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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Eilífr Goðrúnarson, 1. Þórsdrápa, 21 [Vol. 3, 121]

[3, 4] undirfjalfrs bliku alfheims ‘of the low hiding-place of the gleam of the elf-world [SUN > CAVE]’: The only other attestation of fjalfr is in Þjóð Haustl 18/2, where it is also translated as ‘hiding-place’. It is possible that this noun is etymologically related to the strong verb fela ‘hide’. The present kenning, ‘low hiding-place of the sun’, can be interpreted in two different ways. The cave could be the hiding-place of the sun itself (i.e. the place where it stays during the night) or it could be a place to hide from the sun (Reichardt 1948, 390). The latter interpretation is supported by the fact that dwarfs and other mythical beings feared the sun because its rays could turn them to stone (for this motif, see Boberg 1966, 109 and Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 280-3). See also the adj. dagskjarr ‘daylight-shy’ (of a dwarf, Þjóð Yt 2/1I), as well as Alv 35 and HHj 30.


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