Volsung grew up and was really good at everything people wanted him to do. He could hunt, and he could fight. When he was old enough, Hrimnir sent his daughter Hjold to marry him.
Hjold was the one who had dropped the apple for Odin on Hrimnir’s lap. She was a very special lady, not for just anybody. But Hrimnir could tell that Volsung was the right kind of man for her. They were married, and were incredibly close. They loved each other very much and told each other everything.
He had all kinds of treasure, and he had built a big hall to be his palace. The hall had a lot of marvelous things in it, but one of the most amazing was the big tree that grew in the middle of the hall. It was huge, with a strong trunk and branches that spread all throughout the roof. The tree would blossom beautifully; you can imagine how much they loved this tree and how proud they were. They called the tree Barnstock.
Volsung didn’t have the same only-child problems his grandfather and father had. He and Hjold had 11 kids, 10 boys and 1 girl. First off, they had twins. That was where the daughter came in; the twins were a boy and a girl named Sigmund and Signy. They really were the rulers of the roost among the kids. Everyone knew they were the handsomest and the best at whatever. They were really good friends too.
After they had grown up, a neighboring king took interest in Signy. His name was Siggeir, and he was a very popular king. To Volsung and his sons, Siggeir seemed to be everything they could want for Signy. But Signy didn’t like him.
Back in those days, women didn’t really get to pick their own husband. Especially royalty. I mean, it’s like that now, too. Political alliances and all kinds of other considerations got it the way. Maybe that’s was Volsung was thinking about when he decided to let SIggeir marry Signy.
She was trying to be a good girl, and obey her father. She told him that she didn’t want to marry Siggeir, but that she would do what he said.
Naturally, Volsung said marry him.
But at the wedding supper, the strangest thing happened! This old man, in a shabby hooded cloak and no shoes walked into the hall carrying a sword. Weirdest of all, he only had ONE EYE. Volsung’s family and all the guests were so amazed, they completed forgot their manners and just stared at him.
This one-eyed man walked straight up to Barnstock and stabbed the sword into the tree all the way to the hilt. He announced, “He who draws the sword out of the trunk shall receive it from me as a gift, and he himself shall prove that he has never carried a better sword than this one.”
Then, he turned around, and walked straight out of the room. That is all they heard from him.
As you can imagine, everyone was stunned!
But as soon as they came to themselves, there was a mad dash for the sword. All the men tried to pull it out. Every last one of them, regardless of rank, pulled and tugged and kicked and yanked at the sword, trying to get it out of the tree.
Everyone could see that it was a really good sword. Plus, they all wanted to prove that they were the ones worthy of the challenge.
Finally, after everyone else had had a shot, Sigmund steps up and pulls out the sword.
As easy as that!
I’ll tell you more next time…