Tuesday, November 16, 2010


...with Excerpts from the Poetic Edda

Originally written in Icelandic (Old Norse) in the thirteenth century A.D., by an unknown hand. However, most of the material is based substantially on previous works, some centuries older. A few of these works have been preserved in the collection of Norse poetry known as the "Poetic Edda".

The text of this edition is based on that published as "The Story of the Volsungs", translated by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson (Walter Scott Press, London, 1888). This edition is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN in the United States.

This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@EnterAct.COM), May 1997

1: Song of Odin

He discarded the idea of going out to greet whatever was there because it seemed to be heading in his direction. After several minutes he could see it was a group of people, still a long ways off. He remembered what his had told him, and what he had already known: "You can see farther than others."

They were moving at a slow run, but he couldn't see how many there were. In time he could make out two short columns, coming straight for the hill. Another half hour and he could see maybe twenty, and they were moving slower now, crouched. So they were aware of him, he thought. He drank the last swallow of water from his skin and threw it to the side. Drawing Pulse into the Eagle and clasping the hilt with both hands, he crouched, and he waited.

They filed onto the hill in two directions, with some coming from behind. Rekkard spun a slow circle in place, counting twenty, with both women and men. They were a forlorn bunch, he saw, with faces that were dirty with soot, and they looked both angry and wary. They wore only small patches of dirty, tattered clothing. And they were well armed, he saw. A few held aloft swords, black, unadorned things, and others had spears, also black. Some had long knives. All were low to the ground, like animals. They eyed him hungrily as they circled.

One man, taller than the rest and with a face that might have been chiseled from an old oak tree, held a spear high in the air, and the whole party stopped. Weapons were lowered towards him. So this is where it ends, thought Rekkard. I was chosen, trained, and sent through the Barrier to find out what had happend in the Outside, and this was it. A sickened world with a tattered band of desperate people who were going to kill him. If Haven ever learned of his demise, he doubted anyone would sing a song about it, or try to duplicate the ignominious ending in the amphitheatres.

The tall one spoke, and it took a moment for Rekkard to realize it was he who was being spoken to. It was a different language, with different words. The tall man threatened him with the spear, and spoke some more of his words. Rekkard discovered he could understand the man. It was the same language, but the accent the man spoke with was so strong that it took a while for him to understand. "Throw down your weapon," he was being told.

"You throw down yours," said Rekkard. Several of the party of savages looked at each other. The tall man, obviously the leader, said to his people, without taking his eyes of Rekkard, "He speaks our language."

"Of course I speak your language," Rekkard said. He wanted it to be over, so a little provocation was in order. "Why wouldn't I?"

"Drop your weapon," the man yelled.

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