The Northern Way

Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer

DWARFIE MAIDEN, I

THE minor Faroëse ballads, with Sigurd as hero of various fairy-tale adventures, are of no special importance. The following extract from 'Dvørgamoy' (I), which is the best, gives a taste of their quality .

 

BURDEN

GRANE bore the golden hoard,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword,
There he slew the Dragon grim,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword.

 

DWARFIE MAIDEN, I

BURDEN(refrain):
GRANE bore the golden hoard,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword,
There he slew the Dragon grim,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword.
1.
I HAVE heard a tale of the olden time
(The eagle flieth with speed),
A song that is sung of Sigurd the young,
& of his first great deed.
2.
Up spake Sigurd Sigmundarson,
Where in the hall he stood:
" Now will I forth to chase the deer
That dwell in the Dwarfie's wood..
3.
Up spake good King Hjalprek,
& to those words replied:
" Beware the glamour of Dwarfie-folk,
That far in the fells abide! "
4.
But Sigurd sprang on Grane's back,
& slackened his bridle-rein,
& swift as a ship runs down the stream
He went the woods to gain.
5.
Sigurd he rode from red of dawn
Till fall of the gloaming grey,
And darker grew the greenwood
The further he fareda way.
6.
To & fro rode Sigurd;
The frost was on his helm,
White the rime bestrewed the ground
In the Dwarhe's realm.

170       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

7.
Three days & nights rode Sigurd,
Till on the third at e'en
Gold he saw amid the mirk,
Like the sun its sheen.
8.
Oh, there in glade stood the Dwarfie-maid,
That was both fair & young;
Her arms were ringed with the red, red gold,
& pearls from her kirtle hung.
9.
To Sigurd she went, the Dwarfie-maid,
(So told they the tale langsyne);
& sweet was the kiss of her mouth, I wis,
As tho' it were wet with wine.
10.
He followed her up to Hindarfell,
(This I tell ye true)
The storm was up on Hindarfell,
& wild was the wind that blew.
11.
He followed her up from darksome dell,
Along & a weary way,
But when they set foot on the mountain- top "
All was as bright as day.
12.
When they set foot on the mountain-top.
(Thus is the story told)
The flames roared up to heaven on high,
& shone like the red, red gold.

DWARFIE MAIDEN, I       171

13.
" Now seest thou not the castle fair
With the gold laid over all?
Dread thou the ire of my Dwarfie sire
That ruleth house & hall!
14.
" He knows thee, Sigurd Sigmundarson,
That thou art a warrior tried;
He'll bid thee into his smithy foul
To prove thy power & pride.
15.
" Now harken, Sigurd Sigmundarson,
& heed not his command,
For an thou enter his smithy foul
Thou'lt wane like a waxen brand! "
16.
In rage & ire came the Dwarfie sire,
& thus did the Dwarfie say:
'Where is the mighty man-at-arms
Should hither come this day? "
17.
Long did Sigurd hold his peace,
& thus he spake anon:
" The name whereby men name me
Is Sigurd, Sigmund's son. "
18.
& art thou Sigurd Sigmundarson,
Then art thou a warrior tried;
Come thou into my smithy swart
To prove thy power & pride! "

172       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

19.
" Weary am I, & faint am I,
Waesome is my mood;
(1) Long have I wandered a weary way,
Lost in the Dwarfies' wood.
20.
" Now forge for me a byrnie blue
That never a sword shall bite,
Now forge for me a helm thereto,
But & a brand so bright! "
21.
Oh, many an hour in the maiden's bower
They watched beneath the moon,
& they heard the ring of the smithying,
& many a chanted rune.
22.
In mickle ire came the Dwarfie sire,
Bearing a byrnie bright:
" Now take it, Sigurd Sigmundarson,
& see if a sword will bite! "
23.
Now Sigurd donned the byrnie blue
Was forged with roil & pain
Many a mighty weapon-stroke
The Dwarf laid on, in vain.
24.
Sigurd he stood in the brynie blue,
Holding his sword in hand:
" Now by thine aid, thou Dwarfie maid,
I'll home to Hjálprek's land! "

1. waesome [Scotch] = sorrowful (woeful, harrowing)

DWARFIE MAIDEN, I       173

25.
" And mindest thou not how I led thee home
Thro' Dwarfie wood & wold?
Then why wouldst thou leave me here forlorn,
& fare to Hjálprek's hold? "
26.
" The warriors bold in the Buðlung's hold
Must dree both dule & pain,
For that they know not the hiding-place
Of Sigurd Fávnirsbane. "
27.
She followed him far along the way
To bid farewell once more:
" May ill-luck ever behind thee stay,
& good-luck go before! "
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