Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 59 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 12)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 422.
|Hvat er þat undra, er ek úti sá
fyrir Dellings durum?
Tíu hefir tungur,
| tuttugu augu, |
fjóra tigu fóta; fram líðr sú vættr.
Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
Hvat undra er þat, er ek sá úti fyrir durum Dellings? Hefir tíu tungur, tuttugu augu, fjóra tigu fóta; sú vættr líðr fram. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
What is the wonder that I saw outside before Dellingr’s doors? It has ten tongues, twenty eyes, forty feet; that creature moves forward. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.
Mss: 2845(72r), 281ˣ(99v), 597bˣ(49v), R715ˣ(29v) (ll. 1-6) (Heiðr)
Readings: [1, 2] undra er ek: undra er ek inserted in the margin in another hand 597bˣ  sá: sá inserted in the margin in another hand 597bˣ  abbrev. as ‘fi d d’ 2845, abbrev. as ‘fi dóg dÿrū’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘fyrr d: d·’ 597bˣ, abbrev. as ‘f dillīg dÿrū’ R715ˣ  hefir: hafði R715ˣ  fram: ferr 281ˣ, 597bˣ; líðr: hart 281ˣ, 597bˣ, gengr R715ˣ; sú: ‘so’ R715ˣ; vættr: ‘v̄tur’ R715ˣ [7-8] abbrev. as ‘heidr k̄ h ɢ’ 2845 [8-9] abbrev. as ‘heid: k. h.’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘hc: K h:’ 597bˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 26: AII, 226, BII, 245, Skald II, 127; Heiðr 1672, 151, FSN 1, 485, Heiðr 1873, 244, 342, Heiðr 1924, 66, 80, 139, FSGJ 2, 48-9, Heiðr 1960, 43; Edd. Min. 110.
Context: In the H redaction, before propounding the riddle, Gestumblindi says (Heiðr 1924, 65-6): frest eru bǫls bezt, en margr maðr vill at meira leita ok séz því sumum yfir; sé ek nú ok, at allra útfœra verðr at leita ‘delays are the best of misfortunes, but many a man wishes to seek more and because of this some make mistakes; I also see now that all escape routes must be tried’.
Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr replies (Heiðr 1960, 43): Ef þú ert sá Gestumblindi, sem ek hugða, þá ertu vitrari en ek ætlaða; en frá gyltinni segir þú nú úti í garðinum ‘If you are the Gestumblindi I thought [you were], then you are wiser than I expected; but you speak now of the sow out in the yard’. The prose then adds (Heiðr 1960, 43): Þá lét konungr drepa gyltina, ok hafði hon níu grísi, sem Gestumblindi sagði. Nú grunar konung, hverr maðrinn mun vera ‘Then the king had the sow killed, and she had nine piglets [inside her], as Gestumblindi said. Now the king suspects who the man will be’. The H redaction is somewhat different, giving the solution and explanation first, then a longer exchange between Heiðrekr and Gestumblindi (Heiðr 1924, 66): Þá mælti konungr: ‘eigi veit ek nú, nema vitrir eigi nú hlut í, ok eigi veit ek, hvat manna þú ert.’ Gestumblindi svarar: ‘slíkr em ek, sem þú mátt sjá, ok vilda ek gjarna þiggja líf mitt ok vera lauss af þessum þrautum.’ Konungr svarar: ‘upp skaltu bera gátur, þar til er þik þrýtr ella mik at ráða.’ ‘Then the king said: “I don’t understand now, unless wise men now have a part in this, and I don’t know what sort of man you are.” Gestumblindi answers: “I am such as you can see, and I would wish eagerly to receive my life and be free from these tasks. The king answers: “you must offer riddles until you fail, or I [fail] to interpret them.”’ See also Heiðr 50 Note to [All]. — [All]: The solution makes this situation-specific and therefore not a true riddle, requiring foresight rather than logic to be solved. The riddle itself however could easily be answered generically ‘a sow with nine piglets’; cf. Aldhelm’s Scrofa praegnans (Ehwald 1919, 136). A similar feat occurs in a fragment by Pherecydes of Athens, where the seer Mopsus defeats his rival Calchas by correctly stating the number of piglets carried by a pregnant sow (in another version he divines the number of figs on a tree) (West 2007, 364). See also Taylor (1951, 28-31). — [All]: In the R redaction this riddle follows Gestumbl Heiðr 33 (Heiðr 80), also about a sow with piglets. — [All]: Lines 1-3 are ljóðaháttr,
4-9 fornyrðislag. — : See Note to Heiðr 55/1. —  vættr ‘creature’: The word often denotes a supernatural being.