[Footnote 74: The name of one of Odin’s wolves; here used poetically for wolf in general.]
THE THIRD LAY OF SIGURD FAFNICIDE.
1. It was of old that Sigurd, the young Volsung, Giuki sought, after his conflict, received the pledge of friendship from the two brothers; oaths exchanged the bold of deed.
2. A maid they offered him, and treasures many, Gudrun, Giuki’s youthful daughter. Drank and conversed, many days together, Sigurd the young and Giuki’s sons.
3. Until they went to woo Brynhild, and with them Sigurd, the youthful Volsung, rode in company, who knew the way. He would have possessed her, if her possess he might.
4. Sigurd the southern laid a naked sword, a glittering falchion, between them; nor the damsel did he kiss, nor did the Hunnish king to his arm lift her. He the blooming maid to Giuki’s son delivered.
5. She to herself of body was of no sin conscious, nor at her death-day, of any crime, that could be a stain, or thought to be: intervened therein the grisly fates.
6. Alone she sat without, at eve of day, began aloud with herself to speak: “Sigurd must be mine; I must die, or that blooming youth clasp in my arms.”
7. “Of the words I have uttered I now repent; he is Gudrun’s consort, and I am Gunnar’s. The hateful Norns long suffering have decreed us.”
8. Oftentimes she wandered, filled with evil thoughts, o’er ice and icebergs, every eve, when he and Gudrun had to their couch withdrawn, and Sigurd her in the coverings wrapt, the Hunnish king his wife caressed.
9. “Devoid I go of spouse and pleasure; I will beguile myself with vengeful thoughts.”
10. By those fits of fury she was impelled to murder. “Thou, Gunnar! shalt wholly lose my land, and myself also. Never shall I be happy, king! with thee.
11. I will return thither from whence I came, to my near kindred, my relations; there will I remain, and slumber life away, unless thou Sigurd cause to be slain, and a king become than the other greater.
12. Let the son go together with the father, the young wolf may not longer be fostered. For whom will vengeance be the easier to appease, if the son lives?”
13. Wroth was Gunnar, and with grief borne down; in his mind revolved, sat the whole day; he knew not well, nor could devise, what were most desirable for him to do, or were most fitting to be done, when he should find himself of the Volsung bereft, and in Sigurd a great loss sustain.
14. Much he thought, and also long, that it did not often happen, that from their royal state women withdrew. Hogni he then to counsel summoned, in whom he placed the fullest trust.
15. “Of all to me Brynhild, Budli’s daughter, is the dearest; she is the chief of women: rather will I my life lay down than that fair one’s treasures lose.