Chapter 11 - Of King Sigmund's last Battle, and of how he must yield up his Sword again.
There was a king called Eylimi, mighty and of great fame, and his daughter was called Hjordis, the fairest and wisest of womankind; and Sigmund hears it told
of her that she was meet to be his wife, yea if none else were. So he goes to the house of King Eylimi, who would make a great feast for him, if so be he comes
not thither in the guise of a foe. So messages were sent from one to the other that this present journey was a peaceful one, and not for war; so the feast was
held in the best of wise and with many a man thereat; fairs were in every place established for King Sigmund, and all things else were done to the aid and
comfort of his journey: so he came to the feast, and both kings hold their state in one hall; thither also was come King Lyngi, son of King Hunding, and he
also is a-wooing the daughter of King Eylimi.
Now the king deemed he knew that the twain had come thither but for one errand, and thought withal that war and trouble might be looked for from the hands of
him who brought not his end about; so he spake to his daughter, and said--
"Thou art a wise woman, and I have spoken it, that thou alone shalt choose a husband for thyself; choose therefore between these two kings, and my rede shall
be even as thine."
"A hard and troublous matter," says she; "yet will I choose him who is of greatest fame, King Sigmund to wife albeit he is well stricken in years."
So to him was she betrothed, and King Lyngi gat him gone. Then was Sigmund wedded to Hjordis, and now each day was the feast better and more glorious than on
the day before it. But thereafter Sigmund went back home to Hunland, and King Eylimi, his father-in-law, with him, and King Sigmund betakes himself to the due
ruling of his realm.
But King Lyngi and his brethren gather an army together to fall on Sigmund, for as in all matters they were wont to have the worser lot, so did this bite the
sorest of all; and they would fain prevail over the might and pride of the Volsungs. So they came to Hunland, and sent King Sigmund word how that they would
not steal upon him and that they deemed he would scarce slink away from them. So Sigmund said he would come and meet them in battle, and drew his power together;
but Hjordis was borne into the wood with a certain bondmaid, and mighty wealth went with them; and there she abode the while they fought.
Now the vikings rushed from their ships in numbers not to be borne up against, but Sigmund the King, and Eylimi set up their banners, and the horns blew up to
battle; but King Sigmund let blow the horn his father erst had had, and cheered on his men to the fight, but his army was far the fewest.
Now was that battle fierce and fell, and though Sigmund were old, yet most hardily he fought, and was ever the foremost of his men; no shield or byrny might
hold against him, and he went ever through the ranks of his foemen on that day, and no man might see how things would fare between them; many an arrow and many
a spear was aloft in air that day, and so his spae-wrights wrought for him that he got no wound, and none can tell over the tale of those who fell before him,
and both his arms were red with blood, even to the shoulders.
But now whenas the battle had dured a while, there came a man into the fight clad in a blue cloak, and with a slouched hat on his head, one-eyed he was,1 and
bare a bill in his hand; and he came against Sigmund the King, and have up his bill against him, and as Sigmund smote fiercely with the sword it fell upon the
bill and burst asunder in the midst: thenceforth the slaughter and dismay turned to his side, for the good-hap of King Sigmund had departed from him, and his
men fell fast about him; naught did the king spare himself, but the rather cheered on his men; but even as the saw says, "No might 'gainst many", so was it now
proven; and in this fight fell Sigmund the King, and King Eylimi, his father-in-law, in the fore-front of their battle, and therewith the more part of their
[1. Odin coming to change the ownership of the sword he had given Sigmund. See Chapter 3.]
Eylimi hefir konungr heitit, ríkr ok ágætr. Dóttir hans hét Hjördís, allra kvenna vænst ok vitrust. Ok þat spyrr Sigmundr konungr, at hún var við
hans æði eða engi ella. Sigmundr sækir heim Eylima konung. Hann gerir veizlu í mót honum mikla, ef hann hefði eigi herferð þangat. Fara nú boð þeira í milli, at
með vinsemd var nú farit, en eigi með herskap. Veizla þessi var ger með inum beztum föngum ok með miklu fjölmenni. Sigmundi konungi var hvarvetna sett torg ok
annarr farargreiði; koma nú til veizlu, ok skipa báðir konungar eina höll. Þar var ok kominn Lyngvi konungr, sonr Hundings konungs, ok vill hann ok mægjast við
Hann þykkist sjá, at þeir munu eigi hafa eitt erendi, þykkist ok vita, at ófriðar mun af þeim ván, er eigi fær. Nú mælti konungr við dóttur sína:
"Þú ert vitr kona, en ek hefi þat mælt, at þú skalt þér mann kjósa. Kjós nú um tvá konunga, ok er þat mitt ráð hér um, sem þitt er".
Hún svarar: "Vant sýnist mér þetta mál, en þó kýs ek þann konung, er frægstr er, en þat er Sigmundr konungr, þótt hann sé mjök aldri orpinn. Ok var
hún honum gefin, en Lyngvi konungr fór í brott. Sigmundr kvángaðist ok fekk Hjördísar. Var þar annan dag öðrum betr veitt eða með meira kappi. Eptir þat fór
Sigmundr konungr heim í Húnaland ok Eylimi konungr, mágr hans, við honum ok gætir nú ríkis síns. En Lyngvi konungr ok bræðr hans safna nú her at sér ok fara nú á
hendr Sigmundi konungi, því at þeir höfðu jafnan minna hlut ór málum, þótt þetta biti nú fyrir.
Vilja þeir nú fyrir koma kappi Völsunga; koma nú í Húnaland ok senda Sigmundi konungi orð ok vilja eigi stelast á hann, en þykkjast vita, at hann mun eigi flýja.
Sigmundr konungr kveðst koma mundu til orrostu. Hann dró saman her, en Hjördísi var ekit til skógar við eina ambátt, ok mikit fé fór með þeim. Hún var þar, meðan
Víkingar hljópu frá skipum við óvígjan her. Sigmundr konungr ok Eylimi settu upp merki sín, ok var þá blásit í lúðra. Sigmundr konungr lætr nú við
kveða sitt horn, er faðir hans hafði átt, ok eggjar sína menn. Hafði Sigmundr lið miklu minna. Tekst þar nú hörð orrosta, ok þótt Sigmundr væri gamall, þá barðist
hann nú hart ok var jafnan fremstr sinna manna.
Helzt hvárki við honum skjöldr né brynja, ok gekk hann jafnan í gegnum lið óvina sinna á þeim degi, ok engi mátti sjá, hversu fara mundi þeira í
millum. Margt spjót var þar á lopti ok örvar. En svá hlífðu honum hans spádísir, at hann varð ekki sárr, ok engi kunni töl, hversu margr maðr fell fyrir honum.
Hann hafði báðar hendr blóðgar til axlar. Ok er orrosta hafði staðit um hríð, þá kom maðr í bardagann með síðan hött ok heklu blá. Hann hafði eitt auga ok geir í
hendi. Þessi maðr kom á mót Sigmundi konungi ok brá upp geirinum fyrir hann. Ok er Sigmundr konungr hjó fast, kom sverðit í geirinn ok brast í sundr í tvá hluti.
Síðan sneri mannfallinu, ok váru Sigmundi konungi horfin heill, ok fell mjök liðit fyrir honum. Konungrinn hlífði sér ekki ok eggjar mjög liðit. Nú er sem mælt,
at eigi má við margnum. Í þessari orrostu fell Sigmundr konungr ok Eylimi konungr, mágr hans, í öndverðri fylkingu ok mestr hluti liðs hans.