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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Poems, 2. Gátur, 1 [Vol. 3, 632]

[6] buðlung Dana ‘king of Danes’: I.e. Skjǫldungr (so Skj B), one of the Skjǫldungar, the Danish royal dynasty. Tradition traces the line back to Óðinn. A skjǫldungr is also a sheldrake or shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, named among the heiti for birds in Þul Fugla 3/8. SnE 1848 gives the solution kráka ‘crow’, perhaps, although the homonym is not exact, in reference to Hrólfr kraki ‘Pole-ladder’, a legendary Danish king. It is not clear where this solution is taken from, as 743ˣ is not annotated here and 1562ˣ gives hœnir, i.e. hœnur ‘hens’ (Fritzner: hœna). Hœnir was one of the Æsir (see e.g. Simek 1993, 156), and some scholars have suggested he may have been able to take the form of a bird (e.g. Turville-Petre 1964, 141-2 and 142 n. 34; see Note to Þjóð Haustl 4/2), but there is no reason he should be particularly associated with the Danes.


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