Of the Journey of the Giukings to King Atli.
Now tells the tale of Gunnar, that in the same wise it fared with him; for when they awoke, Glaumvor his wife told him many dreams which seemed to her like to betoken guile coming; but Gunnar areded them all in other wise. “This was one of them,” said she; “methought a bloody sword was borne into the hall here, wherewith thou wert thrust through, and at either end of that sword wolves howled.” The king answered, “Cur dogs shall bite me belike; blood-stained weapons oft betoken dogs’ snappings.” She said, “Yet again I dreamed—that women came in, heavy and drooping, and chose thee for their mate; may-happen these would be thy fateful women.” He answered, “Hard to arede is this, and none may set aside the fated measure of his days, nor is it unlike that my time is short.” (1)
So in the morning they arose, and were minded for the journey, but some letted them herein. Then cried Gunnar to the man who is called Fjornir “Arise, and give us to drink goodly wine from great tuns, because mayhappen this shall be very last of all our feasts; for belike if we die the old wolf shall come by the gold, and that bear shall nowise spare the bite of his war-tusks.” Then all the folk of his household brought them on their way weeping. The son of Hogni said “Fare ye well with merry tide.” The more part of their folk were left behind; Solar and Snaevar, the sons of Hogni, fared with them, and a certain great champion, named Orkning, who was the brother of Kostbera. So folk followed them down to the ships, and all letted them of their journey, but attained to naught therein.
Then spake Glaumvor, and said “O Vingi, most like that great ill hap will come of thy coming, and mighty and evil things shall betide in thy travelling.” He answered, “Hearken to my answer; that I lie not aught: and may the high gallows and all things of grame have me, if I lie one word!” Then cried Kostbera, “Fare ye well with merry days.” And Hogni answered, “Be glad of heart, howsoever it may fare with us!” And therewith they parted, each to their own fate. Then away they rowed, so hard and fast, that well-nigh the half of the keel slipped away from the ship, and so hard they laid on to the oars that thole and gunwale brake.
But when they came aland they made their ship fast, and then they rode awhile on their noble steeds through the murk wild-wood. And now they behold the king’s army, and huge uproar, and the clatter of weapons they hear from thence; and they see there a mighty host of men, and the manifold array of them, even as they wrought there: and all the gates of the burg were full of men. So they rode up to the burg, and the gates thereof were shut; then Hogni brake open the gates, and therewith they ride into the burg.
Then spake Vingi, “Well might ye have left this deed undone; go to now, bide ye here while I go seek your gallows-tree! Softly and sweetly I bade you hither, but an evil thing abode thereunder; short while to bide ere ye are tied up to that same tree!” Hogni answered, “None the more shall we waver for that cause; for little methinks have we shrunk aback whenas men fell to fight; and naught shall it avail thee to make us afeard, and for an ill fate hast thou wrought.” And therewith they cast him down to earth, and smote him with their axe-hammers till he died.
(1) Parallel beliefs to those in the preceding chapters, and elsewhere in this book, as to spells, dreams, drinks, etc., among the English people may be found in “Leechdoms,Wortcunning, and Starcraft of the Anglo-Saxons; being a collection of Documents illustrating the History of Science in this Country before the Norman Conquest”. Ed: Rev. T. O. Cockayne, M.A. (3 vols.) Longmans, London, 1864, 8vo.
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