Poetic Edda/Guðrúnarkviða III

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Atli had a serving-woman named Herkja, who had been his concubine. She informed Atli that she had seen Tjodrek and Gudrun together; whereat Atli was much afflicted. Then Gudrun said:

1. «What ails thee ever, Atli!
Budle's son!
Hast thou sorrow in thy heart?
Why never laughest thou?
To thy earls it would
seem more desirable,
that thou with men wouldst talk,
and on me wouldst look.»

2. ATLI:
«It grieves me, Gudrun!
Gjuki's daughter!
That in my palace here,
Herkja has said,
that thou and Tjodrek
have under one covering slept,
and wantonly been
in the linen wrapt.»

«For all this charge
I will give my oaths
by the white sacred stone,
that with me
and Tjodrek
nothing has passed,
which to man
and wife only belongs;

4. Save that I embraced
the prince of armies,
the honoured king,
a single time.
Other were
our cogitations,
when sorrowful
we two sat to converse.

5. Hither came Tjodrek,
with thirty warriors;
now there lives not
one of those thirty men.
Surround me with thy brothers,
and with mailed warriors;
surround me with all
thy noblest kinsmen.

6. Send to Shears
the Southmen's king;
he can hallow
the boiling cauldron.»

7. Seven hundred men
entered the hall,
ere in the cauldron
the queen dipt her hand.

«Now Gunnar comes not,
nor call I Hogni:
I shall not see again
my loved brothers:
with his sword would Hogni
such wrong avenge:
now I must myself
purify from crime.»

9. She to the bottom,
plunged her snow-white hand,
and up she drew
the precious stones.
«See now, ye men!
I am proved guiltless
in holy wise,
boil the vessel as it may.»

10. Laughed then Atli's
heart within his breast,
when he unscathed beheld
the hand of Gudrun.
«Now must Herkja
to the cauldron go,
she who Gudrun
had hoped to injure.»

11. No one has misery
seen who saw not that,
how the hand there
of Herkja was burnt.
They then the woman
led to a foul slough.
So were Gudrun's
wrongs avenged.