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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 23VIII (Heiðr 70)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 70 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 23)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 436.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

text and translation

Hverjar eru þær ekkjur,         er ganga allar saman
        at forvitni föður?
Sjaldan blíðar eru þær         við seggja lið,
        ok eigu í vindi vaka.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hverjar eru þær ekkjur, er ganga allar saman at forvitni föður? Þær eru sjaldan blíðar við lið seggja, ok eigu vaka í vindi. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
‘Who are those women, who go all together to the curiosity of their father? They are seldom gentle with the host of men, and have to stay awake in the wind. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

notes and context

Heiðrekr’s response reads (Heiðr 1960, 41): Þat eru Ægis ekkjur, svá heita ǫldur ‘They are Ægir’s women, as the waves are called’. The U redaction (Heiðr 1924, 132) has þad eru Ægis dætur; þær ganga iij saman, er vindur vekur þær ‘That is Ægir’s daughters; they go three together, when the wind wakes them’. Elsewhere Ægir is said to have had nine daughters (see Heiðr 68, Note to [All]), but three is also a significant number in Old Norse mythology and trios of supernatural women are found in e.g. Vafþr 48-9, Vsp 8, 20. The text might imply the women go in threes rather than that there are only three of them. Cf. Note to Heiðr 67/1-2. — Edd. Min. prints this as a separate stanza, but numbers it 22a, following the previous one, numbered 22. — [4-5]: Very similar in meaning to Heiðr 69/4-5. — [4]: Ms. 2845’s word order is preferable, but its ‘bliþir’ with the standard ‑ir abbreviation is not possible as a f. adj. — [6]: See Heiðr 68, Note to l. 6.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 21: AII, 225, BII, 244, Skald II, 126-7, NN §115; Heiðr 1672, 144-5, FSN 1, 479, Heiðr 1873, 252, 341, Heiðr 1924, 76, 132, FSGJ 2, 46, Heiðr 1960, 41; Edd. Min. 115.


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