in the thick of the fray. Then Eyvind Finnsson (our poet) drew a hood over it. Whereupon Eyvind skreya (one of the enemy) cried out: ‘Is the king of Norway hiding now, or has he fled—else where is his golden helmet?’ The king shouted: ‘Come forward hither if you would find the King of Norway,’ and in the ensuing hand-to-hand fight cleft his skull with his sword.”
9 This was not uncommon with fierce warriors, in the heat of battle.
10 Viz., against the sons of Eric.
11 At his departure from England, his foster father, King Æthelstan, gave him the sword Quernbiter with which Hákon is said to have cut a millstone in two.
12 Swords frequently had rings on the hilt, for carrying.
13 The following stanzas are examples of Skaldic style overloaded with kennings; though not as complicated and disjointed as was believed until recently. The Týr (god)-of-shields (or rings) is a kenning for “warrior.” In ordinary language the first part of the stanza says that the shields and the heads of Northmen were trodden (hewed) by the hardened steel of the king (Kock).
14 Viz., of Storth.
15 The serried shields thrown about the king.
16 Kenning for “sword.”
17 Kenning for “battle-axe.”
18 Kenning for “blood.”
19 I.e., the mutual attacks. The difficulties, both of interpretation and translation, are considerable.
20 Kenning for “battle.”
21 Viz., dying.
22 Cf. Eiriksmól, 7, note, for the conception implied.
23 I.e., Spear-Skogul.
24 “God of gods,” i.e., Óthin.
25 “Hero.”
26 Cf. Hovamól, 1. I follow Kock’s suggestion.
27 There is reference here, probably, to his favor with the gods, manifest in good harvests and general prosperity.
28 Cf. Voluspó 36, 54: not till the end of the world will a better ruler come.
29 Patently, a reminiscence of the famous stanzas 77, 78 of Hóvamól.
30 This is, very likely, an allusion to the lawless times that followed the reign of Hákon.

The Darning Needle - Baba Indaba Childrens Stories # 86

The Darning Needle – Baba Indaba Childrens Stories # 86

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 86

In Issue 86 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates Hans Christian Andersen’s tale about the darning needle who though she was the most important needle in her mistresses sewing box – until one day she is dropped. Download and read the story to find out just what happened after that.

 

BUY ANY 4 BABA INDABA CHILDREN’S STORIES FOR ONLY $1

33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.

INCLUDES LINKS TO 8 FREE STORIES TO DOWNLOADS

Each issue also has a “WHERE IN THE WORLD – LOOK IT UP” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

 

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

 

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_STORY_OF_A_DARNING_NEEDLE_A_Danis?id=XIgaDAAAQBAJ

Almost a year ago I started a project to keep alive and bring to the world those old and forgotten children’s stories as individual stories. No longer will you have to buy a whole book of stories to have access to just one story.

 

To make it more interesting, I created a fictional persona to narrate the stories based on a tribal storyteller, in this case a Zulu tribal storyteller. His name is Baba Indaba, pronounced Baaba Indaaba, which means “Father of Stories” and he lived in KwaZulu-Natal during the Victorian era. A free downloadable description of Baba Indaba can be found on Google Play and Google Books.

 

As at today the first 260 stories have been loaded in PDF and ePUB formats. Each story sells for US$0.25 – or you can buy 4 for US$1.00

The UK price is £0.20 or 4 for £0.80. For all other countries, Google works out what the equivalent price in your country is.

At least 5 new stories will be added to this collection every week.

 

PLEASE LIKE and SHARE this with your FB friends especially those who are teachers or have children of their own.

 

Below you will find a list of all 260 stories to date listed by the region they originated in.

The URL/link to review the stories, and/or to buy, is https://goo.gl/J5TX98

 

Each story also includes LINKS TO DOWNLOAD 8 FREE BABA INDABA STORIES as well as a “WHERE IN THE WORLD – LOOK IT UP” educational section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story. Our HINT is: use Google maps.

 

AFRICA

Book 01 – The Stars and The Road of Stars

Book 02 – Why the Hare has a Split Nose

Book 06 – Anansi and the Lion

Book 07 – Two Anansi Stories

Book 10 – The Lost message

Book 111 A STORY ABOUT A MAIDEN AND A PUMPKIN

Book 122 The Story of OSIRIS

Book 16 – THE GIRL OF THE EARLY RACE WHO MADE STARS

Book 19 – THE STORY ABOUT A BEAUTIFUL MAIDEN

Book 220 WHY THE HONEY BADGER IS SO KEEN ON HONEY

Book 25 –  Miss Salt Miss Pepper

Book 29 – Why the Whitecrow Never Speaks

Book 43 – Why A Bushman Throws Earth Into the Air

Book 46 – Two Bushmen Tales – HOW A SNAKE ANNOUNCES A DEATH IN THE FAMILY & THE RESURRECTION OF THE OSTRICH

Book 69 A LION’S STORY

Book 83 The Giant and the Cause of Thunder

 

AESOP’s FABLES – Rewritten for Children

Book 08 – The Tortoise and the Ducks

Book 117 TWO AESOPS FABLES – The Astrologer & The Fox and the Pheasants

Book 127 A Cat and Mouse in Partnership

Book 21 – How the Turtle Saved his Own Life

Book 26 –  The Wolf and the Kid

Book 30 – The Old Lion and the Jackal

Book 37 – A Cocks Breakfast

Book 28 – THE EAGLE AND THE CROW

Book 61 – Horse and Turtle

Book 62  THE JACKAL AND THE HYENA

Book 78 Two Aesops Fables

Book 90 BELLING THE CAT

 

AUSTRALASIAN – Aboriginal, Maori, Polynesian

Book 221 The Story of Hine Moa

Book 52 – How the Fish got into Water

Book 82 The Story of Ahuula

 

NORTH AMERICAS – American Indian, Americana, Alaska & Hawaii

Book 114 The Giant Dog

Book 119 UNKTOMI AND THE ARROWHEADS

Book 18 – The Star Maiden

Book 182 BOKWEWA, THE HUMPBACK

Book 191 WUNZH – THE FATHER OF INDIAN CORN

Book 198 THE RETURN OF THE DEAD WIFE

Book 200 RIP VAN WINKLE

Book 201 THE WONDERFUL BASKET

Book 204 GROWING-UP-LIKE-ONE-WHO-HAS-A-GRANDMOTHER

Book 207 THE STORY OF DJUN

Book 208 BLACKSKIN

Book 212 LAND-OTTER THE INDIAN

Book 217 THE CHIEF’S DAUGHTER

Book 238 THE ADVENTURES OF FIRE-DRILL’S SON

Book 245 The Loot of Loma – American Indian

Book 31 – Two American Indian Stories – A Bashful Courtship & Why The Birch-Tree Wears Slashes In It’s Bark

Book 32 – A BET BETWEEN THE COOYOKO AND THE FOX

Book 42 – A Dinner and its Consequences

Book 60  A HOPI RAID ON A NAVAHO DANCE

Book 63  Journies to the Skeleton House

Book 64  A KATCINA RACE CONTEST BETWEEN THE WµLPI AND THE ORAÖBI

Book 67 A Legend of Manabozho

Book 70 A LITTLE BRAVE AND THE MEDICINE WOMAN

 

BRITISH – English, Welsh, Scots & Irish

Book 09 – The Three Sillies

Book 101 A Voyage to Lilliput

Book 102 Black Brown and Gray

Book 104 Lazy Jack

Book 109 Nansi Llwyd and the Dog of Darkness

Book 112 THE Milk White Doo and a poem

Book 118 Tom Tit Tot

Book 12 – The Tale of the Hoodie

Book 123 ‘HAME, HAME, HAME, WHERE I FAIN WAD BE’

Book 124 MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED

Book 130 A NIGHT IN THE KITCHEN (HCA)

Book 132 BEOWULF

Book 133 Two Medieval Stories

Book 134 CHILDE HORN

Book 135 GUY OF WARWICK

Book 136 PRESTER JOHN

Book 137 Cherry

Book 146 THE PHYNODDERREE – Isle of Man

Book 153 A STRANGE TIGER

Book 151 A Rats Tale

Book 155 A White Trout

Book 158 LITTLE THUMB

Book 159 THE MASTER CAT

Book 161 ADVENTURES OF GILLA NA CHRECK AN GOUR

Book 165 ALL CHANGE

Book 166 BINNORIE

Book 168 Birth of Fin MacCumhail

Book 170 BLACK STAIRS ON FIRE

Book 171 Two Ghostly Tales

Book 172 AN BRAON SUAN OR

Book 178 DAY-DREAMING

Book 179 EARL MARs DAUGHTER

Book 183 CAUTH MORRISY LOOKING FOR SERVICE

Book 199 YOUNG AMAZON SNELL

Book 202 AN OLD-WORLD GHOST

Book 203 THE GENTLEMAN HIGHWAYMAN

Book 205 BLIND JACK OF KNARESBOROUGH

Book 206 BLIND JACK – More Adventures

Book 213 THE DISINHERITING OF A SON

Book 247 MR. VINEGAR

Book 250 THE SHEPHERD OF LAUDERDALE

Book 257 – THE CHURCH THE DEVIL STOLE & THE PARSON AND THE CLERK – Two Co

Book 258 – Two Cornish Legends – The Weaver Of Dean Combe And  The Demon Who Helped Drake

Book 259 – Two Cornish Legends – The Samson Of Tavistock And The Midnight Hunter Of The Moor

Book 260 – Two Cornish Legends – The Piskie’s Funeral and The Lost Land of Lyonesse

Book 33 – A Mouthful of Silence

Book 45 – Two Welsh Fables – The Fable Of Gwrgan Farfdrwch & The Story Of The Pig-Trough

Book 54  A Ghostly Rehearsal

Book 57  A Good Action

Book 65  A LEGEND OF KNOCKMANY

Book 66 The Legend of Lough Mask

Book 71 A LOST PARADISE

Book 75 A Pottle O’ Brains

Book 76 A Phantom Funeral

Book 77 A Puzzle

Book 87 TWO WELSH FABLES – A Strange Otter & Melangell’s Lambs

Book 91 Cap O Rushes

Book 92 The Legend of Beth Gellert

Book 93 DAME PRIDGETT AND THE FAIRIES

 

CENTRAL AMERICA – Caribbean, Mexican, Pre-Columbian, Atlantean

Book 138 PRINCESS BLUEGREEN OF THE SEVEN CITIES

Book 173 Bimini and the Fountain of Youth

Book 34 – The Maya Creation Story

Book 38 – The Creation Story of the Mixtecs

Book 48 – The Death Of Tupac King of the Inca

Book 51 – THE STORY OF NEZAHUALPILLI KING OF TEXCOCO

Book 56  The Lost Island

Book 72 The MYTH OF MANCO CCAPAC INCA

Book 73 The Rise and Fall of the Toltec Empire

Book 74 ZLATOVLASKA THE GOLDEN-HAIRED

Book 80 The Fugitive Prince

 

EUROPE – Eastern, Western & Scandinavia

Book 04 – The Watchmaker

Book 100 HANSEL AND GRETTEL

Book 105 MASTER AND PUPIL

Book 107 MOTHER HOLLE

book 115 A Very Naughty Boy

book 120 Vasilica The Brave

Book 121 ANDROCLES AND THE LION

Book 125 ‘TOM’ AN ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR IN PARIS

Book 126 A (NOTHER) STORY OF A FROG

Book 139 Twopence Halfpenny – Gypsy

Book 143 THE JUDGMENT OF THE FLOWERS – Spain

Book 149 A PACK OF RAGAMUFFINS

Book 150 IN HONOUR OF A RAVEN

Book 152 FELICIA AND THE POT OF PINKS

Book 156 THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER or CINDERELLA

Book 157 THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOODS

Book 160 BLUE BEARD

Book 162 BEASTS BESIEGED

Book 163 AINO’S FATE

Book 164 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Book 167 ALLERLEIRAUH or THE MANY-FURRED CREATURE

Book 169 ALPHEGE OR THE GREEN MONKEY

Book 174 BLOCKHEAD-HANS

Book 175 CANNETELLA (GFB)

Book 176 CHARCOAL NILS AND THE TROLL-WOMAN

Book 177 DAPPLEGRIM

Book 180 EMELYAN THE FOOL

Book 181 AN IMPOSSIBLE ENCHANTMENT (GFB)

Book 184 DOGS OVER THE WATER

Book 186 Aschenputtel

Book 187 BOYISLAV YOUNGEST OF TWELVE

Book 188 GAZELLE the TORTOISE

Book 189 HEART OF ICE

Book 190 ILMARINEN FORGES THE SAMPO

Book 192 VASSILISSA THE CUNNING AND THE TSAR OF THE SEA

Book 193 VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER (VFB)

Book 194 WAINAMOINEN AND YOUKAHAINEN

Book 195 YELENA THE WISE

Book 196 THE DROWNED BUCCANEER

Book 209 THE PETS OF AURORE DUPIN

Book 210 AURORE DUPIN AT PLAY

Book 211 HOW AURORE DUPIN LEARNs TO RIDE

Book 214 THE SIEGE OF RHODES

Book 216 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Book 218 THE BOYHOOD OF LEONARDO

Book 219 THE ADVENTURES OF A SPANISH NUN

Book 154 A THE STORY OF THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS

Book 237 Pandoras Box

Book 24 – Salt – A Baba Yaga story

Book 243 AMYS AND AMYLE (Red Romance Book)

Book 246 CINDERELLA or the Little Glass Slipper

Book 251 DONKEY SKIN

Book 248 THree princesses of whiteland (Norway)

Book 249 Famine Among the Gnomes – Norse

Book 36 – A Clever Lass

Book 41 – The  Wind Rider

Book 39 – The Wolves Skoll and Hati

Book 44 – A Dozen At A Blow

Book 55  A GIFT FROM FRIGGA

Book 53 A French Puck

Book 59  A Gullible World

Book 85 Baba Yaga and the Girl with a Kind Heart

Book 86 A Story About a Darning Needle

Book 88 A Tale of Tontawald

Book 89 THE CAT WHO BECAME HEAD-FORESTER

Book 95 Gertrudes Bird

Book 96 A VISITOR FROM PARADISE

Book 98 FIN MacCUMHAIL and the KNIGHT of the FULL AXE

Book 99 GENTLE DORA

 

FAIRY STORIES

Book 103 HOW ETHNE LEFT THE LAND OF THE FAIRIES

Book 108 Minnikin

Book 113 The Fairy Frog

Book 128 A FAIRY’S BLUNDER

Book 140 The Fairy Child

Book 141 The Fairy Cure

Book 142 The Fairy Nurse

Book 144 The Kite That Went to the Moon

Book 145 The Pen Fairy

Book 147 The Rubber Fairy

Book 148 Twelfth Night Fairy

Book 185 FAIRER-THAN-A-FAIRY

Book 232 Twelve Fairy Stories Bumper edition

Book 234 Tinyboy and Other Stories

Book 235 The Leaf Fairy and Other Stories

Book 236 The Rain Fairy and Other Stories

Book 252 THE ELF MAIDEN

Book 49 –  A Fairy Borrowing

Book 50 – A Fairy Dog

Book 94 FAIRY TRANSPORTATION

 

FAR EAST – Burma, China, Japan

Book 106 – A TRADITIONAL PHYSICIAN CALLED JIVAKA

Book 11 – The Moon that Shone on the Porcelain Pagoda

Book 110 The Sparrow with the Slit Tongue

Book 116 OF THE MAIDEN SSUWARANDARI

Book 129 A Laung Khit

Book 13 – The Monkey and the Crocodile

Book 131 Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

Book 22 -The Elephant Girlie Face

Book 35 – TIKI-PU AND WIO-WANI

Book 47 – Two Burmese Tales – A DISRESPECTFUL DAUGHTER & THE THREE SISTERS

Book 58 – A Greedy King

Book 68 A Lesson for Kings

Book 79 A Rabbit Story

Book 81 A Son of Adam

Book 84 – Two Burmese Folktales – A SAD FATE & FRIENDS

 

INDIA – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan

Book 03 – The Evil Eye of Sani

Book 14 – CONKIAJGHARUNA

Book 23 – The Broken Pot

Book 233 Tiger Tom

Book 244 The Son of Seven Queens

 

MIDDLE EAST – Arabian Nights, Persian, Turkish, Jewish, Armenian

Book 05 – The Pixie of the Well

Book 15 – Ameen and the Ghool

Book 17 – The Story of Bostanai – Persian

Book 197 THE PERPLEXITY OF ZADIG – Babylon

Book 20 – ARA AND SEMIRAMIS – Armenian

Book 215 THE PRINCESS OF BABYLON

Book 222 THE THREE CALENDERS – Arabian Nights

Book 223 THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIE – Arabian Nights

Book 224 THE STORY OF THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES – Arabian Nights

Book 225 Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – Arabian Nights

Book 226 THE STORY OF THE MAGIC HORSE – Arabian Nights

Book 227 THE STORY OF THE WICKED HALF-BROTHERS – Arabian Nights

Book 228 HOW THE CAMEL GOT HIS HUMP – Arabian

Book 229 THE CAT THAT WALKED BY HIMSELF – Arabian

Book 230 THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND THE JINNEE – Arabian

Book 231 THE STORY OF THE FISHERMAN – Arabian

Book 239 THE STORY OF THE THREE APPLES

Book 241 THE STORY OF NOOR-ED-DEEN AND ENEES-EL-JELEES

Book 242 THE SUMERIAN STORY OF THE GREAT FLOOD

Book 240 THE STORY OF THE HUMPBACK

Book 253 THE STORY OF THE PORTER AND THE LADIES OF BAGHDAD

Book 254 THE STORY OF THE FIRST ROYAL MENDICANT – Arabian Nights

Book 255 THE STORY OF THE SECOND ROYAL MENDICANT – Arabian Nights

Book 256 THE STORY OF THE THIRD ROYAL MENDICANT – Arabian Nights

Book 27 – The Soothsayer

Book 40 – An Armenian Story and an Armenian Poem

Book 97 Little Hyacinths Kiosk

A sample of 25 Baba Indaba Children's Stories Covers

A sample of 25 Baba Indaba Children’s Stories Covers

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 55

In Issue 55 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Norse Legend of how Frigga, wife of Odin, appeared in vision to a shepherd and gave him seeds to sow and care for. But what were the seeds and how did they change the world we live in?

You’re invited to download and read the story to find out how it all happened!

This issue also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.

INCLUDES LINKS TO 8 FREE DOWNLOADS!

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

 

Download here -> https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_A_GIFT_FROM_FRIGGA_A_Norse_Legend?id=VdcIDAAAQBAJ

A Gift From Frigga - Cover

A Gift From Frigga – Cover

The Wind Rider - Baba Indaba Children's Stories Issue 41

The Wind Rider – Baba Indaba Children’s Stories Issue 41

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 41

In Issue 41 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Norse legend of The Wind Rider – A long, time ago, in a land far, far away, a magician was once upon a time much put out with a young countryman. In a fit of rage and spite he curses the young man to ride the wind of the storm for seven years. But these things have a way of backfiring on those with evil intent. Read the story to find out what happens.

This issue also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe. Even so, this does not cover all folklore from all four corners of the world. Indeed folklore, legends and myths from Africa, Australia, Polynesia, and some from Asia too, are altogether quite different and seem to have originated on the whole from separate reservoirs of lore, legend and culture.

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_WIND_RIDER_A_Norse_tale?id=WvIEDAAAQBAJ

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 39

In Issue 39 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Norse legend of the wolves Skoll (repulsion) and Hati (hatred) and how, and why, they each chase the moon and the sun across the sky ensuring night follows day.

It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe. Even so, this does not cover all folklore from all four corners of the world. Indeed folklore, legends and myths from Africa, Australia, Polynesia, and some from Asia too, are altogether quite different and seem to have originated on the whole from separate reservoirs of lore, legend and culture.

This book also has an educational component with “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

FOLLOW THIS LINK: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_WOLVES_SK%C3%96LL_AND_HATI_A_Norse_Leg?id=qGKdDAAAQBAJ

The Wolves Skoll abd Hati - Cover

The Wolves Skoll and Hati – Cover

An Excerpt from “Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards”

 

THE stars shine down!

The Northern Lights flash over the sky,

and the Milky Way glows white!

Listen to the song of the Wizard

of the Crystal-Lighted Cavern!

 

AH! BEAUTIFUL was Linda the lovely daughter of Uko. She showed all the skypaths to the little birds, when they came flocking home in the springtime or flew away in autumn. She cared as gently and tenderly for the little birds, as a mother cares for her children. And just as a flower bespangled with a thousand drops of dew shines and smiles in the morning sunshine, so Linda shone while caring for her little winged ones.

Thus it was no wonder that all the world loved Linda. Every youth wished her for his bride, and crowds of suitors came to woo her.

In a handsome coach with six brown horses, the Pole Star drove up, and brought ten gifts. But Linda sent him away, with hurried words:

“You always have to stay in the same place. You cannot move about,” said she.

Then came the Moon in a silver coach drawn by ten brown horses. He brought her twenty gifts. But Linda refused the Moon, saying:

“You change your looks too often. You run in your same old way. You do not suit me.

Hardly had the Moon driven sorrowfully off, before the Sun drove up. In a golden coach with twenty red-gold horses, he rattled up to the door. He brought thirty presents with him. But all his pomp, shining splendor, and fine gifts did not help him. Linda said:

“I do not want you. You are like the Moon. Day after day you run in the same street.”

So the Sun went away sorrowful.

Then at midnight, in a diamond coach drawn by a thousand white horses, came the Northern Lights. His coming was so magnificent, that Linda ran to the door to meet him. A whole coach-load of gold, silver, pearls and jewelled ornaments, the servants of the Northern Lights carried into the house and his gifts pleased her, and she let him woo her.

“You do not always travel in the same course,” said Linda. “You flash where you will, and stop when you please. Each time you appear robed in new beauty and richness, and wear each time a different garment. And each time you ride about in a new coach with new horses. You are the true bridegroom!”

Then they celebrated their betrothal. But the Sun, Moon, and Pole Star looked sadly on. They envied the Northern Lights his happiness.

The Northern Lights could not stay long in the bride’s house, for he had to hurry back to the sky. When he said farewell, he promised to return soon for the wedding, and to drive Linda back with him to his home in the North. Meanwhile, they were to prepare Linda’s bridal garments.

Linda made her bridal robes, and waited and waited. One day followed the other, but the bridegroom did not come to hold the joyous wedding with his beloved. The winter passed, and the lovely spring adorned the earth with fresh beauty, while Linda waited in vain for her bridegroom. Nothing was seen of him!

Then she began to grieve bitterly and lament, and to sorrow day and night. She put on her bridal robes and white veil, and set the wreath on her head, and sat down in a meadow by a river. From her thousand tears little brooks ran into the valleys. In her deep heart-felt sorrow she thought only of her bridegroom.

The little birds flew tenderly about her head, brushing her with their soft wings, to comfort her. But she did not see them, nor did she take care of them anymore. So the little birds wandered about, flying here, flying there, for they did not know what to do or where to go.

Uko, Linda’s father, heard of her sorrow and how the little birds were untended. He ordered his Winds to fetch his daughter to him, to rescue her from such deep grief. And while Linda was sitting alone in the meadow weeping and lamenting, the Winds sank softly down beside her, and gently lifting her, bore her up and away. They laid her down in the blue sky.

And there is Linda now, dwelling in a sky-tent. Her white bridal veil spreads round her. And if you look up at the Milky Way, you will see Linda in her bridal robes. There she is, showing the way to little birds who wander.

Linda is happy! In winter she gazes towards the North. She waves her hand at the Northern Lights flashing nearer and nearer, then he again asks her to be his bride.

But though he flashes very close to Linda, heart to heart, he cannot carry her off. She must stay forever in the sky, robed in white, and must spread out her veil to make the Milky Way.

 

From: Wonder Tales of Baltic Wizards [1928]

ISBN: 9781907256585

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/wonder-tales-from-baltic-wizards

Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards - Cover

Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards – Cover

 

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THE OPENING STANZAS

1. Within the gates | ere a man shall go,
(Full warily let him watch,)
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows | where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.

2. Hail to the giver! | a guest has come;
Where shall the stranger sit?
Swift shall he be who, | with swords shall try
The proof of his might to make.

3. Fire he needs | who with frozen knees
Has come from the cold without;
Food and clothes | must the farer have,
The man from the mountains come.

4. Water and towels | and welcoming speech
Should he find who comes, to the feast;
If renown he would get, | and again be greeted,
Wisely and well must he act.

5. Wits must he have | who wanders wide,
But all is easy at home;
At the witless man | the wise shall wink
When among such men he sits.

6. A man shall not boast | of his keenness of mind,
But keep it close in his breast;
To the silent and wise | does ill come seldom
When he goes as guest to a house;
(For a faster friend | one never finds
Than wisdom tried and true.)

7. The knowing guest | who goes to the feast,
In silent attention sits;
With his ears he hears, | with his eyes he watches,
Thus wary are wise men all.

8. Happy the one | who wins for himself
Favor and praises fair;
Less safe by far | is the wisdom found
That is hid in another’s heart.

9. Happy the man | who has while he lives
Wisdom and praise as well,
For evil counsel | a man full oft
Has from another’s heart.

10. A better burden | may no man bear
For wanderings wide than wisdom;
It is better than wealth | on unknown ways,
And in grief a refuge it gives.

11. A better burden | may no man bear
For wanderings wide than wisdom;
Worse food for the journey | he brings not afield
Than an over-drinking of ale.

12. Less good there lies | than most believe
In ale for mortal men;
For the more he drinks | the less does man
Of his mind the mastery hold.
——-
CONTENTS
(1) The Havamal proper (stanzas 1-80).
(2) The Loddfafnismol (stanzas 111-138).
(3) The Ljothatal (stanzas 147-165).
(4) The love-story of Odin and Billing’s daughter (stanzas 96-102).
(5) The story of how Odin got the mead of poetry–the draught which gave him the gift of tongues–from the maiden Gunnloth (stanzas 103-110).
(6) A brief passage telling how Odin won the runes (stanzas 139 146).

For more information, table of contents and to buy, go to http://abelapublishing.com/the-havamal–the-sayings-of-the-wise-one_p26538287.htm

Havamal-cover-w-persp

Excerpt: CHAPTER LXXXII HACON’S WARS AND DEATH – POEM ON ARINBJORN

Long time did Egil dwell at Borg, and became an old man. But it is not told that he had lawsuits with any here in the land; nor is there a word of single combats, or war and slaughter of his after he settled down here in Iceland. They say that Egil never went abroad out of Iceland after the events already related. And for this the main cause was that Egil might not be in Norway, by reason of the charges which (as has been told before) the kings there deemed they had against him. He kept house in munificent style, for there was no lack of money, and his disposition led him to munificence.

King Hacon, Athelstan’s foster-son, long ruled over Norway; but in the latter part of his life Eric’s sons came to Norway and strove with him for the kingdom; and they had battles together, wherein Hacon ever won the victory. The last battle was fought in Hordaland, on Stord-island, at Fitjar: there king Hacon won the victory, but also got his death-wound. After that Egil’s sons took the kingdom in Norway.

Lord Arinbjorn was with Harold Eric’s son, and was made his counsellor, and had of him great honours. He was commander of his forces and defender of the land. A great warrior was Arinbjorn, and a victorious. He was governor of the Firth folk. Egil Skallagrimsson heard these tidings of the change of kings in Norway, and therewith how Arinbjorn had returned to his estates in Norway, and was there in great honour. Then Egil composed a poem about Arinbjorn, whereof this is the beginning:

ARINBJORN’S EPIC, or a PART THEREOF.
1.
‘For generous prince
Swift praise I find,
But stint my words
To stingy churl.
Openly sing I
Of king’s true deeds,
But silence keep
On slander’s lies.

2.
‘For fabling braggarts
Full am I of scorn,
But willing speak I
Of worthy friends:
Courts I of monarchs
A many have sought,
A gallant minstrel
Of guileless mood.

3.
‘Erewhile the anger
Of Yngling’s son
I bore, prince royal
Of race divine.
With hood of daring
O’er dark locks drawn
A lord right noble
I rode to seek.

4.
‘There sate in might
The monarch strong,
With helm of terror
High-throned and dread;
A king unbending
With bloody blade
Within York city
Wielded he power.

5.
‘That moon-like brightness
Might none behold,
Nor brook undaunted
Great Eric’s brow:
As fiery serpent
His flashing eyes
Shot starry radiance
Stern and keen.

6.
‘Yet I to this ruler
Of fishful seas
My bolster-mate’s ransom
Made bold to bear,
Of Odin’s goblet
O’erflowing dew
Each listening ear-mouth
Eagerly drank.

7.
‘Not beauteous in seeming
My bardic fee
To ranks of heroes
In royal hall:
When I my hood-knoll
Wolf-gray of hue
For mead of Odin
From monarch gat.

8.
‘Thankful I took it,
And therewithal
The pit-holes black
Of my beetling brows;
Yea and that mouth
That for me bare
The poem of praise
To princely knees.

9.
‘Tooth-fence took I,
And tongue likewise,
Ears’ sounding chambers
And sheltering eaves.
And better deemed I
Than brightest gold
The gift then given
By glorious king.

10.
‘There a staunch stay
Stood by my side,
One man worth many
Of meaner wights,
Mine own true friend
Whom trusty I found,
High-couraged ever
In counsels bold.

11.
‘Arinbjorn
Alone us saved
Foremost of champions
From fury of king;
Friend of the monarch
He framed no lies
Within that palace
Of warlike prince.

12.
‘Of the stay of our house
Still spake he truth,
(While much he honoured
My hero-deeds)
Of the son of Kveldulf,
Whom fair-haired king
Slew for a slander,
But honoured slain.

13.
‘Wrong were it if he
Who wrought me good,
Gold-splender lavish,
Such gifts had cast
To the wasteful tract
Of the wild sea-mew,
To the surge rough-ridden
By sea-kings’ steeds.

14.
‘False to my friend
Were I fairly called,
An untrue steward
Of Odin’s cup;
Of praise unworthy,
Pledge-breaker vile,
If I for such good
Gave nought again.

15.
‘Now better seeth
The bard to climb
With feet poetic
The frowning steep,
And set forth open
In sight of all
The laud and honour
Of high-born chief.

16.
‘Now shall my voice-plane
Shape into song
Virtues full many
Of valiant friend.
Ready on tongue
Twofold they lie,
Yea, threefold praises
Of Thorir’s son.

17.
‘First tell I forth
What far is known,
Openly bruited
In ears of all;
How generous of mood
Men deem this lord,
Bjorn of the hearth-fire
The birchwood’s bane.

18.
‘Folk bear witness
With wond’ring praise,
How to all guests
Good gifts he gives:
For Bjorn of the hearth-stone
Is blest with store
Freely and fully
By Frey and Njord.

19.
‘To him, high scion
Of Hroald’s tree,
Fulness of riches
Flowing hath come;
And friends ride thither
In thronging crowd
By all wide ways
‘Neath windy heaven.

20.
‘Above his ears
Around his brow
A coronal fair,
As a king, he wore.
Beloved of gods,
Beloved of men,
The warrior’s friend,
The weakling’s aid.

21.
‘That mark he hitteth
That most men miss;
Though money they gather,
This many lack:
For few be the bounteous
And far between,
Nor easily shafted
Are all men’s spears.

22.
‘Out of the mansion
Of Arinbjorn,
When guested and rested
In generous wise,
None with hard jest,
None with rude jeer,
None with his axe-hand
Ungifted hie.

23.
‘Hater of money
Is he of the Firths,
A foe to the gold-drops
Of Draupnir born.
. . . . .

24.
‘Rings he scatters,
Riches he squanders,
Of avarice thievish
An enemy still.
. . . . .

25.
‘Long course of life
His lot hath been,
By battles broken,
Bereft of peace.
. . . . .

26.
‘Early waked I,
Word I gathered,
Toiled each morning
With speech-moulding tongue.
A proud pile built I
Of praise long-lasting
To stand unbroken
In Bragi’s town.’
9781909302495-Cover-w-persp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISBN: 9781909302495

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/the-saga-of-egil-skallagrimsson-egils-saga_p26273302.htm

[This is a very old story: the Danes who used to fight with the English in King Alfred’s time knew this story. They have carved on the rocks pictures of some of the things that happen in the tale, and those carvings may still be seen. Because it is so old and so beautiful the story is told here again, but it has a sad ending—indeed it is all sad, and all about fighting and killing, as might be expected from the Danes.]

ONCE upon a time there was a King in the North who had won many wars, but now he was old. Yet he took a new wife, and then another Prince, who wanted to have married her, came up against him with a great army. The old King went out and fought bravely, but at last his sword broke, and he was wounded and his men fled. But in the night, when the battle was over, his young wife came out and searched for him among the slain, and at last she found him, and asked whether he might be healed. But he said `No,’ his luck was gone, his sword was broken, and he must die. And he told her that she would have a son, and that son would be a great warrior, and would avenge him on the other King, his enemy. And he bade her keep the broken pieces of the sword, to make a new sword for his son, and that blade should be called Gram.

Then he died. And his wife called her maid to her and said, `Let us change clothes, and you shall be called by my name, and I by yours, lest the enemy finds us.’

So this was done, and they hid in a wood, but there some strangers met them and carried them off in a ship to Denmark. And when they were brought before the King, he thought the maid looked like a Queen, and the Queen like a maid. So he asked the Queen, `How do you know in the dark of night whether the hours are wearing to the morning?’

And she said:

`I know because, when I was younger, I used to have to rise and light the fires, and still I waken at the same time.’

`A strange Queen to light the fires,’ thought the King.

Then he asked the Queen, who was dressed like a maid, `How do you know in the dark of night whether the hours are wearing near the dawn?’

`My father gave me a gold ring,’ said she, `and always, ere the dawning, it grows cold on my finger.’

`A rich house where the maids wore gold,’ said the King. `Truly you are no maid, but a King’s daughter.’

So he treated her royally, and as time went on she had a son called Sigurd, a beautiful boy and very strong. He had a tutor to be with him, and once the tutor bade him go to the King and ask for a horse.

`Choose a horse for yourself,’ said the King; and Sigurd went to the wood, and there he met an old man with a white beard, and said, `Come! help me in horse-choosing.’

Then the old man said, `Drive all the horses into the river, and choose the one that swims across.’

So Sigurd drove them, and only one swam across. Sigurd chose him: his name was Grani, and he came of Sleipnir’s breed, and was the best horse in the world. For Sleipnir was the horse of Odin, the God of the North, and was as swift as the wind.

But a day or two later his tutor said to Sigurd, `There is a great treasure of gold hidden not far from here, and it would become you to win it.’

But Sigurd answered, `I have heard stories of that treasure, and I know that the dragon Fafnir guards it, and he is so huge and wicked that no man dares to go near him.’

`He is no bigger than other dragons,’ said the tutor, `and if you were as brave as your father you would not fear him.’

`I am no coward,’ says Sigurd; `why do you want me to fight with this dragon?’

Then his tutor, whose name was Regin, told him that all this great hoard of red gold had once belonged to his own father. And his father had three sons—the first was Fafnir, the Dragon; the next was Otter, who could put on the shape of an otter when he liked; and the next was himself, Regin, and he was a great smith and maker of swords.

Now there was at that time a dwarf called Andvari, who lived in a pool beneath a waterfall, and there he had hidden a great hoard of gold. And one day Otter had been fishing there, and had killed a salmon and eaten it, and was sleeping, like an otter, on a stone. Then someone came by, and threw a stone at the otter and killed it, and flayed off the skin, and took it to the house of Otter’s father. Then he knew his son was dead, and to punish the person who had killed him he said he must have the Otter’s skin filled with gold, and covered all over with red gold, or it should go worse with him. Then the person who had killed Otter went down and caught the Dwarf who owned all the treasure and took it from him.

Only one ring was left, which the Dwarf wore, and even that was taken from him.

Then the poor Dwarf was very angry, and he prayed that the gold might never bring any but bad luck to all the men who might own it, forever.

Then the otter skin was filled with gold and covered with gold, all but one hair, and that was covered with the poor Dwarf’s last ring.

But it brought good luck to nobody. First Fafnir, the Dragon, killed his own father, and then he went and wallowed on the gold, and would let his brother have none, and no man dared go near it.

When Sigurd heard the story he said to Regin:

`Make me a good sword that I may kill this Dragon.’

So Regin made a sword, and Sigurd tried it with a blow on a lump of iron, and the sword broke.

Another sword he made, and Sigurd broke that too.

Then Sigurd went to his mother, and asked for the broken pieces of his father’s blade, and gave them to Regin. And he hammered and wrought them into a new sword, so sharp that fire seemed to burn along its edges.

Sigurd tried this blade on the lump of iron, and it did not break, but split the iron in two. Then he threw a lock of wool into the river, and when it floated down against the sword it was cut into two pieces. So Sigurd said that sword would do. But before he went against the Dragon he led an army to fight the men who had killed his father, and he slew their King, and took all his wealth, and went home.

When he had been at home a few days, he rode out with Regin one morning to the heath where the Dragon used to lie. Then he saw the track which the Dragon made when he went to a cliff to drink, and the track was as if a great river had rolled along and left a deep valley.

Then Sigurd went down into that deep place, and dug many pits in it, and in one of the pits he lay hidden with his sword drawn. There he waited, and presently the earth began to shake with the weight of the Dragon as he crawled to the water. And a cloud of venom flew before him as he snorted and roared, so that it would have been death to stand before him.

Sigurd proofs the sword – Johannes Gehrts (1901)

But Sigurd waited till half of him had crawled over the pit, and then he thrust the sword Gram right into his very heart.

Then the Dragon lashed with his tail till stones broke and trees crashed about him.

Then he spoke, as he died, and said:

`Whoever thou art that hast slain me this gold shall be thy ruin, and the ruin of all who own it.’

Sigurd said:

`I would touch none of it if by losing it I should never die. But all men die, and no brave man lets death frighten him from his desire. Die thou, Fafnir,’ and then Fafnir died.

And after that Sigurd was called Fafnir’s Bane, and Dragonslayer.

Then Sigurd rode back, and met Regin, and Regin asked him to roast Fafnir’s heart and let him taste of it.

So Sigurd put the heart of Fafnir on a stake, and roasted it. But it chanced that he touched it with his finger, and it burned him. Then he put his finger in his mouth, and so tasted the heart of Fafnir.

Then immediately he understood the language of birds, and he heard the Woodpeckers say:

`There is Sigurd roasting Fafnir’s heart for another, when he should taste of it himself and learn all wisdom.’

The next bird said:

`There lies Regin, ready to betray Sigurd, who trusts him.’

The third bird said:

`Let him cut off Regin’s head, and keep all the gold to himself.’

The fourth bird said:

`That let him do, and then ride over Hindfell, to the place where Brynhild sleeps.’

When Sigurd heard all this, and how Regin was plotting to betray him, he cut off Regin’s head with one blow of the sword Gram.

Then all ‘he birds broke out singing:

`We know a fair maid, A fair maiden sleeping; Sigurd, be not afraid, Sigurd, win thou the maid Fortune is keeping.

`High over Hindfell Red fire is flaming, There doth the maiden dwell She that should love thee well, Meet for thy taming.

`There must she sleep till thou Comest for her waking Rise up and ride, for now Sure she will swear the vow Fearless of breaking.’

Then Sigurd remembered how the story went that somewhere, far away, there was a beautiful lady enchanted. She was under a spell, so that she must always sleep in a castle surrounded by flaming fire; there she must sleep for ever till there came a knight who would ride through the fire and waken her. There he determined to go, but first he rode right down the horrible trail of Fafnir. And Fafnir had lived in a cave with iron doors, a cave dug deep down in the earth, and full of gold bracelets, and crowns, and rings; and there, too, Sigurd found the Helm of Dread, a golden helmet, and whoever wears it is invisible. All these he piled on the back of the good horse Grani, and then he rode south to Hindfell.

Now it was night, and on the crest of the hill Sigurd saw a red fire blazing up into the sky, and within the flame a castle, and a banner on the topmost tower. Then he set the horse Grani at the fire, and he leaped through it lightly, as if it had been through the heather. So Sigurd went within the castle door, and there he saw someone sleeping, clad all in armour. Then he took the helmet off the head of the sleeper, and behold, she was a most beautiful lady. And she wakened and said, `Ah! is it Sigurd, Sigmund’s son, who has broken the curse, and comes here to waken me at last?’

This curse came upon her when the thorn of the tree of sleep ran into her hand long ago as a punishment because she had displeased Odin the God. Long ago, too, she had vowed never to marry a man who knew fear, and dared not ride through the fence of flaming fire. For she was a warrior maid herself, and went armed into the battle like a man. But now she and Sigurd loved each other, and promised to be true to each other, and he gave her a ring, and it was the last ring taken from the dwarf Andvari. Then Sigurd rode away, and he came to the house of a King who had a fair daughter. Her name was Gudrun, and her mother was a witch. Now Gudrun fell in love with Sigurd, but he was always talking of Brynhild, how beautiful she was and how dear. So one day Gudrun’s witch mother put poppy and forgetful drugs in a magical cup, and bade Sigurd drink to her health, and he drank, and instantly he forgot poor Brynhild and he loved Gudrun, and they were married with great rejoicings.

Now the witch, the mother of Gudrun, wanted her son Gunnar to marry Brynhild, and she bade him ride out with Sigurd and go and woo her. So forth they rode to her father’s house, for Brynhild had quite gone out of Sigurd’s mind by reason of the witch’s wine, but she remembered him and loved him still. Then Brynhild’s father told Gunnar that she would marry none but him who could ride the flame in front of her enchanted tower, and thither they rode, and Gunnar set his horse at the flame, but he would not face it. Then Gunnar tried Sigurd’s horse Grani, but he would not move with Gunnar on his back. Then Gunnar remembered witchcraft that his mother had taught him, and by his magic he made Sigurd look exactly like himself, and he looked exactly like Gunnar. Then Sigurd, in the shape of Gunnar and in his mail, mounted on Grani, and Grani leaped the fence of fire, and Sigurd went in and found Brynhild, but he did not remember her yet, because of the forgetful medicine in the cup of the witch’s wine.

Now Brynhild had no help but to promise she would be his wife, the wife of Gunnar as she supposed, for Sigurd wore Gunnar’s shape, and she had sworn to wed whoever should ride the flames. And he gave her a ring, and she gave him back the ring he had given her before in his own shape as Sigurd, and it was the last ring of that poor dwarf Andvari. Then he rode out again, and he and Gunnar changed shapes, and each was himself again, and they went home to the witch Queen’s, and Sigurd gave the dwarf’s ring to his wife, Gudrun. And Brynhild went to her father, and said that a King had come called Gunnar, and had ridden the fire, and she must marry him. `Yet I thought,’ she said, `that no man could have done this deed but Sigurd, Fafnir’s bane, who was my true love. But he has forgotten me, and my promise I must keep.’

So Gunnar and Brynhild were married, though it was not Gunnar but Sigurd in Gunnar’s shape, that had ridden the fire.

And when the wedding was over and all the feast, then the magic of the witch’s wine went out of Sigurd’s brain, and he remembered all. He remembered how he had freed Brynhild from the spell, and how she was his own true love, and how he had forgotten and had married another woman, and won Brynhild to be the wife of another man.

But he was brave, and he spoke not a word of it to the others to make them unhappy. Still he could not keep away the curse which was to come on every one who owned the treasure of the dwarf Andvari, and his fatal golden ring.

And the curse soon came upon all of them. For one day, when Brynhild and Gudrun were bathing, Brynhild waded farthest out into the river, and said she did that to show she was Guirun’s superior. For her husband, she said, had ridden through the flame when no other man dared face it.

Then Gudrun was very angry, and said that it was Sigurd, not Gunnar, who had ridden the flame, and had received from Brynhild that fatal ring, the ring of the dwarf Andvari.

Then Brynhild saw the ring which Sigard had given to Gudrun, and she knew it and knew all, and she turned as pale as a dead woman, and went home. All that evening she never spoke. Next day she told Gunnar, her husband, that he was a coward and a liar, for he had never ridden the flame, but had sent Sigurd to do it for him, and pretended that he had done it himself. And she said he would never see her glad in his hall, never drinking wine, never playing chess, never embroidering with the golden thread, never speaking words of kindness. Then she rent all her needlework asunder and wept aloud, so that everyone in the house heard her. For her heart was broken, and her pride was broken in the same hour. She had lost her true love, Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir, and she was married to a man who was a liar.

Then Sigurd came and tried to comfort her, but she would not listen, and said she wished the sword stood fast in his heart.

`Not long to wait,’ he said, `till the bitter sword stands fast in my heart, and thou will not live long when I am dead. But, dear Brynhild, live and be comforted, and love Gunnar thy husband, and I will give thee all the gold, the treasure of the dragon Fafnir.’

Brynhild said: `It is too late.’

Then Sigurd was so grieved and his heart so swelled in his breast that it burst the steel rings of his shirt of mail.

Sigurd went out and Brynhild determined to slay him. She mixed serpent’s venom and wolf’s flesh, and gave them in one dish to her husband’s younger brother, and when he had tasted them he was mad, and he went into Sigurd’s chamber while he slept and pinned him to the bed with a sword. But Sigurd woke, and caught the sword Gram into his hand, and threw it at the man as he fled, and the sword cut him in twain. Thus died Sigurd, Fafnir’s bane, whom no ten men could have slain in fair fight. Then Gudrun wakened and saw him dead, and she moaned aloud, and Brynhild heard her and laughed; but the kind horse Grani lay down and died of very grief. And then Brynhild fell a-weeping till her heart broke. So they attired Sigurd in all his golden armour, and built a great pile of wood on board his ship, and at night laid on it the dead Sigurd and the dead Brynhild, and the good horse, Grani, and set fire to it, and launched the ship. And the wind bore it blazing out to sea, flaming into the dark. So there were Sigurd and Brynhild burned together, and the curse of the dwarf Andvari was fulfilled.[1]


[1] The Volsunga Saga.

 

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ISBN: 978-1-909302-39-6

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