A Partial Summary of Sigrdrífumál

It starts when the valkyrie Sigrdrífa is awoken from a magically-induced sleep by Sigurth. Upon finding that he did not know fear, Sigrdrífa bound herself to Sigurth by giving him a horn of mead, or “to strengthen his memory” (she had to be married because when Óthin pricked her with the sleep-thorn in vengeance after she felled Hjalmgunnar in a battle, he said that she’d never fight in battle again, but be wedded. Her husband had to be fearless because she vowed to herself that she could never marry a man who knew fear). Sigurth asked for her to teach him wisdom if she really had knowledge from all worlds. She tells him which runes to learn and why they are important. They profess their love to each other and agree to get married, which may have been the end of the original poem; however, some stanzas seem to have been added later in which Sigrdrífa gives Sigurth some more advice. Because of the abrupt ending of the afore-mentioned stanzas, it is possible that they were originally meant to be somewhere before the original ending and after the stanzas about runes. She tells him to not fall foul of his kinsmen, to be honest and think before he speaks so he doesn’t say something stupid or use words worse than he thinks them to be, she tells him to not be the guest of a witch and says that foresight is needful, she tells him to be faithful, she warns him against cowardice and the end it may bring, she tells him to “render the last services to the dead” (meaning closing the eyes, mouth, and nostrils of the corpse) wherever he finds them and regardless of what they died of (so in other words: to be respectful of the dead), she tells him not to trust the son of an outlaw, and she also tells him that a warrior needs both his wits and weapons if he would like to be foremost among his people.

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