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						150                            The Valkyries in the Heroic Literature
to the young king, with whom she had probably fallen in love. To punish her
Óðinn put her to sleep with his magic sleep thorn, decreeing that she would
become a mortal woman and would be married to a mortal man after her
awakening. She on her side had insisted that she would only be obliged to marry
the most fearless of heroes, and this request was granted to her. She was
surrounded by a wall of shields (or by fire, Fáfhismál 42, Edda p. 188) that was
to give way only to the most fearless of heroes, i.e. Sigurðr. Before reaching her,
he had slain the dragon, in this way giving proof of his valour.
In the preceding paragraph we have already referred to Neckel's opinion that
Sigmundr's dragon-killing was absorbed by the deed of his more famous son.
Now it cannot be entirely fortuitous that the motif of the battle between the two
kings is also present in both stories. Only the part of Hjördís was much more
passive: she was just a spectator, whereas Sigrdrífa actually killed one of the kings.
Hjördís was even more passive than Sigrún and some of her colleagues, who were
at least said to protect their lovers during battle.
If we accept Álfr as the original enemy of Sigmundr, it follows that Hjördís
herself must have brought the treasure to the battlefield in order to offer it to the
victor, that is, the young king. Sigrdrífa could have been a "close relation" of
Hjördís. In that case, what Óðinn did to Sigrdrífa was the result of the adaptations
of the Hjördís story. In that story, at some point preceding the fight with the
young king, Sigmundr slew a dragon, gained a treasure and won the hand of
Hjördís, of whom he probably was the rescuer.
When Hjördís was made to play this passive part, and Lyngvi took on the role
that originally belonged to Álfr, both Hjördís and Álfr were made into beings no
longer ruthless and more sympathetic. Lyngvi's name remained still clinging in a
rather vague way to these traditions when the deed of the dragon slaying
disappeared out of Sigmundr's life.
Originally the story of Hjördís and that of Sigrdrífa must have belonged to the
same type. Maybe one could even venture to go one step further and suggest that
an epithet "Sigrdrífa", originally given to Hjördís, developed into an independent
person. Already Sijmons suggested that "Sigrdrífa" ("she who spreads victory"),
was an epithet.65 When Hjördís and Sigrdrífa developed into two separate
persons, the latter lost her father. And in most of the texts about Sigurðr and the
Niflungar Sigrdrífa merged with Brynhildr.
12. Brynhildr's death (Sigurðarkviða hin skamma, 48—71, prose prologue to Helreið
Brynhildar(Edda, pp. 215-18, p. 219), Völsunga Saga, FANI, p. 294). Brynhildr's
death might have been a part of the story of the valkyrie. The Nibelungenliedáots
not have anything like it, and Brynhildr, committing suicide by the side of her
dead hero Sigurðr, shows herself to be a worthy sister of Sigrún and Svanhvita.
The saga about Sigurðr must have combined an originally Nordic and a German
65 Sijmons (1906), p. 333, in a note on the text of Sigrdrífumál.
					
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