The Northern Way

Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer

192       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

21.
In went that courteous porter
& stood beside the board;
Both swift & free of tongue was he,
& well could choose his word.
22.
" Hither are come to the castle
Two well-born knights & bold;
The one doth bear a viol,
And one a helm of gold.
23.
" Yet he beareth not the viol
To win him gold & fee;
What realm so e'er they come from,
They are of high degree. "
24.
It was proud Dame Grimild
Wrapped her in cloak of vair
& went into the castle-garth
To greet her brethren there.
25.
" Come in, come in, my brethren,
& drink the wine so red!
& silken sheets, an ye would rest,
My maidens all shall spread. "
26.
It was proud Dame Grimild
Wrapped her in cloak of pall,
& went to the stone-built fortress
To seek her kempës all. (1)
27.
" So here ye sit, my kempës,
& drink the blood-red wine!
Now who will Hero Hogen slay,
Brother most dear o' mine?

1. kemp = mighty warrior, athlete

GRIMILD'S REVENGE       193

28.
" Whoso slays Hero Hogen
Rich guerdon he shall gain, (1)
For he shall spend my ruddy gold,
& o'er my castles reign. "
29.
Up & spake a warrior,
Chief in his own countrie:
" Behold the hand shall wield the brand,
& win this prize of thee!
30.
" Mine own right hand shall wield the brand
That strikes the Hero dead;
Then will I rule thy castles,
& spend thy gold so red.'
31.
Up spake Folkvor Fiddleman,
And shook his iron-shod spear:
" Be sure that I will mark thee well
Or ever thou go from here! "
32.
The first stroke Folkvor struck in fight
Laid fifteen warriors low:
" Ha, ha, thou Folkvor Fiddleman,
Well wags thy fiddle-bow! "
33.
And now, so Hogen willed it,
The hides they spread in hall,
And who but Hero Hogen
Was first thereon to fall?
34.
It was Hero Hogen
That fain would stand and fight:
" Forget not, Hero Hogen,
The pledge that thou didst plight!

1. guerdon = reward

194       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

35.
" Bethink thee, Hero Hogen,
Nor let thy vow be vain,
If thou shouldst fall to field in fight,
Thou wouldst not rise again. "
36.
So true was Hero Hogen,
Forsworn that ne'er would be,
That there he got his death-wound,
Kneeling upon his knee.
37.
Three champions keen he slew, I ween,
Or ever his arm did tire;
Then 'neath the sea-girt rock he sought
The Treasure of his sire.
38.
& even in his dying hour,
That maiden fair he won
Whom men called haughty Hvenild,
& gat with her a son.
39.
Rancke so hight that warrior,
Avenged his father bold,
For Grimild pined for lack of bread
Beside the Niflungs' gold.
40.
In Bern, a town of Lombardy,
Long time did Rancke dwell
With many another Danish knight,
& proved his manhood well.
41.
But his mother abode in the wave-beat isle
That beareth for aye her name;
And long will knights & nobles all
Discourse of Hvenild's fame.

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