The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer
Jesse L. Byock
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A trove of traditional lore, it tells of love, jealousy, vengeance, war, and the mythic deeds of the dragonslayer, Sigurd the Volsung.
Byock's comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of a narrative that reaches back to the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed.
it be Eirik; I await his arrival. Who, then, was Sigurd originally? To this difficult question we will probably never have a definitive answer. Certainly Sigurd was already a character of myth and legend when he was joined to the Volsungs. He may even have some basis in history, and in this regard two figures in particular have received attention. One is Arminius, a leader in the first century A.D. of the Cherusci, a Germanictribe; the other is the sixth-century Frankish King Sigibert. In both
and if you want me to kill this dragon.” Regin said: “With confidence I shall make it and you will be able to kill Fafnir with this sword.” Regin now made a sword.55 He gave it to Sigurd, who took it and said: “This is your smithying, Regin.” Sigurd struck the anvil and the sword broke. He threw down the blade and told Regin to forge another, better one. Regin made a second sword and brought it to Sigurd. He considered it. “You will like this one, though you are a hard man to forge for.” Sigurd
replied: “No man should hinder her dying, for she has never been any good to us or to any man since she came here.” Brynhild asked for a large amount of gold to be brought and requested all who wanted to accept a gift of wealth to come forward. Then she took a sword and stabbed herself under the arm, sank back into the pillows, and said: “Let each one who wants to receive gold take it now.” They were all silent. Brynhild said: “Accept the gold and use it well.” Brynhild then spoke to Gunnar:
Svanhild. Let her die in disgrace.” The king answered: “I accept your advice.” Then Svanhild was bound in the gate of the fortress and horses were driven at her. But when she opened her eyes the horses did not dare trample on her. When Bikki saw this, he commanded that a skin bag be drawn over her head. Thus it was done, and then she died. 43 GUDRUN URGES HER SONS TO AVENGE SVANHILD Gudrun heard of Svanhild’s violent death and she spoke to her sons: “How can you sit there so peacefully or
ever in battle were comrades in arms, each to the other—they killed great numbers of the giant race, slew them with swords. No scant glory developed for Sigemund after his death because the brave warrior killed the serpent guardian of the hoard. Under the gray stone the prince’s [Waels’s] son alone performed a fierce deed—Fitela was not with him. Even so, it happened that his sword hewed the ornate serpent; the noble weapon drove into the wall as the dragon died. With valor the warrior won the