IX. How Queen Hiordis is known; and how she abideth in the house of Elf the son of the Helper
NOW asketh the king of those women where now in the world they will go,
And our lady and Queen beseecheth that unto thine house we wend
And that there thou serve her kingly that her woes may have an end.”
Fain then was the heart of the folk-king, and he bade aboard forthright,
And they hoist the sails to the wind and sail by day and by night
Where folk may dwell unharried and win abundant bliss,
The land of King Elf and the Helper; and there he bids them abide
In his house that is goodly shapen, and wrought full high and wide:
NOW there was the mother of Elf, and a woman wise was she,
And she spake to her son of a morning: “I have noted them heedfully,
Those women thou broughtst from the outlands, and fain now would I wot
Why the worser of the women the goodlier gear hath got."
E’en Sigmund the son of Volsung with whose name the world doth ring."
THEN the old queen laughed and answered: “Is it not so, my son,
That the handmaid still gave counsel when aught of deeds was done?"
He said: “Yea, she spake mostly; and her words were exceeding wise,
BUT she said: "Do after my counsel, and win thee a goodly queen:
Speak ye to the twain unwary, and the truth shall soon be seen,
And again shall they shift their raiment, if I am aught but a fool."
He said: "Thou sayst well, mother, and settest me well to school."
"How wottest thou in the winter of the coming of the sun
When yet the world is darkling?" She said: "In the days of my youth
I dwelt in the house of my father, and fair was the tide forsooth,
And ever I woke at the dawning, for folk betimes must stir,
As much as the heart desired; and now, though changed be the days,
I wake athirst in the dawning, because of my wonted ways."
THEN laughed King Elf and answered: "A fashion strange enow,
That the feet of the fair queen's-daughter must forth to follow the plough,
What sign hast thou to tell thee, that the night wears into day
When the heavens are mirk as the midnight?" Said she: "In the days that were
My father gave me this gold-ring ye see on my finger here,
And a marvel goeth with it: for when night waxeth old
And I know day comes through the darkness; and such is my dawning sign."
THEN laughed King Elf and answered: "Thy father's house was fine;
There was gold enough meseemeth. But come now, say the word
And tell me the speech thou spakest awrong mine ears have heard,
NO whit she smiled, but answered: "Indeed thou sayst the thing:
Such a wealth I had in my storehouse that I feared the Kings of men."
He said: "Yet for nought didst thou hide thee; had I known of the matter then,
As the daughter of my father had I held thee in good sooth,
But now shall I deal with thee better than thy dealings to me have been:
For my wife I will bid thee to be, and the people's very queen."
SHE said: "When the son of King Sigmund is brought forth to the light of day
And the world a man hath gotten, thy will shall I nought gainsay.
And I see thy goodly kingdom, thy country set apart,
And amidst the song and the joyance, and the sound of the people's praise,
She thinks of the days that have been, and she dreams of the coming days.
So passeth the summer season, and the harvest of the year,
And the latter days of the winter on toward the spring-tide wear.