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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Sturla Þórðarson, 2. Hákonarkviða, 20 [Vol. 2, 714]

[5] gandreið ‘the riding troll-women’: This base-word is difficult. Gandr was a staff used by troll-women and witches in ceremonies involving witchcraft, and gandreið usually refers to troll-women riding through the air on such staffs. The kenning ‘riding troll-women of green shields’ is a regular kenning for ‘axes’ (see Meissner 148). However, gandr can also mean ‘wolf’, and LP: gandreið glosses the kenning gandreið grænna skjalda as sværdenes bevegelse ‘the motion of the swords’, in which the second element of the cpd gandreið is derived from reiða ‘swing’ and gandr grænna skjalda ‘the wolf of green shields’ is taken to mean ‘sword’ (so also NN §1355). Skj B gives the translation sværdenes regn ‘the swords’ rain’, which is not transparent.


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