Chapter 43 - The Latter End of all the Kin of the Giukings.
Now telleth the tale concerning the sons of Gudrun, that she had arrayed their war-raiment in such wise, that no steel would bite thereon; and she bade them
play not with stones or other heavy matters, for that it would be to their scathe if they did so.
And now, as they went on their way, they met Erp, their brother, and asked him in what wise he would help them.
He answered, "Even as hand helps hand, or foot helps foot."
But that they deemed naught at all, and slew him there and then. Then they went their ways, nor was it long or ever Hamdir stumbled, and thrust down his hand
to steady himself, and spake therewith--
"Naught but a true thing spake Erp, for now should I have fallen, had not hand been to steady me."
A little after Sorli stumbled, but turned about on his feet, and so stood, and spake--
"Yea now had I fallen, but that I steadied myself with both feet."
And they said they had done evilly with Erp their brother.
But on they fare till they come to the abode of King Jormunrek, and they went up to him and set on him forthwith, and Hamdir cut both hands from him and Sorli
both feet. Then spake Hamdir--
"Off were the head if Erp were alive; our brother whom we slew on the way, and found out our deed too late." Even as the Song says,--
"Off were the head
If Erp were alive yet,
Our brother the bold,
Whom we slew by the way,
The well-famed in warfare."
Now in this must they turn away from the words of their mother, whereas they had to deal with stones. For now men fell on them, and they defended themselves in
good and manly wise, and were the scathe of many a man, nor would iron bite on them.
But there came thereto a certain man, old of aspect and one-eyed,1 and he spake--
"No wise men are ye, whereas ye cannot bring these men to their end."
Then the king said, "Give us rede thereto, if thou canst."
He said, "Smite them to the death with stones."
In such wise was it done, for the stones flew thick and fast from every side, and that was the end of their life-days.
And now has come to an end the whole root and stem of the Giukings.2
NOW MAY ALL EARLS
BE BETTERED IN MIND,
MAY THE GRIEF OF ALL MAIDENS
EVER BE MINISHED,
FOR THIS TALE OF TROUBLE
SO TOLD TO ITS ENDING.
[1. Odin; he ends the tale as he began it.
2. "And now," etc., inserted by translators from the Prose Edda, the stanza at the end from the Whetting of Gudrun.
* The chapter numbering has been skewed by one, this is Chapter 42 in the Old Norse.]
Þat er nú at segja frá sonum Guðrúnar, at hún hafði svá búit þeira herklæði, at þá bitu eigi járn, ok hún bað þá eigi skeðja grjóti né öðrum stórum hlutum ok kvað
þeim þat at meini mundu verða, ef eigi gerði þeir svá.
Ok er þeir váru komnir á leið, finna þeir Erp, bróður sinn, ok spyrja, hvat hann mundi veita þeim.
Hann svarar: "Slíkt sem hönd hendi eða fótr fæti."
Þeim þótti þat ekki vera ok drápu hann. Síðan fóru þeir leiðar sinnar ok litla hríð, áðr Hamðir rataði ok stakk niðr hendi ok mælti:
"Erpr mun satt hafa sagt. Ek munda falla nú, ef eigi styddumst ek við höndina."
Litlu síðar ratar Sörli ok brást á fótinn ok fekk staðizt ok mælti:
"Falla munda ek nú, ef eigi stydda ek mik við báða fætr."
Kváðust þeir nú illa hafa gert við Erp, bróður sinn; fóru nú, unz þeir kómu til Jörmunreks konungs, ok gengu fyrir hann ok veittu honum þegar tilræði.
Hjó Hamðir af honum hendr báðar, en Sörli fætr báða. Þá mælti Hamðir:
"Af mundi nú höfuðit, ef Erpr lifði, bróðir okkarr, er vit vágum á leiðinni, ok sám vit þat of síð," sem kveðit er:
"Af væri nú höfuðit,
ef Erpr lifði
bróðir okkarr inn böðfrækni,
er vit á braut vágum."
Í því höfðu þeir af brugðit boði móður sinnar, er þeir höfðu grjóti skatt.
Nú sækja menn at þeim, en þeir vörðust vel ok drengiliga ok urðu mörgum manni at skaða.
Þá bitu eigi járn. Þá kom at einn maðr, hár ok eldiligr, með eitt auga ok mælti:
"Eigi eru þér vísir menn, er þér kunnið eigi þeim mönnum bana at veita."
Konungrinn svarar: "Gef oss ráð til, ef þú kannt."
Hann mælti: "Þér skuluð berja þá grjóti í hel."
Svá var ok gert, ok þá flugu ór öllum áttum steinar at þeim, ok varð þeim þat at aldrlagi.