|Home | Site Index | Heithinn Idea Contest ||
The Saga of Hervor and King Heidrek the Wise
5. Hervor Got the Sword Tyrfing
Bjarmar's daughter was with child. That was an exceptionally fair lass. She was sprinkled with water2 and given a name and called Hervor, but it was the opinion of most that she should be left outside,3 and they said she wouldn't be too ladylike if she took after her father's kin. She was brought up with the Jarl and was as strong as the boys, and as soon as she could do anything for herself, she trained more with shot and shield and sword than sewing or embroidery. She did more bad than good too. And when these things were forbidden to her, she ran into the woods and killed men for their money. And when the Jarl hears of this highwayman, he went there with his troops and caught Hervor and brought her home, and then she stayed at home for a bit.
It happened one time, that Hervor was stood outside, near where some thralls were, and she was having a go at them, just as she treated everyone.
Then one of the thralls interrupted her, saying, You, Hervor, you want to do something evil, but evil's to be expected of you. And the Jarl has forbidden anyone to tell you about your parents, because he thinks it is shameful for you to know about that, because the worst thrall lay with his daughter and you are their child.
On hearing this, Hervor became furious and went straight before the Jarl and exclaimed:
I needn't boast
The Jarl declared:
You've heard a great lie,
Now I'm eager,
So let's hasten
Then Hervor spoke with her mother and said:
Prepare me now
Then she got ready to leave alone with a man's gear and weapons, and made her way to where some vikings were, and sailed with them for a while, and called herself Hervard.
A little later, the captain died and this 'Hervard' took command of the crew, and when they came to the island of Samsey, Hervard told them to stop there so she could go up onto the island, and said there would be a good chance of treasure in the mound. But all the crewmen speak against it and say that such terrible ghouls walk there night and day, that it is worse there in the daytime than most places at night. In the end, they agree to drop anchor, and Hervor climbed in the boat and rowed ashore and landed in Munway just as the sun was setting. And she met a man there watching his herd.
The young maiden
Who among men
I will not march
Don't ask me that,
Oh, let's not fear
Here's a prize necklace
Silly would seem
Then the cowherd
And so he took off home to his village, and they parted company there. At that moment, she suddenly sees where the grave-fire burns over on the edge of the island, and she goes up there and is not afraid, though all the mounds were in her path and the dead standing outside. She waded through the flame as if through fog till she came to the barrow of the berserks.
Then she called:
So much for you
Then said Angantyr:
A father did not
That's a lie, sir--
2. A heathen custom similar to baptism.
3. In pre-Christian times, poor families might leave a baby out to die if they felt unable to look after it.
4. haugar, burial mounds.
5. According to folk belief, fire over grave mounds was as a sign of buried treasure.
© 2004-2007 Northvegr.
Most of the material on this site is in the public domain. However, many people have worked very hard to bring these texts to you so if you do use the work, we would appreciate it if you could give credit to both the Northvegr site and to the individuals who worked to bring you these texts. A small number of texts are copyrighted and cannot be used without the author's permission. Any text that is copyrighted will have a clear notation of such on the main index page for that text. Inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Northvegr™ and the Northvegr symbol are trademarks and service marks of the Northvegr Foundation.