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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 35VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 35’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 35-6.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
343536

text and translation

Menn hafa sagt, at svanni
sunnr, Skônungum kunnir,
oss, um Óláfs messu
almilds baka vildi.
Enn þás brúðr at brauði
brennheitu tók leita,
þá varð grjón at grônu
grjóti danskrar snótar.

Menn, kunnir Skônungum, hafa sagt oss, at svanni sunnr vildi baka um almilds Óláfs messu. Enn þás brúðr tók leita at brennheitu brauði, þá varð grjón danskrar snótar at grônu grjóti.
 
‘Men, known to the Skônungar, have told us that a woman in the south wanted to bake on all-generous Óláfr’s feast day. Yet, when the woman went to seek the burning-hot bread, then the dough of the Danish woman had become a grey stone.

notes and context

Sts 35-6 narrate the miracle of a woman (from Trøndelag according to ÓHLeg 1982, 214-15), forced by her master, an evil Danish count, to bake bread on S. Óláfr’s feast day. (Punishment for working on a saint’s feast day is a common hagiographical motif.) She prayed to S. Óláfr for vengeance, and the loaves were turned to stone in the oven, while the count was blinded. This narrative, which comes from the legendary tradition, follows the Gutthormr miracle in a number of sources (e.g. ÓHLeg 1982, 214; Passio Olaui in Metcalfe 1881, 78-9; HómNo, 115; Hkr, ÍF 28, 137-8; ÓH 1941, 636-7), both accounting for relics that were to be seen in Trondheim cathedral, the silver cross and three rocks kept at Óláfr’s shrine until the Reformation. Many Icel. churches also displayed stones as a reminder of the story: ‘Óláfssteinar’ were kept in the churchyard at Þingvellir as late as 1873 (DI I, 1264-5; see further Chase 2005, 39 and nn. 110 and 111). The miracle of the loaves is also said to account for the fact that the feast of S. Óláfr was observed throughout Denmark (cf. st. 36).

readings

sources

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: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 35: AI, 465, BI, 435-6, Skald I, 215; Flat 1860-8, I, 4, Cederschiöld 1873, 5-6, Chase 2005, 85, 150.

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