Stepney Green

Medieval Icelandic Literature

The Saga of Hervor and King Heidrek the Wise

13th century, Old Norse.

They exchange clothes and Odin, as Gestumblindi, goes off to ask the king riddles.

King Heidrek the Wise has two ways of dealing with wrongdoers in his kingdom. Either they can submit to the judgment of his twelve wise and impartial judges or, if they feel their case to be hopeless, they can ask him riddles in the hope of finding one that he cannot guess and so be let off.

Gestumblindi has been summoned to appear before king Heidrek; he has committed many offenses and does not fancy his chances with the judges. So he prays to Odin for help. There is a knock at the door. Gestumblindi opens it.

'Who are you?' asks Gestumblindi.

'Gestumblindi,' comes the reply.

They exchange clothes and Odin, as Gestumblindi, goes off to ask the king riddles.

Story fragment retold from: the medieval Icelandic saga of Hervor and King Heidrek the Wise, translated by Peter Tunstall. 11. The Riddles of Gestumblindi.

references

Sagas of Icelanders – Wikipedia

The Saga of Hervor and King Heidrek the Wise – translated by Peter Tunstall: New Northvegr Center

Fornaldar Sögur – Sagas of Ancient Times in modern English translation: New Northvegr Center

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