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Gunnhildr's Birth Dream

Dreamed c.1150 by Gunnhildr, wife of a comb-maker in Norway

THE DREAM

Gunnhildr thought she was in a fine house and that she was delivering the child she had been carrying. Her serving-woman sat before her and was to receive the child as soon as it was born. And when it seemed to Gunnhildr that the child was born, a great fear seized upon the woman who was with her, and she called aloud to her: "Dear Gunnhildr, you have given birth to an extraordinary infant, awe-inspiring to look upon." Three times she called out the same words.

When Gunnhildr heard the woman saying the same thing so often with trembling voice, she was curious as to what sort of infant she had been delivered of. It seemed to her that it was a rather large stone, snow-white in colour; it shone so that sparks flew in all directions, as with glowing iron, when the hearth is blown up sharply with the bellows.

Gunnhildr spoke thus to her serving-woman: "Let us look after this infant carefully, and let no one know of it, because most people who saw it would think it strange."

After that she thought they took the stone and laid it on a chair and covered it with a fine cloth. When they had attended to the stone as they wished, the sparks flew, nevertheless, in all directions through the cloth, and all about inside the house. They grew very frightened, being filled with awe.

Then Gunnhildr woke out of the dream.

NOTE

The sparks flying off that white-hot stone-baby correctly predicted Gunnhildr's son Sverrir would be unusual. He fought his way to the throne of Norway, becoming King Sverrir Sigurðarson. This is an excerpt from Sverris Saga, quoted in The Oxford Book of Dreams, (ed. Stephen Brook, 1983).



LISTS AND LINKS: birth and babies - surreal dreams - fear - stones - fire - secrecy - royalty - predictive dreams - long-term predictions - psychic dreams in general - dreams from the sagas - Norway - 2,370 years earlier, Hecuba dreams of a fiery birth too, in Torch-bearer

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