Poetic Edda/Völundarkviða

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Poetic Edda
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Völundarkviða

Nidud was a king in Svitjod named: he had two sons and a daughter named Bodvild. There were three brothers, sons of the king of Finns; Slagfinn, Egil, and the third Völund; they went hunting skiing. They came to Wolfdales, and there made themselves a house, where there is a water called Wolfsea. Early one morning they found on the border of the lake three females sitting and spinning flax. Near them lay their swanplumages: they were valkyries. Two of them, Ladgunn swanwhite and Hervor Alvit, were daughters of King Lodve; the third was Olrun, a daughter of Kiar of Valland. They took them home with them to their dwelling. Egil had Olrun, Slagfinn Swanwhite, and Völund Alvit. They lived there seven years, when they flew away seeking conflicts, and did not return. Egil then went on snowshoes in search of Olrun, and Slagfinn in search of Swanwhite, but Völund remained in Wolfdales. He was a most skilful man, as we learn from old traditions. King Nidud ordered him to be seized, so as it is here related.

1. Women flew north
through the Darkwood forest,
- Alvit the young -
destiny to fulfil.
On the lake's margin
they sat to' repose,
the southern damsels;
precious flax they spun.

2. One of them
Egil clasped,
the fair white maid,
in his arms.
Swanwhite was the second,
she a swan's plumage bore,
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
but the third,
their sister,
the whiteneck
clasped of Völund.

3. There they stayed
seven winters through;
but all the eighth
were with longing seized;
and in the ninth
fate parted them.
The maidens yearned
for the dark forest,
the young Alvit,
destiny to fulfil.

4. Comes from the forest
sharp-sighted marksmen,
Slagfinn and Egil,
found their house deserted,
went out and in,
and looked around.
Egil went east
after Olrun,
and Slagfinn south
after Swanwhite;

5. But Völund
remained in Wolfdale.
He rap the red gold
around the glimmer rocks,
ring after ring
he lay out with cord,
and so awaited
his bright consort,
if to him
she would return.

6. Then ask Nidud,
the king from Njar,
that Völund
remained in Wolfdale;
in the night went edges,
in studded corslets;
their shields glistened
in the waning moon.

7. From their saddles they alighted
at the house's gable,
thence went in
through the hall.
See they bow's
on bass rope drawn,
seven hundred,
which the warrior owned.

8. Rings they took off,
and they put them on,
only one of them
they bore away.
Comes from the forest
sharp-sighted marksman,
Völund, suffering
on the long way.

9. To the fire he went,
bear's flesh to roast,
a fire was burning
with dry out pinewood,
a sparkling fire,
for Völund.

10. Sat on bearskin,
his bows counted,
the elf king;
one was missing.
He thought
that Lodve's daughter,
the young Alvit,
was returned.

11. Long he sat,
until he slept;
and he awoke
of joy bereft:
on his hands
he felt heavy constraints,
and round his feet
fetters clasped.

12. VÖLUND:
«Who is the man
taken me by force,
and with bass rope
me have bond?»

13. Say then Nidud
the king of Njars:
«What did you get, Völund,
wise elf!
on our property in Wolfdale?»

14. VÖLUND:
«No gold was there
in Spruce's path.
Long way from our land
to Rhine hills there is.
I mind me that we more
treasures possessed,
when, a whole family,
we were at home.

15. Ladgunn and Hervor,
children of Lodve,
only was Olrun Kiar's daughter.»

16. [Outside stand the wise
wife of Nidud
and] she entered
into the hall,
stood on the floor,
her voice moderated:
«He is not mirthful,
the man now.»

King Nidud gave to his daughter Bodvild the goldring, which had been taken from the bass of Völund; but he himself bore the sword that Völund owned, the queen say:

17. «Evil is his eye's
as the raging snake;
his teeth he shows,
when the sword he sees,
and he Bodvild's
bow may see.
Sinew and limb,
they cut him,
and set him then
in Seaplace.

Then it was done; sinew in his knee they cut, and then set on a small island near the shore of a land, called Seaplace. He there forged for the king all kinds of animal traps. No one was allowed to go to him, except the king.

18. VÖLUND:
«Shines Nidud's
sword in his belt,
which I whetted
as I could best,
and tempered,
as seemed to me most cunningly;
that bright blade forever
is taken away from me:
never shall I see it borne
into Völund's smithy.

19. Now Bodvild
have the brides ring,
for the red bows
I get no indemnity.»

20. He sat and never slept,
and his hammer plied;
good lay-words
he for Nidud crafted.
Drifting young boys
come to his door,
sons of Nidud
in Seaplace.

21. To a chest they came,
for the keys asked;
then was ill faith made
when therein they looked.
Full of wisdom craft there was;
the boy's believed they see
the red gold
and the glimmer-rocks.

22. VÖLUND:
«Come ye two alone,
to-morrow come!
then the gold shall
be given to you;
tell it not to the maidens,
nor to the household folk,
nor to any one,
that ye have been with me.»

23. Early called
one the other,
brother, brother:
«Let us go see the rings!»
To the chest they came,
for the keys asked;
manifest was their grudge,
when therein they looked.

24. Of those children
he the heads cut off,
the feet's he throw
into the forge-fire;
their skulls
beneath the hair
he in silver set,
and to Nidud gave.

25. And of their eyes
glimmer-rocks,
sent he to the wise
wife of Nidud;
of the teeth
he then made
breast ornament,
and to Bodvild sent.

26. Bodvild may give
praise to the bow,
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
[to Völund brought it,]
when broken it was:
I dare to no tell it,
save alone to thee.

27. VÖLUND:
I will so repair
the fractured gold,
that to thy father
it shall fairer seem,
and to thy mother
much more beautiful,
and to thyself,
in the same degree.»

28. He then
brought her beer,
went to here bed;
she fell asleep.
«Now avenged I have
all my harm,
all except one,
on ill men.»

29. «Select me!» said Völund;
«I did not become foot-loose
when my sinew was cut
by Nidud men.»
Laughing Völund
rose in air,
weeping was Bodvild
from the isle departed,
regretful she went,
rode to her father.

30. Outside stand the wise
wife of Nidud
walked she all the way
along the hall
- he on the enclosure
sat down to rest -:
«Art thou awake, Nidud,
the king of Njars?»

31. NIDUD:
«Ever am I awake,
joyless; I lie to rest,
when I call to mind
my children's death.
My head is chilled,
cold advice you have.
Now I only want
to Völund find.

32. Listen! Völund,
wise elf!
where is my
brave boys?»

33. VÖLUND:
«Oaths shalt thou first
to me swear,
by board of ship,
by rim of shield,
by shoulder of steed,
by edge of sword,
thou wilt no ill
to Völund wife,
nor yet my bride
to her death wilt bring,
a wife I should have
that well thou knowest,
a child I should have
within thy hall.

34. To the smithy go,
which you have made,
there will you the bellows find
with blood besprinkled.
The heads I cut
of thy boys,
and under the prison's mien
laid their bodies.

35. But their skulls
beneath the hair
I in silver set,
and to Nidud gave;
and of their eyes
precious stones
which to Nidud's
wily wife I sent.

36. Of the teeth
of the two
breast ornaments I made,
and to Bodvild sent;
now Bodvild
goes big with child,
the only daughter of you both.»

37. NIDUD:
«Word didst thou never
speak that more afflicted me,
or for which I would punish thee, Völund!
There is no man so tall
that he from thy horse can take thee,
or so skilful
that he can shoot thee down,
thence where thou floatest
up in the sky.»

38. Laughing Völund
rose in air,
but Nidud sad
remained sitting.

39. NIDUD:
«Rise up Thakkrath,
my best of slaves!
Bid Bodvild,
my fair-browed daughter,
in bright attire come,
with her sire to speak.

40. Is it, Bodvild!
True what has been told to me:
that thou and Völund
in the isle together sat?»

41. Bodvild:
«True it is, Nidud!
What has been told to thee,
that Völund and I
in the isle together sat,
in an unlucky hour:
would it had never been!
I could not
against him strive;
I might not
against him prevail.»