The Northern Way


The Lay of Völund.

Page 2

21. Tell it not to the maidens,
nor to the household folk,
nor to any one,
that ye have been with me.”
Early called
one the other,
brother, brother:
“Let us go see the rings.”

22. To the chest they came,
for the keys asked;
manifest was their grudge,
when therein they looked.
Of those children he
the heads cut off,
and under the prison’s mixen
laid their bodies.

23. But their skulls
beneath the hair
he in silver set,
and to Nidud gave;
and of their eyes
precious stones he formed,
which to Nidud’s
wily wife he sent.

24. But of the teeth
of the two
breast-ornaments he made,
and to Bödvild sent.
Then did Bödvild
praise the ring:
to Völund brought it,
when she had broken it:
“I dare to no one tell it,
save alone to thee.”

25. “I will so repair
the fractured gold,
that to thy father
it shall fairer seem,
and to thy mother
much more beautiful,
and to thyself,
in the same degree.”

26. He then brought her beer,
that he might succeed the better,
as on her seat
she fell asleep.
“Now have I
my wrongs avenged,
all save one
in the wood perpetrated.”

27. “I wish,” said Völund,
“that on my feet I were,
of the use of which
Nidud’s men have deprived me.”
Laughing Völund
rose in the air:
Bödvild weeping
from the isle departed.
She mourned her lover’s absence,
and for her father’s wrath.

28. Stood without
Nidud’s wily wife;
then she went in
through the hall;
but he on the enclosure
sat down to rest.
“Art thou awake
Niarars’ lord!”

29. “Ever am I awake,
joyless I lie to rest,
when I call to mind
my children’s death:
my head is chilled,
cold are to me thy counsels.
Now with Völund
I desire to speak.”

30. “Tell me, Völund,
Alfars’ chief!
of my brave boys
what is become?”

31. “Oaths shalt thou
first to me swear,
by board of ship,
by rim of shield,
by shoulder of steed,
by edge of sword,
that thou wilt not slay
the wife of Völund,
nor of my bride
cause the death;
although a wife I have
whom ye know,
or offspring
within thy court.

32. To the smithy go,
which thou has made,
there wilt thou the bellows find
with blood besprinkled.
The heads I severed
of thy boys,
and under the prison’s mixen
laid their bodies.

33. But their skulls
beneath the hair
I in silver set,
and to Nidud gave;
and of their eyes
precious stones I formed,
which to Nidud’s
wily wife I sent.

34. Of the teeth
of the two,
breast-ornaments I made,
and to Bödvild sent.
Now Bödvild goes
big with child,
the only daughter
of you both.”

35. “Word didst thou never speak
that more afflicted me,
or for which I would
more severely punish thee.
There is no man so tall
that he from thy horse can take thee,
or so skilful
that he can shoot thee down,
thence where thou floatest
up in the sky.”

36. Laughing Völund
rose in air,
but Nidud sad
remained sitting.

37. “Rise up Thakrád,
my best of thralls!
bid Bödvild,
my fair-browed daughter,
in bright attire come,
with her sire to speak.

38. Is it, Bödvild! true
what has been told to me,
that thou and Völund
in the isle together sat?”

39. “True it is, Nidud!
what has been told to thee,
that Völund and I
in the isle together sat,
in an unlucky hour:
would it had never been!
I could not
against him strive,
I might not
against him prevail.”


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