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« The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún »

« I had very little desire to look for buried treasure or fight pirates, and Treasure Island left me cool. Red Indians were better: there were bows and arrows (I had and have a wholly unsatisfied desire to shoot well with a bow), and strange languages, and glimpses of an archaic mode of life, and above all, forests in such stories. But the land of Merlin and Arthur were better than these, and best of all the nameless North of Sigurd and the Volsungs, and the prince of all dragons. Such lands were pre-eminently desirable. »
J.R.R. Tolkien in On Fairy Stories (1947)

The main text of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún consists of two long poems : The New Lay of the Völsungs, and The New Lay of Gudrún. Because of the ancient style and metrical form adopted by the author, we hope that the following synopsis of the story itself will be of use in following the poems for the reader who is unfamiliar with either the legend or the poetic form.
Following this synopsis you will find a brief presentation of the book and its components (p. 11), as well as a few links to external websites on the subject (p. 12).

The Story of Sigurd and Gudrún

This is a summary account in prose written by Christopher Tolkien for our website of the 'New Lay of the Völsungs' and 'The New Lay of Gudrún' as written by J.R.R.Tolkien and published in 2009 in « The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún », and takes no account of other versions of the legend where they differ.

The New Lay of the Völsungs

Of old was an age
when Ódin walked
by wide waters
in the world's beginning;
lightfooted Loki
at his left was running,
at his right Hœnir
roamed beside him.

It is told that these three Gods (who in the Norse tongue are called the Æsir), Ódin (greatest of the Northern Gods), Loki, and Hœnir came to a waterfall where dwelt the dwarf Ándvari. At the falls they saw an otter that had caught a salmon; but Loki hurled a stone at it and killed it. (cont'd)

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