Chapter 34 - Atli bids the Giukings to him.
Now tells the tale that on a night King Atli woke from sleep and spake to Gudrun--
"Medreamed," said he, "that thou didst thrust me through with a sword."
Then Gudrun areded the dream, and said that it betokened fire, whenas folk dreamed of iron. "It befalls of thy pride belike, in that thou deemest thyself the
first of men,"
Atli said, "Moreover I dreamed that here waxed two sorb-tree1 saplings, and fain I was that they should have no scathe of me; then these were riven up by the
roots and reddened with blood, and borne to the bench, and I was bidden eat thereof.
"Yea, yet again I dreamed that two hawks flew from my hand hungry and unfed, and fared to hell, and meseemed their hearts were mingled with honey, and that I
"And then again I dreamed that two fair whelps lay before me yelling aloud, and that the flesh of them I ate, though my will went not with the eating."
Gudrun says, "Nowise good are these dreams, yet shall they come to pass; surely thy sons are nigh to death, and many heavy things shall fall upon us."
"Yet again I dreamed," said he, "and methought I lay in a bath, and folk took counsel to slay me."
Now these things wear away with time, but in nowise was their life together fond.
Now falls Atli to thinking of where may be gotten that plenteous gold which Sigurd had owned, but King Gunnar and his brethren were lords thereof now.
Atli was a great king and mighty, wise, and a lord of many men; and now he falls to counsel with his folk as to the ways of them. He wotted well that Gunnar
and his brethren had more wealth than any others might have, and so he falls to the rede of sending men to them, and bidding them to a great feast, and
honouring them in diverse wise, and the chief of those messengers was hight Vingi.
Now the queen wots of their conspiring, and misdoubts her that this would mean some beguiling of her brethren: so she cut runes, and took a gold ring, and knit
therein a wolf's hair, and gave it into the hands of the king's messengers.
Thereafter they go their ways according to the king's bidding: and or ever they came aland Vingi beheld the runes, and turned them about in such wise as if
Gudrun prayed her brethren in her runes to go meet King Atli.
Thereafter they came to the hall of King Gunnar, and had good welcome at his hands, and great fires were made for them, and in great joyance they drank of the
best of drink.
Then spake Vingi, "King Atli sends me hither, and is fain that ye go to his house and home in all glory, and take of him exceeding honours, helms and shields,
swords and byrnies, gold and goodly raiment, horses, hosts of war, and great and wide lands, for, saith he, he is fainest of all things to bestow his realm and
lordship upon you."
Then Gunnar turned his head aside, and spoke to Hogni--
"In what wise shall we take this bidding? Might and wealth he bids us take; but no kings know I who have so much gold as we have, whereas we have all the hoard
which lay once on Gnitaheath; and great are our chambers, and full of gold, and weapons for smiting, and all kinds of raiment of war, and well I wot that amidst
all men my horse is the best, and my sword the sharpest and my gold the most glorious."
Hogni answers, "A marvel is it to me of his bidding, for seldom hath he done in such a wise, and ill counselled will it be to wend to him; lo now, when I saw
those dear-bought things the king sends us I wondered to behold a wolfs hair knit to a certain gold ring; belike Gudrun deems him to be minded as a wolf
towards us, and will have naught of our faring."
But withal Vingi shows him the runes which he said Gudrun had sent.
Now the most of folk go to bed, but these drank on still with certain others; and Kostbera, the wife of Hogni, the fairest of women, came to them, and looked
on the runes.
But the wife of Gunnar was Glaumvor, a great hearted wife.
So these twain poured out, and the kings drank and were exceeding drunken, and Vingi notes it, and says--
"Naught may I hide that King Atli is heavy of foot and over-old for the warding of his realm; but his sons are young and of no account: now will he give you
rule over his realms while they are yet thus young, and most fain will he be that ye have the joy thereof before all others."
Now so it befell both that Gunnar was drunk, and that dominion was held out to him, nor might he work against the fate shapen for him; so he gave his word to
go, and tells Hogni his brother thereof.
But he answered, "Thy word given must even stand now, nor will I fail to follow thee, but most loth am I to journey."
[1. Service-tree; "pyrus sorbus domestica", or "p. s. tormentalis."
* The chapter numbering has been skewed by one, this is Chapter 33 in the Old Norse.]
Nú er þat sagt einhverja nótt, at Atli konungr vaknar ór svefni. Mælti hann við Guðrúnu:
"Þat dreymdi mik," segir hann, "at þú legðir á mér sverði."
Guðrún réð drauminn ok kvað þat fyrir eldi, er járn dreymdi, -- "ok dul þeiri, er þú ætlar þik öllum fremra."
Atli mælti: "Enn dreymdi mik sem hér væri vaxnir tveir reyrteinar, ok vilda ek aldri skeðja. Síðan váru þeir rifnir upp með rótum ok roðnir í blóði ok bornir á
bekki ok boðnir mér at eta.
Enn dreymdi mik, at haukar tveir flygi mér af hendi ok væri bráðalausir ok fóru til heljar.
Þótti mér þeira hjörtum við hunang blandit, ok þóttumst ek eta. Síðan þótti mér sem hvelpar fagrir lægi fyrir mér ok gullu við hátt, ok át ek hræ þeira at
Guðrún segir: "Eigi eru draumar góðir, en eptir munu ganga. Synir þínir munu vera feigir, ok margir hlutir þungir munu oss at hendi koma."
"Þat dreymdi mig enn," segir hann, "at ek lægja í kör ok væri ráðinn bani minn."
Nú líðr þetta, ok er þeira samvista fálig. Nú íhugar Atli konungr, hvar niðr mun komit þat mikla gull, er átt hafði Sigurðr, en þat veit nú Gunnarr konungr ok þeir
Atli var mikill konungr ok ríkr, vitr ok fjölmennr; gerir nú ráð við sína menn, hversu með skal fara. Hann veit, at þeir Gunnarr eigu miklu meira fé en né einir
menn megi við þá jafnast; tekr nú þat ráð at senda menn á fund þeira bræðra ok bjóða þeim til veizlu ok at sæma þá mörgum hlutum. Sá maðr var fyrir þeim, er Vingi
Drottningin veit nú þeira einmæli ok grunar, at vera muni vélar við bræðr hennar. Guðrún rístr rúnar, ok hún tekr einn gullhring ok knýtti í vargshár ok fær þetta
í hendr sendimönnum konungs.
Síðan fóru þeir eptir konungs boði. Ok áðr þeir stigi á land, sá Vingi rúnarnar ok sneri á aðra leið ok at Guðrún fýsti í rúnum, at þeir kæmi á hans fund.
Síðan kómu þeir til hallar Gunnars konungs, ok var tekit við þeim vel ok gervir fyrir þeim eldar stórir. Ok síðan drukku þeir með gleði inn bezta drykk.
Þá mælti Vingi: "Atli konungr sendir mik hingat ok vildi, at þit sættið hann heim með miklum sóma ok þægið af honum mikinn sóma, hjálma ok skjöldu, sverð ok
brynjur, gull ok góð klæði, herlið ok hesta ok mikit lén, ok ykkr lézt hann bezt unna síns ríkis."
Þá brá Gunnarr höfði ok mælti til Högna:
"Hvat skulum vit af þessu boði þiggja? Hann býðr okkr at þiggja mikit ríki, en enga konunga veit ek jafnmikit gull eiga sem okkr, því at vit höfum þat gull allt,
er á Gnitaheiði lá, ok eigum við stórar skemmur fullar af gulli ok inum beztum höggvopnum ok alls konar herklæðum. Veit ek minn hestinn beztan ok sverðit
hvassast, gullit ágætast."
Högni svarar: "Undrumst ek boð hans, því at þat hefir hann sjaldan gert, ok óráðligt mun vera at fara á hans fund, ok þat undrumst ek, er ek sá gersimar þær, er
Atli konungr sendi okkr, at ek sá vargshári knýtt í einn gullhring, ok má vera, at Guðrúnu þykki hann úlfshug við okkr hafa ok vili hún eigi, at vit farim."
Vingi sýnir honum nú rúnarnar þær, er hann kvað Guðrúnu sent hafa.
Nú gengr alþýða at sofa, en þeir drukku við nokkura menn. Þá gekk at kona Högna, er hét Kostbera, kvenna fríðust, ok leit á rúnarnar.
Kona Gunnars hét Glaumvör, skörungr mikill.
Þær skenktu. Konungar gerðust allmjök drukknir. Þat finnr Vingi ok mælti
"Ekki er því at leyna, at Atli konungr er þungfærr mjök ok gamlaðr mjök at verja sitt ríki, en synir hans ungir ok til eingis færir. Nú vill hann gefa yðr vald
yfir ríkinu, meðan þeir eru svá ungir, ok ann yðr bezt at njóta."
Nú var bæði, at Gunnarr var mjök drukkinn, en boðit mikit ríki, mátti ok eigi við sköpum vinna, heitr nú ferðinni ok segir Högna, bróður sínum.
Hann svarar: "Yðart atkvæði mun standa hljóta, ok fylgja mun ek þér, en ófúss em ek þessarar ferðar."