Chapter 12 - Of the Shards of the Sword Gram, and how Hjordis went to King Alf.
Now King Lyngi made for the king's abode, and was minded to take the king's daughter there, but failed herein, for there he found neither wife nor wealth;
so he fared through all the realm, and gave his men rule thereover, and now deemed that he had slain all the kin of the Volsungs, and that he need dread
them no more from henceforth.
Now Hjordis went amidst the slain that night of the battle, and came whereas lay King Sigmund, and asked if he might be healed; but he answered--
"Many a man lives after hope has grown little; but my good-hap has departed from me, nor will I suffer myself to be healed, nor wills Odin that I should
ever draw sword again, since this my sword and his is broken; lo now, I have waged war while it was his will."
"Naught ill would I deem matters," said she, "if thou mightest be healed and avenge my father."
The king said, "That is fated for another man; behold now, thou art great with a man-child; nourish him well; and with good heed, and the child shall be
the noblest and most famed of all our kin: and keep well withal the shards of the sword: thereof shall a goodly sword be made, and it shall be called Gram,
and our son shall bear it, and shall work many a great work therewith, even such as eld shall never minish; for his name shall abide and flourish as long
as the world shall endure: and let this be enow for thee. But now I grow weary with my wounds, and I will go see our kin that have gone before me."
So Hjordis sat over him till he died at the day-dawning; and then she looked, and behold, there came many ships sailing to the land: then she spake to the
"Let us now change raiment, and be thou called by my name, and say that thou art the king's daughter."
And thus they did; but now the vikings behold the great slaughter of men there, and see where two women fare away thence into the wood; and they deem that
some great tidings must have befallen, and they leaped ashore from out their ships. Now the captain of these folks was Alf, son of Hjalprek, king of Denmark,
who was sailing with his power along the land. So they came into the field among the slain, and saw how many men lay dead there; then the king bade go seek
for the women and bring them thither, and they did so. He asked them what women they were; and, little as the thing seems like to be, the bondmaid answered
for the twain, telling of the fall of King Sigmund and King Eylimi, and many another great man, and who they were withal who had wrought the deed. Then the
king asks if they wotted where the wealth of the king was bestowed; and then says the bondmaid--
"It may well be deemed that we know full surely thereof."
And therewith she guides them to the place where the treasure lay: and there they found exceeding great wealth; so that men deem they have never seen so many
things of price heaped up together in one place. All this they bore to the ships of King Alf, and Hjordis and bondmaid went them. Therewith these sail away to
their own realm, and talk how that surely on that field had fallen the most renowned of kings.
So the king sits by the tiller, but the women abide in the forecastle; but talk he had with the women and held their counsels of much account.
In such wise the king came home to his realm with great wealth, and he himself was a man exceeding goodly to look on. But when he had been but a little while
at home, the queen, his mother, asked him why the fairest of the two women had the fewer rings and the less worthy attire.
"I deem," she said, "that she whom ye have held of least account is the noblest of the twain."
He answered: "I too have misdoubted me, that she is little like a bondwoman, and when we first met, in seemly wise she greeted noble men. Lo now, we will make
trial of the thing."
So on a time as men sat at the drink, the king sat down to talk with the women, and said:--
"In what wise do ye note the wearing of the hours, whenas night grows old, if ye may not see the lights of heaven?"
Then says the bondwoman, "This sign have I, that whenas in my youth I was wont to drink much in the dawn, so now when I no longer use that manner, I am yet
wont to wake up at that very same tide, and by that token do I know thereof."
Then the king laughed and said, "Ill manners for a king's daughter!" And therewith he turned to Hjordis, and asked her even the same question; but she
"My father erst gave me a little gold ring of such nature, that it groweth cold on my finger in the day-dawning; and that is the sign that I have to know
The king answered: "Enow of gold there, where a very bondmaid bore it! But come now, thou hast been long enow hid from me; yet if thou hadst told me all from
the beginning, I would have done to thee as though we had both been one king's children: but better than thy deeds will I deal with thee, for thou shalt be my
wife, and due jointure will I pay thee whenas thou hast borne me a child."
She spake therewith and told out the whole truth about herself: so there was she held in great honour, and deemed the worthiest of women.
Lyngvi konungr sækir nú til konungsbæjarins ok ætlar að taka þar konungsdóttur, en þat brást honum. Fekk hann þar hvárki konu né fé. Hann ferr nú
yfir landit ok skipar þar sínum mönnum ríkit; þykkist nú hafa drepit alla ætt Völsunga ok ætlar þá eigi munu þurfa at óttast heðan frá.
Hjördís gekk í valinn eptir orrostuna um nóttina ok kom at þar, sem Sigmundr konungr lá, ok spyrr, ef hann væri græðandi. En hann svarar:
"Margr lifnar ór litlum vánum, en horfin eru mér heill, svá at ek vil eigi láta græða mik. Vill Óðinn ekki, at vér bregðum sverði, síðan er nú brotnaði.
Hefi ek haft orrostur, meðan honum líkaði."
Hún mælti: "Einkis þætti mér ávant, ef þú yrðir græddr ok hefndir föður míns."
Konungr segir: "Öðrum er þat ætlat. Þú ferr með sveinbarn ok fæð þat vel ok vandliga, ok mun sá sveinn ágætr ok fremstr af várri ætt. Varðveit ok vel sverðsbrotin.
Þar af má gera gott sverð, er heita mun Gramr ok sonr okkarr mun bera ok þar mörg stórverk með vinna, þau er aldri munu fyrnast, ok hans nafn mun uppi, meðan
veröldin stendr. Uni nú við þat, en mik mæða sár ok ek mun nú vitja frænda várra framgenginna".
Hjördís sitr nú yfir honum, unz hann deyr, ok þá lýsir af degi. Hún sér, at mörg skip eru komin við land. Hún mælti til ambáttarinnar:
"Vit skulum skipta klæðum, ok skaltu nefnast nafni mínu, ok segst konungsdóttir".
Ok þær gera svá. Víkingar geta at líta mikit mannfall ok svá, hvar konurnar fóru til skógar, skilja, at stórtíðendum mun gegna, ok hlaupa af skipum. En fyrir
þessu liði réð Álfr, sonr Hjálpreks konungs af Danmörk. Hann hafði farit fyrir land fram með her sínum; koma nú í valinn. Þar sjá þeir mikit mannfall. Konungrinn
biðr nú at leita at konunum, ok svá gerðu þeir. Hann spyrr, hverjar þær væri, en þar skiptir eigi at líkendum til. Ambáttin hefir svör fyrir þeim ok segir fall
Sigmundar konungs ok Eylima konungs ok margs annars stórmennis ok svá, hverir gert hafa. Konungr spurði, hvort þær vissi, hvar fé konungs væri fólgit. Ambáttin
"Meiri ván, at vér vitim", ok vísar til fjárins.
Ok finna þeir auð mikinn, svá at eigi þóttust menn sét hafa jafnmikit saman koma í einn stað eða fleiri gersimar; bera til skipa Álfs konungs. Hjördís fylgdi honum
ok svá ambáttin. Hann ferr nú heim í ríki sitt, en lætr, at þar sé fallnir þeir konungar, er frægstir váru. Konungr sezt við stjórn, en þær sátu í fyrirrúmi á
skipinu. Hann á tal við þær ok leggr virðing á ræður þeira.
Konungr kom heim í ríki sitt við miklu fé. Álfr var manna gerviligastr. Ok er þau hafa skamma stund heima verit, spyrr drottningin Álf, son sinn:
"Hví hefir in fegri kona færi hringa eða verra búnað, ok virðist mér, at sú muni æðri, er þér hafið minna yfir látit?"
Hann svarar: "Grunat hefir mik þat, at eigi sé ambáttarmót á henni, ok þá er vér fundumst, þá tókst henni vel at fagna tignum mönnum, ok hér til skal gera
Þat er nú eitt sinn við drykkju, at konungr sezt á tal við þær ok mælti:
"Hvat hafi þér at marki um dægrfar, þá er nótt eldir, ef þér sjáið eigi himintungl?"
Hún svarar: "Þat mark höfum vér hér til, at ek var því vön í æsku at drekka mjök í óttu, ok er ek lét af því, vöknuðu vér eptir því síðan, ok er þat mitt mark."
Konungr brosti at ok mælti: "Illa var konungsdóttir vönd."
Hann hittir þá Hjördísi ok spyrr hana slíks ins sama. Hún svarar honum:
"Faðir minn gaf mér eitt gull lítit við náttúru. Þat kólnar í óttu á fingri mér. Þat er mitt mark hér um".
Konungr svarar: "Gnótt var þar gulls, er ambáttir báru, ok munu þér ærit lengi leynzt hafa fyrir mér, ok svá munda ek til þín gert hafa sem vit værim eins
konungs börn bæði, þótt þú hefðir þetta sagt, ok enn skal gera verðleikum betr við þik, því at þú skalt vera mín kona, ok skal ek gjalda mund við þér, þá er þú
hefir barn getit."
Hún svarar ok segir allt it sanna um sitt ráð. Er hún þar nú í miklum sóma ok þykkir in virðuligasta kona.