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Ketill hœngr (Keth)

volume 8; ed. Beatrice La Farge;

VIII. Lausavísur (Lv) - 23

Lausavísur — Keth LvVIII (Ket)

Beatrice La Farge (forthcoming), ‘ Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 17 May 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23 

SkP info: VIII, 563

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Keth Lv 8VIII (Ket 13)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Ketils saga hœngs 13 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur 8)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 563.

Ketill travels by ship with his son Grímr to Finnmark to visit Grímr’s mother Hrafnhildr and her father Brúni. One day when Grímr has been sent to fetch water he meets a troll by a river, who curses him and attempts to capture him. Ketill puts the troll to flight by speaking this stanza, which is in ljóðaháttr.

Hvat er þat býsna,
er ek á bjargi
ok gapir eldi yfir?
Búsifjar okkrar
hygg ek batna munu;
líttu á ljóðvega.


What terrible thing is that which I see on the mountain and which gapes over the fire? I think that the neighbourly relationship between us will become better; move [off] on the thoroughfares.

context: The stanza is introduced by the words: Ketill fór þá til móts við tröllit ok kvað vísu ‘Then Ketill went to meet the troll and spoke a stanza’.

notes: A stanza of this kind is often the beginning of a hostile verbal exchange, like that between Forað and Ketill (cf. Ket 16-27), but here no other stanzas from the encounter have been recorded. — [1-3]: The saga mentions that Ketill meets the troll near a river by a mountain, a typical environment for a troll or giant; cf. Hym 2, Grott 10 and Note to GrL 2/2, 4. The clause ‘and gapes over the fire’ may be an allusion to the sooty colour of the troll’s face (cf. the episode in StSt ch. 16, FSGJ 3, 136). In ch. 2 of the saga Ketill finds some giants sitting by a fire in a cave (FSGJ 2, 157). In GrL ch. 1 the hero, Ketill’s son Grímr, finds two giants tending a fire in a cave (FSGJ 2, 189; cf. GunnK ch. 6, ÍF 14, 360; further examples in Schulz 2004, 286-8). — [4-6]: The logical connection between the sentence Ek hygg búsifjar okkrar munu batna ‘I think that the neighbourly relationship between us two will become better’ and the command líttu ‘move [off]’ (cf. Note to l. 6 below) is evidently the following: ‘I think that things will become better between us: disappear!’ or ‘things will be better between us if you disappear’. In 471 the enclitic negative particle ‑at is added to the verb (and enclitic pron. ek) in ll. 4-5: Búsifjar okkrar | hykkat batna munu ‘I don’t think that our neighbourly relationship will become better’, and this is the reading that previous eds have preferred. Other mss (1006ˣ, 342ˣ) express the same thought in a slightly different manner: okkr hugða ek | ei muni batna | víst vinatta ‘I certainly thought that our friendship will not improve’.

texts: Ket 13

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 8. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ketill hœngs saga III (AII, 281; BII, 303); Skald II, 160, NN §2391, FF §45; FSN 2, 125, FSGJ 2, 167, Anderson 1990, 51, 96, 437; Edd. Min. 95.


AM 343 a 4° (343a) 56r, 33 - 56r, 34 (Ket)  image  
AM 471 4° (471) 53r - 53r (Ket)  image  
AM 173 folx (173x) 7r, 17 - 7r, 24 (Ket)  transcr.  
AM 340 4°x (340x) 14, 18 - 14, 20 (GrL)  transcr.  image  
AM 342 4°x (342x) 71r, 28 - 71r, 30 (Ket)  image  
AM 552 q 4°x (552qx) 6r, 8 - 6r, 9 (Ket)  image  
AM 109 a II 8°x (109a IIx) 158v, 28 - 159r, 2 (Ket)  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated