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.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Gestumblindi (Gestumbl)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Heiðreks gátur (Heiðr) - 37

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

Not published: do not cite (Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr))

stanzas:  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, 438

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

25 — Gestumbl Heiðr 25VIII (Heiðr 72)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 72 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 25)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 438.

Fara ek sá         foldar moldbúa;
        á sat nár á nái;
blindr reið blindum
        brimleiðar til;
        jór var andar vanr.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Ek sá moldbúa foldar fara; á sat nár á nái; blindr reið blindum til {brimleiðar}; jór var vanr andar. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

I saw a soil-dweller <snake> of the earth travelling; a corpse sat on a corpse; a blind thing rode on a blind thing to {the surf-way} [SEA]; the steed was lacking in breath. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 2845(71v), 281ˣ(100r), 597bˣ(50v), R715ˣ(29r) (ll. 1-6) (Heiðr); A(8r), W(110) (TGT, ll. 1-3)

Readings: [1] ek sá: so 597bˣ, A, W, ‘ek søg’ 2845, sá ek 281ˣ, er ek sá R715ˣ    [2] ‑búa: ‘‑kűa’ 281ˣ    [3] sat nár: so A, sat naðr 2845, 281ˣ, W, sat maðr 597bˣ, ‘satnadar’ R715ˣ;    nái: ná 281ˣ, 597bˣ, A, W, nú R715ˣ    [4] reið: at R715ˣ    [5] brim‑: brim‑ corrected from brun‑ in the margin in another hand 597bˣ, ‘Bun‑’ with bein‑ written above in another hand R715ˣ;    ‑leiðar: reiðar all;    til: ‘ofda’ with góð hestr written above in another hand R715ˣ    [6] jór: so all others, þá jór 2845;    var: er 281ˣ, 597bˣ;    vanr: vani 281ˣ, 597bˣ, vani apparently corrected from ‘var̄’ in another hand R715ˣ    [7-8] abbrev. as ‘h k’ 2845, abbrev. as ‘heid: kr’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h K:’ 597bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 11: AII, 223, BII, 242, Skald II, 125; Heiðr 1672, 150, FSN 1, 472, Heiðr 1873, 253, 337, Heiðr 1924, 66, 74, 137, FSGJ 2, 42, Heiðr 1960, 37 (Heiðr), TGT 1884, 31, 232, TGT 1927, 180, TGT 1998, 232 (TGT); Edd. Min. 115-16.

Context: In the H redaction, before propounding this riddle, Gestumblindi says, in response to Heiðrekr’s comment after the previous riddle (see Heiðr 72, Note to [All]) (Heiðr 1924, 73): tregr em ek þess, en þó væntir mik, at þar komi nú skjótt ‘I am reluctant for that [i.e. submitting to the judgement of the counsellors], but yet I expect that it will now come quickly’. In TGT, ll. 1-3 illustrate the figure of enigma, defined (TGT 1884, 114): Enigma ær myrkt sen vm leynda liking | lvtanna, sem her ‘Enigma is obscure sense on account of the hidden likeness of things, as here’. Following quotation of the riddle we are told (ibid.): þæskonar figvrv kǫllvm ver gátv, ok ær hon iafnan sett í skalldskap ‘this kind of figure we call gáta [‘riddle’], and it is always rendered in poetry’.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 37): þar fanntu hest dauðan á ísjaka ok orm dauðan á hestinum, ok rak þat allt saman eptir ánni ‘there you found a dead horse on an ice-floe and a dead snake on the horse, and all together that drifted along the river’ (the ms. reads ǫrn ‘eagle’ for orm ‘snake’, but this is clearly an error). The H redaction reaches the same solution in more words, but both appear to overinterpret the riddle: the jór ‘steed’ is the ice-floe, the means of conveyance for the moldbúi foldar ‘soil-dweller of the earth’, rather than a literal dead horse, and so ‘a dead serpent on an ice-floe’ solves the riddle by itself (Heiðr 1873, 358 n.). The U redaction offers (Heiðr 1924, 137): þar fanstu stein; hann mun hafa leigid i isiaka; steirn er molldbui; þetta muntu hafa rekid [emended to sied reka in Heiðr 1672, 150] allt samann a vatni; þar voru badir blindir og daudir ‘There you found a stone; it must have lain on an ice-floe; a stone is a soil-dweller; this you must have driven [‘seen driven’ with Verelius’ emendation] all together on the water; there were both the blind and the dead’. Though disappointingly mundane compared to the other redactions, this alternative admittedly addresses the description provided in the riddle. — [1] ek sá ‘I saw’: See Note to Heiðr 48/1-2 above. — [2] moldbúa foldar ‘a soil-dweller <snake> of the earth’: Moldbúi ‘soil-dweller’ is also found in Harð 8/3V, where it refers to a revenant inhabiting a mound, but cf. heiðbúi ‘heath-dweller’ and steinbúi ‘soil-dweller’ as snake-heiti in Þul Orma 3/4, 5III. Foldar ‘of the earth’ seems somewhat redundant in meaning. The phrase is kenning-like in structure but cannot be fitted into any known kenning pattern. The referent is taken as a stone rather than a snake in the U redaction: see Note to [All] above. — [3]: All mss have two instances of á ‘on’ in this line; the first is likely pleonastic. No other eds have emended or commented on the problem. — [3] nár ‘a corpse’: The reading of the TGT ms. A is clearly superior and preferred by most eds, the other mss’ naðr ‘snake’ is probably influenced by the solution, but retained in FSGJ. — [5] brimleiðar ‘the surf-way [SEA]’: All mss read ‑reiðar ‘chariot’; this cpd, a ship-kenning, is found in Sturl Hrafn 3/6II (and see Note), but makes no sense in the present context. Skj B and Skald also emend to ‑leiðar ‘way’, which cpd is found, with tmesis, in Sigv Knútdr 8/7, 8I. Edd. Min., FSGJ, Heiðr 1873 (253 and 358 n.) and Heiðr 1960 (37 and n. 3) retain ‑reiðar, the latter two citing the Old English poetic word brimrād ‘sea-road’ as a possible influence for the sense ‘sea’, which has to be what is meant. OE brimrād is only found in two instances in Andreas (ll. 1259 and 1585) (DOE), though there are other compounds in ‑rād with similar meaning, e.g. hranrād ‘whale-road, i.e. sea’, swanrād ‘swan-road, i.e. sea’ (DOE Corpus). The word reið ‘rode’ in l. 4 and the horse-imagery may have influenced the copying here.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated