The Lay of Harbardh
* Thorr was on his way back from the east and came to a sound. On the other shore there was the ferryman with his boat. Who is the fellow there by the ferry who stands? Who is the fellow there over the firth who calls? Ferry me over the firth! I shall feed thee this morn: in my basket on my back is the best of foods. My fill of it had I by my fireside, of herrings and oats, ere from home I fared. An early deed thou deem'st thy meal; but dost thou know that downhearted thy home folks? Dead, I ween, is thy mother. That sayest thou now which would seem to all most mournful to hear: that my mother be dead. Yet methinks unlikely that three farms thou ownest for barefoot thou art, and in beggar's clothes; scarce whole are the breeks on thy buttocks. Steer hither the dugout,the haven I shall show thee; but who owns the boat which thou hast yonder? He is Hildold hight who bade me helmsman be, the dodgeful chief who dwells by Rathsey Sound. He bade me haul no horse thieves or robbers, but goodly men only whose goings I knew. Now say thy name if over the sound thou wilt. I should utter my name though outlawed I were, and that of all my kin: I am Odhinn's son, Meili's brother, Magni's father, a God strong in thews: 'tis Thorr thou speaketh. This now I ask, what thy name be. I am Harbardh hight, I hide my name but seldom. Why should'st thou hide thy name but thou had'st good cause? Even though sought I were: from such as thee I would fend my life but I were fey and doomed. A weary thing it were to me to wade through the water to thee, and so wet my nether parts; I would maul thee, tot, for thy mocking speech if I could but cross the sound. Here shall I stand till thou hither comest; no hardier foe shalt find, now Hrungnir is dead. That Hrungnir I fought thou hast heard aright, the stouthearted who a stone bore as head; yet I did him to death and he bit the dust. What didst thou meanwhile, Harbardh? Was I with Fjolvar full five winters on that island which is Algroen hight there war we waged and waded in blood, tried many deeds, and maiden's lured. Did you win the love of the woman? Merry had been the maids, if but meek they had been; friendly had been the women, if but fond they had been: of sand under waves they wound their ropes, out of deep dales they dug forth the ground. With wiley words I outwitted them all, with the sisters seven I slept, my will I worked with them all. What didst thou meanwhile, Thorr? Strong Thjatzi, the thurse, I overthrew in battle, and the awful eyes of Advaldi's son I cast on the cloudless sky. Those be the mighty marks of my great works, which all men since may see. What did'st thou meanwhile, Harbardh? With love spells mighty I lured witchwomen, and made them foresake their mates; a hardy thurse Hlebardh me seemed: A galdrwand he gave me, but I wiled him out of his wits. Then thou gavest back ill for good. One man's ill is the other man's luck; in such things, each for himself! What didst thou meanwhile, Thorr? In Eastland was I and slew Etins, waton wenches who warred on mountains: much might had the etins if all did live; little might had men then in Midgardhr's round. What did'st thou meanwhile, Harbardh? In Valland was I and waged battles, urged on the athelings, nor ever made peace. Gets Odhinn all earls slain by edge of swords, but Thorr, the breed of thralls. Uneven would'st thou deal to Aesir their followers, if too great might were given thee. Enough strength hath Thorr, but a stout heart nowise: in fainthearted fear wast fooled in a mitten, nor seemed then Thorr himself: in utter dread thou did'st not dare to fart or sneeze, lest Fjalar heard it. Harbardh, thou coward, to Hel I would send thee, if but over the sound I could reach. Why should'st thou reach over the sound, as I slighted thee nowise? What didst thou meanwhile, Thorr? In the East was I, and Ifing guarded, when Svarang's sons sought to kill me: huge stones they hurled, yet they strove in vain, they begged for peace when overborne they were. What did'st thou meanwhile, Harbardh? In the East was I, in my arms I held the white-armed maiden, with wheedling words, gladdened the gold-dight one till she gave me her love. Good was then the wench to thee! Of thy help then had I great need, to hold fast the white-armed maiden. I would have given it gladly, if on the ground I had been. And I would trust thee, if thou didst not betray me. No heel-biter am I, like an old hide shoe in spring! What didst thou meanwhile, Thorr? Against berserk women I warred on Hles Isle; with wickedness they bewitched all men. 'Twas unworthy of thee to war on woman. She-Wolves were they, not women, indeed; they shivered my ship which was shored on land, threatened me with iron clubs, and drove off Thjalfi. What did'st thou meanwhile, Harbardh? On the harrying was I which was hither made, to raise the war flag and redden spears. To my mind thou callest that thou camest to war on us. I shall make up for that with a mickle ring, as daysmen may deem in dooming between us. Whence hast thou these hateful words, for more hateful onesheard I never. My words I have from wights so old who dwell in the howes-of-the-home! A good name givest thou to the graves, indeed, when thou callest them howes-of-the-home! Thus think I of such things. Thy glibness of tongue I would gag full soon, so soon as I wade o'er the water; than the wolf louder I ween thou would'st howl, if the hammer struck thy head. With Sif someone sleeps in her bower; thy strength thou should'st stake aginst his! With wicked words sayst thou what worst would seem to me; but, craven knave, I know that thou liest. No lie I tell thee. Full late art thou now; far had'st thou been had I ferried thee over. Cowardly Harbardh, thou hast held me here overlong. Never had I thought that Thorr would brook a ferrymen to fleer at him. Now give heed to my words and row hither thy boat; let mocking be and fetch Magni's father over. Get thee from the firth! I shall not ferry thee over. Then show me the way since thou wilt not ferry me over the firth. 'Tis not long to show, all the longer to fare: a while to the stock and a while to the stone; then take thy way to the left till to Verland thou comest. will Fjorgyn there meet Thorr her son, and show her kinsman the road, how he may come to Odhinn. Will I get thither today? With toil and moil thou mayst at sunrise get thither, since it's thawing. Scant now be our speech, since thou but scoffest at me; my might thou shalt feel if we meet again. Get thee gone now where all the trolls may take thee!