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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 11VIII (Heiðr 58)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 58 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 11)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 421.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

text and translation

Hvat er þat undra,         er ek úti
        fyrir Dellings durum?
Svartan gölt ek sá         í sauri vaða,
        ok reis honum eigi burst á baki.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hvat undra er þat, er ek úti fyrir durum Dellings? Ek sá svartan gölt vaða í sauri, ok burst reis eigi á baki honum. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
‘What is the wonder that I saw outside before Dellingr’s doors? I saw a black boar wade in muck, but bristles did not rise on his back. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

notes and context

Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 81): þat er tordýfill, ok er nú mart til tínt, er tordýflar eru ríkra manna spurningar ‘that is the dung-beetle, and much has been recounted now, when dung-beetles are [the subject of] the questions of powerful men’. — [1]: See Note to Heiðr 55/1. — [1-3]: Omitted in the mss, but the organising principle of the H redaction is to group riddles with a similar beginning together, and this comes in the midst of eight other riddles with this opening. See also Note to Heiðr 55/1-3. Other eds also insert this opening formula.



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 33: AII, 227, BII, 246, Skald II, 128; Heiðr 1873, 243, Heiðr 1924, 65, Heiðr 1960, 80; Edd. Min. 110.


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