Chapter 3 - Of the Sword that Sigmund, Volsung's son, drew from the Branstock.

There was a king called Siggeir, who ruled over Gothland, a mighty king and of many folk; he went to meet Volsung, the king, and prayed him for Signy his daughter to wife; and the king took his talk well, and his sons withal, but she was loth thereto, yet she bade her father rule in this as in all other things that concerned her, so the king took such rede1 that he gave her to him, and she was betrothed to King Siggeir; and for the fulfilling of the feast and the wedding, was King Siggeir to come to the house of King Volsung. The king got ready the feast according to his best might, and when all things were ready, came the king's guests and King Siggeir withal at the day appointed, and many a man of great account had Siggeir with him.

The tale tells that great fires were made endlong the hall, and the great tree aforesaid stood midmost thereof, withal folk say that, whenas men sat by the fires in the evening, a certain man came into the hall unknown of aspect to all men; and suchlike array he had, that over him was a spotted cloak, and he was bare-foot, and had linen-breeches knit tight even unto the bone, and he had a sword in his hand as he went up to the Branstock, and a slouched hat upon his head: huge he was, and seeming-ancient, and one-eyed.2 So he drew his sword and smote it into the tree-trunk so that it sank in up to the hilts; and all held back from greeting the man. Then he took up the word, and said--

"Whoso draweth this sword from this stock, shall have the same as a gift from me, and shall find in good sooth that never bare he better sword in hand than is this."

Therewith out went the old man from the hall, and none knew who he was or whither he went.

Now men stand up, and none would fain be the last to lay hand to the sword, for they deemed that he would have the best of it who might first touch it; so all the noblest went thereto first, and then the others, one after other; but none who came thereto might avail to pull it out, for in nowise would it come away howsoever they tugged at it; but now up comes Sigmund, King Volsung's son, and sets hand to the sword, and pulls it from the stock, even as if it lay loose before him; so good that weapon seemed to all, that none thought he had seen such a sword before, and Siggeir would fain buy it of him at thrice its weight of gold, but Sigmund said--

"Thou mightest have taken the sword no less than I from there whereas it stood, if it had been thy lot to bear it; but now, since it has first of all fallen into my hand, never shalt thou have it, though thou biddest therefor all the gold thou hast."

King Siggeir grew wroth at these words, and deemed Sigmund had answered him scornfully, but whereas was a wary man and a double-dealing, he made as if he heeded this matter in nowise, yet that same evening he thought how he might reward it, as was well seen afterwards.

[1. Rede (A.S. raed), counsel, advice, a tale or prophecy.

2. The man is Odin, who is always so represented, because he gave his eye as a pledge for a draught from the fountain of Mimir, the source of all wisdom.]


3. Kaptuli

Siggeirr hefir konungr heitit. Hann r fyrir Gautlandi. Hann var rkr konungr ok fjlmennr. Hann fr fund Vlsungs konungs, ok ba hann Signjar til handa sr. essu tali tekr konungr vel ok sv synir hans, en hn sjlf var essa fs, bir fur sinn ra sem ru v, sem til hennar tki. En konunginum sndist at r at gifta hana, ok var hn fstnu Siggeiri konungi. En er sj veizla ok rahagr skal takast, skal Siggeirr konungr skja veizluna til Vlsungs konungs. Konungr bjst vi veizlunni eptir inum beztum fngum. Ok er essi veizla var albin, kmu ar bosmenn Vlsungs konungs ok sv Siggeirs konungs at nefndum degi, ok hefir Siggeirr konungr marga viruliga menn me sr. Sv er sagt, at ar vru miklir eldar gervir eptir endilangri hllinni, en n stendr sj inn mikli apaldr miri hllinni, sem fyrr var nefndr.

N er ess vi geti, at er menn stu vi eldana um kveldit, at mar einn gekk inn hllina. S mar er mnnum kunnr at sn. Sj mar hefir ess httar bning, at hann hefir heklu flekktta yfir sr. S mar var berfttr ok hafi kntt lnbrkum at beini. S mar hafi sver hendi ok gengr at barnstokkinum ok htt san hfi. Hann var hr mjk ok eldiligr ok einsnn. Hann bregr sverinu ok stingr v stokkinn, sv at sverit skkr at hjltum upp. llum mnnum fellust kvejur vi enna mann. tekr hann til ora ok mlti:

"S, er essu sveri bregr r stokkinum, skal s at iggja at mr at gjf, ok skal hann at sjlfr sanna, at aldri bar hann betra sver sr hendi en etta er."

Eptir etta gengr sj inn gamli mar t r hllinni, ok veit engi, hverr hann er ea hvert hann gengr.

N standa eir upp ok metast ekki vi at taka sverit. ykkist s bezt hafa, er fyrst nir. San gengu til inir gfgustu menn fyrst, en hverr at rum. Engi kemr s til, er ni, v at engan veg bifast, er eir taka til. N kom til Sigmundr, sonr Vlsungs konungs, ok tk ok br sverinu r stokkinum, ok var sem laust lgi fyrir honum. etta vpn sndist llum sv gott, at engi ttist st hafa jafngott sver, ok br Siggeirr honum at vega rj jafnvgi gulls. Sigmundr segir:

" mttir taka etta sver eigi sr en ek, ar sem at st, ef r smdi at bera, en n fr at aldri, er at kom r mna hnd, tt bjir vi allt at gull, er tt."

Siggeirr konungr reiddist vi essi or ok tti sr huliga svarat vera. En fyrir v, at honum var sv varit, at hann var undirhyggjumar mikill, ltr hann n sem hann hiri ekki um etta ml, en at sama kveld hugi hann laun fyrir etta, au er sar kmu fram.


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