Courtesy of Others ~
King Frodi of Denmark, while on a visit to King Fjolnir in Sweden acquired
two female slaves.
Their names were Fenja and Menja, and were of the race of
Back in Denmark he put them to grinding the magic millstone,
Grotti, which was
too large for human hands.
At first they ground out treasure,
peace, and harmony,
so that that time in the North was called “the peace of
But being refused any rest, the women ground out an army to destroy
Now are come to the king’s house
The far-sighted pair, Fenja and Menja
To stay with Frodi, Fridleif’s son,
Mighty sisters in slavery held.
To the mill-stand the maidens were led,
And the grey stone they started to turn.
He permitted them neither peace nor rest
Before he heard the bondmaids´ song.
Never was silent the circling wheel.
“Let the mill rest; let rest the stones.”
But more he told the maids to grind.
They sang as they turned the circling stone,
Till Frodi’s maids were mostly asleep.
Then Menja said-- to the milling come:
“For Frodi we grind gold and good fortune,
Abundant wealth from the wonderous mill.
May he sit on gold, sleep on down,
And wake up glad, for we’ve ground well.”
“Here shall none another harm,
Plan no malice, nor murder plot.
None shall strike with steel, sharp-edged,
Though brother’s banesman bound he finds.”
This alone to them he said,
“Less than the cuckoo I’ll let you sleep,
Or time I take one tune to sing.”
“Frodi, you were unwise in this,
No friend to men when maids you bought,
Bought for strength and beauty alone,
But wondered about their breeding never.”
“Hrungnir was strong, stronger his father,
But stronger than they, Thiazi was.
Kinsmen of ours were Idi and Aurnir,
Mountain giants’ brothers-- we’re born of them.”
“From the grey fells had Grotti not come,
Nor the hard stone been hewn from Earth,
Nor the giant girl be grinding here,
Had we nothing known of it.”
“Nine winters we playmates two
Were nurtured in strength beneath the Earth,
As maidens strove at mighty works,
Uprooting and rolling rocks from their place.”
“Through the giants’ stead the stone rolled,
And Earth shook with the shock of it.
We threw the mighty millstone down,
The swift-turning stone, so men could take it.”
“Since that time in Sweden went,
Foreknowing pair, the people among,
Berserkers fought, and burst shields,
And went against a grey-clad host.”
“Overthrew one king, aided another,
To goodly Gothorm gave our help,
And knew no rest till Knui fell.”
“Several winters warred we thus,
Winning fame for warlike deeds.
With sharp spears sheared we then,
Blades reddened with bloody wounds.”
“Now we are come to a king’s hall,
Unpitied to live our lives as slaves.
Mud gnaws our feet; it’s frigid above,
Dragging strife-settler. Dreary is Frodi’s!”
“Hands must rest, the rock stand still.
I’ll do no more; I’ve milled my share.”
“Hands will never have their rest
Till Frodi agrees we’ve ground enough.”
“Hands will hold the hard shafts,
Weapons gory-- wake up, Frodi.
Wake up, Frodi, would you hear
Our songs of old, our ancient lore.”
“Fire I see burning east of the burg,
War cries wake, calls for beacons.
Hither will come a host quite soon,
And burn the town above the king.”
“The throne of Lejre no longer you’ll hold,
Red gold rings, or the rich mill.
Turn the handle harder, Sister,
Till we’re warmed in warriors’ blood.”
“My father’s daughter furiously ground,
Foreseeing a host fated to die.
The massive posts from the mill-stand leaped,
The iron mountings. More we’ll grind!”
“More swiftly grind; the son of Yrsa
For Halfdan’s fate will Frodi slay,
For he to her both has the name
Of son and brother, as both we know.”
With all their might the maidens ground,
Young maidens in a jotun rage.
The shaft-tree trembled, toppled down;
The bulky millstone broke in two.
Then the mountain-giant maiden spoke,
“Frothi, we’ve ground; we’re finished now,
At milling labored long enough.”
Poetic form: Fornyršislag (Old Meter)
Jack´s site, including
medieval rune poems and
rune poems by various authors.
Ship of Fools - Jack Hart´s Poetry Magazine.
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