Chapter 7 - Of the Birth of Sinfjotli the Son of Sigmund.

So on a tide it befell as Signy sat in her bower, that there came to her a witch-wife exceeding cunning, and Signy talked with her in such wise, "Fain am I," says she, "that we should change semblances together."

She says, "Even as thou wilt then."

And so by her wiles she brought it about that they changed semblances, and now the witch-wife sits in Signy's place according to her rede, and goes to bed by the king that night, and he knows not that he has other than Signy beside him.

But the tale tells of Signy, that she fared to the earthhouse of her brother, and prayed him give her harbouring for the night;

"For I have gone astray abroad in the woods, and know not whither I am going."

So he said she might abide, and that he would not refuse harbour to one lone woman, deeming that she would scarce pay back his good cheer by tale-bearing: so she came into the house, and they sat down to meat, and his eyes were often on her, and a goodly and fair woman she seemed to him; but when they are full, then he says to her, that he is right fain that they should have but one bed that night; she nowise turned away therefrom, and so for three nights together he laid her in bed by him.

Thereafter she fared home, and found the witch-wife and bade her change semblances again, and she did so.

Now as time wears, Signy brings forth a man-child, who was named Sinfjotli, and when he grew up he was both big and strong, and fair of face, and much like unto the kin of the Volsungs, and he was hardly yet ten winters old when she sent him to Sigmund's earth-house; but this trial she had made of her other sons or ever she had sent them to Sigmund, that she had sewed gloves on to their hands through flesh and skin, and they had borne it ill and cried out thereat; and this she now did to Sinfjotli, and he changed countenance in nowise thereat. Then she flayed off the kirtle so that the skin came off with the sleeves, and said that this would be torment enough for him; but he said--

"Full little would Volsung have felt such a smart this."

So the lad came to Sigmund, and Sigmund bade him knead their meal up, while he goes to fetch firing; so he gave him the meal-sack, and then went after the wood, and by then he came back had Sinfjotli made an end of his baking. Then asked Sigmund if he had found nothing in the meal.

"I misdoubted me that there was something quick in the meal when I first fell to kneading of it, but I have kneaded it all up together, both the meal and that which was therein, whatsoever it was."

Then Sigmund laughed out, he said--

"Naught wilt thou eat of this bread to-night, for the most deadly of worms1 hast thou kneaded up therewith."

Now Sigmund was so mighty a man that he might eat venom and have no hurt therefrom; but Sinfjotli might abide whatso venom came on the outside of him, but might neither eat nor drink thereof.

[1. Serpents.]


7. Kaptuli

ess er n vi getit eitthvert sinn, er Sign sat skemmu sinni, at ar kom til hennar ein seikona fjlkunnig harla mjk. talar Sign vi hana: "at vilda ek," segir hn, "at vit skiptum hmum."

Hn segir seikonan: " skalt fyrir ra."

Ok n gerir hn sv af snum brgum, at r skipta litum, ok sezt seikonan n rm Signjar at ri hennar ok ferr rekkju hj konungi um kveldit, ok ekki finnr hann, at eigi s Sign hj honum.

N er at fr Signju at segja, at hn ferr til jarhss brur sns ok bir hann veita sr herbergi um nttina,

"v at ek hefi villzt skginum ti, ok veit ek eigi, hvar ek fer."

Hann mlti, at hn skyldi ar vera, ok vildi eigi synja henni vistar, einni konu, ok ttist vita, at eigi mundi hn sv launa honum gan beina at segja til hans. N ferr hn herbergi til hans, ok setjast til matar. Honum var opt litit til hennar ok lzt konan vn ok fr. En er au eru mett, segir hann henni, at hann vill, at au hafi eina rekkju um nttina, en hn brzt ekki vi v, ok leggr hann hana hj sr rjr ntr samt.

Eptir at ferr hn heim ok hittir seikonuna ok ba, at r skipti aptr litum, ok sv gerir hn.

Ok er fram liu stundir, fir Sign sveinbarn. Sj sveinn var Sinfjtli kallar. Ok er hann vex upp, er hann bi mikill ok sterkr ok vnn at liti ok mjk tt Vlsunga ok er eigi allra tu vetra, er hn sendir hann jarhsit til Sigmundar. Hn hafi raun gert vi ina fyrri sonu sna, r hn sendi til Sigmundar, at hn saumai at hndum eim me holdi ok skinni. eir oldu illa ok kriktu um. Ok sv geri hn Sinfjtla. Hann brst ekki vi. Hn fl hann af kyrtlinum, sv at skinnit fylgdi ermunum. Hn kva honum mundu srt vi vera. Hann segir:

"Ltit mundi slkt srt ykkja Vlsungi."

Ok n kemr sveinninn til Sigmundar. ba Sigmundr hann knoa r mjli eira, en hann vill skja eim eldivi, fr hnd honum einn belg. San ferr hann at viinum. Ok er hann kom aptr, hafi Sinfjtli lokit at baka. spuri Sigmundr, ef hann hafi nokkut fundit mjlinu.

"Eigi er mr grunlaust," sagi hann, "at eigi hafi verit nokkut kykt mjlinu, fyrst er ek tk at knoa, ok hr hefi ek me knoat at, er var."

mlti Sigmundr ok hl vi:

"Eigi get ek ik hafa mat af essu braui kveld, v at ar hefir knoat me inn mesta eitrorm."

Sigmundr var sv mikill fyrir sr, at hann mtti eta eitr, sv at hann skaai ekki, en Sinfjtla hlddi at, at eitr kmi utan hann, en eigi hlddi honum at eta at n drekka.


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