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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur, 15 [Vol. 2, 592-3]

[2] meldrs Fróða ‘the meal of Fróði <legendary king> [GOLD]’: This refers to the story of the magic quern Grotti, which grinds out gold for the legendary Dan. king Fróði (SnE 1998, I, 51-8). Here, meldr refers to the product of grinding (‘meal, flour’), but more commonly means ‘the act of grinding’ in OIcel. (cf. SnSt Ht 43III; SnE 1998, I, 53, 57) and indeed the kenning often includes the name of one of the slave-women who did the grinding (e.g. meldr Fenju ‘Fenja’s flour’ in ESk Øxfl 6/6, 7III). Since the whole point of the story is that King Fróði had slaves to do his grinding, meldr must have the meaning ‘meal, flour’ here. This meaning is also found in the dialects of Faroe, Shetland and Orkney and it may be evidence of non-Icel. usage here. The more usual form of this kenning is mjǫl Fróða  ‘Fróði’s meal’ (e.g. Egill Hfl 17/8V).


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