Cite as: Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 6 (Marmennill, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 310.
seven stanzas or part-stanzas comprise the prophetic utterances of a marmendill or marmennill ‘merman’, who is fished up
from the sea by two fishermen and forced to predict King Hjǫrleifr’s
fishermen called Handir and Hrindir catch a merman (marmendill) and bring him to King Hjǫrleifr, who entrusts him to
the care of one of the women at his court. One night, when the lights had been put
wife Hildr prods her co-wife Æsa with a horn. The king slaps Hildr, but Æsa says
it is the dog’s fault, so he strikes the dog. The merman laughs, and, when asked
by the king why he is laughing, he replies that the king has acted foolishly,
as the two he has slapped would save his life. The king asks more questions, but the merman
gives no answer. Then the king says he will take him back to sea and asks the merman
to tell him what he needs to know. The stanza is introduced by the words: Hann kvað, er hann fór til sjóvar … ‘He said, when he went to the sea …’.
notes: The motif of the laughing sage is attested in a number of folklore sources (see Boberg 1966, 69 (D1318.2.1); Davíð Erlingsson 1980). Davíð Erlingsson (1980) finds both this and the motif of the otherworld spirit that pollutes waterways in Irish sources about the dealings of the hero Fergus mac Léite with the elf-people.
texts: ‹Hálf 6›
editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 6. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hálfssaga IV 1 (AII, 257; BII, 277); Skald II, 145; Hálf 1864, 9-10, Hálf 1909, 83, FSGJ 2, 102, Hálf 1981, 112, 174; Edd. Min. 90-1.