"Blind-to-guests?" In the legendary Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, a powerful man, the enemy of king Heiðrekr. The king sent him word that he should come and to settle things with him, if he wanted to keep his life. Gestumblindi, who was not a wise man, knew that he would be incapable of exchanging words with the king, so he sacrificed to Odin for help and asked the god to look into his case.

Late one evening there is a knock on the door and when Gestumblindi goes to the threshold he sees that a man has come. He asks him his name and the stranger identifies himself as Gestumblindi and says that they should swap clothes — and they do. Gestumblindi goes away and hides while the stranger comes inside. As they look exactly the same, everyone in the household thinks he is Gestumblindi.

The next day this Gestumblindi travels to Heiðrekr and engages with him in a riddling battle of wits, called Gátur Gestumblinda. The battle ends rather unfairly when Gestumblindi asks the same question that Gagnráðr asked Vafþrúðnir in Vafþrúðnismál, What did Odin whisper in Baldr's ear before he was raised on the pyre? At this point, the king realizes the true identity of his guest. Angered, he attempts to strike Odin with the cursed sword Tyrfing. Odin changes into a hawk and flies away, but Heiðrekr's sword cuts off a piece of the bird's tale-feathers, which is why to this day the hawk has a short tail. The sword then falls on a retainer, who dies instantly.

The same character appears in later Scandinavian folk tales as Gest Blinde.

The Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus mentions a king of the Geats named Gestiblindus in his Gesta Danorum, but the resemblance is not certain.



  • Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, 11.