Farewell, farewell to all you dead! I would that I were sped! Farewell all you in the mound! Then she returned towards her ships; but when dawn came, she saw that they had departed. The vikings had been scared by the rumblings and the flames on the island.

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Farewell, farewell to all you dead! I would that I were sped! Farewell all you in the mound! Then she returned towards her ships; but when dawn came, she saw that they had departed. The vikings had been scared by the rumblings and the flames on the island. She got a ship to carry her away; but nothing is told of her voyage till she came to Guthmund in Glasisvellir, where she remained all through the winter, still calling herself Hervarth.

One day Guthmund was playing chess, and when the game was almost up, he asked if anyone could advise him as to his moves. So Hervarth went up to him and began to direct his moves; and it was not long before Guthmund began to win. Then somebody took up Tyrfing and drew it. When Hervarth saw this, he snatched the sword out of his hands, and slew him, and then left the room. This woman-man will cost you dear before you take his life.

There she behaved like other girls, working at her embroidery and fine needlework. One was called Angantyr, the other Heithrek. They were both big strong men—sensible and handsome. Angantyr resembled his father in character and was kindly disposed towards everyone. But however much good he did, Heithrek did still more evil.

His foster-father was called Gizur. This greatly displeased him, but he put in an appearance all the same, declaring that he would do them some mischief.

And when he entered the hall, Angantyr rose and went to meet him and invited him to sit beside him. Heithrek was not cheerful, but he sat till late in the evening after Angantyr had gone; and then he turned to the men who sat on either side of him and worked upon them by his conversation in such a way that they became infuriated with each other. But when Angantyr came back he told them to be quiet.

And when Angantyr went out a second time, Heithrek reminded them of his words, and worked upon them to such an extent that one of them struck the other.

Then Angantyr returned and persuaded them to keep the peace till morning. And the third time Angantyr went away, Heithrek asked the man who had been struck why he had not the courage to avenge himself. And so effective did his persuasion prove that he who had been struck sprang up and slew his companion. When Angantyr returned, he was displeased at what had taken place. So Heithrek went out, and his brother with him.

Then his mother came up and gave him Tyrfing. My father proclaims me an outlaw while my mother has given me Tyrfing, which is of more account to me than a great territory. But I shall do that very thing that will most distress my father. The two brothers were alone. Now since Tyrfing had to be the death of a man every time it was drawn, Heithrek dealt his brother his death-blow. Heithrek got little joy of his deed and lived in the woods for a long time, shooting deer and bears for food. And when he came to think over his position, he reflected that there would be but a poor tale to tell if no-one was to know what had become of him; and it occurred to him that he could even yet become a man famous for deeds of prowess like his ancestors before him.

So he went home and sought out his mother and begged her to ask his father to give him some sound advice before they parted. Secondly, he must not protect a man who has slain one of his comrades.

Thirdly, his wife ought not to be always leaving home to visit her relatives. Fourthly, he ought not to stay out late with his sweetheart. Fifthly, he should not ride his best horse when he is in a hurry. Sixthly, he ought not to bring up the child of a man in a better position than himself.

Seventhly, let him always be cheerful towards one who comes for hospitality. Eighthly, he should never lay Tyrfing on the ground. Heithrek replied: "This advice must have been given me in a spiteful spirit. It will not be of any use to me.

He went on his way; and when he had gone a short distance he came upon some men who were leading a man in bonds. Heithrek asked what the man had done, and they replied that he had betrayed his liege lord. He asked if they would accept money as his ransom, and they said that they were willing to do so. He ransomed the man for half his gold mark. The man then offered to serve him, but Heithrek replied: "You would not be faithful to a stranger like me, seeing that you betrayed your liege lord to whom you owed many benefits.

He asked what this man had done, and they replied that he had murdered one of his comrades. He freed him with the other half of his gold mark. This man also offered to serve him, but Heithrek declined. After that he went on his way till he came to Reithgotaland, where he went to the King who ruled there. His name was Harold, and he was an old man at the time. Heithrek remained for a time with the King, who gave him a cordial welcome. There were two Earls who had plundered the kingdom of King Harold and made it subject to them, and because he was old he paid them tribute every year.

Heithrek grew intimate with the King, and eventually it came about that he became the commander of his army and betook himself to raiding, and soon made himself famous for his victories. Heithrek fought with Tyrfing and, as in the past, no-one could withstand it, for it cut through steel as easily as cloth; and the result was that he slew both the Earls and put all their army to flight.

He then went throughout the kingdom and brought it under King Harold and took hostages, and then returned home. And as a mark of great honour, King Harold went himself to meet him, and he acquired great fame from this. The King gave him his daughter Helga in marriage and with her half his kingdom. Heithrek had the defence of the whole realm in his hands; and this arrangement lasted for a time. King Harold had a son in his old age.

Heithrek also had a son, who was called Angantyr. Presently a great famine began in Reithgotaland which is now called Jutland and it threatened to destroy all the inhabitants. So they tried divination, and the answer was that there would be no plenty in Reithgotaland until the noblest boy in the land had been sacrificed.

Thereupon Heithrek went to visit his father, who made him welcome. Beyond that there is no need to give you advice, considering your character and the army that you have under you. Then the people demanded that he should give up his son and get them a better harvest.

Heithrek then talked with his men after the force had been divided, and demanded fresh oaths of allegiance from them.

These they gave, swearing to follow him whether at home or abroad, for whatever purpose he wished. Then said he: "It appears to me that Othin will have been well compensated for one boy if he gets in place of him King Harold and his son and all his host! Heithrek was now accepted as King throughout the realm.

He made love to Sifka the daughter of Humli, a prince from the land of the Huns. King Heithrek went out raiding and marched against the land of the Saxons with a great host. The King of the Saxons sent men to meet him and they made peace with one another, and the King invited Heithrek to a banquet. Heithrek accepted the invitation. She often used to ask to go to visit her father, and Heithrek was indulgent to her in this matter. Her stepson Angantyr used to go with her.

On one occasion when Heithrek was returning from a raid, he lay in hiding off the land of the Saxons. He landed during the night and entered the building in which his wife was sleeping. He had only one companion with him. All the sentries were asleep. He found a handsome man asleep beside his wife.

A little later he had a meeting called and asked if anything was known of his son. The Queen alleged that he had died suddenly. He asked her to guide him to his tomb, and when she said that that would only increase his grief, he replied that he did not mind that.

A search was made accordingly, and a dog was found wrapped in a shroud. Heithrek remarked that his son had not changed for the better.

Then the King caused the man whom he had found asleep to be brought forward, and he proved to be a bondman. Thereupon Heithrek put away his wife, and then went home to his kingdom. One summer as Heithrek was away raiding, he went into the land of the Huns and harried there, and Humli his father-in-law fled before him.

Heithrek there captured great booty and also Sifka, the daughter of King Humli, and then returned home to his kingdom. He sent her home shortly after. He also captured another woman called Sifka from Finland. She was the loveliest woman ever seen. One summer he sent men east to Holmgarth to offer to bring up the child of King Hrollaug, the most powerful king of the time.

Messengers came to Holmgarth and told their errand to the King, who had a young son called Horlaug. The King replied: "Is it likely that I shall send him my son to bring up, when he has betrayed King Harold his father-in-law and his other relatives and friends?


Hervarar Saga ok Heiðreks

The version I read, translated in by Peter Tunstall, was only available online, and thus was not a Goodreads book. I hope this is close enough for some. This classic Icelandic Saga, compiled through the ages, was truly breathtaking to read. Tolkien took many aspects of his stories from this particular saga and as he spoke Icelandic, he was able to read the original text. He also modified the dwarf-names "Dvalin" and "Dulin" to name some of his characters. This saga entails a great many small journeys, but like many sagas of the era, there is a great sword, and like any truly great sword, it has a name: in this case, Tyrfing. And although many characters come and go, Tyrfing is always there, and always important.


Saga Hervarar







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