When members of different tribes met in peace (as at the fair of `Ukaz) the most skilful reciters strove to maintain the honour of their own people, and a ready improviser was held in high esteem.
Many of the reciters were slain in battle, and it was not till the 8th to the 10th centuries and even later that the earliest collections of these poems were made.
In the principal coffee-shops of Cairo are to be found reciters of romances, surrounded by iiiterested audiences.
Seeing that the epic poems, as repeated by professional reciters, either in their original Sanskrit text, or in their vernacular versions, as well as dramatic compositions based on them, form to this day the chief source of intellectual enjoyment for most Hindus, the legendary matter contained in these heroic poems, however marvellous and incredible it may appear, still enters largely into the religious convictions of the people."
When the saga had been fixed by a generation or two of oral reciters, it was written down; and this stereotyped the form, so that afterwards when literary works were composed by learned men (such as Abbot Karl's Swerri's Saga and Sturla's Islendinga) the same style was adopted.
The collector of the: Edda probably had the old poems recited to him in the 13th century, and where there was a break in the memory of the reciters the lacuna was filled up in prose.