Kirtlan Chapter 32

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XXXII

And it was by no means of his own accord or self-will that he sought out the craft of the hoard of the dragon who inflicted such evil upon himself,

but rather because being compelled by miseries,

the

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slave fled the hateful blows of heroes,

he that was shelterless and the man troubled by guilt penetrated therein.

And soon it came to pass that an awful terror arose upon the guest.

60.

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And in the earth-house were all kinds of ancient treasures,

such as I know not what man of great thoughts had hidden there in days of old,

the immense heirlooms of some noble race,

costly treasures.

And in former times death had taken them all away,

and he alone of the warriors of the people who longest lingered there,

full lonely and sad for loss of friends was he,

and he hoped for a tarrying,

that he but for a little while might enjoy the ancient treasures.

And this hill was quite near to the ocean-waves,

and to the sea-nesses,

and no one could come near thereto.

And he the guardian of rings carried inside the cave the heavy treasures of plated gold,

and uttered some few words:

‘Do thou,

O earth,

hold fast the treasures of earls which heroes may not hold.

What!

From thee in days of

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yore good men obtained it.

Deadly warfare and terrible life-bale carried away all the men of my people of those who gave up life.

They had seen hall-joy.

And they saw the joys of heaven.

I have not any one who can carry a sword or polish the gold-plated cup,

the dear drinking-flagon.

The doughty ones have hastened elsewhere.

The hard helmet dight with gold shall be deprived of gold plate.

The polishers sleep the sleep of death who should make ready the battle grim,

likewise the coat of mail which endured in the battle was shattered over shields by the bite of the iron spears and perishes after the death of the warrior.

Nor can the ringed byrny go far and wide on behalf of heroes,

after the passing of the war-chief.

‘No joy of harping is there,

nor mirth of stringed instruments,

nor does the goodly hawk swing through the hall,

nor doth the swift horse paw in the courtyard.

And death-bale hath sent away many generations of men.

’ Thus then,

sad at heart he lamented his

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sorrowful plight,

one for many,

and unblithely he wept both day and night until the whelming waters of death touched his heart.

And the ancient twilight scather found the joyous treasure standing open and unprotected,

he it was who flaming seeks the cliff-sides,

he,

the naked and hateful dragon who flieth by night wrapt about with fire.

And the dwellers upon earth greatly fear him.

And he should be seeking the hoard upon earth where old in winters he guardeth the heathen gold.

Nor aught is he the better thereby.

And thus the scather of the people,

the mighty monster,

had in his power the hall of the hoard three hundred years upon the earth until a man in anger kindled his fury.

For he carried off to his liege-lord the plated drinking-flagon and offered his master a treaty of peace.

Thus was the hoard discovered,

the hoard of rings plundered.

And a boon was granted to the miserable man.

And the Lord saw for the first time this ancient work of men.

Then awoke the dragon,

and the strife was

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renewed.

He sniffed at the stone,

and the stout-hearted saw the foot-mark of his foe.

He had stepped too far forth with cunning craft near the head of the dragon.

So may any one who is undoomed easily escape woes and exile who rejoices in the favour of the Wielder of the world.

The guardian of the hoard,

along the ground,

was eagerly seeking,

and the man would be finding who had deprived him of his treasure while he was sleeping.

Hotly and fiercely he went around all on the outside of the barrow—but no man was there in the waste.

Still he gloried in the strife and the battle working.

Sometimes he returned to the cavern and sought the treasure vessels.

And soon he found that one of the men had searched out the gold,

the high heap of treasures.

The guardian of the hoard was sorrowfully waiting until evening should come.

And very furious was the keeper of that barrow,

and the loathsome one would fain be requiting the robbery of that dear drinking-stoup with fire and flame.

Then,

as the dragon

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wished,

day was departing.

Not any longer would he wait within walls,

but went forth girt with baleful fire.

And terrible was this beginning to the people in that country,

and sorrowful would be the ending to their Lord,

the giver of treasure.

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