Chapter 30 - Of the Slaying of Sigurd Fafnir's-bane.
Thereafter Brynhild went out, and sat under her bower-wall, and had many words of wailing to say, and still she cried that all things were loathsome to her,
both land and lordship alike, so she might not have Sigurd.
But therewith came Gunnar to her yet again, and Brynhild spake, "Thou shalt lose both realm and wealth, and thy life and me, for I shall fare home to my kin,
and abide there in sorrow, unless thou slayest Sigurd and his son; never nourish thou a wolfcub."
Gunnar grew sick at heart thereat, and might nowise see what fearful thing lay beneath it all; he was bound to Sigurd by oath, and this way and that way swung
the heart within him; but at the last he bethought him of the measureless shame if his wife went from him, and he said within himself, "Brynhild is better to
me than all things else, and the fairest woman of all women, and I will lay down my life rather than lose the love of her." And herewith he called to him his
brother and spake,--
"Trouble is heavy on me," and he tells him that he must needs slay Sigurd, for that he has failed him where in he trusted him;
"so let us be lords of the gold and the realm withal."
Hogni answers, "Ill it behoves us to break our oaths with wrack and wrong, and withal great aid we have in him; no kings shall be as great as we, if so be the
King of the Hun-folk may live; such another brother-in-law never may we get again; bethink thee how good it is to have such a brother-in-law, and such sons to
our sister! But well I see how things stand, for this has Brynhild stirred thee up to, and surely shall her counsel drag us into huge shame and scathe."
Gunnar says, "Yet shall it be brought about: and, lo, a rede thereto;--let us egg on our brother Guttorm to the deed; he is young, and of little knowledge, and
is clean out of all the oaths moreover."
"Ah, set about in ill wise," says Hogni, "and though indeed it may well be compassed, a due reward shall we gain for the bewrayal of such a man as is Sigurd."
Gunnar says, "Sigurd shall die, or I shall die."
And therewith he bids Brynhild arise and be glad at heart: so she arose, and still ever she said that Gunnar should come no more into her bed till the deed was
So the brothers fall to talk, and Gunnar says that it is a deed well worthy of death, that taking of Brynhild's maidenhead; "So come now, let us prick on
Guttorm to do the deed."
Therewith they call him to them, and offer him gold and great dominion, as they well have might to do. Yea, and they took a certain worm and somewhat of wolf's
flesh and let seethe them together, and gave him to eat of the same, even as the singer sings--
"Fish of the wild-wood,
Worm smooth crawling,
With wolf-meat mingled,
They minced for Guttorm;
Then in the beaker,
In the wine his mouth knew,
They set it, still doing
More deeds of wizards.
Wherefore with the eating of this meat he grew so wild and eager, and with all things about him, and with the heavy words of Grimhild, that he gave his word to
do the deed; and mighty honour they promised him in reward thereof.
But of these evil wiles naught at all knew Sigurd, for he might not deal with his shapen fate, nor the measure of his life-days, neither deemed he that he was
worthy such things at their hands.
So Guttorm went in to Sigurd the next morning as he lay upon his bed, yet durst he not do aught against him, but shrank back out again; yea, and even so he
fared a second time, for so bright and eager were the eyes of Sigurd that few durst look upon him. But the third time he went in, and there lay Sigurd asleep;
then Guttorm drew his sword and thrust Sigurd through in such wise that the sword point smote into the bed beneath him; then Sigurd awoke with that wound, and
Guttorm gat him unto the door; but therewith Sigurd caught up the sword Gram, and cast it after him, and it smote him on the back, and struck him asunder in the
midst, so that the feet of him fell one way, and the head and hands back into the chamber.
Now Gudrun lay asleep on Sigurd's bosom, but she woke up unto woe that may not be told of, all swimming in the blood of him, and in such wise did she bewail
her with weeping and words of sorrow, that Sigurd rose up on the bolster, and spake.
"Weep not," said he, "for thy brothers live for thy delight; but a young son have I, too young to be ware of his foes; and an ill turn have these played against
their own fortune; for never will they get a mightier brother-in-law to ride abroad with them; nay, nor a better son to their sister, than this one, if he may
grow to man's estate. Lo, now is that come to pass which was foretold me long ago, but from mine eyes has it been hidden, for none may fight against his fate
and prevail. Behold this has Brynhild brought to pass, even she who loves me before all men; but this may I swear, that never have I wrought ill to Gunnar, but
rather have ever held fast to my oath with him, nor was I ever too much a friend to his wife. And now if I had been forewarned, and had been afoot with my
weapons, then should many a man have lost his life or ever I had fallen, and all those brethren should have been slain, and a harder work would the slaying of
me have been than the slaying of the mightiest bull or the mightiest boar of the wild-wood."
And even therewithal life left the King; but Gudrun moaned and drew a weary breath, and Brynhild heard it and laughed when she heard her moaning.
Then said Gunnar, "Thou laughest not because thy heart-roots are gladdened, or else why doth thy visage wax so wan? Sure an evil creature thou art; most like
thou art nigh to thy death! Lo now, how meet would it be for thee to behold thy brother Atli slain before thine eyes, and that thou shouldst stand over him
dead; whereas we must needs now stand over our brother-in-law in such a case our brother-in-law and our brother's bane."
She answered, "None need mock at the measure of slaughter being unfulfilled; yet heedeth not Atli your wrath or your threats; yea, he shall live longer than
ye, and be a mightier man."
Hogni spake and said, "Now hath come to pass the soothsaying of Brynhild; an ill work not to be atoned for."
And Gudrun said, "My kinsmen have slain my husband; but ye, when ye next ride to the war and are come into the battle, then shall ye look about and see that
Sigurd is neither on the fight hand nor the left, and ye shall know that he was your good-hap and your strength; and if he had lived and had sons, then should
ye have been strengthened by his offspring and his kin."
Eptir þetta gekk Brynhildr út ok settist undir skemmuvegg sinn ok hafði margar harmtölur, kvað sér allt leitt, bæði land ok ríki, er hún átti eigi Sigurð.
Ok enn kom Gunnarr til hennar. Þá mælti Brynhildr: "Þú skalt láta bæði ríkit ok féit, lífit ok mik, ok skal ek fara heim til frænda minna ok sitja þar hrygg,
nema þú drepir Sigurð ok son hans. Al eigi upp úlfhvelpinn."
Gunnarr varð nú mjök hugsjúkr ok þóttist eigi vita, hvat helzt lá til, alls hann var í eiðum við Sigurð, ok lék ýmist í hug, þótti þat þó mest svívirðing, ef
konan gengi frá honum. Gunnarr mælti: "Brynhildr er mér öllu betri, ok frægst er hún allra kvenna, ok fyrr skal ek líf láta en týna hennar ást," ok kallar til sín
Högna, bróður sinn, ok mælti:
"Fyrir mik er komit vandmæli mikit," segir, at hann vill drepa Sigurð, kvað hann hafa vélt sik í tryggð, --
"ráðum vit þá gullinu ok öllu ríkinu."
Högni segir: "Ekki samir okkr særin at rjúfa með ófriði. Er oss ok mikit traust at honum. Eru engir konungar oss jafnir, ef sjá inn hýnski konungr lifir, ok slíkan
mág fám vér aldri, ok hygg at, hversu gott væri, ef vér ættim slíkan mág ok systursonu, ok sé ek, hversu þetta stenzt af. Þat hefir Brynhildr vakit, ok hennar ráð
koma oss í mikla svívirðing ok skaða."
Gunnarr svarar: "Þetta skal fram fara, ok sé ek ráðit: Eggjum til Guttorm, bróður okkarn. Hann er ungr ok fás vitandi ok fyrir utan alla eiða."
Högni segir: "Þat ráð lízt mér illa sett, ok þótt fram komi, þá munu vér gjöld fyrir taka at svíkja slíkan mann."
Gunnarr segir Sigurð deyja skulu, -- "eða mun ek deyja ella."
Hann biðr Brynhildi upp standa ok vera káta. Hún stóð upp ok segir þó, at Gunnarr mun eigi koma fyrr í sama rekkju henni en þetta er fram komit.
Nú ræðast þeir við bræðr. Gunnarr segir, at þetta er gild banasök, at hafa tekit meydóm Brynhildar, -- "ok eggjum Guttorm at gera þetta verk", ok kalla hann til sín
ok bjóða honum gull ok mikit ríki ok vinna þetta til.
Þeir tóku orm einn ok af vargsholdi ok létu sjóða ok gáfu honum at eta sem skáldit kvað:
"Sumir viðfiska tóku,
sumir vitnishræ skífðu,
sumir Guttormi gáfu
ok marga hluti
aðra í tyfrum."
Ok við þessa fæðslu varð hann svá æfr ok ágjarn ok allt saman ok fortölur Grímhildar, at hann hét at gera þetta verk. Þeir hétu honum ok mikilli sæmd í móti.
Sigurðr vissi eigi ván þessa vélræða. Mátti hann ok eigi við sköpum vinna né sínu aldrlagi. Sigurðr vissi sik ok eigi véla verðan frá þeim.
Guttormr gekk inn at Sigurði eptir um morgininn, er hann hvíldi í rekkju sinni. Ok er hann leit við honum, þorði Guttormr eigi at veita honum tilræði ok hvarf út
aptr, ok svá ferr í annat sinn. Augu Sigurðar váru svá snör, at fár einn þorði gegn at sjá. Ok it þriðja sinn gekk hann inn, ok var Sigurðr þá sofnaðr. Guttormr
brá sverði ok leggr á Sigurði, svá at blóðrefillinn stóð í dýnum undir honum. Sigurðr vaknar við sárit, en Guttormr gekk út til dyranna. Þá tók Sigurðr sverðit
Gram ok kastar eptir honum, ok kom á bakit ok tók í sundr í miðju. Fell annan veg fótahlutr, en annan höfuðit ok hendrnar aptr í skemmuna.
Guðrún var sofnuð í faðmi Sigurðar, en vaknaði við óumræðiligan harm, er hún flaut í hans blóði, ok svá kveinaði hún með grát ok harmtölur, at Sigurðr reis upp við
hægendit ok mælti:
"Grát eigi," sagði hann. "Þínir bræðr lifa þér til gamans, en þess til ungan son á ek, er kann eigi at varast fjándr sína, ok illa hafa þeir fyrir sínum hlut sét.
Ekki fá þeir slíkan mág at ríða í her með sér né systurson, ef sjá næði at vaxa. Ok nú er þat fram komit, er fyrir löngu var spát ok vér höfum dulizt við, en engi
má við sköpum vinna. En þessu veldr Brynhildr, er mér ann um hvern mann fram, ok þess má ek sverja, at Gunnari gerða ek aldri mein, ok þyrmda ek okkrum eiðum, ok
eigi var ek of mikill vinr hans konu. Ok ef ek hefða vitat þetta fyrir ok stiga ek á mína fætr með mín vápn, þá skyldu margir týna sínu lífi, áðr en ek fella, ok
allir þeir bræðr drepnir, ok torveldra mundi þeim at drepa mik en inn mesta vísund eða villigölt."
Konungr lét nú líf sitt. En Guðrún blæs mæðiliga öndunni. Þat heyrir Brynhildr ok hló, er hún heyrði hennar andvarp.
Þá mælti Gunnarr: "Eigi hlær þú af því, at þér sé glatt um hjartarætr, eða hví hafnar þú þínum lit? Ok mikit forað ertu, ok meiri ván, at þú sér feig, ok engi
væri makligri til at sjá Atla konung drepinn fyrir augum þér, ok ættir þú þar yfir at standa. Nú verðum vér at sitja yfir mági várum ok bróðurbana."
Hún svarar: "Engi frýr, at eigi sé fullvegit, en Atli konungr hirðir ekki um hót yður eða reiði, ok hann mun yðr lengr lifa ok hafa meira vald."
Högni mælti: "Nú er fram komit þat, er Brynhildr spáði, ok þetta it illa verk, er vér fám aldri bót."
Guðrún mælti: "Frændr mínir hafa drepit minn mann. Nú munu þér ríða í her fyrst, ok er þér komið til bardaga, þá munu þér finna, at Sigurðr er eigi á aðra hönd
yðr, ok munu þér þá sjá, at Sigurðr var yður gæfa ok styrkr, ok ef hann ætti sér slíka sonu, þá mætti þér styrkjast við hans afkvæmi ok sína frændr."