THE LAY OF RIG

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In ancient Sagas it is related that one of the Æsir named Heimdall, being on a journey to a certain sea-shore, came to a village, where he called himself Rig. In accordance with this Saga is the following:

1. In ancient days, they say, along the green ways went the powerful and upright sagacious As, the strong and active Rig, his onward course pursuing.

2. Forward he went on the mid-way, and to a dwelling came. The door stood ajar, he went in, fire was on the floor. The man and wife sat there, hoary-haired, by the hearth, Ai and Edda, in old guise clad.

3. Rig would counsel give to them both, and himself seated in the middle seat, having on either side the domestic pair.

4. Then Edda from the ashes took a loaf, heavy and thick, and with bran mixed; more besides she laid on the middle of the board; there in a bowl was broth on the table set, there was a calf boiled, of cates most excellent.

5. Then rose he up, prepared to sleep: Rig would counsel give to them both; laid him down in the middle of the bed; the domestic pair lay one on either side.

6. There he continued three nights together, then departed on the mid-way. Nine months then passed way.

7. Edda a child brought forth: they with water sprinkled its swarthy skin, and named it Thræl.[Pg 79]

8. It grew up, and well it throve; of its hands the skin was shriveled, the knuckles knotty, * * * and the fingers thick; a hideous countenance it had, a curved back, and protruding heels.

9. He then began his strength to prove, bast to bind, make of it loads; then faggots carried home, the livelong day.

10. Then to the dwelling came a woman walking, scarred were her foot-soles, her arms sunburnt, her nose compressed, her name was Thy.

11. In the middle seat herself she placed; by her sat the house's son. They spoke and whispered, prepared a bed, Thræl and Thy, and days of care.

12. Children they begat, and lived content: Their names, I think, were Hreimr and Fiosnir, Klur and Kleggi, Kefsir, Fulnir, Drumb, Digraldi, Drott and Hosvir, Lut and Leggialdi. Fences they erected, fields manured, tended swine, kept goats, dug turf.

13. The daughters were Drumba and Kumba, Okkvinkalfa, and Arinnefia, Ysia and Ambatt, Eikintiasna, Totrughypia, and Tronubeina, whence are sprung the race of thralls.

14. Rig then went on, in a direct course, and came to a house; the door stood ajar: he went in; fire was on the floor, man and wife sat there engaged at work.

15. The man was planing wood for a weaver's beam; his beard was trimmed, a lock was on his forehead, his shirt close; his chest stood on the floor.

16. His wife sat by, plied her rock, with outstretched arms, prepared for clothing. A hood was on her head, [Pg 80]a loose sark over her breast, a kerchief round her neck, studs on her shoulders. Afi and Amma owned the house.

17. Rig would counsel give to them both; rose from the table, prepared to sleep; laid him down in the middle of the bed, the domestic pair lay one on either side.

18. There he continued three nights together. Nine months then passed away. Amma a child brought forth, they with water sprinkled it, and called it Karl. The mother in linen swathed the ruddy redhead: its eyes twinkled.

19. It grew up, and well throve; learned to tame oxen, make a plough, houses build, and barns construct, make carts, and the plough drive.

20. Then they home conveyed a lass with pendent keys, and goatskin kirtle; married her to Karl. Snor was her name, under a veil she sat. The couple dwelt together, rings exchanged, spread couches, and a household formed.

21. Children they begat, and lived content. Hal and Dreng, these were named, Held, Thegn, Smith, Breidr-bondi, Bundinskegg, Bui and Boddi, Brattskegg and Segg.

22. But [the daughters] were thus called, by other names: Snot, Brud, Svanni, Svarri, Sprakki, Fliod, Sprund, and Vif, Feima, Ristil; whence are sprung the races of churls.

23. Rig then went thence, in a direct course, and came to a hall: the entrance looked southward, the door was half closed, a ring was on the door-post.[Pg 81]

24. He went in; the floor was strewed, a couple sat facing each other, Fadir and Modir, with fingers playing.

25. The husband sat, and twisted string, bent his bow, and arrow-shafts prepared; but the housewife looked on her arms, smoothed her veil, and her sleeves fastened;

26. Her head-gear adjusted. A clasp was on her breast; ample her robe, her sark was blue; brighter was her brow, her breast fairer, her neck whiter than driven snow.

27. Rig would counsel give to them both, and himself seated on the middle seat, having on either side the domestic pair.

28. Then took Modir a figured cloth of white linen, and the table decked. She then took thin cakes of snow-white wheat, and on the table laid.

29. She set forth salvers full, adorned with silver, on the table game and pork, and roasted birds. In a can was wine; the cups were ornamented. They drank and talked; the day was fast departing, Rig would counsel give to them both.

30. Rig then rose, the bed prepared; there he then remained three nights together, then departed on the mid-way. Nine months after that passed away.

31. Modir then brought forth a boy: in silk they wrapped him, with water sprinkled him, and named him Jarl. Light was his hair, bright his cheeks, his eyes piercing as a young serpent's.

32. There at home Jarl grew up, learned the shield to shake, to fix the string, the bow to bend, arrows to [Pg 82]shaft, javelins to hurl, spears to brandish, horses to ride, dogs to let slip, swords to draw, swimming to practise.

33. Thither from the forest came Rig walking, Rig walking: runes he taught him, his own name gave him, and his own son declared him, whom he bade possess his alodial fields, his alodial fields, his ancient dwellings.

34. Jarl then rode thence, through a murky way, over humid fells, till to a hall he came. His spear he brandished, his shield he shook, made his horse curvet, and his falchion drew, strife began to raise, the field to redden, carnage to make; and conquer lands.

35. Then he ruled alone over eight vills, riches distributed, gave to all treasures and precious things; lank-sided horses, rings he dispersed, and collars cut in pieces.[39]

36. The nobles drove through humid ways, came to a hall, where Hersir dwelt; there they found a slender maiden, fair and elegant, Erna her name.

37. They demanded her, and conveyed her home, to Jarl espoused her; she under the linen[40] went. They together lived, and well throve, had offspring, and old age enjoyed.

38. Bur was their eldest, Barn the second, Jod and Adal, Arfi, Mog, Nid and Nidjung. They learned games; Son and Svein swam and at tables played. One was named Kund, Kon was youngest.

39. There grew up Jarl's progeny; horses they broke, curved shields, cut arrows, brandished spears.

40. But the young Kon understood runes, æfin-runes, [Pg 83]and aldr-runes; he moreover knew men to preserve, edges to deaden, the sea to calm.

41. He knew the voice of birds, how fires to mitigate, assuage and quench; sorrows to allay. He of eight men had the strength and energy.

42. He with Rig Jarl in runes contended, artifices practised, and superior proved; then acquired Rig to be called, and skilled in runes.

43. The young Kon rode through swamps and forests, hurled forth darts, and tamed birds.

44. Then sang the crow, sitting lonely on a bough! "Why wilt thou, young Kon: tame the birds? rather shouldst thou, young Kon! on horses ride * * * and armies overcome.

45. Nor Dan nor Danp halls more costly had, nobler paternal seats, than ye had. They well knew how the keel to ride, the edge to prove, wounds to inflict.

The rest is wanting.