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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Ketils saga hœngs 13 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur, 8) — Ketill [Vol. 8, 563]

[6] líttu á ljóðvega ‘move [off] on the thoroughfares’: The cpd ljóðvegr is regarded as an error by Finnur Jónsson (LP: ljósvegr) and in Edd. Min. 95 n. These eds emend ljóðvega to ljósvega ‘ways of light’, a kenning for the heavens, or suggest emendation to ljósfara ‘traveller of light’, a sun-kenning. The resulting command líttu á ljósvega/ljósfara ‘look at the heavens/the sun’ would be parallel to HHj 29-30 or Alv 35, where the rising sun turns the giantess Hrímgerðr to stone (HHj, perhaps also the dwarf Alvíss in Alv) or at least puts the dwarf Alvíss to flight. In Ket the implication would be that the troll must flee before the sun rises. Rafn interprets ljóðvega not as a cpd noun but rather as a way of writing ljóð vega ‘[my] magic songs take effect’ (lit. ‘hit home’). Kock (FF §45) correctly points out that emendation is unnecessary, since the cpd ljóðvegr, although only attested here, has a close parallel in the Old Norse cpd þjóðvegr ‘highway’. He and the other previous eds all interpret the form líttu as the imp. sg. of líta ‘look’ with enclitic pron. þú (-tu); Kock sees líttu á lióðvega ‘look to the highways’ as a way of saying ‘see to it that you move on’. But it is possible that líttu is in fact the imp. sg. of the verb líða ‘move’ with enclitic þú and assimilation of [ð] to [t] (cf. the form sentu = send þú in Guðr III 6) and that is the interpretation adopted here.


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