Chapter 7 - Of the Birth of Sinfjotli the Son of Sigmund.
So on a tide it befell as Signy sat in her bower, that there came to her a witch-wife exceeding cunning, and Signy talked with her in such wise, "Fain am I,"
says she, "that we should change semblances together."
She says, "Even as thou wilt then."
And so by her wiles she brought it about that they changed semblances, and now the witch-wife sits in Signy's place according to her rede, and goes to bed by
the king that night, and he knows not that he has other than Signy beside him.
But the tale tells of Signy, that she fared to the earthhouse of her brother, and prayed him give her harbouring for the night;
"For I have gone astray abroad in the woods, and know not whither I am going."
So he said she might abide, and that he would not refuse harbour to one lone woman, deeming that she would scarce pay back his good cheer by tale-bearing: so
she came into the house, and they sat down to meat, and his eyes were often on her, and a goodly and fair woman she seemed to him; but when they are full, then
he says to her, that he is right fain that they should have but one bed that night; she nowise turned away therefrom, and so for three nights together he laid
her in bed by him.
Thereafter she fared home, and found the witch-wife and bade her change semblances again, and she did so.
Now as time wears, Signy brings forth a man-child, who was named Sinfjotli, and when he grew up he was both big and strong, and fair of face, and much like unto
the kin of the Volsungs, and he was hardly yet ten winters old when she sent him to Sigmund's earth-house; but this trial she had made of her other sons or ever
she had sent them to Sigmund, that she had sewed gloves on to their hands through flesh and skin, and they had borne it ill and cried out thereat; and this she
now did to Sinfjotli, and he changed countenance in nowise thereat. Then she flayed off the kirtle so that the skin came off with the sleeves, and said that this
would be torment enough for him; but he said--
"Full little would Volsung have felt such a smart this."
So the lad came to Sigmund, and Sigmund bade him knead their meal up, while he goes to fetch firing; so he gave him the meal-sack, and then went after the wood,
and by then he came back had Sinfjotli made an end of his baking. Then asked Sigmund if he had found nothing in the meal.
"I misdoubted me that there was something quick in the meal when I first fell to kneading of it, but I have kneaded it all up together, both the meal and that
which was therein, whatsoever it was."
Then Sigmund laughed out, he said--
"Naught wilt thou eat of this bread to-night, for the most deadly of worms1 hast thou kneaded up therewith."
Now Sigmund was so mighty a man that he might eat venom and have no hurt therefrom; but Sinfjotli might abide whatso venom came on the outside of him, but might
neither eat nor drink thereof.
Þess er nú við getit eitthvert sinn, þá er Signý sat í skemmu sinni, at þar kom til hennar ein seiðkona fjölkunnig harla mjök. Þá talar Signý við
hana: "Þat vilda ek," segir hún, "at vit skiptum hömum."
Hún segir seiðkonan: "Þú skalt fyrir ráða."
Ok nú gerir hún svá af sínum brögðum, at þær skipta litum, ok sezt seiðkonan nú í rúm Signýjar at ráði hennar ok ferr í rekkju hjá konungi um kveldit, ok ekki
finnr hann, at eigi sé Signý hjá honum.
Nú er þat frá Signýju at segja, at hún ferr til jarðhúss bróður síns ok biðr hann veita sér herbergi um nóttina,
"því at ek hefi villzt á skóginum úti, ok veit ek eigi, hvar ek fer."
Hann mælti, at hún skyldi þar vera, ok vildi eigi synja henni vistar, einni konu, ok þóttist vita, at eigi mundi hún svá launa honum góðan beina at segja til hans.
Nú ferr hún í herbergi til hans, ok setjast til matar. Honum varð opt litit til hennar ok lízt konan væn ok fríð. En er þau eru mett, þá segir hann henni, at hann
vill, at þau hafi eina rekkju um nóttina, en hún brýzt ekki við því, ok leggr hann hana hjá sér þrjár nætr samt.
Eptir þat ferr hún heim ok hittir seiðkonuna ok bað, at þær skipti aptr litum, ok svá gerir hún.
Ok er fram liðu stundir, fæðir Signý sveinbarn. Sjá sveinn var Sinfjötli kallaðr. Ok er hann vex upp, er hann bæði mikill ok sterkr ok vænn at
áliti ok mjök í ætt Völsunga ok er eigi allra tíu vetra, er hún sendir hann í jarðhúsit til Sigmundar. Hún hafði þá raun gert við ina fyrri sonu sína, áðr hún
sendi þá til Sigmundar, at hún saumaði at höndum þeim með holdi ok skinni. Þeir þoldu illa ok kriktu um. Ok svá gerði hún Sinfjötla. Hann brást ekki við. Hún fló
hann þá af kyrtlinum, svá at skinnit fylgdi ermunum. Hún kvað honum mundu sárt við verða. Hann segir:
"Lítit mundi slíkt sárt þykkja Völsungi."
Ok nú kemr sveinninn til Sigmundar. Þá bað Sigmundr hann knoða ór mjöli þeira, en hann vill sækja þeim eldivið, fær í hönd honum einn belg. Síðan ferr hann at viðinum. Ok
er hann kom aptr, þá hafði Sinfjötli lokit at baka. Þá spurði Sigmundr, ef hann hafi nokkut fundit í mjölinu.
"Eigi er mér grunlaust," sagði hann, "at eigi hafi í verit nokkut kykt í mjölinu, fyrst er ek tók at knoða, ok hér hefi ek með knoðat þat, er í
Þá mælti Sigmundr ok hló við:
"Eigi get ek þik hafa mat af þessu brauði í kveld, því at þar hefir þú knoðat með inn mesta eitrorm."
Sigmundr var svá mikill fyrir sér, at hann mátti eta eitr, svá at hann skaðaði ekki, en Sinfjötla hlýddi þat, at eitr kæmi utan á hann, en
eigi hlýddi honum at eta þat né drekka.