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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson (FriðÞ)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 33

not in Skj

Lausavísur — FriðÞ LvVIII (Frið)

Not published: do not cite (FriðÞ LvVIII (Frið))

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SkP info: VIII, 213

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — FriðÞ Lv 14VIII (Frið 16)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 16 (Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson, Lausavísur 14)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 213.

Sé ek trollkonur         tvær á báru;
þær hefir Helgi         hingat sendar.
Þeim skal sníða         sundr í miðju
hrygg Elliði,         áðr af hafi skríði.

Ek sé tvær trollkonur á báru; Helgi hefir sendar þær hingat. Elliði skal sníða þeim hrygg sundr í miðju, áðr skríði af hafi.

I see two troll-women on the wave; Helgi has sent them hither. Elliði must slice their spines asunder in the middle, before he glides from the ocean.

Mss: 510(93v), 568ˣ(100v), 27ˣ(135v), papp17ˣ(359v), 109a IIˣ(148r), 1006ˣ(585-586), 173ˣ(86v) (Frið)

Readings: [2] á báru: ‘a Ba[…]’ 568ˣ    [3] þær hefir: ‘[…]’ 568ˣ    [5] sníða: sigla 27ˣ    [7] hrygg: hryggs 109a IIˣ, 173ˣ;    Elliði: ‘E[…]’ 568ˣ    [8] áðr: ‘[…]’ 568ˣ, áðr enn 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ;    af hafi: ‘[…]f hafe’ 568ˣ, ‘af fer’ papp17ˣ, ‘af fǫr’ 109a IIˣ, 173ˣ, ‘af fór’ 1006ˣ;    skríði: skríðr papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 7. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Friðþjófssaga ens frækna I 15: AII, 273, BII, 295, Skald II, 155; Falk 1890, 76, Frið 1893, 17, 47, 72-3, Frið 1901, 26, Frið 1914, 16; Edd. Min. 99.

Context: The ship does not founder, as Friðþjófr expected, but enters a murky stretch of ocean where it is impossible to see the way forward. Friðþjófr climbs the mast and spies a huge whale circling the ship, preventing it from making land; he interprets this phenomenon as a product of Helgi’s sorcery and says that he can also see two women riding on the whale’s back. He directs the ship to be steered towards them aggressively and recites Frið 16.

Notes: [All]: This fornyrðislag stanza is in both redactions, though 568ˣ contains several lacunae. The motif of hostile troll-women attacking the hero’s ship is paralleled in other fornaldarsögur, like Ket and GrL. See particularly GrL 1-5, a dialogue between Grímr loðinkinni ‘Hairy-cheek’ and the troll-women Feima and Kleima. In all these instances, the level of physical aggression expressed by the hero towards the troll-women is very high. In this stanza agonistic agency is, however, attributed to the ship Elliði, rather than the speaker of the stanza, Friðþjófr, and Frið 17, extant only in the B mss, elaborates this motif. — [5-7] Elliði skal sníða þeim hrygg sundr í miðju ‘Elliði must slice their spines asunder in the middle’: Miðju is here a substantivised adj., with þeim either a possessive dat. or the dat. pl. of the 3rd pers. pronoun, while hrygg (acc.) is the object of sníða. This means of destroying troll-women or giantesses, by breaking their backbones, is attributed to the god Þórr in the myth of his dealings with the giant Geirrøðr and his daughters Gjálp and Greip, both in Snorri Sturluson’s prose narrative (SnE 1998, I, 25) and in Eil Þdr 15/7-8III, where the kenning hundfornan kjǫl hlátr-Elliða ‘the age-old keel of laughter-Elliði <ship> [BREAST > BACK]’ may allude to this incident of Elliði’s destruction of the two troll-women by slicing through their backbones. Alternatively, elliði may simply be a ship-heiti in Eil Þdr 15, as presented in Þdr 15/7-8III and Note to ll. 7, 8, without specific reference to the Frið legend.

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