King Adils Attempts to Defeat King Hrolf

King Adils ordered the hall cleaned, and the dead were carried out. Many of his men had been killed and a large number were wounded.

King Adils said, 'Let us make fires the length of the hall for our friends and show genuine hospitality to these worldly guests so that everyone will be pleased.'

Men were then sent to light the fire. Meanwhile, King Hrolf and his men sat with their weapons, never letting them out of their reach. The flames increased quickly, as neither pitch nor dry wood was spared. King Adils and his retainers arranged themselves on one side of the fire, and King Hrolf and his champions were on the other side. Each group sat on a long bench, and they spoke graciously across to each other

King Adils said, 'Concerning you, champions of King Hrolf, there is no exaggeration in what is said about your valor. Of course, you think yourselves better than anyone else, but there is no lie in what is said about your stamina. Now build up the fires,' said King Adils, 'because I cannot discern clearly which one of you is the king. They will not flee from the fire, even if they are rather warmed by it.'

So it was done as Adils instructed. He wanted in this way to learn for certain where King Hrolf was, assuming that Hrolf would not be able to tolerate the heat as well as his champions. To Adils it seemed that it would be easier to get hold of Hrolf, when he knew for certain where he was. Truly King Adils wanted King Hrolf dead.

Bodvar realized this fact, as did several of the others, and they could only sheltered the king partly from the heat. They did this as well as they could, but not so much that he would be revealed. As the fire burned at its fiercest, King Hrolf concentrated on reminding himself that he had sworn to flee neither fire nor iron. He realized that King Adils intended to make this situation a trial: he and his champions would either burn there or fail to fulfill their solemn vow. Now they saw that King Adils had moved his throne all the way back to the outer wall of the hall, as his men also did.

More fuel was constantly being piled on the fire. King Hrolf and his men saw that the fire would reach them unless something was done. Their clothes had already been scorched when they threw their shields into the fire. Together Bodvar and Svipdag said:

Let's feed the fires
In Adils' stronghold

Next, each of them seized one of the men who was feeding the flames. Bodvar and Svipdag each pitched his man into the fire and said, 'Enjoy the fire's warmth in return for your pains and labor, because we are completely baked. Now it is your turn to bake because of your diligence in building a fire for us.'

Hjalti at his end seized a third man and threw him into the flames; then they did the same to all the men who kept working the fires. Nobody was saved, and they all burned to ashes because no one dared to approach the fire.

Then, King Hrolf said:

He flees no fire
who jumps over it.

Next Hrolf and all his champions, intending to seize Adils, jumped over the fire. When King Adils saw what they were doing, he saved himself by running to the tree that stood in the hall. The tree was hollow, and so he used his magic and sorcery to escape from the hall.

Next King Adils entered Queen Yrsa's room, intending to speak with her. She received him coldly and said many harsh things to him, 'You first had my husband King Helgi killed and you behaved deceitfully toward him, keeping his property from its rightful owner. And now you wish to kill my son. You are the cruelest and the most terrible of men. I will make every effort to see that King Hrolf gets the property and that you suffer a fitting disgrace.'

King Adils answered: 'Matters are such that neither of us here will trust the other. From now on, I will not come into your sight.' With this their talk ended.

Queen Yrsa went to meet King Hrolf and greeted him heartily. He welcomed her greeting. She arranged for a man to serve Hrolf and provided gracious hospitality to his company. When the servingman came before King Hrolf, he said, 'This man's face is thin and angular like a ladder carved from a pole--and this man is your king?'

King Hrolf said, 'You have given me the name kraki and it will stick to me; but what gift will you give me to confirm the name-fastening?'

The man, who was named Vogg, answered, 'I have nothing to give, because I am a man without property.'

King Hrolf said, 'He who has must give.' He pulled a gold ring off his own arm and gave it to the man.

Vogg said, 'Of all the men who give, you are the most fortunate, and that is the best of treasures.'

But the king found that Vogg attached too much value to the gift and said, 'Vogg rejoices in little.'

Vogg, putting one foot up on the bench, said, 'I swear this oath: I will avenge you, if I live longer and if you are killed by men.'

The king said, 'You mean well, though there are others more likely to undertake this project than you.'

They understood that this man would be faithful and true in the small ways in which he could contribute. They thought, however, that Vogg was destined only for minor accomplishments because he was a man of little account. From then on they concealed nothing from him. Now they wanted to sleep, and they believed that they could rest without fear in the rooms chosen for them by the queen.

Bodvar said, 'Things have been nicely prepared for us here and the queen wishes us well, but King Adils wishes us as much harm as he can cause. I would be greatly surprised if events conclude as they are now.'

Vogg told them that King Adils was so devoted a heathen sacrificer 'that his like can not be found. He sacrifices to a boar, and I scarcely understand that such a monster can exist. Be on your guard, because King Adils is putting all his energy into looking for a way to destroy you.'

'I think the possibility more likely,' said Bodvar, 'that he will remember having to leave the hall this evening because of us.'

'You should keep in mind,' said Vogg, 'that he will prove to be cunning and savage.'

After this conversation they fell asleep, but a noise from outside awoke them. The noise was so loud that it echoed everywhere, and the house in which they were sleeping shook and swayed as if it was on soft ground. Vogg began to speak, 'Now the boar has been set in motion, sent by King Adils to take revenge on you. It is such a great troll that no one can stand against it.'

King Hrolf had with him a great hound named Gram; it was outstandingly brave and strong. The troll burst into the house. It had the likeness of a boar, and hideous sounds came from its trollish nature. Bodvar set the hound against the boar, and the dog attacked without hesitation. A fierce struggle followed. Bodvar aided the hound, hewing at the boar, but his sword would not cut into the beast's back. The hound Gram was so strong that it was able to tear the ears off the boar, taking with them all the flesh from the cheeks. All at once the boar withdrew, disappearing downward from the place where it had been standing.

Next King Adils arrived outside the house with a large following of armed men. They immediately set fire to the house, and inside, King Hrolf and his champions realized that yet again there would be no shortage of fuel.

Bodvar said, 'A sad death's day if we are to be burned inside here. I would rather choose to fall before weapons on a level plain. If this burning is allowed to happen, it will be an unfortunate ending for King Hrolf's champions.. I see no better plan than to hurl ourselves against the planks of the wall and in this way manage to break out of the house--if only that is possible.'

This task proved to be difficult, for the house was strongly built. 'Each one of us,' said Bodvar, 'will have his man before him when we come out, but, as previously, they will quickly lose courage.'

'It is an excellent plan,' said King Hrolf, 'and it will serve us well.'