Chapter 33 - Gudrun wedded to Alii.
Now so it is, that whoso heareth these tidings sayeth, that no such an one as was Sigurd was left behind him in the world, nor ever was such a man brought
forth because of all the worth of him, nor may his name ever minish by eld in the Dutch Tongue nor in all the Northern Lands, while the world standeth fast.
The story tells that, on a day, as Gudrun sat in her bower, she fell to saying, "Better was life in those days when I had Sigurd; he who was far above other
men as gold is above iron, or the leek over other grass of the field, or the hart over other wild things; until my brethren begrudged me such a man, the first
and best of all men; and so they might not sleep or they had slain him. Huge clamour made Grani when he saw his master and lord sore wounded, and then I spoke
to him even as with a man, but he fell drooping down to the earth, for he knew that Sigurd was slain."
Thereafter Gudrun gat her gone into the wild woods, and heard on all ways round about her the howling of wolves, and deemed death a merrier thing than life.
Then she went till she came to the hall of King Alf, and sat there in Denmark with Thora, the daughter of Hakon, for seven seasons, and abode with good welcome.
And she set forth her needlework before her and did thereinto many deeds and great, and fair plays after the fashion of those days, swords and byrnies, and all
the gear of kings, and the ship of King Sigmund sailing along the land; yea, and they wrought there how they fought, Sigar and Siggeir, south in Fion. Such was
their disport; and now Gudrun was somewhat solaced of her grief.
So Grimhild comes to hear where Gudrun has take up her abode, and she calls her sons to talk with her, and asks whether they will make atonement to Gudrun for
her son and her husband, and said that it was but meet and right to do so.
Then Gunnar spake, and said that he would atone for her sorrows with gold.
So they send for their friends, and array their horses, their helms, and their shields, and their byrnies, and all their war-gear; and their journey was
furnished forth in the noblest wise, and no champion who was of the great men might abide at home; and their horses were clad in mail-coats, and every knight
of them had his helm done over with gold or with silver.
Grimhild was of their company, for she said that their errand would never be brought fairly to pass if she sat at home.
There were well five hundred men, and noble men rode with them.
There was Waldemar of Denmark, and Eymod and Jarisleif withal. So they went into the hall of King Alf, and there abode them the Longbeards and Franks, and
Saxons: they fared with all their war-gear, and had over them red fur-coats. Even as the song says--
"Byrnies short cut,
Strong helms hammered,
Girt with good swords,
Red hair gleaming."
They were fain to choose good gifts for their sister, and spake softly to her, but in none of them would she trow. Then Gunnar brought unto her a drink mingled
with hurtful things, and this she must needs drink, and with the king thereof she had no more memory of their guilt against her.
But in that drink was blended the might of the earth and the sea with the blood of her son; and in that horn were all letters cut and reddened with blood, as
is said hereunder--
"On the horn's face were there
All the kin of letters
Cut aright and reddened,
How should I rede them rightly?
The ling-fish long
Of the land of Hadding,
And wild things' inwards.
In that beer were mingled
Many ills together,
Blood of all the wood
And brown-burnt acorns,
The black dew of the hearth,
The God-doomed dead beast's inwards,
And the swine's liver sodden
Because all wrongs that deadens.
And so now, when their hearts are-brought anigh to each other, great cheer they made: then came Grimhild to Gudrun, and spake.
"All hail to thee, daughter! I give thee gold and all kinds of good things to take to thee after thy father, dear bought rings and bed-gear of the maids of
the Huns, the most courteous and well dight of all women; and thus is thy husband atoned for: and thereafter shalt thou be given to Atli, the mighty king, and
be mistress of all his might. Cast not all thy friends aside for one man's sake, but do according to our bidding."
Gudrun answers, "Never will I wed Atli the King; unseemly it is for us to get offspring betwixt us."
Grimhild says, "Nourish not thy wrath; it shall be to thee as if Sigurd and Sigmund were alive when thou hast borne sons."
Gudrun says, "I cannot take my heart from thoughts of him, for he was the first of all men."
Grimhild says, "So it is shapen that thou must have this king and none else."
Says Gudrun, "Give not this man to me, for an evil thing shall come upon thy kin from him, and to his own sons shall he deal evil, and be rewarded with a grim
Then waxed Grimhild fell at those words, and spake, "Do even as we bid thee, and take therefore great honour, and our friendship, and the steads withal called
Vinbjorg and Valbjorg."
And such might was in the words of her, that even so must it come to pass.
Then Gudrun spake, "Thus then must it needs befall, howsoever against the will of me, and for little joy shall it be and for great grief."
Then men leaped on their horses, and their women were set in wains. So they fared four days a-riding and other four a-shipboard, and yet four more again by
land and road, till at the last they came to a certain high-built hall; then came to meet Gudrun many folk thronging; and an exceedingly goodly feast was
there made, even as the word had gone between either kin, and it passed forth in most proud and stately wise. And at that feast drinks Atli his bridal with
Gudrun, but never did her heart laugh on him, and little sweet and kind was their life together.
[* The chapter numbering has been skewed by one, this is Chapter 32 in the Old Norse.]
Nú segir þat hverr, er þessi tíðindi heyrir, at engi maðr mun þvílíkr eptir í veröldunni ok aldri mun síðan borinn slíkr maðr sem Sigurðr var fyrir hversvetna sakar
ok hans nafn mun aldri fyrnast í þýðverskri tungu ok á Norðrlöndum, meðan heimrinn stendr.
Þat er sagt einnhvern dag, þá er Guðrún sat í skemmu sinni, þá mælti hún: "Betra var þá várt líf, er ek átta Sigurð. Svá bar hann af öllum mönnum sem gull af járni
eða laukr af öðrum grösum eða hjörtr af öðrum dýrum, unz bræðr mínir fyrirmundu mér slíks manns, er öllum var fremri. Eigi máttu þeir sofa, áðr þeir drápu hann.
Mikinn gný gerði Grani, þá er hann sá sáran sinn lánardrottin. Síðan rædda ek við hann sem við mann, en hann hnípti í jörðina ok vissi, at Sigurðr var fallinn."
Síðan hvarf Guðrún á brott á skóga ok heyrði alla vega frá sér varga þyt ok þótti þá blíðara at deyja. Guðrún fór, unz hún kom til hallar Hálfs konungs, ok sat þar
með Þóru Hákonardóttur í Danmörku sjau misseri ok var þar í miklum fagnaði ok sló borða yfir henni ok skrifaði þar á mörg ok stór verk ok fagra leika, er tíðir váru
í þann tíma, sverð ok brynjur ok allan konungs búnað, skip Sigmundar konungs, er skriðu fyrir land fram. Ok þat byrðu þær, er þeir börðust Sigarr ok Siggeirr á
Fjóni suðr. Slíkt var þeira gaman, ok huggaðist Guðrún nú nokkut harms síns.
Þetta spyrr Grímhildr, hvar Guðrún er niðr komin, heimtir á tal sonu sína ok spyrr, hverju þeir vilja bæta Guðrúnu son sinn ok mann; kvað þeim þat skylt.
Gunnarr segir, kveðst vilja gefa henni gull ok bæta henni svá harma sína; senda eptir vinum sínum ok búa hesta sína, hjálma, skjöldu, sverð ok brynjur ok alls konar
Ok var þessi ferð búin it kurteisligsta, ok engi sá kappi, er mikill var, sat nú heima. Hestar þeira váru brynjaðir, ok hverr riddari hafði annathvárt gylltan
hjálm eða skyggðan.
Grímhildr ræðst í ferð með þeim ok segir þeira erendi svá fremi fullgert munu verða, at hún siti eigi heima.
Þeir höfðu alls fimm hundruð manna. Þeir höfðu ok ágæta menn með sér.
Þar var Valdamarr af Danmörk ok Eymóðr ok Jarisleifr. Þeir gengu inn í höll Hálfs konungs. Þar váru Langbarðar, Frakkar ok Saxar. Þeir fóru með öllum herbúnaði ok
höfðu yfir sér loða rauða, sem kveðit er:
ok höfðu skarar jarpar."
Þeir vildu velja systur sinni góðar gjafir ok mæltu vel við hana, en hún trúði engum þeira. Síðan færði Grímhildr henni meinsamligan drykk, ok varð hún við at taka
ok mundi síðan engar sakar.
Sá drykkr var blandinn með jarðar magni ok sæ ok dreyra sonar hennar, ok í því horni váru ristnir hvers kyns stafir ok roðnir með blóði, sem hér segir:
"Váru í því horni
hvers kyns stafir
ristnir ok roðnir,
ráða ek né máttak:
Váru þeim bjóri
böl mörg saman:
urt alls viðar
ok akarn brunnin,
svíns lifr soðin,
því at sakar deyfði."
Ok eptir þat, er vili þeira kom saman, gerðist fagnaðr mikill. Þá mælti Grímhildr, er hún fann Guðrúnu:
"Vel verði þér, dóttir, ek gef þér gull ok alls konar gripi at þiggja eptir þinn föður, dýrliga hringa ok ársal hýnskra meyja, þeira er kurteisastar eru, þá er
þér bættr þinn maðr. Síðan skal þik gifta Atla konungi inum ríka. Þá muntu ráða hans auði, ok lát eigi frændr þína fyrir sakir eins manns ok ger heldr sem vér
Guðrún svarar: "Aldri vil ek eiga Atla konung, ok ekki samir okkr ætt saman at auka."
Grímhildr svarar: "Eigi skaltu nú á heiptir hyggja ok lát sem lifi Sigurðr ok Sigmundr, ef þú átt sonu."
Guðrún segir: "Ekki má ek af honum hyggja; hann var öllum fremri."
Grímhildr segir: "Þenna konung mun þér skipat at eiga, en engan skaltu elligar eiga."
Guðrún segir: "Bjóði þér mér eigi þenna konung, er illt eitt mun af standa þessi ætt, ok mun hann sonu þína illu beita, ok þar eptir mun honum grimmu hefnt vera."
Grímhildi varð við hennar fortölur illa við um sonu sína ok mælti: "Ger sem vér beiðum, ok muntu þar fyrir taka mikinn metnað ok vára vináttu ok þessa staði, er
svá heita: Vínbjörg ok Valbjörg."
Hennar orð stóðust svá mikit, at þetta varð fram at ganga. Guðrún mælti: "Þetta mun verða fram at ganga ok þó at mínum óvilja, ok mun þat lítt til yndis, heldr til
Síðan stíga þeir á hesta sína, ok eru konur þeira settar í vagna, ok fóru svá sjau daga á hestum, en aðra sjau á skipum ok ina þriðju sjau enn landveg, þar til er
þeir kómu at einni hári höll. Henni gekk þar í mót mikit fjölmenni, ok var þar búin ágætlig veizla, sem áðr höfðu orð í milli farit, ok fór hún fram með sæmd ok
mikilli prýði. Ok at þessi veizlu drekkr Atli brúðlaup til Guðrúnar. En aldri gerði hugr hennar við honum hlæja, ok með lítilli blíðu var þeira samvista.