The Story of the Volsungs

Chapter xliii.

The Latter End of all the Kin of the Giukings.

Now telleth the tale concerning the sons of Gudrun, that she had arrayed their war-raiment in such wise, that no steel would bite thereon; and she bade them play not with stones or other heavy matters, for that it would be to their scathe if they did so.

And now, as they went on their way, they met Erp, their brother, and asked him in what wise he would help them.

He answered, “Even as hand helps hand, or foot helps foot.”

But that they deemed naught at all, and slew him there and then. Then they went their ways, nor was it long or ever Hamdir stumbled, and thrust down his hand to steady himself, and spake therewith —

“Naught but a true thing spake Erp, for now should I have fallen, had not hand been to steady me.”

A little after Sorli stumbled, but turned about on his feet, and so stood, and spake —

“Yea now had I fallen, but that I steadied myself with both feet.”

And they said they had done evilly with Erp their brother.

But on they fare till they come to the abode of King Jormunrek, and they went up to him and set on him forthwith, and Hamdir cut both hands from him and Sorli both feet. Then spake Hamdir —

“Off were the head if Erp were alive; our brother whom we slew on the way, and found out our deed too late.” Even as the Song says, —

“Off were the head

If Erp were alive yet,

Our brother the bold,

Whom we slew by the way,

The well-famed in warfare.”

Now in this must they turn away from the words of their mother, whereas they had to deal with stones. For now men fell on them, and they defended themselves in good and manly wise, and were the scathe of many a man, nor would iron bite on them.

But there came thereto a certain man, old of aspect and one-eyed,51 and he spake —

“No wise men are ye, whereas ye cannot bring these men to their end.”

Then the king said, “Give us rede thereto, if thou canst.”

He said, “Smite them to the death with stones.”

In such wise was it done, for the stones flew thick and fast from every side, and that was the end of their life-days.

And now has come to an end the whole root and stem of the Giukings. 52

NOW MAY ALL EARLS

BE BETTERED IN MIND,

MAY THE GRIEF OF ALL MAIDENS

EVER BE MINISHED,

FOR THIS TALE OF TROUBLE

SO TOLD TO ITS ENDING.

51 Odin; he ends the tale as he began it.

52 “And now,” etc., inserted by translators from the prose Edda, the stanza at the end from the Whetting of Gudrun.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/morris/william/volsungs/chapter43.html

Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 22:07