Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 83 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 36)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 450.
|Hverjar eru þeir tveir, er tíu hafa fætr,
augu þrjú, ok einn hala?
Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu
Hverjar eru þeir tveir, er hafa tíu fætr, þrjú augu, ok einn hala? Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
Who are those two, who have ten feet, three eyes, and one tail? King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.
Mss: 2845(72v), 281ˣ(100v) (ll. 1-3), 597bˣ(51r), R715ˣ(29v-30r) (ll. 1-3) (Heiðr)
Readings:  tveir: tveir þegnar R715ˣ  er: er ríða þingi at R715ˣ  augu þrjú: þrjú augu R715ˣ; ok: en 281ˣ, 597bˣ [4-5] abbrev. as ‘h’ 2845, abbrev. as ‘h K:’ 597bˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 29: AII, 227, BII, 245-6, Skald II, 127; Heiðr 1672, 152, FSN 1, 486, Heiðr 1873, 262, 343, Heiðr 1924, 82, 139, FSGJ 2, 50, Heiðr 1960, 44; Edd. Min. 119-20.
Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 44): Þat er þá, er Óðinn ríðr Sleipni ‘That is when Óðinn rides Sleipnir’. The H redaction is more elaborate (Heiðr 1924, 82): margs freistar þú nú, er þú finnr þau rǫk til framburðar við mik, er forðum váru; þat er þá er Óðinn reið hestinum Sleipni; hann hafði átta fœtr, en Óðinn tvá, en þeir hǫfðu þrjú augu, Sleipnir tvau en Óðinn eitt ‘You are really making a game of it now, when you find in your deliveries to me those wonders which happened in ancient times; that is when Óðinn rode the horse Sleipnir; he had eight feet, and Óðinn two, and they had three eyes, Sleipnir two and Óðinn one’. The story of Sleipnir’s conception and birth is related in Gylf (see SnE 2005, 34-5), as is the story of Óðinn exchanging an eye for a drink from Mímir’s well, the well of knowledge (see SnE 2005, 17), for which Snorri quotes Vsp 28/7-14. — [All]: Taylor (1951, 24-8) identifies a subset of a riddle (his collection is of riddles in English, though he cites worldwide parallels) which he terms ‘The Odin Riddle’, in which an ‘unusual number of feet’ forms part of the clue and the solution concerns a rider on horseback. He feels that the Old Norse example is a ‘special application’, however, rather than that other riddles of this type originate with it. — [1-2]: For R715ˣ’s reading, cf. Heiðr 79/1-2.