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28.12.2019

Voggr

Vöggr, Vogg, Wigg or Wigge was a young 6th century man in Scandinavian legend notable for giving Hrólfr Kraki (Hroðulf in Beowulf) his cognomen kraki, and for avenging his death.

Skáldskaparmál

In the Skáldskaparmál by Snorri Sturluson, Snorri relates that Hrólfr was the most renowned king in Denmark for valour, generosity and graciousness. One day a poor boy called Vöggr arrived at the king's court at Lejre and expressed his surprise that such a great king would look like a little pole (kraki). Hrólfr said that Vöggr had given him a name and gave Vöggr a golden ring in recompense. In gratitude Vöggr swore to Hrólfr to avenge him, should he be killed.

Hrólfr Kraki's saga

Hrólfr Kraki's saga tells that when Hrólfr Kraki went to the Swedish king Aðils (Eadgils), queen Yrsa (Hrólfr's mother) presented them a man named Vöggr to entertain them. This Vöggr remarked that Hrólfr had the thin face of a pole ladder, a Kraki. Happy with his new cognomen Hrólfr gave Vöggr a golden ring, and Vöggr swore to avenge Hrólfr if anyone should kill him.

Hrólfr fled from Uppsala and lived in peace for some time. However, his half-elven half-sister Skuld was married to Hjörvarðr (Heoroweard) one of Hrólfr's subkings, and she began to turn her husband against Hrólfr. Under the pretext that they would wait three years before paying the accumulated tribute at one time, Skuld assembled a large army which included strong warriors, criminals, elves and norns. She used seiðr (witchcraft) to hide the great muster from Hrólfr and his champions.

They then arrived at Lejre one Yule for the midwinter blóts, with all the weapons hidden in wagons. A fight started and like in the account found in Gesta Danorum, Bödvar Bjarki fought in the shape of a spirit bear until he was awakened by Hjalti. Skuld used her witchcraft to resuscitate her fallen warriors and after a long fight Hrólfr and all his berserkers fell.

Skuld became the ruler of Denmark but did not rule well. Bödvar Bjarki's brothers Elk-Froði and Þorir Houndsfoot went to Denmark to avenge their brother. The Swedish queen Yrsa gave them a large Swedish army headed by Vöggr. They captured Skuld before she could use her magic and tortured her to death. Then they raised a mound for Hrólfr Kraki where he was buried together with his sword Skofnung.

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