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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 14VIII (Heiðr 61)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 61 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 14)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 424.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

text and translation

Hvat er þat undra,         er ek úti sá
        fyrir Dellings durum?
Fætr hefir átta         en fjögur augu,
        ok berr ofar kné en kvið.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hvat er undra þat, er ek sá úti fyrir durum Dellings? Hefir átta fætr en fjögur augu, ok berr kné ofar en kvið. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
‘What is the wonder that I saw outside before Dellingr’s doors? It has eight feet and four eyes, and bears its knees higher than its belly. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

notes and context

Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 35): Þat er kǫngurváfur ‘Those are spiders’. The H redaction includes more dialogue, hinting at Heiðrekr’s suspicions (Heiðr 1924, 68): er nú bæði, at þú hefir hǫttinn síðan, enda sér þú niðr undan fleira en flestir menn aðrir, er þú hugsar hvert skrípi jarðarinnar, en þat er kǫngurváfa ‘It is now both: that you have your hood low over your face, and yet that you see more than most other men from under it when you think of every weird creature on the earth; but that is the spider’. The hood was a favourite disguise of Óðinn’s. — [1]: See Note to Heiðr 55/1.



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 6: AII, 222, BII, 241, Skald II, 125; Heiðr 1672, 146, FSN 1, 468, Heiðr 1873, 245, 335, Heiðr 1924, 61-2, 67, 133, FSGJ 2, 40, Heiðr 1960, 35; Edd. Min. 111.


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