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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 18 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, 566

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Keth Lv 11VIII (Ket 16)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Ketils saga hœngs 16 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur 11)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 566.

The following twelve stanzas in ljóðaháttr and fornyrðislag (or málaháttr) comprise a senna between Ketill hœngr and a troll-woman (trollkona) named Forað, whom he meets while on a fishing expedition during a famine which has taken hold in the region of Hrafnista where he lives. According to the prose text Ketill sees the woman on a headland, where she has just come from the sea, and is as black as pitch. She glotti í móti sólu ‘grinned scornfully in the face of the sun’. The troll-woman’s name means literally ‘an inaccessible place’ or ‘a place that one cannot manage to escape from’, hence ‘danger, dangerous creature’ (LP: forað). The episode has a fairly close parallel in GrL ch. 1 (GrL 1-5).

Hvat er þat flagða,
er ek á fornu nesi?
At uppiverandi sólu,
er ek hefik önga eina
leiðiligri litit.


What kind of ogress is that, whom I saw on the ancient headland? I have seen not a single one more ugly while the sun is up.

context: The stanza is introduced by the words: Ketill kvað vísu ‘Ketill spoke a stanza’.

notes: This stanza has a close parallel in GrL 1: the hero addresses the giantess or troll-woman, describes her rocky environment and says she is the ugliest thing he has ever seen. In 343a and 340ˣ this stanza consists of two long-lines and a full-line without a caesura; in 471 the stanza is entirely in ljóðaháttr, since ll. 1-2 are followed by the additional line ok glottir við guma ‘and grins at the man’, i.e. ‘at me’. Previous eds have printed the stanza with this line. In other mss the stanza is entirely in fornyrðislag and the wording of ll. 3-8 is very different from that in 343a, 471 and 340ˣ (for a text, see Edd. Min. 80 n.). In these lines the giantess is not merely described as ‘ugly’; she is said to have ‘black eyes’. On the ugliness of giants see Schulz (2004, 147-53).

texts: Ket 16

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 8. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ketill hœngs saga V 1 (AII, 282; BII, 303); Skald II, 160-1, NN §2391; FSN 2, 127, FSGJ 2, 169, Anderson 1990, 52, 98, 438; Edd. Min. 80.


AM 343 a 4° (343a) 56v, 15 - 56v, 16 (Ket)  image  
AM 471 4° (471) 53v - 53v (Ket)  image  
AM 173 folx (173x) 8r, 12 - 8r, 19 (Ket)  transcr.  
AM 340 4°x (340x) 16, 7 - 16, 9 (GrL)  transcr.  image  
AM 342 4°x (342x) 72r, 3 - 72r, 5 (Ket)  image  
AM 552 q 4°x (552qx) 6v, 13 - 6v, 15 (Ket)  image  
AM 109 a II 8°x (109a IIx) 159v, 11 - 159v, 13 (Ket)  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated