Thor was returning from a journey to the east and came to a sound;
on the other side of the sound was the ferryman with a boat.
Thor cried out:

1

Thor:
Who is that fool of fools on the far shore?

2

Harbard:
Who is that clown of clowns who calls across the fjord?

3

Thor:
Ferry me over: I will feed you this morning.
In the bag on my back are the best of foods,
Herrings and goatmeat: I am glutted with them.
Before I left home I ate my fill.

4

Harbard:
You would never praise them if you knew all:
Your kin are mourning: your mother is dead.

5

Thor:
What you say is the saddest thing
A man can hear - that my mother is dead.

6

Harbard:
You don't look like a lord with lands of your own:
Without breeches, barefooted,
You look more like a tramp.

7

Thor:
Row over your boat and beach it where I show you.
Who owns the boat you hold to the shore?

8

Harbard:
Battle-Wolf: he is wise in counsel
And sits in a hall on the sound of Radsey.
I am ordered to refuse horse-thieves and robbers,
Accept only those I can see are honest:
Tell me your name if you would travel across.

9

Thor:
I would tell you my name, tell you my lineage,
Were I an outlaw: I am Odin's son,
Meili's brother and Magni's father,
The god who throws. With Thor you deal.
In turn I bid you tell me your name.

10

Harbard:
My name is Harbard: I hide it seldom.

11

Thor:
Why hide your name if not condemned?

12

Harbard:
Though condemned, unless I be doomed to fall,
I would save my life from such as you.

13

Thor
: Demeaning it would be to wade over
And ruin my gear: you will get what you deserve
For your clodhopper's taunts if I cross the fjord.

14

Harbard:
Wade away: I will wait for you.
No harder man have you met since Hrungnir died.

15

Thor:
How dare you refer to my fight with Hrungnir,
The stout-hearted giant with a stone head!
I struck him down; he fell dead before me.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

16

Harbard:
I was with Fjolver for five winters.
We fought battles, felled heroes,
And wooed maidens: we had much to do.

17

Thor:
How were the women you won there?

8

Harbard:
Lively they were, once they were tamed,
Wise too, once they grew faithful:
Out of sea-sand they spun ropes,
Dug out the bottoms of deep valleys.
Among those fair ones I was first in counsel:
With seven sisters I dallied And had my way with them all.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

19

Thor:
The mighty-thewed Thjazi I slew,
Cast the eyes of the son of All-Wielder
Up into bright heaven:
They are the mightiest marks of my works,
Hereafter to be seen by all mankind.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

20

Harbard:
With potent love-charms I lured from their husbands
Hateful night-riding hags:
A hard giant I thought Hlebard to be;
He brought me a magic branch,
But I charmed away his wits.

21
Thor:
For his good gifts you gave him evil.

22

Harbard:
One oak gets the fruit that falls from another:
It is each for himself at all times.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

23

Thor:
I was in the east, the home of the giants,
And thrashed their brides on their way back to the fells:
The giants would rule all, if all were alive,
All men lie dead under Middle Earth.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

24

Harbard:
I was in Gaul: I egged on to battle
Boar-helmets and forbade them peace.
To Odin belong the earls who are slain,
But Thor gets the kin of thralls.

25

Thor:
Unfairly would the gods fare at your hands,
Were you as strong as you wish.

26

Harbard:
You are strong enough but not stout-hearted,
For you cowered, Thor, in the thumb of a glove
And forgot that you were a god:
You dared not then, your dread was so great,
Either sneeze or break-wind, lest Fjalar hear.

27

Thor:
Be silent, slave! I would send you to Hel,
Could I but stretch across the fjord.

28

Harbard:
Why should you stretch?
There is no strife between us.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

29

Thor:
I was in the east, where I held the river:
There the Sons of Svarang sought me out,
They lobbed stones but little that helped them,
I beat them down till they begged for peace.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

30

Harbard:
I was traveling in the east where I talked and played
With a linen-white one and had a love-meeting:
I gladdened Gold-bright and gave her pleasure.

31

Thor:
You had luck in your choice of a lovely maid.

32

Harbard:
I could have used your help, then, to hold her fast.

33

Thor:
I would have helped you, had I had the chance.

34

Harbard:
I would have trusted you, had you not betrayed our pact.

35

Thor:
I am no heel-biter like an old hide-shoe in Spring.

36

Harbard:
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

37

Thor:
I battled in Hlesey with the Berserk's wives,
Who had done their worst to bewitch the folk.

38

Harbard:
It was base of you, Thor, to battle with women.

39

Thor:
No women they were, but wolves rather:
They shattered my ship on the shore where I beached it -
And chased away Thjalfi with threatening clubs.
Meanwhile, what were you doing?

40

Harbard:
I was with an army: hither we came
To raise banners and redden spears.

41

Thor:
Do you mean that you came to make war?

42

Harbard:
A ring would better the bargain for you,
A cool umpire to calm our dispute.

43

Thor:
From where did you take such taunting words?
Never have I borne with more bitter taunts.

44

Harbard:
I took them from men, from men of old
Who are housed in Earth's Wood.

45

Thor:
A goodly name you give to barrows
When you hail them as Earth's Wood.

46

Harbard:
Thus I judge such things.

47

Thor:
Little good would you get for your glibness of tongue
If I should wade through the water:
Louder than a wolf, I believe, you would presently
Howl at a tap from my hammer.

48

Harbard:
You could prove your mettle with more point at home,
Where Sif in your absence sits with a lover.

49

Thor:
What you say now is of all news the worst:
Shameless coward, I am sure that you lie.

50

Harbard:
I say it is true: you are slow on your journey.
Further would you have stepped had you started at dawn.

51

Thor:
You lie! It is you who have delayed my journey.

52

Harbard:
I never thought that Thor of the gods
Would be worsted on his way by a herdsman.

53

Thor:
Harbard, bring your boat across now:
Let us argue no more; come to Magni's father.

54

Harbard:
Depart from the fjord: your passage is denied.

55

Thor:
Then show me the way since you won't ferry me.

56

Harbard:
Little it is to deny, long it is to travel:
An hour to the stock, to the stone another,
Keep left till you reach the Land of Man;
There will Fjrgyn meet Thor, her son,
And show him the highway to Odin's land.

57

Thor: Shall I reach home today?

58

Harbard:
By sunrise with much sorrow and toil
Thor will get home, I think.

59

Thor:
We will speak no more: if we meet again,
You shall pay for your refusal to ferry me over.

60
Harbard: Drop dead!
May the demons have you!


Notes

The meter of this poem is, to say the least, erratic. While much of it is in mlahttr some lines cannot be classified under any known meter - they are simply prose, not verse. The poem is simply abuse, the opposing figures being Thor and Odin (or Loki in the guise of the ferryman).