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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Keth Lv 1VIII (Ket 2)

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Ketils saga hœngs 2 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 552.

Ketill hœngrLausavísur
12

Hér mun ek þiggja;         hygg ek, at valdi
Finns fjölkyngi         feiknaveðri,
ok í allan dag         einn jós ek við þrjá;
hvalr kyrði sjá;         hér mun ek þiggja.

Ek mun þiggja hér; ek hygg, at fjölkyngi Finns valdi feiknaveðri, ok í allan dag jós ek einn við þrjá; hvalr kyrði sjá; ek mun þiggja hér.

I will accept [lodging] here; I think that a Saami’s wizardry caused the baleful weather, and the whole day long I baled [water] [as if] alone in competition with three; a whale calmed the sea; I will accept [lodging] here.

Mss: 343a(55v), 471(51v) (Ket)

Readings: [7] sjá: haf 471    [8] hér: so 471, hús 343a

Editions: Skj AII, 279, Skj BII, 301, Skald II, 159; FSN 2, 117FSGJ 2, 159, Anderson 1990, 47, 89; Edd. Min. 77.

Context: This stanza is Ketill’s reply to Brúni’s invitation of hospitality. It is introduced by the words: Ketill kvað vísu ‘Ketill spoke a stanza’. Ketill alludes to the mysterious storm which threatened his ship in northern Finnmark and to the equally mysterious whale which protected him from it, an episode which precedes the meeting with Brúni (Ket ch. 3, FSGJ 2, 158-60).

Notes: [2-4] ek hygg, at fjölkyngi Finns valdi feiknaveðri ‘I think that a Saami’s wizardry caused the baleful weather’: Magical powers are ascribed to Saami (Finnar) in many Old Norse texts (cf. Nesheim 1970, 7-14). Ketill has sailed to the north when the storm arises which blows him to the north of Finnmark. His surmise about the origin of the storm is thus a logical one in the context of the saga (ch. 3). — [7] hvalr kyrði sjá ‘a whale calmed the sea’: Chapter 3 of the saga relates that the whale which protects Ketill’s boat against the fury of the storm appears to him to have the eyes of a human being. The implication is that the benevolent whale is in fact a shape-shifting magician. The motif of a benevolent whale is the reversal of a motif found in other fornaldarsögur, where a shape-shifter assumes the form of a whale to attack the ship of the hero; cf. GHr chs 2, 16 (FSGJ 3, 167, 238-9); Korm ch. 18 (ÍF 8, 265-6). In Frið ch. 3 a whale ridden by giantesses attacks the ships of the hero (FSGJ 3, 87-8). — [7] sjá ‘the sea’: Ms. 471’s reading haf ‘sea, ocean’ is also possible and was adopted by Edd. Min on the grounds that it gave a better reading from the viewpoint of alliteration. However, the rhyme between þrjá and sjá favours the reading of 343a. — [8] hér ‘here’: The 343a reading hús ‘house, lodging’ makes independent sense, but the 471 reading hér is preferable since Ketill’s response looks like a deliberate repetition of l. 1, and it is adopted by most eds. Repeated pairs of similar lines (hér munk sitja and kyrr munk sitja respectively) occur at the beginnings and ends of Bjhít Lv 4V (BjH 5) and Bjhít Lv 11V (BjH 15).  

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  5. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  6. ÍF 8 = Vatnsdœla saga. Ed. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson. 1939.
  7. Anderson, Sarah M. 1990. ‘The Textual Transmission of Two Fornaldarsögur: Ketils saga høings and Gríms saga loðinkinna’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University…
  8. Nesheim, Asbjørn. 1970. ‘Samisk trolldom’. KLNM 15, 7-14.
  9. Internal references
  10. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 190.
  11. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ketils saga hœngs’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 548.
  12. Not published: do not cite (KormV)
  13. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gǫngu-Hrólfs saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 298.
  14. Not published: do not cite (Bjhít Lv 11V (BjH 15))
  15. Not published: do not cite (Bjhít Lv 4V (BjH 5))
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