Hrbarslj

rr fr r Austrvegi ok kom at sundi einu. rum megin sundsins var ferjukarlinn me skipit. rr kallai:

Thor was travelling out of the East and came to a sound. On the other side of the sound was a ferryman with his boat. Thor shouted:


 

1. 1.

"Hverr er s sveinn sveina, "Who is that swain of swains

er stendr fyr sundit handan?" who is standing on the other side of the

sound?"

 

Ferjukarlinn kva: The ferryman said:

2. 2.

"Hverr er s karl karla, Who is that churl of churls,

er kallar of vginn?" who is shouting across the water?"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

3. 3.

"Fer mik um sundit, "Bring me across the sound,

fi ek ik morgun; I will give you food tomorrow;

meis hef ek baki, I have a basket on my back,

verr-a matr in betri; there has never been better eating;

t ek hvld, I ate while I was resting,

r ek heiman fr, before I left home,

sldr ok hafra; herring and goats;

sar em ek enn ess." I am still full up from it."

 

Ferjukarlinn kva: The ferryman said:

4. 4.

"rligum verkum "[As] early work

hrsar , verinum; you boast your meal;

veizt-at-tu fyrir grla, you are not quite aware,

dpr eru n heimkynni, mournful are your folks at home,

dau, hygg ek, at n mir s." dead, I think, is your mother."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

5. 5.

"at segir n, Now you are saying

er hverjum ykkir what seems to everyone

mest at vita, worst(1) to know,

at mn mir dau s." that my mother be dead."

 

Ferjukarlinn kva: The ferryman said:

6. 6.

"eygi er sem "Yet it is not as if(2) you

rj b g eigir; own three good dwellings;

berbeinn stendr you stand bare-legged

ok hefr brautinga gervi, and are wearing beggar's clothing,

atki, at hafir brkr nar." you are not even wearing your

breeches".

 

rr kva: Thor said:

7. 7.

"Stru hingat eikjunni, "Bring the boat over here,

ek mun r stna kenna, - I will show you the berth, -

ea hverr skipit, or who owns the ship

er heldr vi landit?" that you are keeping by the shore?"

 

Ferjukarlinn kva: The ferryman said:

8. 8.

"Hildolfr s heitir, Hildolfr is his name

er mik halda ba, who told me to keep it,

rekkr inn rsvinni, the wise warrior

er br Rseyjarsundi; who lives on Rsey(3) sound;

ba-at hann hlennimenn flytja he told me not to ferry across rustlers

ea hrossajfa, or horse-thieves,

ga eina but only the good

ok , er ek grva kunna; and those I know well;

segu til nafns ns, give me your name

ef vill um sundit fara!" if you want to cross the sound!"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

9. 9.

"Segja mun ek til nafns mns, "I will give you my name,

tt ek sekr sak, even if I were outlawed [I would],

ok til alls elis: and with it my entire birth-line:

Ek em ins sonr, I am the son of in,

Meila brir, the brother of Meili,

en Magna fair, and the father of Magni,

rvaldr goa, the strength-wielder of the gods,

vi r knttu hr dma! know you you are speaking with Thor!

Hins vil ek n spyrja, Now I want to ask in return,

hvat heitir." what your name is."

 

Ferjukarlinn kva: The ferryman said:

10. 10.

"Hrbarr ek heiti, "My name is Hrbarr,(4)

hylk um nafn sjaldan." I rarely hide my name."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

11. 11.

"Hvat skaltu of nafn hylja, "Why should you hide your name,

nema sakar eigir?" unless you are under a charge?"(5)

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

12. 12.

"En tt ek sakar eiga, "Even if I were under a charge,

mun ek fora fjrvi mnu I would still save my life

fyr slkum sem ert, from such as you are,

nema ek feigr s." unless I were doomed to die."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

13. 13.

"Harm ljtan "A hideous shame

mr ykkir v it seems to me

at vaa um vginn til n to wade through the water to you

ok vta gur minn; and wet my bundle;(6)

skylda ek launa I would pay you back,

kgursveini num bundle-boy, for your

kanginyri, jibing words,

ef ek kmumk yfir sundit." if I crossed the sound."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

14. 14.

"Hr mun ek standa "Here I will stand

ok n hean ba; and wait for your arrival;

fannt-a mann in harara you would never find anyone doughtier

at Hrungni dauan." since Hrungnir's death."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

15. 15.

"Hins viltu n geta, "Now you want to talk about

er vit Hrungnir deildum, our dealings, Hrungnir and I,

s inn strgi jtunn, that great-minded jǫtunn,

er r steini var hfuit ; whose head was made of stone;

lt ek hann falla nonetheless I laid him low

ok fyrir hnga. and made him bend.

Hvat vanntu mean, Hrbarr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Hrbarr?

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

16. 16.

"Var ek me Fjlvari "I was with Fjǫlvari

fimm vetr alla for all of five winters

ey eiri, on that island

er Algrn heitir; that is called Algrn;(7)

vega vr ar knttum we joined battle there

ok val fella, and slaughtered people,

margs at freista, daring much,

mans at kosta." pursuing love."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

17. 17.

"Hversu snnuu yr konur yrar?" "How did your women turn out for you

two?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

18. 18.

"Sparkar ttu vr konur, "Lively women we would have had,

ef oss at spkum yri; if they had dealt wisely with us;

horskar ttu vr konur, savvy women we would have had,

ef oss hollar vri; if they had been true to us;

r r sandi out of sand they

sma undu, spun ropes,

ok r dali djpum and from deep valleys

grund of grfu; dug out earth;

var ek eim einn llum I alone versus them all

efri at rum; came out on top;

hvlda ek hj eim systrum sjau, I slept with the seven sisters,

ok hafa ek ge eira allt ok gaman. and had my way and pleasure with them

all.

Hvat vanntu mean, rr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Thor?"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

19. 19.

"Ek drap jaza, "I killed jazi,

inn rmga jtun, the mighty-spirited jǫtunn,

upp ek varp augum I threw the eyes

Alvalda sonar of Alvaldi's son

ann inn heia himin; up above into the clear sky;

au eru merki mest these are the greatest signs

minna verka, of my deeds,

au er allir menn san of sa. which everyone since can see.

Hvat vanntu mean, Hrbarr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Hrbarr?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

20. 20.

"Miklar manvlar "Many dalliances

ek hafa vi myrkriur, I had with night-riders,(8)

er ek vlta r fr verum; when I lured them from their husbands;

haran jtun a doughty jǫtunn

ek huga Hlbar vera, I thought Hlbarr was,

gaf hann mr gambantein, he gave me a wand of might,

en ek vlta hann r viti." but I magicked him out of his mind."(9)

 

rr kva: Thor said:

21. 21.

"Illum huga "In an ill spirit

launair gar gjafar." you then rewarded a good gift."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

22. 22.

"at hefr eik, "Let an oak have

er af annarri skefr, what it scrapes off another,

of sik er hverr slku. everyone looks to his own, likewise.

Hvat vanntu mean rr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Thor?"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

23. 23.

"Ek var austr "I was in the East

ok jtna barak and smote jǫtuns'

brir blvsar, baleful wives,

er til bjargs gengu; as they headed for the mountains;

mikil myndi tt jtna, the race of jǫtuns would number many

ef allir lifi if all were [still] alive,

vtr myndi manna [and] humans number zero

undir Migari. in Migar.

Hvat vanntu mean, Hrbarr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Hrbarr?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

24. 24.

"Var ek Vallandi "I was in Valland(10)

ok vgum fylgdak, and carrying on war,

atta ek jfrum, I incited rulers to war,

en aldri sttak; and never made peace;

inn jarla, inn owns the jarls

er val falla, who fall in battle,

en rr rlakyn." while Thor owns the thrall-kind."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

25. 25.

"jafnt skipta "To share unequally

er myndir me sum lii, the hosts among the race of sir you

intend,

ef ttir vilgi mikils vald." if you had very great power."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

26. 26.

"rr afl rit, "Thor has enough strength,

en ekki hjarta; but not heart;

af hrslu ok hugbleyi from fear and lack of courage

r var hanzka troit, you were stuffed in a glove,

ok ttisk-a rr vera; and seemed then not to be Thor;

hvrki orir in your fear

fyr hrslu inni you then dared neither

hnjsa n fsa, sneeze nor fart,

sv at Fjalarr heyri." such that Fjalarr(11) would hear."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

27. 27.

"Hrbarr inn ragi, "You coward,(12) Hrbarr,

ek mynda ik hel drepa, I would kill you into Hel

ef ek mtta seilask um sund." if I could get my hands across the

sound."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

28. 28.

"Hvat skyldir um sund seilask, "Why should you reach across the sound

er sakir ro alls engar? when there is no reason at all?

Hvat vanntu , rr?" What did you get done then, Thor?"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

29. 29.

"Ek var austr "I was in the East

ok na varak, and defending the river(13) alone

er mik sttu when I was attacked

eir Svrangs synir; by the sons of Svrang;

grjti eir mik bru, with stones they pelted me,

gagni uru eir ltt fegnir, however they had little joy in their gains,

uru eir mik fyrri but were first before me

friar at bija. to sue for peace.

Hvat vanntu mean, Hrbarr?" What did you get done in the meantime,

Hrbarr?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

30. 30.

"Ek var austr "I was in the East

ok vi einhverja dmak, having fun with a certain female,

lk ek vi ina lnhvtu I played with the linen-white one

ok launing hak; and engaged in a tryst;

gladdak ina gullbjrtu, I pleased the gold-bright one,

gamni mr uni." the maid enjoyed our sporting."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

31. 31.

"G tt r mankynni ar ." "You had good girl-dealings that time."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

32. 32.

"Lis ns "Your help

vra ek urfi, rr, I could have used then, Thor,

at ek helda eiri inni lnhvtu mey." in order to hold on to the linen-white girl."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

33. 33.

"Ek munda r at veita, "I would have given it you,

ef ek vir of kmumk." if I could have got to [you]."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

34. 34.

"Ek mynda r tra, "I would believe you,

nema mik trygg vltir." except you wobble(14) in your troth to

me."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

35. 35.

"Emk-at ek s hlbtr "I am not so heel-biting

sem hskr forn vr." as an old rawhide shoe in springtime!"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

36. 36.

"Hvat vanntu mean, rr?" "What did you get done in the meantime,

Thor?"

 

rr kva: Thor said:

37. 37.

"Brir berserkja "Berserker females(15)

barak Hlseyju; I smote on Hlesey;(16)

r hfu verst unnit, they had done the worst things,

vlta j alla." tricking(17) the whole people."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

38. 38.

"Klki vanntu , rr, "You earned yourself shame there, Thor,

er konum barir." when you smote women."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

39. 39.

"Vargynjur at vru, "They were she-wolves,(18)

en varla konur, and hardly women,

skelldu skip mitt, they shattered my ship,

er ek skorat hafak, which I had beached,

gu mr jrnlurki threatened me with an iron cudgel

en eltu jalfa. and chased jalfi.

Hvat vanntu mean, Hrbarr?" What did you get done meanwhile,

Hrbarr?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

40. 40.

"Ek vark hernum, "I was in the army

er hingat gerisk that was marching this way,

gnfa gunnfana, hoisting the war banner,

geir at rja." to redden the spear."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

41. 41.

"ess viltu n geta, "Now you mean to talk about

er frt oss ljfan at bja." how you set off to bring us enmity."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

42. 42.

"Bta skal r at I am to make amends to you for that

munda baugi, with a hand ring,

sem jafnendr unnu, as the daysmen(19) determined,

eir er okkr vilja stta." those who want to settle our

differences."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

43. 43.

"Hvar namtu essi "Where did you get those

in hnfiligu or, cutting words,

er ek heyra aldregi than which I never heard

in hnfiligri?" more cutting?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

44. 44.

"Nam ek at mnnum "I got them from those people

eim inum aldrnum, the aged ones

er ba heimis skgum." who live in the world's forests."(20)

 

rr kva: Thor said:

45. 45.

" gefr gott nafn dysjum, "You use a good term for cairns

er kallar r heimis skga." when you call them the world's forests."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

46. 46.

"Sv dmi ek of slkt far." "This is my judgement on the subject."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

47. 47.

"Orkringi n "Your word play

mun r illa koma, will turn out badly for you

ef ek r vg at vaa; if I determine to wade across the water;

ulfi hra louder than a wolf,

hygg ek ik pa munu, I think, you will howl

ef hltr af hamri hgg." if you receive a blow from the hammer."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

48. 48.

"Sif h heima, "Sif has a boy-toy at home,

hans muntu fund vilja, you will want to find him,

ann muntu rek drgja, that daring [deed] you will achieve,

at er r skyldara." it is closer to you."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

49. 49.

"Mlir at munns ri, "You speak on the advice of your mouth,

sv at mr skyldi verst ykkja, such things as will seem the worst to me,

halr inn hugblaui, cowardly man,

hygg ek, at ljgir." I think(21) you are lying."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

50. 50.

"Satt hygg ek mik segja; "I think I am telling the truth;

seinn ertu at fr inni, you are too late on your travels,

langt myndir n kominn, rr, you would have gone far by now, Thor,

ef litum frir." if you had left at daybreak."(22)

 

rr kva: Thor said:

51. 51.

"Hrbarr inn ragi, "You coward, Hrbarr,

heldr hefr n mik dvalan." rather, you have delayed me."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

52. 52.

"sa-rs huga ek "sa-Thor's journeying

aldregi mundu I never thought

glepja fhiri farar." a ferryman could confound."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

53. 53.

"R mun ek r n ra; "I will now give you some advice;

r hingat btinum, row the boat over here,

httum htingi, let's stop the taunting,

hittu fur Magna." come and meet Magni's father."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

54. 54.

"Faru firr sundi, "go back from the sound,

r skal fars synja." Passage is denied to you."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

55. 55.

"Vsa mr n leiina, "Then show me the way,

alls vill mik eigi um vginn ferja." since you refuse to ferry me across the

water."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

56. 56.

Ltit er at synja, It's a small thing to deny,

langt er at fara; it's a long way(23) to travel;

stund er til stokksins, it's an hour to the stock,

nnur til steinsins, another to the stone,

haltu sv til vinstra vegsins, stay then with the left-hand path,

unz hittir Verland; until you come to Verland;(24)

ar mun Fjrgyn there Fjǫrgyn will

hitta r, son sinn, meet Thor, her son,

ok mun hon kenna hnum ttunga brautir and will show him his kindred's way

til ins landa." to the lands of inn."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

57. 57.

"Mun ek taka angat dag?" "Will I get there today?"

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

58. 58.

"Taka vi vl ok erfii, "Toil and trouble get [you] there

at upprennandi(25) slu, at the rising of the sun,

er ek get na." as I think, more or less."

 

rr kva: Thor said:

59. 59.

"Skammt mun n ml okkat, "Short will our conversation now [be],

alls mr sktingu einni svarar; since you are answering me only with

mockery;

launa mun ek r farsynjun, I will repay you for denying me passage,

ef vit finnumk sinn annat." if we two meet again."

 

Hrbarr kva: Hrbarr said:

60. 60.

"Far n, "Go now,

ars ik hafi allan gramir." to where the fiends may have you whole."

 

Notes

 

1. Literally "biggest".

2. i.e., you don't look as if you do.

3. Isle of Good Counsel, apparently fictitious

4. Hoarybeard

5. Thor's first statement, " tt ek sekr sak", appears to use sekr in its meaning under Icelandic law, "condemned to either greater or lesser outlawry". Its broader meaning is "sentenced". However, the noun sǫk, in the phrase here, "sakar eigir", usually refers to an accusation; it can mean a case one is bringing, although it is more often used of a crime one is accused of.

6. Ǫgur is a hapax legomenon (unique word) of uncertain meaning. Several scholars have taken it as referring to the container with Thor's previously mentioned meal; Bugge emended it to dǫgur, "breakfast". Some recent translators have built on the fact Hrbarr has said that Thor is bare-legged, and taken it as meaning his private parts. Gubrandur Vigfsson was persuaded by the argument that since kǫgursvein occurs later in the verse, it should be amended to kǫgur, which should be taken to mean "quiver". The word otherwise means "quilt" in Icelandic, and the -svein and -barn compounds, although they could be used to mean "quiver-boy, quiver-bearer", are usually insults referring to a babe in arms - all bundled up. Also the "quiver" would refer to Thor carrying thunderbolts on his back that he does not want to get wet, something uncharacteristic. So I have kept it

generic but signalled that a connection has been suggested by using "bundle" and "bundle-boy".

7. Algrn: All-Green. This and Fjǫlvari are otherwise unknown.

8. Myrkriur may mean either ogresses or human hags/witches.

9. The second element in manvlar and the two vlti past tenses are forms of the same verb; he seduced them and drove Hlbar mad through magic or other forms of trickery. The name literally means "leopard" but the word is used for many kinds of wild beast.

10. Valland occurs in sagas as "the land of the Welsh", i.e., foreign parts, often referring to France; but it could also mean "the land of valr", the slain, slaughter.

11. i.e., Skrymir

12. The adjective ragr has two separate highly insulting meanings. In this passage (repeated in verse 51) it is usually taken as "cowardly"; the other meaning is the same as argr, "sexually like a woman", and in this meaning it is one of the three words whose use is listed in Grgas as punishable by full outlawry - or justifying being killed on the spot.

13. Possibly Ifing, the river that flows between Asgard and Jǫtunheim.

14. Lit. "rotate".

15. Lit. brides, married women.

16. Ls, Denmark

17. Vla again, as in Verse 20.

18. Feminine of vargr, the "wolf" word that also means an outlaw.

19. Jafnendr is a compacted version of jamyndir menn: local judges who determined the amount of a fine/wergild to be paid to settle a dispute.

20. The manuscripts have skgum and skga in this and the following verse, but it is often amended to haugum and hauga, "mounds", on metrical and meaning grounds, starting with Bugge's edition. Heimr could be either "home" or "world/land" here.

21. In this and the next verse, hygg ek likely has the force of "I am sure".

22. This line is disputed. Other interpretations include "if you had travelled in disguise" and "if you had travelled in my boat".

23. This has also been read as one word, erat, in which case the line would mean "it's not a long way travelling".

24. "Land of Men"

25. This is the A manuscript reading; the Codex Regius has upverandi, with similar meaning.