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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Skinnhúfa Lv 1VIII (HjǪ 45)

Richard L. Harris (ed.) 2017, ‘Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis 45 (Skinnhúfa/Hildisif, Lausavísa 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 537.


text and translation

Sax hefir þú, Ölvir,         slík eru vápn færi,
bana veitti Bendli,         barstu þat ór helli.
Brá ek hilmis sonum         í hana líki;
forðaðak ykru fjörvi;         fegri em ek nú hóti.

Þú hefir sax, Ölvir, færi vápn eru slík, veitti Bendli bana, barstu þat ór helli. Ek brá sonum hilmis í líki hana; forðaðak fjörvi ykru; ek em nú hóti fegri.
‘You have a sword, Ǫlvir, there are few weapons like it, it gave death to Bendill <giant>, you bore it out of a cave. I changed the sons of a king into the bodies of roosters; I saved your lives; now I am a little more beautiful.

notes and context

A young woman, who turns out to be Hildisif Ptólómeusdóttir, reminds Ǫlvir of the episode when, as Skinnhúfa, she helped him obtain her giant captor’s sword, the only weapon that could kill him. She thus makes clear her former, enchanted, identity to him and to the saga audience.



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 VI 4: AII, 341, BII, 363, Skald II, 191; HjǪ 1720, 73-4, FSN 3, 513, FSGJ 4, 238, HjǪ 1970, 60, 110, 178.


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