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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 39VIII (Bret 39) l. 3

fær — the sheep


fær (noun n.): sheep < færtǫpuðr (noun m.): [sheep-destroyer]



[3] færtǫpuðr ‘the sheep-destroyer [FOX]’: This is the hitherto unrecognised reading of Hb. With this kenning cf. II 28/8 týnir sauða ‘that destroyer of sheep [FOX]’ and Note there. For the agentive tǫpuðr see LP: tǫpuðr; Gunnlaugr uses its formative verb, tapa ‘kill’, in reference to the fox in II 28/7. Earlier eds read the ms. at this point as þær (or þar) jǫfuðr. Bret 1848-9 adopts þar jǫfuðr, translating the line as der tænker han ‘there he thinks’, which indicates that jǫfuðr is regarded as a heiti for ‘king’, like jǫfurr. Skj B and NN §2163G (cf. Skald) emend to þar fóa ‘there the vixen’ and þar jǫfurr (‘there the ruler’) respectively. Additionally NN §2163G (cf. Skald) transposes the word order in l. 4 in order to maintain correct alliteration. Merl 2012 proposes lofuðr ‘praised’, i.e. ‘the leader’, but without any supporting attestations for such a usage.



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