The Northern Way


 This is found in neither of the larger manuscripts of the Poetic Edda, but is included in the Flateyjarbok, which was put together around 1400. The two ‘sections’ of which the Hyndluljoth is comprised are not well put together, one, of 51 lines, the ‘Short Voluspo’, which appears to have originated around the twelfth century, is clumsily thrust into the middle of the other. Neither section is anything but confused in its facts, the ‘Short Voluspo’ being a poor rendering of the Voluspo itself.

Freya spake:
1. “Maiden, awake! wake thee, my friend,
My sister Hyndla, in thy hollow cave!
Already comes darkness, and ride must we
To Valhall to seek the sacred hall.

2. “The favour of Heerfather seek we to find,
To his followers god he gladly gives;
To Hermoth gave he helm and mail-coat,
And to Sigmund he gave a sword as gift.

3. “Triumph to some, and treasure to others,
To many wisdom and skill in words,
Fair winds to the sailor, to the singer his art,
And a manly heart to many a hero.

4. “Thor shall I honour, and this shall I ask,
That his favour true mayst thou ever find;
Though little the brides of the giants he loves.

5. “From the stall now one of thy wolves lead forth,
And along with my boar shalt thou let him run;
For slow my boar goes on the road of the gods,
And I would not weary my worthy steed.”

Hyndla spake:
6. “Falsely thou askest men, Freyja, to go,
For so in the glance of thine eyes I see;
On the way of the slain thy lover goes with thee,
Ottar the young, the son of Instein.”

Freya spake:
7. “Wild dreams, methinks, are thine when thou sayest
My lover is with me on the way of the slain;
there shines the boar with bristles of gold,
Hildisvini, he who was made
By Dain and Nabbi, the cunning dwarfs.

8. “Now let us down from our saddles leap,
And talk of the race of the heroes twain;
The men who were born of the gods above,

9. “A wager have made in the foreign metal
Ottar the young and Angantyr;
We must guard, for the hero young to have,
His father’s wealth, the fruits of his race.
(‘foreign’ (gold) in the text is ‘valr’, akin to the word
‘welsh’ which also means foreign, and some translators
have interpreted it simply to mean Keltic, which may
not stand to reason given the time frame.)

10. “For me a shrine of stones he made,-
And now to glass the rock has grown;-
Oft with the blood of beasts was it red;
In the goddesses ever did Ottar trust.

11. “Tell me now the ancient names,
And the races of all that were born of old:
Who are the Skjoldungs, who of the Skilfings,
Who of the Othlings, who of the Ylfings,
Who are the free-born, who are the high-born,
The noblest of men that in Mithgarth dwell?”

Hyndla spake:
12. “Thou art, Ottar, the son of Instein,
And Instein the son of Alf the Old,
Alf of Ulf, Ulf of Saefari,
And Saefari’s father was Svan the Red.

(Instein is mentioned in Halfssaga as a warrior
of King Half of Horthaland/Halfsrekkar, the
rest are mentioned in the founding of Norway.)

13. “Thy mother, bright with bracelets fair,
Hight, methinks, the priestess Hledis;
Frothi her father, and Friaut her mother;-
Her race the mightiest men must seem.

14. “Of old the noblest of all was Ali,
Before him Halfdan, foremost of Skjoldungs;
Famed were the battles the hero fought,
To the corners of heaven his deeds were carried.

15. “Strengthened by Eymund, the strongest of men,
Sigtrygg he slew with the ice-cold sword;
His bride was Almveig, the best of women,
And eighteen boys did Almveig bear him.

16. “Hence come the Skjoldungs, hence the Skilfings,
Hence the Othlings, hence the Ynglings,
Hence come the free-born, hence the high-born,
The noblest of men that in Mithgarth dwell:
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

17. “Hildigun then her mother hight,
The daughter of Svava and Saekonung;
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!
It is much to know,- wilt thou hear yet more?

18. “The mate of Dag was a mother of heroes,
Thora, who bore him the bravest of fighters,
Frathmar and Gyrth and the Frekis twain,
Am and Jofurmar, Alf the Old;
It is much to know,- wilt thou hear yet more?

19. “Her husband was Ketil, the heir of Klypp,
He was of thy mother the mother’s-father;
Before the days of Kari was Frothi,
And born of Hild was Hoalf then.

20. “Next was Nanna, daughter of Nokkvi,
Thy father’s kinsman her son became;
Old is the line, and longer still,
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

21. “Isolf and Osolf, the sons of Olmoth,
Whose wife was Skurhild, the daughter of Skekkil,
Count them among the heroes mighty,
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

22. “Gunnar the Bulwark, Grim the Hardy,
Thorir the Iron-Shield, Ulf the Gaper,
Brodd and Horvir both did I know;
In the household they were of Hrolf the Old.

23. “Hervarth, Hjorvarth, Hrani, Angantryr,
Bui and Brami, Barri and Reifnir,
Tind and Tyrfing, the Haddings twain,-
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

24. “Eastward in Bolm were born of old
The sons of Arngrim and Eyfura;
With berserk-tumult and baleful deed
Like fire o’er land and sea they fared,-
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

25. “The sons of Jormunrek all of yore
To the gods in death were as offerings given;
He was kinsman of Sigurth,- hear well what I say,-
The foe of hosts, and Fafnir’s slayer.

26. “From Volsung’s seed was the hero sprung,
And Hjordis was born of Hrauthung’s race,
And Eylimi from the Othlings came,-
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

27. “Gunnar and Hogni, the heirs of Gjuki,
And Guthrun as well, who thy sister was;
But Gotthorm was not of Gjuki’s race,
Although the brother of both he was:
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!

28. “Of Hvethna’s sons was Haki the best,
And Hjorvarth the father of Hvethna was;

29. “Harald the Battle-tooth of Auth was born,
Hrorek the Ring-giver her husband was;
Auth the Deep-minded was Ivar’s daughter,
But Rathbarth the father of Randver was:
And all are thy kinsmen, Ottar, thou fool!”

Here begins “The Short Voluspo”


Freya spake:
30. “To my boar now bring the memory-beer,
So that all thy words, that well thou hast spoken,
The third morn hence he may hold in mind,
When their races Ottar and Angantyr tell.”

Hyndla spake:
31. “Hence shalt thou fare, for fain would I sleep,
From me thou gettest few favours good;
My noble one, out in the night thou leapest
As Heithrun goes the goats among.

32. “To Oth didst thou run, who loved thee ever,
And many under thy apron have crawled;
My noble one, out in the night thou leapest,
As Heithrun goes the goats among.

Freya spake:
33. “Around the giantess flames shall I raise,
So that forth unburned thou mayst not fare.”

Hyndla spake:
34. “Flames I see burning, the earth is on fire,
And each for his life the price must lose;
Bring then to Ottar the draught of beer,
Of venom filled for an evil fate.”

Freya spake:
35. “Thine evil words shall work no ill,
Though, giantess, bitter thy baleful threats;
A drink full fair shall Ottar find,
If of all the gods the favour I get.”

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