There was a king in Sweden hight Níthoth. He had two sons and a daughter whose name was Bothvild. There were three brothers, sons of a Finnish king. Was one hight Slagfith, the second, Egil, and the third Volund.
They ran on snowshoes, hunting game. They came to the Wolfdales and made them a house there by the water called Wolf Lake.

Early one morn they found by the shore three women who were spinning flax. By them lay their swanskins, for they were valkyries. They were the two daughters of King Hlothvér, Hlathguth the Swanwhite, and Hervor the Allwise; and the third was Olrún, the daughter of King Kíar of Valland.

The brothers took them home with them. Egil took Olrún to wife; Slagfith, Hlathguth; and Volund, Hervor. Thus dwelled they seven years. Then flew away to be at battles, and did not return. Then went forth Egil on his snowshoes to search for Olrún, and Slagfith, to look for Swanwhite; but Volund stayed behind in the Wolfdales.
He was the most skilful of men of whom olden tales tell. King Níthoth had him taken captive, as is told in this lay.



Of Volund and Níthoth
1. Three maidens flew through Myrkvith from Southland,
young valkyries, in wars to try them;
they sate by the lake, their limbs to rest,
fair southron maids, precious flax spinning;

2. Hlathguth and Hervor, Hlothvér's daughters,
and wise Olrún, Kíar's offspring.
Did one of them wind her white arms
about Egil, to her bosom held him;

3. (and Hlathguth fair, enfolded Slagfith);
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but Hervor, the third of these sisters,
winded her arms 'round Volund's neck.

4. Thus dwelled the sisters seven winters,
but on the eighth ay in yearning,
but on the ninth they needs must part:
longed the maidens through Myrkvith to fly,
the young valkyries, in wars to try them.

5. Came the weather-wise from the woods striding,
(from hunting weary, Volund the Smith,)
Slagfith and Egil, found empty the hall,
went out and in, looking after them.

6. Fared Egil eastward, Olrún to seek,
fared southward Slagfith, Swanwhite to find;
but Volund alone in Wolfdales stayed----
(bided till back his bride would come);

7. With red gold rimmed richest jewels,
with bast his rings them bound together;
for the white-armed woman he waited long,
biding if back his bride would come.

8. This heard Níthoth, the Njára King,
that Volund alone in Wolfdales dwelled:
at night fared the men, were their mail coats studded,
their shields did shine by the moon-sickle's sheen.

9. From their horses leapt, at the hall's gable-end,
and in they went from end to end;
saw on bast the rings bound together,
full seven hundred which the smith did own.
Off they took all, put them on again;
but one ring they away did take.

10. Came the weather-wise from the woods striding,
from hunting weary, Volund the Smith.
To broil gan he a bear's meat then,
soon flamed the fire of faggots dry,
the wood wind-dried, on Volund's hearth.

11. On bearskins resting the rings then told
the alfs' folk-warder, and one he missed:
hoped that had it Hlothvér's daughter,
that the young valkyrie had wended home.

12. Long time sate he, till asleep he fell;
awakened then to woeful lot:
on his hand had he heavy shackles,
were his feet fastened by fetters strong.

Volund said:
13. "What warriors have wound about me
the ropes of bast and bound me thus?"

14. Then called out Níthoth, the Njára King:
"Where didst win, Volund, in the Wolfdales living,
thou lord of alfs, our gold rings?
That gold was not on Grani's path,
and far hence are the hills of the Rhine."

Volund said:
15. "Better treasure I trow we had,
in the hall when we at home did sit."

16. (Stood Níthoth's cunning queen without);
in now went she to endmost gable,
on floor standing with still voice said:
"There is hate in him in the hold who dwelled."

King Níthoth gave his daughter Bothvild the gold ring which he had taken off
the bast rope in Volund's hall, and he himself bore the sword which Volund had
owned.

But his queen said:
17. "His teeth he bares, the blade as he,
and my daughter's dear ring he sees:
are his eyes awful, like the adder's glittering.
Sever ye soon his sinews' might,
let him sit henceforth in Sævarstath.


And so was done. They hamstrung him, and set him down on the isle hich lay
not far from land and was high Sævarstath. There he wrought in metal and made
the king all manner of precious things. No one dared go to see him but only
the king.

Volund said:
18. "The sword see I at Níthoth's side
the which I whetted as I had the skill,
the which I hardened by hand, till fit.
Now the flashing blade from me is gone;
ne'er to Volund's smithy will I see it borne.

19. "Now bears Bothvild my bride's armring
the gold ring red I'll not regain ever."

20. Sate he nor slept, e'er smote with hammer;
wrought Volund wondrous works for Níthoth.
To his door drifted one day the young
sons of Níthoth, in Sævarstath.

21. For the keys called they to the chest when they came----
was their ill fate sealed when in they looked.
Much wondrous wealth they weened to see,
the younglings, of gems and of yellow gold.

Volund said:
22. "Come again, lordlings, come alone on the morrow,
the gleaming gold I shall give you then;
from your nurses hide, and from household folk,
from every wight, that ye wended to me."

23. Full soon one brother said to the other,
and lad to lad: "Let us look at the rings!"

24. For the keys called they to the chest when they came----
was their ill fate sealed when in they looked.
He hewed off their heads of the hapless lads,
their bodies buried 'neath the bellows' pit.

25. With skill their skulls 'neath the scalp that lay
in silver he set and sent them to Níthoth;
of the bairns eyeballs shining beads he wrought
and gave to the cunning queen of Níthoth.

26. But out of the twain's teeth made Volund
Beauteous brooches which to Bothvild he sent.
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27. Did proud Bothvild then praise the ring----
to Volund bore it as broken it was:
"I durst not tell this but to thee only."

Volund said:
28. "Whate'er harm it has taken, I shall heal the ring
that to thy father 'twill fairer seem,
and to thy mother be much better,
and to thyself the same as before."

29. Did wily Volund outwit her with drink,
so that on settle asleep she fell.

Volund said:
30. "Are avenged the deeds which were done to me,
save one only, (on the wicked queen).


31. "Fain would I fare on my feet," quoth Volund,
"whose might from me Níthoth's men have taken."

32. Laughing, aloft lifted him Volund,
weeping, Bothvild went from the isle,
his flight fearing, and her father's wrath.

33. Stood Níthoth's cunning queen without;
in now went she to endmost gable;
but on house wall high awhile he rested:
"Art waking, Níthoth, thou Njára King?"

Níthoth said:
34. "I am wakeful ever, not wait me joy,
ever since my sons' death I slept but little:
cold was thy counsel, cold is my head;
now wish I this of Volund to ask:

35. "Make answer, Volund, thou alfs' leader!
What hath become of my hapless boys?"

Volund said:
36. "Ere shalt thou swear all oaths to me,
by ship's bulwark and shield's border,
by swift steed's shoulder and sharpest sword:
that to Volund's wife thou work no harm,
nor brew for my bride baleful counsel,
though wife I have whom well ye know,
or child I have thy hall within.

37. "To the smithy wend, for Volund builded,
there the bellows shalt all bloody find:
I hewed off the heads of thy hapless boys,
and their bodies buried 'neath the bellows' pit.

38. "With skill their skulls 'neath the scalp which lay
in silver I set and sent them to thee;
of the bairns' eyeballs shining beads I wrought
and gave to the cunning queen of Níthoth.

39. "But out of the twain's teeth made Volund
beauteous brooches and to Bothvild sent them;
and now Bothvild is big with child,
your only daughter, dear to you both."

Níthoth said:
40. "Ne'er said'st thou word which saddened me more
nor I wished, Volund, worse to avenge:
but so high no one, to haul thee down,
nor so strong, belike, from below to shoot thee,
so high since hoverest 'neath very heaven."

41. Laughing, aloft lifted him Volund,
in sorrow Níthoth sat behind, then.

42. Then spake Níthoth, the Njára King:
"Rise up, Thakkráth, of my thralls thou best,
and bid Bothvild, the brow-white maiden
fairly dight, go with her father to speak."

43. "Is it true, Bothvild, as told I am,
That Volund with thee was on the isle?"

Bothvild said:
44. " 'Tis true, Níthoth, as told thou art:
Volund with me was on the isle
(an hour of shame): it should not have been.

No strength had I to strive against him,
naught availed it 'gainst Volund to strive."