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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hergunnr Lv 2VIII (HjǪ 18)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 18 (Hergunnr, Lausavísur 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 510.


text and translation

Held ek upp hrömmum;         hér máttu, jöfurr, líta
hendr Hergunnar;         hefi ek negl óskorna.
Rifna mun þín ólpa,         ef vit, jöfurr, finnumz;
þér skal ei kyrt klappa,         konungr inn suðræni.

Ek held upp hrömmum; hér máttu líta, jöfurr, hendr Hergunnar; ek hefi óskorna negl. Ólpa þín mun rifna, ef vit finnumz, jöfurr; skal ei klappa þér kyrt, inn suðræni konungr.
‘I hold up my paws; here you can see, prince, Hergunnr’s hands; I have uncut nails. Your cloak will be ripped if we two meet, prince; you will not be stroked gently, southern king.

notes and context

Hergunnr threatens Hjálmþér, showing him her hands with their sharp nails and promising to tear his clothes.

The threatening behaviour of troll-women towards the male heroes they encounter, particularly their desire to rip them apart with their claws is graphically expressed in GrL 5/8.



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], E. 16. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hjálmþérs saga ok Ǫlvis III 8: AII, 336, BII, 357, Skald II, 193; HjǪ 1720, 38-9, FSN 3, 484, FSGJ 4, 208-9, HjǪ 1970, 33, 89, 148.


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