Chapter 2 - Of the Birth of Volsung, the Son of Rerir, who was the Son of Sigi.
Now Sigi grew old, and had many to envy him, so that at last those turned against him whom he trusted most; yea, even the brothers of his wife; for these
fell on him at his unwariest, when there were few with him to withstand them, and brought so many against him, that they prevailed against him, and there
fell Sigi and all his folk with him. But Rerir, his son, was not in this trouble, and he brought together so mighty a strength of his friends and the great
men of the land, that he got to himself both the lands and kingdom of Sigi his father; and so now, when he deems that the feet under him stand firm in his
rule, then he calls to mind that which he had against his mother's brothers, who had slain his father. So the king gathers together a mighty army, and
therewith falls on his kinsmen, deeming that if he made their kinship of small account, yet none the less they had first wrought evil against him. So he
wrought his will herein, in that he departed not from strife before he had slain all his father's banesmen, though dreadful the deed seemed in every wise.
So now he gets land, lordship, and fee, and is become a mightier man than his father before him.
Much wealth won in war gat Rerir to himself, and wedded a wife withal, such as he deemed meet for him, and long they lived together, but had no child to take
the heritage after them; and ill-content they both were with that, and prayed the Gods with heart and soul that they might get them a child. And so it is said
that Odin hears their prayer, and Freyia no less hearkens wherewith they prayed unto her: so she, never lacking for all good counsel, calls to her her
casket-bearing may,1 the daughter of Hrimnir the giant, and sets an apple in her hand, and bids her bring it to the king. She took the apple, and did on
her the gear of a crow, and went flying till she came whereas the king sat on a mound, and there she let the apple fall into the lap of the king; but he
took the apple and deemed he knew whereto it would avail; so he goes home from the mound to his own folk, and came to the queen, and some deal of that apple
So, as the tale tells, the queen soon knew that she big with child, but a long time wore or ever she might give birth to the child: so it befell that the king
must needs go to the wars, after the custom of kings, that he may keep his own land in peace: and in this journey it came to pass that Rerir fell sick and got
his death, being minded to go home to Odin, a thing much desired of many folk in those days.
Now no otherwise it goes with the queen's sickness than heretofore, nor may she be the lighter of her child, and six winters wore away with the sickness still
heavy on her; so that at the last she feels that she may not live long; wherefore now she bade cut the child from out of her; and it was done even as she bade;
a man-child was it, and great of growth from his birth, as might well be; and they say that the youngling kissed his mother or ever she died; but to him is a
name given, and he is called Volsung; and he was king over Hunland in the room of his father. From his early years he was big and strong, and full of daring in
all manly deeds and trials, and he became the greatest of warriors, and of good hap in all the battles of his warfaring.
Now when he was fully come to man's estate, Hrimnir the giant sends to him Ljod his daughter; she of whom the tale told, that she brought the apple to Rerir,
Volsung's father. So Volsung weds her withal; and long they abode together with good hap and great love. They had ten sons and one daughter, and their eldest
son was hight Sigmund, and their daughter Signy; and these two were twins, and in all wise the foremost and the fairest of the children of Volsung the king,
and mighty, as all his seed was; even as has been long told from ancient days, and in tales of long ago, with the greatest fame of all men, how that the
Volsungs have been great men and high-minded and far above the most of men both in cunning and in prowess and all things high and mighty.
So says the story that king Volsung let build a noble hall in such a wise, that a big oak-tree stood therein, and that the limbs of the tree blossomed fair
out over the roof of the hall, while below stood the trunk within it, and the said trunk did men call Branstock.
[1. May (A.S. "maeg"), a maid.]
“And so it is said … her casket-bearing may”: The Old Norse passage, “Þat er nú sagt, at Frigg heyrir bæn þeira ok segir Óðni, hvers
þau biðja. Hann verðr eigi örþrifráða ok tekr óskmey sína” would be correctly rendered: “It is now said that Frigg heard their prayers
and told Óðinn what they were praying for. He was not without resources and took his wish-maid . . .” The translation here has made many changes.
Nú gerist Sigi gamall maðr at aldri. Hann átti sér marga öfundarmenn, svá at um síðir réðu þeir á hendr honum, er hann trúði bezt, en þat váru
bræðr konu hans. Þeir gera þá til hans, er hann varir sízt ok hann var fáliðr fyrir, ok bera hann ofrliði, ok á þeim fundi fell Sigi með hirð sinni allri. Sonr
hans, Rerir, var ekki í þeim háska, ok fær hann sér mikit lið af vinum sínum ok landshöfðingjum, svá at hann eignaðist bæði land ok konungdóm eptir Siga, föður
sinn. Ok nú er hann þykkist hafa fótum undir komizt í ríki sínu, þá minnist hann á þær sakir, er hann átti við móðurbræðr sína, er drepit höfðu föður hans, ok
safnar konungr sér nú liði miklu ok ferr nú á hendr frændum sínum með þenna her, ok þykkja þeir fyrr gert hafa sakir við sik, þó at hann mæti lítils frændsemi
þeira, ok svá gerir hann, fyrir því at eigi skilst hann fyrri við en hann hafði drepit alla föðurbana sína, þó at óskapliga væri fyrir alls sakir. Nú eignaðist
hann lönd ok ríki ok fé. Gerist hann nú meiri fyrir sér en faðir hans.
Rerir fekk sér nú herfang mikit ok konu þá, er honum þótti við sitt hæfi, ok eru þau mjök lengi ásamt, ok eigu þau engan erfingja ok ekki barn.
Þat hugnar þeim báðum illa, ok biðja þau goðin með miklum áhuga, at þau gæti sér barn. Þat er nú sagt, at Frigg heyrir bæn þeira ok segir Óðni, hvers þau biðja.
Hann verðr eigi örþrifráða ok tekr óskmey sína, dóttur Hrímnis jötuns, ok fær í hönd henni eitt epli ok biðr hana færa konungi. Hún tók við eplinu ok brá á sik
krákuham ok flýgr til þess, er hún kemr þar, sem konungrinn er ok sat á haugi. Hún lét falla eplit í kné konunginum. Hann tók þat epli ok þóttist vita, hverju
gegna mundi; gengr nú heim af hauginum ok til sinna manna ok kom á fund drottningar, ok etr þat epli sumt.
Nú ferr hann heim um kveldit ok segir, at Breði hafi riðit frá honum á skóginn, -- "ok var hann senn ór augliti mér, ok veit ek ekki til hans."
Þat er nú at segja, at drottning finnr þat brátt, at hún mundi vera með barni, ok ferr þessu fram langar stundir, at hún má eigi ala barnit. Þá
kemr at því, at Rerir skal fara í leiðangr, sem siðvenja er til konunga, at friða land sitt. Í þessi ferð var þat til tíðenda, at Rerir tók sótt ok því næst bana
ok ætlaði at sækja heim Óðin, ok þótti þat mörgum fýsiligt í þann tíma.
Nú ferr inu sama fram um vanheilsu drottningar, at hún fær eigi alit barnit, ok þessu ferr fram sex vetr, at hún hefir þessa sótt. Nú finnr hún þat, at hún mun
eigi lengi lifa, ok bað nú, at hana skyldi særa til barnsins, ok svá var gert sem hún bað. Þat var sveinbarn, ok sá sveinn var mikill vexti, þá er hann kom til,
sem ván var at. Svá er sagt, at sjá sveinn kyssti móður sína, áðr hún dæi. Þessum er nú nafn gefit ok er kallaðr Völsungr. Hann var konungr yfir Húnalandi eptir
föður sinn. Hann var snemma mikill ok sterkr ok áræðisfullr um þat, er mannraun þótti í ok karlmennska. Hann gerist inn mesti hermaðr ok sigrsæll í orrostum þeim,
sem hann átti í herförum.
Nú þá er hann var alroskinn at aldri, þá sendir Hrímnir honum Hljóð, dóttur sína, er fyrr er getit, þá er hún fór með eplit til Reris, föður Völsungs. Nú gengr
hann at eiga hana, ok eru þau lengi ásamt, ok eru góðar samfarar þeira. Þau áttu tíu sonu ok eina dóttur. Inn elzti sonr þeira hét Sigmundr, en Signý dóttir. Þau
váru tvíburar, ok váru þau fremst ok vænst um alla hluti barna Völsungs konungs, ok váru þó allir miklir fyrir sér, sem lengi hefir uppi verit haft ok at ágætum
gert verit, hversu Völsungar hafa verit ofrkappsmenn miklir ok hafa verit fyrir flestum mönnum, sem getit er í fornsögum, bæði um fróðleik ok íþróttir ok alls
Svá er sagt, at Völsungr konungr lét gera höll eina ágæta ok með þeim hætti, at ein eik mikil stóð í höllinni ok limar trésins með fögrum blómum stóðu út um ræfr
hallarinnar, en leggrinn stóð niðr í höllina, ok kölluðu þeir þat barnstokk.