William Morris Archive


The Tale of Hogni and Hedinn {p. 187-210).

From The Skildskarparmil, Chap. 50.

Battle is called the Tempest or Storm of the Host of Hedinn, and weapons are called the Fires of the Host of Hedinn, or the Wands of the Host of Hedinn: but this is the story told thereof:—

A king, who is named Hogni, had a daughter hight Hild, whom a king hight Hedinn, son of Hiarandi, took as a prey of war whenas King Hogni was gone to an assembly of the kings; who, when he heard that there was war in his realm, and that his daughter was borne away, fared with his host a-seeking Hedinn, and heard of him that he had sailed north along the land. But when King Hogni came to Norway, he heard that Hedinn had sailed west over the sea; so Hogni sailed after him, right away to the Orkneys, and when he came to the island called Ha, there was Hedinn before him with his company.

Then fared Hild to her father, and offered him a necklace as atonement on Hedinn's part; and said that on the other hand Hedinn was all ready to fight, and that Hogni need look for no sparing from him. Hogni answered his daughter roughly, and when she met Hedinn she told him that Hogni would have no peace, and bade him array him for battle. And so they did, either of them, and went up on to the island, and ordered their hosts. Then called Hedinn[246] to Hogni his father-in-law, and bade him peace, and much gold in atonement.

Then answereth Hogni: "Over-late hast thou bidden this, if thou wilt have peace; for now have I drawn Dainsloom whom the Dwarfs wrought, who shall be a man's bane every time he is bare, and never faltereth in his stroke, and no hurt that cometh of him healeth."

Then answereth Hedinn: "The sword thou art praising, and not the victory. A good sword I call it that clings to its master."

Then began they that battle which is called the Slaughter of the Host of Hedinn, and fought all that day, and at night-tide the Kings fared to their ships.

But in the night went Hild to the field of the slain, and woke up by witchcraft all them that were dead; and the next day went the Kings to the field of battle and fought, and all they withal who had fallen the day before. 

So fared that battle day after day, that they that fell, and all weapons and armour of defence that lay on the field of battle, turned to stone; but when day dawned stood up all the dead men and fought, and all the weapons were of avail again. And so is it said in songs, that in this wise shall the Host of Hedinn abide the Doom of the Gods.


Note to page 50, 26 ft.

The sittings of the three things mentioned took place under the following dates:—

The most thronged, following the burning of Njal and his sons, took place A.d. 1012.

The next in time and point of multitude was that at which the so-called Heath-slaughters were atoned for, a.d. 1015.

The last in point of multitude, but first in time, was that mentioned in our Saga, which took place in 1006.