This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Gestumblindi (Gestumbl)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Heiðreks gátur (Heiðr) - 37

not in Skj

Heiðreks gátur (‘Riddles of Heiðrekr’) — Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr)

Not published: do not cite (Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr))

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37 

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: D. 5. Heiðreks gátur, Gestumblindes gåder (AII, 221-8, BII, 240-7); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38

SkP info: VIII, 429

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Gestumbl Heiðr 18VIII (Heiðr 65)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 65 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 18)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 429.

Hverjar eru þær rýgjar         á reginfjalli,
        elr við kván kona?
Mær við meyju
        mög um getr,
        ok eigut þær varðir vera.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hverjar eru þær rýgjar á reginfjalli, kona elr við kván? Mær um getr mög við meyju, ok þær varðir eigut vera. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

Who are those women on the mighty mountain, woman begets with woman? A girl begets a son with a girl, and those women do not have husbands. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 2845(71r), 281ˣ(100r), 597bˣ(50r), R715ˣ(27v) (ll. 1-2, 5-6) (Heiðr)

Readings: [1] rýgjar: ‘Ryger’ 281ˣ, ‘Rygier’ 597bˣ, ‘eygar’ corrected from ‘ey(?)i[…]’ in the hand of JR R715ˣ    [3] kona: ‘kvona’ 597bˣ    [4] Mær: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, þar 2845;    við: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, til 2845;    meyju: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, er 2845    [5] um: om. R715ˣ;    getr: ‘gietur of gonn’ corrected from ‘gietur yfir garn’ in the hand of JR R715ˣ    [6] ok: kvenna R715ˣ;    eigut: eigi 281ˣ, 597bˣ, eigur R715ˣ;    þær: þær þess 281ˣ, 597bˣ, þat R715ˣ;    vera: at vera 281ˣ, 597bˣ    [7-8] abbrev. as ‘h kr h’ 2845, abbrev. as ‘heidr: kr:’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h: K:’ 597bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 10: AII, 223, BII, 242, Skald II, 125; Heiðr 1672, 146, FSN 1, 471, Heiðr 1873, 248-9, 337, Heiðr 1924, 65, 70, 133-4, FSGJ 2, 42, Heiðr 1960, 36; Edd. Min. 113.

Context: In the H redaction, before propounding the riddle Gestumblindi says (Heiðr 1924, 70): liðar verðr sá at leita, er lítit sax hefir ok mjǫk er fáfróðr, ok vilda ek enn tala fleira, eða … ‘He who has a small short-sword and is very short of knowledge must seek the joint, but I would like to speak yet more, so …’. (A similar proverb occurs in Saxo 2015, I, v. 3. 12, pp. 284-5). The implication is that Gestumblindi/Óðinn could seek the easiest way out, i.e. by propounding his unanswerable question (Heiðr 84), but that he is enjoying the contest and intends to prolong it.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 36): þat eru hvannir tvær ok hvannarkálfr á milli þeira ‘That is two angelicas and a young angelica [lit. angelica-calf] between them’. Two species of angelica are native to Iceland: garden angelica (angelica archangelica) and wild angelica (angelica sylvestris/sylvatica). It was traditionally an important food and medicinal plant in Iceland and elsewhere in Scandinavia: on historical uses and for other references in Old Norse texts see Fosså (2006) and Guðrún P. Helgadóttir (1981). — [1] hverjar eru þær … ‘who are those …’: This opening formula, followed by a word meaning ‘women’ or similar, appears in the following six riddles, Gestumbl Heiðr 19-24 (Heiðr 66-71). — [1] rýgjar ‘women’: Plays with alternate meanings of the word: ‘women’ and ‘giantesses’ (LP: rýgr). Together with the reginfjalli ‘mighty mountain’ of l. 2, this creates two layers of imagery: both of angelica growing wild and of giantesses in their traditional dwelling-place. — [2] reginfjalli ‘mighty mountain’: A hap. leg. as a cpd. — [4-5]: Angelica’s main method of reproduction is seeding; plants can self-seed (Garland 2004, 31). Vegetative reproduction of the various sub-species of angelica is not well-documented in modern sources, but there is substantial evidence that the plant will produce off-shoots in or after its second year, especially if it is cut back (e.g. Ojala 1985, 193; Grieve 1931; Garland 2004, 31-2; Small 2006, 164-5), perhaps particularly in cooler climates (Vashistha et al. 2009, 76; Billings 1974, 434). This latter habit seems to be what is meant by the imagery of the riddle and the solution. — [5]: The H-redaction reading is clearly superior here, metrically as well as in terms of effect, to 2845’s þar til er ‘until’. — [6]: The same line is found in Heiðr 68/6, where the solution is ‘waves’. — [6] varðir (nom. sg. vǫrð) ‘women’: Poetic word (ONP: vǫrð).

© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.