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 há fjöll? Hverr fellr í djúpa dali?
Hverr andalauss lifir? Hverr æva þegir?
|Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu. |
Hverr byggir há fjöll? Hverr fellr í djúpa dali? Hverr lifir andalauss? Hverr þegir æva? 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.
Mss: 281ˣ(99r-v), 597bˣ(49v), 203ˣ(107ra) (Heiðr)
Readings:  æva: æva corrected from æra in the margin in another hand 597bˣ [5-6] abbrev. as ‘heidr k higg’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h: K: h:’ 597bˣ, abbrev. as ‘h. k. h. etc. etc.’ 203ˣ
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.
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: [All]: 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. — [All]: 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). —  andalauss ‘without breath’: Found elsewhere in poetry only in another of the riddles, Gestumbl Heiðr 9/5 (Heiðr 56), where it refers to a smith’s bellows. In the present context, cf. Gylf (SnE 2005, 28), which gives anda fisksins ‘breath of the fish’ alongside several seemingly impossible constituent parts of the dwarf-made fetter Gleipnir, used to tie up the mythical wolf Fenrir.