Chapter 17 - Of Sigurd's Avenging of Sigmund his Father.
Now Sigurd went to the kings, and spake thus--
"Here have I abode a space with you, and I owe you thanks and reward, for great love and many gifts and all due honour; but now will I away from the land and go
meet the sons of Hunding, and do them to wit that the Volsungs are not all dead; and your might would I have to strengthen me therein."
So the kings said that they would give him all things soever that he desired, and therewith was a great army got ready, and all things wrought in the most
heedful wise, ships and all war-gear, so that his journey might be of the stateliest: but Sigurd himself steered the dragon-keel which was the greatest and
noblest; richly wrought were their sails, and glorious to look on.
So they sail and have wind at will; but when a few days were overpast, there arose a great storm on the sea, and the waves were to behold even as the foam of
men's blood; but Sigurd bade take in no sail, howsoever they might be riven, but rather to lay on higher than heretofore. But as they sailed past the rocks of
a ness, a certain man hailed the ships, and asked who was captain over that navy; then was it told him that the chief and lord was Sigurd, the son of Sigmund,
the most famed of all the young men who now are.
Then said the man, "Naught but one thing, certes do all say of him, that none among the sons of kings may be likened unto him; now fain were I that ye would
shorten sail on some of the ships, and take me aboard."
Then they asked him of his name, and he sang--
"Hnikar I hight,
When I gladdened Huginn,
And went to battle,
Bright son of Volsung;
Now may ye call
The carl on the cliff top,
Feng or Fjolnir:
Fain would I with you."
They made for land therewith, and took that man aboard.
Then quoth Sigurd,1 as the song says--*
"Tell me this, O Hnikar,
Since full well thou knowest
Fate of Gods, good and ill of mankind,
What best our hap foresheweth,
When amid the battle
About us sweeps the sword edge."
"Good are many tokens
If thereof men wotted
When the swords are sweeping:
Fair fellow deem I
The dark-winged raven,
In war, to weapon-wielder.
"The second good thing:
When abroad thou goest
For the long road well arrayed,
Good if thou seest
Two men standing,
Fain of fame within the forecourt.
"A third thing:
The wolf a howling
Abroad under ash boughs;
Good hap shalt thou have
Dealing with helm-staves,
If thou seest these fare before thee.
"No man in fight
His face shall turn
Against the moon's sister
For he winneth battle
Who best beholdeth
Through the midmost sword-play,
And the sloping ranks best shapeth.
"Great is the trouble
Of foot ill-tripping,
When arrayed for fight thou farest,
For on both sides about
Are the Disir2 by thee,
Guileful, wishful of thy wounding.
"Fair-combed, well washen
Let each warrior be,
Nor lack meat in the morning,
For who can rule
The eve's returning,
And base to fall before fate grovelling."
Then the storm abated, and on they fared till they came aland in the realm of Hunding's sons, and then Fjolnir vanished away.
Then they let loose fire and sword, and slew men and burnt their abodes, and did waste all before them: a great company of folk fled before the face of them to
Lyngi the King, and tell him that men of war are in the land, and are faring with such rage and fury that the like has never been heard of; and that the sons of
King Hunding had no great forecast in that they said they would never fear the Volsungs more, for here was come Sigurd, the son of Sigmund, as captain over this
So King Lyngi let send the war-message all throughout his realm, and has no will to flee, but summons to him all such as would give him aid. So he came against
Sigurd with a great army, he and his brothers with him, and an exceeding fierce fight befell; many a spear and many an arrow might men see there raised aloft,
axes hard driven, shields cleft and byrnies torn, helmets were shivered, skulls split atwain, and many a man felled to the cold earth.
And now when the fight has long dured in such wise, Sigurd goes forth before the banners, and has the good sword Gram in his hand, and smites down both men
and horses, and goes through the thickest of the throng with both arms red with blood to the shoulder; and folk shrank aback before him wheresoever he went,
nor would either helm or byrny hold before him, and no man deemed he had ever seen his like. So a long while the battle lasted, and many a man was slain, and
furious was the onset; till at last it befell, even as seldom comes to hand, when a land army falls on, that, do whatso they might, naught was brought about;
but so many men fell of the sons of Hunding that the tale of them may not be told; and now whenas Sigurd was among the foremost, came the sons of Hunding
against him, and Sigurd smote therewith at Lyngi the king, and clave him down, both helm and head, and mail-clad body, and thereafter he smote Hjorward his
brother atwain, and then slew all the other sons of Hunding who were yet alive, and the more part of their folk withal.
Now home goes Sigurd with fair victory won, and plenteous wealth and great honour, which he had gotten to him in this journey, and feasts were made for
him against he came back to the realm.
But when Sigurd had been at home but a little, came Regin to talk with him, and said--
"Belike thou wilt now have good will to bow down Fafnir's crest according to thy word plighted, since thou hast thus revenged thy father and the others
of thy kin."
Sigurd answered, "That will we hold to, even as we have promised, nor did it ever fall from our memory."
[1. This and verses following were inserted from the "Reginsmal" by the translators.
2. "Disir", sing. "Dis". These are the guardian beings who follow a man from his birth to his death. The word originally means sister, and is used throughout
the Eddaic poems as a dignified synonym for woman, lady.]
Nú hittir Sigurðr konunga ok mælti til þeira:
"Hér höfum vér verit um hríð, ok eigum vér yðr ástsemd at launa ok mikla virðing. En nú viljum vér ór landi fara ok finna Hundings sonu, ok
vilda ek, at þeir vissi, at Völsungar væri eigi allir dauðir. Viljum vér hafa þar til yðarn styrk."
Konungar kváðust allt vilja til fá, þat er hann beiddist.
Er nú búit lið mikit ok allt vandat sem mest, skip ok allr herbúnaðr, svá at hans ferð væri þá vegligri en áðr. Sigurðr stýrir dreka þeim, er mestr
var ok agætligastr. Segl þeira váru mjök vönduð ok ítarlig at sjá. Sigla þeir nú góðan byr. Ok er fá dægr váru liðin, þá kom á veðr mikit með stormi, en svá var
sjárinn sem í roðru sæi. Eigi bað Sigurðr svipta seglunum, þótt rifnuðu, heldr bað hann hæra setja en áðr. Ok er þeir sigldu fram fyrir bergnös nokkura, þá kallaði
maðr upp á skipit ok spyrr, hverr fyrir liðinu eigi at ráða. Honum var sagt, at þar var höfðingi Sigurðr Sigmundarson, er nú er frægstr ungra manna.
Maðrinn svarar: "Allir segja þar eitt frá honum, at eigi megi konungasynir jafnast við hann. Vilda ek, at þér felldið seglin á nokkuru skipinu ok
tæki þér við mér." Þeir spurðu hann at nafni. Hann svarar:
"Hnikar hétu mik,
þá er ek Hugin gladda,
ok vegit hafða.
Nú máttu kalla
karl af bjargi
Feng eða Fjölni.
Far vil ek þiggja."
Þeir viku at landi ok tóku karl á skip sín.
Þá tók af veðrit, ok fara, unz þeir koma at landi í ríki Hundings sona. Þá hvarf Fjölnir.
Þeir láta þegar geisa eld ok járn, drepa menn, en brenna byggðina ok eyða þar, sem þeir fara. Stökkr fjöldi undan á fund Lyngva konungs ok segja, at herr er kominn
í landit ok ferr með meira geysingi en dæmi finnist til; kváðu Hundings sonu eigi langsýna, þá er þeir sögðust eigi mundu hræðast Völsunga, -- "en nú stýrir þessum
her Sigurðr Sigmundarson."
Lyngvi konungr lætr nú fara um allt sitt ríki herboð; vill eigi á flótta leggjast, stefnir til sín öllum þeim mönnum, er honum vilja lið veita; kemr nú á mót
Sigurði með allmikinn her ok bræðr hans með honum. Tekst þar in harðasta orrosta með þeim. Mátti þar á lopti sjá margt spjót ok örvar margar, öxi hart reidda,
skjöldu klofna ok brynjur slitnar, hjálma skýfða, hausa klofna ok margan mann steypast til jarðar. Ok er orrostan hefir svá staðit mjök langa hríð, sækir Sigurðr
fram um merkin ok hefir í hendi sverðit Gram. Hann höggr bæði menn ok hesta ok gengr í gegnum fylkingar ok hefir báðar hendr blóðgar til axlar, ok
stökk undan fólk, þar sem hann fór, ok helzt hvárki við hjálmr né brynja, ok engi maðr þóttist fyrr sét hafa þvílíkan mann. Þessi orrosta stóð lengi með miklu
mannfalli ok ákafri sókn. Ferr þar, sem sjaldnar kann henda, þá er landherrinn sækir til, at þat kom fyrir ekki. Fell þar svá margt fyrir Hundings sonum, at engi
maðr vissi töl á. Ok Sigurðr var framarla í fylkingu. Þá koma á mót honum synir Hundings konungs. Sigurðr höggr til Lyngva konungs ok klýfr hjálm hans ok höfuð ok
brynjaðan búk, ok síðan höggr hann Hjörvarð, bróður hans, sundr í tvá hluti, ok þá drap hann alla Hundings sonu, er eptir lifðu, ok mestan hluta liðs þeira.
Ferr Sigurðr nú heim með fögrum sigri ok miklu fé ok ágæti, er hann hafði fengit í þessi ferð. Váru nú veizlur gervar í mót honum heima í ríkinu. Ok er Sigurðr
hefir skamma stund heima verit, kemr Reginn at máli við Sigurð ok segir:
"Nú munu þér vilja steypa hjálminum Fáfnis, svá sem þér hétuð, því at nú hefir þú hefnt föður þíns ok annarra frænda þinna."
Sigurðr svarar: "Efna munu vér þat, sem vér höfum þar um heitit, ok ekki fellr oss þat ór minni."