FÁFNISMAL - (I-X) THE LAY OF FÁFNIR - (I-X)
Anon. tr. Daniel Galbraith
(from Old Norse)


Sigurðr ok Reginn fóu upp á Gnitaheiði ok hittu þar
slóð Fáfnis, þá er hann skreið til vatns. þar gerði
Sigurðr gröf mikla á veginum, ok gekk Sigurðr þar í.
En er Fáfnir skreið af gullinu, blés hann eitri, ok hraut þat
fyrir ofan höfuð Sigurði. En er Fáfnir skreið yfir gröfina,
þá lagði Sigurðr hann með sverði til hjarta. Fáfnir hristi
sik ok barði höfði ok sporði. Sigurðr hljóp ór gröfinni,
ok sá þá hvárr annan.


................ Fáfnir kvað:

................Sveinn ok sveinn, hverjum ertu svein of borinn,
................hverra ertu manna mögr,
................er þú á Fáfni rautt þinn inn frána mæki;
................stöndumk til hjarta hjörr.


Sigurðr dulði nafn síns, fyrir því at þat var trúa þeira í
forneskju, at orð feigs manns mætti mikit, ef hann bölvaði
óvin sínum með nafni.



................Hann kvað:

................Göfugt dýr heiti ek, en gengit hef ek
................inn móðurlausi mögr,
................föður ek ákk-a sem fira synir;
................æ geng ek einn saman.



................Fáfnir kvað:

................Veiztu, ef föður né átt-at sem fira synir,
........................... #1
................af hverju vastu undri alinn?



................Sigurðr kvað:


................ætterni mitt kveð ek þér ókunnigt vera
................ok mik sjalfan it sama;
................Sigurðr heiti ek, Sigmundr hét minn faðir,
................er hefk þik vápnum vegit.


................Fáfnir kvað:


................Hverr þik hvatti, hví hvetjask lézt
................mínu fjörvi at fara?
................Inn fráneygi sveinn, þú áttir föður bitran;
................óbornum skjór á skeið.


................Sigurðr kvað:

................Hugr mik hvatti, hendr mér fulltýðu
................ok minn inn hvassi hjörr;
................fár er hvatr, er hröðask tekr,
................ef í barnœsku er blauðr.



................Fáfnir kvað:


................Veit ek, ef þú vaxa næðir fyr þinna vina brjósti,
................sæi maðr þik vreiðan vega;
................nú ertu haftr ok hernuminn;
................æ kveða bandingja bifask.


................Sigurðr kvað:


................því bregðr þú mér, Fáfnir, at til fjarri séak
................mínum feðrmunum,
................eigi em ek haftr, þótt væra ek hernumi,
................þú fannt, at ek laus lifi.


................Fáfnir kvað:


................Heiftyrði ein telr þú þér í hvívetna,
................en ek þér satt eitt segik:
................it gjalla gull ok it glóðrauða fé,
................þér verða þeir baugar at bana.


................Sigurðr kvað:


................Féi ráða vill fyrða hverr
................æ til ins eina dags;
................því at einu sinni skal alda hverr
................fara til heljar heðan.







Sigurðr and Reginn went up towards Gnita Heath, and there hit upon the trail left by Fáfnir as he slithered up to the water. Then Sigurðr dug a massive pit in the road, and got into it, and when Fáfnir slithered out of his gold cave, he sneezed out venom, and it fell onto Sigurðrís head from above. But then, when Fáfnir slid over the pit, Sigurðr pierced through his heart with his sword! Then Fáfnir convulsed, and flailed around his head and tail. Sigurðr leapt from the pit; they eyed each other up.

................Fáfnir
................My boy, my laddie,
................Who bore you, my boy?
................Whose son might strive to
................Stain his sword with blood,
................Fáfnirís red blood? Now
................Itís hooked in my heart!

Sigurðr didnít give his name, because in old times it was believed that a doomed manís words had great might, if he cursed his enemy by name.

................Sigurðr

................ĎNoble stagí Iím named,
................Neither house nor home
................Have I, nor mother;
................I wander without
................Father: unlike folksí
................Sons, I go solo.

................Fáfnir

................You know, if you had
................No father, no dad
................(As you deny it),
.......................... #1
................Whence, of what wonder
................Were you born, laddie?

................Sigurðr

................My kin, I conclude,
................Remain unknown to
................You, as I myself
................Do: Sigurðr Iím called,
................My dad Sigmundr - Iím
................He whose sword slew you.

................Fáfnir

................Who hurried you on,
................Why was your blood-lust
................Whetted for my life?
................Flashing-eyed fellow,
................Your father was fierce:
................Daredevil, like dad! #2

................Sigurðr

................Spirit spurred me on;
................My hands helped me, as
................Did my piercing blade.
................Few battle bravely
................When they become old,
................If cowards in youth.

................Fáfnir

................I know if you did
................Manage to mature
................In buddiesí bosoms,
................Youíd maul with mettle.
................But now a captive,
................The one caught quivers!

................Sigurðr

................Now you niggle me,
................Fáfnir, for fatherís
................Funds are far away;
................But prisoner Iím
................Not: though Fáfnir guards,
................Iím a free fellow!

................Fáfnir

................You mistake malice
................For all you hear; but
................Hereís the truth: that gold
................Which glimmers, and the
................Ruby-red stash - these
................Rings will seal your doom!

................Sigurðr

................Each manís estate is
................His own until death,
................For thereís only one
................Fateful day when the
................Fellowís demise leads
................Him down to Helís door.


NOTES: #1 There is a missing line in the text.
...............#2 The Norse for this line is unclear.


Commended in the 18-and-under category - Stephen Spender Prize 2008

Trans. copyright © Daniel Galbraith


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