Myth Monday: End of Andvari’s Ring Saga

After Gudrun and King Ionakr were married, they had three sons called Sorli, Hamdir, and Erp. They all had hair as black as ravens like Gunnar and Hogni and other Niflungs. Now, Svanhild (daughter of Boy Sigurd) also lived here. Svanhild was the most beautiful of all women. King Iormunrekk the Great heard of her beauty and sent his son Randver to ask for her hand in marriage on his behalf. “When he got to Ionakr’s, Svanhild was handed over to him. He was to take her to Iormunrekk”. But Bikki said that it would be better for Randver to marry Svanhild since they were both young and Iormunrekk was old. Randver and Svanhild agreed with this and Bikki went to tell King Iormunrekk. But when the King heard this, he had his son taken to the gallows so that he could not marry Svanhild. Then Randver got his hawk, plucked its feathers out and asked that it be sent to his father. Then he was hanged. When Iormunrekk saw the hawk, he realized that just as the hawk was unable to fly from lacking feathers, his kingdom was now disabled with him being old and having no son. “Then King Iormunrekk brought this about, as he was riding from the forest after hunting with his men, and Queen Svanhild was sitting bleaching her hair” that they rode over her and trampled her to death under the horses. When Gundrun got word of this, she got her sons to take vengeance for Svanhild. She gave them mail-coats and helmets so strong that iron could not penetrate them. Then she gave them instructions on how to get vengeance on the King. She told them to go to King Iormunrekk while he slept and kill him by dismemberment in his sleep. Sorli and Hamdir were going to cut off Iormunrekk’s arms and legs, and Erp cut off his head. Once they had started out on their journey, Sorli and Hamdir asked Erp what help he would give once they got to the King. “He replied that he would give them the help that an arm gives a leg”. But his brothers said there was no way an arm could support a leg and were angry with their mother for sending Erp with them with spiteful words. They wanted to punish her in the way that would hurt her the worst. So they killed Erp because she loved him most. Shortly after this, Sorli was walking and one of his legs slipped. He quickly caught and supported himself with his arm. Then he said “Now the arm has helped the leg. It would have been better now if Erp had remained alive”. Once they got to King Iormunrekk, found him asleep, and cut off his arms and leg, the king woke up and called to his men to wake. Then Hamdir said “the head would have been off by now, if Erp had been alive”. The King’s men attacked them but their weapons could not cut through the mail-coats their mother had given them. The King then yelled to his men to stone the two brothers. The men stoned them as they were ordered and Sorli and Hamdir were killed. “Thus the whole family and progeny of Giuki were now dead. There survived boy Sigurd a daughter called Aslaug who was brought up at the home of Heimir in Hlymdales, and from her important family lines are descended”. 

* This is where the saga of the ring essentially ends. After this there is a short time of peace and there are more stories of Kings and sons of Odin and the like, and their adventures and sagas. However, starting next week, I will be putting aside the Prose Edda for a while and going into the Poetic Edda and the stories found in the Poems there. That’s all for now. See you soon.

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