Page:The Heimskringla; or, Chronicle of the Kings of Norway Vol 1.djvu/242

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Chapter XVI.
Of Vanland, Swegder's son.

"By Diurnir's[1] elfin race,
Who haunt the cliffs and shun day's face.
The valiant Swegdir was deceived,
The elf's false words the king believed.
The dauntless hero rushing on,
Passed through the yawning mouth of stone:
It yawned—it shut—the hero fell,
In Ssekmime's[2] hall, where giants dwell."

Vanland, Swegder's son, succeeded his father, and ruled over the Upsal domain. He was a great warrior, and went far around in different lands. Once he took up his winter abode in Finland with Snio the Old, and got his daughter Drisa in marriage; but in spring he set out leaving Drisa behind, and although he had promised to return within three years he did not come back for ten. Then Drisa sent a message to the witch Hulda; and sent Visbur, her son by Yanland, to Sweden. Drisa bribed the witch-wife Hulda, either that she should bewitch Yanland to return to Finland, or kill him. When this witch-work was going on Yanland was at Upsal, and a great desire came over him to go to Finland; but his friends and counsellors advised him against it, and said the witchcraft of the Fin people showed itself in this desire of his to go there. He then became very drowsy, and laid himself down to sleep; but when he had slept but a little while, he cried out, saying, "Mara[3] was treading upon him." His men hastened to him to help him; but when they took hold of his head she trod on his legs, and when they laid hold of his legs she pressed upon his head; and it was his death. The Swedes took his body and burnt it at a river called Skytaa, where a standing stone was raised over him. Thus says Thiodolf:—

  1. Diurnir, the second chief of the dwarfs or elves, in the Scandinavian mythology.
  2. Sækmimer—the giant of the rocks, whom Odin visited under the assumed name of Ividur.
  3. Mara, the nightmare. We retain the name, and the notion that it is a demon riding or treading on the sleeper.