1. “What is the fish | that runs in the flood,
And itself from ill cannot save?
If thy head thou wouldst | from hell redeem,
Find me the water’s flame.”
2. “Andvari am I, | and Oin my father,
In many a fall have I fared;
An evil Norn | in olden days
Doomed me In waters to dwell.”
3. “Andvari, say, | if thou seekest still
To live in the land of men,
What payment is set | for the sons of men
Who war with lying words?”
4. “A mighty payment | the men must make
Who in Valthgelmir’s waters wade;
On a long road lead | the lying words
That one to another utters.”
Loki saw all the gold that Andvari had. But when he had brought forth all the gold, he held back one ring, and Loki took this from him. The dwarf went into his rocky hole and said:
5. “Now shall the gold | that Gust once had
Bring their death | to brothers twain,
And evil be | for heroes eight;
joy of my wealth | shall no man win.”
Prose. Hjalprek: father of Alf, Sigurth’s step-father; cf. Fra Dautha Sinfjotla, and note. Grani: cf. Gripisspo, 5 and note. Regin (“Counsel-Giver”): undoubtedly he goes back to the smith of the German story; in the Thithrekssaga version he is called Mimir, while Regin is there the name of the dragon (here Regin’s brother, Fafnir). The Voluspo (stanza 12) names a Regin among the dwarfs, and the name may have assisted in making Regin a dwarf here. Hreithmar: nothing is known of him outside of this story. Othin, Hönir and Loki: these same three gods appear in company in Voluspo, 17-18. Andvari’s fall: according to Snorri, who tells this entire story in the Skaldskaparmal, Andvari’s fall was in the world of the dark elves, while the one when Loki killed the otter was not; here, however, the two are considered identical. With his eyes shut: according to Snorri, Otr ate with his eyes shut because be was so greedy that he could not bear to see the food before him diminishing. Rán: wife of the sea-god Ægir, who draws down drowning men with her net; cf. Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar, 18 and note. Snorri says that Loki caught the pike with his hands.
1. Snorri quotes this stanza. Water’s game: gold, so called because Ægir, the sea-god, was wont to light his hall with gold.
2. Snorri quotes this stanza. The name of the speaker is not given in the manuscripts. Oin: nothing further is known of Andvari’s father. Norn: cf. Voluspo, 20.
3. Stanzas 3-4 may well be fragments of some other poem. Certainly Loki’s question does not fit the situation, and the passage looks like an extract from some such poem as Vafthruthnismol. In Regius the phrase “Loki spake” stands in the middle of line 1.
4. The manuscript does not name the speaker. Vathgelmir (“Raging to Wade”): a river not elsewhere mentioned, but cf. Voluspo, 39.
5. This stanza apparently comes from a different source from stanzas 1-4 (or 1-2 if 3-4 are interpolated) and 6-10; cf. Introductory Note. In the Volsungasaga Andvari lays his curse particularly on the ring. Gust: possibly a name for Andvari himself, or for an earlier possessor of the treasure. Brothers twain: Fafnir and Regin. Heroes eight: the word “eight” may easily have been substituted for something like “all” to make the stanza fit the case; the “eight” in question are presumably Sigurth, Gotthorm, Gunnar, Hogni, Atli, Erp, Sorli and Hamther, all of whom are slain in the course of the story. But the stanza may originally not have referred to Andvari’s treasure at all.