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Daniel Galbraith, commended (18-and-under)
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The Lay of Fáfnir (i–x)


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,
[...........]
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.


Anon
The Lay of Fáfnir (i–x)

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 Sigurðr’s 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,
Fáfnir’s red blood? Now
It’s hooked in my heart!

Sigurðr didn’t give his name, because in old times it was believed that a doomed man’s words had great might, if he cursed his enemy by name.

SIGURÐR

‘Noble stag’ I’m named,
Neither house nor home
Have I, nor mother;
I wander without
Father: unlike folks’
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 I’m called,
My dad Sigmundr—I’m
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 buddies’ bosoms,
You’d maul with mettle.
But now a captive,
The one caught quivers!

SIGURÐR

Now you niggle me,
Fáfnir, for father’s
Funds are far away;
But prisoner I’m
Not: though Fáfnir guards,
I’m a free fellow!

FÁFNIR

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

SIGURÐR

Each man’s estate is
His own until death,
For there’s only one
Fateful day when the
Fellow’s demise leads
Him down to Hel’s door.


Translated from the Old Norse by Daniel Galbraith

1 There is a missing line in the text.
2 The Norse for this line is unclear.
  [Commentary on the poem by the translator]   



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