Yule

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The Saga of Hrolf Kraki and His Champions

35. Bodvar Beats the Dragon

charivari

Yule approached and the people grew glum. Bodvar asked Hott what this meant. He explains how for two years they have been tormented by the huge and terrible flying creature  “with wings on its back”. Two autumns it’s visits resulted in loss of life and destruction of property.  No weapon pierces it, and the king’s best champions don’t come home.

Bodvar said,

“This Hall is not so well manned as I imagined, if one beast alone may lay such waste in this kingdom and to the king’s cattle.”

Hott said,

 “Tis the worst sort of troll.”

 

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Yule-eve falls and the king said,

“Now I want all my people to be still and quiet this night;  I forbid any man to risk life and limb with this creature. If the cattle are taken, then it be so but I shall not lose any of my men.”

Everyone promised faithfully to do as the king commanded.

Bodvar crept away in the night taking Hott with him, albeit under duress, exclaiming how he was being led to his death.  Bodvar refutes his pleas. But as they leave, so nervous was he that Bodvar had to carry him.

Almost immediately, they spy the beast ,causing  Hott so scream loudly, believing the beast would swallow him. Bodvar told him to shut up and threw him down on the moss, where he liay in great fear.  Unable to move, he does not even  dare not go home. Bodvar does face up to the creature.  So cold is the icy winds around them, his sword is stuck fast in its scabbard when he wanted to draw it. So Bodvar willed his sword free , urging it so strongly to be released and when it stirred in the sheath,  he finally drew it, thrusting it straight under the beast’s shoulder.  So hard  was the blow in fact that it pierced the heart of the great beast which dropped down dead upon the ground.

Thereafter  he walked over to where Hott lay, petrified still. Bodvar picked him up and dragged him over to where the creature lays dead. Hott shook him sorely.

Bodvar said,

“Now you must drink the blood of the beast.”

Though reluctant, he is at the same time unwilling to gainsay Bodvar who instructs  him to drink two big mouthfuls. He also bade him eat a small portion of the creature’s heart. After this, Bodvar attacked him and they fought for some time.

 

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Bodvar said,

“Now you’ve grown plenty strong, and I doubt you’ll fear King Hrolf’s retainers now.”

Hott replied, “I will not fear them or you after this.”

“All is as it should and must be. Now we must raise the beast , setting it up as if it were still alive.”

They accomplish this then quietly leave.

durer witch devil 

[with thanks, edited from: 

http://www.northvegr.org/sagas%20annd%20epics/legendary%20heroic%20and%20imaginative%20sagas/old%20heithinn%20tales%20from%20the%20north/043.html%5D

 

 

 

 

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~ by meanderingsofthemuse on December 24, 2012.

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