Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 37I/8 — hringum ‘the rings’

Nam eldbroti Yggjar
ýgr fyr borð at stíga;
út bar hann af húfum
hraustr Goll-Búi kistur.
Ok optliga eptir
óblauðir þar síðan
kneigu lýðir líta
langan orm á hringum.

Ýgr Yggjar eldbroti nam at stíga fyr borð; hann, hraustr Goll-Búi, bar út kistur af húfum. Ok optliga síðan eptir kneigu óblauðir lýðir þar líta langan orm á hringum.

The fierce breaker of the flame of Yggr <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘flame-breaker of Yggr’) SWORD > WARRIOR = Búi] stepped overboard; he, bold Gull-Búi (‘Gold-Búi’), carried out chests from the hull. And often since then dauntless men have been able to see there a long serpent on the rings.


[8] langan orm á hringum ‘a long serpent on the rings’: This draws on the tradition that gold-hoards are protected by dragons or serpents, and perhaps specifically on the legend of the Rhine-gold, guarded by Fáfnir; see Guðrún Nordal (2001, 331-2). It is conceivable that the dragon is to be understood as a man – Búi – who has turned himself into a dragon in order to guard the hoard, as Fáfnir did (e.g. SnE 1998, I, 46).



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