Orvar-Odd

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Image:Orvarodd.jpg
Orvar Odd informs Ingeborg about Hjalmar's death, by August Malmström (1859)

Orvar-Odd (i.e. arrow-odd) was a legendary hero of whom an anonymous Icelander wrote in the latter part of the 13th century. The saga of Orvar-Odd became very popular and it contained old legends and songs. He also appears in Hervarar saga, and concerning the battle on Samsø also in the Gesta Danorum.

Odd was the son of Grim Lodinkinni and the grand-son of Ketil Höing (there are separate sagas of these characters) of Hålogaland. When he was an infant, it was predicted that he would be killed by his own horse Faxe, at the place he was born at the age of 300 years.

In order to undo the prediction, he killed his horse, buried it deep in the ground and left his home intending never to return again. As he was leaving, his father gave him some magic arrows which soon rendered him the cognomen arrow. After a voyage to Finnmark, Bjarmaland and Jotunheim he fought successfully against several Vikings.

However, when he met the Swedish champion Hjalmar, he had his match. The fight was even and the two warriors not only became friends, but they entered sworn brotherhood.

The two heroes fought many battles together (for more see Hjalmar), until he after the famous battle of Samsø against the sons of Arngrim had to bring the dead Hjalmar (killed by Angantyr) to Upsala and his betrothed Ingeborg, the daughter of the Swedish king.

Orvar-Odd travelled in the South fighting against the corsairs of the Mediterranean, had himself baptized, was shipwrecked and arrived alone in the Holy Land.

Dressed as an old man, he arrived in Hunaland where his true identity was soon revealed due to his heroic actions. After having defeated the king of Bjalkaland (the pelt country), whose king used to pay tribute to the king of Hunaland, he married the princess Silkesif and became the next king.

After all this, he became homesick and went back home. Walking over the grave of Faxe, he mocked the old prophesy, but tripped over the skull of a horse from which a snake appeared. The snake bit him and he died.

The story is supposed to have included several original stories, such as the voyage of Ottar from Hålogaland to Bjarmaland. The legend of Hjalmar's foster-brother (originally named Söte), Starkad, Ketil Höing, Odysseus and Polyphemus, Sigurd Jorsalfar, the Rus' ruler Oleg of Novgorod (the attack on Bjalkaland and the death).

[edit] Sources

Image:Small Sketch of Owl.png This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904-1926 now in Public Domain.nn:Orvar Odd

Orvar-Odd

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