Gåte - Knut liten og Sylvelin (English translation)

English translation

Knut the Small and Sylvelin

The king and Knut the Small sat at a table
-Icelily (probably a nickname for Sylvelin?)
They spoke many a jest and joke
So tenderly does Sylvelin secretly take care of little Knut
"Listen, Little Knut, what I ask you:
would you exchange horses with me?"
"Well, were I to exchange horses with you:
then I'd take your daughter in exchange"
"Should my daughter not be better wed?
I'd rather dress her in horse's hide."
Knut the Small stands up from the king's table
"Oh surely would I revenge those words!"
He patted the covers with gloved hand
"Surely you recognize Knut the Small, your betrothed?"
"Here you sit, king, drinking mead and wine,
while Knut the Small sleeps with your daughter."
The king let it be shouted all over the farm:
"Dress youselves, hirdmen, in blue mailshirts."
Knut the Small hacked till he was tired
Till the blood stood higher than silver-buckled shoe.
Knut the Small came riding back to the farm,
The king stands waiting for him outside
"Knut the Small, still your silver-bowed sword,
I give you my daughter, you are worthy of her."
Submitted by Pteppic on Fri, 01/01/2010 - 00:00

Knut liten og Sylvelin

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Gjendine    Wed, 18/07/2012 - 17:23

A fine translation but a couple of small corrections are needed here:

Knut liten literally means Knut the smal, However: "liten /litle" is used in ballads to denote a person from the lower levels of society, for instance a servant. It is not a description of a persons physical size. This is also why the king is so reluctant to give his daughter to Knut as he is probably neither a knight nor a nobleman.

As to the fourth verse: "Skò kje mi dotter bli be`re gift, hell ho skò gange i hesteskift."

"Hesteskift" does not mean horses hide but rather "an exchange of horses" so a
correct translation would be more like:
"Should not my daughter be better wed
than to be exchanged for a horse?"

Also in the sixth verse there is a small mistake: "han klappa på dynni". Dynni is not the same as dyne (Norwegian for bed covers) but means door ( in Heddal in Norway they still use "dynna" as a word for door), so the translation should rather be "he tapped on the door with gloved hand"

-all the best