Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/9
9 (K-D 83)
Ancient my lineage . . . . .
I lived in towns after the keeper of fire
. . . . . encircled with flame
purified by fire. Now earth’s brother,
an enemy, guards me, who was first for me
a bringer of sorrow. Full well I remember
who in the beginning drove my lineage,
destroyed all the world. I may do him no harm,
but I raise up captivity from time to time,
the wide world over. I have many glories,10
no little strength in all the land,
but I must conceal from every man
the secret power of precious skill
and the path I follow. Tell what my name is.
The text is uncommonly difficult, as though the author tried too hard to be “poetical.” The answer must be Metal in some form: ore, gold, money. The keeper of the fire is Tubal Cain (Gen. 4:22).