Chapter 9 - How Helgi, the son of Sigmund, won King Hodbrod and his Realm, and wedded Sigurn.
Now the tale tells that Helgi in his warring met a king hight Hunding, a mighty king, and lord of many men and many lands; they fell to battle together,
and Helgi went forth mightily, and such was the end of that fight that Helgi had the victory, but King Hunding fell and many of his men with him; but Helgi
is deemed to have grown greatly in fame because he had slain so mighty a king.
Then the sons of Hunding draw together a great army to avenge their father. Hard was the fight betwixt them; but Helgi goes through the folk of those brothers
unto their banner, and there slays these sons of Hunding, Alf and Eyolf, Herward and Hagbard, and wins there a great victory.
Now as Helgi fared from the fight he met a many women right fair and worthy to look on, who rode in exceeding noble array; but one far excelled them all; then
Helgi asked them the name of that their lady and queen, and she named herself Sigrun, and said she was daughter of King Hogni.
Then said Helgi, "Fare home with us: good welcome shall ye have!"
Then said the king's daughter, "Other work lies before us than to drink with thee."
"Yea, and what work, king's daughter?" said Helgi.
She answers, "King Hogni has promised me to Hodbrod, the son of King Granmar, but I have vowed a vow that I will have him to my husband no more than if he
were a crow's son and not a king's; and yet will the thing come to pass, but and if thou standest in the way thereof and goest against him with an army, and
takest me away withal; for verily with no king would I rather bide on bolster than with thee."
"Be of good cheer, king's daughter," says he, "for certes he and I shall try the matter, or ever thou be given to him; yea, we shall behold which may prevail
against the other; and hereto I pledge my life."
Thereafter, Helgi sent men with money in their hand to summon his folk to him, and all his power is called together to Red-Berg: and there Helgi abode till
such time as a great company came to him from Hedinsey; and therewithal came mighty power from Norvi Sound aboard great and fair ships. Then King Helgi
called to him the captain of his ships, who was hight Leif, and asked him if he had told over the tale of his army.
"A thing not easy to tell, lord," says he, "on the ships that came out of Norvi Sound are twelve thousand men, and otherwhere are half as many again."
Then bade King Helgi turn into the firth, called Varin's firth, and they did so: but now there fell on them so fierce a storm and so huge a sea, that the beat
of the waves on board and bow was to hearken to like as the clashing together of high hills broken.
But Helgi bade men fear naught, nor take in any sail, but rather hoist every rag higher than heretofore; but little did they miss of foundering or ever they
made land; then came Sigrun, daughter of King Hogni, down on to the beach with a great army, and turned them away thence to a good haven called Gnipalund; but
the landsmen see what has befallen and come down to the sea-shore. The brother of King Hodbrod, lord of a land called Swarin's Cairn, cried out to them, and
asked them who was captain over that mighty army. Then up stands Sinfjotli, with a helm on his head, bright shining as glass, and a byrny as white as snow; a
spear in his hand, and thereon a banner of renown, and a gold-rimmed shield hanging before him; and well he knew with what words to speak to kings--
"Go thou and say, when thou hast made an end of feeding thy swine and thy dogs, and when thou beholdest thy wife again, that here are come the Volsungs, and in
this company may King Helgi be found, if Hodbrod be fain of finding him, for his game and his joy it is to fight and win fame, while thou art kissing the
handmaids by the fire-side."
Then answered Granmar, "In nowise knowest thou how to speak seemly things, and to tell of matters remembered from of old, whereas thou layest lies on chiefs and
lords; most like it is that thou must have long been nourished with wolf-meat abroad in the wild-woods, and has slain thy brethren; and a marvel it is to behold
that thou darest to join thyself to the company of good men and true, thou, who hast sucked the blood of many a cold corpse."
Sinfjotli answered, "Dim belike is grown thy memory now, of how thou wert a witch-wife on Varinsey, and wouldst fain have a man to thee, and chose me to that
same office of all the world; and how thereafter thou wert a Valkyria1 in Asgarth, and it well-nigh came to this, that for thy sweet sake should all men
fight; and nine wolf whelps I begat on thy body in Lowness, and was the father to them all."
Granmar answers, "Great skill of lying hast thou; yet belike the father of naught at all mayst thou be, since thou wert gelded by the giant's daughters of
Thrasness; and lo thou art the stepson of King Siggeir, and were wont to lie abroad in wilds and woods with the kin of wolves; and unlucky was the hand
wherewith thou slewest thy brethren making for thyself an exceeding evil name."
Said Sinfjotli, "Mindest thou not then, when thou were stallion Grani's mare, and how I rode thee an amble on Bravoli, and that afterwards thou wert giant
Golnir's goat herd?"
Granmar says, "Rather would I feed fowls with the flesh of thee than wrangle any longer with thee."
Then spake King Helgi, "Better were it for ye, and a more manly deed, to fight, rather than to speak such things as it is a shame even to hearken to; Granmar's
sons are no friends of me and of mine, yet are they hardy men none the less."
So Granmar rode away to meet King Hodbrod, at a stead called Sunfells, and the horses of the twain were named Sveipud and Sveggjud. The brothers met in the
castle-porch, and Granmar told Hodbrod of the war-news. King Hodbrod was clad in a byrny, and had his helm on his head; he asked--
"What men are anigh, why look ye so wrathful?"
Granmar says, "Here are come the Volsungs, and twelve thousand men of them are afloat off the coast, and seven thousand are at the island called Sok, but at
the stead called Grindur is the greatest company of all, and now I deem withal that Helgi and his fellowship have good will to give battle."
Then said the king, "Let us send a message through all our realm, and go against them, neither let any who is fain of fight sit idle at home; let us send word
to the sons of Ring, and to King Hogni, and to Alf the Old, for they are mighty warriors."
So the hosts met at Wolfstone, and fierce fight befell there;
Helgi rushed forth through the host of his foes, and many a man fell there; at last folk saw a great company of shield-maidens, like burning flames to look on,
and there was come Sigrun, the king's daughter. Then King Helgi fell on King Hodbrod, and smote him, and slew him even under his very banner; and Sigrun cried
"Have thou thanks for thy so manly deed! Now shall we share the land between us, and a day of great good hap this is to me, and for this deed shalt thou get
honour and renown, in that thou hast felled to earth so mighty a king."
So Helgi took to him that realm and dwelt there long, when he had wedded Sigrun, and became a king of great honour and renown, though he has naught more to do
with this story.
[1.Valkyrja, "Chooser of the elected." The women were so called whom Odin sent to choose those for death in battle who were to join the "Einherjar" in the hall
of the elected, "Val-holl."]
Þat er sagt, at Helgi finnr þann konung í hernaði, er Hundingr hét. Hann var ríkr konungr ok fjölmennr ok réð fyrir löndum. Þar tekst orrosta með
þeim, ok gengr Helgi fast fram, ok lýkst með því sjá bardagi, at Helgi fær sigr, en Hundingr konungr fellr ok mikill hluti liðs hans. Nú þykkir Helgi hafa vaxit
mikit, er hann hefir fellt svá ríkan konung. Synir Hundings bjóða nú út her í mót Helga ok vilja hefna föður síns.
Þeir eiga harða orrostu, ok gengr Helgi í gegnum fylkingar þeira bræðra ok sækir at merkjum sona Hundings konungs ok felldi þessa Hundings sonu:
Álf ok Eyjólf, Hervarð ok Hagbarð, ok fekk hér ágætan sigr.
Ok er Helgi ferr frá orrostu, þá fann hann við skóg einn konur margar ok virðuligar sýnum, ok bar þó ein af öllum. Þær riðu með ágætligum búningi.
Helgi spyrr þá at nafni, er fyrir þeim var. En hún nefnist Sigrún ok kveðst vera dóttir Högna konungs.
Helgi mælti: "Farið heim með oss, ok verið velkomnar."
Þá segir konungsdóttir: "Annat starf liggr fyrir oss en drekka með þér."
Helgi svarar: "Hvat er þat, konungsdóttir?"
Hún svarar: "Högni konungr hefir heitit mik Höðbroddi, syni Granmars konungs, en ek hefi því heitit, at ek vil eigi eiga hann heldr en einn krákuunga. En þó mun
þetta fram fara, nema þú bannir honum ok komir í mót honum með her ok nemir mik á brott, því at með engum konungi vilda ek heldr sætr búa en með þér."
"Ver kát, konungsdóttir," sagði hann.
"Fyrri skulum vit reyna hreysti okkar en þú sér honum gift, ok reyna skulum vit áðr, hvárr af öðrum berr, ok hér skal lífit á leggja."
Eptir þetta sendir Helgi menn með fégjöfum at stefna at sér mönnum ok stefnir öllu liðinu til Rauðabjarga. Beið Helgi þar til þess, er mikill flokkr kom til hans ór
Heðinsey, ok þá kom til hans mikit lið ór Nörvasundum með fögrum skipum ok stórum. Helgi konungr kallar til sín skipstjórnarmann sinn, er Leifr hét, ok spurði, ef
hann hefði talit lið þeira.
En hann svarar:
"Eigi er hægt at telja, herra, skip þau, er komin eru ór Nörvasundum. Eru á tólf þúsundir manna, ok er þó hálfu fleira annat."
Þá mælti Helgi konungr, at þeir skyldu snúa á þann fjörð, er heitir Varinsfjörðr, ok svá gerðu þeir. Nú gerði at þeim storm mikinn ok svá stóran sjó, at því
var líkast at heyra, er bylgjur gnúðu á borðunum, sem þá er björgum lysti saman.
Helgi bað þá ekki óttast ok eigi svipta seglunum, heldr setja hvert hæra en áðr. Þá var við sjálft, at yfir mundi ganga, áðr þeir kæmi at landi. Þá kom þar
Sigrún, dóttir Högna konungs, af landi ofan með miklu liði ok snýr þeim í góða höfn, er heitir at Gnípalundi. Þessi tíðendi sá landsmenn, ok kom af landi ofan
bróðir Höðbrodds konungs, er þar réð fyrir, er heitir at Svarinshaugi. Hann kallar á þá ok spyrr, hverr stýrði inu mikla liði. Sinfjötli stendr upp ok hefir
hjálm á höfði skyggðan sem gler ok brynju hvíta sem snjó, spjót í hendi með ágætligu merki ok gullrenndan skjöld fyrir sér. Sá kunni at mæla við konunga:
"Seg svá, at þú hefir gefit svínum ok hundum ok þú finnr konu þína, at hér eru komnir Völsungar, ok mun hér hittast í liðinu Helgi konungr, ef Höðbroddr vill
finna hann, ok er þat hans gaman at berjast með frama, meðan þú kyssir ambáttir við eld."
Granmarr svarar: "Eigi muntu kunna margt virðuligt mæla ok forn minni at segja, er þú lýgr á höfðingja. Mun hitt sannara, at þú munt lengi hafa fæðzt á mörkum
úti við vargamat ok drepit bræðr þína, ok er kynligt, er þú þorir at koma í her með góðum mönnum, er margt kalt hræ hefir sogit til blóðs."
Sinfjötli svarar: "Eigi muntu glöggt muna nú, er þú vart völvan í Varinsey ok kvaðst vilja mann eiga ok kaust mik til þess embættis at vera þinn maðr. En síðan
vartu valkyrja í Ásgarði, ok var við sjálft, at allir mundu berjast fyrir þínar sakar, ok ek gat við þér níu varga á Láganesi, ok var ek faðir allra."
Granmarr svarar: "Margt kanntu ljúga. Ek hygg, at engis faðir mættir þú vera, síðan þú vart geldr af dætrum jötunsins á Þrasnesi, ok ertu stjúpsonr Siggeirs
konungs ok látt á mörkum úti með vörgum, ok kómu þér öll óhöpp senn at hendi. Þú drapt bræðr þína ok gerðir þik at illu kunnan."
Sinfjötli svarar: "Hvárt mantu þat, er þú vart merrin með hestinum Grana, ok reið ek þér á skeið á Brávelli? Síðan vartu geitasveinn Gaulnis jötuns."
Granmarr segir: "Fyrri vilda ek seðja fugla á hræi þínu en deila við þik lengr."
Þá mælti Helgi konungr: "Betra væri ykkr ok meira snjallræði at berjast en mæla slíkt, er skömm er at heyra, ok ekki eru Granmars synir vinir mínir, en þó eru
þeir harðir menn." Granmarr ríðr nú í brott ok til fundar við Höðbrodd konung, þar sem heita Sólfjöll. Hestar þeira heita Sveipuðr ok Sveggjuðr. Þeir mættust
í borgarhliði ok segja honum hersögu. Höðbroddr konungr var í brynju ok hafði hjálm á höfði. Hann spyrr, hverir þar væri, -- "eða hví eru þér svá reiðuligir?"
Granmarr segir: "Hér eru komnir Völsungar ok hafa tólf þúsundir manna við land ok sjau þúsundir við ey þá, er Sök heitir, en þar, sem heitir fyrir Grindum, er
þó mestr fjöldi, ok hygg ek nú, at Helgi muni nú berjast vilja."
Konungr segir: "Gerum þá boð um allt várt ríki ok sækjum í mót þeim. Siti sá engi heima, er berjast vill. Sendum orð Hrings sonum ok Högna konungi ok Álfi inum
gamla. Þeir eru bardagamenn miklir."
Fundust þeir þar, er heitir Frekasteinn, ok tókst þar hörð orrosta.
Helgi gengr fram í gegnum fylkingar. Þar varð mikit mannfall. Þá sá þeir skjaldmeyjaflokk mikinn, svá sem í loga sæi. Þar var Sigrún konungsdóttir. Helgi konungr
sótti í mót Höðbroddi konungi ok fellir hann undir merkjum. Þá mælti Sigrún:
"Haf þökk fyrir þetta þrekvirki. Skipt mun nú löndum. Er mér þetta mikill tímadagr, ok muntu fá af þessu veg ok ágæti, er þú hefir svá ríkan konung felldan."
Þat ríki tók Helgi konungr ok dvaldist þar lengi ok fekk Sigrúnar ok gerðist frægr konungr ok ágætr, ok er hann hér ekki síðan við þessa sögu.