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.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Gestumblindi (Gestumbl)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Heiðreks gátur (Heiðr) - 37

not in Skj

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

Not published: do not cite (Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr))

 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, 416

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Gestumbl Heiðr 7VIII (Heiðr 54)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 54 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 7)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 416.

Hverr byggir fjöll?
Hverr fellr í djúpa dali?
Hverr andalauss lifir?
Hverr æva þegir?
Heiðrekr konungr,
hyggðu at gátu.


Who lives on high mountains? Who falls in the deep dales? Who lives without breath? Who is never silent? King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

context: Before propounding this riddle Gestumblindi says (Heiðr 1924, 62): ek em nú ok nálega þrotinn at gátum, en frekr er hverr til fjǫrsins ‘I am now nearly out of riddles, but everyone is greedy for life’, referring to his agreement with Heiðrekr that he must propound a riddle the king cannot solve in order to save his life.

notes: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1924, 63): hrafn byggir jafnan á hám fjǫllum, en dǫgg fellr jafnan í djúpa dali, fiskr lifir andalauss, en þjótandi fors þegir aldri ‘the raven always lives on high mountains, and dew always falls in the deep dales, the fish lives without breath, and the rushing waterfall is never silent’. The combination dǫgg and dalr appears to be a commonplace; cf. Vsp 19/5-6; Vafþr 14/6. — Lines 1-4 are in the form greppaminni ‘poets’ reminder’, which uses a question-and-answer format. Cf. RvHbreiðm Hl 45/1-4III, SnSt Ht 40III. In these other examples, the first four half-lines consist of questions, and the second four of answers. These lines correspond structurally to ljóðaháttr half-lines. Heiðrekr’s rhythmical prose response shows signs that it may once have been in verse (Heiðr 1960, 80 n. 2), or that it was composed later by someone without full knowledge of the rules of metrical composition (Gade pers. comm.). On greppaminni see Vésteinn Ólason (1969).

texts: Heiðr 54 (/37)

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 31 (AII, 227; BII, 246); Skald II, 128; FSN 1, 482, Heiðr 1873, 240-1, Heiðr 1924, 62-3, Heiðr 1960, 80; Edd. Min. 108-9.


AM 281 4°x (281x) 99r, 31 - 99v, 1 (Heiðr)  transcr.  image  
AM 597 b 4°x (597bx) 49v, 9 - 49v, 10 (Heiðr)  transcr.  image  
AM 203 folx (203x) 107ra, 1 - 107ra, 5 (Heiðr)  transcr.  image  
© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.