I thought today I’d share some words of wisdom, gleaned from The Saga of the Volsungstranslated by Jesse L. Byock. Brynhild especially has some very interesting things to say when considered in a more modern context. There’s a whole chapter devoted to her wise counsel to Sigurd, in fact.
Some of my favorites:
  • Don’t pick fights with mobs.
  • Don’t lose sleep over random women met at parties, and certainly don’t have affairs with strange women.
  • Definitely don’t argue with drunks! At best it’s futile, and at worst it’s deadly.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep, or that you have no intention of keeping.
  • Don’t provoke your in-laws, if at all possible stay on their good side.
  • You can’t trust any man if you’re responsible for the death of his family.
 And finally:
  • Never trust a woman to keep her promises.


I’m honestly not sure if I should be offended by that one or not. Most of Brynhild’s advice seems to involve women at feasts, however, and I don’t think any person, woman or man, should be taken at their word while under the influence. Brynhild herself is certainly an honorable woman and very straightforward in her dealings with Sigurd.
Sigurd’s wisdom is less applicable–at least as far as I’ve read. He doesn’t really engage in a lot of conversation, though he seems blown away by the advice he receives from Brynhild, as mentioned above. But there’s one line that stuck out, especially.
Sigurd says:
  • No weapon is greater than courage.
All of this is paraphrased, of course. The language used in the Saga is very formal, even after translation. But the sentiments are there!
When I read any legend, any myth, I can’t help but consider what might be the best way to make these stories accessible to people today. I guess I just like the challenge. For those of  you familiar with the Saga of the Volsungs, what do you think is the best modern analogue for Sigurd? Frat boy at an Ivy league university? (He was raised in a court of kings, given every advantage in life before he made his way into the world.) Or, would Sigurd be an athlete? Perhaps a rugby player? What do you think the modern equivalent to dragon slaying is?