Chapter 41 - Of the Wedding and Slaying of Swanhild.

Jormunrek was the name of a mighty king of those days, and his son was called Randver. Now this king called his son to talk with him, and said, "Thou shalt fair on an errand of mine to King Jonakr, with my counsellor Bikki, for with King Jonakr is nourished Swanhild, the daughter of Sigurd Fafnir's-bane; and I know for sure that she is the fairest may dwelling under the sun of this world; her above all others would I have to my wife, and thou shalt go woo her for me"

Randver answered, "Meet and right, fair lord, that I should go on thine errands."

So the king set forth this journey in seemly wise, and they fare till they come to King Jonakr's abode, and behold Swanhild, and have many thoughts concerning the treasure of her goodliness.

But on a day Randver called the king to talk with him, and said, "Jormunrek the King would fain be thy brother-in-law, for he has heard tell of Swanhild, and his desire it is to have her to wife, nor may it be shown that she may be given to any mightier man than he is one."

The King says, "This is an alliance of great honour, for a man of fame he is."

Gudrun says, "A wavering trust, the trust in luck that change not!"

Yet because of the king's furthering, and all the matters that went herewith, is the wooing accomplished; and Swanhild went to the ship with a goodly company, and sat in the stem beside the king's son.

Then spake Bikki to Randver, "How good and right it were if thou thyself had to wife so lovely a woman rather than the old man there."

Good seemed that word to the heart of the king's son, and he spake to her with sweet words, and she to him like wise.

So they came aland and go unto the king, and Bikki said to him, "Meet and right it is, lord, that thou shouldst know what is befallen, though hard it be to tell of, for the tale must be concerning thy beguiling, whereas thy son has gotten to him the full love of Swanhild, nor is she other than his harlot; but thou, let not the deed be unavenged."

Now many an ill rede had he given the king or this, but of all his ill redes did this sting home the most; and still would the king hearken to all his evil redes; wherefore he, who might nowise still the wrath within him, cried out that Randver should be taken and tied up to the gallows-tree.

And as he was led to the gallows he took his hawk and plucked the feathers from off it, and bade show it to his father; and when the king saw it, then he said, "Now may folk behold that he deemeth my honour to be gone away from me, even as the feathers of this hawk;" and therewith he bade deliver him from the gallows.

But in that while had Bikki wrought his will, and Randver was dead-slain.

Ane, moreover, Bikki spake, "Against none hast thou more wrongs to avenge thee of than against Swanhild; let her die a shameful death."

"Yea," said the king, "we will do after thy counsel."

So she was bound in the gate of the burg, and horse were driven at her to tread her down; but when she opened her eyes wide, then the horses durst not trample her; so when Bikki beheld that, he bade draw a bag over the head of her; and they did so, and therewith she lost her life.1

[1. In the Prose Edda - Skaldskaparmal 50 the slaying of Swanhild is a spontaneous and sudden act on the part of the king. As he came back from hunting one day, there sat Swanhild washing her linen, and it came into the king's mind how that she was the cause of all his woe, so he and his men rode over her and slew her.--Tr.

* The chapter numbering has been skewed by one, this is Chapter 40 in the Old Norse.]


41. Kaptuli

Jrmunrekr hefir konungr heitit. Hann var rkr konungr ann tma. Hans sonr ht Randvr. Konungr heimtir tal son sinn ok mlti: " skalt fara mna sendifr til Jnakrs konungs ok minn rgjafi, er Bikki heitir. ar er upp fdd Svanhildr, dttir Sigurar Ffnisbana, er ek veit fegrsta mey undir heimslu. Hana vilda ek helzt eiga, ok hennar skaltu bija til handa mr."

Hann segir: "Skylt er at, herra, at ek fara yra sendifr."

Ltr n ba fer eira smiliga. Fara eir n, unz eir koma til Jnakrs konungs, sj Svanhildi, ykkir mikils um vert hennar frleik.

Randvr heimti konung tal ok mlti: "Jrmunrekr konungr vill bja yr mgi sitt. Hefir hann spurn til Svanhildar, ok vill hann kjsa hana sr til konu, ok er snt, at hn s gefin rkara manni en hann er."

Konungr segir, at at var viruligt r ok er hann mjk frgr.

Gurn segir: "Valt er hamingjunni at treystast, at eigi bresti hn."

En me fsing konungs ok llu v, er l, er etta n rit, ok ferr n Svanhildr til skips me viruligu fruneyti ok sat lyptingu hj konungs syni.

mlti Bikki til Randvs: "Sannligt vri at, at r tti sv fra konu, en eigi sv gamall mar."

Honum fellst at vel skap ok mlti til hennar me blu ok hvrt til annars; koma heim land ok hitta konung. Bikki mlti: "at samir, herra, at vita, hvat ttt er um, tt vant s upp at bera, en at er um vlar r, er sonr inn hefir fengit fulla st Svanhildar, ok er hn hans frilla, ok lt slkt eigi hegnt."

Mrg ill r hafi hann honum ur kennt, at etta biti fyrir of hans r ill. Konungr hlddi hans mrgum vndum rum. Hann mlti ok mtti eigi stilla sik af reii, at Randv skyldi taka ok glga festa.

Ok er hann var til leiddr glgans, tk hann hauk einn ok plokkai af honum allar fjarirnar ok mlti, at sna skyldi fer hans. Ok er konungrinn s, mlti hann: "ar m n sj, at honum ykkir ek ann veg hniginn smdinni sem haukrinn fjrunum", --

ok bir hann taka af glganum. Bikki hafi ar um vlt mean, ok var hann daur.

Enn mlti Bikki: "Engum manni ttu verri at vera en Svanhildi. Lt hana deyja me skmm."

Konungr svarar: "at r munu vr taka." San var hn bundin borgarhlii ok hleypt hestum at henni. En er hn br sundr augum, oru eigi hestarnir at sporna hana. Ok er Bikki s at, mlti hann, at belg skyldi draga hfu henni, ok sv var gert, en san lt hn lf sitt.


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