Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 82 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 35)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 449.
|Sat ek á segli, sá ek dauða menn
blóðshol* bera í börk viðar.
|Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu. |
Ek sat á segli, ek sá dauða menn bera blóðshol* í börk viðar. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
I sat on a sail, I saw dead men carry a blood vessel into the bark of a tree. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.
Mss: 2845(72v) (ll. 1-4), 281ˣ(100v), 597bˣ(51r) (Heiðr)
Readings:  segli: segl 281ˣ, 597bˣ  blóðshol*: ‘blo þ̄ holld’ 2845, ‘blodzholld’ 281ˣ, ‘blőds holld’ 597bˣ  börk: björk 281ˣ; viðar: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, ‘viddar’ 2845 [5-6] abbrev. as ‘heidr k:’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘hc K:’ 597bˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 28: AII, 226, BII, 245, Skald II, 127, NN §2363; FSN 1, 484-5, Heiðr 1873, 261, 343, Heiðr 1924, 81-2, FSGJ 2, 49-50, Heiðr 1960, 43-4; Edd. Min. 119.
Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 44): Þar saztu á vegg ok sátt val bera æði í hamra ‘There you sat on a wall and saw a falcon bear an eider-duck into the crags’. The H redaction has (Heiðr 1924, 82): þar saztu á vegg ok sáttu val fljúga ok bar æði í klóm sér ‘there you sat on a wall and saw a falcon fly and it carried an eider duck in its claws’. — [All]: The
interpretation of this stanza relies on the poetic device ofljóst ‘excessively clear’, where a homonym of the intended
referent is substituted by a circumlocutory phrase. —  segli ‘a sail’: The homonym veggr means both ‘wall’, as in the solution, and ‘sail’, as in the Text (see LP: veggr 2). —  dauða menn ‘dead men’: The homonym valr means both ‘the slain’ (‘dead men’) and ‘falcon’. Anon Gát 1/4III, a riddle referring to several different types of birds, uses eggdauða menn ‘men killed by the sword’ (lit. ‘sword-edge-dead men’) for valr, giving a more exact synonym for ‘slain’. AM 738 4toˣ, which has a copy of Heiðr’s riddles stemming indirectly from 2845 and is without independent value (Heiðr 1924, xv), reads ‘eggdauda’ for dauða (86r); this is less good metrically in the present context (cf. Heiðr 1873, 261 n. 3). —  blóðshol* ‘a blood vessel’: Lit. ‘blood’s hole’. The homonym æðr, given in the solution, means both ‘eider duck’ and ‘blood vessel’, but the scribes do not seem to have understood this pun. The main ms. reads ‘bloþ̄ holld’, which Skj and, following Finnur Jónsson, FSGJ, expand to blóðugt ‘bloody’ (as did Petersen and Thorarensen in 1847) giving ‘bloody flesh’, only loosely synonymous with ‘vein’. The H redaction has blóðs hold ‘flesh of blood(?)’. The emendation to blóðshol, which is tentatively adopted here, was first suggested in Rafn et al. 1850-2, I, 189 n. 7. It is accepted in Heiðr 1873, 261, Edd. Min., Skald and Heiðr 1960 among others, although the word is not otherwise attested in Old Norse. The interpretation of Anon Gát 1/5III relies on the same pun on æðr; a similar play on words occurs in Anon (FoGT) 20/5-6III. —  börk viðar ‘the bark of a tree’: Editors have struggled to work out the substitution here, not helped by the fact that the R and H redactions have different solutions: í hamra ‘into the crags’ in R and í klóm sér ‘in his claws’ in H. There are no recorded instances of hamarr meaning ‘bark’ or anything else associated with trees. Following H, the eds of CPB (CPB I, 92) emend to í björk kviðar ‘in the birch of the belly’, as a kenning for talons, but this is improbable as a kenning-type (elsewhere talons are called stems or thorns of the feet, not the belly; see Meissner: 142-3) and fails to provide a homonym. Kock (NN §2363) suggests that the pun in the riddle is not on viðr ‘wood’ at all, but on viða ‘mast’ or ‘high deck’, and that the H redaction’s response is the correct one, the pun in the answer being on kló ‘claw’ and kló ‘clew (of a sail)’, with the ‘bark of the ship’ being a kenning-like description of some part of the outside of a ship. There are tempting aspects to this theory, but the correspondence is not exact. —  viðar ‘of a tree’: Ms. 2845
has ‘u’ with a superscript ‘i’ above (followed by ‘d’ and the ‑ar abbreviation (superscript ‘r’)). Most
eds expand to virðar, but this is the
standard abbreviation for við (‘uid’)
and it seems likely that this is what the scribe intended, doubling up on the
consonant in error and/or for something to attach the second abbreviation sign