The Magical Sword Dainsleif and Kings' Battle That Never Ended

Posted by Ms Elly on

The Magical Sword Dainsleif and Kings' Battle That Never Ended

Dainsleif was among the most mighty weapons in Viking mythology. Although its reputation could hardly compare with the Tyrfing sword, its power was no joke.

According to Snorri Sturluson (Icelandic author of Prose Edda), Dainsleif belonged to king Högni who was a legendary king in Viking mythology. The Dainsleif sword was made by the dwarf Dain who was among the most famous and talented craftsmen in the cosmos. The word "Dainsleif" meant "Dain's legacy".

Legend had it that once this Dainsleif was drawn out of its sheath, someone must die to quench the blood thirst of the sword. Every time it revealed its blade out, the holder must wield it to behead someone. And like the Gungnir spear, the magical sword Dainsleif never missed its target.

The sword was famously mentioned in Prose Edda. It told the story of King Hogni, his beautiful daughter, Hild, and the eternal battle of the kings. 

King Hogni and his beloved daughter, Hild

Drawing of King Hogni and his beloved daughter 

In the story, Hogni came to meet other kings and he brought his daughter to this meeting too. Unfortunately, his beautiful daughter was seized by Hedin Hjarrandason, another king who also appeared in the meeting. 

Hedin had brought Hild with him travelling far away when Hogni learnt what had happened. The king father quickly called up his warriors to rescue his beloved daughter. 

First, his men informed that Hedin went to the north. As King Hogni came north, he got no sight of his daughter and was informed that Hedin went west with a beautiful woman. 

Then King Hogni turned his ship to the west in pursuit of his daughter. 

The King finally met his daughter on an island, yet Hild expressed her wish wanting his father to make peace with Hedin who captured her. Yet, King Hogni refused the proposal. He strongly stated that he wanted to wage war against those who had tricked him to capture his beloved daughter. Then the two parties prepared to wage war against one another. 

King Hogni said that it was too late to prevent this war. Because he had drawn his Dainsleif sword out, someone must die to quench this thirst of blood. If this sword hurt someone, the wound would never be healed. 

Spear thrown, the battle began and the two kings fought day and night. Many warriors fell but the battle showed no sign that it would stop. When the night fell, the warriors of both sides retreated to their ship. Only Hogni's daughter, Hild, stayed on the battlefield. She began to resurrect the fallen warriors by using her magic. 

Viking picturestone depicting Hild in her peace-making attempt for King Hogni and King Hedin

A part of Viking Hammar Picture-stone depicting Hild in her peace-making attempt with the warriors 

The next day, the kings continued to fight and the warriors still involved those who had died in the previous days. And this became a repeating loop. 

According to some sources, this battle lasted for 143 years, not eternal. 

This kind of revival was common in Norse mythology as the Einherjar warriors who lived in Valhalla with Odin fought one another every day. But when the night broke on the sky, their wounds started to heal and they would feast and chant and be entertained in the Great Hall Valhalla along with their gods. And in the next morning, their health was restored to the excellent status and they kept on fighting like the previous day. 

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