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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Poems, 1. Bjarkamál in fornu, 4 [Vol. 3, 500]

[6] fagrbyrði Grana ‘Grani’s <horse’s> fair burden [GOLD]’: Like the kennings of l. 4 and sts 5/5 and 6/5 and 6/6, this kenning alludes to the legend of the Niflungar. In l. 4, reference is made to Fáfnir, who killed his father and guarded the family’s fabulous gold-hoard, before he was killed in turn by the hero Sigurðr; here the allusion is to Sigurðr’s horse, Grani, who carried the gold back from Gnitaheiðr, where Fáfnir’s killing took place; cf. farmi Grana ‘Grani’s burden’ Þblǫnd Sigdr 2/4. SnSt Ht 41/4 (þungfarmr Grana ‘the heavy burden of Grani’) and 41/6 (reiðmálmr Gnitaheiðar ‘the riding-metal of Gnitaheiðr’) use kennings referring to both Grani and Gnitaheiðr in the same stanza; and cf. st. 5/5 and Note for another parallel. This kenning type is discussed in Meissner 228.


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