Signý Vǫlsungsdóttir or Signe (German: Sieglinde) is the first heroine in the Vǫlsunga saga, the mediaeval Scandinavian heroic legend which was very popular in that time.
Signý was the only daughter of King Vǫlsungr of Hunaland and Hljóð the giantess. She and her twin brother Sigmundr were the oldest of Vǫlsungr's eleven children. Signý reluctantly married King Siggeir of Gautland after he asked King Vǫlsungr for her hand. It was at their wedding feast that Sigmundr drew the sword Gramr from Barnstokkr.
Three months after her wedding, Signý's father and brothers visited her at her new home in Gautland. Signý warned them of her husband's plan to betray them. Despite her warning, Vǫlsungr is killed and all of Signý's brothers are captured. At Signý's request, her brothers are put in the stocks rather than executed, but each night one was killed by a she-wolf. When only Sigmundr was left alive, Signý sent a man to smear honey on his face and mouth, which the wolf only licked, allowing Sigmundr to escape alive. Signý then helped her brother to hide in the woods.
Signý wanted nothing but to see her father's death avenged. She sent her elder son to Sigmundr for him to help in this endeavor. When Sigmundr revealed to her that he was unworthy, Signý told Sigmundr to kill him, which he did. The same happened with her younger son.
Signý met a sorceress with whom she exchanged shapes. Signý, looking like the sorceress, went to her brother in the woods and slept with him for three nights. She then returned to the castle and regained her appearance. After a time she gave birth to a son Sinfjǫtli. He was also sent to her brother in the forest when he was nine years old. Sigmundr and Sinfjǫtli kill Siggeir to avenge the death of their father/grandfather together. It is only after this that Signý informs Sigmundr of the incest that led to Sinfjǫtli's birth. Signý then walks into the fire that is killing her husband, announcing, "In everything I have worked toward the killing of King Siggeir. I have worked so hard to bring about vengeance that I am by no means fit to live. Willingly I will now die with King Siggeir, although I married him reluctantly."
- Byock, Jesse L. Saga of the Volsungs. University of California Press, 1990. pp. 37–47.
|Heroes in Norse mythology|
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