Volund rested from smith work,
his hot forge behind him,
he stood in the doorway,
looked up at the high pines of Wolfdale,
his eyes, sore with flame, smudged by smoke,
brightened with wonder.
Three swans he saw,
swoop down from the sky,
to settle on water,
on a far, tree hidden lake.
In a sudden, they came,
flew out of the thunder.
Later, three women
came walking towards him,
two had dark hair, one had golden.
He knew they were not mortals,
but Valkyries, handmaidens of Odin.
“First I saw three swans
fly down to the forest,
now three white clothed women
come to me. What means this?”
he asked them.
“That was us, not Odin alone
can change his form,”
said Hervor, whose hair was golden,
like sunshine on cornfields.
Volund’s two brothers,
Slagfidur and Egil,
came down from a hunt
for jewels in the mountains,
saw him speak with three women.
“What is it I see?” said Slagfidur to Egil.
“A vision of Valhalla?
No mortal women does our brother entertain.”
“They are Valkyries,
handmaidens of Odin,
come down to Earth to court mortal men,”
Egil told his brother.
To him all was clear,
the air without smoke to smother.
“Do not take her for your wife,
she will leave you heartbroken,”
Volund was warned by Gunnhilda,
his mother, long a widow.
Where he saw sunshine,
she saw only shadow.
But he looked upon Hervor,
her bright hair that was golden,
and listened not to his mother
with her rune stones and elk horns.
For nine winters,
Volund lived with Hervor, his lover,
as did Egil with Olrun,
and Slagfidur with Swanwhite.
Nine winters went by,
warmer than wood fire,
then for the chase,
the wild ride in the sky,
the courts of Valhalla,
the three women pined.
One early spring morn,
Volund woke without Hervor beside him,
her bright hair on the pillow, like corn.
Outside, in Wolfdale,
he watched three swans
fly from the forest,
but he still had his smith work,
he grew cold as his anvil,
hard as his hammer,
cared not that snow fell in winter,
the sun beamed in summer.
Thought only of Hervor,
his fair one, his lover,
from whom he was parted,
who now rode in the sky
with her Valkyrie sisters
over the battles of men
on land and on sea,
doing their duty for Odin.
His two brothers went off,
sought gold in the mountains,
long hidden treasure,
knowing whatever they found
would bring them no pleasure.
While he dreamed he lived in Asgard
with Hervor, his lover,
as servant of Odin,
held in high honour
as smith of Valhalla.



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