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Title: Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 2 (of 3) - Gods and Goddesses of the Northland
Author: Rydberg, Viktor
Language: English
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                           Teutonic Mythology

                           Gods and Goddesses
                            of the Northland

                              THREE VOLUMES

                        By VIKTOR RYDBERG, Ph.D.,
                            AND OTHER WORKS.



                       RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D.,
                    MYTHOLOGY," "VIKING TALES," ETC.

                 HON. RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D., Ph.D.,
                            EDITOR IN CHIEF.
                           J. W. BUEL, Ph.D.,
                            MANAGING EDITOR.

                                VOL. II.

                            PUBLISHED BY THE
                            NORRŒNA SOCIETY,

                                _OF THE_

                             Viking Edition

      _There are but six hundred and fifty sets made for the world,
                            of which this is_

                                _No._ 99

                         [Illustration: NORRŒNA]

                              T. H. SMART,


(_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich._)

Heimdal, the god of light, father of men, sire of kings, was warder of
the gates of Valhalla and lived in a castle at the end of the rainbow
(Bifröst bridge). He possessed a trumpet called Gjallarhorn with which he
summoned together the gods at Ragnarok. He is represented as the zealous
gate-keeper who received and admitted to Valhalla the bodies of warriors
slain in battle, when brought hence by Valkyrie maidens who gathered them
from battle-fields. Valhalla was the abode of Odin in Asgard which was
situated in Gladsheim, the valley of joy. In this paradise dead warriors
were revived and spent all after-time fighting, feasting, and drinking
as the guests of Odin, pursuing those pleasures that most delighted them
when in the flesh.]





  Myth in Regard to the Lower World                                 353

  Myth Concerning Mimer's Grove                                     379

  Mimer's Grove and Regeneration of the World                       389

  Gylfaginning's Cosmography                                        395

  The Word Hel in Linguistic Usage                                  406

  Border Mountain Between Hel and Nifelhel                          414

  Description of Nifelhel                                           426

  Who the Inhabitants of Hel are                                    440

  The Classes of Beings in Hel                                      445

  The Kingdom of Death                                              447

  Valkyries, Psycho-messengers of Diseases                          457

  The Way of Those who Fall by the Sword                            462

  Risting with the Spear-point                                      472

  Loke's Daughter, Hel                                              476

  Way to Hades Common to the Dead                                   482

  The Doom of the Dead                                              485

  The Looks of the Thingstead                                       505

  The Hades Drink                                                   514

  The Hades Horn Embellished with Serpents                          521

  The Lot of the Blessed                                            528

  Arrival at the Na-gates                                           531

  The Places of Punishment                                          534

  The Hall in Nastrands                                             540

  Loke's Cave of Punishment                                         552

  The Great World-Mill                                              565

  The World-Mill makes the Constellations Revolve                   579

  Origin of the Sacred Fire                                         586

  Mundilfore's Identity with Lodur                                  601

  Nat, Mother of the Gods                                           608

  Narfi, Nat's Father                                               611

  Giant Clans Descended from Ymer                                   624

  Identity of Mimer and Nidhad                                      630

  Review of Mimer's Names and Epithets                              641

  The Mead Myth                                                     644

  The Moon and the Mead                                             669

  Myths of the Moon-God                                             680


                                   VOL. II.

  Valkyries Bringing the Body of a Slain Warrior
    to Valhalla                                            Frontispiece

  Thor Destroys the Giant Thrym                                     456

  The Punishment of Loke                                            552

  Gefion and King Gylphi                                            616


(_Part IV. Continued from Volume I._)



It is necessary to begin this investigation by pointing out the fact that
there are two versions of the last line of strophe 45 in Vafthrudnersmal.
The version of this line quoted above was--_enn thadan af aldir alaz_:
"Thence (from Lif and Leifthraser in Mimer's grove) races are born."
Codex Upsalensis has instead--_ok thar um alldr alaz_: "And they (Lif
and Leifthraser) have there (in Mimer's grove) their abiding place
_through ages_." Of course only the one of these versions can, from
a text-historical standpoint, be the original one. But this does not
hinder both from being equally legitimate from a mythological standpoint,
providing both date from a time when the main features of the myth about
Lif and Leifthraser were still remembered. Examples of versions equally
justifiable from a mythological standpoint can be cited from other
literatures than the Norse. If we in the choice between the two versions
pay regard only to the age of the manuscripts, then the one in Codex
Upsalensis, which is copied about the year 1300,[1] has the preference.
It would, however, hardly be prudent to put the chief emphasis on this
fact. Without drawing any conclusions, I simply point out the fact
that the oldest version we possess of the passage says that Lif and
Leifthraser live through ages in Mimer's grove. Nor is the other version
much younger, so far as the manuscript in which it is found is concerned,
and from a mythological standpoint that, too, is beyond doubt correct.

In two places in the poetic Edda (Vegtamskv, 7, and Fjolsvinnsm., 33)
occurs the word _ásmegir_. Both times it is used in such a manner that
we perceive that it is a mythological _terminus technicus_ having a
definite, limited application. What this application was is not known. It
is necessary to make a most thorough analysis of the passages in order to
find the signification of this word again, since it is of importance to
the subject which we are discussing. I shall begin with the passage in

The young Svipdag, the hero in Grogalder and in Fjolsvinnsmal, is in the
latter poem represented as standing before the gate of a citadel which
he never saw before, but within the walls of which the maid whom fate
has destined to be his wife resides. Outside of the gate is a person who
is or pretends to be the gate-keeper, and calls himself Fjolsvinn. He
and Svipdag enter into conversation. The conversation turns chiefly upon
the remarkable objects which Svipdag has before his eyes. Svipdag asks
questions about them, and Fjolsvinn gives him information. But before
Svipdag came to the castle, within which his chosen one awaits him, he
has made a remarkable journey (alluded to in Grogalder), and he has seen
strange things (thus in str. 9, 11, 33) which he compares with those
which he now sees, and in regard to which he also desires information
from Fjolsvinn. When the questions concern objects which are before him
at the time of speaking, he employs, as the logic of language requires,
the present tense of the verb (as in strophe 35--_segdu mèr hvat that
bjarg heitir, er ek sè brudi á_). When he speaks of what he has seen
before and elsewhere, he employs the past tense of the verb. In strophe
33 he says:

  Segdu mér that, Fjölsvidr,
  er ek thik fregna mun
  ok ek vilja vita;
  hverr that gördi,
  er ek fyr gard sák
  innan ásmaga?

"Tell me that which I ask you, and which I wish to know, Fjolsvinn: Who
made that which I saw within the castle wall of the _ásmegir_?"[2]

Fjolsvinn answers (str. 34):

  Uni ok Iri,
  Bari ok Ori,
  Varr ok Vegdrasil,
  Dori ok Uri;
  Dellingr ok vardar
  lithsci alfr, loki.

"Une and Ire, Bare and Ore, Var and Vegdrasil, Dore and Ure, Delling, the
cunning elf, is watchman at the gate."[3]

Thus Svipdag has seen a place where beings called _ásmegir dwell_. It
is well enclosed and guarded by the elf Delling. The myth must have
laid great stress on the fact that the citadel was well guarded, since
Delling, whose cunning is especially emphasised, has been entrusted
with this task. The citadel must also have been distinguished for its
magnificence and for other qualities, since what Svipdag has seen within
its gates has awakened his astonishment and admiration, and caused him
to ask Fjolsvinn about the name of its builder. Fjolsvinn enumerates not
less than eight architects. At least three of these are known by name
in other sources--namely, the "dwarfs" Var (Sn. Edda, ii. 470, 553),
Dore, and Ore. Both the last-named are also found in the list of dwarfs
incorporated in Völuspa. Both are said to be dwarfs in Dvalin's group of
attendants or servants (_i Dvalins lidi_--Völuspa, 14).

The problem to the solution of which I am struggling on--namely,
to find the explanation of what beings those are which are called
_ásmegir_--demands first of all that we should find out where the myth
located their dwelling seen by Svipdag, a fact which is of mythological
importance in other respects. This result can be gained, providing
Dvalin's and Delling's real home and the scene of their activity can be
determined. This is particularly important in respect to Delling, since
his office as gate-keeper at the castle of the _ásmegir_ demands that he
must have his home where his duties are required. To some extent this is
also true of Dvalin, since the field of his operations cannot have been
utterly foreign to the citadel on whose wonders his sub-artists laboured.

The author of the dwarf-list in Völuspa makes all holy powers assemble
to consult as to who shall create "the dwarfs," the artist-clan of
the mythology. The wording of strophe 10 indicates that on a being by
name _Modsognir_, _Motsognir_, was bestowed the dignity of chief[4] of
the proposed artist-clan, and that he, with the assistance of Durin
(_Durinn_), carried out the resolution of the gods, and created dwarfs
resembling men. The author of the dwarf list must have assumed--

That Modsogner was one of the older beings of the world, for the assembly
of gods here in question took place in the morning of time before the
creation was completed.

That Modsogner possessed a promethean power of creating.

That he either belonged to the circle of holy powers himself, or stood in
a close and friendly relation to them, since he carried out the resolve
of the gods.

Accordingly, we should take Modsogner to be one of the more remarkable
characters of the mythology. But either he is not mentioned anywhere
else than in this place--we look in vain for the name Modsogner
elsewhere--or this name is merely a skaldic epithet, which has taken the
place of a more common name, and which by reference to a familiar _nota
characteristica_ indicates a mythic person well known and mentioned
elsewhere. It cannot be disputed that the word looks like an epithet.
Egilsson (Lex. Poet.) defines it as the _mead-drinker_. If the definition
is correct, then the epithet were badly chosen if it did not refer to
Mimer, who originally was the sole possessor of the mythic mead, and who
daily drank of it (Völuspa, 29--_dreckr miód Mimir morgin hverjan_).
Still nothing can be built simply on the definition of a name, even if it
is correct beyond a doubt. All the indices which are calculated to shed
light on a question should be collected and examined. Only when they all
point in the same direction, and give evidence in favour of one and the
same solution of the problem, the latter can be regarded as settled.

Several of the "dwarfs" created by Modsogner are named in Völuspa, 11-13.
Among them are Dvalin. In the opinion of the author of the list of
dwarfs, Dvalin must have occupied a conspicuous place among the beings
to whom he belongs, for he is the only one of them all who is mentioned
as having a number of his own kind as subjects (Völuspa, 14). The
problem as to whether Modsogner is identical with Mimer should therefore
be decided by the answers to the following questions: Is that which is
narrated about Modsogner also narrated of Mimer? Do the statements which
we have about Dvalin show that he was particularly connected with Mimer
and with the lower world, the realm of Mimer?

Of Modsogner it is said (Völuspa, 12) that he was _mæstr ordinn dverga
allra_: he became the chief of all dwarfs, or, in other words, the
foremost among all artists. Have we any similar report of Mimer?

The German middle-age poem, "Biterolf," relates that its hero possessed
a sword, made, by Mimer the Old, _Mime der alte_, who was the most
excellent smith in the world. To be compared with him was not even
Wieland (Volund, Wayland), still less anyone else, with the one exception
of Hertrich, who was Mimer's co-labourer, and assisted him in making all
the treasures he produced:

  Zuo siner (Mimer's) meisterschefte
  ich nieman kan gelichen
  in allen fürsten richen
  an einen, den ich nenne,
  daz man in dar bi erkenne:
  Der war Hertrich genant.


  Durch ir sinne craft
  so hæten sie geselleschaft
  an werke und an allen dingen. (Biterolf, 144.)

Vilkinasaga, which is based on both German and Norse sources, states
that Mimer was an artist, in whose workshop the sons of princes and the
most famous smiths learned the trade of the smith. Among his apprentices
are mentioned Velint (Volund), Sigurd-Sven, and Eckihard.

These echoes reverberating far down in Christian times of the myth
about Mimer, as chief of smiths, we also perceive in Saxo. It should
be remembered what he relates about the incomparable treasures which
are preserved in Gudmund-Mimer's domain, among which in addition to
those already named occur _arma humanorum corporum habitu grandiora_
(i., p. 427), and about Mimingus, who possesses the sword of victory,
and an arm-ring which produces wealth (i. 113, 114). If we consult the
poetic Edda, we find Mimer mentioned as _Hodd-Mimer_, Treasure-Mimer
(Vafthr. 45); as _naddgöfugr jotunn_, the giant celebrated for his
weapons (Grogalder, 14); as _Hoddrofnir_, or _Hodd-dropnir_, the
treasure-dropping one (Sigrdr., 13); as _Baugreginn_, the king of the
gold-rings (Solarlj., 56). And as shall be shown hereafter, the chief
smiths are in the poetic Edda put in connection with Mimer as the one on
whose fields they dwell, or in whose smithy they work.

In the mythology, artistic and creative powers are closely related to
each other. The great smiths of the Rigveda hymns, the Ribhus, make
horses for Indra, create a cow and her calf, make from a single goblet
three equally good, diffuse vegetation over the fields, and make brooks
flow in the valleys (Rigveda, iv. 34, 9; iv. 38, 8; i. 20, 6, 110, 3,
and elsewhere). This they do although they are "mortals," who by their
merits acquire immortality. In the Teutonic mythology Sindre and Brok
forge from a pig-skin Frey's steed, which looks like a boar, and the
sons of Ivalde forge from gold locks that grow like other hair. The ring
_Draupnir_, which the "dwarfs" Sindre and Brok made, possesses itself
creative power and produces every ninth night eight gold rings of equal
weight with itself (Skaldsk., 37). The "mead-drinker" is the chief and
master of all these artists. And on a closer examination it appears
that Mimer's mead-well is the source of all these powers, which in the
mythology are represented as creating, forming, and ordaining with wisdom.

In Havamál (138-141) Odin relates that there was a time when he had not
yet acquired strength and wisdom. But by self-sacrifice he was able to
prevail on the celebrated Bolthorn's son, who dwells in the deep and has
charge of the mead-fountain there and of the mighty runes, to give him
(Odin) a drink from the precious mead, drawn from _Odrærir_:

  Tha nam ec frovaz          Then I began to bloom
  oc frodr vera              and to be wise,
  oc vaxa oc vel hafaz;      and to grow and thrive;
  ord mer af ordi            word came to me
  orz leitadi,               from word,
  verc mer af verki          deed came to me
  vercs leitadi.             from deed.

It is evident that Odin here means to say that the first drink which he
received from Mimer's fountain was the turning-point in his life; that
before that time he had not blossomed, had made no progress in wisdom,
had possessed no eloquence nor ability to do great deeds, but that he
acquired all this from the power of the mead. This is precisely the same
idea as we constantly meet with in Rigveda, in regard to the soma-mead as
the liquid from which the gods got creative power, wisdom, and desire to
accomplish great deeds. Odin's greatest and most celebrated achievement
was that he, with his brothers, created Midgard. Would it then be
reasonable to suppose that he performed this greatest and wisest of his
works before he began to develop fruit, and before he got wisdom and
the power of activity? It must be evident to everybody that this would
be unreasonable. It is equally manifest that among the works which he
considered himself able to perform after the drink from Mimer's fountain
had given him strength, we must place in the front rank those for which
he is most celebrated: the slaying of the chaos-giant Ymer, the raising
of the crust of the earth, and the creation of Midgard. This could not
be said more clearly than it is stated in the above strophe of Havamál,
unless Odin should have specifically mentioned the works he performed
after receiving the drink. From Mimer's fountain and from Mimer's hand
Odin has, therefore, received his creative power and his wisdom. We are
thus able to understand why Odin regarded this first drink from Odrærer
so immensely important that he could resolve to subject himself to the
sufferings which are mentioned in strophes 138 and 139. But when Odin by
a single drink from Mimer's fountain is endowed with creative power and
wisdom, how can the conclusion be evaded, that the myth regarded Mimer
as endowed with Promethean power, since it makes him the possessor of
the precious fountain, makes him drink therefrom every day, and places
him nearer to the deepest source and oldest activity of these forces in
the universe than Odin himself? The given and more instantaneous power,
thanks to which Odin was made able to form the upper world, came from
the lower world and from Mimer. The world-tree has also grown out of the
lower world and is Mimer's tree, and receives from his hands its value.
Thus the creative power with which the dwarf-list in Völuspa endowed the
"mead-drinker" is rediscovered in Mimer. It is, therefore, perfectly
logical when the mythology makes him its first smith and chief artist,
and keeper of treasures and the ruler of a group of dwarfs, underground
artists, for originally these were and remained creative forces
personified, just as Rigveda's Rubhus, who smithied flowers and grass,
and animals, and opened the veins of the earth for fertilising streams,
while they at the same time made implements and weapons.

That Mimer was the profound counsellor and faithful friend of the Asas
has already been shown. Thus we discover in Mimer Modsogner's governing
position among the artists, his creative activity, and his friendly
relation to the gods.

Dvalin, created by Modsogner, is in the Norse sagas of the middle
ages remembered as an extraordinary artist. He is there said to have
assisted in the fashioning of the sword Tyrfing (Fornald. Saga, i.
436), of Freyja's splendid ornament Brisingamen, celebrated also in
Anglo-Saxon poetry (Fornald. Saga, i. 391). In the Snofrid song, which
is attributed to Harald Fairhair, the drapa is likened unto a work of
art, which rings forth from beneath the fingers of Dvalin (_hrynr fram
ur Dvalin's greip_--Fornm. Saga, x. 208; Flat., i. 582). This beautiful
poetical figure is all the more appropriately applied, since Dvalin was
not only the producer of the beautiful works of the smith, but also sage
and skald. He was one of the few chosen ones who in time's morning were
permitted to taste of Mimer's mead, which therefore is called his drink
(_Dvalin's drykkr_--Younger Edda, i. 246).

But in the earliest antiquity no one partook of this drink who did not
get it from Mimer himself.

Dvalin is one of the most ancient rune-masters, one of those who brought
the knowledge of runes to those beings of creation who were endowed
with reason (Havamál, 143). But all knowledge of runes came originally
from Mimer. As skald and runic scholar, Dvalin, therefore, stood in the
relation of disciple under the ruler of the lower world.

The myth in regard to the runes (cp. No. 26) mentioned three apprentices,
who afterwards spread the knowledge of runes each among his own class
of beings. Odin, who in the beginning was ignorant of the mighty and
beneficent rune-songs (Havamál, 138-143), was by birth Mimer's chief
disciple, and taught the knowledge of runes among his kinsmen, the Asas
(Havamál, 143), and among men, his protégés (Sigdrifm., 18). The other
disciples were Dain (_Dáinn_) and Dvalin (_Dvalinn_). Dain, like Dvalin,
is an artist created by Modsogner (Völuspa, 11, Hauks Codex). He is
mentioned side by side with Dvalin, and like him he has tasted the mead
of poesy (_munnvigg Dáins_--Fornm. Saga, v. 209). Dain and Dvalin taught
the runes to their clans, that is, to elves and dwarfs (Havamál, 143).
Nor were the giants neglected. They learned the runes from _Ásvidr_.
Since the other teachers of runes belong to the clans, to which they
teach the knowledge of runes--"Odin among Asas, Dain among elves, Dvalin
among dwarfs"--there can be no danger of making a mistake, if we assume
that _Ásvidr_ was a giant. And as Mimer himself is a giant, and as the
name _Ásvidr_ (= _Ásvinr_) means Asa-friend, and as no one--particularly
no one among the giants--has so much right as Mimer to this epithet,
which has its counterpart in Odin's epithet, _Mims vinr_ (Mimer's
friend), then caution dictates that we keep open the highly probable
possibility that Mimer himself is meant by _Ásvidr_.

All that has here been stated about Dvalin shows that the mythology has
referred him to a place within the domain of Mimer's activity. We have
still to point out two statements in regard to him. Sol is said to have
been his _leika_ (Fornald., i. 475; Allvism, 17; Younger Edda, i. 472,
593). _Leika_, as a feminine word and referring to a personal object,
means a young girl, a maiden, whom one keeps at his side, and in whose
amusement one takes part at least as a spectator. The examples which
we have of the use of the word indicate that the _leika_ herself, and
the person whose _leika_ she is, are presupposed to have the same home.
Sisters are called _leikur_, since they live together. Parents can call
a foster-daughter their _leika_. In the neuter gender _leika_ means a
plaything, a doll or toy, and even in this sense it can rhetorically be
applied to a person.

In the same manner as Sol is called Dvalin's _leika_, so the son of Nat
and Delling, Dag, is called _leikr Dvalins_, the lad or youth with whom
Dvalin amused himself (Fornspjal., 24).

We have here found two points of contact between the mythic characters
Dvalin and Delling. Dag, who is Dvalin's _leikr_, is Delling's son.
Delling is the watchman of the castle of the _ásmegir_, which Dvalin's
artists decorated.

Thus the whole group of persons among whom Dvalin is placed--Mimer,
who is his teacher; Sol, who is his _leika_; Dag, who is his _leikr_;
Nat, who is the mother of his _leikr_; Delling, who is the father of
his _leikr_--have their dwellings in Mimer's domain, and belong to the
subterranean class of the _numina_ of Teutonic mythology.

From regions situated below Midgard's horizon, Nat, Sol, and Dag draw
their chariots upon the heavens. On the eastern border of the lower world
is the point of departure for their regular journeys over the heavens of
the upper world ("the upper heavens," _upphiminn_--Völuspa, 3; Vafthr.,
20, and elsewhere; _uppheimr_--Alvm., 13). Nat has her home and, as shall
be shown hereafter, her birthplace in dales beneath the ash Ygdrasil.
There she takes her rest after the circuit of her journey has been
completed. In the lower world Sol and Nat's son, Dag, also have their
halls where they take their rest. But where Delling's wife and son have
their dwellings there we should also look for Delling's own abode. As the
husband of Nat and the father of Dag, Delling occupies the same place
among the divinities of nature as the dawn and the glow of sunrise among
the phenomena of nature. And outside the doors of Delling, the king of
dawn, mythology has also located the dwarf _thjódreyrir_ ("he who moves
the people"), who sings songs of awakening and blessing upon the world:
"power to the Asas, success to the elves, wisdom to Hroptatyr" (_afl
asom, enn alfum frama, hyggio Hroptaty_--Havam., 160).

Unlike his kinsmen, Nat, Dag, and Sol, Delling has no duty which requires
him to be absent from home a part of the day. The dawn is merely a
reflection of Midgard's eastern horizon from Delling's subterranean
dwelling. It can be seen only when Nat leaves the upper heaven and
before Dag and Sol have come forward, and it makes no journey around the
world. From a mythological standpoint it would therefore be possible to
entrust the keeping of the castle of the _ásmegir_ to the elf of dawn.
The sunset-glow has another genius, Billing, and he, too, is a creation
of Modsogner, if the dwarf-list is correct (Völuspa, 12). Sol, who on her
way is pursued by two giant monsters in wolf-guise, is secure when she
comes to her forest of the Varns behind the western horizon (_til varna
vidar_--Grimn., 30). There in western halls (Vegtamskv., 11) dwells
Billing, the chief of the Varns (_Billing veold Vernum_--Cod. Exon.,
320). There rests his daughter Rind bright as the sun on her bed, and his
body-guard keeps watch with kindled lights and burning torches (Havam.,
100). Thus Billing is the watchman of the western boundary of Mimer's
domain, Delling of the eastern.

From this it follows:

That the citadel of the _ásmegir_ is situated in Mimer's lower world, and
there in the regions of the elf of dawn.

That Svipdag, who has seen the citadel of the _ásmegir_, has made a
journey in the lower world before he found Menglad and secured her as his

The conclusion to which we have arrived in regard to the subterranean
situation of the citadel is entirely confirmed by the other passage in
the poetic Edda, where the _ásmegir_ are mentioned by this name. Here we
have an opportunity of taking a look within their castle, and of seeing
the hall decorated with lavish splendour for the reception of an expected

Vegtamskvida tells us that Odin, being alarmed in regard to the fate of
his son Balder, made a journey to the lower world for the purpose of
learning from a vala what foreboded his favourite son. When Odin had rode
through Nifelhel and come to green pastures (_foldvegr_), he found there
below a hall decorated for festivity, and he asks the prophetess:

  hvæim eru bekkir
  baugum sánir,
  flæt fagrlig
  floth gulli?

"For whom are the benches strewn with rings and the gold beautifully
scattered through the rooms?"

And the vala answers:

  Her stændr Balldri
  of bruggin miodr,
  skirar væigar,
  liggr skiolldr yfir
  æn ásmegir
  i ofvæni.

"Here stands for Balder mead prepared, pure drink; shields are
overspread, and the _ásmegir_ are waiting impatiently."

Thus there stands in the lower world a hall splendidly decorated awaiting
Balder's arrival. As at other great feasts, the benches are strewn (cp.
_breida bekki_, _strá bekki_, _bua bekki_) with costly things, and the
pure wonderful mead of the lower world is already served as an offering
to the god. Only the shields which cover the mead-vessel need to be
lifted off and all is ready for the feast. Who or what persons have,
in so good season, made these preparations? The vala explains when she
mentions the _ásmegir_ and speaks of their longing for Balder. It is this
longing which has found utterance in the preparations already completed
for his reception. Thus, when Balder gets to the lower world, he is to
enter the citadel of the _ásmegir_ and there be welcomed by a sacrifice,
consisting of the noblest liquid of creation, the strength-giving
_soma-madhu_ of Teutonic mythology. In the old Norse heathen literature
there is only one more place where we find the word _ásmegir_, and that
is in Olaf Trygveson's saga, ch. 16 (Heimskringla). For the sake of
completeness this passage should also be considered, and when analysed
it, too, sheds much and important light on the subject.

We read in this saga that Jarl Hakon proclaimed throughout his kingdom
that the inhabitants should look after their temples and sacrifices, and
so was done. Jarl Hakon's hird-skald, named Einar Skalaglam, who in the
poem "Vellekla" celebrated his deeds and exploits, mentions his interest
in the heathen worship, and the good results this was supposed to have
produced for the jarl himself and for the welfare of his land. Einar says:

  Ok hertharfir hverfa
  hlakkar móts til blóta,
  raudbrikar fremst rækir
  rikr, ásmegir, sliku.
  Nu grær jörd sem adan, &c.

Put in prose: _Ok hertharfir ásmegir hverfa til blóta; hlakkar móts
raudbríkar ríkr rækír fremst sliku. Nu grær jörd sem ádan._

Translation: "And the _ásmegir_ required in war, turn themselves to the
sacrificial feasts. The mighty promoter of the meeting of the red target
of the goddess of war has honour and advantage thereof. Now grows the
earth green as heretofore."

There can be no doubt that "the _ásmegir_ required in war" refer to the
men in the territory ruled by Hakon, and that "the mighty promoter of the
meeting of the red target of the goddess of war" refers to the warlike
Hakon himself, and hence the meaning of the passage in its plain prose
form is simply this: "Hakon's men again devote themselves to the divine
sacrifices. This is both an honour and an advantage to Hakon, and the
earth again yields bountiful harvests."

To these thoughts the skald has given a garb common in poetry of art,
by adapting them to a mythological background. The persons in this
background are the ásmegir and a mythical being called "the promoter of
the red target," _raudbríkar rækir_. The persons in the foreground are
the men in Hakon's realm and Hakon himself. The persons in the foreground
are permitted to borrow the names of the corresponding persons in the
background, but on the condition that the borrowed names are furnished
with adjectives which emphasise the specific difference between the
original mythic lenders and the real borrowers. Thus Hakon's subjects are
allowed to borrow the appellation _ásmegir_, but this is then furnished
with, the adjective _hertharfir_ (required in war), whereby they are
specifically distinguished from the _ásmegir_ of the mythical background,
and Hakon on his part is allowed to borrow the appellation _raudbríkar
rækir_ (the promoter of the red target), but this appellation is then
furnished with the adjective phrase _hlakkar móts_ (of the meeting of the
goddess of war), whereby Hakon is specifically distinguished from the
_raudbríkar rækir_ of the mythical background.

The rule also requires that, at least on that point of which the skald
happens to be treating, the persons in the mythological background should
hold a relation to each other which resembles, and can be compared with,
the relation between the persons in the foreground. Hakon's men stand
in a subordinate relation to Hakon himself; and so must the _ásmegir_
stand in a subordinate relation to that being which is called _raudbríkar
rækir_, providing the skald in this strophe as in the others has produced
a tenable parallel. Hakon is, for his subjects, one who exhorts them
to piety and fear of the gods. _Raudbríkar rækir_, his counterpart in
the mythological background, must have been the same for his _ásmegir_.
Hakon's subjects offer sacrifices, and this is an advantage and an honour
to Hakon, and the earth grows green again. In the mythology the _ásmegir_
must have held some sacrificial feast, and _raudbríkar rækir_ must have
had advantage and honour, and the earth must have regained its fertility.
Only on these conditions is the figure of comparison to the point, and
of such a character that it could be presented unchallenged to heathen
ears familiar with the myths. It should be added that Einar's greatness
as a skald is not least shown by his ability to carry out logically such
figures of comparison. We shall later on give other examples of this.

Who is, then, this _raudbríkar rækir_, "the promoter of the red target?"

In the mythological language _raudbrik_ (red target) can mean no
other object than the sun. Compare _rödull_, which is frequently used
to designate the sun. If this needed confirmation, then we have it
immediately at hand in the manner in which the word is applied in the
continuation of the paraphrase adapted to Hakon. A common paraphrase for
the shield is the sun with suitable adjectives, and thus _raudbrik_
is applied here. The adjective phrase is here _hlakkar móts_, "of the
meeting of the war-goddess" (that is, qualifying the red target), whereby
the red target (= sun), which is an attribute of the mythic _rækir_ of
the background, is changed to a shield, which becomes an attribute of
the historical _rækir_ of the foreground, namely Hakon jarl, the mighty
warrior. Accordingly, _raudbríkar rækir_ of the mythology must be a
masculine divinity standing in some relation to the sun.

This sun-god must also have been upon the whole a god of peace. Had
he not been so, but like Hakon a war-loving shield-bearer, then the
paraphrase _hlakkar móts raudbríkar rækir_ would equally well designate
him as Hakon, and thus it could not be used to designate Hakon alone,
as it then would contain neither a _nota characteristica_ for him nor a
_differentia specifica_ to distinguish him from the mythic person, whose
epithet _raudbríkar rækir_ he has been allowed to borrow.

This peaceful sun-god must have descended to the lower world and there
stood in the most intimate relation with the _ásmegir_ referred to the
domain of Mimer, for he is here represented as their chief and leader in
the path of piety and the fear of the gods. The myth must have mentioned
a sacrificial feast or sacrificial feasts celebrated by the _ásmegir_.
From this or these sacrificial feasts the peaceful sun-god must have
derived advantage and honour, and thereupon the earth must have regained
a fertility, which before that had been more or less denied it.

From all this it follows with certainty that _raudbrikar rækir_ of
the mythology is Balder. The fact suggested by the Vellekla strophe
above analysed, namely, that Balder, physically interpreted, is a solar
divinity, the mythological scholars are almost a unit in assuming to be
the case on account of the general character of the Balder myth. Though
Balder was celebrated for heroic deeds he is substantially a god of
peace, and after his descent to the lower world he is no longer connected
with the feuds and dissensions of the upper world. We have already seen
that he was received in the lower world with great pomp by the _ásmegir_,
who impatiently awaited his arrival, and that they sacrifice to him that
bright mead of the lower world, whose wonderfully beneficial and bracing
influence shall be discussed below. Soon afterwards he is visited by
Hermod. Already before Balder's funeral pyre, Hermod upon the fastest of
all steeds hastened to find him in the lower world (Gylfag., 51, 52), and
Hermod returns from him and Nanna with the ring _Draupnir_ for Odin, and
with a veil for the goddess of earth, Fjorgyn-Frigg. The ring from which
other rings drop, and the veil which is to beautify the goddess of earth,
are symbols of fertility. Balder, the sun-god, had for a long time before
his death been languishing. Now in the lower world he is strengthened
with the bracing mead of Mimer's domain by the _ásmegir_ who gladly give
offerings, and the earth regains her green fields.

Hakon's men are designated in the strophe as _hertharfir ásmegir_.
When they are permitted to borrow the name of the _ásmegir_, then the
adjective _hertharfir_, if chosen with the proper care, is to contain a
specific distinction between them and the mythological beings whose name
they have borrowed. In other words, if the real _ásmegir_ were of such a
nature that they could be called _hertharfir_, then that adjective would
not serve to distinguish Hakon's men from them. The word _hertharfir_
means "those who are needed in war," "those who are to be used in war."
Consequently, the _ásmegir_ are beings who are _not_ to be used in war,
beings whose dwelling, environment, and purpose suggest a realm of peace,
from which the use of weapons is banished.

Accordingly, the parallel presented in Einar's strophe, which we have now
discussed, is as follows:

  _Mythology._                    _History._

  Peaceful beings of the lower    Warlike inhabitants of the
  world (ásmegir).                earth (hertharfir ásmegir).

  at the instigation of their     at the instigation of their
  chief,                          chief,

  the sun-god Balder (raudbríkar  the shield's Balder, Hakon
  rækir),                         (hlakkar móts raudbríkar rækir),

  go to offer sacrifices.         go to offer sacrifices.

  The peaceful Balder is thereby  The shield's Balder is thereby
  benefited.                      benefited.

  The earth grows green again.    The earth grows green again.

  ok ásmegir,                     ok hertharfir ásmegir,

  hverfa til blóta;               hverfa til blóta

  raudbrikar rikr rækir           hlakkar móts raudbríkar rikr rækir
    fremst sliku.                   fremst sliku.

  Nú grær jördsem ádan.           Nú grær jörd sem ádan.

In the background which Einar has given to his poetical paraphrase, we
thus have the myth telling how the sun-god Balder, on his descent to the
lower world, was strengthened by the soma-sacrifice brought him by the
_ásmegir_, and how he sent back with Hermod the treasures of fertility
which had gone with him and Nanna to the lower world, and which restored
the fertility of the earth.

To what category of beings do the _ásmegir_ then belong? We have seen the
word applied as a technical term in a restricted sense. The possibilities
of application which the word with reference to its definition supplies

(1) The word may be used in the purely physical sense of Asa-sons,
Asa-descendants. In this case the subterranean _ásmegir_ would be by
their very descent members of that god-clan that resides in Asgard, and
whose father and clan-patriarch is Odin.

(2) The word can be applied to men. They are the children of the
Asa-father in a double sense: the first human pair was created by Odin
and his brothers (Völusp., 16, 17; Gylfag., 9), and their offspring
are also in a moral sense Odin's children, as they are subject to his
guidance and care. He is Alfather, and the father of the succeeding
generations (_allfadir_, _aldafadir_). A word resembling _ásmegir_ in
character is _ásasynir_, and this is used in Allvismal, 16, in a manner
which shows that it does not refer to any of those categories of beings
that are called gods (see further, No. 62)[5] The conception of men as
sons of the gods is also implied in the all mankind embracing phrase,
_megir Heimdallar_ (Völusp., 1), with which the account of Rig-Heimdal's
journey on the earth and visit to the patriarchs of the various classes
is connected.[6]

The true meaning of the word in this case is determined by the fact that
the _ásmegir_ belong to the dwellers in the lower world already before
the death of Balder, and that Balder is the first one of the Asas and
sons of Odin who becomes a dweller in the lower world. To this must be
added, that if _ásmegir_ meant Asas, Einar would never have called the
inhabitants of Norway, the subjects of jarl Hakon, _hertharfir ásmegir_,
for _hertharfir_ the Asas are themselves, and that in the highest degree.
They constitute a body of more or less warlike persons, who all have been
"needed in conflict" in the wars around Asgard and Midgard, and they all,
Balder included, are gods of war and victory. It would also have been
_malapropos_ to compare men with Asas on an occasion when the former
were represented as bringing sacrifices to the gods; that is, as persons
subordinate to them and in need of their assistance.

The _ásmegir_ are, therefore, human beings excluded from the surface of
the earth, from the mankind which dwell in Midgard, and are inhabitants
of the lower world, where they reside in a splendid castle kept by the
elf of dawn, Delling, and enjoy the society of Balder, who descended to
Hades. To subterranean human beings refers also Grimnismal, 21, which
says that men (_mennzkir menn_) dwell under the roots of Ygdrasil; and
Allvismal, 16 (to be compared with 18, 20, and other passages), and
Skirnersmal, 34, which calls them _áslithar_, a word which Gudbrand
Vigfusson has rightly assumed to be identical with _ásmegir_.

Thus it is also demonstrated that the _ásmegir_ are identical with the
subterranean human persons Lif and Leifthraser and their descendants
in Mimer's grove. The care with which the mythology represents the
citadel of the _ásmegir_ kept, shown by the fact that the elf Delling,
the counterpart of Heimdal in the lower world, has been entrusted with
its keeping, is intelligible and proper when we know that it is of the
greatest importance to shield Lif and Leifthraser's dwelling from all
ills, sickness, age, and moral evil (see above). It is also a beautiful
poetic thought that it is the elf of the morning dawn--he outside of
whose door the song of awakening and bliss is sung to the world--who has
been appointed to watch those who in the dawn of a new world shall people
the earth with virtuous and happy races. That the _ásmegir_ in the lower
world are permitted to enjoy the society of Balder is explained by the
fact that Lif and Leifthraser and their offspring are after Ragnarok to
accompany Balder to dwell under his sceptre, and live a blameless life
corresponding to his wishes. They are to be his disciples, knowing their
master's commandments and having them written in their hearts.

We have now seen that the _ásmegir_ already before Balder's death dwell
in Mimer's grove. We have also seen that Svipdag on his journey in
the lower world had observed a castle, which he knew belonged to the
_ásmegir_. The mythology knows two fimbul-winters; the former raged in
time's morning, the other is to precede Ragnarok. The former occurred
when Freyja, the goddess of fertility, was treacherously delivered into
the power of the frost-giants and all the air was blended with corruption
(Völusp., 26); when there came from the Elivogs stinging, ice-cold arrows
of frost, which put men to death and destroyed the greenness of the earth
(Fornspjallsljod); when King Snow ruled, and there came in the northern
lands a famine which compelled the people to emigrate to the South (Saxo,
i. 415). Svipdag made his journey in the lower world during the time
preceding the first fimbul-winter. This follows from the fact that it was
he who liberated Freyja, the sister of the god of the harvests, from the
power of the frost-giants (see Nos. 96-102). Lif and Leifthraser were
accordingly already at that time transferred to Mimer's grove. This ought
to have occurred before the earth and her inhabitants were afflicted by
physical and moral evil, while there still could be found undefiled men
to be saved for the world to come; and we here find that the mythology,
so far as the records make it possible for us to investigate the matter,
has logically met this claim of poetic justice.

[1] S. Bugge, Sæmund. Edda, xxvi. Thorl. Jónsson's Edda, Snorra St., viii.

[2] Looking simply at the form, the strophe may also be translated in the
following manner: "Tell me, Fjolsvinn, what I ask of you, and what I wish
to know. Who of the _ásmegir_ made what I saw within the castle wall?"
Against this formal possibility there are, however, several objections
of facts. Svipdag would then be asking Fjolsvinn who had made that which
he once in the past had seen within a castle wall without informing
Fjolsvinn in regard to which particular castle wall he has reference.
It also presupposes that Svipdag knew that the _ásmegir_ had made the
things in question which were within the castle wall, and that he only
wished to complete his knowledge by finding out which one or ones of the
_ásmegir_ it was that had made them. And finally, it would follow from
Fjolsvinn's answer that the dwarfs he enumerates are sons of Asas. The
formal possibility pointed out has also a formal probability against it.
The gen. pl. _ásmaga_ has as its nearest neighbour _gard_, not _hverr_,
and should therefore be referred to _gard_, not to _hverr_, even though
both the translations gave an equally satisfactory meaning so far as the
facts related are concerned; but that is not the case.

[3] I follow the text in most of the manuscripts, of which Bugge has
given various versions. One manuscript has in the text, another in the
margin, _Lidscialfr_, written in one word (instead of _lithsci alfr_). Of
this Munch made _Lidskjalfr_. The dative _loki_ from _lok_, a gate (cp.
_luka loka_, to close, enclose) has been interpreted as _Loki_, and thus
made the confusion complete.

[4] _Thar_ (in the assembly of the gods) _var Modsognir mæstr um ordinn
dverga allra_.


  _Sol heitir med monnom,
  enn sunna med godum,
  kalla dvergar Dvalin's leika
  eyglo iotnar,
  alfar fagra hvel
  alscir asa synir._

[6] Cp. also Gylfag., 9, in regard to Odin: _Ok fyrir thvi má hann heita
Allfodr, at hann er fadir alra godanna ok manna ok alls thess, er af
honom ok hans krapti var fullgjört._



In connection with the efforts to determine the age of the Teutonic
myths, and their kinship with the other Aryan (Indo-European)
mythologies, the fact deserves attention that the myth in regard to a
subterranean grove and the human beings there preserved for a future
regenerated world is also found among the Iranians, an Asiatic race
akin to the Teutons. The similarity between the Teutonic and Iranian
traditions is so conspicuous that the question is irresistible--Whether
it is not originally, from the standpoint of historical descent, one and
the same myth, which, but little affected by time, has been preserved
by the Teutonic Aryans around the Baltic, and by the Iranian Aryans in
Baktria and Persia? But the answer to the question requires the greatest
caution. The psychological similarity of races may, on account of the
limitations of the human fancy, and in the midst of similar conditions
and environments, create myths which resemble each other, although they
were produced spontaneously by different races in different parts of
the earth. This may happen in the same manner as primitive implements,
tools, and dwellings which resemble each other may have been invented
and used by races far separated from each other, not by the one learning
from the other how these things were to be made, nor on account of a
common descent in antiquity. The similarity is the result of similar
circumstances. It was the same want which was to be satisfied; the same
human logic found the manner of satisfying the want; the same materials
offered themselves for the accomplishment of the end, and the same
universal conceptions of form were active in the development of the
problems. Comparative mythology will never become a science in the strict
sense of this word before it ceases to build hypotheses on a solitary
similarity, or even on several or many resemblances between mythological
systems geographically separated, unless these resemblances unite
themselves and form a whole, a mythical unity, and unless it appears
that this mythical unity in turn enters as an element into a greater
complexity, which is similar in fundamental structure and similar in its
characteristic details. Especially should this rule be strictly observed
when we compare the myths of peoples who neither by race nor language
can be traced back to a prehistoric unity. But it is best not to relax
the severity of the rules even when we compare the myths of peoples who,
like the Teutons, the Iranians, and the Rigveda-Aryans, have the same
origin and same language; who through centuries, and even long after
their separation, have handed down from generation to generation similar
mythological conceptions and mythical traditions. I trust that, as this
work of mine gradually progresses, a sufficient material of evidence
for the solution of the above problem will be placed in the hands of my
readers. I now make a beginning of this by presenting the Iranian myth
concerning Jima's grove and the subterranean human beings transferred to

In the ancient Iranian religious documents Jima is a holy and mighty
ancient being, who, however, does not belong to the number of celestial
divinities which surround the highest god, Ahuramazda, but must be
counted among "the mortals," to the oldest seers and prophets of
antiquity. A hymn of sacrifice, dedicated to the sacred mead, the
liquid of inspiration (_homa_, the _soma_ and _soma-madhu_ of the
Rigveda-Aryans, the last word being the same as our word _mead_),
relates that Jima and his father were the first to prepare the mead
of inspiration for the material world; that he, Jima, was the richest
in honour of all who had been born, and that he of all mortals most
resembled the sun. In his kingdom there was neither cold nor heat,
neither frost nor drought, neither aging nor death. A father by the side
of his son resembled, like the son, a youth of fifteen years. The evil
created by the demons did not cross the boundaries of Jima's world (The
Younger _Jasna_, ch. 9).

Jima was the favourite of Ahuramazda, the highest god. Still he had a
will of his own. The first mortal with whom Ahuramazda talked was Jima,
and he taught him the true faith, and desired that Jima should spread it
among the mortals. But Jima answered: "I am not suited to be the bearer
and apostle of the faith, nor am I believed to be so" (_Vendidad_).
[In this manner it is explained why the true doctrine did not become
known among men before the reformer Zarathustra came, and why Jima the
possessor of the mead of inspiration, nevertheless, was in possession of
the true wisdom.]

It is mentioned (in _Gosh Jasht_ and _Râm Jasht_) that Jima held two
beings in honour, which did not belong to Ahuramazda's celestial circle,
but were regarded as worthy of worship. These two were:

1. The cow (_Gosh_), that lived in the beginning of time, and whose
blood, when she was slain, fertilised the earth with the seed of life.

2. _Vajush_, the heavenly breeze. He is identical with the ruler of the
air and wind in Rigveda, the mighty god _Vâyu-Vâta_.

In regard to the origin and purpose of the kingdom ruled by Jima, in
which neither frost nor drought, nor aging nor death, nor moral evil, can
enter Vendidad relates the following:[7]

  _Avesta._                              _Zend._

  21. A meeting was held                 A meeting was held with
  with the holy angels of Ahuramazda,    the best men of Jima, the king,
  the creator. To                        the one rich in flocks. To
  this meeting came, with the            this meeting came, with the
  best men, Jima, the king rich          holy angels, Ahuramazda, the
  in flocks.                             creator.

  22. Then said Ahuramazda               In the material world there
  to Jima: "Happy Jima Vivanghana!       shall come an evil winter,
  In the material world                  consequently much snow
  there shall come an evil winter,       shall fall on the highest
  and consequently a hard,               mountains, on the tops of the
  killing frost."                        rocks.

  23. From three places, O               From three places, O Jima,
  Jima, the cows should be               the cows should be driven
  driven to well-enclosed shelters;      to well-enclosed shelters;
  whether they are in the                whether they are in the
  wildernesses, or in the heights        wilderness, or on the heights
  of the mountains, or in the            of the mountains, or in the
  depths of the valleys.                 depths of the valleys.

  24. Before the winter this
  land had meadows. Before
  that time the water (the rain)
  was wont to flow over it, and
  the snow to melt; and there
  was found, O Jima, in the
  material world, water-soaked
  places, in which were visible
  the footprints of the cattle
  and their offspring.

  25. Now give this enclosure            Now give the enclosure the
  (above, "the well-enclosed             length of one ... on each of
  shelters") on each of                  its four sides as a dwelling for
  its four sides the length of           men, and give the same length
  one ... and bring thither              to each of the four sides as a
  the seed of your cattle, of            field for the cows.
  oxen, of men, of dogs, and of
  birds, and red blazing fires.

  26. Gather water there in a
  canal, the length of one hâthra.
  Place the landmarks
  there on a gold-coloured spot,
  furnished with imperishable
  nourishment. Put up a house
  there of mats and poles, with
  roof and walls.

                                         27. Bring thither seed of all
                                         men and women, who are the
                                         largest, best, and most fair on
                                         this earth. Bring thither seed
                                         of all domestic animals that
                                         are the largest, best, and
                                         fairest on this earth.

                                         28. Bring thither seed of all
                                         plants which are the highest
                                         and most fragrant on this
                                         earth. Bring thither seed of
                                         all articles of food which are
                                         the best tasting and most
                                         fragrant on this earth. And
                                         make pairs of them unceasingly,
                                         in order that these beings
                                         may have their existence
                                         in the enclosures.

  29. There shall be no pride,
  no despondency, no sluggishness,
  no poverty, no deceit,
  no dwarf-growths, no blemish
  ... nor aught else of those
  signs which are Angrô-mainyush's
  curses put on men.

  30. Make, in the uppermost
  part of that territory, nine
  bridges; in the middle, six; in
  the lowest part, three. To the
  bridges of the upper part you
  must bring seed of a thousand
  men and women, to those of
  the middle the seed of six
  hundred, to those of the
  lower, of three hundred....
  And make a door in the enclosure,
  and a self-luminous
  window on the inside.

  33. Then Jima made the

                                         39. Which are those lights,
                                         thou just Ahuramazda, which
                                         give light in the enclosures
                                         made by Jima?

                                         40. Ahuramazda answered:
                                         Once (a year) the stars and
                                         moon and the sun are there
                                         seen to rise and set.

                                         41. And they (who dwell within
                                         Jima's enclosures) think that
                                         one year is one day. Every
                                         fortieth year two persons are
                                         born by two persons. These
                                         persons enjoy the greatest
                                         bliss in the enclosures made
                                         by Jima.

                                         42. Just creator! Who
                                         preached the pure faith in
                                         the enclosures which Jima
                                         made? Ahuramazda answered:
                                         The bird Karshipta.

Jima's garden has accordingly been formed in connection with a terrible
winter, which, in the first period of time, visited the earth, and it was
planned to preserve that which is noblest and fairest and most useful
within the kingdoms of organic beings. That the garden is situated in the
lower world is not expressly stated in the above-quoted passages from
Vendidad; though this seems to be presupposed by what is stated; for the
stars, sun, and moon do not show themselves in Jima's garden excepting
after long, defined intervals--_at their rising and setting_; and as the
surface of the earth is devastated by the unparalleled frost, and as the
valleys are no more protected therefrom than the mountains, we cannot
without grave doubts conceive the garden as situated in the upper world.
That it is subterranean is, however, expressly stated in _Bundehesh_, ch.
30, 10, where it is located under the mountain Damkan; and that it, in
the oldest period of the myth, was looked upon as subterranean follows
from the fact that the Jima of the ancient Iranian records is identical
with Rigveda's Jama, whose domain and the scene of whose activities is
the lower world, the kingdom of death.

As Jima's enclosed garden was established on account of the
fimbul-winter, which occurred in time's morning, it continues to exist
after the close of the winter, and preserves through all the historical
ages those treasures of uncorrupted men, animals, and plants which in the
beginning of time were collected there. The purpose of this is mentioned
in Minokhird, a sort of catechism of the legends and morals of the Avesta
religion. There it is said that after the conflagration of the world, and
in the beginning of the regeneration, the garden which Jima made shall
open its gate, and thence men, animals and plants shall once more fill
the devastated earth.

The lower world, where Jima, according to the ancient Iranian records,
founded this remarkable citadel, is, according to Rigveda, Jama's
kingdom, and also the kingdom of death, of which Jama is king (Rigv.,
x. 16, 9; cp. i. 35, 6, and other passages). It is a glorious country,
with inexhaustible fountains, and there is the home of the imperishable
light (Rigv., ix. 7, 8,; ix. 113, 8). Jama dwells under a tree "with
broad leaves." There he gathers around the goblet of mead the fathers of
antiquity, and there he drinks with the gods (Rigv., x. 135, 1).

Roth, and after him Abel Bergaigne (Religion Ved., i. 88 ff.), regard
Jama and Manu, mentioned in Rigveda, as identical. There are strong
reasons, for the assumption, so far as certain passages of Rigveda are
concerned; while other passages, particularly those which mention Manu
by the side of Bhriga, refer to an ancient patriarch of human descent.
If the derivation of the word _Mimer_, _Mimi_, pointed out by several
linguists, last by Müllenhoff (_Deutsche Alt._, vol. v. 105, 106), is
correct, then it is originally the same name as _Manu_, and like it is to
be referred to the idea of thinking, remembering.

What the Aryan-Asiatic myth here given has in common with the Teutonic
one concerning the subterranean persons in Mimer's grove can be
summarised in the following words:

The lower world has a ruler, who does not belong to the group of
immortal celestial beings, but enjoys the most friendly relations with
the godhead, and is the possessor of great wisdom. In his kingdom flow
inexhaustible fountains, and a tree grown out of its soil spreads its
foliage over his dwelling, where he serves the mead of inspiration, which
the gods are fond of and which he was the first to prepare. A terrible
winter threatened to destroy everything on the surface of the earth.
Then the ruler of the lower world built on his domain a well-fortified
citadel, within which neither destructive storms, nor physical ills,
nor moral evil, nor sickness, nor aging, nor death can come. Thither
he transferred the best and fairest human beings to be found on earth,
and decorated the enclosed garden with the most beautiful and useful
trees and plants. The purpose of this garden is not simply to protect
the beings collected there during the great winter; they are to remain
there through all historical ages. When these come to an end, there
comes a great conflagration and then a regeneration of the world. The
renewed earth is to be filled with the beings who have been protected by
the subterranean citadel. The people who live there have an instructor
in the pure worship of the gods and in the precepts of morality, and in
accordance with these precepts they are to live for ever a just and happy

It should be added that the two beings whom the Iranian ruler of the
lower world is said to have honoured are found or have equivalents in
the Teutonic mythology. Both are there put in theogonic connection with
Mimer. The one is the celestial lord of the wind, Vayush, Rigveda's
Vâyu-Vâta. Vâta is thought to be the same name as Wodan, Odinn (Zimmer,
Haupt's Zeitschr., 1875; cp. Mannhardt and Kaegi). At all events, Vâta's
tasks are the same as Odin's. The other is the primeval cow, whose
Norse name or epithet, _Audhumla_ is preserved in Gylfag., 6. Andhunla
liberates from the frost-stones in Chaos Bure, the progenitor of the Asa
race, and his son Bor is married to Mimer's sister Bestla, and with her
becomes the father of Odin (Havam., 140; Gylfag., 6).

[7] The outlines of the contents are given here from the interpretation
found in Haug-West's _Essays on the Sacred Language of the Parsis_
(London, 1878).



We now know the purpose of _Odainsakr_, Mimer's land and Mimer's grove
in the world-plan of our mythology. We know who the inhabitants of the
grove are, and why they, though dwellers in the lower world, must be
_living persons_, who did not come there through the _gate of death_.
They must be living persons of flesh and blood, since the human race of
the regenerated earth must be the same.

Still the purpose of Mimer's land is not limited to being, through this
epoch of the world, a protection for the fathers of the future world
against moral and physical corruption, and a seminary where Balder
educates them in virtue and piety. The grove protects, as we have seen,
the _ásmegir_ during _Ragnarok_, whose flames do not penetrate thither.
Thus the grove, and the land in which it is situated, exist after the
flames of Ragnarok are extinguished. Was it thought that the grove after
the regeneration was to continue in the lower world and there stand
uninhabited, abandoned, desolate, and without a purpose in the future
existence of gods, men and things?

The last moments of the existence of the crust of the old earth are
described as a chaotic condition in which all elements are confused
with each other. The sea rises, overflows the earth sinking beneath
its billows, and the crests of its waves aspire to heaven itself (cp.
Völusp., 54, 2--_Sigr fold i mar_, with Hyndlulj., 42, 1-3--_Haf gengr
hridum vid himinn sialfann, lidr lond yfir_). The atmosphere, usurped by
the sea, disappears, as it were (_loft bilar_--Hyndlulj., 42, 4). Its
snow and winds (Hyndlulj., 42, 5-6) are blended with water and fire, and
form with them heated vapours, which "play" against the vault of heaven
(Völusp., 54, 7-8). One of the reasons why the fancy has made all the
forces and elements of nature thus contend and blend was doubtless to
furnish a sufficiently good cause for the dissolution and disappearance
of the burnt crust of the earth. At all events, the earth is gone when
the rage of the elements is subdued, and thus it is no impediment to the
act of regeneration which takes its beginning beneath the waves.

This act of regeneration consists in the rising from the depths of the
sea a new earth, which on its very rising possesses living beings and
is clothed in green. The fact that it, while yet below the sea, could
be a home for beings which need air in order to breathe and exist, is
not necessarily to be regarded as a miracle in mythology. Our ancestors
only needed to have seen an air-bubble rise to the surface of the water
in order to draw the conclusion that air can be found under the water
without mixing with it, but with the power of pushing water away while
it rises to the surface. The earth rising from the sea has, like the old
earth, the necessary atmosphere around it. Under all circumstances, the
seeress in Völuspa sees after Ragnarok--

  upp koma
  audro sinni
  iord or ægi
  ithia græna (str. 56).

The earth risen from the deep has mountains and cascades, which, from
their fountains in the fells, hasten to the sea. The waterfalls contain
fishes, and above them soars the eagle seeking its prey (Völusp., 56,
5-8). The eagle cannot be a survivor of the beings of the old earth.
It cannot have endured in an atmosphere full of fire and steam, nor is
there any reason why the mythology should spare the eagle among all the
creatures of the old earth. It is, therefore, of the same origin as the
mountains, the cascades, and the imperishable vegetation which suddenly
came to the surface.

The earth risen from the sea also contains human beings, namely, Lif
and Leifthraser, and their offspring. Mythology did not need to have
recourse to any hocus-pocus to get them there. The earth risen from
the sea had been the lower world before it came out of the deep, and
a paradise-region in the lower world had for centuries been the abode
of Lif and Leifthraser. It is more than unnecessary to imagine that the
lower world with this Paradise was duplicated by another with a similar
Paradise, and that the living creatures on the former were by some magic
manipulation transferred to the latter. Mythology has its miracles, but
it also has its logic. As its object is to be trusted, it tries to be
as probable and consistent with its premises as possible. It resorts to
miracles and magic only when it is necessary, not otherwise.

Among the mountains which rise on the new earth are found those which
are called _Nida fjöll_ (Völusp., 62), Nide's mountains. The very name
Nide suggests the lower world. It means the "lower one." Among the
abodes of Hades, mentioned in Völuspa, there is also a hall of gold on
Nide's plains (_a Nitha vollum_--str. 36), and from _Solarljod_ (str.
56) we learn--a statement confirmed by much older records--that Nide is
identical with Mimer (see No. 87). Thus, Nide's mountains are situated
on Mimer's fields. Völuspa's seeress discovers on the rejuvenated
earth Nidhog, the corpse-eating demon of the lower world, flying, with
dead bodies under his wings, away from the rocks, where he from time
immemorial had had his abode, and from which he carried his prey to
Nastrands (Völusp., 39). There are no more dead bodies to be had for him,
and his task is done. Whether the last line of Völuspa has reference to
Nidhog or not, when it speaks of some one "who must sink," cannot be
determined. Müllenhoff (_Deutsche Alt._) assumes this to be the case,
and he is probably right; but as the text has _hon_ (she) not _han_ (he)
[_nu mun hon seyquas_], and as I, in this work, do not base anything
even on the most probable text emendation, this question is set aside,
and the more so, since Völuspa's description of the regenerated earth
under all circumstances shows that Nidhog has naught there to do but to
fly thence and disappear. The existence of Nide's mountains on the new
earth confirms the fact that it is identical with Mimer's former lower
world, and that Lif and Leifthraser did not need to move from one world
to another in order to get to the daylight of their final destination.

Völuspa gives one more proof of this.

In their youth, free from care, the Asas played with strange tablets. But
they had the tablets only _i arladaga_, in the earliest time (Völusp.,
8, 58). Afterwards, they must in some way or other have lost them. The
Icelandic sagas of the middle ages have remembered this game of tablets,
and there we learn, partly that its strange character consisted in the
fact that it could itself take part in the game and move the pieces, and
partly that it was preserved in the lower world, and that Gudmund-Mimer
was in the habit of playing with tablets (Fornalder Sagas, i. 443; iii.
391-392; iii. 626, &c. In the last passages the game is mentioned in
connection with the other subterranean treasure, the horn.) If, now, the
mythology had no special reason for bringing the tablets from the lower
world before Ragnarok, then they naturally should be found on the risen
earth if the latter was Mimer's domain before. Völuspa (str. 58) also
relates that they were found in its grass:

  Thar muno eptir
  gullnar tavlor
  i grasi finaz.

"There were the wonderful tablets found left in the grass (_finaz

Thus, the tablet-game was refound in the grass, in the meadows of the
renewed earth, having from the earliest time been preserved in Mimer's
realm. Lif and Leifthraser are found after Ragnarok on the earth of
the regenerated world, having had their abode there for a long time
in Mimer's domain. Nide's mountains, and Nidhog with them, have been
raised out of the sea, together with the rejuvenated earth, since these
mountains are located in Mimer's realm. The earth of the new era--the era
of virtue and bliss--has, though concealed, existed through thousands of
years below the sin-stained earth, as the kernel within the shell.

_Remark_--Völuspa (str. 56) calls the earth rising from the sea

  Ser hon upp koma
  audro sinni
  iord or ægi
  ithia græna.

The common interpretation is _ithia græna_, "the ever green" or "very
green," and this harmonises well with the idea preserved in the sagas
mentioned above, where it was stated that the winter was not able to
devastate Gudmund-Mimer's domain. Thus the idea contained in the
expression _Haddingjalands oskurna ax_ (see Nos. 72, 73) recurs in
Völuspa's statement that the fields unsown yield harvests in the new
earth. Meanwhile the composition _idja-græna_ has a perfectly abnormal
appearance, and awakens suspicion. Müllenhoff (_Deutsche Alt._) reads
_idja_, _græna_, and translates "the fresh, the green." As a conjecture,
and without basing anything on the assumption; I may be permitted to
present the possibility that _idja_ is an old genitive plural of _ida_,
an eddying body of water. _Ida_ has originally had a _j_ in the stem (it
is related to _id_ and _idi_), and this _j_ must also have been heard
in the inflections. From various metaphors in the old skalds we learn
that they conceived the fountains of the lower world as roaring and in
commotion (e.g., _Odreris alda thytr_ in Einar Skalaglam and _Bodnar bára
ter vaxa_ in the same skald). If the conjecture is as correct as it seems
probable, then the new earth is characterised as "the green earth of the
eddying fountains," and the fountains are those famous three which water
the roots of the world-tree.



In regard to the position of Ygdrasil and its roots in the universe,
there are statements both in Gylfaginning and in the ancient heathen
records. To get a clear idea, freed from conjectures and based in all
respects on evidence, of how the mythology conceived the world-tree and
its roots, is of interest not only in regard to the cosmography of the
mythology, to which Ygdrasil supplies the trunk and the main outlines,
but especially in regard to the mythic conception of the lower world and
the whole eschatology; for it appears that each one of the Ygdrasil roots
stands not alone above its particular fountain in the lower world but
also over its peculiar lower-world domain, which again has its peculiar
cosmological character and its peculiar eschatological end.

The first condition, however, for a fruitful investigation is that we
consider the heathen or heathen-appearing records by themselves without
mixing their statements with those of Gylfaginning. We must bear in mind
that the author of Gylfaginning lived and wrote in the 13th century, more
than 200 years after the introduction of Christianity in Iceland, and
that his statements accordingly are to be made a link in that chain of
documents which exist for the scholar, who tries to follow the fate of
the myths during a Christian period and to study their gradual corruption
and confusion.

This caution is the more important for the reason that an examination
of Gylfaginning very soon shows that the whole cosmographical and
eschatological structure which it has built out of fragmentary mythic
traditions is based on a conception wholly foreign to Teutonic mythology,
that is, on the conception framed by the scholars in Frankish cloisters,
and then handed down from chronicle to chronicle, that the Teutons were
descended from the Trojans, and that their gods were originally Trojan
chiefs and magicians. This "learned" conception found its way to the
North and finally developed its most luxurious and abundant blossoms in
the Younger Edda preface and in certain other parts of that work.

Permit me to present in brief a sketch of how the cosmography
and eschatology of Gylfaginning developed themselves out of this
assumption:--The Asas were originally men, and dwelt in the Troy which
was situated on the centre of the earth, and which was identical with
Asgard (_thar næst gerdu their ser borg i midjum heimi, er kallat er
Asgardr; that köllum ver Trója; thar bygdu gudin ok ættir theirra ok
gjördust thadan af mörg tidindi ok greinir bædi á jord ok á lopti_--ch.

The first mythic tradition which supplies material for the structure
which Gylfaginning builds on this foundation is the bridge Bifrost. The
myth had said that this bridge united the celestial abodes with a part of
the universe situated somewhere below. Gylfaginning, which makes the Asas
dwell in Troy, therefore makes the gods undertake an enterprise of the
greatest boldness, that of building a bridge from Troy to the heavens.
But they are extraordinary architects and succeed (_Gudin gjördu brú til
himins af jördu_--ch. 13).

The second mythic tradition employed is Urd's fountain. The myth had
stated that the gods daily rode from their celestial abodes on the bridge
Bifrost to Urd's (subterranean) fountain. Thence Gylfaginning draws the
correct conclusion that Asgard was supposed to be situated at one end of
the bridge and Urd's fountain near the other. But from Gylfaginning's
premises it follows that if Asgard-Troy is situated on the surface of
the earth Urd's fountain must be situated in the heavens, and that the
Asas accordingly when they ride to Urd's fountain must ride upward, not
downward. The conclusion is drawn with absolute consistency ("_Hvern dag
rida æsir thangat upp um Bifröst_"--ch. 15).

The third mythic tradition used as material is the world-tree, which went
(down in the lower world) to Urd's fountain. According to Völuspa (19),
this fountain is situated beneath the ash Ygdrasil. The conclusion drawn
by Gylfaginning by the aid of its Trojan premises is that since Urd's
fountain is situated in the heavens, and still under one of Ygdrasil's
roots, this root must be located still further up in the heavens. The
placing of the root is also done with consistency, so that we get the
following series of wrong localisations:--Down on the earth, Asgard-Troy;
thence up to the heavens the bridge Bifrost; above Bifrost, Urd's
fountain; high above Urd's fountain, one of Ygdrasil's three roots (which
in the mythology are all in the lower world).

Since one of Ygdrasil's roots thus had received its place far up in the
heavens, it became necessary to place a second root on a level with the
earth, and the third one was allowed to retain its position in the lower
world. Thus was produced a just distribution of the roots among the
three regions which in the conception of the middle ages constituted the
universe, namely, the heavens, the earth, and hell.

In this manner two myths were made to do service in regard to one of
the remaining Ygdrasil roots. The one myth was taken from Völuspa,
where it was learned that Mimer's fountain is situated below the
sacred world-tree; the other was Grimnismal (31), where we are told
that frost-giants dwell under one of the three roots. At the time when
Gylfaginning was written, and still later, popular traditions told that
Gudmund-Mimer was of giant descent (see the middle-age sagas narrated
above). From this Gylfaginning draws the conclusion that Mimer was a
frost-giant, and it identifies the root which extends to the frost-giants
with the root that extends to Mimer's fountain. Thus this fountain of
creative power, of world-preservation, of wisdom, and of poetry receives
from Gylfaginning its place in the abode of the powers of frost, hostile
to gods and to men, in the land of the frost-giants, which Gylfaginning
regards as being Jotunheim, bordering on the earth.

In this way Gylfaginning, with the Trojan hypothesis as its
starting-point, has gotten so far that it has separated from the lower
world with its three realms and three fountains Urd's realm and fountain,
they being transferred to the heavens, and Mimer's realm and fountain,
they being transferred to Jotunheim. In the mythology these two realms
were the subterranean regions of bliss, and the third, Nifelhel, with
the regions subject to it, was the abode of the damned. After these
separations were made, Gylfaginning, to be logical, had to assume that
the lower world of the heathens was exclusively a realm of misery and
torture, a sort of counterpart of the hell of the Church. This conclusion
is also drawn with due consistency, and Ygdrasil's third root, which in
the mythology descended to the well Hvergelmer and to the lower world
of the frost-giants, Nifelhel, Nifelheim, extends over the whole lower
world, the latter being regarded as identical with Nifelheim and the
places of punishment therewith connected.

This result carries with it another. The goddess of the lower world, and
particularly of its domain of bliss, was in the mythology, as shall be
shown below, the goddess of fate and death, Urd, also called Hel, when
named after the country over which she ruled. In a local sense, the
name Hel could be applied partly to the whole lower world, which rarely
happened, partly to Urd's and Mimer's realms of bliss, which was more
common, and Hel was then the opposite of Nifelhel, which was solely the
home of misery and torture. Proofs of this shall be given below. But when
the lower world had been changed to a sort of hell, the name Hel, both
in its local and in its personal sense, must undergo a similar change,
and since Urd (the real Hel) was transferred to the heavens, there was
nothing to hinder Gylfaginning from substituting for the queen of the
lower world Loke's daughter cast down into Nifelhel and giving her the
name Hel and the sceptre over the whole lower world.

This method is also pursued by Gylfaginning's author without hesitation,
although he had the best of reasons for suspecting its correctness.
A certain hesitancy might here have been in order. According to the
mythology, the pure and pious Asa-god Balder comes to Hel, that is to
say, to the lower world, and to one of its realms of bliss. But after
the transformation to which the lower world had been subjected in
Gylfaginning's system, the descent of Balder to Hel must have meant a
descent to and a remaining in the world of misery and torture, and a
relation of subject to the daughter of Loke. This should have awakened
doubts in the mind of the author of Gylfaginning. But even here he had
the courage to be true to his premises, and without even thinking of the
absurdity in which he involves himself, he goes on and endows the sister
of the Midgard-serpent and of the Fenris-wolf with that perfect power
which before belonged to Destiny personified, so that the same gods who
before had cast the horrible child Loke down into the ninth region of
Nifelhel are now compelled to send a minister-plenipotentiary to her
majesty to treat with her and pray for Balder's liberation.

But finally, there comes a point where the courage of consistency
fails Gylfaginning. The manner in which it has placed the roots of the
world-tree makes us first of all conceive Ygdrasil as lying horizontal in
space. An attempt to make this matter intelligible can produce no other
picture of Ygdrasil, in accord with the statements of Gylfaginning, than
the following:

  The root over heaven
  and over Urd's fountain.
  The root over Jotunheim  |
  and over Mimer's         +-----------------------------
  well.                    |
  The root over the lower  +-----------------------------
  world and over           |     Ygdrasil's trunk.
  Hvergelmer's fountain.   |

But Gylfaginning is not disposed to draw this conclusion. On the
contrary, it insists that Ygdrasil stands erect on its three roots. How
we, then, are to conceive its roots as united one with the other and with
the trunk of this it very prudently leaves us in ignorance, for this is
beyond the range of human imagination.

The contrast between the mythological doctrine in regard to the three
Ygdrasil roots, and Gylfaginning's view of the subject may easily be
demonstrated by the following parallels:

  _The Mythology._                       _Gylfaginning._

  1. Ygdrasil has three roots.           1. Ygdrasil has three roots.

  2. All three roots are subterranean.   2. One is in the lower world;
                                         a second stands over Jotunheim
                                         on a level with the earth; a
                                         third stands over the heavens.

  3. To each root corresponds            3. To each root corresponds
  a fountain and a realm in the          a fountain and a realm; the
  lower world. The lower world           realms are the heavens,
  consists of three realms, each         Jotunheim, and the lower world,
  with its fountain and each             which are located each under
  with its root.                         its root.

  4. Under one of the subterranean       4. Under one of the roots,
  roots dwells the goddess               that is the one which stands
  of death and fate, Urd,                over heaven, dwells Urd the
  who is also called Hel, and in         goddess of fate, and there is
  her realm is Urd's fountain.           Urd's fountain.

  5. Under the other (subterranean)
  root dwells Mimer. In his realm is
  Mimer's fountain and Mimer's grove,
  where a subterranean race of men
  are preserved for the future world.
  This root may, therefore, be said
  to stand over mennskir menn

                                         It is said that one of the
                                         roots stands over mennskir menn
                                         (Grimnersmal). By this is meant,
                                         according to Gylfaginning, not
                                         the root over Mimer's well, but
                                         the root over Urd's fountain,
                                         near which the Asas hold their
                                         assemblies, for the Asas are
                                         in reality men who dwelt on
                                         earth in the city of Troy.

  6. Under the third (subterranean)      6. Under the third (and
  root dwell frost-giants. Under         only subterranean) root dwell
  this root is the well Hvergelmer,      the souls of sinners and those
  and the realm of the frost-giants      who have died from sickness
  is Nifelhel (Nifelheim). Under         and age. Under this root is
  Nifelhel are nine regions of torture.  the well Hvergelmer and
                                         the whole lower world. The
                                         lower world is called Nifelhel
                                         or Nifelheim, and contains
                                         nine places of torture.

  7. The sister of the Midgard-serpent   7. The sister of the
  and of the Fenris-wolf was cast by     Midgard-serpent and of the
  the gods into the regions of torture   Fenris-wolf was cast by the gods
  under Nifelhel, and received the       into the regions of torture
  rule over the places where the         under Nifelhel, and received
  damned are punished.                   the rule over the whole lower
                                         world, which consists of
                                         Nifelhel with the nine regions
                                         of torture.

  8. The name Hel can be applied to      8. As Hel means the lower
  the whole lower world, but means       world, and as the sister of the
  particularly that region of bliss      Midgard-serpent governs the
  where Urd's fountain is situated,      whole lower world, she is
  for Urd is the personal Hel. The       meant by the personal Hel.
  Loke-daughter in Nifelhel is
  her slave and must obey her

Gylfaginning does not stop with the above results. It continues the chain
of its conclusions. After Hvergelmer has been selected by Gylfaginning
as the only fountain in the lower world, it should, since the lower
world has been made into a sort of hell, be a fountain of hell, and
in this respect easily recognised by the Christian conception of the
middle ages. In this new character Hvergelmer becomes the centre and
the worst place in Gylfaginning's description of the heathen Gehenna.
No doubt because the old dragon, which is hurled down into the abyss
(Revelation, chap. 20), is to be found in the hell-fountain of the
middle ages, Gylfaginning throws Nidhog down into Hvergelmer, which it
also fills with serpents and dead bodies found in Grimnismal (Str. 34,
35), where they have no connection with Hvergelmer. According to Völuspa
it is in Nastrands that Nidhog sucks and the wolf tears the dead bodies
(_náir_). Gylfaginning follows Völuspa in speaking of the other terrors
in Nastrands, but rejects Völuspa's statements about Nidhog and the wolf,
and casts both these beasts down into the Hvergelmer fountain. As shall
be shown below, the Hvergelmer of the mythology is the mother-fountain of
all waters, and is situated on a high plain in the lower world. Thence
its waters flow partly northward to Nifelheim, partly south to the
elysian fields of heathendom, and the waves sent in the latter direction
are shining, clear, and holy.

It was an old custom, at least in Iceland, that booths for the
accommodation of the visitors were built around a remote thing-stead,
or place for holding the parliament. Gylfaginning makes its Trojan Asas
follow the example of the Icelanders, and put up houses around the
thing-stead, which they selected near Urd's fountain, after they had
succeeded in securing by Bifrost a connection between Troy and heaven.
This done, Gylfaginning distributes as best it can the divine halls and
abodes of bliss mentioned in the mythology between Troy on the earth and
the thing-stead in heaven.

This may be sufficient to show that Gylfaginning's pretended account of
the old mythological cosmography is, on account of its making Troy the
starting-point, and doubtless also to some extent as a result of the
Christian methods of thought, with which the author interpreted the
heathen myths accessible to him, is simply a monstrous caricature of the
mythology, a caricature which is continued, not with complacency and
assurance, but in a confused and contradictory manner, in the eschatology
of Gylfaginning.

My chief task will now be to review and examine all the passages in the
Elder Edda's mythological songs, wherein the words Hel and Nifelhel
occur, in order to find out in this manner in which sense or senses
these words are there employed, and to note at the same time all the
passages which may come in my way and which are of importance to the myth
concerning the lower world.



The Norse Hel is the same word as the Gothic _Halja_, the Old High German
_Hella_, the Anglo-Saxon _Hellia_, and the English Hell. On account of
its occurrence with similar signification in different Teutonic tongues
in their oldest linguistic monuments, scholars have been able to draw the
conclusion that the word points to a primitive Teutonic _Halja_, meaning
lower world, lower world divinity. It is believed to be related to the
Latin _oc-cul-ere_, _cel-are_, _clam_, and to mean the one who "hides,"
"conceals," "preserves."

When the books of the New Testament were for the first time translated
into a Teutonic tongue, into a Gothic dialect, the translator, Ulfilas,
had to find some way of distinguishing with suitable words between the
two realms of the lower world mentioned in the New Testament, Hades and
Gehenna (_geen a_).

Hades, the middle condition, and the locality corresponding to this
condition, which contains both fields of bliss and regions of torture,
he translated with Halja, doubtless because the signification of this
word corresponded most faithfully with the meaning of the word Hades. For
Gehenna, hell, he used the borrowed word _gaiainna_.

The Old High German translation also reproduces Hades with the word
_Hella_. For Gehenna it uses two expressions compounded with Hella. One
of these, Hellawisi, belongs to the form which afterwards predominated
in Scandinavia. Both the compounds bear testimony that the place of
punishment in the lower world could not be expressed with Hella, but
it was necessary to add a word, which showed that a subterranean place
_of punishment_ was meant. The same word for Gehenna is found among the
Christian Teutons in England, namely, Hellewite; that is to say, _the_
Hellia, that part of the lower world where it is necessary to do penance
(_vite_) for one's sins. From England the expression doubtless came to
Scandinavia, where we find in the Icelandic _Helvíti_, in the Swedish
_Hälvete_, and in the Danish _Helvede_. In the Icelandic literature it
is found for the first time in Hallfred, the same skald who with great
hesitation permitted himself to be persuaded by Olaf Trygveson to abandon
the faith of his fathers.

Many centuries before Scandinavia was converted to Christianity, the
Roman Church had very nearly obliterated the boundary line between the
subterranean Hades and Gehenna of the New Testament. The lower world had,
as a whole, become a realm of torture, though with various gradations.
Regions of bliss were no longer to be found there, and for Hel in the
sense in which Ulfilas used Halja, and the Old High German translation
Hella, there was no longer room in the Christian conception. In the
North, Hel was therefore permitted to remain a heathen word, and to
retain its heathen signification as long as the Christian generations
were able or cared to preserve it. It is natural that the memory of this
signification should gradually fade, and that the idea of the Christian
hell should gradually be transferred to the heathen _Hel_. This change
can be pretty accurately traced in the Old Norse literature. It came
slowly, for the doctrine in regard to the lower world in the Teutonic
religion addressed itself powerfully to the imagination, and, as appears
from a careful examination, far from being indefinite in its outlines, it
was, on the contrary, described with the clearest lines and most vivid
colours, even down to the minutest details. Not until the thirteenth
century could such a description of the heathen Hel as Gylfaginning's be
possible and find readers who would accept it. But not even then were the
memories (preserved in fragments from the heathen days) in regard to the
lower world doctrine so confused, but that it was possible to present a
far more faithful (or rather not so utterly false) description thereof.
Gylfaginning's representation of the heathen Hades is based less on the
then existing confusion of the traditions than on the conclusions drawn
from the author's own false premises.

In determining the question, how far Hel among the heathen Scandinavians
has had a meaning identical with or similar to that which Halja and
Hella had among their Gothic and German kinsmen--that is to say, the
signification of a death-kingdom of such a nature that it could not
with linguistic propriety be used in translating Gehenna--we must first
consult that which really is the oldest source, the usage of the spoken
language in expressions where Hel is found. Such expressions show by the
very presence of Hel that they have been handed down from heathendom, or
have been formed in analogy with old heathen phrases. One of these modes
of speech still exists: _i hjäl_ (slå ihjäl, svälta ihjäl, frysa ihjäl,
&c.), which is the Old Norse _i Hel_. We do not use this expression in
the sense that a person killed by a weapon, famine, or frost is relegated
to the abyss of torture. Still less could the heathens have used it in
that sense. The phrase would never have been created if the word Hel had
especially conveyed the notion of a place of punishment. Already in a
very remote age _í Hel_ had acquired the abstract meaning _to death_, but
in such a manner that the phrase easily suggested the concrete idea--the
realm of death (an example of this will be given below). What there is
to be said about _í Hel_ also applies to such phrases as _bida Heljar_,
to await Hel (_death_); _buask til Heljar_, to become equipped for the
journey to Hel (to be shrouded); _liggja milli heims ok Heljar_, to lie
between this world and Hel (between life and death); _liggja á Heljar
thremi_, to lie on Hel's threshold. A funeral could be called a _Helför_
(a Hel-journey); fatal illness _Helsótt_ (Hel-sickness); the deceased
could be called _Helgengnir_ (those gone to Hel). Of friends it is said
that Hel (death) alone could separate them (Fornm., vii. 233).

Thus it is evident that Hel, in the more general local sense of the word,
referred to a place common for all the dead, and that the word was used
without any additional suggestion of damnation and torture in the minds
of those employing it.



When Odin, according to Vegtamskvida, resolved to get reliable
information in the lower world in regard to the fate which threatened
Balder, he saddled his Sleipner and rode thither. On the way he took he
came first to Nifelhel. While he was still in Nifelhel, he met on his way
a dog bloody about the breast, which came from the direction where that
division of the lower world is situated, which is called Hel. Thus the
rider and the dog came from opposite directions, and the former continued
his course in the direction whence the latter came. The dog turned, and
long pursued Odin with his barking. Then the rider reached a _foldvegr_,
that is to say, a road along grass-grown plains. The way resounded under
the hoofs of the steed. Then Odin finally came to a high dwelling which
is called _Heljarrann_ or _Heljar rann_. The name of the dwelling shows
that it was situated in Hel, not in Nifelhel. This latter realm of the
lower world Odin now had had behind him ever since he reached the green
fields, and since the dog, evidently a watch of the borders between
Nifelhel and Hel, had left him in peace. The high dwelling was decorated
as for a feast, and mead was served. It was, Odin learned, the abode
where the _ásmegir_ longingly waited for the arrival of Balder. Thus

  2. Ræid hann (Odin) nidr thathan
  Niflhæljar til,
  mætti hann hvælpi
  theim ær or hæliu kom.

  3. Sa var blodugr
  urn briost framan
  ok galldrs födur
  gol um læengi.

  4. Framm ræid Odinn,
  foldvægr dundi,
  ban kom at hafu
  Hæliar ranni.

  7. Her standr Balldri
  of brugginn miödr.
  Ok ásmegir
  i ofvæno.

Vegtamskvida distinguishes distinctly between Nifelhel and Hel. In Hel
is the dwelling which awaits the son of the gods, the noblest and most
pious of all the Asas. The dwelling, which reveals a lavish splendour, is
described as the very antithesis of that awful abode which, according to
Gylfaginning, belongs to the queen of the lower world. In Vafthrudnersmal
(43) the old giant says:

  Fra iotna runom              Of the runes of giants
  oc allra goda                and of all the gods
  ec kann segia satt,          I can speak truly;
  thviat hvern hefi ec         for I have been
  heim um komit:               in every world.
  nio kom ec heima             In nine worlds I came
  fyr Niflhel nedan,           below Nifelhel,
  hinig deyja or Helio halir.  thither die "halir" from Hel.

Like Vegtamskvida, so Vafthrudnersmal also distinguishes distinctly
between Hel and Nifelhel, particularly in those most remarkable words
that thither, _i.e._, to Nifelhel and the regions subject to it, _die_
"halir" from Hel. _Halir_ means men, human beings; applied to beings in
the lower world _halir_ means dead men, the spirits of deceased human
beings (cp. Allvism., 18, 6; 20, 6; 26, 6; 32, 6; 34, 6, with 28, 3).
Accordingly, nothing less is here said than that deceased persons who
have come to the realm called Hel, may there be subject to a second
death, and that through this second death they come to Nifelhel. Thus
the same sharp distinction is here made between life in Hel and in
Nifelhel as between life on earth and that in Hel. These two subterranean
realms must therefore represent very different conditions. What these
different conditions are, Vafthrudnersmal does not inform us, nor will I
anticipate the investigation on this point; still less will I appeal to
Gylfaginning's assurance that the realms of torture lie under Nifelhel,
and that it is wicked men (_vândir menn_) who are obliged to cross the
border from Hel to Nifelhel. So far it must be borne in mind that it was
in Nifelhel Odin met the bloody dog-demon, who barked at the Asa-majesty,
though he could not hinder the father of the mighty and protecting
sorceries from continuing his journey; while it was in Hel, on the other
hand, that Odin saw the splendid abode where the _ásmegir_ had already
served the precious subterranean mead for his son, the just Balder. This
argues that they who through a second death get over the border from
Hel to Nifelhel, do not by this transfer get a better fate than that to
which Hel invites those who have died the first death. Balder in the one
realm, the blood-stained kinsman of Cerberus in the other--this is, for
the present, the only, but not unimportant weight in the balance which is
to determine the question whether that border-line which a second death
draws between Hel and Nifelhel is the boundary between a realm of bliss
and a realm of suffering, and in this case, whether Hel or Nifelhel is
the realm of bliss.

This expression in Vafthrudnersmal, _hinig deyja or Helio halir_, also
forces to the front another question, which as long as it remains
unanswered, makes the former question more complicated. If Hel is a realm
of bliss, and if Nifelhel with the regions subject thereto is a realm of
unhappiness, then why do not the souls of the damned go at once to their
final destination, but are taken first to the realm of bliss, then to
the realm of anguish and pain, that is, after they have died the second
death on the boundary-line between the two? And if, on the contrary, Hel
were the realm of unhappiness and Nifelhel offered a better lot, then why
should they who are destined for a better fate, first be brought to it
through the world of torture, and then be separated from the latter by a
second death before they could gain the more happy goal? These questions
cannot be answered until later on.



In Grimnersmal the word Hel occurs twice (str. 28, 31), and this poem is
(together with Gylfaginning) the only ancient record which gives us any
information about the well Hvergelmer under this name (str. 26, ff.).

From what is related, it appears that the mythology conceived Hvergelmer
as a vast reservoir, the mother-fountain of all the waters of the world
(_thadan eigo votn aull vega_). In the front rank are mentioned a number
of subterranean rivers which rise in Hvergelmer, and seek their courses
thence in various directions. But the waters of earth and heaven also
come from this immense fountain, and after completing their circuits they
return thither. The liquids or saps which rise in the world-tree's stem
to its branches and leaves around Herfather's hall (Valhal) return in the
form of rain to Hvergelmer (Grimnersmal, 26).

Forty rivers rising there are named. (Whether they were all found in
the original text may be a subject of doubt. Interpolators may have
added from their own knowledge.) Three of them are mentioned in other
records--namely, _Slidr_ in Völuspa, 36, _Gjöll_ in that account of
Hermod's journey to Hel's realm, which in its main outlines was rescued
by the author of Gylfaginning (Gylfag., ch. 52), and _Leiptr_ in Helge
Hund., ii. 31--and all three are referred to in such a way as to prove
that they are subterranean rivers. Slid flows to the realms of torture,
and whirls weapons in its eddies, presumably to hinder or frighten
anybody from attempting to cross. Over _Gjöll_ there is a bridge of
gold to Balder's subterranean abode. _Leiptr_ (which name means "the
shining one") has clear waters which are holy, and by which solemn
oaths are sworn, as by Styx. Of these last two rivers flowing out of
Hvergelmer it is said that they flow down to Hel (_falla til Heljar_,
str. 28). Thus these are all subterranean. The next strophe (29) adds
four rivers--_Körmt_ and _Örmt_, and the two _Kerlögar_, of which it is
said that it is over these Thor must wade every day when he has to go
to the judgment-seats of the gods near the ash Ygdrasil. For he does
not ride like the other gods when they journey down over Bifrost to the
thingstead near Urd's fountain. The horses which they use are named in
strophe 30, and are ten in number, like the asas, when we subtract Thor
who walks, and Balder and _Hödr_ who dwell in Hel. Nor must Thor on
these journeys, in case he wished to take the route by way of Bifrost,
use the thunder-chariot, for the flames issuing from it might set fire
to the Asa-bridge and make the holy waters glow (str. 29). That the
thunder-chariot also is dangerous for higher regions when it is set in
motion, thereof Thjodolf gives us a brilliant description in the poem
Haustlaung. Thor being for this reason obliged to wade across four rivers
before he gets to Urd's fountain, the beds of these rivers must have been
conceived as crossing the paths travelled by the god journeying to the
thingstead. Accordingly they must have their courses somewhere in Urd's
realm, or on the way thither, and consequently they too belong to the
lower world.

Other rivers coming from Hvergelmer are said to turn their course around
a place called _Hodd-goda_ (str. 27 _ther hverfa um Hodd-goda_). This
girdle of rivers, which the mythology unites around a single place,
seems to indicate that this is a realm from which it is important
to shut out everything that does not belong there. The name itself,
_Hodd-goda_, points in the same direction. The word _hodd_ means that
which is concealed (the treasure), and at the same time a protected
sacred place. In the German poem _Heliand_ the word _hord_, corresponding
to _hodd_, is used about the holiest of holies in the Jerusalem temple.
As we already know, there is in the lower world a place to which these
references apply, namely, the citadel guarded by Delling, the elf of
dawn, and decorated by the famous artists of the lower world--a citadel
in which the _ásmegir_ and Balder--and probably _Hodr_ too, since
he is transferred to the lower world, and with Balder is to return
thence--await the end of the historical time and the regeneration.
The word _goda_ in Hodd-goda shows that the place is possessed by, or
entrusted to, beings of divine rank.

From what has here been stated in regard to Hvergelmer it follows that
the mighty well was conceived as situated on a high water-shed, far up
in a subterranean mountain range, whence those rivers of which it is
the source flow down in different directions to different realms of
Hades. Of several of these rivers it is said that they in their upper
courses, before they reach Hel, flow in the vicinity of mankind (_gumnom
nær_--str. 28, 7), which naturally can have no other meaning than that
the high land through which they flow after leaving Hvergelmer has been
conceived as lying not very deep below the crust of Midgard (the earth).
Hvergelmer and this high land are not to be referred to that division of
the lower world which in Grimnersmal is called Hel, for not until after
the rivers have flowed through the mountain landscape, where their source
is, are they said to _falla til Heljar_.

Thus (1) there is in the lower world a mountain ridge, a high land, where
is found Hvergelmer, the source of all waters; (2) this mountain, which
we for the present may call Mount Hvergelmer, is the watershed of the
lower world, from which rivers flow in different directions; and (3) that
division of the lower world which is called Hel lies below one side of
Mount Hvergelmer, and thence receives many rivers. What that division
of the lower world which lies below the other side of Mount Hvergelmer
is called is not stated in Grimnersmal. But from Vafthrudnersmal and
Vegtamskvida we already know that Hel is bounded by Nifelhel. In
Vegtamskvida Odin rides through Nifelhel to Hel; in Vafthrudnersmal
_halir_ die from Hel to Nifelhel. Hel and Nifelhel thus appear to be each
other's opposites, and to complement each other, and combined they form
the whole lower world. Hence it follows that the land on the other side
of the Hvergelmer mountain is Nifelhel.

It also seems necessary that both these Hades realms should in the
mythology be separated from each other not only by an abstract
boundary line, but also by a natural boundary--a mountain or a body of
water--which might prohibit the crossing of the boundary by persons who
neither had a right nor were obliged to cross. The tradition on which
Saxo's account of Gorm's journey to the lower world is based makes Gorm
and his men, when from Gudmund-Mimer's realm they wish to visit the
abodes of the damned, first cross a river and then come to a boundary
which cannot be crossed, excepting by _scalæ_, steps on the mountain
wall, or ladders, above which the gates are placed, that open to a city
"resembling most a cloud of vapour" (_vaporanti maxime nubi simile_--i.
425). This is Saxo's way of translating the name Nifelhel, just as he
in the story about Hadding's journey to the lower world translated
_Glæsisvellir_ (the Glittering Fields) with _loca aprica_.

In regard to the topography and eschatology of the Teutonic lower world,
it is now of importance to find out on which opposite sides of the
Hvergelmer mountain Hel and Nifelhel were conceived to be situated.

_Nifl_, an ancient word, related to _nebula_ and _nephek_ means fog,
mist, cloud, darkness. Nifelhel means _that_ Hel which is enveloped
in fog and twilight. The name _Hel_ alone has evidently had partly a
more general application to a territory embracing the whole kingdom
of death--else it could not be used as a part of the compound word
_Nifelhel_--partly a more limited meaning, in which _Hel_, as in
Vafthrudnersmal and Vegtamskvida, forms a sharp contrast to _Nifelhel_,
and from the latter point of view it is that division of the lower world
which is not enveloped in mist and fog.

According to the cosmography of the mythology there was, before the time
when "Ymer lived," Nifelheim, a world of fog, darkness, and cold, north
of Ginungagap, and an opposite world, that of fire and heat, south of the
empty abyss. Unfortunately it is only Gylfaginning that has preserved for
our time these cosmographical outlines, but there is no suspicion that
the author of Gylfaginning invented them. The fact that his cosmographic
description also mentions the ancient cow Audhumla, which is nowhere
else named in our mythic records, but is not utterly forgotten in our
popular traditions, and which is a genuine Aryan conception, this is
the strongest argument in favour of his having had genuine authorities
for his theo-cosmogony at hand, though he used them in an arbitrary
manner. The Teutons may also be said to have been compelled to construct
a cosmogony in harmony with their conception of that world with which
they were best acquainted, their own home between the cold North and the
warmer South.

Nifelhel in the lower world has its counterpart in Nifelheim in chaos.
Gylfaginning identifies the two (ch. 6 and 34). Forspjallsljod does the
same, and locates Nifelheim far to the north in the lower world (_nordr
at Nifelheim_--str. 26), behind Ygdrasil's farthest root, under which
the poem makes the goddess of night, after completing her journey around
the heavens, rest for a new journey. When Night has completed such a
journey and come to the lower world, she goes northward in the direction
towards Nifelheim, to remain in her hall, until Dag with his chariot gets
down to the western horizon and in his turn rides through the "horse
doors" of Hades into the lower world.

From this it follows that Nifelhel is to be referred to the north of
the mountain Hvergelmer, Hel to the south of it. Thus this mountain is
the wall separating Hel from Nifelhel. On that mountain in the gate,
or gates, which in the Gorm story separates Gudmund-Mimer's abode from
those dwellings which resemble a "cloud of vapour," and up there is the
death boundary, at which "halir" die for the second time, when they are
transferred from Hel to Nifelhel.

The immense water-reservoir on the brow of the mountain, which stands
under Ygdrasil's northern root, sends, as already stated, rivers down to
both sides--to Nifelhel in the North and to Hel in the South. Of the most
of these rivers we now know only the names. But those of which we do know
more are characterised in such a manner that we find that it is a sacred
land to which those flowing to the South towards Hel hasten their course,
and that it is an unholy land which is sought by those which send their
streams to the north down into Nifelhel. The rivers _Gjöll_ and _Leiptr_
fall down into Hel, and _Gjöll_ is, as already indicated, characterised
by a bridge of gold, Leiptr by a shining, clear, and most holy water.
Down there in the South are found the mystic Hodd-goda, surrounded by
other Hel-rivers; Balder's and the _ásmegir's_ citadel (perhaps identical
with Hodd-goda); Mimer's fountain, seven times overlaid with gold,
the fountain of inspiration and of the creative force, over which the
"overshadowing holy tree" spreads its branches (Völuspa), and around
whose reed-wreathed edge the seed of poetry grows (Eilif Gudrunson);
the Glittering Fields, with flowers which never fade and with harvests
which never are gathered; Urd's fountain, over which Ygdrasil stands
for ever green (Völuspa), and in whose silver-white waters swans swim;
and the sacred thingstead of the Asas, to which they daily ride down
over Bifrost. North of the mountain roars the weapon-hurling Slid, and
doubtless is the same river as that in whose "heavy streams" the souls of
nithings must wade. In the North _solú fjarri_ stands, also at Nastrands,
that hall, the walls of which are braided of serpents (Völuspa). Thus Hel
is described as an Elysium, Nifelhel with its subject regions as a realm
of unhappiness.

Yet a few words about Hvergelmer, from and to which "all waters find
their way." This statement in Grimnersmal is of course true of the
greatest of all waters, the ocean. The myth about Hvergelmer and its
subterranean connection with the ocean gave our ancestors the explanation
of ebb- and flood-tide. High up in the northern channels the bottom
of the ocean opened itself in a hollow tunnel, which led down to the
"kettle-roarer," "the one roaring in his basin" (this seems to be the
meaning of _Hvergelmir_: _hverr_ = kettle; _galm_ = Anglo-Saxon _gealm_,
a roaring). When the waters of the ocean poured through this tunnel down
into the Hades-well there was ebb-tide; when it returned water from its
superabundance there was flood-tide (see Nos. 79, 80, 81).

Adam of Bremen had heard this tunnel mentioned in connection with the
story about the Frisian noblemen who went by sea to the furthest north,
came to the land of subterranean giants, and plundered their treasures
(see No. 48). On the way up some of the ships of the Frisians got into
the eddy caused by the tunnel, and were sucked with terrible violence
down into the lower world.[8]

Charlemagne's contemporary, Paul Varnefrid (Diaconus), relates in his
history of the Longobardians that he had talked with men who had been in
Scandinavia. Among remarkable reports which they gave him of the regions
of the far north was also that of a maelstrom, which swallows ships, and
sometimes even casts them up again (see Nos. 15, 79, 80, 81).

Between the death-kingdom and the ocean there was, therefore, one
connecting link, perhaps several. Most of the people who drowned did not
remain with _Ran_. Ægir's wife received them hospitably, according to
the Icelandic sagas of the middle age. She had a hall in the bottom of
the sea, where they were welcomed and offered _sess ok rekkju_ (seat and
bed). Her realm was only an ante-chamber to the realms of death (Kormak,

The demon Nidhog, which by Gylfaginning is thrown into Hvergelmer is,
according to the ancient records, a winged dragon flying about, one of
several similar monsters which have their abode in Nifelhel and those
lower regions, and which seek to injure that root of the world-tree
which is nearest to them, that is the northern one, which stands over
Nifelhel and stretches its rootlets southward over Mount Hvergelmer and
down into its great water-reservoir (Grimnersmal, 34, 35). Like all the
Aryan mythologies, the Teutonic also knew this sort of monsters, and did
so long before the word "dragon" (_drake_) was borrowed from southern
kinsmen as a name for them. Nidhog abides now on Nastrands, where, by
the side of a wolf-demon, it tortures _náir_ (corpses), now on the Nida
Mountains, whence the vala in Völuspa sees him flying away with _náir_
under his wings. Nowhere (except in Gylfaginning) is it said that he
lives in the well Hvergelmer, though it is possible that he, in spite of
his wings, was conceived as an amphibious being which also could subsist
in the water. Tradition tells of dragons who dwell in marshes and swamps.

The other two subterranean fountains, Urd's and Mimer's, and the roots
of Ygdrasil standing over them, are well protected against the influence
of the foes of creation, and have their separate guardians. Mimer, with
his sons and the beings subject to him, protects and guards his root of
the tree, Urd and her sisters hers, and to the latter all the victorious
gods of Asgard come every day to hold counsel. Was the northern root of
Ygdrasil, which spreads over the realms of the frost-giants, of the
demons, and of the damned, and was Hvergelmer, which waters this root and
received so important a position in the economy of the world-tree, left
in the mythology without protection and without a guardian? Hvergelmer
we know is situated on the watershed, where we have the death-borders
between Hel and Nifelhel fortified with abysses and gates, and is
consequently situated in the immediate vicinity of beings hostile to
gods and men. Here, if anywhere, there was need of valiant and vigilant
watchers. Ygdrasil needs its northern root as well as the others, and if
Hvergelmer was not allowed undisturbed to conduct the circuitous flow of
all waters, the world would be either dried up or drowned.

Already, long before the creation of the world, there flowed from
Hvergelmer that broad river called _Elivágar_, which in its extreme north
froze into that ice, which, when it melted, formed out of its dropping
venom the primeval giant Ymer (Vafthr., 31; Gylfag., 5). After creation
this river like Hvergelmer, whence it rises and Nifelhel, into which
it empties, become integral parts of the northern regions of the lower
world. _Elivágar_, also called _Hraunn Hrönn_, sends in its upper course,
where it runs near the crust of the earth, a portion of its waters up to
it, and forms between Midgard and the upper Jotunheim proper, the river
Vimur, which is also called _Elivágar_ and _Hraunn_, like the parent
stream (cp. Hymerskv., 5, 38; Grimnersm., 28; Skaldskaparm., ch. 3, 16,
18, 19, and Helg. Hj., 25). Elivágar separates the realm of the giants
and frost-giants from the other "worlds."

South of Elivágar the gods have an "outgard," a "sæther" which is
inhabited by valiant watchers--_snotrir vikingar_ they are called in
Thorsdrapa, 8--who are bound by oaths to serve the gods. Their chief is
Egil, the most famous archer in the mythology (Thorsdrapa, 1, 8; cp.
Hymerskv., 7, 38; Skaldskap., ch. 16). As such he is also called Orvandel
(the one busy with the arrow). This Egil is the guardian entrusted with
the care of Hvergelmer and Elivágar. Perhaps it is for this reason that
he has a brother and fellow-warrior who is called Ide (_Idi_ from _ida_,
a fountain with eddying waters). The "sæter" is called "Ides sæter"
(Thorsdrapa, 1). The services which he as watcher on Mt. Hvergelmer
and on the Elivágar renders to the regions of bliss in the lower world
are so great that, although he does not belong to the race of the gods
by birth or by adoption, he still enjoys among the inhabitants of Hel
so great honour and gratitude that they confer divine honours on him.
He is "the one worshipped in Hel who scatters the clouds which rise
storm-threatening over the mountain of the lower world," _helblotinn
hneitr undir-fjálfrs bliku_ (Thorsdr., 19). The storm-clouds which Are,
_Hræsvelgr_, and other storm-demons of Nifelheim send to the elysian
fields of the death-kingdom, must, in order to get there, surmount Mt.
Hvergelmer, but there they are scattered by the faithful watchman. Now in
company with Thor, and now alone, Egil-Orvandel has made many remarkable
journeys to Jotunheim. Next after Thor, he was the most formidable foe
of the giants, and in connection with Heimdal he zealously watched their
every movement. The myth in regard to him is fully discussed in the
treatise on the Ivalde-sons which forms a part of this work, and there
the proofs will be presented for the identity of Orvandel and Egil. I
simply desire to point out here, in order to present complete evidence
later, that Ygdrasil's northern root and the corresponding part of the
lower world also had their defenders and watchmen, and I also wished to
call attention to the manner in which the name _Hel_ is employed in the
word _Helblótinn_. We find it to be in harmony with the use of the same
word in those passages of the poetic Edda which we have hitherto examined.

[8] "Et ecce instabilis Oceani Euripus, ad initia quædam fontis sui
arcana recurrens, infelices nautas jam desperatos, immo de morte sola
cogitantes, vehementissimo impetu traxit ad Chaos. Hanc dicunt esse
voraginem abyssi, illud profundum, in quo fama est omnes maris recursus,
qui decrescere videntur, absorberi et denuo removi, quod fluctuatio dici
solet" (_De situ Daniæ_, ed. Mad., p. 159).



In Skirnersmal (strophe 21) occurs the expression _horfa ok snugga Heljar
til_. It is of importance to our theme to investigate and explain the
connection in which it is found.

The poem tells that Frey sat alone, silent and longing, ever since he had
seen the giant Gymer's wonderfully beautiful daughter Gerd. He wasted
with love for her; but he said nothing, since he was convinced in advance
that neither Asas nor Elves would ever consent to a union between him
and her. But when the friend of his youth, who resided in Asgard, and
in the poem is called Skirner, succeeded in getting him to confess the
cause of his longing, it was, in Asgard, found necessary to do something
to relieve it, and so Skirner was sent to the home of the giant to ask
for the hand of Gerd on Frey's behalf. As bridal gifts he took with him
eleven golden apples and the ring _Draupnir_. He received one of the best
horses of Asgard to ride, and for his defence Frey's magnificent sword,
"which fights of itself against the race of giants." In the poem this
sword receives the epithets _Tams-vöndr_ (str. 26) and _Gambanteinn_
(str. 32). _Tams-vöndr_, means the "staff that subdues;" _Gambanteinn_
means the "rod of revenge" (see Nos. 105, 116). Both epithets are
formed in accordance with the common poetic usage of describing swords
by compound words of which the latter part is _vöndr_ or _teinn_. We
find, as names for swords, _benvondr_, _blodvondr_, _hjaltvondr_,
_hridvondr_, _hvitvondr_, _mordvondr_, _sarvondr_, _benteinn_,
_eggteinn_, _hævateinn_, _hjorteinn_, _hræteinn_, _sarteinn_, _valteinn_,

Skirner rides over damp fells and the fields of giants, leaps, after
a quarrel with the watchman of Gymer's citadel, over the fence, comes
in to Gerd, is welcomed with ancient mead, and presents his errand of
courtship, supported by the eleven golden apples. Gerd refuses both the
apples and the object of the errand. Skirner then offers her the most
precious treasure, the ring _Draupnir_, but in vain. Then he resorts to
threats. He exhibits the sword so dangerous to her kinsmen; with it he
will cut off her head if she refuses her consent. Gerd answers that she
is not to be frightened, and that she has a father who is not afraid to
fight. Once more Skirner shows her the sword, which also may fell her
father (_ser thu thenna mæki, mey_, &c.), and he threatens to strike her
with the "subduing staff," so that her heart shall soften, but too late
for her happiness, for a blow from the staff will remove her thither,
where sons of men never more shall see her.

  Tamsvendi ec thic drep,
  enn ec thic temia mun,
  mer! at minom munom;
  thar skaltu ganga
  er thic gumna synir
  sithan eva se (str. 26).

This is the former threat of death repeated in another form. The former
did not frighten her. But that which now overwhelms her with dismay is
the description Skirner gives her of the lot that awaits her in the
realm of death, whither she is destined--she, the giant maid, if she
dies by the avenging wrath of the gods (_gamban-reidi_). She shall then
come to that region which is situated below the Na-gates (_fyr nágrindr
nethan_--str. 35), and which is inhabited by frost-giants who, as we
shall find, do not deserve the name _mannasynir_, even though the word
_menn_ be taken in its most common sense, and made to embrace giants of
the masculine kind.

This phrase _fyr nágrindr nethan_ must have been a stereotyped
eschatological term applied to a particular division, a particular realm
in the lower world. In Lokasenna (str. 63), Thor says to Loke, after
the latter has emptied his phials of rash insults upon the gods, that
if he does not hold his tongue the hammer Mjolner shall send him to Hel
_fyr nágrindr nethan_. Hel is here used in its widest sense, and this
is limited by the addition of the words "below the Na-gates," so as to
refer to a particular division of the lower world. As we find by the
application of the phrase to Loke, this division is of such a character
that it is intended to receive the foes of the Asas and the insulters of
the gods.

The word _Nagrind_, which is always used in the plural, and accordingly
refers to more than one gate of the kind, has as its first part _nár_
(pl. _náir_), which means corpse, dead body. Thus Na-gates means

The name must seem strange, for it is not dead bodies, but souls,
released from their bodies left on earth, which descend to the kingdom of
death and get their various abodes there. How far our heathen ancestors
had a more or less _material_ conception of the soul is a question which
it is not necessary to discuss here (see on this point No. 95). Howsoever
they may have regarded it, the very existence of a Hades in their
mythology demonstrates that they believed that a conscious and sentient
element in man was in death separated from the body with which it had
been united in life, and went down to the lower world. That the body from
which this conscious, sentient element fled was not removed to Hades,
but went in this upper earth to its disintegration, whether it was burnt
or buried in a mound or sunk to the bottom of the sea, this our heathen
ancestors knew just as well as we know it. The people of the stone-age
already knew this.

The phrase Na-gates does not stand alone in our mythological eschatology.
One of the abodes of torture lying within the Na-gate is called Nastrands
(_Nástrandir_), and is described in Völuspa as filled with terrors. And
the victims, which Nidhog, the winged demon of the lower world, there
sucks, are called _náir framgenga_, "the corpses of those departed."

It is manifest that the word _nár_ thus used cannot have its common
meaning, but must be used in a special mythological sense, which had its
justification and its explanation in the heathen doctrine in regard to
the lower world.

It not unfrequently happens that law-books preserve ancient
significations of words not found elsewhere in literature. The Icelandic
law-book Grágás (ii. 185) enumerates four categories within which the
word _nár_ is applicable to a person yet living. Gallows-_nár_, can be
called, even while living, the person who is hung; grave-_nár_, the
person placed in a grave; skerry-_nár_ or rock-_nár_ may, while yet
alive, he be called who has been exposed to die on a skerry or rock. Here
the word _nár_ is accordingly applied to persons who are conscious and
capable of suffering, but on the supposition that they are such persons
as have been condemned to a punishment which is not to cease so long as
they are sensitive to it.

And this is the idea on the basis of which the word _náir_ is
mythologically applied to the damned and tortured beings in the lower

If we now take into account that our ancestors believed in a _second_
death, in a slaying of souls in Hades, then we find that this same use of
the word in question, which at first sight could not but seem strange,
is a consistent development of the idea that those banished from Hel's
realms of bliss die a second time, when they are transferred across the
border to Nifelhel and the world of torture. When they are overtaken
by this second death they are for the second time _náir_. And, as this
occurs at the gates of Nifelhel, it was perfectly proper to call the
gates _nágrindr_.

We may imagine that it is terror, despair, or rage which, at the sight
of the Na-gates, severs the bond between the damned spirit and his
Hades-body, and that the former is anxious to soar away from its terrible
destination. But however this may be, the avenging powers have runes,
which capture the fugitive, put chains on his Hades-body, and force him
to feel with it. The Sun-song, a Christian song standing on the scarcely
crossed border of heathendom, speaks of damned ones whose breasts were
risted (carved) with bloody runes, and Havamál of runes which restore
consciousness to _náir_. Such runes are known by Odin. If he sees in a
tree a gallows-nár (_virgil-nár_), then he can rist runes so that the
body comes down to him and talks with him (see No. 70).

  Ef ec se a tre uppi
  vafa virgilná,
  sva ec rist
  oc i runom fác,
  at sa gengr gumi
  oc mælir vith mic (Havamál, 157).

Some of the subterranean _náir_ have the power of motion, and are doomed
to wade in "heavy streams." Among them are perjurers, murderers, and
adulterers (Völuspa, 38). Among these streams is Vadgelmer, in which
they who have slandered others find their far-reaching retribution
(Sigurdarkv., ii. 4). Other _náir_ have the peculiarity which their
appellation suggests, and receive quiet and immovable, stretched on iron
benches, their punishment (see below). Saxo, who had more elaborate
descriptions of the Hades of heathendom than those which have been handed
down to our time, translated or reproduced in his accounts of Hadding's
and Gorm's journeys in the lower world the word _náir_ with _exsanguia
simulacra_ (p. 426).

That place after death with which Skirner threatens the stubborn Gerd is
also situated within the Na-gates, but still it has another character
than Nastrands and the other abodes of torture which are situated below
Nifelhel. It would also have been unreasonable to threaten a person
who rejects a marriage proposal with those punishments which overtake
criminals and nithings. The Hades division, which Skirner describes as
awaiting the giant-daughter, is a subterranean Jotunheim, inhabited by
deceased ancestors and kinsmen of Gerd.

Mythology has given to the giants as well as to men a life hereafter.
As a matter of fact, mythology never destroys life. The horse which was
cremated with its master on his funeral pyre, and was buried with him
in his grave-mound, afterwards brings the hero down to Hel. When the
giant who built the Asgard wall got into conflict with the gods, Thor's
hammer sent him "down below Nifelhel" (_nidr undir Niflhel_--Gylfag.,
ch. 43.) King Gorm saw in the lower world the giant Geirrod and both
his daughters. According to Grimnersmal (str. 31), frost-giants dwell
under one of Ygdrasil's roots--consequently in the lower world; and
Forspjallsljod says that hags (giantesses) and thurses (giants), _náir_,
dwarfs, and swarthy elves go to sleep under the world-tree's farthest
root on the north border of Jormungrund[9] (the lower world), when Dag on
a chariot sparkling with precious stones leaves the lower world, and when
Nat after her journey on the heavens has returned to her home (str. 24,
28). It is therefore quite in order if we, in Skirner's description of
the realm which after death awaits the giant-daughter offending the gods,
rediscover that part of the lower world to which the drowned primeval
ancestors of the giant-maid were relegated when Bor's sons opened the
veins of Ymer's throat (Sonatorr., str. 3) and then let the billows of
the ocean wash clean the rocky ground of earth, before they raised the
latter from the sea and there created the inhabitable Midgard.

The frost-giants (rimethurses) are the primeval giants (_gigantes_)
of the Teutonic mythology, so called because they sprang from the
frost-being Ymer, whose feet by contact with each other begat their
progenitor, the "strange-headed" monster Thrudgelmer (Vafthr. 29, 33).
Their original home in chaos was Nifelheim. From the Hvergelmer fountain
there the Elivagar rivers flowed to the north and became hoar-frost and
ice, which, melted by warmth from the south, were changed into drops of
venom, which again became Ymer, called by the giants Aurgelmer (Vafthr.,
31; Gylfag., 5). Thrudgelmer begat Bergelmer countless winters before
the earth was made (Vafthr., 29; Gylf., ch. 7). Those members of the
giant race living in Jotunheim on the surface of the earth, whose memory
goes farthest back in time, can remember Bergelmer when he _a var ludr um
lagidr_. At least Vafth-rudmer is able to do this (Vafthr., 35).

When the original giants had to abandon the fields populated by Bor's
sons (Völuspa, 4), they received an abode corresponding as nearly as
possible to their first home, and, as it seems, identical with it,
excepting that Nifelheim now, instead of being a part of chaos, is an
integral part of the cosmic universe, and the extreme north of its Hades.
As a Hades-realm it is also called Nifelhel.

In the subterranean land with which Skirner threatens Gerd, and which
he paints for her in appalling colours, he mentions three kinds of
beings--(1) frost-giants, the ancient race of giants; (2) demons; (3)
giants of the later race.

The frost-giants occupy together one abode, which, judging from its
epithet, hall (_höll_), is the largest and most important there; while
those members of the younger giant clan who are there, dwell in single
scattered abodes, called gards.[10] Gerd is also there to have a separate
abode (str. 28).

Two frost-giants are mentioned by name, which shows that they
are representatives of their clan. One is named Rimgrimner
(_Hrímgrimnir_--str. 35), the other Rimner (_Hrímnir_--str. 28).

Grimner is one of Odin's many surnames (Grimnersmal, 47, and several
other places; cp. Egilsson's Lex. Poet.). Rimgrimner means the same
as if Odin had said Rim-Odin, for Odin's many epithets could without
hesitation be used by the poets in paraphrases, even when these referred
to a giant. But the name Odin was too sacred for such a purpose. Upon
the whole the skalds seem piously to have abstained from using that name
in paraphrases, even when the latter referred to celebrated princes
and heroes. Glum Geirason is the first known exception to the rule. He
calls a king _Málm-Odinn_. The above epithet places Rimgrimner in the
same relation to the frost-giants as Odin-Grimner sustains to the asas;
it characterises him as the race-chief and clan-head of the former,
and in this respect gives him the same place as Thrudgelmer occupies
in Vafthrudnersmal. Ymer cannot be regarded as the special clan-chief
of the frost-giants, since he is also the progenitor of other classes
of beings (see Vafthr., 33, and Völuspa, 9; cp. Gylfag., ch. 14). But
they have other points of resemblance. Thrudgelmer is "strange-headed"
in Vafthrudnersmal; Rimgrimner is "three-headed" in Skirnersmal (str.
31; cp. with str. 35). Thus we have in one poem a "strange-headed"
Thrudgelmer as progenitor of the frost-giants; in the other poem a
"three-headed" Rimgrimner as progenitor of the same frost-giants.
The "strange-headed" giant of the former poem, which is a somewhat
indefinite or obscure phrase, thus finds in "three-headed" of the latter
poem its further definition. To this is to be added a power which is
possessed both by Thrudgelmer and Rimgrimner, and also a weakness for
which both Thrudgelmer and Rimgrimner are blamed. Thrudgelmer's father
begat children without possessing _gygjar gaman_ (Vafthr., 32). That
Thrudgelmer inherited this power from his strange origin and handed
it down to the clan of frost-giants, and that he also inherited the
inability to provide for the perpetuation of the race in any other way,
is evident from Allvismal, str. 2. If we make a careful examination, we
find that Skirnersmal presupposes this same positive and negative quality
in Rimgrimner, and consequently Thrudgelmer and Rimgrimner must be

Gerd, who tries to reject the love of the fair and blithe Vana-god,
will, according to Skirner's threats, be punished therefor in the lower
world with the complete loss of all that is called love, tenderness, and
sympathy. Skirner says that she either must live alone and without a
husband in the lower world, or else vegetate in a useless cohabitation
(_nara_) with the three-headed giant (str. 31). The threat is gradually
emphasised to the effect that she _shall_ be possessed by Rimgrimner, and
this threat is made immediately after the solemn conjuration (str. 34) in
which Skirner invokes the inhabitants of Nifelhel and also of the regions
of bliss, as witnesses, that she shall never gladden or be gladdened by a
man in the physical sense of this word.

  Hear, ye giants,                      Heyri iotnar,
  Hear, frost-giants,                   heyri hrimthursar,
  Ye sons of Suttung--                  synir Suttunga,
  Nay, thou race of the Asa-god![11]--  sjalfir áslithar
  how I forbid,                         hve ec fyr byd,
  how I banish                          hve ec fyrir banna
  man's gladness from the maid,         manna glaum mani
  man's enjoyment from the maid!        manna nyt mani.
  Rimgrimner is the giant's name        Hrímgrimner heiter thurs,
  who shall possess thee                er thic hafa scal
  below the Na-gates.                   fyr nagrindr nedan.

More plainly, it seems to me, Skirner in speaking to Gerd could not have
expressed the negative quality of Rimgrimner in question. Thor also
expresses himself clearly on the same subject when he meets the dwarf
Alvis carrying home a maid over whom Thor has the right of marriage. Thor
says scornfully that he thinks he discovers in Alvis something which
reminds him of the nature of thurses, although Alvis is a dwarf and
the thurses are giants, and he further defines wherein this similarity
consists: _thursa lici thicci mér á ther vera; erat thu till brudar
borinn_: "Thurs' likeness you seem to me to have; you were not born to
have a bride." So far as the positive quality is concerned it is evident
from the fact that Rimgrimner is the progenitor of the frost-giants.

Descended to Nifelhel, Gerd must not count on a shadow of friendship and
sympathy from her kinsmen there. It would be best for her to confine
herself in the solitary abode which there awaits her, for if she but
looks out of the gate, staring gazes shall meet her from Rimner and all
the others down there; and she shall there be looked upon with more
hatred than Heimdal, the watchman of the gods, who is the wise, always
vigilant foe of the rime-thurses and giants. But whether she is at home
or abroad, demons and tormenting spirits shall never leave her in peace.
She shall be bowed to the earth by _tramar_ (evil witches). _Morn_ (a
Teutonic Eumenides, the agony of the soul personified) shall fill her
with his being. The spirits of sickness--such also dwell there; they
once took an oath not to harm Balder (Gylf., ch. 50)--shall increase her
woe and the flood of her tears. Tope (insanity), Ope (hysteria), Tjausul
and Othale (constant restlessness), shall not leave her in peace. These
spirits are also counted as belonging to the race of thurses, and hence
it is said in the rune-song that _thurs veldr kvenna kvillu_, "thurs
causes sickness of women." In this connection it should be remembered
that the daughter of Loke, the ruler of Nifelhel, is also the queen of
diseases. Gerd's food shall be more loathsome to her than the poisonous
serpent is to man, and her drink shall be the most disgusting. Miserable
she shall crawl among the homes of the Hades giants, and up to a mountain
top, where Are, a subterranean eagle-demon has his perch (doubtless the
same Are which, according to Völuspa [47], is to join with his screeches
in Rymer's shield-song, when the Midgard-serpent writhes in giant-rage,
and the ship of death, Naglfar, gets loose). Up there she shall sit early
in the morning, and constantly turn her face in the same direction--in
the direction where Hel is situated, that is, south over Mt. Hvergelmer,
toward the subterranean regions of bliss. Toward Hel she shall long to
come in vain:

  Ara thufo á
  scaltu ár sitja
  horfa ok snugga Heljar til.

"On Are's perch thou shalt early sit, turn toward Hel, and long to get to

By the phrase _snugga Heljar til_, the skald has meant something far more
concrete than to "long for death." Gerd is here supposed to be dead, and
within the Na-gates. To long for death, she does not need to crawl up to
"Are's perch." She must subject herself to these nightly exertions, so
that when it dawns in the foggy Nifelhel, she may get a glimpse of that
land of bliss to which she may never come; she who rejected a higher
happiness--that of being with the gods and possessing Frey's love.

I have been somewhat elaborate in the presentation of this description
in Skirnersmal, which has not hitherto been understood. I have done so,
because it is the only evidence left to us of how life was conceived in
the forecourt of the regions of torture, Nifelhel, the land situated
below Ygdrasil's northern root, beyond and below the mountain, where
the root is watered by Hvergelmer. It is plain that the author of
Skirnersmal, like that of Vafthrudnersmal, Grimnersmal, Vegtamskvida,
and Thorsdrapa (as we have already seen), has used the word Hel in the
sense of a place of bliss in the lower world. It is also evident that
with the root under which the frost-giant dwells that one, referred to
by Gylfaginning, can impossibly be meant under which Mimer's glorious
fountain, and Mimer's grove, and all his treasures stored for a future
world, are situated.

[9] With this name of the lower world compare Gudmund-Mimer's abode _á
Grund_ (see No. 45), and _Helligrund_ (Heliand., 44, 22), and _neowla
grund_ (Caedmon, 267, 1, 270, 16).

[10] Compare the phrase _iotna gaurthum i_ (str. 30, 3) with _til
hrimthursa hallar_ (30, 4).

[11] With race of the Asa-god _áslidar_ there can hardly be meant others
than the _ásmegir_ gathered in the lower world around Balder. This is the
only place where the word _áslidar_ occurs.



We now pass to Völuspa, 40 (Hauk's Codex), where the word _Helvegir_

One of the signs that Ragnarok and the fall of the world are at hand, is
that the mighty ash Ygdrasil trembles, and that a fettered giant-monster
thereby gets loose from its chains. Which this monster is, whether it is
Garm, bound above the Gnipa cave, or some other, we will not now discuss.
The astonishment and confusion caused by these events among all the
beings of the world, are described in the poem with but few words, but
they are sufficient for the purpose and well calculated to make a deep
impression upon the hearers. Terror is the predominating feeling in those
beings which are not chosen to take part in the impending conflict. They,
on the other hand, for whom the quaking of Ygdrasil is the signal of
battle for life or death, either arm themselves amid a terrible war-cry
for the battle (the giants, str. 41), or they assemble to hold the last
council (the Asas), and then rush to arms.

Two classes of beings are mentioned as seized by terror--the dwarfs, who
stood breathless outside of their stone-doors, and those beings which are
_á Helvegum_. _Helvegir_ may mean the paths or ways in Hel: there are
many paths, just as there are many gates and many rivers. _Helvegir_ may
also mean the regions, districts in Hel (cp. _Austrvegr_, _Sudrvegr_,
_Norvegr_; and Allvism., 10, according to which the Vans call the earth
_vegir_, ways). The author may have used the word in either of these
senses or in both, for in this case it amounts to the same. At all events
it is stated that the inhabitants in Hel are terrified when Ygdrasil
quakes and the unnamed giant-monster gets loose.

  Skelfr Yggdrasils         Quakes Ygdrasil's
  askr standandi,           Ash standing,
  ymr hid alldna tre        The old tree trembles,
  enn iotunn losnar;        The giant gets loose;
  hrædaz allir              All are frightened
  a Helvegum                On the Helways (in Hel's regions)
  adr Surtar thann          ere Surt's spirit (or kinsman)
  sevi of gleypir.          swallows him (namely, the giant).

Surt's spirit, or kinsman (_sevi_, _sefi_ may mean either), is, as has
also hitherto been supposed, the fire. The final episode in the conflict
on Vigrid's plain is that the Muspel-flames destroy the last remnant
of the contending giants. The terror which, when the world-tree quaked
and the unnamed giant got loose, took possession of the inhabitants of
Hel continues so long as the conflict is undecided. Valfather falls,
Frey and Thor likewise; no one can know who is to be victorious. But
the terror ceases when on the one hand the liberated giant-monster is
destroyed, and on the other hand Vidar and Vale, Mode and Magne, survive
the conflict and survive the flames, which do not penetrate to Balder and
_Hödr_ and their protegés in Hel. The word _thann_ (him), which occurs
in the seventh line of the strophe (in the last of the translation) can
impossibly refer to any other than the giant mentioned in the fourth
line (_iotunn_). There are in the strophe only two masculine words to
which the masculine _thann_ can be referred--_iotunn_ and _Yggdrasils
askr_. _Iotunn_, which stands nearest to _thann_, thus has the
preference; and as we have seen that the world-tree falls by neither fire
nor edge (Fjolsv., 20), and as it, in fact, survives the conflagration of
Surt, then _thann_ must naturally be referred to the _iotunn._

Here Völuspa has furnished us with evidence in regard to the position
of Hel's inhabitants towards the contending parties in Ragnarok. They
who are frightened when a giant-monster--a most dangerous one, as it
hitherto had been chained--gets free from its fetters, and they whose
fright is allayed when the monster is destroyed in the conflagration
of the world, such beings can impossibly follow this monster and its
fellow warriors with their good wishes. Their hearts are on the side of
the good powers, which are friendly to mankind. But they do not take an
active part in their behalf; they take no part whatever in the conflict.
This is manifest from the fact that their fright does not cease before
the conflict is ended. Now we know that among the inhabitants in Hel are
the _ásmegir_ Lif and Leifthraser and their offspring, and that they are
not _hertharfir_; they are not to be employed in war, since their very
destiny forbids their taking an active part in the events of this period
of the world (see No. 53). But the text does not permit us to think of
them alone when we are to determine who the beings _á Helvegum_ are. For
the text says that _all_, who are _á Helvegum_, are alarmed until the
conflict is happily ended. What the interpreters of this much abused
passage have failed to see, the seeress in Völuspa has not forgotten,
that, namely, during the lapse of countless thousands of years,
innumerable children and women, and men who never wielded the sword, have
descended to the kingdom of death and received dwellings in Hel, and that
Hel--in the limited local sense which the word hitherto has appeared to
have in the songs of the gods--does not contain warlike inhabitants.
Those who have fallen on the battle-field come, indeed, as shall be shown
later, to Hel, but not to remain there; they continue their journey to
Asgard, for Odin chooses one half of those slain on the battlefield for
his dwelling, and Freyja the other half (Grimnersmal, 14). The chosen
accordingly have Asgard as their place of destination, which they reach
in case they are not found guilty by a sentence which neutralises the
force and effect of the previous choice (see below), and sends them to
die the second death on crossing the boundary to Nifelhel. Warriors who
have not fallen on the battlefield are as much entitled to Asgard as
those fallen by the sword, provided they as heroes have acquired fame and
honour. It might, of course, happen to the greatest general and the most
distinguished hero, the conqueror in hundreds of battles, that he might
die from sickness or an accident, while, on the other hand, it might be
that a man who never wielded a sword in earnest might fall on the field
of battle before he had given a blow. That the mythology should make
the latter entitled to Asgard, but not the former, is an absurdity as
void of support in the records--on the contrary, these give the opposite
testimony--as it is of sound sense. The election contained for the
chosen ones no exclusive privilege. It did not even imply additional
favour to one who, independently of the election, could count on a
place among the einherjes. The election made the person going to battle
_feigr_, which was not a favour, nor could it be considered the opposite.
It might play a royal crown from the head of the chosen one to that of
his enemy, and this could not well be regarded as a kindness. But for the
electing powers of Asgard themselves the election implied a privilege.
The dispensation of life and death regularly belonged to the norns; but
the election partly supplied the gods with an exception to this rule, and
partly it left to Odin the right to determine the fortunes and issues of
battles. The question of the relation between the power of the gods and
that of fate--a question which seemed to the Greeks and Romans dangerous
to meddle with and well-nigh impossible to dispose of--was partly solved
by the Teutonic mythology by the naïve and simple means of dividing the
dispensation of life and death between the divinity and fate, which, of
course, did not hinder that fate always stood as the dark, inscrutable
power in the background of all events. (On election see further, No. 66).

It follows that in Hel's regions of bliss there remained none that were
warriors by profession. Those among them who were not guilty of any of
the sins which the Asa-doctrine stamped as sins unto death passed through
Hel to Asgard, the others through Hel to Nifelhel. All the inhabitants
on Hel's elysian fields accordingly are the _ásmegir_, and the women,
children, and the agents of the peaceful arts who have died during
countless centuries, and who unused to the sword, have no place in the
ranks of the einherjes, and therefore with the anxiety of those waiting
abide the issue of the conflict. Such is the background and contents of
the Völuspa strophe. This would long since have been understood, had not
the doctrine constructed by Gylfaginning in regard to the lower world,
with Troy as the starting-point, bewildered the judgment.



In Allvismal occurs the phrases: those _i helio_ and _halir_. The premise
of the poem is that such objects as earth, heaven, moon, sun, night,
wind, fire, &c., are expressed in six different ways, and that each
one of these ways of expression is, with the exclusion of the others,
applicable within one or two of the classes of beings found in the world.
For example, Heaven is called--

  Himinn among men,
  Lyrner among gods,
  Vindofner among Vans,
  Uppheim among giants.
  Elves say Fager-tak (Fairy-roof),
  dwarfs Drypsal (dropping-hall) (str. 12).

In this manner thirteen objects are mentioned, each one with its six
names. In all of the thirteen cases man has a way of his own of naming
the objects. Likewise the giants. No other class of beings has any of the
thirteen appellations in common with them. On the other hand, the Asas
and Vans have the same name for two objects (moon and sun); elves and
dwarfs have names in common for no less than six objects (cloud, wind,
fire, tree, seed, mead); the dwarfs and the inhabitants of the lower
world for three (heaven, sea, and calm). Nine times it is stated how
those in the lower world express themselves. In six of these nine cases
Allvismal refers to the inhabitants of the lower world by the general
expression "those in Hel;" in three cases the poem lets "those in Hel" be
represented by some one of those classes of beings that reside in Hel.
These three are _upregin_ (str. 10), _ásasynir_ (str. 16), and _halir_
(str. 28).

The very name _upregin_ suggests that it refers to beings of a certain
divine rank (the Vans are in Allvismal called _ginnregin_, str. 20, 30)
that have their sphere of activity in the upper world. As they none the
less dwell in the lower world, the appellation must have reference to
beings which have their homes and abiding places in Hel when they are not
occupied with their affairs in the world above. These beings are Nat,
Dag, Mane, Sol.

_Ásasynir_ has the same signification as _ásmegir_. As this is the
case, and as the _ásmegir_ dwell in the lower world and the _ásasynir_
likewise, then they must be identical, unless we should be credulous
enough to assume that there were in the lower world two categories of
beings, both called sons of Asas.

_Halir_, when the question is about the lower world, means the souls of
the dead (Vafthr., 43; see above).

From this we find that Allvismal employs the word Hel in such a manner
that it embraces those regions where Nat and Dag, Mane and Sol, the
living human inhabitants of Mimer's grove, and the souls of departed
human beings dwell. Among the last-named are included also souls of the
damned, which are found in the abodes of torture below Nifelhel, and it
is within the limits of possibility that the author of the poem also
had them in mind, though there is not much probability that he should
conceive them as having a nomenclature in common with gods, _ásmegir_,
and the happy departed. At all events, he has particularly--and probably
exclusively--had in his mind the regions of bliss when he used the word
Hel, in which case he has conformed in the use of the word to Völuspa,
Vafthrudnersmal, Grimnersmal, Skirnersmal, Vegtamskvida, and Thorsdrapa.



While a terrible winter is raging, the gods, according to
Forspjallsljod,[12] send messengers, with Heimdal as chief, down to a
lower-world goddess (dis), who is designated as _Gjöll's_ (the lower
world river's) _Sunna_ (Sol, sun) and as the distributor of the divine
liquids (str. 9, 11) to beseech her to explain to them the mystery of
creation, the beginning of heaven, of Hel, and of the world, life and
death, if she is able (_hlyrnis_, _heliar_, _heims of vissi_, _ártith_,
_æfi_, _aldrtila_). The messengers get only tears as an answer. The poem
divides the universe into three great divisions: heaven, Hel, and the
part lying between Hel and heaven, the world inhabited by mortals. Thus
Hel is here used in its general sense, and refers to the whole lower
world. But here, as wherever Hel has this general signification, it
appears that the idea of regions of punishment is not thought of, but is
kept in the background by the definite antithesis in which the word Hel,
used in its more common and special sense of the subterranean regions
of bliss, stands to Nifelhel and the regions subject to it. It must be
admitted that what the anxious gods wish to learn from the wise goddess
of the lower world must, so far as their desire to know and their fears
concern the fate of Hel, refer particularly to the regions where Urd's
and Mimer's holy wells are situated, for if the latter, which water the
world-tree, pass away, it would mean nothing less than the end of the
world. That the author should make the gods anxious concerning Loke's
daughter, whom they had hurled into the deep abysses of Nifelhel, and
that he should make the wise goddess by _Gjöll_ weep bitter tears over
the future of the sister of the Fenris-wolf, is possible in the sense
that it cannot be refuted by any definite words of the old records; but
we may be permitted to regard it as highly improbable.

Among the passages in which the word Hel occurs in the poetic Edda's
mythological songs we have yet to mention Harbardsljod (str. 27), where
the expression _drepa i Hel_ is employed in the same abstract manner as
the Swedes use the expression "at slå ihjäl," which means simply "to
kill" (it is Thor who threatens to kill the insulting Harbard); and also
Völuspa (str. 42), Fjöllsvinnsmal (str. 25), and Grimnersmal (str. 31).

Völuspa (str. 42), speaks of Goldcomb, the cock which, with its crowing,
wakes those who sleep in Herfather's abode, and of a sooty-red cock
which crows under the earth near Hel's halls. In Fjöllsvinnsmal (str.
25), Svipdag asks with what weapon one might be able to bring down to
Hel's home (_á Heljar sjöt_) that golden cock Vidofner, which sits in
Mimer's tree (the world-tree), and doubtless is identical with Goldcomb.
That Vidofner has done nothing for which he deserves to be punished in
the home of Loke's daughter may be regarded as probable. _Hel_ is here
used to designate the kingdom of death in general, and all that Spivdag
seems to mean is that Vidofner, in case such a weapon could be found,
might be transferred to his kinsman, the sooty-red cock which crows below
the earth. Saxo also speaks of a cock which is found in Hades, and is
with the goddess who has the cowbane stalks when she shows Hadding the
flower-meadows of the lower world, the Elysian fields of those fallen
by the sword, and the citadel within which death does not seem able to
enter (see No. 47). Thus there is at least one cock in the lower world's
realm of bliss. That there should be one also in Nifelhel and in the
abode of Loke's daughter is nowhere mentioned, and is hardly credible,
since the cock, according to an ancient and wide-spread Aryan belief,
is a sacred bird, which is the special foe of demons and the powers of
darkness. According to Swedish popular belief, even of the present time,
the crowing of the cock puts ghosts and spirits to flight; and a similar
idea is found in Avesta (Vendidad, 18), where, in str. 15, Ahuramazda
himself translates the morning song of the cock with the following words:
"Rise, ye men, and praise the justice which is the most perfect! Behold
the demons are put to flight!" Avesta is naïvely out of patience with
thoughtless persons who call this sacred bird (_Parodarsch_) by the
so little respect-inspiring name "Cockadoodledoo" (_Kahrkatâs_). The
idea of the sacredness of the cock and its hostility to demons was also
found among the Aryans of South Europe and survived the introduction of
Christianity. Aurelius Prudentius wrote a _Hymnus ad galli cantum_, and
the cock has as a token of Christian vigilance received the same place on
the church spires as formerly on the world-tree. Nor have the May-poles
forgotten him. But in the North the poets and the popular language
have made the red cock a symbol of fire. Fire has two characters--it
is sacred, purifying, and beneficent, when it is handled carefully and
for lawful purposes. In the opposite case it is destructive. With the
exception of this special instance, nothing but good is reported of the
cocks of mythology and poetry.

Grimnersmal (str. 31) is remarkable from two points of view. It
contains information--brief and scant, it is true, but nevertheless
valuable--in regard to Ygdrasil's three roots, and it speaks of Hel in an
unmistakable, distinctly personal sense.

In regard to the roots of the world-tree and their position, our
investigation so far, regardless of Grimnersmal (str. 31), has produced
the following result:

Ygdrasil has a northern root. This stands over the vast reservoir
Hvergelmer and spreads over Nifelhel, situated north of Hvergelmer and
inhabited by frost-giants. There nine regions of punishment are situated,
among them Nastrands.

Ygdrasil's second root is watered by Mimer's fountain and spreads over
the land where Mimer's fountain and grove are located. In Mimer's grove
dwell those living (not dead) beings called _Ásmegir_ and _Ásasynir_, Lif
and Leifthraser and their offspring, whose destiny it is to people the
regenerated earth.

Ygdrasil's third root stands over Urd's fountain and the subterranean
thingstead of the gods.

The lower world consists of two chief divisions: Nifelhel (with the
regions thereto belonging) and Hel,--Nifelhel situated north of the
Hvergelmer mountain, and Hel south of it. Accordingly both the land where
Mimer's well and grove are situated and the land where Urd's fountain is
found are within the domain Hel.

In regard to the zones or climates, in which the roots are located,
they have been conceived as having a southern and northern. We have
already shown that the root over Hvergelmer is the northern one. That
the root over Urd's fountain has been conceived as the southern one
is manifest from the following circumstances. Eilif Gudrunson, who was
converted to Christianity--the same skald who wrote the purely heathen
Thorsdrapa--says in one of his poems, written after his conversion, that
Christ sits _sunnr at Urdarbrunni_, in the south near Urd's fountain, an
expression which he could not have used unless his hearers had retained
from the faith of their childhood the idea that Urd's fountain was
situated south of the other fountains. Forspjallsljod puts upon Urd's
fountain the task of protecting the world-tree against the devastating
cold during the terrible winter which the poem describes. _Othhrærir
skyldi Urthar geyma mættk at veria mestum thorra._--"Urd's Odreirer
(mead-fountain) proved not to retain strength enough to protect against
the terrible cold." This idea shows that the sap which Ygdrasil's
southern root drew from Urd's fountain was thought to be warmer than the
saps of the other wells. As, accordingly, the root over Urd's well was
the southern, and that over Hvergelmer and the frost-giants the northern,
it follows that Mimer's well was conceived as situated between those two.
The memory of this fact Gylfaginning has in its fashion preserved, where
in chapter 15 it says that Mimer's fountain is situated where Ginungagap
formerly was--that is, between the northern Nifelheim and the southern
warmer region (Gylfaginning's "Muspelheim").

Grimnersmal (str. 31) says:

  Thrir rætr standa        Three roots stand
  a thria vega             on three ways
  undan asci Yggdrasils:   below Ygdrasil's ash:
  Hel byr und einni,       Hel dwells under one,
  annari hrimthursar,      under another frost-giants,
  thridio mennzkir menn.   under a third human-"men."

The root under which the frost-giants dwell we already know as the root
over Hvergelmer and the Nifelhel inhabited by frost-giants.

The root under which human beings, living persons, _mennskir menn_, dwell
we also know as the one over Mimer's well and Mimer's grove, where the
human beings Lif and Leifthraser and their offspring have their abode,
where _jörd lifanda manna_ is situated.

There remains one root: the one under which the goddess of fate, Urd, has
her dwelling. Of this Grimnersmal says that she who dwells there is named

Hence it follows of necessity that the goddess of fate, Urd, is identical
with the personal Hel, the queen of the realm of death, particularly
of its regions of bliss. We have seen that Hel in its local sense has
the general signification, the realm of death, and the special but most
frequent signification, the elysium of the kingdom of death. As a person,
the meaning of the word Hel must be analogous to its signification as a
place. It is the same idea having a personal as well as a local form.

The conclusion that Urd is Hel is inevitable, unless we assume that
Urd, though queen of her fountain, is not the regent of the land where
her fountain is situated. One might then assume Hel to be one of Urd's
sisters, but these have no prominence as compared with herself. One of
them, Skuld, who is the more known of the two, is at the same time one
of Urd's maid-servants, a valkyrie, who on the battlefield does her
errands, a feminine psycho-messenger who shows the fallen the way to
Hel, the realm of her sisters, where they are to report themselves ere
they get to their destination. Of _Verdandi_ the records tell us nothing
but the name, which seems to preclude the idea that she should be the
personal Hel.

This result, that Urd is identical with Hel; that she who dispenses life
also dispenses death; that she who with her serving sisters is the ruler
of the past, the present, and the future, also governs and gathers in her
kingdom all generations of the past, present, and future--this result
may seem unexpected to those who, on the authority of Gylfaginning,
have assumed that the daughter of Loke cast into the abyss of Nifelhel
is the queen of the kingdom of death; that she whose threshold is
called Precipice (Gylfag., 34) was the one who conducted Balder over
the threshold to the subterranean citadel glittering with gold; that
she whose table is called Hunger and whose knife is called Famine was
the one who ordered the clear, invigorating mead to be placed before
him; that the sister of those foes of the gods and of the world, the
Midgard-serpent and the Fenris-wolf, was entrusted with the care of at
least one of Ygdrasil's roots; and that she whose bed is called Sickness,
jointly with Urd and Mimer, has the task of caring for the world-tree and
seeing that it is kept green and gets the liquids from their fountains.

Colossal as this absurdity is, it has been believed for centuries. And in
dealing with an absurdity which is centuries old, we must consider that
it is a force which does not yield to objections simply stated, but must
be conquered by clear and convincing arguments. Without the necessity
of travelling the path by which I have reached the result indicated,
scholars would long since have come to the conviction that Urd and the
personal Hel are identical, if Gylfaginning and the text-books based
thereon had not confounded the judgment, and that for the following

The name _Urdr_ corresponds to the Old English _Vurd_, _Vyrd_, _Vird_,
to the Old Low German _Wurth_, and to the Old High German _Wurt_. The
fact that the word is found in the dialects of several Teutonic branches
indicates, or is thought by the linguists to indicate, that it belongs to
the most ancient Teutonic times, when it probably had the form _Vorthi_.

There can be no doubt that Urd also among other Teutonic branches than
the Scandinavian has had the meaning of goddess of fate. Expressions
handed down from the heathen time and preserved in Old English documents
characterise Vyrd as tying the threads or weaving the web of fate (Cod.
Ex., 355; Beowulf, 2420), and as the one who writes that which is to
happen (Beowulf, 4836). Here the plural form is also employed, _Vyrde_,
the urds, the norns, which demonstrates that she in England, as in the
North, was conceived as having sisters or assistants. In the Old Low
German poem "Heliand," Wurth's personality is equally plain.

But at the same time as _Vyrd_, _Wurth_, was the goddess of fate, she
was also that of death. In Beowulf (4831, 4453) we find the parallel

  him vas Vyrd ungemete neah: Urd was exceedingly near to him;
  vas deád ungemete neah: death was exceedingly near.

And in Heliand, 146, 2; 92, 2:

  Thiu Wurth is at handun: Urd is near;
  Dôd is at hendi: death is near.

And there are also other expressions, as _Thiu Wurth nâhida thus_: Urd
(death) then approached; _Wurth ina benam_: Urd (death) took him away
(cp. J. Grimm, _Deutsche Myth._, i. 373).

Thus Urd, the goddess of fate, was, among the Teutonic branches in
Germany and England, identical with death, conceived as a queen. So also
in the North. The norns made laws and chose life and _örlög_ (fate) for
the children of time (Völuspa). The word _örlög_ (Nom. Pl.; the original
meaning seems to be _urlagarne_, that is, the original laws) frequently
has a decided leaning to the idea of death (cp. Völuspa: _Ek sá Baldri
örlög fólgin_). Hakon Jarl's _örlög_ was that Kark cut his throat (Nj.,
156). To receive the "judgment of the norns" was identical with being
doomed to die (Yng., Heimskringla, ch. 52). Fate and death were in the
idea and in usage so closely related, that they were blended into one
personality in the mythology. The ruler of death was that one who could
resolve death; but the one who could determine the length of life, and
so also could resolve death, and the kind of death, was, of course, the
goddess of fate. They must blend into one.


_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich_

To protect themselves against the giants of Jotunheim, the gods decided
to build a wall around Asgard, and through the persuasion of treacherous
Loke, they engaged Thrym, who appeared before them as a tall, stately
man, to do the work. An agreement was made whereby Thrym was to receive
as his reward--provided the wall and gates were completed in a single
winter--the beautiful Freya for wife, and the moon and stars were to be
given him for light to work by. With the aid of his horse Swadilfari
Thrym performed all that was required of him except the placing of one
gate when discovery was made by the gods that Thrym was a giant in
disguise. Thereupon they cried aloud for Thor to defend Asgard against
this invasion, who immediately appeared amid thunder and lightning, and
recognizing Thrym, despite the form he had taken, flung his hammer with
such force that the giant's head was broken in many pieces and his soul
cast into Nifelhel.]

In the ancient Norse documents we also find the name Urd used to
designate death, just as in Heliand and Beowulf, and this, too, in such
a manner that Urd's personal character is not emphasised. Ynglingatal
(Heimskr., ch. 44) calls Ingjald's manner of death his _Urdr_, and to
determine death for anyone was to _draga Urdr_ at him.

Far down in the Christian centuries the memory survived that Urd was the
goddess of the realm of death and of death. When a bright spot, which
was called Urd's moon, appeared on the wall, it meant the breaking out
of an epidemic (Eyrbyggia Saga, 270). Even as late as the year 1237 Urd
is supposed to have revealed herself, the night before Christmas, to
Snobjorn to predict a bloody conflict, and she then sang a song in which
she said that she went mournfully to the contest to choose a man for
death. Saxo translates _Urdr_ or _Hel_ with "Proserpina" (_Hist._, i. 43).

[12] Of the age and genuineness of Forspjallsljod I propose to publish a
separate treatise.



As those beings for whom Urd determines birth, position in life, and
death, are countless, so her servants, who perform the tasks commanded by
her as queen, must also be innumerable. They belong to two large classes:
the one class is active in her service in regard to life, the other in
regard to death.

Most intimately associated with her are her two sisters. With her
they have the authority of judges. Compare Völuspa, 19, 20, and the
expressions _norna dómr_, _norna kvidr_. And they dwell with her under
the world-tree, which stands for ever green over her gold-clad fountain.

As maid-servants under Urd there are countless hamingjes (fylgjes) and
giptes (also called gafes, audnes, heilles). The hamingjes are fostered
among beings of giant-race (who hardly can be others than the norns and
Mimer). Three mighty rivers fall down into the world, in which they
have their origin, and they come wise in their hearts, soaring over the
waters to our upper world (Vafthr., 48, 49). There every child of man
is to have a hamingje as a companion and guardian spirit. The testimony
of the Icelandic sagas of the middle ages in this regard are confirmed
by phrases and forms of speech which have their root in heathendom. The
hamingjes belong to that large circle of feminine beings which are called
dises, and they seem to have been especially so styled. What Urd is on
a grand scale as the guardian of the mighty Ygdrasil, this the hamingje
is on a smaller scale when she protects the separate fruit produced
on the world-tree and placed in her care. She does not appear to her
favourite excepting perhaps in dreams or shortly before his death (the
latter according to Helgakv. Hjörv. the prose; Njal, 62; Hallf, ch. 11;
proofs from purely heathen records are wanting). In strophes which occur
in Gisle Surson's saga, and which are attributed (though on doubtful
grounds) to this heathen skald, the hero of the saga, but the origin of
which (from a time when the details of the myth were still remembered)
is fully confirmed by a careful criticism, it is mentioned how he stood
between good and evil inspirations, and how the _draumkona_ (dream-woman)
of the good inspirations said to him in sleep: "Be not the first cause
of a murder! excite not peaceful men against yourself!--promise me this,
thou charitable man! Aid the blind, scorn not the lame, and insult not a
Tyr robbed of his hand!" These are noble counsels, and that the hamingjes
were noble beings was a belief preserved through the Christian centuries
in Iceland, where, according to Vigfusson, the word _hamingja_ is still
used in the sense of Providence. They did not usually leave their
favourite before death. But there are certain phrases preserved in the
spoken language which show that they could leave him before death. He who
was abandoned by his hamingje and gipte was a lost man. If the favourite
became a hideous and bad man, then his _hamingja_ and _gipta_ might even
turn her benevolence into wrath, and cause his well-deserved ruin. _Uvar
'ro disir_, angry at you are the dises! cries Odin to the royal nithing
Geirrod, and immediately thereupon the latter stumbles and falls pierced
by his own sword. That the invisible hamingje could cause one to stumble
and fall is shown in Fornm., iii.

The _giptes_ seem to have carried out such of Urd's resolves, on account
of which the favourite received an unexpected, as it were accidental,
good fortune.

Not only for separate individuals, but also for families and clans, there
were guardian spirits (_kynfylgjur_, _ættar-fylgjur_).

Another division of this class of maid-servants under Urd are those who
attend the entrance of the child into the world, and who have to weave
the threads of the newborn babe into the web of the families and events.
Like Urd and her sisters, they too are called norns. If it is a child
who is to be a great and famous man, Urd herself and her sisters may be
present for the above purpose (see No. 30 in regard to Halfdan's birth).

A few strophes incorporated in Fafnersmal from a heathen didactic poem,
now lost (Fafn., 12-15), speak of norns whose task it is to determine and
assist the arrival of the child into this world. _Nornir, er naudgaunglar
'ro oc kjósa mædr frá maugum._ The expression _kjósa mædr frá maugum_,
"to choose mothers from descendants," seems obscure, and can under all
circumstances not mean simply "to deliver mothers of children." The word
_kjósa_ is never used in any other sense than to choose, elect, select.
Here it must then mean to choose, elect as mothers; and the expression
"from descendants" is incomprehensible, if we do not on the one hand
conceive a crowd of eventual descendants, who at the threshold of life
are waiting for mothers in order to become born into this world, and on
the other hand women who are to be mothers, but in reference to whom
it has not yet been determined which descendant each one is to call
hers among the great waiting crowd, until those norns which we are here
discussing resolve on that point, and _from_ the indefinite crowd of
waiting _megir_ choose mothers _for_ those children which are especially
destined for them.

These norns are, according to Fafn., 13, of different birth. Some are
Asa-kinswomen, others of elf-race, and again others are daughters of
Dvalin. In regard to the last-named it should be remembered that Dvalin,
their father, through artists of his circle, decorated the citadel,
within which a future generation of men await the regeneration of the
world, and that the mythology has associated him intimately with the
elf of the morning dawn, Delling, who guards the citadel of the race of
regeneration against all that is evil and all that ought not to enter
(see No. 53). There are reasons (see No. 95) for assuming that these
dises of birth were Honer's maid-servants at the same time as they were
Urd's, just as the valkyries are Urd's and Odin's maid-servants at the
same time (see below).

To the other class of Urd's maid-servants belong those lower-world beings
which execute her resolves of death, and conduct the souls of the dead to
the lower world.

Foremost among the psycho-messengers (psycho-pomps), the attendants of
the dead, we note that group of shield-maids called valkyries. As Odin
and Freyja got the right of choosing on the battlefield, the valkyries
have received Asgard as their abode. There they bring the mead-horns to
the Asas and einherjes, when they do not ride on Valfather's errands
(Völuspa, 31; Grimnersmal, 36; Eiriksm., 1; Ulf Ugges. Skaldsk., 238).
But the third of the norns, Skuld, is the chief one in this group
(Völuspa, 31), and, as shall be shown below, they for ever remain in the
most intimate association with Urd and the lower world.



The modern conception of the removal of those fallen by the sword to
Asgard is that the valkyries carried them immediately through blue space
to the halls above. The heathens did not conceive the matter in this

It is true that the mythological horses might carry their riders through
the air without pressing a firm foundation with their hoofs. But such a
mode of travel was not the rule, even among the gods, and, when it did
happen, it attracted attention even among them. Compare Gylfaginning,
i. 118, which quotes strophes from a heathen source. The bridge Bifrost
would not have been built or established for the daily connection between
Asgard and Urd's subterranean realm if it had been unnecessary in the
mythological world of fancy. Mane's way in space would not have been
regarded as a road in the concrete sense, that quakes and rattles when
Thor's thunder-chariot passes over it (Haustl., Skaldsk., ch. 16), had
it not been thought that Mane was safer on a firm road than without one
of that sort. To every child that grew up in the homes of our heathen
fathers the question must have lain near at hand, what such roads and
bridges were for, if the gods had no advantage from them. The mythology
had to be prepared for such questions, and in this, as in other cases, it
had answers wherewith to satisfy that claim on causality and consistency
which even the most naïve view of the world presents. The answer was: If
the Bifrost bridge breaks under its riders, as is to happen in course of
time, then their horses would have to _swim_ in the sea of air (_Bilraust
brotnar, er their á bru fara, oc svima i modo marir_--Fafn., 15., compare
a strophe of Kormak, Kormak's Saga, p. 259, where the atmosphere is
called the fjord of the gods, _Dia fjördr_). A horse does not swim as
fast and easily as it runs. The different possibilities of travel are
associated with different kinds of exertion and swiftness. The one method
is more adequate to the purpose than the other. The solid connections
which were used by the gods and which the mythology built in space are,
accordingly, objects of advantage and convenience. The valkyries, riding
at the head of their chosen heroes, as well as the gods, have found solid
roads advantageous, and the course they took with their favourites was
not the one presented in our mythological text-books. Grimnersmal (str.
21; see No. 93) informs us that the breadth of the atmospheric sea is too
great and its currents too strong for those riding on their horses from
the battlefield to wade across.

In the 45th chapter of Egil Skallagrimson's saga we read how Egil saved
himself from men, whom King Erik Blood-axe sent in pursuit of him to
Saud Isle. While they were searching for him there, he had stolen to
the vicinity of the place where the boat lay in which those in pursuit
had rowed across. Three warriors guarded the boat. Egil succeeded in
surprising them, and in giving one of them his death-wound ere the latter
was able to defend himself. The second fell in a duel on the strand.
The third, who sprang into the boat to make it loose, fell there after
an exchange of blows. The saga has preserved a strophe in which Egil
mentions this exploit to his brother Thorolf and his friend Arinbjorn,
whom he met after his flight from Saud Isle. There he says:

  at thrymreynis thjónar
  thrir nökkurrir Hlakkar,
  til hásalar Heljar
  helgengnir, för dvelja.

"Three of those who serve the tester of the valkyriedin (the warlike Erik
Blood-axe) will late return; they have gone to the lower world, to Hel's
high hall."

The fallen ones were king's men and warriors. They were slain by weapons
and fell at their posts of duty, one from a sudden, unexpected wound, the
others in open conflict. According to the conception of the mythological
text-books, these sword-slain men should have been conducted by valkyries
through the air to Valhal. But the skald Egil, who as a heathen born
about the year 904, and who as a contemporary of the sons of Harald
Fairhair must have known the mythological views of his fellow-heathen
believers better than the people of our time, assures us positively that
these men from King Erik's body-guard, instead of going immediately
to Valhal, went to the lower world and to Hel's high hall there. He
certainly would not have said anything of the sort, if those for whom
he composed the strophe had not regarded this idea as both possible and

The question now is: Does this Egil's statement stand alone and is it
in conflict with those other statements touching the same point which
the ancient heathen records have preserved for us? The answer is, that
in these ancient records there is not found a single passage in conflict
with Egil's idea, but that they all, on the contrary, fully agree with
his words, and that this harmony continues in the reports of the first
Christian centuries in regard to this subject.

All the dead and also those fallen by the sword come first to Hel. Thence
the sword-slain come to Asgard, if they have deserved this destiny.

In Gisle Surson's saga (ch. 24) is mentioned the custom of binding
Hel-shoes on the feet of the dead. Warriors in regard to whom there was
no doubt that Valhal was their final destiny received Hel-shoes like all
others, _that er tidska at binda mönnum helskó, sem menn, skulo á ganga
till Valhallar_. It would be impossible to explain this custom if it had
not been believed that those who were chosen for the joys of Valhal were
obliged, like all others, to travel _á Helvegum_. Wherever this custom
prevailed, Egil's view in regard to the fate which immediately awaited
sword-fallen men was general.

When Hermod betook himself to the lower world to find Balder he came,
as we know, to the golden bridge across the river _Gjöll_. Urd's
maid-servant, who watches the bridge, mentioned to him that the day
before five _fylki_ of dead men had rode across the same bridge.
Consequently all these dead are on horseback and they do not come
separately or a few at a time, but in large troops called _fylki_,
an expression which, in the Icelandic literature, denotes larger or
smaller divisions of an army--legions, cohorts, maniples or companies
in battle array; and with _fylki_ the verb _fylkja_, to form an army or
a division of an army in line of battle, is most intimately connected.
This indicates with sufficient clearness that the dead here in question
are men who have fallen on the field of battle and are on their way to
Hel, each one riding, in company with his fallen brothers in arms, with
those who belonged to his own _fylki_. The account presupposes that men
fallen by the sword, whose final destination is Asgard, first have to
ride down to the lower world. Else we would not find these _fylkes_ on a
Helway galloping across a subterranean bridge, into the same realm as had
received Balder and Nanna after death.

It has already been pointed out that Bifrost is the only connecting
link between Asgard and the lower regions of the universe. The air was
regarded as an ether sea which the bridge spanned, and although the
horses of mythology were able to swim in this sea, the solid connection
was of the greatest importance. The gods used the bridge every day
(Grimnismal, Gylfaginning). Frost giants and mountain-giants are anxious
to get possession of it, for it is the key to Asgard. It therefore
has its special watchman in the keen-eyed and vigilant Heimdal. When
in Ragnarok the gods ride to the last conflict they pass over Bifrost
(Fafnersmal). The bridge does not lead to Midgard. Its lower ends were
not conceived as situated among mortal men. It stood outside and below
the edge of the earth's crust both in the north and in the south. In the
south it descended to Urd's fountain and to the thingstead of the gods
in the lower world (see the accompanying drawing, intended to make these
facts intelligible). From this mythological topographical arrangement it
follows of necessity that the valkyries at the head of the chosen slain
must take their course through the lower world, by the way of Urd's
fountain and the thingstead of the gods, if they are to ride on Bifrost
bridge to Asgard, and not be obliged to betake themselves thither on
swimming horses.


There are still two poems extant from the heathen time, which describe
the reception of sword-fallen kings in Valhal. The one describes the
reception of Erik Blood-axe, the other that of Hakon the Good.

When King Erik, with five other kings and their attendants of fallen
warriors, come riding up thither, the gods hear on their approach a
mighty din, as if the foundations of Asgard trembled. All the benches of
Valhal quake and tremble. What single probability can we now conceive as
to what the skald presupposed? Did he suppose that the chosen heroes came
on horses that swim in the air, and that the movements of the horses
in this element produced a noise that made Valhal tremble? Or that it
is Bifrost which thunders under the hoofs of hundreds of horses, and
quakes beneath their weight? There is scarcely need of an answer to this
alternative. Meanwhile the skald himself gives the answer. For the skald
makes Brage say that from the din and quaking it might be presumed that
it was Balder who was returning to the halls of the gods. Balder dwells
in the lower world; the connection between Asgard and the lower world is
Bifrost: this connection is of such a nature that it quakes and trembles
beneath the weight of horses and riders, and it is predicted in regard
to Bifrost that in Ragnarok it shall break under the weight of the host
of riders. Thus Brage's words show that it is Bifrost from which the
noise is heard when Erik and his men ride up to Valhal. But to get to
the southern end of Bifrost, Erik and his riders must have journeyed in
Hel, across Gjoll, and past the thingstead of the gods near Urd's well.
Thus it is by this road that the psychopomps of the heroes conduct their
favourites to their final destination.

In his grand poem "Hákonármal," Eyvind Skaldaspiller makes Odin send
the valkyries Gandul and Skagul "to choose among the kings of Yngve's
race some who are to come to Odin and abide in Valhal." It is not said
by which road the two valkyries betake themselves to Midgard, but when
they have arrived there they find that a battle is imminent between
the Yngve descendants, Hakon the Good, and the sons of Erik. Hakon is
just putting on his coat-of-mail, and immediately thereupon begins the
brilliantly-described battle. The sons of Erik are put to flight, but
the victor Hakon is wounded by an arrow, and after the end of the battle
he sits on the battlefield, surrounded by his heroes, "with shields cut
by swords and with byrnies pierced by arrows." Gandul and Skagul, "maids
on horseback, with wisdom in their countenances, with helmets on their
heads, and with shields before them," are near the king. The latter hears
that Gandul, "leaning on her spear," says to Skagul that the wound is to
cause the king's death, and now a conversation begins between Hakon and
Skagul, who confirms what Gandul has said, and does so with the following

  Rida vit nú skulum,
  kvad hin rika Skagul,
  græna heima goda
  Odni at segja,
  at un mun allvaldr koma
  á hann sjálfan at sjá.

"We two (Gandul and Skagul) shall now, quoth the mighty Skagul, _ride
o'er green realms_ (or worlds) _of the gods_ in order to say to Odin that
now a great king is coming to see him."

Here we get definite information in regard to which way the valkyries
journey between Asgard and Midgard. The fields through which the road
goes, and which are beaten by the hoofs of their horses, are _green
realms of the gods_ (worlds, _heimar_).

With these green realms Eyvind has not meant the blue ether.
He distinguishes between blue and green. The sea he calls blue
(_blámær_--see Heimskringla). What he expressly states, and to which we
must confine ourselves, is that, according to his cosmological conception
and that of his heathen fellow-believers, there were realms clothed in
green and inhabited by divinities on the route the valkyries had to
take when they from a battlefield in Midgard betook themselves back to
Valhal and Asgard. But as valkyries and the elect ride on Bifrost up to
Valhal, Bifrost, which goes down to Urd's well, must be the connecting
link between the realms decked with green and Asgard. The _grænar heimar_
through which the valkyries have to pass are therefore the realms of the
lower world.

Among the realms or "worlds" which constituted the mythological
universe, the realms of bliss in the lower world were those which might
particularly be characterised as the green. Their groves and blooming
meadows and fields of waving grain were never touched by decay or frost,
and as such they were cherished by the popular fancy for centuries after
the introduction of Christianity. The Low German language has also
rescued the memory thereof in the expression _gróni godes wang_ (Hel.,
94, 24). That the green realms of the lower world are called realms of
the gods is also proper, for they have contained and do contain many
beings of a higher or lower divine rank. There dwells the divine mother
Nat, worshipped by the Teutons; there Thor's mother and her brother and
sister Njord and Fulla are fostered; there Balder, Nanna, and _Hödr_
are to dwell until Ragnarok; there Delling, Billing, Rind, Dag, Mane,
and Sol, and all the clan of artists gathered around Mimer, they who
"smithy" living beings, vegetation, and ornaments, have their halls;
there was born Odin's son Vale. Of the mythological divinities, only
a small number were fostered in Asgard. When Gandul and Skagul at the
head of sword-fallen men ride "o'er the green worlds of the gods," this
agrees with the statement in the myth about Hermod's journey to Hel, that
"fylkes" of dead riders gallop over the subterranean gold-bridge, on the
other side of which glorious regions are situated, and with the statement
in Vegtamskvida that Odin, when he had left Nifelhel behind him, came to
a _foldvegr_, a way over green plains, by which he reaches the hall that
awaits Balder.

In the heroic songs of the Elder Edda, and in other poems from the
centuries immediately succeeding the introduction of Christianity, the
memory survives that the heroes journey to the lower world. Sigurd
Fafnersbane comes to Hel. Of one of Atle's brothers who fell by Gudrun's
sword it is said, _i Helju hon thana hafdi_ (Atlam., 51). In the same
poem, strophe 54, one of the Niflungs says of a sword-fallen foe that
they had him _lamdan til Heljar_.

The mythic tradition is supported by linguistic usage, which, in such
phrases as _berja i Hel_, _drepa i Hel_, _drepa til Heljar_, _færa til
Heljar_, indicated that those fallen by the sword also had to descend to
the realm of death.

The memory of valkyries, subordinate to the goddess of fate and death,
and belonging with her to the class of norns, continued to flourish in
Christian times both among Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians. Among the
former _välcyrge_, _välcyrre_ (valkyrie) could be used to express the
Latin _parca_, and in Beowulf occur phrases in which _Hild_ and _Gud_
(the valkyries _Hildr_ and _Gunnr_) perform the tasks of _Vyrd_. In
Atlamal (28), the valkyries are changed into "dead women," inhabitants
of the lower world, who came to choose the hero and invite him to their
halls. The basis of the transformation is the recollection that the
valkyries were not only in Odin's service, but also in that of the lower
world goddess Urd (compare Atlamal, 16, where they are called norns), and
that they as psychopomps conducted the chosen Heroes to Hel on their way
to Asgard.



If death on the battle-field, or as the result of wounds received on
the field of battle, had been regarded as an inevitable condition for
the admittance of the dead into Asgard, and for the honour of sitting
at Odin's table, then the choosing would under all circumstances have
been regarded as a favour from Odin. But this was by no means the case,
nor could it be so when regarded from a psychological point of view (see
above, No. 61). The poems mentioned above, "Eiriksmál" and "Hakonarmal,"
give us examples of choosing from a standpoint quite different from that
of favour. When one of the einherjes, Sigmund, learns from Odin that
Erik Blood-axe has fallen and is expected in Valhal, he asks why Odin
robbed Erik of victory and life, _although_ he, Erik, possessed Odin's
friendship. From Odin's answer to the question we learn that the skald
did not wish to make Sigmund express any surprise that a king, whom
Odin loves above other kings and heroes, has died in a lost instead of
a won battle. What Sigmund emphasises is, that Odin did not rather take
unto himself a less loved king than the so highly appreciated Erik, and
permit the latter to conquer and live. Odin's answer is that he is hourly
expecting Ragnarok, and that he therefore made haste to secure as soon as
possible so valiant a hero as Erik among his einherjes. But Odin does not
say that he feared that he might have to relinquish the hero for ever, in
case the latter, not being chosen on this battlefield, should be snatched
away by some other death than that by the sword.

Hakonarmal gives us an example of a king who is chosen in a battle in
which he is the victor. As conqueror the wounded Hakon remained on the
battlefield; still he looks upon the choosing as a disfavour. When he had
learned from Gandul's words to Skagul that the number of the einherjes is
to be increased with him, he blames the valkyries for dispensing to him
this fate, and says he had deserved a better lot from the gods (_várun
thó verdir gagns frá godum_). When he enters Valhal he has a keener
reproach on his lips to the welcoming Odin: _illúdigr mjók thykkir oss
Odinn vera, sjám ver hans of hugi_.

Doubtless it was for our ancestors a glorious prospect to be permitted to
come to Odin after death, and a person who saw inevitable death before
his eyes might comfort himself with the thought of soon seeing "the
benches of Balder's father decked for the feast" (Ragnar's death-song).
But it is no less certain from all the evidences we have from the heathen
time, that honourable life was preferred to honourable death, although
between the wars there was a chance of death from sickness. Under these
circumstances, the mythical eschatology could not have made death from
disease an insurmountable obstacle for warriors and heroes on their way
to Valhal. In the ancient records there is not the faintest allusion to
such an idea. It is too absurd to have existed. It would have robbed
Valhal of many of Midgard's most brilliant heroes, and it would have
demanded from faithful believers that they should prefer death even
with defeat to victory and life, since the latter lot was coupled with
the possibility of death from disease. With such a view no army goes
to battle, and no warlike race endowed with normal instincts has ever
entertained it and given it expression in their doctrine in regard to
future life.

The absurdity of the theory is so manifest that the mythologists who
have entertained it have found it necessary to find some way of making
it less inadmissible than it really is. They have suggested that Odin
did not necessarily fail to get those heroes whom sickness and age
threatened with a straw-death, nor did they need to relinquish the joys
of Valhal, for there remained to them an expedient to which they under
such circumstances resorted: they risted (marked, scratched) themselves
with the spear-point (_marka sik geirs-oddi_).

_If_ there was such a custom, we may conceive it as springing from a
sacredness attending a voluntary death as a sacrifice--a sacredness
which in all ages has been more or less alluring to religious minds. But
all the descriptions we have from Latin records in regard to Teutonic
customs, all our own ancient records from heathen times, all Northern
and German heroic songs, are unanimously and stubbornly silent about
the existence of the supposed custom of "risting with the spear-point,"
although, if it ever existed, it would have been just such a thing as
would on the one hand be noticed by strangers, and on the other hand
be remembered, at least for a time, by the generations converted to
Christianity. But the well-informed persons interviewed by Tacitus,
they who presented so many characteristic traits of the Teutons, knew
nothing of such a practice; otherwise they certainly would have mentioned
it as something very remarkable and peculiar to the Teutons. None of
the later classical Latin or middle age Latin records which have made
contributions to our knowledge of the Teutons have a single word to say
about it; nor the heroic poems. The Scandinavian records, and the more or
less historical sagas, tell of many heathen kings, chiefs, and warriors
who have died on a bed of straw, but not of a single one who "risted
himself with the spear-point." The fable about this "risting with the
spear-point" has its origin in Ynglingasaga, ch. 10, where Odin, changed
to a king in Svithiod, is said, when death was approaching, to have let
_marka sik geirs-oddi_. Out of this statement has been constructed a
custom among kings and heroes of anticipating a straw-death by "risting
with the spear-point," and this for the purpose of getting admittance
to Valhal. Vigfusson (Dictionary) has already pointed out the fact that
the author of Ynglingasaga had no other authority for his statement than
the passage in Havamál, where Odin relates that he wounded with a spear,
hungering and thirsting, voluntarily inflicted on himself pain, which
moved Bestla's brother to give him runes and a drink from the fountain
of wisdom. The fable about the spear-point risting, and its purpose,
is therefore quite unlike the source from which, through ignorance and
random writing, it sprang.



The psychopomps of those fallen by the sword are, as we have seen,
stately dises, sitting high in the saddle, with helmet, shield, and
spear. To those not destined to fall by the sword Urd sends other
maid-servants, who, like the former, may come on horseback, and who, as
it appears, are of very different appearance, varying in accordance with
the manner of death of those persons whose departure they attend. She who
comes to those who sink beneath the weight of years has been conceived
as a very benevolent dis, to judge from the solitary passage where she
is characterised, that is in Ynglingatal and in Ynglingasaga, ch. 49,
where it is said of the aged and just king Halfdan Whiteleg, that he was
taken hence by the woman, who is helpful to those bowed and stooping
(_hallvarps hlífinauma_). The burden which Elli (age), Utgard-Loke's
foster-mother (Gylfag., 47), puts on men, and which gradually gets too
heavy for them to bear, is removed by this kind-hearted dis.

Other psychopomps are of a terrible kind. The most of them belong to
the spirits of disease dwelling in Nifelhel (see No. 60). King Vanlande
is tortured to death by a being whose epithet, _vitta vættr_ and
_trollkund_, shows that she belongs to the same group as _Heidr_, the
prototype of witches, and who is contrasted with the valkyrie Hild by the
appellation _ljóna lids bága Grimhildr_ (Yngl., ch. 16). The same _vitta
vættr_ came to King Adils when his horse fell and he himself struck his
head against a stone (Yngl., ch. 33). Two kings, who die on a bed of
straw, are mentioned in Ynglingasaga's Thjodolf-strophes (ch. 20 and 52)
as visited by a being called in the one instance Loke's kinswoman (_Loka
mær_), and in the other Hvedrung's kinswoman (_Hvedrungs mær_). That this
Loke's kinswoman has no authority to determine life and death, but only
carries out the dispensations of the norns, is definitely stated in the
Thjodolf-strophe (ch. 52), and also that her activity, as one who brings
the invitation to the realm of death, does not imply that the person
invited is to be counted among the damned, although she herself, the
kinswoman of Loke, the daughter of Loke, surely does not belong to the
regions of bliss.

  Ok til things
  thridja jöfri
  hvedrungs mær
  or heimi baud,
  thá er Hálfdan,
  sa er á Holti bjó
  norna dóms
  um notit hafdi.

As _all_ the dead, whether they are destined for Valhal or for Hel (in
the sense of the subterranean realms of bliss), or for Nifelhel, must
first report themselves in Hel, their psychopomps, whether they dwell in
Valhal, Hel, or Nifelhel, must do the same. This arrangement is necessary
also from the point of view that the unhappy who "die from Hel into
Nifelhel" (Grimnersmal) must have attendants who conduct them from the
realms of bliss to the Na-gates, and thence to the realms of torture.
Those dead from disease, who have the subterranean kinswoman of Loke as
a guide, may be destined for the realms of bliss--then she delivers them
there; or be destined for Nifelhel--then they die under her care and are
brought by her through the Na-gates to the worlds of torture in Nifelhel.

Far down in Christian times the participle _leikinn_ was used in a
manner which points to something mythical as the original reason for
its application. In Biskupas, (i. 464) it is said of a man that he was
_leikinn_ by some magic being (_flagd_). Of another person who sought
solitude and talked with himself, it is said in Eyrbyggja (270) that
he was believed to be _leikinn_. Ynglingatal gives us the mythical
explanation of this word.

In its strophe about King Dyggve, who died from disease, this poem says
(Yngling., ch. 20) that, as the lower world dis had chosen him, Loke's
kinswoman came and made him _leikinn (Allvald Yngva thjodar Loka mær um
leikinn hefir)_. The person who became _leikinn_ is accordingly visited
by Loke's kinswoman, or, if others have had the same task to perform,
by some being who resembled her, and who brought psychical or physical

In our mythical records there is mention made of a giantess whose very
name, _Leikin_, _Leikn_, is immediately connected with that activity
which Loke's kinswoman--and she too is a giantess--exercises when she
makes a person _leikinn_. Of this personal _Leikin_ we get the following
information in our old records:

1. She is, as stated, of giant race (Younger Edda, i. 552).

2. She has once fared badly at Thor's hands. He broke her leg (_Leggi
brauzt thu Leiknar_--Skaldsk., ch. 4, after a song by Vetrlidi).

3. She is _kveldrida_. The original and mythological meaning of
_kveldrida_ is a horsewoman of torture or death (from _kvelja_, to
torture, to kill). The meaning, a horsewoman of the night, is a
misunderstanding. Compare Vigfusson's Dict., _sub voce_ "Kveld."

4. The horse which this woman of torture and death rides is black,
untamed, difficult to manage (_styggr_), and ugly-grown (_ljótvaxinn_).
It drinks human blood, and is accompanied by other horses belonging to
Leikin, black and bloodthirsty like it. (All this is stated by Hallfred
Vandradaskald.)[13] Perhaps these loose horses are intended for those
persons whom the horsewomen of torture causes to die from disease, and
whom she is to conduct to the lower world.

Popular traditions have preserved for our times the remembrance of the
"ugly-grown" horse, that is, of a three-legged horse, which on its
appearance brings sickness, epidemics, and plagues. The Danish popular
belief (Thiele i. 137, 138) knows this monster and the word Hel-horse has
been preserved in the vocabulary of the Danish language. The diseases
brought by the Hel-horse are extremely dangerous, but not always fatal.
When they are not fatal the convalescent is regarded as having ransomed
his life with that tribute of loss of strength and of torture which the
disease caused him, and in a symbolic sense he has then "given death a
bushel of oats" (that is, to its horse). According to popular belief in
Slesvik (Arnkiel, i. 55; cp. J. Grimm, _Deutsche Myth_, 804), Hel rides
in the time of a plague on a three-legged horse and kills people. Thus
the ugly-grown horse is not forgotten in traditions from the heathen time.

Völuspa inform us that in the primal age of man, the sorceress Heid went
from house to house and was a welcome guest with evil women, since she
_seid Leikin_ (_sida_ means to practise sorcery). Now, as Leikin is the
"horsewoman of torture and death," and rides the Hel-horse, then the
expression _sida Leikin_ can mean nothing else than by sorcery to send
Leikin, the messenger of disease and death, to those persons who are the
victims of the evil wishes of "evil women;" or, more abstractly, to bring
by sorcery dangerous diseases to men.[14]

From all this follows that Leikin is either a side-figure to the daughter
of Loke, and like her in all respects, or she and the Loke-daughter are
one and the same person. To determine the question whether they are
identical, we must observe (1) the definitely representative manner in
which Völuspa, by the use of the name Leikin, makes the possessor of this
name a mythic person, who visits men with diseases and death; (2) the
manner in which Ynglingatal characterises the activity of Loke's daughter
with a person doomed to die from disease; she makes him _leikinn_, an
expression which, without doubt, is in its sense connected with the
feminine name Leikn, and which was preserved in the vernacular far down
in Christian times, and there designated a supernatural visitation
bringing the symptoms of mental or physical illness; (3) the Christian
popular tradition in which the deformed and disease-bringing horse,
which Leikin rides in the myth, is represented as the steed of "death"
or "Hel;" (4) that change of meaning by which the name Hel, which in the
mythical poems of the Elder Edda designates the whole heathen realm of
death, and especially its regions of bliss, or their queen, got to mean
the abode of torture and misery and its ruler--a transmutation by which
the name Hel, as in Gylfaginning and in the Slesvik traditions, was
transferred from Urd to Loke's daughter.

Finally, it should be observed that it is told of Leikin, as of Loke's
daughter, that she once fared badly at the hands of the gods, who
did not, however, take her life. Loke's daughter is not slain, but
is cast into Nifelhel (Gylfaginning, ch. 34). From that time she is
_gnúpleit_--that is to say, she has a stooping form, as if her bones had
been broken and were unable to keep her in an upright position. Leikin is
not slain, but gets her legs broken.

All that we learn of Leikin thus points to the Loke-maid, the Hel, not of
the myth, but of Christian tradition.


  _Tidhöggvit lét tiggi
  Tryggvar sonr fyrir styggvan
  Leiknar hest á leiti
  ljotvaxinn hræ Saxa.

  Vinhrödigr gaf vida
  visi margra Frísa
  blókku brûnt at derkka
  blöd kvellridu stódi._

[14] Völuspa 23, Cod. Reg., says of Heid:

  _seid hon kuni,
  seid hon Leikin_.

The letter _u_ is in this manuscript used for both _u_ and _y_ (compare
Bugge, Sæmund Edd., Preface x., xi.), and hence _kuni_ may be read
both _kuni_ and _kyni_. The latter reading makes logical sense. _Kyni_
is dative of _kyn_, a neuter noun, meaning something sorcerous,
supernatural, a monster. _Kynjamein_ and _kynjasött_ mean diseases
brought on by sorcery. _Seid_ in both the above lines is past tense of
the verb _sida_, and not in either one of them the noun _seidr_.

There was a sacred sorcery and an unholy one, according to the purpose
for which it was practised, and according to the attending ceremonies.
The object of the holy sorcery was to bring about something good either
for the sorcerer or for others, or to find out the will of the gods and
future things. The sorcery practised by _Heidr_ is the unholy one, hated
by the gods, and again and again forbidden in the laws, and this kind
of sorcery is designated in Völuspa by the term _sida kyni_. Of a thing
practised with improper means it is said that it is not _kynja-lauss_,

The reading in Cod. Hauk., _seid hon hvars hon kunni, seid hon
hugleikin_, evidently has some "emendator" to thank for its existence who
did not understand the passage and wished to substitute something easily
understood for the obscure lines he thought he had found.



It has already been demonstrated that all the dead must go to Hel--not
only they whose destination is the realm of bliss, but also those who
are to dwell in Asgard or in the regions of torture in Nifelheim. Thus
the dead tread at the outset the same road. One and the same route is
prescribed to them all, and the same Helgate daily opens for hosts of
souls destined for different lots. Women and children, men and the aged,
they who have practised the arts of peace and they who have stained
the weapons with blood, those who have lived in accordance with the
sacred commandments of the norns and gods and they who have broken
them--all have to journey the same way as Balder went before them, down
to the fields of the fountains of the world. They come on foot and on
horseback--nay, even in chariots, if we may believe _Helreid Brynhildar_,
a very unreliable source--guided by various psychopomps: the beautifully
equipped valkyries, the blue-white daughter of Loke, the sombre spirits
of disease, and the gentle maid-servant of old age. Possibly the souls of
children had their special psychopomps. Traditions of mythic origin seem
to suggest this; but the fragments of the myths themselves preserved to
our time give us no information on this subject.

The Hel-gate here in question was situated below the eastern horizon of
the earth. When Thor threatens to kill Loke he says (Lokas., 59) that he
will send him _á austrvega_. When the author of the Sol-song sees the
sunset for the last time, he hears in the opposite direction--that is,
in the east--the Hel-gate grating dismally on its hinges (str. 39). The
gate has a watchman and a key. The key is called _gillingr_, _gyllingr_
(Younger Edda, ii. 494); and hence a skald who celebrates his ancestors
in his songs, and thus recalls to those living the shades of those in
Hades, may say that he brings to the light of day the tribute paid to
Gilling (_yppa gillings gjöldum_. See Eyvind's strophe, Younger Edda,
i. 248. The paraphrase has hitherto been misunderstood, on account of
the pseudo-myth _Bragarædur_ about the mead.) From the gate the highway
of the dead went below the earth in a westerly direction through deep
and dark dales (Gylfag., ch. 52), and it required several days--for
Hermod nine days and nights--before they came to light regions and to
the golden bridge across the river Gjoll, flowing from north to south
(see No. 59). On the other side of the river the roads forked. One road
went directly north. This led to Balder's abode (Gylfag., ch. 52); in
other words, to Mimer's realm, to Mimer's grove, and to the sacred
citadel of the _ásmegir_, where death and decay cannot enter (see No.
53). This northern road was not, therefore, the road common to all the
dead. Another road went to the south. As Urd's realm is situated south
of Mimer's (see Nos. 59, 63), this second road must have led to Urd's
fountain and to the thingstead of the gods there. From the Sun-song we
learn that the departed had to continue their journey by that road.
The deceased skald of the Sun-song came to the norns, that is to say,
to Urd and her sisters, after he had left this road behind him, and he
sat for nine days and nights _á norna stoli_ before he was permitted to
continue his journey (str. 51). Here, then, is the end of the road common
to all, and right here, at Urd's fountain and at the thingstead of the
gods something must happen, on which account the dead are divided into
different groups, some destined for Asgard, others for the subterranean
regions of bliss, and a third lot for Nifelhel's regions of torture.
We shall now see whether the mythic fragments preserved to our time
contain any suggestions as to what occurs in this connection. It must be
admitted that this dividing must take place somewhere in the lower world,
that it was done on the basis of the laws which in mythological ethics
distinguish between right and wrong, innocence and guilt, that which is
pardonable and that which is unpardonable, and that the happiness and
unhappiness of the dead is determined by this division.



The Asas have two thingsteads: the one in Asgard, the other in the lower

In the former a council is held and resolutions passed in such matters as
pertain more particularly to the clan of the Asas and to their relation
to other divine clans and other powers. When Balder is visited by ugly
dreams, Valfather assembles the gods to hold counsel, and all the Asas
assemble _á thingi_, and all the asynjes _á máli_ (Vegtamskv., 1;
Balder's Dr., 4). In assemblies here the gods resolved to exact an oath
from all things for Balder's safety, and to send a messenger to the lower
world to get knowledge partly about Balder, partly about future events.
On this thingstead efforts are made of reconciliation between the Asas
and the Vans, after Gulveig had been slain in Odin's hall (Völuspa, 23,
24). Hither (á thing goda) comes Thor with the kettle captured from
Hymer, and intended for the feasts of the gods (Hymerskv., 39); and
here the Asas hold their last deliberations, when Ragnarok is at hand
(Völuspa, 49: _Æsir 'ro a thingi_). No matters are mentioned as discussed
in this thingstead in which any person is interested who does not dwell
in Asgard, or which are not of such a nature that they have reference to
how the gods themselves are to act under particular circumstances. That
the thingstead where such questions are discussed must be situated in
Asgard itself is a matter of convenience, and is suggested by the very
nature of the case.

It follows that the gods assemble in the Asgard thingstead more for the
purpose of discussing their own interests than for that of judging in
the affairs of others. They also gather there to amuse themselves and to
exercise themselves in arms (Gylfaginning, 50).

Of the other thingstead of the Asas, of the one in the lower world, it
is on the other hand expressly stated that they go thither to sit in
judgment, to act as judges; and there is no reason for taking this word
_dæma_, when as here it means activity at a thingstead, in any other than
its judicial and common sense.

What matters are settled there? We might take this to be the proper
place for exercising Odin's privilege of choosing heroes to be slain by
the sword, since this right is co-ordinate with that of the norns to
determine life and dispense fate, whence it might seem that the domain
of the authority of the gods and that of the norns here approached
each other sufficiently to require deliberations and decisions in
common. Still it is not on the thingstead at Urd's fountain that Odin
elects persons for death by the sword. It is expressly stated that it
is in his own home in Valhal that Odin exercises his right of electing
(Grimnersmal, 8), and this right he holds so independently and so
absolutely that he does not need to ask for the opinion of the norns.
On the other hand, the gods have no authority to determine the life and
death of the other mortals. This belongs exclusively to the norns. The
norns elect for every other death but that by weapons, and their decision
in this domain is never called a decision by the gods, but _norna domr,
norna kvidr, freigdar ord, Dauda ord_.

If Asas and norns did have a common voice in deciding certain questions
which _could_ be settled in Asgard, then it would not be in accordance
with the high rank given to the Asas in mythology to have them go to the
norns for the decision of such questions. On the contrary, the norns
would have to come to them. Urd and her sisters are beings of high rank,
but nevertheless they are of giant descent, like Mimer. The power they
have is immense; and on a closer investigation we find how the mythology
in more than one way has sought to maintain in the fancy of its believers
the independence (at least apparent and well defined, within certain
limits) of the gods--an independence united with the high rank which they
have. It may have been for this very reason that the youngest of the
dises of fate, Skuld, was selected as a valkyrie, and as a maid-servant
both of Odin and of her sister Urd.

The questions in which the Asas are judges near Urd's fountain must
be such as _cannot_ be settled in Asgard, as the lower world is their
proper forum, where both the parties concerned and the witnesses are to
be found. The questions are of great importance. This is evident already
from the fact that the journey to the thingstead is a troublesome one for
the gods, at least for Thor, who, to get thither, must wade across four
rivers. Moreover, the questions are of such a character that they occur
every day (Grimnersmal, 29, 31).

At this point of the investigation the results hitherto gained from the
various premises unite themselves in the following manner:

The Asas _daily_ go to the thingstead near Urd's fountain. At the
thingstead near Urd's fountain there _daily_ arrive hosts of the dead.

The task of the Asas near Urd's fountain is to judge in questions of
which the lower world is the proper forum. When the dead arrive at Urd's
fountain their final doom is not yet sealed. They have not yet been
separated into the groups which are to be divided between Asgard, Hel,
and Nifelhel.

The question now is, Can we conceive that the daily journey of the
Asas to Urd's fountain and the daily arrival there of the dead have no
connection with each other?--That the judgments daily pronounced by the
Asas at this thingstead, and that the daily event in accordance with
which the dead at this thingstead are divided between the realms of
bliss and those of torture have nothing in common?

That these mythological facts should have no connection with each other
is hard to conceive for anyone who, in doubtful questions, clings to that
which is probable rather than to the opposite. The probability becomes a
certainty by the following circumstances:

Of the kings Vanlande and Halfdan, Ynglingatal says that after death they
met Odin. According to the common view presented in our mythological
text-books, this should not have happened to either of them, since both
of them died from disease. One of them was visited and fetched by that
choking spirit of disease called _vitta vættr_, and in this way he was
permitted "to meet Odin" (_kom a vit Vilja brodur_). The other was
visited by _Hvedrungs mær_, the daughter of Loke, who "called him from
this world to Odin's Thing."

  Ok til things
  thridja jöfri
  Hvedrungs mær
  or heimi baud.

_Thing-bod_ means a legal summons to appear at a Thing, at the seat of
judgment. _Bjoda til things_ is to perform this legal summons. Here it is
Hvedrung's kinswoman who comes with sickness and death and _thing-bod_
to King Halfdan, and summons him to appear before the judgment-seat of
Odin. As, according to mythology, all the dead, and as, according to the
mythological text-books, at least all those who have died from disease
must go to Hel, then certainly King Halfdan, who died from disease, must
descend to the lower world; and as there is a Thing at which Odin and
the Asas daily sit in judgment, it must have been this to which Halfdan
was summoned. Otherwise we would be obliged to assume that Hvedrung's
kinswoman, Loke's daughter, is a messenger, not from the lower world and
Urd, but from Asgard, although the strophe further on expressly states
that she comes to Halfdan on account of "the doom of the norns;" and
furthermore we would be obliged to assume that the king, who had died
from sickness, after arriving in the lower world, did not present himself
at Odin's court there, but continued his journey to Asgard, to appear at
some of the accidental deliberations which are held at the thingstead
there. The passage proves that at least those who have died from sickness
have to appear at the court which is held by Odin in the lower world.



In Sigrdrifumal (str. 12) we read:

  Málrunar skaltu kunna,
  vilt-ar magni ther
  heiptom gjaldi harm;
  thær um vindr,
  thær um vefr,
  thær um setr allar saman
  a thvi thingi,
  er thjothir scolo
  i fulla doma fara.

"Speech-runes you must know, if you do not wish that the strong one with
consuming woe shall requite you for the injury you have caused. All those
runes you must wind, weave, and place together in that Thing where the
host of people go into the full judgments."

In order to make the significance of this passage clear, it is necessary
to explain the meaning of speech-runes or mal-runes.

Several kinds of runes are mentioned in Sigrdrifumal, all of a magic
and wonderful kind. Among them are mal-runes (speech-runes). They have
their name from the fact that they are able to restore to a tongue mute
or silenced in death the power to _mæla_ (speak). Odin employs mal-runes
when he rists _i runom_, so that a corpse from the gallows comes and
_mælir_ with him (Havam., 157). According to Saxo (i. 38), Hadding places
a piece of wood risted with runes under the tongue of a dead man. The
latter then recovers consciousness and the power of speech, and sings a
terrible song. This is a reference to mal-runes. In Gudrunarkvida (i.)
it is mentioned how Gudrun, mute and almost lifeless (_hon gordiz at
deyja_), sat near Sigurd's dead body. One of the kinswomen present lifts
the napkin off from Sigurd's head. By the sight of the features of the
loved one Gudrun awakens again to life, bursts into tears, and is able
to speak. The evil Brynhild then curses the being (_vettr_) which "gave
mal-runes to Gudrun," that is to say, freed her tongue, until then sealed
as in death.

Those who are able to apply these mighty runes are very few. Odin boasts
that he knows them. Sigrdrifva, who also is skilled in them, is a dis,
not a daughter of man. The runes which Hadding applied were risted by
Hardgrep, a giantess who protected him. But within the court here in
question men come in great numbers (_thjódir_), and among them there
must be but a small number who have penetrated so deeply into the secret
knowledge of runes. For those who have done so it is of importance
and advantage. For by them they are able to defend themselves against
complaints, the purpose of which is "to requite with consuming woe the
harm they have done." In the court they are able to _mæla_ (speak) in
their own defence.

Thus it follows that those hosts of people who enter this thingstead
stand there with speechless tongues. They are and remain mute before
their judges unless they know the mal-runes which are able to loosen
the fetters of their tongues. Of the dead man's tongue it is said in
Solarljod (44) that it is _til trés metin ok kolnat alt fyr utan_.

The sorrow or harm one has caused is requited in this Thing by _heiptir_,
unless the accused is able--thanks to the mal-runes--to speak and give
reasons in his defence. In Havamál (151) the word _heiptir_ has the
meaning of something supernatural and magical. It has a similar meaning
here, as Vigfusson has already pointed out. The magical mal-runes,
wound, woven, and placed together, form as it were a garb of protection
around the defendant against the magic _heiptir_. In the Havamál strophe
mentioned the skald makes Odin paraphrase, or at least partly explain,
the word _heiptir_ with _mein_, which "eat" their victims. It is in
the nature of the myth to regard such forces as personal beings. We
have already seen the spirits of disease appear in this manner (see No.
60). The _heiptir_ were also personified. They were the Erinnyes of the
Teutonic mythology, armed with scourges of thorns (see below).

He who at the Thing particularly dispenses the law of requital is called
_magni_. The word has a double meaning, which appears in the verb
_magna_, which means both to make strong and to operate with supernatural

From all this it must be sufficiently plain that the Thing here referred
to is not the Althing in Iceland or the Gulathing in Norway, or any other
Thing held on the surface of the earth. The thingstead here discussed
must be situated in one of the mythical realms, between which the earth
was established. And it must be superhuman beings of higher or lower rank
who there occupy the judgment-seats and requite the sins of men with
_heiptir_. But in Asgard men do not enter with their tongues sealed in
death. For the einherjes who are invited to the joys of Valhal there are
no _heiptir_ prepared. Inasmuch as the mythology gives us information
about only two thingsteads where superhuman beings deliberate and
judge--namely, the Thing in Asgard and the Thing near Urd's fountain--and
inasmuch as it is, in fact, only in the latter that the gods act as
judges, we are driven by all the evidences to the conclusion that
Sigrdrifumal has described to us that very thingstead at which Hvedrung's
kinswoman summoned King Halfdan to appear after death.

Sigrdrifumal, using the expression _á thvi_, sharply distinguished this
thingstead or court from all others. The poem declares that it means
_that_ Thing where hosts of people go into _full_ judgments. "Full"
are those judgments against which no formal or real protests can be
made--decisions which are irrevocably valid. The only kind of judgments
of which the mythology speaks in this manner, that is, characterises as
judgments that "never die," are those "over each one dead."

This brings us to the well-known and frequently-quoted strophes in

Str. 76.

  Deyr fæ,
  deyja frændr,
  deyr sialfr it sama;
  enn orztirr
  deyr aldregi
  hveim er ser godan getr.

Str. 77.

  Deyr fæ,
  deyja frændr,
  deyr sialfr it sama;
  ec veit einn
  at aldri deyr:
  domr um daudan hvern.

(76) "Your cattle shall die; your kindred shall die; you yourself shall
die; but the fair fame of him who has earned it never dies."

(77) "Your cattle shall die; your kindred shall die; you yourself shall
die; one thing I know which never dies: the judgment on each one dead."

Hitherto these passages have been interpreted as if Odin or Havamál's
skald meant to say--What you have of earthly possessions is perishable;
your kindred and yourself shall die. But I know one thing that never
dies: the reputation you acquired among men, the posthumous fame
pronounced on your character and on your deeds: that reputation is
immortal, that fame is imperishable.

But can this have been the meaning intended to be conveyed by the skald?
And could these strophes, which, as it seems, were widely known in the
heathendom of the North, have been thus understood by their hearers and
readers? Did not Havamál's author, and the many who listened to and
treasured in their memories these words of his, know as well as all other
persons who have some age and experience, that in the great majority of
cases the fame acquired by a person scarcely survives a generation, and
passes away together with the very memory of the deceased?

Could it have escaped the attention of the Havamál skald and his hearers
that the number of mortals is so large and increases so immensely with
the lapse of centuries that the capacity of the survivors to remember
them is utterly insufficient?

Was it not a well-established fact, especially among the Germans, before
they got a written literature, that the skaldic art waged, so to speak,
a desperate conflict with the power of oblivion, in order to rescue at
least the names of the most distinguished heroes and kings, but that
nevertheless thousands of chiefs and warriors were after the lapse of a
few generations entirely forgotten?

Did not Havamál's author know that millions of men have, in the course of
thousands of years, left this world without leaving so deep footprints
in the sands of time that they could last even through one generation?

Every person of some age and experience has known this, and Havamál's
author too. The lofty strains above quoted do not seem to be written by a
person wholly destitute of worldly experience.

The assumption that Havamál with that judgment on each one dead, which is
said to be imperishable, had reference to the opinion of the survivors in
regard to the deceased attains its climax of absurdity when we consider
that the poem expressly states that it means the judgment on _every_
dead person--"_domr um daudan hvern_." In the cottage lying far, far
in the deep forest dies a child, hardly known by others than by its
parents, who, too, are soon to be harvested by death. But the judgment
of the survivors in regard to this child's character and deeds is to be
imperishable, and the good fame it acquired during its brief life is to
live for ever on the lips of posterity! Perhaps it is the sense of the
absurdity to which the current assumption leads on this point that has
induced some of the translators to conceal the word _hvern_ (every) and
led them to translate the words _domr um daudan hvern_ in an arbitrary
manner with "judgment on the dead man."

If we now add that the judgment of posterity on one deceased,
particularly if he was a person of great influence, very seldom is so
unanimous, reliable, well-considered, and free from prejudice that in
these respects it ought to be entitled to permanent validity, then we
find that the words of the Havamál strophes attributed to Odin's lips,
when interpreted as hitherto, are not words of wisdom, but the most
stupid twaddle ever heard declaimed in a solemn manner.

There are two reasons for the misunderstanding--the one is formal, and
is found in the word _ords-tirr_ (str. 76); the other reason is that
Gylfaginning, which too long has had the reputation of being a reliable
and exhaustive codification of the scattered statements of the mythic
sources, has nothing to say about a court for the dead. It knows that,
according to the doctrine of the heathen fathers, good people come to
regions of bliss, the wicked to Nifelhel; but who he or they were who
determined how far a dead person was worthy of the one fate or the other,
on this point Gylfaginning has not a word to say. From the silence of
this authority, the conclusion has been drawn that a court summoning
the dead within its forum was not to be found in Teutonic mythology,
although other Aryan and non-Aryan mythologies have presented such a
judgment-seat, and that the Teutonic fancy, though always much occupied
with the affairs of the lower world and with the conditions of the dead
in the various realms of death, never felt the necessity of conceiving
for itself clear and concrete ideas of how and through whom the deceased
were determined for bliss or misery. The ecclesiastical conception, which
postpones the judgment to the last day of time and permits the souls
of the dead to be transferred, without any special act of judgment, to
heaven, to purgatory, or to hell, has to some extent contributed to
making us familiar with this idea which was foreign to the heathens. From
this it followed that scholars have been blind to the passages in our
mythical records which speak of a court in the lower world, and they
have either read them without sufficient attention (as, for instance,
the above-quoted statements of Ynglingatal, which it is impossible to
harmonise with the current conception), or interpreted them in an utterly
absurd manner (which is the case with Sigrdrifumal, str. 12), or they
have interpolated assumptions, which, on a closer inspection, are reduced
to nonsense (as is the case with the Havamál strophes), or given them
a possible, but improbable, interpretation (thus Sonatorrek, 19). The
compound _ordstirr_ is composed of _ord_, _gen_, _ords_, and _tirr_. The
composition is of so loose a character that the two parts are not blended
into a _new_ word. The sign of the gen. _-s_ is retained, and shows that
_ordstirr_, like _lofstirr_, is not in its sense and in its origin a
compound, but is written as one word, probably on account of the laws of
accentuation. The more original meaning of _ordstirr_ is, therefore, to
be found in the sense of _ords tirr_.

_Tirr_ means reputation in a good sense, but still not in a sense so
decidedly good but that a qualifying word, which makes the good meaning
absolute, is sometimes added. Thus in _lofs-tirr_, laudatory reputation;
_gódr tirr_, good reputation. In the Havamál strophe 76, above-quoted,
the possibility of an _ords tirr_ which is not good is presupposed. See
the last line of the strophe.

So far as the meaning of _ord_ is concerned, we must leave its relatively
more modern and grammatical sense (word) entirely out of the question.
Its older signification is an utterance (one which may consist of many
"words" in a grammatical sense), a command, a result, a judgment; and
these older significations have long had a conscious existence in the
language. Compare Fornmanna, ii. 237: "The first word: All shall be
Christians; the second word: All heathen temples and idols shall be
unholy," &c.

In Völuspa (str. 27) _ord_ is employed in the sense of an established law
or judgment among the divine powers, _a gengoz eidar, ord oc særi_, where
the treaties between the Asas and gods, solemnised by oaths, were broken.

When _ord_ occurs in purely mythical sources, it is most frequently
connected with judgments pronounced in the lower world, and sent from
Urd's fountain to their destination. _Urdar ord_ is Urd's judgment, which
must come to pass (Fjölsvinnsm., str. 48), no matter whether it concerns
life or death. _Feigdar ord_, a judgment determining death, comes to
Fjolner, and is fulfilled "where Frode dwelt" (Yng.-tal, Heimskr., 14).
_Dauda ord_, the judgment of death, awaited Dag the Wise, when he came to
Vorva (Yng.-tal, Heimskr., 21). To a subterranean judgment refers also
the expression _bana-ord_, which frequently occurs.

Vigfusson (Dict., 466) points out the possibility of an etymological
connection between _ord_ and _Urdr_. He compares _word_ (_ord_) and
_wurdr_ (_urdr_), _word_ and _weird_ (fate, goddess of fate). Doubtless
there was, in the most ancient time, a mythical idea-association between

These circumstances are to be remembered in connection with the
interpretation of _ordstirr_, _ords-tirr_ in Havamál, 76. The real
meaning of the phrase to be; reputation based on a decision, on an
utterance of authority.

When _ordstirr_ had blended into a compound word, there arose by the side
of its literal meaning another, in which the accent fell so heavily on
_tirr_ that _ord_ is superfluous and gives no additional meaning of a
judgment on which this _tirr_ is based. Already in Hofudlausn (str. 26)
_ordstirr_ is used as a compound, meaning simply honourable reputation,
honour. There is mention of a victory which Erik Blood-axe won, and it is
said that he thereby gained _ordstirr_ (renown).

In interpreting Havamál (76) it would therefore seem that we must choose
between the proper and figurative sense of _ordstirr_. The age of the
Havamál strophe is not known. If it was from it Eyvind Skaldaspiller drew
his _deyr fé, deyja frændr_, which he incorporated in his drapa on Hakon
the Good, who died in 960, then the Havamál strophe could not be composed
later than the middle of the tenth century. Hofudlausn was composed by
Egil Skallagrimson in the year 936 or thereabout. From a chronological
point of view there is therefore nothing to hinder our applying the less
strict sense, "honourable reputation, honour," to the passage in question.

But there are other hindrances. If the Havamál skald with _ords-tirr_
meant "honourable reputation, honour," he could not, as he has done,
have added the condition which he makes in the last line of the strophe:
_hveim er ser godan getr_, for the idea "good" would then already be
contained in ordstirr. If in spite of this we would take the less strict
sense, we must subtract from _ordstirr_ the meaning of _honourable_
reputation, _honour_, and conceive the expression to mean simply
reputation in general, a meaning which the word never had.

We are therefore forced to the conclusion that the meaning of
court-decision, judgment, which _ord_ has not only in Ynglingatal and
Fjölsvinnsmal, but also in linguistic usage, was clear to the author of
the Havamál strophe, and that he applied _ords tirr_ in its original
sense and was speaking of imperishable judgments.

It should also have been regarded as a matter of course that the judgment
which, according to the Havamál strophe (77), is passed on everyone dead,
and which itself never dies, must have been prepared by a court whose
decision could not be questioned or set aside, and that the judgment
must have been one whose influence is eternal, for the infinity of the
judgment itself can only depend on the infinity of its operation. That
the more or less vague opinions sooner or later committed to oblivion
in regard to a deceased person should be supposed to contain such a
judgment, and to have been meant by the immortal doom over the dead, I
venture to include among the most extraordinary interpretations ever

Both the strophes are, as is evident from the first glance, most
intimately connected with each other. Both begin: _deyr fæ, deyja
frændr_. _Ord_ in the one strophe corresponds to _domr_ in the other.
The latter strophe declares that the judgment on _every_ dead person
is imperishable, and thus completes the more limited statement of the
foregoing strophe, that the judgment which gives a good renown is
everlasting. The former strophe speaks of only _one_ category of men who
have been subjected to an ever-valid judgment, namely of that category
to whose honour the eternal judgment is pronounced. The second strophe
speaks of both the categories, and assures us that the judgment on the
one as on the other category is everlasting.

The strophes are by the skald attributed to Odin's lips. Odin pronounces
judgment every day near Urd's fountain at the court to which King Halfdan
was summoned, and where hosts of people with fettered tongues await their
final destiny (see above.) The assurances in regard to the validity of
the judgment on everyone dead are thus given by a being who really may be
said to know what he talks about (_ec veit_, &c.), namely, by the judge

In the poem Sonatorrek the old Egil Skallagrimson laments the loss of
sons and kindred, and his thoughts are occupied with the fate of his
children after death. When he speaks of his son Gunnar, who in his tender
years was snatched away by a sickness, he says (str. 19):

  Son minn
  sóttar brimi
  ór heimi nam,
  thann ec veit
  at varnadi
  vamma varr
  vid námæli.

"A fatal fire of disease (fever?) snatched from this world a son of mine,
of whom I know that he, careful as he was in regard to sinful deeds, took
care of himself for _námæli_."

To understand this strophe correctly, we must know that the skald in the
preceding 17th, as in the succeeding 20th, strophe, speaks of Gunnar's
fate in the lower world.

The word _námæli_ occurs nowhere else, and its meaning is not known. It
is of importance to our subject to find it out.

In those compounds of which the first part is _ná-_, _ná_ may be the
adverbial prefix, which means _near by_, _by the side of_, or it may be
the substantive _nár_, which means a corpse, dead body, and in a mythical
sense one damned, one who dies for the second time and comes to Nifelhel
(see No. 60). The question is now, to begin with, whether it is the
adverbial prefix or the substantive _ná-_ which we have in _námæli_.

Compounds which have the adverbial _ná_ as the first part of the word are
very common. In all of them the prefix _ná-_ implies nearness in space or
in kinship, or it has the signification of some thing correct or exact.

(1) In regard to space: _nábúd_, _nábúi_, _nábýli_, _nágranna_,
_nágranni_, _nágrennd_, _nágrenni_, _nákommin_, _nákvæma_, _nákvæmd_,
_nákvæmr_, _náleid_, _nálægd_, _nálægjast_, _nálægr_, _námunda_,
_násessi_, _náseta_, _násettr_, _násæti_, _návera_, _náverukona_,
_náverandi_, _návist_, _návistarkona_, _návistarmadr_, _návistarvitni_.

(2) In regard to friendship: _náborinn_, _náfrændi_, _náfrændkona_,
_námagr_, _náskyldr_, _nástædr_, _náongr_.

(3) In regard to correctness, exactness: _nákvæmi_, _nákvæmliga_,

The idea of correctness comes from the combination of _ná-_ and _kvæmi_,
_kvæmliga_, _kvæmr_. The exact meaning is--_that which comes near to_,
and which in that sense is precise, exact, to the point.

These three cases exhaust the meanings of the adverbial prefix _ná_-. I
should consider it perilous, and as the abandoning of solid ground under
the feet, if we, without evidence from the language tried, as has been
done, to give it another hitherto unknown signification.

But none of these meanings can be applied to _námæli_. In analogy with
the words under (1) it can indeed mean "An oration held near by;" but
this signification produces no sense in the above passage, the only place
where it is found.

In another group of words the prefix _ná_-is the noun _nár_. Here belong
_nábjargir_, _nábleikr_, _nágrindr_, _nágöll_, _náreid_, _nástrandir_,
and other words.

_Mæli_ means a declamation, an oration, an utterance, a reading, or
the proclamation of a law. _Mæla_, _mælandi_, _formælandi_, _formæli_,
_nymæli_, are used in legal language. _Formælandi_ is a defendant in
court. _Formæli_ is his speech or plea. _Nymæli_ is a law read or
published for the first time.

_Mæli_ can take either a substantive or adjective as prefix. Examples:
_Gudmæli_, _fullmæli_. _Ná_ from _nár_ can be used as a prefix both to a
noun and to an adjective. Examples: _nágrindr_, _nábleikr_.

_Námæli_ should accordingly be an oration, a declaration, a proclamation,
in regard to _nár_. From the context we find that _námæli_ is something
dangerous, something to look out for. Gunnar is dead and is gone to the
lower world, which contains not only happiness but also terrors; but his
aged father, who in another strophe of the poem gives to understand that
he had adhered faithfully to the religious doctrines of his fathers, is
convinced that his son has avoided the dangers implied in _námæli_, as
he had no sinful deed to blame himself for. In the following strophe
(20) he expressed his confidence that the deceased had been adopted by
_Gauta spjalli_, a friend of Odin in the lower world, and had landed in
the realm of happiness. (In regard to _Gauta spjalli_ see further on. The
expression is applicable both to Mimer and Honer).

_Námæli_ must, therefore, mean a declaration (1) that is dangerous; (2)
which does not affect a person who has lived a blameless life; (3) which
refers to the dead and affects those who have not been _vamma varir_, on
the look-out against blameworthy and criminal deeds.

The passage furnishes additional evidence that the dead in the lower
world make their appearance in order to be judged, and it enriches
our knowledge of the mythological eschatology with a technical term
(_námæli_) for that judgment which sends sinners to travel through the
Na-gates to Nifelhel. The opposite of _námæli_ is _ords tirr_, that
judgment which gives the dead fair renown, and both kinds of judgments
are embraced in the phrase _domr um daudan_. _Námæli_ is a proclamation
for _náir_, just as _nágrindr_ are gates and _nástrandir_ are strands for



Those hosts which are conducted by their psychopomps to the Thing near
Urd's fountain proceed noiselessly. It is a silent journey. The bridge
over _Gjöll_ scarcely resounds under the feet of the death-horses and of
the dead (Gylfaginning). The tongues of the shades are sealed (see No.

This thingstead has, like all others, had its judgment-seats. Here are
seats (in Völuspa called _rökstólar_) for the holy powers acting as
judges. There is also a rostrum (_á thularstóli at Urdar brunni_--Havam.,
111) and benches or chairs for the dead (compare the phrase, _falla
á Helpalla_--Fornald., i. 397, and the sitting of the dead one, _á
nornastóli_--Solarlj., 51). Silent they must receive their doom unless
they possess mal-runes (see No. 70).

The dead should come well clad and ornamented. Warriors bring their
weapons of attack and defence. The women and children bring ornaments
that they were fond of in life. Hades-pictures of those things which
kinsmen and friends placed in the grave-mounds accompany the dead
(Hakonarm., 17; Gylfaginning, 52) as evidence to the judge that they
enjoyed the devotion and respect of their survivors. The appearance
presented by the shades assembled in the Thing indicates to what extent
the survivors heed the law, which commands respect for the dead and care
for the ashes of the departed.

Many die under circumstances which make it impossible for their kinsmen
to observe these duties. Then strangers should take the place of kindred.
The condition in which these shades come to the Thing shows best whether
piety prevails in Midgard; for noble minds take to heart the advices
found as follows in Sigrdrifumal, 33, 34: "Render the last service to the
corpses you find on the ground, whether from sickness they have died,
or are drowned, or are from weapons dead. Make a bath for those who are
dead, wash their hands and their head, comb them and wipe them dry, ere
in the coffin you lay them, and pray for their happy sleep."

It was, however, not necessary to wipe the blood off from the byrnie of
one fallen by the sword. It was not improper for the elect to make their
entrance in Valhal in a bloody coat of mail. Eyvind Skaldaspiller makes
King Hakon come all stained with blood (_allr i dreyra drifinn_) into the
presence of Odin.

When the gods have arrived from Asgard, dismounted from their horses
(Gylfag.) and taken their judges' seats, the proceedings begin, for the
dead are then in their places, and we may be sure that their psychopomps
have not been slow on their Thing-journey. Somewhere on the way the
Hel-shoes must have been tried; those who ride to Valhal must then have
been obliged to dismount. The popular tradition first pointed out by
Walter Scott and J. Grimm about the need of such shoes for the dead and
about a thorn-grown heath, which they have to cross, is not of Christian
but of heathen origin. Those who have shown mercy to fellowmen that in
this life, in a figurative sense, had to travel thorny paths, do not need
to fear torn shoes and bloody feet (W. Scott, _Minstrelsy_, ii.); and
when they are seated on Urd's benches, their very shoes are, by their
condition, a conspicuous proof in the eyes of the court that they who
have exercised mercy are worthy of mercy.

The Norse tradition preserved in Gisle Surson's saga in regard to the
importance for the dead to be provided with shoes reappears as a popular
tradition, first in England, and then several places (Müllenhoff,
_Deutsche Alt._, v. 1, 114; J. Grimm., _Myth._, iii. 697; nachtr., 349;
Weinhold, _Altn. Leb._, 494; Mannhardt in _zeitschr. f. deutsch. Myth._,
iv. 420; Simrock, _Myth._, v. 127). _Visio Godeschalci_ describes a
journey which the pious Holstein peasant Godeskalk, belonging to the
generation immediately preceding that which by Vicelin was converted to
Christianity, believed he had made in the lower world. There is mentioned
an immensely large and beautiful linden-tree hanging full of shoes, which
were handed down to such dead travellers as had exercised mercy during
their lives. When the dead had passed this tree they had to cross a
heath two miles wide, thickly grown with thorns, and then they came to
a river full of irons with sharp edges. The unjust had to wade through
this river, and suffered immensely. They were cut and mangled in every
limb; but when they reached the other strand, their bodies were the same
as they had been when they began crossing the river. Compare with this
statement Solarljod, 42, where the dying skald hears the roaring of
subterranean streams mixed with much blood--_Gylfar straumar grenjudu,
blandnir mjök ved blód_. The just are able to cross the river by putting
their feet on boards a foot wide and fourteen feet long, which floated on
the water. This is the first day's journey. On the second day they come
to a point where the road forked into three ways--one to heaven, one to
hell, and one between these realms (compare Müllenhoff, _D. Alt._, v.
113, 114). These are all mythic traditions, but little corrupted by time
and change of religion. That in the lower world itself Hel-shoes were
to be had for those who were not supplied with them, but still deserved
them, is probably a genuine mythological idea.

Proofs and witnesses are necessary before the above-named tribunal, for
Odin is far from omniscient. He is not even the one who knows the most
among the beings of mythology. Urd and Mimer know more than he. With
judges on the one hand who, in spite of all their loftiness, and with
all their superhuman keenness, nevertheless are not infallible, and with
defendants on the other hand whose tongues refuse to serve them, it
might happen, if there were no proofs and witnesses, that a judgment,
everlasting in its operations, not founded on exhaustive knowledge and on
well-considered premises, might be proclaimed. But the judgment on human
souls proclaimed by their final irrevocable fate could not in the sight
of the pious and believing bear the stamp of uncertain justice. There
must be no doubt that the judicial proceedings in the court of death were
so managed that the wisdom and justice of the _dicta_ were raised high
above every suspicion of being mistaken.

The heathen fancy shrank from the idea of a knowledge able of itself
to embrace all, the greatest and the least, that which has been, is
doing, and shall be in the world of thoughts, purposes, and deeds. It
hesitated at all events to endow its gods made in the image of man with
omniscience. It was easier to conceive a divine insight which was
secured by a net of messengers and spies stretched throughout the world.
Such a net was cast over the human race by Urd, and it is doubtless for
this reason that the subterranean Thing of the gods was located near
her fountain and not near Mimer's. Urd has given to every human soul,
already before the hour of birth, a maid-servant, a hamingje, a norn of
lower rank, to watch over and protect its earthly life. And so there
was a wide-spread organization of watching and protecting spirits, each
one of whom knew the motives and deeds of a special individual. As such
an organisation was at the service of the court, there was no danger
that the judgment over each one dead would not be as just as it was
unappealable and everlasting.

The hamingje hears of it before anyone else when her mistress has
announced _dauda ord_--the doom of death, against her favourite. She (and
the _gipte, heille_, see No. 64) leaves him then. She is _horfin_, gone,
which can be perceived in dreams (Balder's Dream, 4) or by revelations
in other ways, and this is an unmistakable sign of death. But if the
death-doomed person is not a nithing, whom she in sorrow and wrath has
left, then she by no means abandons him. They are like members of the
same body, which can only be separated by mortal sins (see below). The
hamingje goes to the lower world, the home of her nativity (see No. 64),
to prepare an abode there for her favourite, which also is to belong to
her (Gisle Surson's saga.) It is as if a spiritual marriage was entered
into between her and the human soul.

But on the dictum of the court of death it depends where the dead
person is to find his haven. The judgment, although not pronounced
on the hamingje, touches her most closely. When the most important
of all questions, that of eternal happiness or unhappiness, is to be
determined in regard to her favourite, she must be there where her duty
and inclination bid her be--with him whose guardian-spirit she is. The
great question for her is whether she is to continue to share his fate
or not. During his earthly life she has always defended him. It is of
paramount importance that she should do so now. His lips are sealed, but
she is able to speak, and is his other ego. And she is not only a witness
friendly to him, but, from the standpoint of the court, she is a more
reliable one than he would be himself.

In Atlamal (str. 28) there occurs a phrase which has its origin in
heathendom, where it has been employed in a clearer and more limited
sense than in the Christian poem. The phrase is _ec qued aflima ordnar
ther disir_, and it means, as Atlamal uses it, that he to whom the dises
(the hamingje and gipte) have become _aflima_ is destined, in spite of
all warnings, to go to his ruin. In its very nature the phrase suggests
that there can occur between the hamingje and the human soul another
separation than the accidental and transient one which is expressed
by saying that the hamingje is _horfin_. _Aflima_ means "amputated,"
separated by a sharp instrument from the body of which one has been a
member. The person from whom his dises have been cut off has no longer
any close relation with them. He is for ever separated from them, and
his fate is no longer theirs. Hence there are persons doomed to die and
persons dead who do not have hamingjes by them. They are those whom the
hamingjes in sorrow and wrath have abandoned, and with whom they are
unable to dwell in the lower world, as they are nithings and are awaited
in Nifelhel.

The fact that a dead man sat _á nornastóli_ or _á Helpalli_ without
having a hamingje to defend him doubtless was regarded by the gods as a
conclusive proof that he had been a criminal.

If we may judge from a heathen expression preserved in strophe 16 of
Atlakvida, and there used in an arbitrary manner, then the hamingjes who
were "cut off" from their unworthy favourite continue to feel sorrow and
sympathy for them to the last. The expression is _nornir gráta nái_, "the
norns (hamingjes) bewail the _náir_." If the _námæli_, the na-dictum,
the sentence to Nifelhel which turns dead criminals into _náir_, in the
eschatological sense of the word, has been announced, the judgment is
attended with tears on the part of the former guardian-spirits of the
convicts. This corresponds, at all events, with the character of the

Those fallen on the battlefield are not brought to the fountain of Urd
while the Thing is in session. This follows from the fact that Odin is in
Valhal when they ride across Bifrost, and sends Asas or einherjes to meet
them with the goblet of mead at Asgard's gate (Eiriksm., Hakonarmal).
But on the way there has been a separation of the good and bad elements
among them. Those who have no hamingjes must, _á nornastóli_, wait for
the next Thing-day and their judgment. The Christian age well remembered
that brave warriors who had committed nithing acts did not come to Valhal
(see Hakon Jarl's word in Njála). The heathen records confirm that men
slain by the sword who had lived a wicked life were sent to the world of
torture (see Harald Harfager's saga, ch. 27--the verses about the viking
Thorer Wood-beard, who fell in a naval battle with Einar Ragnvaldson, and
who had been scourge to the Orkneyings).

The high court must have judged very leniently in regard to certain
human faults and frailties. Sitting long by and looking diligently
into the drinking-horn certainly did not lead to any punishment worth
mentioning. The same was the case with fondness for female beauty, if
care was taken not to meddle with the sacred ties of matrimony. With a
pleasing frankness, and with much humour, the Asa-father has told to
the children of men adventures which he himself has had in that line.
He warns against too much drinking, but admits without reservation and
hypocrisy that he himself once was drunk, nay, very drunk, at Fjalar's
and what he had to suffer, on account of his uncontrollable longing for
Billing's maid, should be to men a hint not to judge each other too
severely in such matters (see Havamál.) All the less he will do so as
judge. Those who are summoned to the Thing and against whom there are no
other charges, may surely count on a good _ords tirr_, if they in other
respects have conducted themselves in accordance with the wishes of Odin
and his associate judges: if they have lived lives free from deceit,
honourable, helpful, and without fear of death. This, in connection with
respect for the gods, for the temples, for their duties to kindred and
to the dead, is the alpha and the omega of the heathen Teutonic moral
code, and the sure way to Hel's regions of bliss and to Valhal. He who
has observed these virtues may, as the old skald sings of himself, "glad,
with serenity and without discouragement, wait for Hel."

  Skal ek thó gladr
  med godan vilja
  ok úhryggr
  Heljar bida (Sonatorrek, 24).

If the judgment on the dead is lenient in these respects, it is
inexorably severe in other matters. Lies uttered to injure others,
perjury, murder (secret murder, assassination, not justified as
blood-revenge), adultery, the profaning of temples, the opening of
grave-mounds, treason, cannot escape their awful punishment. Unutterable
terrors await those who are guilty of these sins. Those psychopomps
that belong to Nifelhel await the adjournment of the Thing in order
to take them to the world of torture, and Urd has chains (_Heljar
reip_--Solarljod, 27; _Des Todes Seil_--J. Grimm, _D. Myth._, 805) which
make every escape impossible.



Before the dead leave the thingstead near Urd's fountain, something
which obliterated the marks of earthly death has happened to those who
are judged happy. Pale, cold, mute, and with the marks of the spirits
of disease, they left Midgard and started on the Hel-way. They leave the
death-Thing full of the warmth of life, with health, with speech, and
more robust than they were on earth. The shades have become corporal.
When those slain by the sword ride over the Gjoll to Urd's fountain,
scarcely a sound is heard under the hoofs of their horses; when they
ride away from the fountain over Bifrost, the bridge resounds under the
trampling horses. The sagas of the middle ages have preserved, but at the
same time demonised, the memory of how Hel's inhabitants were endowed
with more than human strength (Gretla, 134, and several other passages).

The life of bliss presupposes health, but also forgetfulness of the
earthly sorrows and cares. The heroic poems and the sagas of the middle
ages have known that there was a Hades-potion which brings freedom
from sorrow and care, without obliterating dear memories or making one
forget that which can be remembered without longing or worrying. In the
mythology this drink was, as shall be shown, one that produced at the
same time vigour of life and the forgetfulness of sorrows.

In Saxo, and in the heroic poems of the Elder Edda, which belong to the
Gjukung group of songs, there reappear many mythical details, though they
are sometimes taken out of their true connection and put in a light which
does not originally belong to them. Among the mythical reminiscences is
the Hades-potion.

In his account of King Gorm's and Thorkil's journey to the lower world,
Saxo (see No 46) makes Thorkil warn his travelling companions from
tasting the drinks offered them by the prince of the lower world, for the
reason that they produce forgetfulness, and make one desire to remain
in Gudmund's realm (_Hist., Dan._, i. 424--_amissa memoria ... pocalis
abstinendum edocuit_).

The Gudrun song (ii. 21) places the drinking-horn of the lower world in
Grimhild's hands. In connection with later additions, the description of
this horn and its contents contains purely mythical and very instructive
details in regard to the _pharmakon nepenthes_ of the Teutonic lower

Str. 21.

  Færdi mer Grimildr
  full at drecka
  svalt oc sarlict,
  ne ec sacar mundac;
  thar var um aukit
  Urdar magni,
  svalcauldom sæ
  oc Sonar dreyra.

Str. 22.

  Voro i horni
  hverskyns stafir
  ristnir oc rodnir
  ratha ec ne mattac,
  lyngfiscr langr
  lands Haddingja,
  ax oscorit,
  innleid dyra.

"Grimhild handed me in a filled horn to drink a cool, bitter drink, in
order that I might forget my past afflictions. This drink was prepared
from _Urd's strength, cool-cold sea, and the liquor of Son_."

"On the horn were all kinds of staves engraved and painted, which I
could not interpret: _the Hadding-land's long heath-fish, unharvested
ears of grain, and animals' entrances_."

The Hadding-land is, as Sv. Egilsson has already pointed out, a
paraphrase of the lower world. The paraphrase is based on the mythic
account known and mentioned by Saxo in regard to Hadding's journey in
Hel's realm (see No. 47).

Heath-fish is a paraphrase of the usual sort for serpent, dragon. Hence
a lower-world dragon was engraved on the horn. More than one of the
kind has been mentioned already: Nidhog, who has his abode in Nifelhel,
and the dragon, which, according to Erik Vidforle's saga, obstructs
the way to Odain's-acre. The dragon engraved on the horn is that of
the Hadding-land. Hadding-land, on the other hand, does not mean the
whole lower world, but the regions of bliss visited by Hadding. Thus
the dragon is such an one as Erik Vidforle's saga had in mind. That
the author did not himself invent his dragon, but found it in mythic
records extant at the time, is demonstrated by Solarljod (54), where it
is said that immense subterranean dragons come flying from the west--the
opposite direction of that the shades have to take when they descend into
the lower world--and obstruct "the street of the prince of splendour"
(_glævalds götu_). The ruler of splendour is Mimer, the prince of the
Glittering Fields (see Nos. 45-51).

The Hadding-land's "unharvested ears of grain" belong to the flora
inaccessible to the devastations of frost, the flowers seen by Hadding
in the blooming meadows of the world below (see No. 47). The expression
refers to the fact that the Hadding-land has not only imperishable
flowers and fruits, but also fields of grain which do not require
harvesting. Compare herewith what Völuspa says about the Odain's-acre
which in the regeneration of the earth rises from the lap of the sea:
"unsown the fields yield the grain."

Beside the heath-fish and the unharvested ears of grain, there were
also seen on the Hadding-land horn _dyrainnleid_. Some interpreters
assume that "animals entrails" are meant by this expression; others have
translated it with "animal gaps." There is no authority that _innleid_
ever meant entrails, nor could it be so used in a rhetorical-poetical
sense, except by a very poor poet. Where we meet with the word it means a
way, a way in, in contrast with _útleid_, a way out. As both Gorms saga
and that of Erik Vidforle use it in regard to animals watching entrances
in the lower world, this gives the expression its natural interpretation.

So much for the staves risted on the horn. They all refer to the lower
world. Now as to the drink which is mixed in this Hades-horn. It consists
of three liquids:

  Urdar Magn,     Urd's strength,
  svalkaldr sær,  cool-cold sea,
  Sonar dreyri.   Son's liquid.

Son has already been mentioned above (No. 21) as one of the names of
Mimer's fountain, the well of creative power and of poetry. Of Son Eilif
Gudrunson sings that it is enwreathed by bulrushes and is surrounded by
a border of meadow on which grows the seed of poetry.

As Urd's strength is a liquid mixed in the horn, nothing else can be
meant thereby than the liquid in Urd's fountain, which gives the warmth
of life to the world-tree, and gives it strength to resist the cold (see
No. 63).

From this it is certain that at least two of the three subterranean
fountains made their contributions to the drink. There remains the
well Hvergelmer, and the question now is, whether it and the liquid it
contains can be recognised as the _cool-cold sea_. Hvergelmer is, as we
know, the mother-fountain of all waters, even of the ocean (see No. 59).
That this immense cistern is called a sea is not strange, since also
Urd's fountain is so styled (in Völuspa, Cod. Reg., 19.) Hvergelmer is
situated under the northern root of the world-tree near the borders of
the subterranean realm of the rime-thurses--that is, the powers of frost;
and the Elivagar rivers flowing thence formed the ice in Nifelheim. Cool
(_Svöl_) is the name of one of the rivers which have their source in
Hvergelmer (Grimnersmal). Cool-cold sea is therefore the most suitable
word with which to designate Hvergelmer when its own name is not to be

All those fountains whose liquids are sucked up by the roots of the
world-tree, and in its stem blend into the sap which gives the tree
imperishable strength of life, are accordingly mixed in the lower-world
horn (cp. No. 21).

That Grimhild, a human being dwelling on earth, should have access to
and free control of these fountains is, of course, from a mythological
standpoint, an absurdity. From the standpoint of the Christian time the
absurdity becomes probable. The sacred things and forces of the lower
world are then changed into deviltry and arts of magic, which are at the
service of witches. So the author of Gudrunarkvida (ii.) has regarded the
matter. But in his time there was still extant a tradition, or a heathen
song, which spoke of the elements of the drink which gave to the dead who
had descended to Hel, and were destined for happiness, a higher and more
enduring power of life, and also soothed the longing and sorrow which
accompanied the recollection of the life on earth, and this tradition was
used in the description of Grimhild's drink of forgetfulness.

_Magn_ is the name of the liquid from Urd's fountain, since it _magnar_,
gives strength. The word _magna_ has preserved from the days of
heathendom the sense of strengthening in a supernatural manner by magical
or superhuman means. Vigfusson (Dict., 408) gives a number of examples of
this meaning. In Heimskringla (ch. 8) Odin "magns" Mimer's head, which is
chopped off, in such a manner that it recovers the power of speech. In
Sigrdrifumal (str. 12) Odin himself is, as we have seen, called _magni_,
"the one magning," as the highest judge of the lower world, who gives
_magn_ to the dead from the Hades-horn.

The author of the second song about Helge Hundingsbane has known of
_dyrar veilgar_, precious liquids of which those who have gone to Hel
partake. The dead Helge says that when his beloved Sigrun is to share
them with him, then it is of no consequence that they have lost earthly
joy and kingdoms, and that no one must lament that his breast was
tortured with wounds (Helge Hund., ii. 46.) The touching finale of this
song, though preserved only in fragments, and no doubt borrowed from
a heathen source, shows that the power of the subterranean potion to
allay longing and sorrow had its limits. The survivors should mourn over
departed loved ones with moderation, and not forget that they are to meet
again, for too bitter tears of sorrow fall as a cold dew on the breast of
the dead one and penetrate it with pain (str. 45).



In Sonatorrek (str. 18) the skald (Egil Skallagrimson) conceives himself
with the claims of a father to keep his children opposed to a stronger
power which has also made a claim on them. This power is firm in its
resolutions against Egil (_stendr á föstum thokk á hendi mér_); but, at
the same time, it is lenient toward his children, and bestows on them the
lot of happiness. The mythic person who possesses this power is by the
skald called _Fáns hrosta hilmir_, "the lord of _Fánn's_ brewing."

_Fánn_ is a mythical serpent-and dragon-name (Younger Edda, ii. 487,
570). The serpent or dragon which possessed this name in the myths or
sagas must have been one which was engraved or painted somewhere. This
is evident from the word itself, which is a contraction of _fáinn_,
engraved, painted (cp. Egilsson's Lex. Poet., and Vigfusson's Dict., _sub
voce_). Its character as such does not hinder it from being endowed with
a magic life (see below.) The object on which it was engraved or painted
must have been a drinking-horn, whose contents (brewing) is called by
Egil _Fánn's_, either because the serpent encircled the horn which
contained the drink, or because the horn, on which it was engraved, was
named after it. In no other way can the expression, _Fánn's_ brewing, be
explained, for an artificial serpent or dragon is neither the one who
brews the drink nor the malt from which it is brewed.

The possessor of the horn, embellished with _Fánn's_ image, is the
mythical person who, to Egil's vexation, has insisted on the claim of the
lower world to his sons. If the skald has paraphrased correctly, that is
to say, if he has produced a paraphrase which refers to the character
here in question of the person indicated by the paraphrase, then it
follows that "_Fánn's_ brewing" and _Fánn_ himself, like their possessor,
must have been in some way connected with the lower world.

From the mythic tradition in Gudrunarkvida (ii.), we already know that a
serpent, "a long heath-fish," is engraved and painted on the subterranean
horn, whose sorrow-allaying mead is composed of the liquid of the three

When King Gorm (_Hist., Dan._, 427; cp. No. 46) made his journey of
discovery in the lower world, he saw a vast ox-horn (_ingens bubali
cornu_) there. It lay near the gold-clad mead-cisterns, the fountains
of the lower world. Its purpose of being filled with their liquids is
sufficiently clear from its location. We are also told that it was carved
with figures (_nec cælaturæ artificio vacuum_), like the subterranean
horn in Gudrunarkvida. One of Gorm's men is anxious to secure the
treasure. Then the horn lengthens into a dragon who kills the would-be
robber (_cornu in draconem extractum sui spiritum latoris eripuit._)
Like Slidrugtanne and other subterranean treasures, the serpent or
dragon on the drinking-horn of the lower world is endowed with life when
necessary, or the horn itself acquires life in the form of a dragon, and
punishes with death him who has no right to touch it. The horn itself is
accordingly a _Fánn_, an artificial serpent or dragon, and its contents
is _Fánn's hrosti_ (_Fánn's_ brewing).

The Icelandic middle-age sagas have handed down the memory of an
aurocks-horn (_úrarhorn_), which was found in the lower world, and was
there used to drink from (Fornald., iii. 616).

Thus it follows that the _hilmir Fán's hrosta_, "the lord of Fan's
brewing," mentioned by Egil, is the master of the Hades-horn, he who
determines to whom it is to be handed, in order that they may imbibe
vigour and forgetfulness of sorrow from "Urd's strength, cool sea,
and Son's liquid." And thus the meaning of the strophe here discussed
(Sonatorrek, 18) is made perfectly clear. Egil's deceased sons have drunk
from this horn, and thus they have been initiated as dwellers for ever in
the lower world. Hence the skald can say that _Hilmir Fán's hrosta_ was
inexorably firm against him, their father, who desired to keep his sons
with him.[15]

From Völuspa (str. 28, 29), and from Gylfaginning (ch. 15), it appears
that the mythology knew of a drinking-horn which belonged at the same
time, so to speak, both to Asgard and to the lower world. Odin is
its possessor, Mimer its keeper. A compact is made between the Asas
dwelling in heaven and the powers dwelling in the lower world, and a
security (_ved_) is given for the keeping of the agreement. On the part
of the Asas and their clan patriarch Odin, the security given is a
drinking-horn. From this "Valfather's pledge" Mimer every morning drinks
mead from his fountain of wisdom (Völuspa, 29), and from the same horn
he waters the root of the world-tree (Völuspa, 28). As Müllenhoff has
already pointed out (_D. Alterth._, v. 100 ff.), this drinking-horn is
not to be confounded with Heimdal's war-trumpet, the Gjallarhorn, though
Gylfaginning is also guilty of this mistake.

Thus the drinking-horn given to Mimer by Valfather represents a treaty
between the powers of heaven and of the lower world. Can it be any other
than the Hades-horn, which, at the thingstead near Urd's fountain, is
employed in the service both of the Asa-gods and of the lower world? The
Asas determine the happiness or unhappiness of the dead, and consequently
decide what persons are to taste the strength-giving mead of the horn.
But the horn has its place in the lower world, is kept there--there
performs a task of the greatest importance, and gets its liquid from the
fountains of the lower world.

What Mimer gave Odin in exchange is that drink of wisdom, without which
he would not have been able to act as judge in matters concerning
eternity, but after receiving the which he was able to find and proclaim
the right decisions (_ord_) (_ord mér af ordi ordz leitadi_--Hav., 141).
Both the things exchanged are, therefore, used at the Thing near Urd's
fountain. The treaty concerned the lower world, and secured to the Asas
the power necessary, in connection with their control of mankind and with
their claim to be worshipped, to dispense happiness and unhappiness in
accordance with the laws of religion and morality. Without this power the
Asas would have been of but little significance. Urd and Mimer would have
been supreme.

With the _dyrar veigar_ (precious liquids), of which the dead Helge
speaks, we must compare the _skirar veigar_ (clear liquids), which,
according to Vegtamskvida, awaited the dead Balder in the lower world.
After tasting of it, the god who had descended to Hades regained his
broken strength, and the earth again grew green (see No. 53).

In _dyrar veigar_, _skirar veigar_, the plural form must not be passed
over without notice. The contents of one and the same drink are referred
to by the plural _veigar_--

  Her stendr Balldri        Here stands for Balder
  of brugginn miœdr         mead brewed
  skirar veigar             clear "veigar" (Vegt., 7)--

which can only be explained as referring to a drink prepared by a mixing
of several liquids, each one of which is a _veig_. Originally _veigar_
seems always to have designated a drink of the dead, allaying their
sorrows and giving them new life. In Hyndluljod (50) _dyrar veigar_ has
the meaning of a potion of bliss which Ottar, beloved by Freyja, is
to drink. In strophe 48, Freyja threatens the sorceress Hyndla with a
fire, which is to take her hence for ever. In strophe 49, Hyndla answers
the threat with a similar and worse one. She says she already sees the
conflagration of the world; there shall nearly all beings "suffer the
loss of life" (_verda flestir fjörlausn thola_), Freyja and her Ottar of
course included, and their final destiny, according to Hyndla's wish, is
indicated by Freyja's handing Ottar a pain-foreboding, venomous drink.
Hyndla invokes on Freyja and Ottar the flames of Ragnarok and damnation.
Freyja answers by including Ottar in the protection of the gods, and
foretelling that he is to drink _dyrar veigar_.

Besides in these passages _veigar_ occurs in a strophe composed by Ref
Gestson, quoted in Skaldskaparmal, ch. 2. Only half of the strophe is
quoted, so that it is impossible to determine definitely the meaning of
the _veigar_ referred to by the skald. We only see that they are given by
Odin, and that "we" must be grateful to him for them. The half strophe
is possibly a part of a death-song which Ref Gestson is known to have
composed on his foster-father, Gissur.

_Veig_ in the singular means not only drink, but also power, strength.
Perhaps Bugge is right in claiming that this was the original meaning
of the word. The plural _veigar_ accordingly means strengths. That this
expression "strengths" should come to designate in a rational manner a
special drink must be explained by the fact that "the strengths" was the
current expression for the liquids of which the invigorating mythical
drink was composed. The three fountains of the lower world are the
strength-givers of the universe, and as we have already seen, it is the
liquids of these wells that are mixed into the wonderful brewing in the
subterranean horn.

When Eilif Gudrunson, the skald converted to Christianity, makes Christ,
who gives the water of eternal life, sit near Urd's fountain, then
this is a Christianised heathen idea, and refers to the power of this
fountain's water to give, through the judge of the world, to the pious a
less troublesome life than that on earth. The water which gives warmth
to the world-tree and heals its wounds is to be found in the immediate
vicinity of the thingstead, and has also served to strengthen and heal
the souls of the dead.

To judge from Hyndluljod (49), those doomed to unhappiness must also
partake of some drink. It is "much mixed with venom" (_eitri blandinn
miok_), and _forebodes_ them evil (_illu heilli_). They must, therefore,
be compelled to drink it _before_ they enter the world of misery,
and accordingly, no doubt, while they sit _á nornastoli_ on the very
thingstead. The Icelandic sagas of the middle ages know the venom drink
as a potion of misery.

It appears that this potion of unhappiness did not loosen the speechless
tongues of the damned. _Eitr_ means the lowest degree of cold and poison
at the same time, and would not, therefore, be serviceable for that
purpose, since the tongues were made speechless with cold. In Saxo's
descriptions of the regions of misery in the lower world, it is only the
torturing demons that speak. The dead are speechless, and suffer their
agonies without uttering a sound; but, when the spirits of torture so
desire, and force and egg them on they can produce a howl (_mugitus_.)
There broods a sort of muteness over the forecourt of the domain of
torture, the Nifelheim inhabited by the frost-giants, according to
Skirnersmal's description thereof (see No. 60.) Skirner threatens Gerd
that she, among her kindred there, shall be more widely hated than
Heimdal himself; but the manner in which they express this hate is with
staring eyes, not with words (_a thic Hrimnir hari, a thic hotvetna
stari_--str. 28).

[15] The interpretation of the passage, which has hitherto prevailed,
begins with a text emendation. _Fánn_ is changed to Finn. Finn is the
name of a dwarf. _Finns hrosti_ is "the dwarf's drink," and "the dwarf's
drink" is, on the authority of the Younger Edda, synonymous with poetry.
The possessor of _Finns hrosti_ is Odin, the lord of poetry. With text
emendations of this sort (they are numerous, are based on false notions
in regard to the adaptability of the Icelandic Christian poetics to
the heathen poetry and usually quote Gylfaginning as authority) we can
produce anything we like from the statements of the ancient records.
Odin's character as the Lord of poetry has not the faintest idea in
common with the contents of the strophe. His character as judge at the
court near Urd's fountain, and as the one who, as the judge of the dead,
has authority over the liquor in the subterranean horn, is on the other
hand closely connected with the contents of the strophe, and is alone
able to make it consistent and intelligible. Further on in the poem, Egil
speaks of Odin as the lord of poetry. Odin, he says, has not only been
severe against him (in the capacity of _hilmir Fáns hrosta_), but he has
also been kind in bestowing the gift of poetry, and therewith consolation
in sorrow (_bölva bætr_). The paraphrase here used by Egil for Odin's
name is _Mims vinr_ (Mimer's friend). From Mimer Odin received the drink
of inspiration, and thus the paraphrase is in harmony with the sense.
As _hilmir Fáns hrosta_ Odin has wounded Egil's heart; as _Mims vinr_
(Mimer's friend) he has given him balsam for the wounds inflicted. This
two-sided conception of Odin's relation to the poet permeates the whole



When a deceased who has received a good _ords tirr_ leaves the Thing, he
is awaited in a home which his hamingje has arranged for her favourite
somewhere in "the green worlds of the gods." But what he first has to do
is to _leita kynnis_, that is, visit kinsmen and friends who have gone
before him to their final destination (Sonatorr., 17). Here he finds not
only those with whom he became personally acquainted on earth, but he
may also visit and converse with ancestors from the beginning of time,
and he may hear the history of his race, nay, the history of all past
generations, told by persons who were eye-witnesses. The ways he travels
are _munvegar_ (Sonatorr., 10), paths of pleasure, where the wonderful
regions of Urd's and Mimer's realms lie open before his eyes.

Those who have died in their tender years are received by a being
friendly to children, which Egil Skallagrimson (Sonatorrek, 20) calls
_Gauta spjalli_. The expression means "the one with whom Odin counsels,"
"Odin's friend." As the same poem (str. 22) calls Odin Mimer's friend,
and as in the next place _Gauta spjalli_ is characterised as a ruler
in _Godheim_ (compare _grænar heimar goda_--Hakonarmal, 12), he must
either be Mimer, who is Odin's friend and adviser from his youth until
his death, or he must be Honer, who also is styled Odin's friend, his
_sessi_ and _máli_. That Mimer was regarded as the friend of dead
children corresponds with his vocation as the keeper in his grove of
immortality _Mimisholt_, of the Asa-children, the _ásmegir_, who are to
be the mankind of the regenerated world. But Honer too has an important
calling in regard to children (see No. 95), and it must therefore be left
undecided which one of the two is here meant.

Egil is convinced that his drowned son Bodvar found a harbour in the
subterranean regions of bliss.[16] The land to which Bodvar comes is
called by Egil "the home of the bee-ship" (_býskips bær_.) The poetical
figure is taken from the experience of seamen, that birds who have grown
tired on their way across the sea alight on ships to recuperate their
strength. In Egil's paraphrase the bee corresponds to the bird, and the
honey-blossom where the bee alights corresponds to the ship. The fields
of bliss are the haven of the ship laden with honey. The figure may be
criticised on the point of poetic logic, but is of a charming kind on the
lips of the hardy old viking, and it is at the same time very appropriate
in regard to a characteristic quality ascribed to the fields of bliss.
For they are the proper home of the honey-dew which falls early in the
morning from the world-tree into the dales near Urd's fountain (Völuspa).
Lif and Leifthraser live through ages on this dew (see Nos. 52, 53), and
doubtless this same Teutonic ambrosia is the food of the happy dead. The
dales of the earth also unquestionably get their share of the honey-dew,
which was regarded as the fertilising and nourishing element of the
ground. But the earth gets her share directly from Rimfaxe, the steed
of the Hades-goddess Nat. This steed, satiated with the grass of the
subterranean meadows, produces with his mouth a froth which is honey-dew,
and from his bridle the dew drops "in the dales" in the morning (Vafthr.,
14). The same is true of the horses of the valkyries coming from the
lower world. From their manes, when they shake them, falls dew "in deep
dales," and thence come harvests among the peoples (Helge Hjorv., 28.)

[16] Likewise the warlike skald Kormak is certain that he would have come
to Valhal in case he had been drowned under circumstances described in
his saga, a work which is, however, very unreliable.



When the na-dictum (the judgment of those who have committed sins unto
death) has been proclaimed, they must take their departure for their
terrible destination. They cannot take flight. The locks and fetters of
the norns (_Urdar lokur, Heljar reip_) hold them prisoners, and amid the
tears of their former hamingjes (_nornir gráta nái_) they are driven
along their path by _heiptir_, armed with rods of thorns, who without
mercy beat their lazy heels. The technical term for these instruments of
torture is _limar_, which seems to have become a word for eschatological
punishment in general. In Sigrdrifumal (23) it is said that horrible
_limar_ shall fall heavy on those who have broken oaths and promises,
or betrayed confidence. In Sigurd Fafnesb. (ii. 3) it is stated that
everyone who has lied about another shall long be tortured with _limar_.
Both the expressions _troll brutu hrís i hæla theim_ and _troll visi ydr
til búrs_ have their root in the recollection of the myth concerning
the march of the damned under the rod of the Eumenides to Nifelhel (see
further on this point Nos. 91 and 123).

Their way from Urd's well goes to the north (see No. 63) through Mimer's
domain. It is ordained that before their arrival at the home of torture
they are to see the regions of bliss. Thus they know what they have
forfeited. Then their course is past Mimer's fountain, the splendid
dwellings of Balder and the _ásmegir_, the golden hall of Sindre's race
(see Nos. 93, 94), and to those regions where mother Nat rests in a
hall built on the southern spur of the Nida mountains (Forspjallsljod).
The procession proceeds up this mountain region through valleys and
gorges in which the rivers flowing from Hvergelmer find their way to the
south. The damned leave Hvergelmer in their rear and cross the border
rivers _Hraunn_ (the subterranean Elivagar rivers, see No. 59), on the
other side of which rise Nifelhel's black, perpendicular mountain-walls
(Saxo, _Hist., Dan._; see No. 46). Ladders or stairways lead across
giddying precipices to the Na-gates. Howls and barking from the monstrous
Nifelheim dogs watching the gates (see Nos. 46, 58) announce the
arrival of the damned. Then hasten, in compact winged flocks, monsters,
Nifelheim's birds of prey, Nidhog, Are, _Hræsvelger_, and their like to
the south, and alight on the rocks around the Na-gates (see below). When
the latter are opened on creaking hinges, the damned have died their
second death. To that event, which is called "the second death," and to
what this consists of, I shall return below (see No. 95).

Those who have thus marched to a terrible fate are sinners of various
classes. Below Nifelheim there are nine regions of punishment. That these
correspond to nine kinds of unpardonable sins is in itself probable, and
is to some extent confirmed by Solarljod, if this poem, standing almost
on the border-line between heathendom and Christianity, may be taken as
a witness. Solarljod enumerates nine or ten kinds of punishments for as
many different kinds of sins. From the purely heathen records we know
that enemies of the gods (Loke), perjurers, murderers, adulterers (see
Völuspa), those who have violated faith and the laws, and those who have
lied about others, are doomed to Nifelhel for ever, or at least for a
very long time (_oflengi_--Sig. Fafn., ii. 3). Of the unmerciful we
know that they have already suffered great agony on their way to Urd's
fountain. Both in reference to them and to others, it doubtless depended
on the investigation at the Thing whether they could be ransomed or not.

The sacredness of the bond of kinship was strongly emphasised in
the eschatological conceptions. _Niflgódr_, "good for the realm of
damnation," is he who slays kinsmen and sells the dead body of his
brother for rings (Sonatorrek, 15); but he who in all respects has
conducted himself in a blameless manner toward his kinsmen and is slow
to take revenge if they have wronged him, shall reap advantage therefrom
after death (Sigrdr., 22).

When the damned come within the Na-gates, the winged demons rush at
the victims designated for them, press them under their wings, and fly
with them through Nifelheim's foggy space to the departments of torture
appointed for them. The seeress in Völuspa (str. 62) sees Nidhog,
loaded with _náir_ under his wings, soar away from the Nida mountains.
Whither he was accustomed to fly with them appears from strophe 38,
where he in Nastrands is sucking his prey. When King Gorm, beyond the
above-mentioned boundary river, and by the Nida mountains' ladders, had
reached the Na-gates opened for him, he sees dismal monsters (_larvæ
atræ_; cp. Völuspa's _in dimmi dreki_) in dense crowds, and hears the air
filled with their horrible screeches (cp. Völuspa's _Ari hlaccar, slitr
nai neffaulr_, 47). When Solarljod's skald enters the realm of torture
he sees "scorched" birds which are not birds but souls (_sálir_), flying
"numerous as gnats."



The regions over which the flocks of demons fly are the same as those
which the author of Skirnersmal has in view when Skirner threatens
Gerd with sending her to the realms of death. It is the home of the
frost-giants, of the subterranean giants, and of the spirits of disease.
Here live the offspring of Ymer's feet, the primeval giants strangely
born and strangely bearing, who are waiting for the quaking of Ygdrasil
and for the liberation of their chained leader, in order that they may
take revenge on the gods in Ragnarok, and who in the meantime contrive
futile plans of attack on Hvergelmer's fountain or on the north end of
the Bifrost bridge. Here the demons of restless uneasiness, of mental
agony, of convulsive weeping, and of insanity (Othale, Morn, Ope, and
Tope) have their home; and here dwells also their queen, Loke's daughter,
Leikin, whose threshold is precipice and whose bed is disease. According
to the authority used by Saxo in the description of Gorm's journey,
the country is thickly populated. Saxo calls it _urbs, oppidum_ (cp.
Skirnismal's words about the giant-homes, among which Gerd is to drag
herself hopeless from house to house). The ground is a marsh with putrid
water (_putidum cœnum_), which diffuses a horrible stench. The river Slid
flowing north out of Hvergelmer there seeks its way in a muddy stream to
the abyss which leads down to the nine places of punishment. Over all
hovers Nifelheim's dismal sky.

The mortals who, like Gorm and his men, have been permitted to see these
regions, and who have conceived the idea of descending into those worlds
which lie below Nifelheim, or the most of them, are vast mountain caves,
abyss in question and have cast a glance down into it. The place is
narrow, but there is enough daylight for its bottom to be seen, and the
sight thereof is terrible. Still, there must have been a path down to
it, for when Gorm and his men had recovered from the first impression,
they continued their journey to their destination (Geirrod's place of
punishment), although the most terrible vapour (_teterrimus vapor_) blew
into their faces. The rest that Saxo relates is unfortunately wanting
both in sufficient clearness and in completeness. Without the risk of
making a mistake, we may, however, consider it as mythically correct that
some of the nine worlds of punishment below Nifelheim, or the most of
them, are vast mountain caves, mutually united by openings broken through
the mountain walls and closed with gates, which do not however, obstruct
the course of Slid to the Nastrands and to the sea outside. Saxo speaks
of a _perfractam scopuli partem_, "a pierced part of the mountain,"
through which travellers come from one of the subterranean caves to
another, and between the caves stand gatekeepers (_janitores_). Thus
there must be gates. At least two of these "homes" have been named after
the most notorious sinner found within them. Saxo speaks of one called
the giant Geirrod's, and an Icelandic document of one called the giant
_Geitir's_. The technical term for such a cave of torture was _guyskuti_
(clamour-grotto). Saxo translates _skúti_ with _conclave saxeum_. "To
thrust anyone before Geitir's clamour-grotto"--_reka einn fyrir Geitis
guyskuta_--was a phrase synonymous with damning a person to death and

The gates between the clamour-grottoes are watched by various kinds of
demons. Before each gate stand several who in looks and conduct seem
to symbolise the sins over whose perpetrators they keep guard. Outside
of one of the caves of torture Gorm's men saw club-bearers who tried
their weapons on one another. Outside of another gate the keepers
amused themselves with "a monstrous game" in which they "mutually gave
their ram-backs a curved motion." It is to be presumed that some sort
of perpetrators of violence were tortured within the threshold, which
was guarded by the club-bearers, and that the ram-shaped demons amused
themselves outside of the torture-cave of debauchees. It is also probable
that the latter is identical with the one called Geitir's. The name
_Geitir_ comes from _geit_, goat. Saxo, who Latinised _Geitir_ into
Götharus, tells adventures of his which show that this giant had tried
to get possession of Freyja, and that he is identical with Gymer, Gerd's
father. According to Skirnersmal (35), there are found in Nifelhel
goats, that is to say, trolls in goat-guise, probably of the same kind
as those above-mentioned, and it may be with an allusion to the fate
which awaits Gymer in the lower world, or with a reference to his
epithet _Geitir_, that Skirner threatens Gerd with the disgusting drink
(_geita hland_) which will there be given her by "the sons of misery"
(_vélmegir_). One of the lower-world demons, who as his name indicates,
was closely connected with Geitir, is called "Geitir's Howl-foot"
(_Geitis Guýfeti_); and the expression "to thrust anyone before Geitir's
Howl-foot" thus has the same meaning as to send him to damnation.

Continuing their journey, Gorm and his men came to Geirrod's _skúti_ (see
No. 46).

We learn from Saxo's description that in the worlds of torture there are
seen not only terrors, but also delusions which tempt the eyes of the
greedy. Gorm's prudent captain Thorkil (see No. 46) earnestly warns his
companions not to touch these things, for hands that come in contact with
them are fastened and are held as by invisible bonds. The illusions are
characterised by Saxo as _ædis supellectilis_, an expression which is
ambiguous, but may be an allusion that they represented things pertaining
to temples. The statement deserves to be compared with Solarljod's
strophe 65, where the skald sees in the lower world persons damned, whose
hands are riveted together with burning stones. They are the mockers at
religious rites (they who _minst vildu halda helga daga_) who are thus
punished. In the mythology it was probably profaners of temples who
suffered this punishment.

The Nastrands and the hall there are thus described in Völuspa:

  Sal sá hon standa
  sólu fjarri
  Náströndu á
  nordr horfa dyrr;
  fellu eitrdropar
  inn um ljora,
  Sá er undinn salr
  orma hryggjum.

  Sá hon thar vada
  thunga strauma
  menn meinsvara
  ok mordvarga
  ok thanns annars glepr
  thar saug Nidhöggr
  nái framgengna,
  sleit vargr vera.

"A hall she saw stand far from the sun on the Nastrands; the doors opened
to the north. Venom-drops fell through the roof-holes. Braided is that
hall of serpent-backs."

"There she saw perjurers, murderers, and they who betrayed the wife of
another (adulterers) wade through heavy streams. There Nidhog sucked the
_náir_ of the dead. And the wolf tore men into pieces."

Gylfaginning (ch. 52) assumes that the serpents, whose backs, wattled
together, form the hall, turn their heads into the hall, and that
they, especially through the openings in the roof (according to Codex
Ups. and Codex Hypnones.), vomit forth their floods of venom. The
latter assumption is well founded. Doubtful seems, on the other hand,
Gylfaginning's assumption that "the heavy streams," which the damned in
Nastrands have to wade through, flow out over the floor of the hall.
As the very name Nastrands indicates that the hall is situated near a
water, then this water, whether it be the river _Slidr_ with its eddies
filled with weapons, or some other river, may send breakers on shore
and thus produce the heavy streams which Völuspa mentions. Nevertheless
Gylfaginning's view may be correct. The hall of Nastrands, like its
counterpart Valhal, has certainly been regarded as immensely large. The
serpent-venom raining down must have fallen on the floor of the hall, and
there is nothing to hinder the venom-rain from being thought sufficiently
abundant to form "heavy streams" thereon (see below).

Saxo's description of the hall in Nastrands--by him adapted to the realm
of torture in general--is as follows: "The doors are covered with the
soot of ages; the walls are bespattered with filth; the roof is closely
covered with barbs; the floor is strewn with serpents and bespawled with
all kinds of uncleanliness." The last statement confirms Gylfaginning's
view. As this bespawling continues without ceasing through ages, the
matter thus produced must grow into abundance and have an outlet.
Remarkable is also Saxo's statement, that the doors are covered with the
soot of ages. Thus fires must be kindled near these doors. Of this more



Without allowing myself to propose any change of text in the Völuspa
strophes above quoted, and in pursuance of the principle which I
have adopted in this work, not to base any conclusions on so-called
text-emendations, which invariably are text-debasings, I have applied
these strophes as they are found in the texts we have. Like Müllenhoff
(_D. Alterth._, v. 121) and other scholars, I am, however, convinced that
the strophe which begins _sá hon thar vada_, &c., has been corrupted.
Several reasons, which I shall present elsewhere in a special treatise
on Völuspa, make this probable; but simply the circumstance that the
strophe has ten lines is sufficient to awaken suspicions in anyone's
mind who holds the view that Völuspa originally consisted of exclusively
eight-lined strophes--a view which cannot seriously be doubted. As we now
have the poem, it consists of forty-seven strophes of eight lines each,
one of four lines, two of six lines each, five of ten lines each, four of
twelve lines each, and two of fourteen lines each--in all fourteen not
eight-lined strophes against forty-seven eight-lined ones; and, while all
the eight-lined ones are intrinsically and logically well constructed, it
may be said of the others, that have more than eight lines each, partly
that we can cancel the superfluous lines without injury to the sense, and
partly that they look like loosely-joined conglomerations of scattered
fragments of strophes and of interpolations. The most recent effort to
restore perfectly the poem to its eight-lined strophes has been made
by Müllenhoff (_D. Alterth._, v.); and although this effort may need
revision in some special points, it has upon the whole given the poem a
clearness, a logical sequence and symmetry, which of themselves make it
evident that Müllenhoff's premises are correct.

In the treatise on Völuspa which I shall publish later, this subject will
be thoroughly discussed. Here I may be permitted to say, that in my own
efforts to restore Völuspa to eight-lined strophes, I came to a point
where I had got the most of the materials arranged on this principle, but
there remained the following fragment:

  (1) Á fellr austan           (1) Falls a river from the east
  um eitrdala                  around venom dales
  söxum ok sverdum,            with daggers and spears,
  Slidr heitir sú.             Slid it is called.

  (2) Sá hon thar vada         (2) There saw she wade
  thunga strauma               through heavy streams
  menn meinsvara               perjurers
  ok mordvarga                 murderers
  ok thanns annars             and him who seduces
  glepr eyrarúnu.              another's wife.

These fragments make united ten lines. The fourth line of the fragment
(1) _Slidr heitir sú_ has the appearance of being a mythographic addition
by the transcriber of the poem. Several similar interpolations which
contain information of mythological interest, but which neither have the
slightest connection with the context, nor are of the least importance
in reference to the subject treated in Völuspa, occur in our present
text-editions of this poem. The dwarf-list is a colossal interpolation
of this kind. If we hypothetically omit this line for the present, and
also the one immediately preceding (_söxum ok sverdum_), then there
remains as many lines as are required in a regular eight-line strophe.

It is further to be remarked that among all the eight-lined Völuspa
strophes there is not one so badly constructed that a verb in the
first half-strophe has a direct object in the first line of the second
half-strophe, as is the case in that of the present text:

  Sá hon thar vada
  thunga strauma
  menn meinsvara
  ok mordvarga
  ok thann's annars glepr

and, upon the whole, such a construction can hardly ever have occurred in
a tolerably passable poem. If these eight lines actually belonged to one
and the same strophe, the latter would have to be restored according to
the following scheme:

  (1) Sá hon thar vada
  (2) thunga strauma
  (3) menn meinsvara
  (4) ok mordvarga;
  (5) .......
  (6) .......
  (7) thann's annars glepr
  (8) eyrarúnu.

and in one of the dotted lines the verb must have been found which
governed the accusative object _thann_.

The lines which should take the place of the dots have, in their present
form, the following appearance:

  á fellr austan
  um eitrdala.

The verb which governed _thann_ must then be _áfellr_, that is to say,
the verb _fellr_ united with the preposition á. But in that case _á_ is
not the substantive _á_, a river, a running water, and thus the river
which falls from the east around venom dales has its source in an error.

Thus we have, under this supposition, found that there is something
that _fellr á_, falls on, streams down upon, him who seduces the wife
of another. This something must be expressed by a substantive, which is
now concealed behind the adverb _austan_, and must have resembled it
sufficiently in sound to be transformed into it.

Such a substantive, and the only one of the kind, is _austr_. This
means something that can _falla á_, stream down upon; for _austr_ is
_bail-water_ (from _ausa_, to bail), waste-water, water flowing out of a
gutter or shoot.

A test as to whether there originally stood _austr_ or not is to be found
in the following substantive, which now has the appearance of _eitrdala_.
For if there was written _austr_, then there must, in the original text,
have followed a substantive (1) which explained the kind of waste-water
meant, (2) which had sufficient resemblance to _eitrdala_ to become
corrupted into it.

The sea-faring Norsman distinguished between two kinds of _austr_:
_byttu-austr_ and _dælu-austr_. The bail-water in a ship could be removed
either by bailing it out with scoops directly over the railing, or it
could be scooped into a _dæla_, a shoot or trough laid over the railing.
The latter was the more convenient method. The difference between these
two kinds of _austr_ became a popular phrase; compare the expression
_thá var byttu-austr, eigi dælu-austr_. The word _dæla_ was also used
figuratively; compare _láta dæluna ganga_, to let the shoots (troughs)
run (Gretla, 98), a proverb by which men in animated conversation are
likened unto _dælur_, troughs, which are opened for flowing conversation.

Under such circumstances we might here expect after the word _austr_ the
word _dæla_, and, as venom here is in question, _eitr-dæla_.

_Eitr-dæla_ satisfies both the demands above made. It explains what sort
of waste-water is meant, and it resembles _eitr-dala_ sufficiently to be
corrupted into it.

Thus we get _á fellr austr eitrdæla_: "On (him who seduces another
man's wife) falls the waste-water of the venom-troughs." Which these
venom-troughs are, the strophe in its entirety ought to define. This
constitutes the second test of the correctness of the reading.

It must be admitted that if _á fellr austr eitrdæla_ is the original
reading, then a corruption into _á fellr austan eitrdala_ had almost
of necessity to follow, since the preposition _á_ was taken to be
the substantive _á_, river, a running stream. How near at hand such
a confounding of these words lies is demonstrated by another Völuspa
strophe, where the preposition _á_ in _á ser hon ausaz aurgom forsi_ was
long interpreted as the substantive _á_.

We shall now see whether the expression _á fellr austr eitrdæla_ makes
sense, when it is introduced in lieu of the dotted lines above:

  Sá hon thar vada
  thunga strauma
  menn meinsvara
  ok mordvarga;
  (en) á fellr austr
  thann's annars glepr

"There saw she heavy streams (of venom) flow upon (or through) perjurers
and murderers. The waste-water of the venom-troughs (that is, the
waste-water of the perjurers and murderers after the venom-streams had
rushed over them) falls upon him who seduces the wife of another man."

Thus we get not only a connected idea, but a very remarkable and
instructive passage.

The verb _vada_ is not used only about persons who wade through a
water. The water itself is also able to _vada_ (cp. _eisandi udr vedr
undan_--Rafns S. Sveinb.), to say nothing of arrows that wade _i fólk_
(Havam., 150), and of banners which wade in the throng of warriors.
Here the venom wades through the crowds of perjurers and murderers.
The verb _vada_ has so often been used in this sense, that it has also
acquired the meaning of _rushing_, _running_, _rushing through_. Heavy
venom-streams run through the perjurers and murderers before they fall
on the adulterers. The former are the venom-troughs, which pour their
waste-water upon the latter.

We now return to Saxo's description of the hall of Nastrands, to see
whether the Völuspa strophe thus hypothetically restored corresponds
with, or is contradicted by, it. Disagreeable as the pictures are which
we meet with in this comparison, we are nevertheless compelled to take
them into consideration.

Saxo says that the wall of the hall is bespattered with liquid filth
(_paries obductus illuvie_). The Latin word, and the one used by Saxo
for venom, is _venenum_, not _illuvies_, which means filth that has
been poured or bespattered on something. Hence Saxo does not mean
venom-streams of the kind which, according to Völuspa, are vomited by
the serpents down through the roof-openings, but the reference is to
something else, which still must have an upper source, since it is
bespattered on the wall of the hall.

Saxo further says that the floor is bespawled with all sorts of impurity:
_pavimentum omni sordium genere respersum._ The expression confirms the
idea, that unmixed venom is not meant here, but everything else of the
most disgusting kind.

Furthermore, Saxo relates that groups of damned are found there within,
which groups he calls _consessus_. _Consessus_ means "a sitting
together," and, in a secondary sense, persons sitting together. The word
"sit" may here be taken in a more or less literal sense. _Consessor_,
"the one who sits together with," might be applied to every participator
in a Roman dinner, though the Romans did not actually sit, but reclined
at the table.

As stated, several such _consessus_, persons sitting or lying together,
are found in the hall. The benches upon which they sit or lie are of
iron. Every _consessus_ has a _locus_ in the hall; and as both these
terms, _consessus_ and _locus_, in Saxo united in the expression
_consessuum loca_, together mean rows of benches in a theatre or in a
public place, where the seats rise in rows one above the other, we must
assume that these rows of the damned sitting or lying together are found
in different elevations between the floor and ceiling. This assumption
is corroborated by what Saxo tells, viz., that their _loca_ are
separated by leaden hurdles (_plumbeæ crates_). That they are separated
by hurdles must have some practical reason, and this can be none other
than that something flowing down may have an unobstructed passage from
one _consessus_ to the other. That which flows down finally reaches the
floor, and is then _omne sordium genus_, all kinds of impurity. It must
finally be added that, according to Saxo, the stench in this room of
torture is well-nigh intolerable (_super omnia perpetui fætoris asperitas
tristes lacessebat olfactus_).

Who is not able to see that Völuspa's and Saxo's descriptions of the hall
in Nastrands confirm, explain, and complement each other? From Völuspa's
words, we conclude that the venom-streams come from the openings in the
roof, not from the walls. The wall consists, in its entirety, of the
_backs_ of serpents wattled together (_sá er undinn salr orma hryggjom_).
The heads belonging to these serpents are above the roof, and vomit their
venom down through the roof-openings--"the ljors" (_fellu eitrdropar inn
um ljóra_). Below these, and between them and the floor, there are, as
we have seen in Saxo, rows of iron seats, the one row below the other,
all furnished with leaden hurdles, and on the iron seats sit or lie
perjurers and murderers, forced to drink the venom raining down in "heavy
streams." Every such row of sinners becomes "a trough of venom" for the
row immediately below it, until the disgusting liquid thus produced falls
on those who have seduced the dearest and most confidential friends of
others. These seducers either constitute the lowest row of the seated
delinquents, or they wade on the floor in that filth and venom which
there flows. Over the hall broods eternal night (it is _sólu fjarri_).
What there is of light, illuminating the terrors, comes from fires (see
below) kindled at the doors which open to the north (_nordr horfa dyrr_).
The smoke from the fires comes into the hall and covers the door-posts
with the "soot of ages" (_postes longæva fuligine illitæ_).

With this must be compared what Tacitus relates concerning the views and
customs of the Germans in regard to crime and punishment. He says:

"The nature of the crime determines the punishment. Traitors and
deserters they hang on trees. Cowards and those given to disgraceful
debauchery they smother in filthy pools and marshes, casting a _hurdle_
(crates) over them. The dissimilarity in these punishments indicates a
belief that crime should be punished in such a way that the penalty is
visible, while scandalous conduct should be punished in such a way that
the debauchee is removed from the light of day" (_Germania_, xii.).

This passage in _Germania_ is a commentary on Saxo's descriptions, and on
the Völuspa strophe in the form resulting from my investigation. What
might naturally seem probable is corroborated by _Germania's_ words: that
the same view of justice and morality, which obtained in the camp of the
Germans, found its expression, but in gigantic exaggeration, in their
doctrines concerning eschatological rewards and punishments. It should,
perhaps, also be remarked that a similar particularism prevailed through
centuries. The hurdle (_crates_) which Saxo mentions as being placed
over the venom- and filth-drinking criminals in the hall of Nastrands
has its earthly counterpart in the hurdle (also called _crates_),
which, according to the custom of the age of Tacitus, was thrown over
victims smothered in the cesspools and marshes (_ignavos et imbelles et
corpore infames cœno ac palude injecta insuper crate mergunt_). Those
who were sentenced to this death were, according to Tacitus, cowards and
debauchees. Among those who received a similar punishment in the Teutonic
Gehenna were partly those who in a secret manner had committed murder
and tried to conceal their crime (such were called _mordvorgr_), partly
debauchees who had violated the sacredness of matrimony. The descriptions
in the Völuspa strophe and in Saxo show that also in the hall of the
Nastrands the punishment is in accordance with the nature of the crime.
All are punished terribly; but there is a distinction between those who
had to drink the serpent venom unmixed and those who receive the mixed
potion, and finally those who get the awful liquid over themselves and
doubtless within themselves.

In closing this chapter I will quote a number of Völuspa strophes, which
refer to Teutonic eschatology. In parallel columns I print the strophes
as they appear in Codex Regius, and in the form they have assumed as the
result of an investigation of which I shall give a full account in the
future. I trust it will be found that the restoration of _á fellr austan
um eitrdala_ into _á fellr austr eitrdæla_, and the introducing of these
words before _thanns annars glepr eyrarúna_ not only restores to the
strophe in which these words occur a regular structure and a sense which
is corroborated by Saxo's eschatological sources and by the _Germania_
of Tacitus, but also supplies the basis and conditions on which other
strophes may get a regular structure and intelligible contents.

  _Codex Regius._             _Revised Text._

  A fellr austan
  um eitrdala
  sauxom oc sverthom
  slithr heitir su.
  Stod fyr nordan             Stód fyr nordan
  a nitha vollom              a Nida völlum
  salr or gulli               salr or gulli
  sindra ettar.               Sindra ættar;
  enn annar stod              enn annar stod
  a okolni                    a Ókólni,
  bior salr iotuns            bjorsals jötuns,
  en sa brimir heitir.        en sá Brimir heitir.

  Sal sá hon standa           Sal sá hon standa
  solo fiárri                 sólu fjarri
  na strondu a                Náströndu á,
  northr horfa dyrr           nordr horfa dyrr;
  fello eitr dropar           fellu eitrdropar
  inn um lióra                inn um ljóra,
  sa er undinn salr           sa er undinn salr
  orma hryggiom.              orma hryggjum.

  (38) Sa hon thar vada       Sa hon thar vada
  thunga strauma              thunga strauma
  menn meinsvara              menn meinsvara
  oc mordvargar.              oc mordvarga;
  oc thann annars glepr       en á fell austr
  eyra runo                   eitrdæla
  thar sug nithhauggr         thanns annars glepr
  nái fram gegna              eyrarúnu
  sleit vargr vera
  vitoth er en etha hvat.

  (35) Hapt sa hon liggia     Hapt sá hon liggja
  undir hvera lundi           undir hveralundi
  legiarn lici                lægjarnliki
  loca atheckian.             Loka áthekkjan;
  thar sitr Sigyn             thar saug Nidhöggr
  theygi um sinom             nái framgengna,
  ver velglyiod               sleit vargr vera.
  vitoth er en etha hvat.     Vitud ér enn eda hvat?

                              Thar kná Vala
                              vigbönd snúa,
                              heldr várn hardgör
                              höpt or
                              thar sitr Sigyn
                              theygi um sínum
                              ver vel glýgud.
                              Vitud ér enn eda hvat?



Saxo (_Hist. Dan._, 429 ff.) relates that the experienced Captain Thorkil
made, at the command of King Gorm, a second journey to the uttermost
North, in order to complete the knowledge which was gained on the
first journey. That part of the lower world where Loke (by Saxo called
Ugartilocus) dwells had not then been seen. This now remained to be done.
Like the first time, Thorkil sailed into that sea on which sun and stars
never shine, and he kept cruising so long in its darkness that his supply
of fuel gave out. The expedition was as a consequence on the point of
failing, when a fire was suddenly seen in the distance. Thorkil then
entered a boat with a few of his men and rowed thither. In order to find
his way back to his ship in the darkness, he had placed in the mast-top a
self-luminous precious stone, which he had taken with him on the journey.
Guided by the light, Thorkil came to a strand-rock, in which there were
narrow "gaps" (_fauces_), out of which the light came. There was also a
door, and Thorkil entered, after requesting his men to remain outside.


(_From the painting by M. E. Winge._)

Loke, in Norse Mythology, was the god of destruction and of evil. His
father was the giant Farbauti, and his mother was Laufey (Leafy Isle),
so that he had two natures and was therefore both friend and enemy of
the gods. For his many evil deeds he was finally seized and bound by the
gods with chains in a loathsome cave. As a further punishment there was
set above him a poisonous serpent that drooled venom upon his face that
burned like fire. To save him from this torture his faithful wife, Sygn,
shared his captivity and held a bowl to catch the dripping poison until
Loke was freed at Ragnarok, when he and Heimdal fought and slew each
other. He had the further distinction of being handsomest of the male

Thorkil found a grotto. At the fire which was kindled stood two
uncommonly tall men, who kept mending the fire. The grotto had an inner
door or gate, and that which was seen inside that gate is described by
Saxo in almost the same words as those of his former description of the
hall at the Nastrands (_obsoleti posies_, _ater situ paries_, _sordidum
tectum_, _frequens anguibus pavimentum_). Thorkil in reality sees the
same hall again; he had simply come to it from another side, from the
north, where the hall has its door opening toward the strand (_nordr
horfa dyrr_--Völuspa), the pillars of which, according to Saxo's previous
description, are covered with the soot of ages. The soot is now explained
by the fire which is kindled in the grotto outside the hall, the grotto
forming as it were a vestibule. The two gigantic persons who mend the
fire are called by Saxo _aquili_.

In Marcianus Capella, who is Saxo's model in regard to style and
vocabulary, persons of semi-divine rank (_hemithei_) are mentioned who
are called _aquili_, and who inhabit the same regions as the souls of
the dead (_lares_ and _larvæ_--Marc. Cap., i., ii. Compare P. E. Müller,
not., _Hist. Dan._, pp. 68, 69). Aquilus also has the signification,
_dark_, _swarthy_, Icel. _dökkr_.

In the northern mythology a particular kind of elves are mentioned--black
or swarthy elves, _dökkálfar_. They dwell under the farthest root of the
world-tree, near the northern gate of the lower world (_iormungrundar i
iodyr nyrdra_), and have as their neighbours the Thurses and the unhappy
dead (_náir_--Forspjallsljod, 25). Gylfaginning also (ch. 17) knows of
the swarthy elves, at least, that they "dwell down in the earth" (_búa
nidri í jördu_). As to mythic rank, colour, and abode, they therefore
correspond with the Roman _aquili_, and Saxo has forcibly and very
correctly employed this Latin word in order to characterise them in an
intelligible manner.

The two swarthy elves keeping watch outside of the hall of Nastrands
ought naturally to have been astonished at seeing a living human being
entering their grotto. Saxo makes them receive the unexpected guest in a
friendly manner. They greet him, and, when they have learned the purpose
of his visit, one of them reproaches him for the rash boldness of his
undertaking, but gives him information in regard to the way to Loke, and
gives him fire and fuel after he had tested Thorkil's understanding, and
found him to be a wise man. The journey, says the swarthy elf, can be
performed in four days' fast sailing. As appears from the context, the
journey is to the east. The traveller then comes to a place where not
a blade of grass grows, and over which an even denser darkness broods.
The place includes several terrible rocky halls, and in one of them Loke

On the fourth day Thorkil, favoured by a good wind, comes to the goal
of his journey. Through the darkness a mass of rock rising from the sea
(_scopulum inusitatæ molis_) is with difficulty discerned, and Thorkil
lays to by this rocky island. He and his men put on clothes of skin
of a kind that protects against venom, and then walk along the beach
at the foot of the rock until they find an entrance. Then they kindle
a fire with flint stones, this being an excellent protection against
demons; they light torches and crawl in through the narrow opening.
Unfortunately, Saxo gives but a scanty account of what they saw there.
First they came to a cave of torture, which resembled the hall on the
Nastrands, at least, in this particular, that there were many serpents
and many iron seats or iron benches of the kind described above. A brook
of sluggish water is crossed by wading. Another grotto which is not
described was passed through, whereupon they entered Loke's awful prison.
He lay there bound hands and feet with immense chains. His hair and beard
resembled spears of horn, and had a terrible odour. Thorkil jerked out a
hair of his beard to take with him as evidence of what he had seen. As he
did this, there was diffused in the cave a pestilential stench; and after
Thorkil's arrival home, it appeared that the beard-hair he had taken home
was dangerous to life on account of its odour (_Hist. Dan._, 433). When
Thorkil and his men had passed out of the interior jurisdiction of the
rock, they were discovered by flying serpents which had their home on the
island (cp. Völuspa--_thar saug Nidhöggr_, &c., No. 77). The skin clothes
protected them against the venom vomited forth. But one of the men who
bared his eyes became blind. Another, whose hand came outside of the
protecting garments, got it cut off; and a third, who ventured to uncover
his head, got the latter separated from his neck by the poison as by a
sharp steel instrument.

The poem or saga which was Saxo's authority for this story must have
described the rocky island where Loke was put in chains as inhabited by
many condemned beings. There are at least three caves of torture, and in
one of them there are many iron benches. This is confirmed, as we shall
see, by Völuspa.

Saxo also says that there was a harbour. From Völuspa we learn that when
Ygdrasil trembles at the approach of Ragnarok, the ship of the dead,
Nagelfar, lies so that the liberated Loke can go aboard it. That it has
long lain moored in its harbour is evident from the fact that, according
to Völuspa, it then "becomes loose." Unknown hands are its builders.
The material out of which it is constructed is the nail-parings of dead
men (Gylfag., 51--probably according to some popular tradition). The
less regard for religion, the less respect for the dead. But from each
person who is left unburied, or is put into his grave without being, when
possible, washed, combed, cleaned as to hands and feet, and so cared
for that his appearance may be a favorable evidence to the judges at
the Thing of the dead in regard to his survivors--from each such person
comes building material for the death-ship, which is to carry the hosts
of world-destroyers to the great conflict. Much building material is
accumulated in the last days--in the "dagger-and-axe age," when "men no
longer respect each other" (Völuspa).

Nagelfar is the largest of all ships, larger than Skidbladner
(_Skidbladnir er beztr skipanna ... en Naglfari er mest skip_--Gylfag.,
43). This very fact shows that it is to have a large number of persons on
board when it departs from Loke's rocky island. Völuspa says:

  Str. 47, 8. Naglfar losnar,     Nagelfar becomes loose,
  Str. 48. Kioll ferr austan,     a ship comes from the east,
  koma muno Muspellz              the hosts of Muspel
  um laug lydir,                  come o'er the main,
  en Loki styrir;                 Loke is pilot;
  fara Fifls megir                all Fifel's descendants
  med Freka allir,                come with Freke,
  theim er brodir                 Byleipt's brother
  Byleipts i fór.                 is with them on the journey.

Here it is expressly stated that "the hosts of Muspel" are on board
the ship, Nagelfar, guided by Loke, after it has been "freed from its
moorings" and had set sail from the island where Loke and other damned
ones were imprisoned.

How can this be harmonised with the doctrine based on the authority of
Gylfaginning, that the sons of Muspel are inhabitants of the southernmost
region of light and warmth, Gylfaginning's so-called Muspelheim? or with
the doctrine that Surt is the protector of the borders of this realm? or
that Muspel's sons proceed under his command to the Ragnarok conflict,
and that they consequently must come from the South, which Völuspa also
seems to corroborate with the words _Surtr ferr sunnan med sviga læfi_?

The answer is that the one statement cannot be harmonised with the other,
and the question then arises as to which of the two authorities is the
authentic one, the heathen poem Völuspa or Gylfaginning, produced in the
thirteenth century by a man who had a vague conception of the mythology
of our ancestors. Even the most uncritical partisan of Gylfaginning would
certainly unhesitatingly decide in favour of Völuspa, provided we had
this poem handed down in its pure form from the heathen days. But this is
clearly not the case. We therefore need a third witness to decide between
the two. Such an one is also actually to be found.

In the Norse heathen records the word _muspell_ occurs only twice, viz.,
in the above-mentioned Völuspa strophe and in Lokasenna, 42, where Frey,
who has surrendered his sword of victory, is threatened by Loke with the
prospect of defeat and death--_er Muspellz synir rida Myrcvith yfir_,
"when Muspel's sons ride over Darkwood." The Myrkwood is mentioned in
Volundarkvida (1) as a forest, through which the swan-maids coming from
the South flew into the wintry Ulfdales, where one chases bears on skees
(snow-shoes) to get food. This is evidently not a forest situated near
the primeval fountains of heat and fire. The very arbitrary manner in
which the names of the mythical geography is used in the heroic poems,
where Myrkwood comes to the surface, does not indicate that this forest
was conceived as situated south of Midgard, and there is, as shall be
shown below, reason for assuming that Darkwood is another name for the
Ironwood famous in mythology; the wood which, according to Völuspa, is
situated in the East, and in which Angerboda fosters the children of Loke
and Fenrer.

One of these, and one of the worst, is the monster Hate, the enemy of
the moon mentioned in Völuspa as _tungls tiugari_, that makes excursions
from the Ironwood and "stains the citadels of rulers with blood." In the
Ragnarok conflict Hate takes part and contends with Tyr (Gylfag.), and,
doubtless, not only he, but also the whole offspring of the Fenris-wolf
fostered in the Ironwood, are on the battlefield in that division which
is commanded by Loke their clan-chief. This is also, doubtless, the
meaning of the following words in the Völuspa strophe quoted above:
"Fifel's descendants all come with Freke (the wolf), and in company
with them is Byleipt's (or Byleist's) brother." As Loke, Byleipt, and
Helblinde are mentioned as brothers (Gylfag., 33), no one else can be
meant with "Byleipt's brother" than Loke himself or Helblinde, and
more probably the latter, since it has already been stated, that Loke
is there as the commander of the forces. Thus it is Muspel's sons and
Loke's kinsmen in the Ironwood who are gathered around him when the great
conflict is at hand. Muspel's sons accompany the liberated Loke from his
rocky isle, and are with him on board Nagelfar. Loke's first destination
is the Ironwood, whither he goes to fetch Angerboda's children, and
thence the journey proceeds "over Myrkwood" to the plain of Vigrid. The
statements of Völuspa and Lokasenna illustrate and corroborate each
other, and it follows that Völuspa's statement, claiming that Muspel's
sons come from the East, is original and correct.

Gylfaginning treats Muspel as a place, a realm, the original home of fire
and heat (Gylfag., 5). Still, there is a lack of positiveness, for the
land in question is in the same work called _Múspellsheimr_ (ch. 5) and
_Múspells heimr_ (ch. 8), whence we may presume that the author regarded
_Múspell_ as meaning both the land of the fire and the fire itself.
The true etymology of _Múspell_ was probably as little known in the
thirteenth century, when Gylfaginning was written, as it is now. I shall
not speak of the several attempts made at conjecturing the definition of
the word. They may all be regarded as abortive, mainly, doubtless, for
the reason that Gylfaginning's statements have credulously been assumed
as the basis of the investigation. As a word inherited from heathen
times, it occurs under the forms _mutspelli_ and _muspilli_ in the Old
Saxon poem Heliand and in an Old High German poem on the final judgment,
and there it has the meaning of the Lord's day, the doom of condemnation,
or the condemnation. Concerning the meaning which the word had among the
heathens of the North, before the time of the authors of Völuspa and
Lokasenna, all that can be said with certainty is, that the word in the
expression "Muspel's sons" has had a special reference to mythical beings
who are to appear in Ragnarok fighting there as Loke's allies, that is,
on the side of the evil against the good; that these beings were Loke's
fellow-prisoners on the rocky isle where he was chained; and that they
accompanied him from there on board Nagelfar to war against the gods.
As Gylfaginning makes them accompany Surt coming from the South, this
must be the result of a confounding of "Muspel's sons" with "Surt's
(Suttung's) sons."

A closer examination ought to have shown that Gylfaginning's conception
of "Muspel's sons" is immensely at variance with the mythical. Under
the influence of Christian ideas they are transformed into a sort of
angels of light, who appear in Ragnarok to contend under the command
of Surt "to conquer all the idols" (_sigra öll godin_--Gylfag. 4) and
carry out the punishment of the world. While Völuspa makes them come
with Loke in the ship Nagelfar, that is, from the terrible rocky isle in
the sea over which eternal darkness broods, and while Lokasenna makes
them come across the Darkwood, whose name does not suggest any region
in the realm of light, Gylfaginning tells us that they are celestial
beings. Idols and giants contend with each other on Vigrid's plains;
then _the heavens_ are suddenly rent in twain, and out of it ride in
shining squadrons "Muspel's sons" and Surt, with his flaming sword, at
the head of the fylkings. Gylfaginning is careful to keep these noble
riders far away from every contact with that mob which Loke leads to the
field of battle. It therefore expressly states that they form a fylking
by themselves (_I thessum gny Klofnar himininn, ok ridu thadan Muspells
synir; Surtr ridr fyrstr, &c. ... enn Muspells synir hafa einir sér
fylking, er sá björt mjök_--ch. 56). Thus they do not come to assist
Loke, but to put an end to both the idols and the mob of giants. The old
giant, Surt, who, according to a heathen skald, Eyvind Skaldaspiller,
dwells in _sökkdalir_, in mountain grottoes deep under the earth (see
about him, No. 89), is in Gylfaginning first made the keeper of the
borders of "Muspelheim," and then the chief of celestial hosts. But this
is not the end of his promotion. In the text found in the Upsala Codex,
Gylfaginning makes him lord in Gimle, and likewise the king of eternal
bliss. After Ragnarok it is said, "there are many good abodes and many
bad;" _best it is to be in Gimle with Surt (margar ero vistar gothar og
margar illar, bezt er at vera a Gimle medr surtr)_. The name Surt means
black. We find that his dark looks did not prevent his promotion, and
this has been carried to such a point that a mythologist who honestly
believed in Gylfaginning saw in him the Almighty who is to come after
the regeneration to equalise and harmonise all discord, and to found holy
laws to prevail for ever.

Under such circumstances, it may be suggested as a rule of critical
caution not to accept unconditionally Gylfaginning's statement that the
world of light and heat which existed before the creation of the world
was called Muspel or Muspelheim. In all probability, this is a result of
the author's own reflections. At all events, it is certain that no other
record has any knowledge of that name. But that the mythology presumed
the existence of such a world follows already from the fact that Urd's
fountain, which gives the warmth of life to the world-tree, must have had
its deepest fountain there, just as Hvergelmer has its in the world of
primeval cold, and Mimer has his fountain in that wisdom which unites the
opposites and makes them work together in a cosmic world.

Accordingly, we must distinguish between _Múspells megir_, _Múspells
synir_, from Surt's clan-men, who are called _Surts ætt_, _synir
Suttunga_, _Suttungs synir_ (Skirnismal, 34; Alvissm., 35). We should
also remember that _Múspell_ in connection with the words _synir_ and
_megir_ hardly can mean a land, a realm, a region. The figure by which
the inhabitants of a country are called its sons or descendants never
occurs, so far as I know, in the oldest Norse literature.

In regard to the names of the points of the compass in the poetic Edda,
_nordan_ and _austan_, it must not be forgotten that the same northern
regions in the mythical geography to which various events are referred
must have been regarded by the Icelanders as lying to the east from
their own northern isle. The _Bjarmia ulterior_, in whose night-shrouded
waters mythical adventurers sought the gates to the lower world, lay in
the uttermost North, and might still, from an Icelandic and also from a
Norwegian standpoint, be designated as a land in the East. According to
the sagas preserved by Saxo, these adventurers sailed into the Arctic
Ocean, past the Norwegian coast, and eastward to a mythical Bjarmia, more
distant than the real Bjarmaland. They could thus come to the coast where
a gate to the lower world was to be found, and to the Nastrands, and if
they continued this same course to the East, they could finally get to
the rocky isle where Loke lay chained.

We have seen that Loke is not alone with Sigyn on that isle where in
chains he abides Ragnarok. There were unhappy beings in large numbers
with him. As already stated, Saxo speaks of three connected caves of
torture there, and the innermost one is Loke's. Of the one nearest to it,
Saxo tells nothing else than that one has to wade across a brook or river
in order to get there. Of the bound Fenrer, Loke's son, it is said that
from his mouth runs froth which forms the river Von (Gylfag., 34). In
Lokasenna (34) Frey says to the abusive Loke: "A wolf (that is, Fenrer) I
see lying at the mouth of the river until the forces of the world come in
conflict; if you do not hold your tongue, you, villain, will be chained
_next to him_" (_thvi næst_--an expression which here should be taken
in a local sense, as a definite place is mentioned in the preceding
sentence). And as we learn from Völuspa, that Freke (the wolf) is with
Loke on board Nagelfar, then these evidences go to show that Loke and
his son are chained in the same place. The isle where Fenrer was chained
is called in Gylfaginning _Lyngvi_, and the body of water in which the
isle is situated is called _Amsvartnir_, a suitable name of the sea,
over which eternal darkness broods. On the isle, the probably Icelandic
author of Völuspa (or its translator or compiler) has imagined a "grove,"
whose trees consist of jets of water springing from hot fountains (_hvera
lundr_). The isle is guarded by _Garmr_, a giant-dog, who is to bark
with all its might when the chains of Loke and Fenrer threaten to burst

  Geyr Garmr mjök
  fyr Gnipahelli
  Festr man slitna,
  en Freki renna.

According to Grimnersmal, Garm is the foremost of all dogs. The dogs
which guard the beautiful Menglad's citadel are also called Garms
(Fjölsvinnsmal). In Gylfaginning, the word is also used in regard to a
wolf, Hate Manegarm. _Gnipahellir_ means the cave of the precipitous
rock. The adventurers which Thorkil and his men encountered with the
flying serpents, in connection with the watching Hel-dog, show that
Lyngve is the scene of demons of the same kind as those which are found
around the Na-gates of Nifelheim.

Bound hands and feet with the entrails of a "frost-cold son" (Lokasenna,
49), which, after being placed on his limbs, are transformed into iron
chains (Gylfag., 54), Loke lies on a weapon (_a hiorvi_--Lokasenna,
49), and under him are three flat stones placed on edge, one under his
shoulders, one under his loins, and one under his hams (Gylfag., 54).
Over him Skade, who is to take revenge for the murder of her father,
suspends a serpent in such a manner that the venom drops in the face of
the nithing. Sigyn, faithful to her wicked husband, sits sorrowing by his
side (Völuspa) and protects him as well as she is able against the venom
of the serpent (Postscript to Lokasenna, Gylfag., 54). Fenrer is fettered
by the soft, silk-like chain Gleipner, made by the subterranean artist,
and brought from the lower world by Hermod. It is the only chain that can
hold him, and that cannot be broken before Ragnarok. His jaws are kept
wide open with a sword (Gylfag., 35).



We have yet to mention a place in the lower world which is of importance
to the naïve but, at the same time, perspicuous and imaginative cosmology
of Teutonic heathendom. The myth in regard to the place in question is
lost, but it has left scattered traces and marks, with the aid of which
it is possible to restore its chief outlines.

Poems, from the heathen time, speak of two wonderful mills, a larger and
a smaller "Grotte"-mill.

The larger one is simply immense. The storms and showers which lash the
sides of the mountains and cause their disintegration; the breakers of
the sea which attack the rocks on the strands, make them hollow, and cast
the substance thus scooped out along the coast in the form of sand-banks;
the whirlpools and currents of the ocean, and the still more powerful
forces that were fancied by antiquity, and which smouldered the more
brittle layers of the earth's solid crust, and scattered them as sand
and mould over "the stones of the hall," in order that the ground might
"be overgrown with green herbs"--all this was symbolized by the larger
Grotte-mill. And as all symbols, in the same manner as the lightning
which becomes Thor's hammer, in the mythology become epic-pragmatic
realities, so this symbol becomes to the imagination a real mill,
which operates deep down in the sea and causes the phenomena which it

This greater mill was also called _Grædir_, since its grist is the mould
in which vegetation grows. This name was gradually transferred by the
poets of the Christian age from the mill, which was grinding beneath the
sea, to the sea itself.

The lesser Grotte-mill is like the greater one of heathen origin--Egil
Skallagrimson mentions it--but it plays a more accidental part, and
really belongs to the heroic poems connected with the mythology.
Meanwhile, it is akin to the greater. Its stones come from the lower
world, and were cast up thence for amusement by young giant-maids to
the surface of the earth. A being called _Hengikjöptr_ (the feminine
_Hengikepta_ is the name of a giantess--Sn. Edda, i. 551; ii. 471) makes
mill-stones out of these subterranean rocks, and presents the mill to
King Frode Fridleifson. Fate brings about that the same young giantesses,
having gone to Svithiod to help the king warring there, Guthorm (see
Nos. 38, 39), are taken prisoners and sold as slaves to King Frode, who
makes them turn his Grotte-mill, the stones of which they recognize from
their childhood. The giantesses, whose names are Fenja and Menja, grind
on the mill gold and safety for King Frode, and good-will among men for
his kingdom. But when Frode, hardened by greed for gold, refuses them the
necessary rest from their toils, they grind fire and death upon him, and
give the mill so great speed that the mill-stone breaks into pieces, and
the foundation is crushed under its weight.

After the introduction of Christianity, the details of the myth
concerning the greater, the cosmological mill, were forgotten, and there
remained only the memory of the existence of such a mill on the bottom
of the sea. The recollection of the lesser Grotte-mill was, on the other
hand, at least in part preserved as to its details in a song which
continued to flourish, and which was recorded in Skaldskaparmal.

Both mills were now regarded as identical, and there sprang up a
tradition which explained how they could be so.

Contrary to the statements of the song, the tradition narrates that the
mill did not break into pieces, but stood whole and perfect, when the
curse of the giant-maids on Frode was fulfilled. The night following
the day when they had begun to grind misfortune on Frode, there came a
sea-king, Mysing, and slew Frode, and took, among other booty, also the
Grotte-mill and both the female slaves, and carried them on board his
ship. Mysing commanded them to grind salt, and this they continued to do
until the following midnight. Then they asked if he had not got enough,
but he commanded them to continue grinding, and so they did until the
ship shortly afterwards sank. In this manner the tradition explained
how the mill came to stand on the bottom of the sea, and there the mill
that had belonged to Frode acquired the qualities which originally had
belonged to the vast Grotte-mill of the mythology. Skaldskaparmal, which
relates this tradition as well as the song, without taking any notice of
the discrepancies between them, adds that after Frode's mill had sunk,
"there was produced a whirlpool in the sea, caused by the waters running
through the hole in the mill-stone, and from that time the sea is salt."


    THE WORLD-MILL (_continued_).

With distinct consciousness of its symbolic signification, the greater
mill is mentioned in a strophe by the skald Snæbjorn (Skaldskap.,
ch. 25). The strophe appears to have belonged to a poem describing a
voyage. "It is said," we read in this strophe, "that _Eyludr's_ nine
women violently turn the Grotte of the skerry dangerous to man out
near the edge of the earth, and that these women long ground Amlode's

  Hvat kveda hræra Grotta
  hergrimmastan skerja
  ut fyrir jardar skauti
  Eyludrs níu brúdir:
  thær er .. fyrir laungu
  lid-meld .....
  ... Amloda mólu.

To the epithet _Eyludr_, and to the meaning of _lid_-in _lid_-grist, I
shall return below. The strophe says that the mill is in motion out on
the edge of the earth, that nine giant-maids turn it (for the lesser
Grotte-mill two were more than sufficient), that they had long ground
with it, that it belongs to a _skerry_ very dangerous to sea-faring men,
and that it produces a peculiar grist.

The same mill is suggested by an episode in Saxo, where he relates the
saga about the Danish prince, Amlethus, who on account of circumstances
in his home was compelled to pretend to be insane. Young courtiers, who
accompanied him on a walk along the sea-strand, showed him a sand-bank
and said that it was meal. The prince said he knew this to be so: he said
it was "meal from the mill of the storms" (_Hist. Dan._, 141).

The myth concerning the cosmic Grotte-mill was intimately connected
partly with the myth concerning the fate of Ymer and the other primeval
giants, and partly with that concerning Hvergelmer's fountain.
Vafthrudnersmal (21) and Grimnersmal (40) tell us that the earth was
made out of Ymer's flesh, the rocks out of his bones, and the sea from
his blood. With earth is here meant, as distinguished from rocks, the
mould, the sand, which cover the solid ground. Vafthrudnersmal calls
Ymer _Aurgelmir_, Claygelmer or Moldgelmer; and Fjölsvinnsmal gives him
the epithet _Leirbrimir_, Claybrimer, which suggests that his "flesh"
was changed into the loose earth, while his bones became rocks. Ymer's
descendants, the primeval giants, Thrudgelmer and Bergelmer perished with
him, and the "flesh" of their bodies cast into the primeval sea also
became mould. Of this we are assured, so far as Bergelmer is concerned,
by strophe 35 in Vafthrudnersmal, which also informs us that Bergelmer
was _laid under the mill-stone_. The mill which ground his "flesh" into
mould can be none other than the one grinding under the sea, that is, the
cosmic Grotte-mill.

When Odin asks the wise giant Vafthrudner how far back he can remember,
and which is the oldest event of which he has any knowledge from personal
experience, the giant answers: "Countless ages ere the earth was shapen
Bergelmer was born. The first thing I remember is when he _á var lúdr um

This expression was misunderstood by the author of Gylfaginning himself,
and the misunderstanding has continued to develop into the theory that
Bergelmer was changed into a sort of Noah, who with his household saved
himself in an ark when Bur's sons drowned the primeval giants in the
blood of their progenitor. Of such a counterpart to the Biblical account
of Noah and his ark our Teutonic mythical fragments have no knowledge

The word _lúdr_ (with radical _r_) has two meanings: (1) a
wind-instrument, a loor, a war-trumpet; (2) the tier of beams, the
underlying timbers of a mill, and, in a wider sense, the mill itself.

The first meaning, that of war-trumpet, is not found in the songs of the
Elder Edda, and upon the whole does not occur in the Old Norse poetry.
Heimdal's war-trumpet is not called _lúdr_, but _horn_ or _hljód_. _Lúdr_
in this sense makes its first appearance in the sagas of Christian times,
but is never used by the skalds. In spite of this fact the signification
may date back to heathen times. But however this may be, _lúdr_ in
Vafthrudnersmal does not mean a war-trumpet. The poem can never have
meant that Bergelmer was laid on a musical instrument.

The other meaning remains to be discussed. _Lúdr_, partly in its more
limited sense of the timbers or beams under the mill, partly in the sense
of the subterranean mill in its entirety, and the place where it is
found, occurs several times in the poems: in the Grotte-song, in Helge
Hund. (ii. 2), and in the above-quoted strophe by Snæbjorn, and also in
Grogalder and in Fjölsvinnsmal. If this signification is applied to the
passage in Vafthrudnersmal: _á var lúdr um lagidr_, we get the meaning
that Bergelmer was "laid on a mill," and in fact no other meaning of
the passage is possible, unless an entirely new signification is to be
arbitrarily invented.

But however conspicuous this signification is, and however clear it
is that it is the only one applicable in this poem, still it has been
overlooked or thrust aside by the mythologists, and for this Gylfaginning
is to blame. So far as I know, Vigfusson is the only one who (in his
Dictionary, p. 399) makes the passage _á lúdr lagidr_ mean what it
actually means, and he remarks that the words must "refer to some ancient
lost myth."

The confusion begins, as stated, in Gylfaginning. Its author has had no
other authority for his statement than the Vafthrudnersmal strophe in
question, which he also cites to corroborate his own words; and we have
here one of the many examples found in Gylfaginning showing that its
author has neglected to pay much attention to what the passages quoted
contain. When Gylfaginning has stated that the frost-giants were drowned
in Ymer's blood, then comes its interpretation of the Vafthrudnersmal
strophe, which is as follows: "One escaped with his household: him the
giants call Bergelmer. He with his wife betook himself upon his _lúdr_
and remained there, and from them the races of giants are descended"
(_nema einn komst undan med sinu hyski: thann kalla jötnar Bergelmi;
hann fór upp á lúdr sinn ok kona hans, ok helzt thar, ok eru af theim
komnar_), &c.

What Gylfaginning's author has conceived by the _lúdr_ which he mentions
it is difficult to say. That he did not have a boat in mind is in the
meantime evident from the expression: _hann fór upp á lúdr sinn_. It is
more reasonable to suppose that his idea was, that Bergelmer himself
owned an immense mill, upon whose high timbers he and his household
climbed to save themselves from the flood. That the original text says
that Bergelmer was _laid_ on the timbers of the mill Gylfaginning pays
no attention to. To go upon something and to be laid on something are,
however, very different notions.

An argument in favour of the wrong interpretation was furnished by the
Resenian edition of the Younger Edda (Copenhagen, 1665). There we find
the expression _fór upp á lúdr sinn_ "amended" to _fór á bát sinn_. Thus
Bergelmer had secured a boat to sail in; and although more reliable
editions of the Younger Edda have been published since from which the
boat disappeared, still the mythologists have not had the heart to take
the boat away from Bergelmer. On the contrary, they have allowed the boat
to grow into a ship, an ark.

As already pointed out, Vafthrudnersmal tells us expressly that
Bergelmer, Aurgelmer's grandson, was "laid on a mill" or "on the
supporting timbers of a mill." We may be sure that the myth would not
have laid Bergelmer on "a mill" if the intention was not that he was to
be ground. The kind of meal thus produced has already been explained. It
is the mould and sand which the sea since time's earliest dawn has cast
upon the shores of Midgard, and with which the bays and strands have
been filled, to become sooner or later green fields. From Ymer's flesh
the gods created the oldest layer of soil, that which covered the earth
the first time the sun shone thereon, and in which the first herbs grew.
Ever since the same activity which then took place still continues. After
the great mill of the gods transformed the oldest frost-giant into the
dust of earth, it has continued to grind the bodies of his descendants
between the same stones into the same kind of mould. This is the meaning
of Vafthrudner's words when he says that his memory reaches back to the
time when Bergelmer was laid on the mill to be ground. Ymer he does not
remember, nor Thrudgelmer, nor the days when these were changed to earth.
Of them he knows only by hearsay. But he remembers when the turn came for
Bergelmer's limbs to be subjected to the same fate.

"The glorious Midgard" could not be created before its foundations raised
by the gods out of the sea were changed to _bjód_ (Völuspa). This is
the word (originally _bjódr_) with which the author of Völuspa chose to
express the quality of the fields and the fields themselves, which were
raised out of the sea by Bor's sons, when the great mill had changed the
"flesh" of Ymer into mould. Bjód does not mean a bare field or ground,
but one that can supply food. Thus it is used in Haustlaung (_af breidu
bjódi_, the place for a spread feast--Skaldskaparmal, ch. 22), and its
other meanings (perhaps the more original ones) are that of a board and
of a table for food to lie on. When the fields were raised out of Ymer's
blood they were covered with mould, so that, when they got light and
warmth from the sun, then the _grund_ became _gróin grænum lauki_. The
very word _mould_ comes from the Teutonic word _mala_, to grind (cp. Eng.
_meal_, Latin _molere_). The development of language and the development
of mythology have here, as in so many other instances, gone hand in hand.

That the "flesh" of the primeval giants could be ground into fertile
mould refers us to the primeval cow Audhumbla by whose milk Ymer was
nourished and his flesh formed (Gylfaginning). Thus the cow in the
Teutonic mythology is the same as she is in the Iranian, the primeval
source of fertility. The mould, out of which the harvests grow, has by
transformations developed out of her nourishing liquids.

Here, then, we have the explanation of the _lidmeldr_ which the great
mill grinds, according to Snæbjorn. _Lidmeldr_ means limb-grist. It is
the limbs and joints of the primeval giants, which on Amlode's mill are
transformed into meal.

In its character as an institution for the promotion of fertility, and
for rendering the fields fit for habitation, the mill is under the care
and protection of the Vans. After Njord's son, Frey, had been fostered
in Asgard and had acquired the dignity of lord of the harvests, he was
the one who became the master of the great Grotte. It is attended on his
behalf by one of his servants, who in the mythology is called _Byggvir_,
a name related both to _byggja_, settle, cultivate, and to _bygg_,
barley, a kind of grain, and by his kinswoman and helpmate Beyla. So
important is the calling of Bygver and Beyla that they are permitted to
attend the feasts of the gods with their master (Frey). Consequently they
are present at the banquet to which Ægir, according to Lokasenna, invited
the gods. When Loke uninvited made his appearance there to mix harm in
the mead of the gods, and to embitter their pleasure, and when he there
taunts Frey, Bygver becomes wroth on his master's behalf and says:

Str. 43.

  Veiztu, ef ec öthli ettac     Had I the ancestry
  sem Ingunar-Freyr             of Ingunar Frey
  oc sva sælict setr,           and so honoured a seat,
  mergi smæra maul tha ec       know I would grind you
  thá meincráco                 finer than marrow, you evil crow,
  oc lemtha alla i litho.       and crush you limb by limb.

Loke answers:

Str. 44.

  Hvat er that ith litla        What little boy is that
  er ec that lauggra sec        whom I see wag his tail
  oc snapvist snapir;           and eat like a parasite?
  att eyrom Freys               Near Frey's ears
  mundu æ vera                  always you are
  oc und kvernom klaka.         and clatter 'neath the mill-stone.


Str. 45.

  Beyggvir ec heiti,            Bygver is my name,
  enn mic brathan kveda         All gods and men
  god aull oc gumar:            call me the nimble,
  thvi em ec her hrodugr,       and here it is my pride,
  at drecca Hroptz megir        that Odin's sons each
  allir aul saman.              and all drink ale.


Str. 46.

  thegi thu, Beyggvir!          Be silent, Bygver!
  thu kunnir aldregi            Ne'er were you able
  deila meth mönnom mat.        food to divide among men.

Beyla, too, gets her share of Loke's abuse. The least disgraceful thing
he says of her is that she is a _deigia_ (a slave, who has to work at
the mill and in the kitchen), and that she is covered with traces of her
occupation in dust and dirt.

As we see, Loke characterises Bygver as a servant taking charge of the
mill under Frey, and Bygver characterises himself as one who grinds, and
is able to crush an "evil crow" limb by limb with his mill-stones. As
the one who with his mill makes vegetation, and so also bread and malt,
possible, he boasts of it as his honour that the gods are able to drink
ale at a banquet. Loke blames him because he is not able to divide the
food among men. The reproach implies that the distribution of food is
in his hands. The mould which comes from the great mill gives different
degrees of fertility to different fields, and rewards abundantly or
niggardly the toil of the farmer. Loke doubtless alludes to this unequal
distribution, else it would be impossible to find any sense in his words.

In the poetic Edda we still have another reminiscence of the great mill
which is located under the sea, and at the same time in the lower world
(see below), and which "grinds mould into food." It is in a poem, whose
skald says that he has seen it on his journey in the lower world. In his
description of the "home of torture" in Hades, Solarljod's Christian
author has taken all his materials from the heathen mythological
conceptions of the worlds of punishment, though the author treats these
materials in accordance with the Christian purpose of his song. When
the skald dies, he enters the Hades gates, crosses bloody streams, sits
for nine days _á norna stóli_, is thereupon seated on a horse, and is
permitted to make a journey through Mimer's domain, first to the regions
of the happy and then to those of the damned. In Mimer's realm he sees
the "stag of the sun" and Nide's (Mimer's) sons, who "quaff the pure
mead from Baugregin's well." When he approached the borders of the world
of the damned, he heard a terrible din, which silenced the winds and
stopped the flow of the waters. The mighty din came from a mill. Its
stones were wet with blood, but the grist produced was mould, which was
to be food. Fickle-wise (_svipvisar_, heathen) women of dark complexion
turned the mill. Their bloody and tortured hearts hung outside of their
breasts. The mould which they ground was to feed their husbands.

This mill, situated at the entrance of hell, is here represented as one
of the agents of torture in the lower world. To a certain extent this is
correct even from a heathen standpoint. It was the lot of slave-women to
turn the hand-mill. In the heroic poem the giant-maids Fenja and Menja,
taken prisoners and made slaves, have to turn Frode's Grotte. In the
mythology "Eylud's nine women," thurse-maids, were compelled to keep
this vast mechanism in motion, and that this was regarded as a heavy and
compulsory task may be assumed without the risk of being mistaken.

According to Solarljod, the mill-stones are stained with blood. In the
mythology they crush the bodies of the first giants and revolve in
Ymer's blood. It is also in perfect harmony with the mythology that the
meal becomes mould, and that the mould serves as food. But the cosmic
signification is obliterated in Solarljod, and it seems to be the
author's idea that men who have died in their heathen belief are to eat
the mould which women who have died in heathendom industriously grind as
food for them.

The myth about the greater Grotte, as already indicated, has also been
connected with the Hvergelmer myth. Solarljod has correctly stated the
location of the mill on the border of the realm of torture. The mythology
has located Hvergelmer's fountain there (see No. 59); and as this vast
fountain is the mother of the ocean and of all waters, and the ever open
connection between the waters of heaven, of the earth, and of the lower
world, then this furnishes the explanation of the apparently conflicting
statements, that the mill is situated both in the lower world and at the
same time on the bottom of the sea. Of the mill it is said that it is
dangerous to men, dangerous to fleets and to crews, and that it causes
the maelstrom (_svelgr_) when the water of the ocean rushes down through
the eye of the mill-stone. The same was said of Hvergelmer, that causes
ebb and flood and maelstrom, when the water of the world alternately
flows into and out of this great source. To judge from all this, the mill
has been conceived as so made that its foundation timbers stood on solid
ground in the lower world, and thence rose up into the sea, in which the
stones resting on this substructure were located. The revolving "eye" of
the mill-stone was directly above Hvergelmer, and served as the channel
through which the water flowed to and from the great fountain of the
world's waters.



But the colossal mill in the ocean has also served other purposes than
that of grinding the nourishing mould from the limbs of the primeval

The Teutons, like all people of antiquity, and like most men of the
present time, regarded the earth as stationary. And so, too, the lower
world (_jormurgrundr_--Forspjallsljod) on which the foundations of the
earth rested. Stationary was also that heaven in which the Asas had their
citadels, surrounded by a common wall, for the Asgard-bridge, Bifrost,
had a solid bridge-head on the southern and another on the northern
edge of the lower world, and could not change position in its relation
to them. All this part of creation was held together by the immovable
roots of the world-tree, or rested on its invisible branches. Sol and
Mane had their fixed paths, the points of departure and arrival of which
were the "horse-doors" (_jódyrr_), which were hung on the eastern and
western mountain-walls of the lower world. The god Mane and the goddess
Sol were thought to traverse these paths in shining chariots, and their
daily journeys across the heavens did not to our ancestors imply that
any part of the world-structure itself was in motion. Mane's course lay
below Asgard. When Thor in his thunder-chariot descends to Jotunheim
the path of Mane thunders under him (_en dundi Mána vegr und Meila
bródur_--Haustl., 1). No definite statement in our mythical records
informs us whether the way of the sun was over or under Asgard.

But high above Asgard is the starry vault of heaven, and to the Teutons
as well as to other people that sky was not only an optical but a real
vault, which daily revolved around a stationary point. Sol and Mane
might be conceived as traversing their appointed courses independently,
and not as coming in contact with vaults, which by their motions from
east to west produced the progress of sun and moon. The very circumstance
that they continually changed position in their relation to each other
and to the stars seemed to prove that they proceeded independently in
their own courses. With the countless stars the case was different. They
always keep at the same distance and always present the same figures on
the canopy of the nocturnal heavens. They looked like glistening heads of
nails driven into a movable ceiling. Hence the starlit sky was thought
to be in motion. The sailors and shepherds of the Teutons very well knew
that this revolving was round a fixed point, the polar star, and it is
probable that _veraldar nagli_, the world-nail, the world-spike, an
expression preserved in Eddubrott, ii., designates the north star.

Thus the starry sky was the movable part of the universe. And this motion
is not of the same kind as that of the winds, whose coming and direction
no man can predict or calculate. The motion of the starry firmament is
defined, always the same, always in the same direction, and keeps equal
step with the march of time itself. It does not, therefore, depend on the
accidental pleasure of gods or other powers. On the other hand, it seems
to be caused by a mechanism operating evenly and regularly.

The mill was for a long time the only kind of mechanism on a large
scale known to the Teutons. Its motion was a rotating one. The movable
mill-stone was turned by a handle or sweep which was called _möndull_.
The mill-stones and the _möndull_ might be conceived as large as you
please. Fancy knew no other limits than those of the universe.

There was another natural phenomenon, which also was regular, and which
was well known to the seamen of the North and to those Teutons who lived
on the shores of the North Sea, namely, the rising and falling of the
tide. Did one and the same force produce both these great phenomena? Did
the same cause produce the motion of the starry vault and the ebb and
flood of the sea? In regard to the latter phenomenon, we already know
the naïve explanation given in the myth concerning Hvergelmer and the
Grotte-mill. And the same explanation sufficed for the former. There was
no need of another mechanism to make the heavens revolve, as there was
already one at hand, the influence of which could be traced throughout
that ocean in which Midgard was simply an isle, and which around this
island extends its surface even to the brink of heaven (Gylfaginning).

The mythology knew a person by name _Mundilföri_ (Vafthr., 23; Gylfag.).
The word _mundill_ is related to _möndull_, and is presumably only
another form of the same word. The name or epithet Mundilfore refers to
a being that has had something to do with a great mythical _möndull_
and with the movements of the mechanism which this _möndull_ kept in
motion. Now the word _möndull_ is never used in the old Norse literature
about any other object than the sweep or handle with which the movable
mill-stone is turned. (In this sense the word occurs in the Grotte-song
and in Helge Hund. ii., 3, 4). Thus Mundilfore has had some part to play
in regard to the great giant-mill of the ocean and of the lower world.

Of Mundilfore we learn, on the other hand, that he is the father of the
personal Sol and the personal Mane (Valfthr. 23). This, again, shows that
the mythology conceived him as intimately associated with the heavens
and with the heavenly bodies. Vigfusson (Dict., 437) has, therefore,
with good reason remarked that _mundill_ in Mundilfore refers to _the
veering round or the revolution of the heavens_. As the father of Sol
and Mane, Mundilfore was a being of divine rank, and as such belonged
to the powers of the lower world, where Sol and Mane have their abodes
and resting-places. The latter part of the name, _föri_, refers to the
verb _fœra_, to conduct, to move. Thus he is that power who has to take
charge of the revolutions of the starry vault of heaven, and these must
be produced by the great _möndull_, the mill-handle or mill-sweep, since
he is called _Mundilföri_.

The regular motion of the starry firmament and of the sea is,
accordingly, produced by the same vast mechanism, the Grotte-mill,
the _meginverk_ of the heathen fancy (Grotte-song, 11; cp. Egil
Skallagrimson's way of using the word, Arnibj.-Drapa, 26). The handle
extends to the edge of the world, and the nine giantesses, who are
compelled to turn the mill, pushing the sweep before them, march along
the outer edge of the universe. Thus we get an intelligible idea of what
Snæbjorn means when he says that Eylud's nine women turn the Grotte
"along the edge of the earth" (_hræra Grotta at fyrir jardar skauti_).

Mundilfore and Bygver thus each has his task to perform in connection
with the same vast machinery. The one attends to the regular motion of
the _möndull_, the other looks after the mill-stones and the grist.

In the name Eylud the first part is _ey_, and the second part is _ludr_.
The name means the "island-mill." Eylud's nine women are the "nine women
of the island-mill." The mill is in the same strophe called _skerja
Grotti_, the Grotte of the skerry. These expressions refer to each other
and designate with different words the same idea--the mill that grinds
islands and skerries.

The fate which, according to the Grotte-song, happened to King Frode's
mill has its origin in the myth concerning the greater mill. The stooping
position of the starry heavens and the sloping path of the stars in
relation to the horizontal line was a problem which in its way the
mythology wanted to solve. The phenomenon was put in connection with
the mythic traditions in regard to the terrible winter which visited
the earth after the gods and the sons of Alvalde (Ivalde) had become
enemies. Fenja and Menja were kinswomen of Alvalde's sons. For they were
brothers (half-brothers) of those mountain giants who were Fenja's and
Menja's fathers (the Grotte-song). Before the feud broke out between
their kin and the gods, both the giant-maids had worked in the service
of the latter and for the good of the world, grinding the blessings of
the golden age on the world-mill. Their activity in connection with
the great mechanism, mondul, which they pushed, amid the singing of
bliss-bringing songs of sorcery, was a counterpart of the activity of
the sons of Alvalde, who made for the gods the treasures of vegetation.
When the conflict broke out the giant-maids joined the cause of their
kinsmen. They gave the world-mill so rapid a motion that the foundations
of the earth trembled, pieces of the mill-stones were broken loose and
thrown up into space, and the sub-structure of the mill was damaged.
This could not happen without harm to the starry canopy of heaven which
rested thereon. The memory of this mythic event comes to the surface in
Rimbegla, which states that toward the close of King Frode's reign there
arose a terrible disorder in nature--a storm with mighty thundering
passed over the country, the earth quaked and cast up large stones. In
the Grotte-song the same event is mentioned as a "game" played by Fenja
and Menja, in which they cast up from the deep upon the earth those
stones which afterwards became the mill-stones in the Grotte-mill. After
that "game" the giant-maids betook themselves to the earth and took part
in the first world-war on the side hostile to Odin (see No. 39). It is
worthy of notice that the mythology has connected the fimbul-winter and
the great emigrations from the North with an earthquake and a damage to
the world-mill which makes the starry heavens revolve.



Among the tasks to be performed by the world-mill there is yet another
of the greatest importance. According to a belief which originated in
ancient Aryan times, a fire is to be judged as to purity and holiness by
its origin. There are different kinds of fire more or less pure and holy,
and a fire which is holy as to its origin may become corrupted by contact
with improper elements. The purest fire, that which was originally
kindled by the gods and was afterwards given to man as an invaluable
blessing, as a bond of union between the higher world and mankind, was
a fire which was produced by rubbing two objects together (friction).
In hundreds of passages this is corroborated in Rigveda, and the belief
still exists among the common people of various Teutonic peoples. The
great mill which revolves the starry heavens was also the mighty rubbing
machine (friction machine) from which the sacred fire naturally ought to
proceed, and really was regarded as having proceeded, as shall be shown

The word _möndull_, with which the handle of the mill is designated, is
found among our ancient Aryan ancestors. It can be traced back to the
ancient Teutonic _manthula_, a swing-tree (Fick, _Wörterb d. ind.-germ.
Spr._, iii. 232), related to Sanscr. _Manthati_, to swing, twist, bore,
from the root _manth_, which occurs in numerous passages in Rigveda, and
in its direct application always refers to the production of fire by
friction (Bergaigne, _Rel. ved._, iii. 7).

In Rigveda, the sacred fire is personified by the "pure," "upright,"
"benevolent" god _Agni_, whose very name, related to the Latin _ignis_,
designates the god of fire. According to Rigveda, there was a time when
Agni lived concealed from both gods and men, as the element of light
and warmth found in all beings and things. Then there was a time when
he dwelt in person among the gods, but not yet among men; and, finally,
there was a time when _Mâtaricvan_, a sacred being and Agni's father in a
literal or symbolic sense, brought it about that Agni came to our fathers
(Rigv., i. 60, 1). The generation of men then living was the race of
Bhriguians, so-called after an ancient patriarch Bhrigu. This Bhrigu, and
with him Manu (Manus), was the first person who, in his sacrifices to the
gods, used the fire obtained through Agni (Rigv., i. 31, 17, and other

When, at the instigation of Mâtaricvan, Agni arrived among mankind, he
came from a far-off region (Rigv., i. 128, 2). The Bhriguians who did
not yet possess the fire, but were longing for it and were seeking for
it (Rigv., x. 40, 2), found the newly-arrived Agni, "at the confluence
of the waters." In a direct sense, "the confluence of the waters" cannot
mean anything else than the ocean, into which all waters flow. Thus
Agni came from the distance across a sea to the coast of the country
where that people dwelt who were named after the patriarch Bhrigu. When
they met this messenger of the gods (Rigv., viii. 19, 21), they adopted
him and cared for him at "the place of the water" (Rigv., ii. 4, 2).
_Mâtaricvan_, by whose directions Agni, "the one born on the other side
of the atmosphere" (x. 187, 5) was brought to mankind, becomes in the
classical Sanscrit language a designation for the wind. Thus everything
tends to show that Agni has traversed a wide ocean, and has been brought
by the wind when he arrives at the coast where the Bhriguians dwell. He
is very young, and hence bears the epithet _yavishtha_.

We are now to see why the gods sent him to men, and what he does among
them. He remains among those who care for him, and dwells among them "an
immortal among mortals" (Rigv., viii. 60, 11; iii. 5, 3), a guest among
men, a companion of mortals (iv. 1, 9). He who came with the inestimable
gift of fire long remains personally among men, in order that "a wise one
among the ignorant" may educate them. He who "knows all wisdom and all
sciences" (Rigv., iii. 1, 17; x. 21, 5) "came to be asked questions" (i.
60, 20) by men; he teaches them and "they listen to him as to a father"
(i. 68, 9). He becomes their first patriarch (ii. 10, 1) and their first
priest (v. 9, 4; x. 80, 4). Before that time they had lived a nomadic
life, but he taught them to establish fixed homes around the hearths, on
which the fire he had brought now was burning (iii. 1, 17). He visited
them in these fixed dwellings (iv. 1, 19), where the Bhriguians now let
the fire blaze (x. 122, 5); he became "the husband of wives" (i. 66, 4)
and the progenitor of human descendants (i. 96, 2), through whom he is
the founder of the classes or "races" of men (vi. 48, 8). He established
order in all human affairs (iv. 1, 2), taught religion, instructed men in
praying and sacrificing (vi. 1, 1, and many other passages), initiated
them in the art of poetry and gave them inspiration (iii. 10, 5; x. 11,

This is related of Agni when he came to the earth and dwelt among men. As
to his divine nature, he is the pure, white god (iv. 1, 7; iii. 7, 1),
young, strong, and shining with golden teeth (v. 2, 2), and searching
eyes (iv. 2, 12) which can see far (vii. 1, 1), penetrate the darkness
of night (i. 94, 7), and watch the acts of demons (x. 87, 12). He, the
guard of order (i. 11, 8), is always attentive (i. 31, 12), and protects
the world by day and by night from dangers (i. 98, 1). On a circular path
he observes all things (vii. 13, 3), and sees and knows them all (x.
187, 4). He perceives everything, being able to penetrate the herbs, and
diffuse himself into plants and animals (vii. 9, 3; viii. 43, 9; x. 1,
2). He hears all who pray to him, and can make himself heard as if he had
the voice of thunder, so that both the halves of the world re-echo his
voice (x. 8, 1). His horses are like himself white (vi. 6, 4). His symbol
among the animals is the bull (i. 31, 5; i. 146, 2).

In regard to Agni's birth, it is characteristic of him that he is said
to have several mothers, although their number varies according to the
point from which the process of birth is regarded. When it is only to
be a figurative expression for the origin of the friction-fire, the
singer of the hymn can say that Agni had ten mothers or two mothers. In
the case of the former, it is the ten fingers of the person producing
the friction-fire that are meant. Sometimes this is stated outright
(Rigveda, iii. 23, 3); then again the fingers are paraphrased by "the
twice five sisters dwelling together" (iv. 6, 8), "the work-master's ten
untiring maids" (i. 95, 1). In the case of the latter--that is, when two
mothers are mentioned--the two pieces of wood rubbed together are meant
(viii. 49, 15). In a more real sense he is said to have three places
of nativity: one in the atmospheric sea, one in heaven, and one in the
waters (i. 95, 3), and that his "great, wise, divine nature proceeded
from the laps of many active mothers" (i. 95, 4), such as the waters,
the stones, the trees, the herbs (ii. 1, 1). In Rigveda (x. 45, 2) nine
maternal wombs or births are indicated; his "triple powers were sown in
triplets in heaven, among us, and in the waters." In Rigveda (i. 141, 2)
three places of nativity and three births are ascribed to him, and in
such a way that he had seven mothers in his second birth. In Rigveda (x.
20, 7) he is called the son of the rock.

It scarcely needs to be pointed out that all that is here told about Agni
corresponds point by point with the Teutonic myth about Heimdal. Here,
as in many other instances, we find a similarity between the Teutonic
and the Aryan-Asiatic myths, which is surprising, when we consider that
the difference between the Rigveda and Zend languages on the one hand,
and the oldest Teutonic linguistic monuments on the other, appear in
connection with other circumstances to indicate that the old Aryan unity
of language and religion lies ages back in antiquity. Agni's birth
"beyond the atmosphere," his journey across the sea to original man in
the savage state, his vocation as the sower of the blessings of culture
among men, his appearance as the teacher of wisdom and "the sciences,"
his visit to the farms established by him, where he becomes "the husband
of wives," father of human sons, and the founder of "the races" (the
classes among the Teutons),--all this we rediscover completely in the
Heimdal myth, as if it were a copy of the Aryan-Asiatic saga concerning
the divine founder of culture; a copy fresh from the master's brush
without the effects of time, and without any retouching. The very names
of the ancient Aryan patriarchs, Bhrigu and Manu are recognisable
in the Teutonic patriarch names Berchter and Mann (Mannus-Halfdan).
In the case of Manu and Mann no explanation is necessary. Here the
identity of sound agrees with the identity of origin. The descendants
of Bhrigu and of his contemporary Bhriguians, are called Bhargavans,
which corroborates the conclusion that Bhrigu is derived from _bharg_
"to shine," whence is derived the ancient Teutonic _berhta_, "bright,"
"clear," "light," the Old Saxon _berht_, the Anglo-Saxon _beorht_, which
reoccurs in the Teutonic patriarch _Berchter_, which again is actually
(not linguistically) identical with the Norse _Borgarr_. By Bhrigu's side
stands Manu, just as Mann (Halfdan) is co-ordinate with Borgar.

Point by point the descriptions of Agni and Heimdal also correspond in
regard to their divine natures and attributes. Agni is the great holy
_white_ god; Heimdal is _mikill_ and _heilagr_, and is called _hviti
áss_ (Younger Edda) or "the whitest of the Asas" (Thrymskv., 15). While
Agni as the fire-god has golden teeth, Heimdal certainly for the same
reason bears the epithet _gullintanni_, "the one with the golden teeth."
Agni has white horses. In Ulf Uggeson's poem about the work of art in
Hjardarholt, Heimdal rides his horse _Gulltoppr_, whose name reflects its
splendour. While Agni's searching eyes can see in the distance and can
penetrate the gloom of night, it is said of Heimdal that _hann sér jafnt
nótt sem dag hundrad rasta frá sér_. While Agni perceives everything,
even the inaudible motions in the growing of herbs and animals; while
he penetrates and diffuses himself in plants and animals, it is said of
Heimdal that he _heyrir ok that, er gras vex á jordu eda ull á saudum_.
While Agni--it is not stated by what means--is able to produce a noise
like thunder which re-echoes through both the world-halves, Heimdal has
the horn, whose sound all the world shall hear, when Ragnarok is at hand.
On a "circular path," Agni observes the beings in the world. Heimdal
looks out upon the world from Bifrost. Agni keeps his eye on the deeds
of the demons, is perpetually on the look-out, and protects the world by
day and by night from dangers; Heimdal is the watchman of the gods _vördr
goda_ (Grimnersmal), needs in his vocation as watchman less sleep than a
bird, and faithfully guards the Asa-bridge against the giants. Agni is
born of several mothers; Heimdal has mothers nine. Agni is "the fast
traveller," who, in the human abodes he visits, opens a way for prayer
and sacrifice (Rigv., vii. 13, 3); in Rigsmal, Heimdal has the same
epithet, "the fast traveller," _röskr Stigandi_, as he goes from house to
house and teaches men the "runes of eternity" and "the runes of time."

The only discrepancy is in the animal symbols by which Agni and Heimdal
are designated. The bull is Agni's symbol, the ram is Heimdal's. Both
symbols are chosen from the domestic animals armed with horns, and the
difference is linguistically of such a kind, that it to some extent may
be said to corroborate the evidence in regard to Agni's and Heimdal's
identity. In the old Norse poetry, _Vedr_ (wether, ram), _Heimdali_ and
the Heimdal epithet _Hallinskidi_, are synonymous. The word _vedr_,
according to Fick (Wörterb., iii. 307), can be traced to an ancient
Teutonic _vethru_, the real meaning of which is "yearling," a young
domestic animal in general, and it is related to the Latin _vitulus_ and
the Sanscrit _vatsala_, "calf." If this is correct, then we also see
the lines along which one originally common symbol of a domestic animal
developed into two and among the Rigveda Aryans settled on the "yearling"
of the cow, and among the Teutons on that of the sheep. It should here be
remarked that according to Ammianus Marcellinus (xix. 1) the tiara of the
Persian kings was ornamented with a golden ram's-head. That Agni's span
of horses were transformed into Heimdal's riding horse was also a result
of time and circumstances. In Rigveda, riding and cavalry are unknown;
there the horses of the gods draw the divine chariots. In the Teutonic
mythology the draught horses are changed into riding horses, and chariots
occur only exceptionally.

We have reason to be surprised at finding that the Aryan-Asiatic myths
and the Teutonic have so broad surfaces of contact, on which not only
the main outlines but even the details completely resemble each other.
But the fact is not inexplicable. The hymns, the songs of the divine
worship and of the sacrifices of the Rigveda Aryans, have been preserved,
but the epic-mythological poems are lost, so that there remains the
difficult task of reconstructing out of the former a clear and concise
mythology, freed from "dissolving views" in which their mythic characters
now blend into each other. The Teutonic mythology has had an opposite
fate: here the genuine religious songs, the hymns of divine worship and
of sacrifices, are lost, and there remain fragments of the mighty divine
epic of the Teutons. But thus we have also been robbed of the opportunity
of studying those very songs which in a higher degree than the epic are
able to preserve through countless centuries ancient mythical traits; for
the hymns belong to the divine worship, popular customs are long-lived,
and the sacred customs are more conservative and more enduring than all
others, if they are not disturbed by revolutions in the domain of faith.
If an epithet of a god, _e.g._, "the fast traveller," has once become
fixed by hymns and been repeated in the divine service year after year,
then, in spite of the gradual transformation of the languages and the
types of the race, it may be preserved through hundreds and thousands
of years. Details of this kind may in this manner survive the ravages of
time just as well as the great outlines of the mythology, and if there be
a gradual change as to signification, then this is caused by the change
of language, which may make an old expression unintelligible or give it
another meaning based on the association of ideas.

From all this I am forced to draw the conclusion that Heimdal, like
several other Teutonic gods--for example, Odin (Wodan, Rigveda's
Vata)--belongs to the ancient Aryan age, and retained, even to the
decay of the Teutonic heathendom his ancient character as the personal
representative of the sacred fire, the fire produced by friction, and, in
this connection, as the representative of the oldest culture connected
with the introduction of fire.

This also explains Heimdal's epithet _Vindler_, in Cod. Reg. of the
Younger Edda (i. 266, 608). The name is a subform of _vindill_ and comes
from _vinda_, to twist or turn, wind, to turn anything around rapidly. As
the epithet "the turner" is given to that god who brought friction-fire
(bore-fire) to man, and who is himself the personification of this fire,
then it must be synonymous with "the borer."

A synonym of Heimdal's epithet _Stigandi_, "the traveller," is _Rati_,
"the traveller," from _rata_, "to travel," "to move about." Very
strangely, this verb (originally _vrata_, Goth. _vrâton_, to travel,
make a journey) can be traced to an ancient Teutonic word which meant to
turn or twist, or something of the sort (Fick, _Wörterb._, iii. 294).
And, so far as the noun _Rati_ is concerned, this signification has
continued to flourish in the domain of mythology after it long seems to
have been extinct in the domain of language. Havamál (106), Grimnersmal
(32), and Bragarædur testify each in its own way that the mythical name
_Rati_ was connected with a boring activity. In Havamál "Rate's mouth"
gnaws the tunnel through which Odin, in the guise of an eagle, flies away
with the mead-treasure concealed in the "deep dales" at Fjalar's under
the roots of the world-tree. In the allegorical Grimnersmal strophe it
is "Rate's tooth" (_Ratatoskr_) who lets the mead-drinking foe of the
gods near the root of the world-tree find out what the eagle in the top
of the world-tree (Odin) resolves and carries out in regard to the same
treasure. In Bragarædur the name is given to the gimlet itself which
produced the connection between Odin's world and Fjalar's halls. The
gimlet has here received the name of the boring "traveller," of him
who is furnished with "golden teeth." Hence there are good reasons for
assuming that in the epic of the myth it was Heimdal-Gullintanne himself
whose fire-gimlet helped Odin to fly away with his precious booty. In
Rigveda Agni plays the same part. The "tongue of Agni" has the same task
there as "Rate's mouth" in our Norse records. The sacred mead of the
liquids of nourishment was concealed in the womb of the mountain with
the Dasyus, hostile to the world; but Agni split the mountain open with
his tongue, his ray of light penetrated into the darkness where the
liquids of nourishment were preserved, and through him they were brought
to the light of day, after Trita (in some passages of Rigveda identical
with Vata) had slain a giant monster and found the "cows of the son of
the work-master" (cp. Rigveda, v. 14, 4; viii. 61, 4-8; x. 8, 6-9).
"The cows of the son of the work-master" is a paraphrase for the saps
of nourishment. In the Teutonic mythology there is also "a son of the
work-master," who is robbed of the mead. Fjalar is a son of Surt, whose
character as an ancient artist is evident from what is stated in Nos. 53
and 89.

By friction Mataricvan brought Agni out of the maternal wombs in which
he was concealed as an embryo of light and warmth. Heimdal was born to
life in a similar manner. His very place of nativity indicates this.
His mothers have their abodes _vid jardar thraum_ (Hyndl., 35) near the
edge of the earth, on the outer rim of the earth, and that is where
they gave him life (_báru thann man vid jardar thraum_). His mothers
are giantesses (_iotna meyjar_), and nine in number. We have already
found giantesses, nine in number, mentioned as having their activity on
the outer edge of the earth--namely, those who with the _möndull_, the
handle, turn the vast friction-mechanism, the world-mill of Mundilfore.
They are the _níu brúdir of Eyludr_, "the Isle-grinder" mentioned by
Snæbjorn (see above). These nine giant-maids, who along the outer zone of
the earth (_fyrir jordar skauti_) push the mill's sweep before themselves
and grind the coasts of the islands, are the same nine giant-maids who
on the outer zone of the earth gave birth to Heimdal, the god of the
friction-fire. Hence one of Heimdal's mothers is in Hyndluljod called
_Angeyja_, "she who makes the islands closer," and another one is called
_Eyrgjafa_, "she who gives sandbanks." _Mundilföri_, who is the father
of Sol and Mane, and has the care of the motions of the starry heavens
is accordingly also, though in another sense, the father of Heimdal
the pure, holy fire to whom the glittering objects in the skies must
naturally be regarded as akin.

In Hyndluljod (37) Heimdal's nine giant-mothers are named: _Gjálp_,
_Greip_, _Eistla_, _Eyrgjafa_, _Ulfrun_, _Angeyja_, _Imdr_, _Atla_,
_Járnsaxa_. The first two are daughters of the fire-giant Geirrod
(Younger Edda, i. 288). To fire refers also _Imdr_, from _ím, embers_.
Two of the names, _Angeyja_ and _Eyrgjafa_, as already shown, indicate
the occupation of these giantesses in connection with the world-mill.
This is presumably also the case with _Járnsaxa_, "she who crushes the
iron." The iron which our heathen fathers worked was produced from
the sea- and swamp-iron mixed with sand and clay, and could therefore
properly be regarded as a grist of the world-mill.

Heimdal's antithesis in all respects, and therefore also his constant
opponent in the mythological epic, is Loke, he too a fire-being, but
representing another side of this element. Natural agents such as fire,
water, wind, cold, heat, and thunder have in the Teutonic mythology
a double aspect. When they work in harmony, each within the limits
which are fixed by the welfare of the world and the happiness of man,
then they are sacred forces and are represented by the gods. But when
these limits are transgressed, giants are at work, and the turbulent
elements are represented by beings of giant-race. This is also true
of thunder, although it is the common view among mythologists that it
was regarded exclusively as a product of Thor's activity. The genuine
mythical conception was, however, that the thunder which purifies the
atmosphere and fertilises the thirsty earth with showers of rain, or
strikes down the foes of Midgard, came from Thor; while that which
splinters the sacred trees, sets fire to the woods and houses, and kills
men that have not offended the gods, came from the foes of the world. The
blaze-element (see No. 35) was not only in the possession of the gods,
but also in that of the giants (Skirnersmal), and the lightning did not
proceed alone from Mjolner, but was also found in Hrungner's _hein_ and
in Geirrod's glowing javelin. The conflicts between Thor and the giants
were not only on _terra firma_, as when Thor made an expedition on foot
to Jotunheim, but also in the air. There were giant-horses that were able
to wade with force and speed through the atmosphere, as, for instance,
Hrungner's _Gullfaxi_ (Younger Edda, i. 270), and these giant-horses
with their shining manes, doubtless, were expected to carry their riders
to the lightning-conflict in space against the lightning-hurler, Thor.
The thunder-storm was frequently a _vig thrimu_, a conflict between
thundering beings, in which the lightnings hurled by the ward of Midgard,
the son of Hlodyn, crossed the lightnings hurled by the foes of Midgard.

Loke and his brothers _Helblindi_ and _Byl-eistr_ are the children of a
giant of this kind, of a giant representing the hurricane and thunder.
The rain-torrents and waterspouts of the hurricane, which directly or
indirectly became wedded to the sea through the swollen streams, gave
birth to Helblinde, who, accordingly, received _Rán_ as his "maid"
(Yngl., 51). The whirlwind in the hurricane received as his ward
_Byleistr_, whose name is composed of _bylr_, "whirlwind," and _eistr_,
"the one dwelling in the east" (the north), a paraphrase for "giant." A
thunderbolt from the hurricane gave birth to Loke. His father is called
_Fárbauti_, "the one inflicting harm," and his mother is _Laufey_, "the
leaf-isle," a paraphrase for the tree-crown (Younger Edda, 104, 268).
Thus Loke is the son of the burning and destructive lightning, the son
of him who particularly inflicts damaging blows on the sacred oaks (see
No. 36) and sets fire to the groves. But the violence of the father
does not appear externally in the son's character. He long prepares the
conflagration of the world in secret, and not until he is put in chains
does he exhibit, by the earthquakes he produces, the wild passion of
his giant nature. As a fire-being, he was conceived as handsome and
youthful. From an ethical point of view, the impurity of the flame which
he represents is manifested by his unrestrained sensuousness. After
he had been for ever exiled from the society of the gods and had been
fettered in his cave of torture, his exterior, which was in the beginning
beautiful, became transformed into an expression of his intrinsic
wickedness, and his hair grew out in the form of horny spears (see
above). In this too he reveals himself as a counterpart of Heimdal, whose
helmet is ornamented with a glittering ram's horn.



The position which we have found Mundilfore to occupy indicates that,
although not belonging to the powers dwelling in Asgard, he is one of
the chief gods of the Teutonic mythology. All natural phenomena, which
appear to depend on a fixed mechanical law and not on the initiative of
any mighty will momentarily influencing the events of the world, seem to
have been referred to his care. The mythology of the Teutons, like that
of the Rigveda-Aryans, has had gods of both kinds--gods who particularly
represent that order in the physical and moral world which became fixed
in creation, and which, under normal conditions, remain entirely uniform,
and gods who particularly represent the powerful temporary interference
for the purpose of restoring this order when it has been disturbed, and
for the purpose of giving protection and defence to their worshippers in
times of trouble and danger. The latter are in their very nature war-gods
always ready for battle, such as Vita and Indra in Rigveda, Odin and
Thor-Indride in the Eddas; and they have their proper abode in a group
of fortified celestial citadels like Asgard, whence they have their
out-look upon the world they have to protect--the atmosphere and Midgard.
The former, on the other hand, have their natural abode in Jormungrund's
outer zone and in the lower world, whence the world-tree grew, and where
the fountains are found whose liquids penetrate creation, and where that
wisdom had its source of which Odin only, by self-sacrifice, secured
a part. Down there dwell, accordingly, Urd and Mimer, Nat and Dag,
Mundilfore with the dises of the sun and the moon, Delling, the genius of
the glow of dawn, and Billing, the genius of the blushing sunset. There
dwell the smiths of antiquity who made the chariots of the sun and moon
and smithied the treasures of vegetation. There dwell the _nidjar_ who
represent the moon's waxing and waning; there the seven sons of Mimer
who represent the changing seasons (see No. 87). Mundilfore is the lord
of the regular revolutions of the starry firmament, and of the regular
rising and sinking of the sea in its ebb and flood. He is the father
of the dises of the sun and moon, who make their celestial journeys
according to established laws; and, finally, he is the origin of the holy
fire; he is father of Heimdal, who introduced among men a systematic
life in homes fixed and governed by laws. As the father of Heimdal, the
Vana-god, Mundilfore is himself a Vana-god, belonging to the oldest
branch of this race, and in all probability one of those "wise rulers"
who, according to Vafthrudnersmal, "created Njord in Vanaheim and sent
him as a hostage to the gods (the Asas)."

Whence came the clans of the Vans and the Elves? It should not have
escaped the notice of the mythologists that the Teutonic theogony, as
far as it is known, mentions only two progenitors of the mythological
races--_Ymer_ and _Bure_. From Ymer develop the two very different
races of giants, the offspring of his arms and that of his feet (see
No. 86)--in other words, the noble race to which the norns Mimer and
Beistla belong, and the ignoble, which begins with Thrudgelmer. _Bure_
gives birth to _Burr_ (Bor), and the latter has three sons--_Odinn_,
_Vei (Vé)_, and _Vili (Vilir)_. Unless Bure had more sons, the Van- and
Elf-clans have no other theogonic source than the same as the Asa-clan,
namely, _Burr_. That the hierologists of the Teutonic mythology did not
leave the origin of these clans unexplained we are assured by the very
existence of a Teutonic theogony, together with the circumstance that
the more thoroughly our mythology is studied the more clearly we see
that this mythology has desired to answer every question which could
reasonably be asked of it, and in the course of ages it developed into
a systematic and epic whole with clear outlines sharply drawn in all
details. To this must be added the important observation that _Vei_ and
_Vili_, though brothers of Odin, are never counted among the Asas proper,
and had no abode in Asgard. It is manifest that Odin himself with his
sons founds the Asa-race, that, in other words, he is a clan-founder
in which this race has its chieftain, and that his brothers, for this
very reason, could not be included in his clan. There is every reason to
assume that they, like him, were clan-founders; and as we find besides
the Asa-clan two other races of gods, this of itself makes it probable
that Odin's two brothers were their progenitors and clan-chieftains.

Odin's brothers, like himself, had many names. When Völuspa says that
Odin, in the creation of man, was assisted by Honer and Loder, and when
the Younger Edda (i. 52) says that, on this occasion, he was attended
by his brothers, who just before (i. 46) are called Ve and Vile, then
these are only different names of the same powers. Honer and Loder are Ve
and Vile. It is a mistake to believe that Odin's brothers were mythical
ghosts without characteristic qualities, and without prominent parts
in the mythological events after the creation of the world and of man,
in which we know they took an active part (Völuspa, 4, 16, 17). The
assumption that this was the case depends simply upon the fact that they
have not been found mentioned among the Asas, and that our records, when
not investigated with proper thoroughness, and when the mythological
synonymics have not been carefully examined, seem to have so little to
say concerning them.

Danish genealogies, Saxo's included, which desire to go further back in
the genealogy of the Skjoldungs than to Skjold, the eponym of the race,
mention before him a King Lotherus. There is no doubt that Lotherus,
like his descendants, Skjold, Halfdan, and Hadding, is taken from the
mythology. But in our mythic records there is only one name of which
Lotherus can be a Latinised form, and this name is, as Müller (_Notæ
ulterior ad Saxonis Hist._) has already pointed out, _Lodurr_.

It has above been demonstrated (see Nos. 20, 21, 22) that the
anthropomorphous Vana-god Heimdal was by Vana-gods sent as a child to the
primeval Teutonic country, to give to the descendants of Ask and Embla
the holy fire, tools, and implements, the runes, the laws of society,
and the rules for religious worship. It has been demonstrated that,
as an anthropomorphous god and first patriarch, he is identical with
Scef-Rig, the Scyld of the Beowulf poem, that he becomes the father of
the other original patriarch Skjold, and the grandfather of Halfdan. It
has likewise been demonstrated (No. 82) that Heimdal, the personified
sacred fire, is the son of the fire-producer (by friction) Mundilfore,
in the same manner as Agni is the son of Matariçvan. From all this it
follows that when the authors of mythic genealogies related as history
wish to get further back in the Skjoldung genealogy than to the Beowulf
Skjold, that is to say, further back than to the original patriarch
Heimdal, then they must go to that mythic person who is Heimdal's father,
that is to say, to Mundilfore, the fire-producer. Mundilfore is the one
who appears in the Latinised name Lotherus. In other words, Mundilfore,
the fire-producer, is _Lodurr_. For the name _Lodurr_ there is no other
rational explanation than that which Jacob Grimm, without knowing his
position in the epic of mythology, has given, comparing the name with the
verb lodern, "to blaze." _Lodurr_ is active in its signification, "he who
causes or produces the blaze," and thus refers to the origin of fire,
particularly of the friction-fire and of the bore-fire.

Further on (Nos. 90, 91, 92, 121, 123) I shall give an account of the
ward of the atmosphere, _Gevarr (Nökkvi, Næfr)_, and demonstrate that
he is identical with Mundilfore, the revolver of the starry firmament.
All that Saxo tells about Lotherus is explained by the character of
the latter as the chieftain of a Vana-clan, and by his identity with
_Mundilföri-Gevarr_. As a chieftain of the Vans he was their leader
when the war broke out between the Asas on the one side, and the Vans
and Elves on the other. The banishment of Odin and the Asas by the Vans
causes Saxo to say that Lotherus banished from the realm persons who were
his equals in noble birth (_nobilitate pares_), and whom he regarded
as competitors in regard to the government. It is also stated that he
took the power from an elder brother, but spared his life, although he
robbed him of the sceptre. The brother here referred to is not, however,
Odin, but _Hænir (Vei)_. The character of the one deposed is gentle and
without any greed for rule like that by which Honer is known. Saxo says
of him that he so patiently bore the injustice done him that he seemed to
be pleased therewith as with a kindness received (_ceterum injuriæ tam
patiens fuit, ut honoris damno tanquam beneficio gratulari crederetur_).
The reason why Honer, at the outbreak of the war with the Asas, is
deposed from his dignity as the ruler of Vanaheim and is succeeded by
Loder, is explained by the fact that he, like Mimer, remained devoted to
the cause of Odin. In spite of the confused manner in which the troubles
between the Asas and Vans are presented in Heimskringla, it still appears
that, before the war between the Asas and Vans, Honer was the chief of
the latter on account of an old agreement between the two god-clans;
that he then always submitted to the counsels of the wise Mimer, Odin's
friend; that Mimer lost his life in the service of Odin, and that the
Vans sent his head to Odin; and, finally, that, at the outbreak of
the feud with the Asas and after the death of Mimer, they looked upon
Honer as unqualified to be their judge and leader. Thus Loder becomes
after Honer the ruler of Vanaheim and the chieftain of the Vans, while
the Vans Njord, Frey, and the Elf Ull, who had already been adopted
in Asgard, administer the affairs of the rest of the world. To the
mythical circumstance, that Honer lost his throne and his power points
also Völuspa, the poem restoring to the gentle and patient Vana-god,
after the regeneration, the rights of which he had been robbed, _thá kná
Hænir hlautvid kjosa_ (str. 60). "Then Honer becomes able to choose the
lot-wood," that is to say, he is permitted to determine and indicate
the fortunes of those consulting the oracle; in other words, then he is
again able to exercise the rights of a god. In the Eddas, Honer appears
as Odin's companion on excursions from Asgard. Skaldskaparmal, which does
not seem to be aware that Honer was Odin's brother, still is conscious
that he was intimately connected with him and calls him his _sessi_,
_sinni_, and _máli_ (Younger Edda, i. 266). During the war between Asas
and Vans, Frigg espoused the cause of the Vans (see No. 36); hence Loke's
insulting words to her (Lokasenna, 26), and the tradition in Heimskringla
(Yngl., 3), that Vilir and Vei took Frigg to themselves once when Odin
was far away from Asgard.

Saxo makes Lotherus fall at the hands of conspirators. The explanation of
this statement is to be sought in _Mundilföri-Gevarr's_ fate, of which,
see Nos. 91, 123.

Mundilfore's character seems at least in one respect to be the opposite
of Honer's. Gylfaginning speaks of his _ofdrambi_, his pride, founded,
according to this record, on the beauty of his children. Saxo mentions
the _insolentia_ of Lotherus, and one of his surnames was _Dulsi_, the
proud. See No. 89, where a strophe is quoted, in which the founder of
the Swedish Skilfing race (the Ynglings) is called _Dulsa knor_, Dulse's
descendant. As was shown above in the account of the myth about Scef, the
Skjoldungs, too, are Skilfings. Both these branches of the race have a
common origin; and as the genealogy of the Skjoldungs can be traced back
to Heimdal, and beyond him to Mundilfore, it must be this personality who
is mentioned for his _ofdrambi_, that bears the surname _Dulsi_.

With Odin, _Vei-Höner_ and _Vili-Lodurr-Mundilföri_ have participated
in the shaping of the world as well as in the creation of man. Of the
part they took in the latter act, and of the importance they thereby
acquired in the mythical anthropology, and especially in the conceptions
concerning the continued creation of man by generation and birth, see No.



It has already been shown above that Nat, the mother of the gods, has her
hall in the northern part of Mimer's realm, below the southern slopes of
the Nida mountains.

There has been, and still is, an interpretation of the myths as symbols.
Light is regarded as the symbol of moral goodness, and darkness as that
of moral evil. That there is something psychologically correct in this
cannot be denied; but in regard to the Aryan religions the assumption
would lead to a great error, if, as we might be tempted to do, we should
make night identical with darkness, and should refer her to the world
of evil. In the mythologies of the Rigveda-Aryans and of the Teutons,
Nat is an awe-inspiring, adorable, noble, and beneficent being. Night is
said in Rigveda "to have a fair face, to increase riches, and to be one
of the mothers of order." None of the phenomena of nature seemed to the
Teutons evil _per se_; only when they transgressed what was thought to be
their lawful limits, and thus produced injury and harm, were giant-powers
believed to be active therein. Although the Teutonic gods are in a
constant, more or less violent conflict with the powers of frost, still
winter, when it observes its limits of time, is not an evil but a good
divinity, and the cold liquids of Hvergelmer mixed with those of Urd's
and Mimer's fountains are necessary to the world-tree. Still less could
night be referred to the domain of demons. Mother Nat never transgresses
the borders of her power; she never defies the sacred laws, which are
established for the order of the universe. According to the seasons
of the year, she divides in an unvarying manner the twenty-four hours
between herself and day. Work and rest must alternate with each other.
Rich in blessing, night comes with solace to the weary, and seeks if
possible to sooth the sufferer with a potion of slumber. Though sombre in
appearance (Gylfy., 10), still she is the friend of light. She decorates
herself with lunar effulgence and with starry splendour, with winning
twilight in midsummer, and with the light of snow and of northern aurora
in the winter. The following lines in Sigrdrifumal (str., 3, 4) sound
like a reverberation from the lost liturgic hymns of our heathendom.

  Heill Dagr,                 Hail Dag,
  heilir Dags synir,          Hail Dag's sons,
  heil Nott ok Nipt!          Hail Nat and Nipt!
  Oreithom augom              Look down upon us
  litith ocr thinig           With benevolent eyes
  oc gefit sitiondom règr!    And give victory to the sitting!
  Heilir æsir,                Hail Asas,
  heilar asynjor,             Hail Asynjes,
  heil sia in fiolnyta fold!  Hail bounteous earth!

Of the Germans in the first century after Christ, Tacitus writes
(_Germ._, 3): "They do not, as we, compute time by days but by nights,
night seems to lead the day" (_nec dierum numerum, ut nos, sed noctium
computant: nox ducere diem videtur_). This was applicable to the
Scandinavians as far down as a thousand years later. Time was computed
by nights not by days, and in the phrases from heathen times, _nótt ok
dagr_, _nótt med degi bædi um nætr ok um daga_, night is named before
day. Linguistic usage and mythology are here intimately associated with
each other. According to Vafthrudnersmal (25) and Gylfaginning (10), Nat
bore with Delling the son Dag, with whom she divided the administration
of the twenty-four hours. Delling is the elf of the morning red (see No.
35). The symbolism of nature is here distinct as in all theogonies.

Through other divinities, _Naglfari_ and _Ónarr_ (_Anarr_, _Aunarr_), Nat
is the mother with the former of _Unnr (Udr)_, also called _Audr_, with
the latter of the goddess Jord, Odin's wife. _Unnr_ means water, _Audr_
means rich. It has above been shown that _Unnr-Audr_ is identical with
Njord, the lord of wealth and commerce, who in the latter capacity became
the protector of navigators, and to whom sacrifices were offered for a
prosperous voyage. Gods of all clans--Asas, Vans, and Elves--are thus
akin to Nat, and are descended from her.



Nat herself is the daughter of a being whose name has many forms.

  _Naurr_, _Nörr_    (dative _Naurvi_, _Nörvi_, _Nott var Naurvi
                       borin_--Vafthrudnersmal, 25; _Nott_, _Naurvi
                       kenda_--Alvism., 29).

  _Narfi_, _Narvi_   (_niderfi Narfa_--Egil Skallagr., 56, 2;
                       Gylfag., 10).

  _Norvi_, _Nörvi_   (Gylfag., 10; _kund Nörva_--Forspjallsl., 7).

  _Njörfi_, _Njörvi_ (Gylfag., 10; _Njörva nipt_--Sonatorr.).

  _Nori_             (Gylfag., 10).

  _Nari_             (Höfudl., 10).

  _Neri_             (Helge Hund., 1).

All these variations are derived from the same original appellation,
related to the Old Norse verb _njörva_, the Old English _nearwian_
meaning "the one that binds," "the one who puts on tight-fitting bonds."

Simply the circumstance that Narve is Nat's father proves that he must
have occupied one of the most conspicuous positions in the Teutonic
cosmogony. In all cosmogonies and theogonies night is one of the oldest
beings, older than light, without which it cannot be conceived. Light
is kindled in the darkness, thus foreboding an important epoch in the
development of the world out of chaos. The being which is night's
father must therefore be counted among the oldest in the cosmogony. The
personified representatives of water and earth, like the day, are the
children of his daughter.

What Gylfaginning tells of Narve is that he was of giant birth, and the
first one who inhabited Jotunheim (_Norvi eda Narfi hét jötun, er bygdi
fyrst Jotunheima_--Gylfag., 10). In regard to this we must remember that,
in Gylfaginning and in the traditions of the Icelandic sagas, the lower
world is embraced in the term Jotunheim, and this for mythical reasons,
since Nifelheim is inhabited by rimthurses and giants (see No. 60), and
since the regions of bliss are governed by Mimer and by the norns, who
also are of giant descent. As the father of the lower-world dis, Nat,
Narve himself belongs to that group of powers, with which the mythology
peopled the lower world. The upper Jotunheim did not exist before in a
later epoch of the cosmogonic development. It was created simultaneously
with Midgard by Odin and his brothers (Gylfaginning).

In a strophe by Egil Skallagrimson (ch. 56), poetry, or the source of
poetry, is called _niderfi Narfa_, "the inheritance left by Narve to
his descendants." As is well known, Mimer's fountain is the source
of poetry. The expression indicates that the first inhabitant of the
lower world, Narve, also presided over the precious fountain of wisdom
and inspiration, and that he died and left it to his descendants as an

Finally, we learn that Narve was a near kinsman to Urd and her sisters.
This appears from the following passages:

(_a_) Helge Hundingsbane (1, 3, ff.). When Helge was born norns came in
the night to the abode of his parents, twisted the threads of his fate,
stretched them from east to west, and fastened them beneath the hall of
the moon. One of the threads _nipt Nera_ cast to the north and bade it
hold for ever. It is manifest that by Nere's (Narve's) kinswoman is meant
one of the norns present.

(_b_) Sonatorr. (str. 24). The skald Egil Skallagrimson, weary of life,
closes his poem by saying that he sees the dis of death standing on the
ness (Digraness) near the grave-mound which conceals the dust of his
father and of his sons, and is soon to receive him:

  Tveggja bága               The kinswoman of Njorve (the binder)
  Njörva nipt                of Odin's (Tvegge's) foes
  a nesi stendr.             stands on the ness.
  Skal ek thó gladr          Then shall I be glad,
  med gódan vilja            with a good will,
  ok úhryggr                 and without remorse,
  Heljar bida.               wait for Hel.

It goes without saying that the skald means a dis of death, Urd or one of
her messengers, with the words, "The kinswoman of Njorve (the binder) of
Odin's foes," whom he with the eye of presentiment sees standing on the
family grave-mound on Digraness. She is not to stop there, but she is to
continue her way to his hall, to bring him to the grave-mound. He awaits
her coming with gladness, and as the last line shows, she whose arrival
he awaits is Hel, the goddess of death or fate. It has already been
demonstrated that Hel in the heathen records is always identical with Urd.

Njorve is here used both as a proper and a common noun. "The kinswoman of
the Njorve of Odin's foes" means "the kinswoman of the binder of Odin's
foes." Odin's foe Fenrer was bound with an excellent chain smithied in
the lower world (dwarfs in _Svartalfheimr_--Gylfag., 37), and as shall be
shown later, there are more than one of Odin's foes who are bound with
Narve's chains (see No. 87).

(_c_) _Hofudlausn_ (str. 10). Egil Skallagrimson celebrates in song a
victory won by Erik Blood-axe, and says of the battle-field that there
_trad nipt Nara náttverd ara_ ("Nare's kinswoman trampled upon the supper
of the eagles," that is to say, upon the dead bodies of the fallen). The
psychopomps of disease, of age, and of misfortunes have nothing to do on
a battle-field. Thither come valkyries to fetch the elect. _Nipt Nara_
must therefore be a valkyrie, whose horse tramples upon the heaps of dead
bodies; and as Egil names only one shield-maid of that kind, he doubtless
has had the most representative, the most important one in mind. That one
is Skuld, Urd's sister, and thus a _nipt Nara_ like Urd herself.

(_d_) Ynglingatal (Ynglingasaga, ch. 20). Of King Dygve, who died from
disease, it is said that _jódis Narva_ (_jódis Nara_) chose him. The
right to choose those who die from disease belongs to the norns alone
(see No. 69). _Jódis_, a word doubtless produced by a vowel change from
the Old Germanic _idis_, has already in olden times been interpreted
partly as horse-dis (from _jór_, horse), partly as the dis of one's
kin (from _jod_, child, offspring). In this case the skald has taken
advantage of both significations. He calls the death-dis _ulfs ok Narva
jódis_, the wolf's horse-dis, Narve's kin-dis. In regard to the former
signification, it should be remembered that the wolf is horse for all
giantesses, the honoured norns not excepted. Cp. _grey norna_ as a
paraphrase for wolf.

Thus what our mythic records tell us about Narve is:

(_a_) He is one of the oldest beings of theogony, older than the upper
part of the world constructed by Bur's sons.

(_b_) He is of giant descent.

(_c_) He is father of Nat, father-in-law of Nagelfar, Onar, and of
Delling, the elf of the rosy dawn; and he is the father of Dag's mother,
of _Unnr_, and of the goddess Jord, who becomes Odin's wife and Thor's
mother. Bonds of kinship thus connect him with the Asas and with gods of
other ranks.

(_d_) He is near akin to the dis of fate and death, Urd and her sisters.
The word _nipt_, with which Urd's relation to him is indicated, may mean
sister, daughter, and sister's daughter, and consequently does not state
which particular one of these it is. It seems upon the whole to have
been applied well-nigh exclusively in regard to mythic persons, and
particularly in regard to Urd and her sisters (cp. above: _Njörva nipt_,
_nipt Nara_, _nipt Nera_), so that it almost acquired the meaning of
dis or norn. This is evident from Skaldskaparmal, ch. 75: _Nornir heita
thær er naud skapa; Nipt ok Dis nú eru taldar_, and from the expression
_Heil Nótt ok Nipt_ in the above-cited strophe from Sigrdrifumal. There
is every reason for assuming that the _Nipt_, which is here used as a
proper noun, in this sense means the dis of fate and as an appellation
of kinship, a kinswoman of Nat. The common interpretation of _heil Nótt
ok Nipt_ is "hail Nat and her daughter," and by her daughter is then
meant the goddess Jord; but this interpretation is, as Bugge has shown,
less probable, for the goddess Jord immediately below gets her special
greeting in the words: _heil sia in fiolnyta Fold!_ ("hail the bounteous

(_e_) As the father of Nat, living in Mimer's realm, and kinsman of
Urd, who with Mimer divides the dominion over the lower world, Narve is
himself a being of the lower world, and the oldest subterranean being;
the first one who inhabited Jotunheim.

(_f_) He presided over the subterranean fountain of wisdom and
inspiration, that is to say, Mimer's fountain.

(_g_) He was Odin's friend and the binder of Odin's foes.

(_h_) He died and left his fountain as a heritage to his descendants.


(_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich._)

It is told that once when Gylphi, King of Sweden and Denmark, was sorely
distressed, Gefion, "the giver," appeared before him in the form of a
charming maiden and so delighted the king with a song, accompanied with
dulcet notes of her harp, that Gylphi offered to bestow upon her any
guerdon she might ask. To this proffer the divine Gefion replied, that if
she had found so much favor in the eyes of her sovereign as to merit so
great a reward, she asked that as much land might be given her as could
be ploughed around by her four bulls in a day and night. Surprised at the
modesty of her request Gylphi immediately granted it. Thereupon Gefion
brought four wonderful bulls which she harnessed to a plow that had a
hundred shares and ploughed the sea day and night, raising earth out of
the water until the island of Zealand was formed, upon which she built
a castle and established a kingdom. By her magic spells she transformed
the four bulls into as many youths, who were indeed her sons by a giant.
Soon afterwards she married Skjöld and became mother of a long line of

As our investigation progresses it will be found that all these facts
concerning Narve apply to Mimer, that "he who thinks" (Mimer) and "he who
binds" (Narve) are the same person. Already the circumstances that Narve
was an ancient being of giant descent, that he dwelt in the lower world
and was the possessor of the fountain of wisdom there, that he was Odin's
friend, and that he died and left his fountain as an inheritance (cp.
_Mims synir_), point definitely to Narve's and Mimer's identity. Thus the
Teutonic theogony has made Thought the older kinsman of Fate, who through
Nat bears Dag to the world. The people of antiquity made their first
steps toward a philosophical view of the world in their theogony.

The Old English language has preserved and transferred to the Christian
Paradise a name which originally belonged to the subterranean region of
bliss of heathendom--_Neorxenavang_. _Vang_ means a meadow, plain, field.
The mysterious _Neorxena_ looks like a genitive plural. Grein, in his
Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, and before him Weinhold, refers _neorxena_ to
_Narve_, _Nare_, and this without a suspicion that _Narve_ was an epithet
of Mimer and referred to the king of the heathen regions of bliss. I
consider this an evidence that Grein's assumption is as correct as it
is necessary, if upon the whole we are to look for an etymological
explanation of the word. The plural genitive, then, means those who
inhabit Narve's regions of bliss, and receive their appellation from this
circumstance. The opposite Old Norse appellation is _njarir_, a word
which I shall discuss below.

To judge from certain passages in Christian writings of the thirteenth
century, Mimer was not alone about the name Narve, Nare. One or two of
Loke's sons are supposed to have had the same name. The statements in
this regard demand investigation, and, as I think, this will furnish
another instructive contribution to the chapter on the confusion of the
mythic traditions, and on the part that the Younger Edda plays in this
respect. The passages are:

(_a_) _The prosaic afterword to Lokasenna_: "He (Loke) was bound with the
entrails of his son _Nari_, but his son _Narfi_ was turned into a wolf."

(_b_) _Gylfaginning_, ch. 33. (1) _Most of the codices_: "His (Loke's)
wife is hight Sygin; their son is _Nari_ or _Narvi_."

(2) _Codex Hypnonesiensis_: "His (Loke's) wife is hight Sygin; his sons
are hight _Nari_ or _Narvi_ and _Vali_."

(_c_) _Gylfaginning_, ch. 50. (1) _Most of the codices:_ "Then were taken
Loke's sons _Vali_ and _Nari_ or _Narfi_. The Asas changed _Vali_ into a
wolf, and the latter tore into pieces his brother _Narfi_. Then the Asas
took his entrails and therewith bound Loke."

(2) _Codex Upsalensis_: "Then were taken Loke's sons _Vali_ and _Nari_.
The Asas changed _Vali_ into a wolf, and the latter tore into pieces his
brother _Nari_."

(_d_) _Skaldskaparmal_, ch. 16. (1) "Loke is the father of the wolf
Fenrer, the Midgard-serpent, and Hel, 'and also of _Nari_ and _Ali_.'"

(2) _Codex Wormianus_ and _Codex Hypnonesiensis_, 3: "Loke is father of
the Fenris-wolf, of the Midgard-serpent, and of Hel, 'and also of _Nari_
and _Vali_.'"

The mythology has stated that Loke was bound with chains which were
originally entrails, and that he who contributed the materials of these
chains was his own son, who was torn into pieces by his brother in wolf
guise. It is possible that there is something symbolic in this myth--that
it originated in the thought that the forces created by evil contend with
each other and destroy their own parent. There is at least no reason for
doubting that this account is a genuine myth, that is to say, that it
comes from a heathen source and from some heathen poem.

But, in regard to the names of Loke's two sons here in question, we have
a perfect right to doubt.

We discover at once the contradictions betrayed by the records in regard
to them. The discrepancy of the statements can best be shown by the
following comparisons. Besides Fenrer, the Midgard-serpent, and Hel, Loke
has, according to

  Gylfaginning, 33:     the son _Nari_, also called   No other son
                          _Narfi_                     is named;

  The Prose added to  }
  Lokasenna:          } the son _Nari_,               and the son _Narfi_;

  Codex Hypnon.       } the son _Nari_, also called
  (Gylfag., 33):      }   _Narvi_,                    and the son _Vali_;

  Gylfaginning, ch. 50: the son _Nari_, also called   and the son _Vali_;

  Skaldskaparmal,     }
  ch. 16:             } the son _Nari_,               and the son _Ali_;

  The Prose added to  }
  Lokasenna:          } _Nari_,      is torn into pieces by _Narfi_;

  Gylfaginning:         _Nari-Narfi_ is torn into pieces by _Vali_.

The discrepancy shows that the author of these statements did not have
any mythic song or mythic tradition as the source of all these names of
Loke's sons.

The matter becomes even more suspicious when we find--

That the variations Nare and Narve, both of which belong to one of the
foremost and noblest of mythic beings, namely, to Mimer, are here applied
in such a manner that they either are given to two sons of Loke or are
attributed to one and the same Loke-son, while in the latter case it

That the names Vale and Ale, which both belong to the same Asa-god and
son of Odin who avenged the death of his brother Balder, are _both_
attributed to the other son of Loke. Compare Gylfaginning, ch. 30: _Vali
eda Ali heitir einn (Assin) sonr Odins ok Rindar._

How shall we explain this? Such an application of these names must
necessarily produce the suspicion of some serious mistake; but we cannot
assume that it was made wilfully. The cause must be found somewhere.

It has already been demonstrated that, in the mythology, Urd, the dis of
fate, was also the dis of death and the ruler of the lower world, and
that the functions belonging to her in this capacity were, in Christian
times, transferred to Loke's daughter, who, together with her functions,
usurped her name Hel. Loke's daughter and Hel became to the Christian
mythographers identical.

An inevitable result was that such expressions as _nipt Nara_, _jódis
Narfa_, _nipt Njörva_, had to change meaning. The _nipt Njörva_, whom
the aged Egil saw standing near the grave-mound on Digraness, and whose
arrival he awaited "with gladness and good-will," was no longer the
death-dis Urd, but became to the Christian interpreters the abominable
daughter of Loke who came to fetch the old heathen. The _nipt Nara_,
whose horse trampled on the battle-field where Erik Blood-axe defeated
the Scots, was no longer Urd's sister, the valkyrie Skuld, but became
Loke's daughter, although, even according to the Christian mythographers,
the latter had nothing to do on a battle-field. The _jódis Narfa_, who
chose King Dygve, was confounded with _Loka mær_, who had him _leikinn_
(see No. 67), but who, according to the heathen conception, was a
maid-servant of fate, without the right of choosing. To the heathens
_nipt Nara_, _nipt Njörva_, _jódis Narfa_, meant "Nare-Mimer's kinswoman
Urd." To the mythographers of the thirteenth century it must, for the
reason stated, have meant the Loke-daughter as sister of a certain Nare
or Narve. It follows that this Nare or Narve ought to be a son of Loke,
since his sister was Loke's daughter. It was known that Loke besides
Fenrer and the Midgard-serpent, had two other sons, of which the one in
the guise of a wolf tore the other into pieces. In Nare, Narve, the name
of one or the names of both these Loke-sons were thought to have been

The latter assumption was made by the author of the prose in Lokasenna.
He conceived Nare to be the one brother and Narve the other. The author
of Gylfaginning, on the other hand, rightly regarded Nare and Narve as
simply variations of the same name, and accordingly let them designate
the same son of Loke. When he wrote chapter 33, he did not know what name
to give to the other, and consequently omitted him entirely. But when he
got to the 50th chapter, a light had risen for him in regard to the name
of the other. And the light doubtless came from the following strophe in

  tha kna vala
  vigbond snua,
  helldi voru hardgior
  hoft or thormum.

This half strophe says that those were strong chains (for Loke) that
were made of entrails, and these fetters were "twisted" from "Vale's
_vigbönd_." _Vig_ as a legal term means a murder, slaughter. _Vala vig_
was interpreted as a murder committed by Vale; and _Vala vigbönd_ as the
bonds or fetters obtained by the slaughter committed by Vale. It was
known that Loke was chained with the entrails of his son, and here it
was thought to appear that this son was slain by a certain Vale. And as
he was slain by a brother according to the myth, then Vale must be the
brother of the slain son of Loke. Accordingly chapter 50 of Gylfaginning
could tell us what chapter 33 did not yet know, namely, that the two sons
of Loke were named Vale and Nare or Narve, and that Vale changed to a
wolf, tore the brother "Nare or Narve" into pieces.

The next step was taken by Skaldskaparmal, or more probably by one of
the transcribers of Skaldskaparmal. As Vale and Ale in the mythology
designated the same person (viz., Balder's avenger, the son of Odin),
the son of Loke, changed into a wolf, "Vale" received as a gift the
name "Ale." It is by no means impossible that the transcriber regarded
Balder's avenger, Vale, and the son of Loke as identical. The oldest
manuscript we have of Skaldskaparmal is the Upsala Codex, which is
no older than the beginning of the fourteenth century. The mythic
traditions were then in the continuation of that rapid decay which had
begun in the eleventh century, and not long thereafter the Icelandic saga
writings saw Valhal peopled by giants and all sorts of monsters, which
were called einherjes, and Thor himself transferred to the places of
torture where he drank venom from "the auroch's horn," presented to him
by the daughter of Loke.

In the interpretation of the above-cited half strophe of Völuspa, we
must therefore leave out the supposed son of Loke, Vale. The Teutonic
mythology, like the other Aryan mythologies, applied many names and
epithets to the same person, but it seldom gave two or more persons
one and the same name, unless the latter was a patronymic or, in other
respects, of a general character. There was not more than one Odin,
one Thor, one Njord, one Heimdal, one Loke, and there is no reason for
assuming that there was more than one Vale, namely, the divine son of
this name. Of Balder's brother Vale we know that he was born to avenge
the slaying of Balder. His impatience to do that which he was called to
perform is expressed in the mythology by the statement, that he liberated
himself from the womb of his mother before the usual time (_Baldrs brodir
var af borinn snemma_--Völuspa), and only one night old he went to slay
_Hödr_. The bonds which confine the impatient one in his mother's womb
were his _vigbönd_, the bonds which hindered him from combat, and these
bonds were in the most literal sense of the word _ór thörmum_. As Loke's
bonds are made of the same material and destined to hinder him from
combat with the gods until Ragnarok, and as his prison is in the womb
of the earth, as Vale's was in that of the earth-goddess Rind's, then
_Vala vigbönd_ as a designation of Loke's chains is both logically and
poetically a satisfactory paraphrase, and the more in order as it occurs
in connection with the description of the impending Ragnarok, when Loke
by an earthquake is to sever his fetters and hasten to the conflict.



In Havamál (140, ff.), Odin says that he in his youth obtained nine
fimbul-songs and a drink of the precious mead dipped out of Odrerer from
_Beyzla's_ father, _Bölthorn's_ famous son:

  Fimbulliód nio
  nam ec af enom iregia syni
  Baulthorns Beyzlu faudur
  oc ce dryc of gat
  ens dyra miadar
  ausinn Odreri.

The mythologists have assumed, for reasons that cannot be doubted, that
Bolthorn's famous son, Beistla's brother, is identical with Mimer. No one
else than he presided at that time over the drink dipped out of Odrerer,
the fountain which conceals "wisdom and man's sense," and Sigrdrifumal
(13, 14) corroborates that it was from Mimer, and through a drink
from "Hodrofner's horn," that Odin obtained wonderful runes and "true

Accordingly Mimer had a sister by name _Beyzla_ (variations: _Bestla_,
_Besla_, _Bezla_). A strophe by Einar Skalaglam (Skaldskaparmal, ch. 2;
cp. Gylfag., ch. 6) informs us that Beistla is Odin's mother. Mimer's
disciple, the clan-chieftain of the gods, is accordingly his sister's
son. Herein we have one more reason for the faithful friendship which
Mimer always showed to Odin.

The Mimer epithet _Narfi_, Narve, means, as shown above, "the one who
binds." His daughter Nat is called _draumnjörun_, the dream-binder
(Alvism., 31). His kinswomen, the norns, spin and bind the threads and
bonds, which, extended throughout the world, weave together the web of
events. Such threads and bonds are called _örlogthættir_ (Helge Hund., i.
3), and _Urdar lokur_ (Grogaldr., 7). As the nearest kinswomen of Beistla
all have epithets or tasks which refer to the idea of _binding_, and
when we add to this that Beistla's sons and descendants as gods have the
epithet _höpt_ and _bönd_, her own name might most properly be referred
to the old word _beizl_, _beisl_ (cp. _betsel_, bridle), which has a
similar meaning.

As Mimer and Beistla are of giant descent, and in the theogony belong to
the same stage of development as Bur (_Burr_), Odin's father, then, as
the mythologists also have assumed, _Bolthorn_ can be none else than Ymer.

Mimer, Beistla, the norns, and Nat thus form a group of kindred beings,
which belong to the oldest giant race, but still they are most definitely
separated from the other descendants of Ymer, as a higher race of giants
from a lower, a noble giant race friendly to the gods and fostering
the gods, from that race of deformed beings which bear children in the
strangest manner, which are hostile to the gods and to the world, and
which are represented by the rimthurses Thrudgelmer and Bergelmer and
their offspring.

It now lies near at hand to inquire whether the mythology which
attributed the same father to Mimer and Thrudgelmer was unable to
conceive in this connection the idea of a nobler origin for the former
than the latter. The remedy nearest at hand would have been to have given
them mothers of different characters. But the mythology did not resort to
this expedient. It is expressly stated that Ymer bore children without
the pleasure of woman (_gygiar gaman_--Vafthrudnersmal, 32; cp. No. 60).
Neither Mimer nor Thrudgelmer had a mother. Under such circumstances
there is another expedient to which the sister of the Teutonic mythology,
the Rigveda mythology, has resorted, and which is explained in the 90th
hymn of book x. of Rigveda. The hymn informs us in regard to a primeval
giant Parusha, and this myth is so similar to the Teutonic in regard to
Ymer that it must here be considered.

The primeval being Parusha was a giant monster as large as the whole
world, and even larger (lines 1-5). The gods resolved to sacrifice
him, that is to say, to slay him for sacred purposes (l. 6), and from
his limbs was created the present world. From his navel was made the
atmosphere, from his head the canopy of heaven, from his two feet the
earth, from his heart the moon, from his eye the sun, from his breath the
wind, &c. _His mouth became the brahma_ (the priest), _his arms became
the rajanya_ (the warrior), _his thighs became the vaisya_ (the third
free caste), _and from his feet arose the sudra_ (the thrall, line 12).

The two fundamental ideas of the myth concerning Parusha are:

(1) There was a primeval being who was not divine. The gods slew him and
created the material world out of his limbs.

(2) This primeval being gave rise to other beings of different ranks, and
their rank corresponded with the position of the giant's limbs from which
they were created.

Both these fundamental ideas reappear in the Teutonic myth concerning
Ymer. In regard to the former idea we need only to quote what
Vafthrudnersmal says in strophe 21:

  Or Ymis holdi              Of Ymer's flesh
  var iord um scaupud,       the world was shapen,
  en or beinom bjorg,        from his bones the rocks,
  himinn or hausi            the heavens from the head
  ins hrimkalda iotuns,      of the ice-cold giant,
  enn or sveita sior.        from his blood the sea.

In regard to the second fundamental idea, it is evident from the Rigveda
account that it is not there found in its oldest form, but that, after
the rise of four castes among the Rigveda Aryans, it was changed, in
order to furnish an explanation of the origin of these castes and make
them at least as old as the present material world. Far more original,
and perfectly free from the influence of social ideas, it appears in the
Teutonic mythology, where the 33rd strophe of Vafthrudnersmal testifies
concerning its character:

  Undir hendi vaxa        A son and a daughter
  quatho hrimthursi       are said to have been born together
  mey oc maug saman;      under the rimthurse's arm;
  fótr vid fóti gat       foot begat with foot
  ins froda iotuns        the strange-headed son
  serhaufdathan son.      of the wise giant.

In perfect harmony with this Gylfaginning narrates: "Under Ymer's left
arm grew forth a man and a woman, and his one foot begat with the other a
son. Thence come (different) races."

The different races have this in common, that they are giant races,
since they spring from Ymer; but these giant races must at the same
time have been widely different intellectually and physically, since
the mythology gives them different origins from different limbs of the
progenitor. And here, as in Rigveda, it is clear that the lowest race
was conceived as proceeding from the feet of the primeval giant. This is
stated with sufficient distinctness in Vafthrudnersmal, where we read
that a "strangely-headed" monster (Thrudgelmer--see No. 60) was born by
them, while "man and maid" were born under the arm of the giant. "The
man" and "the maid" must therefore represent a noble race sprung from
Ymer, and they can only be Mimer and his sister, Odin's mother. Mimer
and his clan constitute a group of ancient powers, who watch over the
fountains of the life of the world and care for the perpetuation of the
world-tree. From them proceeded the oldest, fairest, and most enduring
parts of the creation. For the lower world was put in order and had its
sacred fountains and guardians before Bur's sons created Midgard and
Asgard. Among them the world-tree grew up from its roots, whose source
no one knows (Havamál, 138). Among them those forces are active which
make the starry firmament revolve on its axis, and from them come the
seasons and the divisions of time, for Nat and _nidjar_, Mane and Sol,
belong to Mimer's clan, and were in the morning of creation named by the
oldest "high holy gods," and endowed with the vocation _árom at telja_
(Völuspa). From Mimer comes the first culture, for in his fountain
inspiration, spiritual power, man's wit and wisdom, have their source,
and around him as chief stand gathered the artists of antiquity by whose
hands all things can be smithied into living and wonderful things. Such
a giant clan demands another origin than that of the frost-giants and
their offspring. As we learn from Vafthrudnersmal that two giant races
proceeded from Ymer, the one from a part of his body which in a symbolic
sense is more noble than that from which the other race sprang, and
that the race born of his feet was the ignoble one hostile to the gods,
then the conclusion follows of necessity that "the man and maid" who
were born as twins under Ymer's arm became the founders of that noble
group of giants who are friendly to the gods, and which confront us in
the mythology of our fathers. It has already been shown above (see No.
54) that _Jima_ (Yama) in the Asiatic-Aryan mythology corresponds to
Mimer in the Teutonic. Jima is an epithet which means twin. The one with
whom Jima was born together was a maid, Yami. The words in the quoted
Vafthrudnersmal strophe, _undir hendi hrimthursi vaxa mey ok maug saman_,
are evidence that the Germans also considered Mimer and his sister as



The condition in which the traditions of the great Volund (Wayland) have
come down to our time is one of the many examples illustrating how,
under the influences of a change of faith, a myth disrobes itself of its
purely mythical character and becomes a heroic saga. The nature of the
mythic traditions and songs is not at once obliterated in the time of
transition; there remain marks of their original nature in some or other
of the details as proof of what they have been. Thus that fragment of
a Volund saga, turned into an epic, which the Old Norse literature has
preserved for us in Volundarkvida, shows us that the artist who is the
hero of the song was originally conceived not as a son of man, but as
a member of the mythic race of elves which in Völuspa is mentioned in
connection with the Asas (_hvat er med asom, hvat er med alfom?_--str.
49). Volund is an elf-prince (_alfa visi_, _alfa ljothi_--Volund., str.
10, 13), and, as shall be shown below, when we come to consider the
Volund myth exhaustively, he and his brothers and their mistresses have
played parts of the very greatest importance in the epic of Teutonic
mythology. Under such circumstances it follows that the other persons
appearing in Volundarkvida also were originally mythical characters.

One of these is called _Nidadr_ (_Nidudr_), king of Njares, and I am now
to investigate who this _Nidadr_ was in the mythology.

When Volund for the first time appears by this name in the Elder Edda,
he is sojourning in a distant country, to which it is impossible to come
without traversing the Myrkwood forest famous in the mythology (see No.
78). It is a snow-clad country, the home of bears and wolves. Volund gets
his subsistence by hunting on skees. The Old English poem, "Deor the
Scald's Complaint," confirms that this region was regarded as very cold
(cp. _vintercealde vræce_). In Volundarkvida it is called Wolfdales.

Volund stays here many years in company with his two brothers and with
three swan-maids, their mistresses or wives, but finally alone. Volund
passes the time in smithying, until he is suddenly attacked by _Nidadr_
(_Nidudr_), "the Njara-king" (Volundarkv., 6), who puts him in chains and
robs him of two extraordinary treasures--a sword and an arm-ring. Seven
hundred arm-rings hung in a string in Volund's hall; but this one alone
seemed to be worth more than all the rest, and it alone was desired by
_Nidadr_ (str. 7, 8, 17).

Before Volund went to the Wolfdales, he had lived with his people a happy
life in a land abounding in gold (str. 14). Not voluntarily, but from
dire necessity he had exchanged his home for the distant wilderness of
the Wolfdales. "Deor the Scald's Complaint" says he was an exile (_Veland
him be vurman vreces cannade_). A German saga of the middle ages, "Anhang
des Heldenbuchs," confirms this statement. Wieland (Volund), it is there
said, "was a duke who was banished by two giants, who took his land from
him," whereupon "he was stricken with poverty," and "became a smith." The
Volundarkvida does not have much to say about the reason for his sojourn
in the Wolfdales, but strophe 28 informs us that, previous to his arrival
there, he had suffered an injustice, of which he speaks as the worst and
the most revenge-demanding which he, the unhappy and revengeful man, ever
experienced. But he has had no opportunity of demanding satisfaction,
when he finally succeeds in getting free from _Nidadr's_ chains. Who
those mythic persons are that have so cruelly insulted him and filled
his heart with unquenchable thirst for revenge is not mentioned; but in
the very nature of the case those persons from whose persecutions he has
fled must have been mightier than he, and as he himself is a chief in the
godlike clan of elves, his foes are naturally to be looked for among the
more powerful races of gods.

And as Volundarkvida pictures him as boundlessly and recklessly
revengeful, and makes him resort to his extraordinary skill as a smith--a
skill famous among all Teutonic tribes--in the satisfaction which he
demands of _Nidadr_, there is no room for doubt that the many years he
spent in Wolfdales, he brooded on plans of revenge against those who
had most deeply insulted him, and that he made use of his art to secure
instruments for the carrying out of these plans. Of the glittering sword
of which _Nidadr_ robbed him, Volund says (str. 18) that he had applied
his greatest skill in making it hard and keen. The sword must, therefore,
have been one of the most excellent ones mentioned in the songs of
Teutonic heathendom. Far down in the middle ages, the songs and sagas
were fond of attributing the best and most famous swords wielded by their
heroes to the skill of Volund.

In the myths turned by Saxo into history, there has been mentioned a
sword of a most remarkable kind, of untold value (_ingens præmium_), and
attended by success in battle (_belli fortuna comitaretur_). A hero whose
name Saxo Latinised into Hotherus (see _Hist. Dan._, p. 110) got into
enmity with the Asa-gods, and the only means with which he can hope to
cope with them is the possession of this sword. He also knows where to
secure it, and with its aid he succeeds in putting Thor himself and other
gods to flight.

In order to get possession of this sword, Hotherus had to make a journey
which reminds us of the adventurous expeditions already described to
Gudmund-Mimer's domain, but with this difference, that he does not need
to go by sea along the coast of Norway in order to get there, which
circumstance is sufficiently explained by the fact that, according
to Saxo, Hotherus has his home in Sweden. The regions which Hotherus
has to traverse are pathless, full of obstacles, and for the greater
part continually in the cold embrace of the severest frost. They are
traversed by mountain-ridges on which the cold is terrible, and therefore
they must be crossed as rapidly as possible with the aid of "yoke-stags."
The sword is kept concealed in a _specus_, a subterranean cave, and
"mortals" can scarcely cross its threshold (_haud facile mortalibus
patere posse_). The being which is the ward of the sword in this cave is
by Saxo called Mimingus.

The question now is, whether the sword smithied by Volund and the one
fetched by Hotherus are identical or not. The former is smithied in a
winter-cold country beyond Myrkwood, where the mythic _Nidadr_ suddenly
appears, takes possession of it, and the purpose for which it was made,
judging from all circumstances, was that Volund with its aid was to
conquer the hated powers which, stronger than he, the chief of elves, had
compelled him to take refuge to the Wolfdales. If these powers were Asas
or Vans, then it follows that Volund must have thought himself able to
give to his sword qualities that could render it dangerous to the world
of gods, although the latter had Thor's hammer and other subterranean
weapons at their disposal. The sword captured by Hotherus is said to
possess those very qualities which we might look for in the Volund
weapon, and the regions he has to traverse in order to get possession of
it refer, by their cold and remoteness, to a land similar to that where
_Nidadr_ surprises Volund, and takes from him the dangerous sword.

As already stated, Nidad at the same time captured an arm-ring of an
extraordinary kind. If the saga about Volund and his sword was connected
with the saga-fragment turned into history by Saxo concerning Hotherus
and the sword, whose owner he becomes, then we might reasonably expect
that the precious arm-ring, too, should appear in the latter saga. And
we do find it there. Mimingus, who guards the sword of victory, also
guards a wonderful arm-ring, and through Saxo we learn what quality
makes this particular arm-ring so precious, that Nidad does not seem to
care about the other seven hundred which he finds in Volund's workshop.
Saxo says: _Eidem (Mimingo) quoque armillam esse mira quadam arcanaque
virtute possessoris opes augere solitam_. "In the arm-ring there dwells
a wonderful and mysterious power, which increases the wealth of its
possessor." In other words, it is a smith's work, the rival of the ring
Draupner, from which eight similar rings drop every ninth night. This
explains why Volund's smithy contains so many rings, that Nidad expresses
his suspicious wonderment (str. 13).

There are therefore strong reasons for assuming that the sword and the
ring, which Hotherus takes from Mimingus, are the same sword and ring
as Nidad before took from Volund, and that the saga, having deprived
Volund of the opportunity of testing the quality of the weapon himself
in conflict with the gods, wanted to indicate what it really amounted
to in a contest with Thor and his hammer by letting the sword came into
the hands of Hotherus, another foe of the Asas. As we now find such
articles as those captured by Nidad reappearing in the hands of a certain
Mimingus, the question arises whether Mimingus is Nidad himself or some
one of Nidad's subjects; for that they either are identical, or are in
some way connected with each other, seems to follow from the fact that
the one is said to possess what the other is said to have captured.
Mimingus is a Latinising of _Mimingr_, _Mimungr_, son or descendant of

_Nidadr_, _Nidudr_ (both variations are found in Volundarkvida), has,
on the other hand, his counterpart in the Anglo-Saxon Nidhâd. The king
who in "Deor the Scald's Complaint" fetters Volund bears this name, and
his daughter is called Beadohild, in Volundarkvida Bodvild. Previous
investigators have already remarked that Beadohild is a more original
form than Bodvild, and Nidhad than _Nidudr_, _Nidadr_. The name Nidhad is
composed of _nid_ (neuter gender), the lower world, Hades, and _had_, a
being, person, _forma_, _species_. Nidhad literally means the lower world
being, the Hades being. Herewith we also have his mythical character
determined. A mythical king, who is characterised as the _being of the
lower world_, must be a subterranean king. The mythic records extant
speak of the subterranean king Mimer (the middle-age saga's Gudmund, king
of the Glittering Fields; see Nos. 45, 46), who rules over the realm
of the well of wisdom and has the dis of fate as his kinswoman, the
princess of the realm of Urd's fountain and of the whole realm of death.
While we thus find, on the one hand, that it is a subterranean king
who captures Volund's sword and arm-ring, we find, on the other hand,
that when Hotherus is about to secure the irresistible sword and the
wealth-producing ring, he has to betake himself to the same winter-cold
country, where all the traditions here discussed (see Nos. 45-49) locate
the descent to Mimer's realm, and that he, through an entrance "scarcely
approachable for mortals," must proceed into the bosom of the earth after
he has subdued a Mimingus, a son of Mimer. Mimer being the one who took
possession of the treasure, it is perfectly natural that his son should
be its keeper.

This also explains why _Nidadr_ in Volundarkvida is called the king of
the Njares. A people called Njares existed in the mythology, but not in
reality. The only explanation of the word is to be found in the Mimer
epithet, which we discovered in the variations Narve, Njorve, Nare, Nere,
which means "he who binds." They are called Njares, because they belong
to the clan of Njorvi-Nare.

Volundarkvida (str. 19, with the following prose addition) makes Nidad's
queen command Volund's knee-sinews to be cut. Of such a cruelty the older
poem, "Deor the Skald's Complaint," knows nothing. This poem relates, on
the other hand, that Nidad bound Volund with a fetter made from a strong

  siththan hinne Nidhad on
  nede legde
  sveoncre seono-bende.

Though Volund is in the highest degree skilful, he is not able to
free himself from these bonds. They are of magic kind, and resemble
those _örlogthættir_ which are tied by Mimer's kinswoman Urd. Nidad
accordingly here appears in Mimer-Njorve's character as "binder." With
this fetter of sinew we must compare the one with which Loke was bound,
and that tough and elastic one which was made in the lower world and
which holds Fenrer bound until Ragnarok. And as Volund--a circumstance
already made probable, and one that shall be fully proved below--actually
regards himself as insulted by the gods, and has planned a terrible
revenge against them, then it is an enemy of Odin that Nidhad here binds,
and the above-cited paraphrase for the death-dis, Urd, employed by Egil
Skallagrimson, "the kinswoman of the binder (Njorva) of Odin's foes" (see
No. 85), also becomes applicable here.

The tradition concerning Nidhad's original identity with Mimer flourished
for a long time in the German middle-age sagas, and passed thence into
the Vilkinasaga, where the banished Volund became Mimer's smith. The
author of Vilkinasaga, compiling both from German and from Norse sources,
saw Volund in the German records as a smith in Mimer's employ, and in the
Norse sagas he found him as Nidhad's smith, and from the two synonyms he
made two persons.

The Norse form of the name most nearly corresponding to the Old English
Nidhad is _Nidi_, "the subterranean," and that Mimer also among the
Norsemen was known by this epithet is plain both from the Sol-song
and from Völuspa. The skald of the Sol-song sees in the lower world
"Nide's sons, seven together, drinking the clear mead from the well
of ring-Regin." The well of the lower world with the "clear mead" is
Mimer's fountain, and the paraphrase ring-Regin is well suited to Mimer,
who possessed among other treasures the wonderful ring of Hotherus.
Völuspa speaks of Nide's mountain, the Hvergelmer mountain, from which
the subterranean dragon Nidhog flies (see No. 75), and of Nide's plains
where Sindre's race have their golden hall. Sindre is, as we know, one
of the most celebrated primeval smiths of mythology, and he smithied
Thor's lightning hammer, Frey's golden boar, and Odin's spear Gungner
(Gylfaginning). Dwelling with his kinsmen in Mimer's realm, he is one
of the artists whom the ruler of the lower world kept around him (cp.
No. 53). Several of the wonderful things made by these artists, as for
instance the harvest-god's Skidbladner, and golden boar, and Sif's
golden locks, are manifestly symbols of growth or vegetation. The
same is therefore true of the original Teutonic primeval smiths as of
the Ribhuians, the ancient smiths of Rigveda, that they make not only
implements and weapons, but also grass and herbs. Out of the lower world
grows the world-tree, and is kept continually fresh by the liquids of
the sacred fountains. In the abyss of the lower world and in the sea is
ground that mould which makes the fertility of Midgard possible (see No.
80); in the lower world "are smithied" those flowers and those harvests
which grow out of this mould, and from the manes of the subterranean
horses, and from their foaming bridles, falls on the fields and meadows
that honey-dew "which gives harvests to men."

Finally, it must be pointed out that when Nidhad binds Volund, the foe of
the gods, this is in harmony with Mimer's activity throughout the epic
of the myths as the friend of the Asa-gods, and as the helper of Odin,
his sister's son, in word and deed.

Further evidences of Mimer's identity with Nidhad are to be found in the
Svipdag myth, which I shall discuss further on.

Vafthrudnersmal states in strophe 25 that "beneficent _regin_ (makers)
created Ny and Nedan to count times for men," this being said in
connection with what it states about Narve, Nat, and Dag. In the Völuspa
dwarf-list we find that the chief of these _regin_ was Modsogner,
whose identity with Mimer has been shown (see No. 53). Modsogner-Mimer
created among other "dwarfs" also Ny and Nedan (Völuspa, 11). These are,
therefore, his sons at least in the sense that they are indebted to him
for their origin. The expressions to create and to beget are very closely
related in the mythology. Of Njord Vafthrudner also says (str. 39) that
"wise _regin_ created him" in Vanaheim.

As sons of Nide-Mimer the changes of the moon have been called
after his name _Nidi_, and collectively they have been called by
the plural _Nidgar_, in a later time _Nidar_. And as Nat's brothers
they are enumerated along with her as a stereotyped alliteration. In
Vafthrudnersmal Odin asks the wise giant whether he knows whence Nat and
Nidjar (_Nott med Nithom_) came, and Völuspa (6) relates that in the
dawn of time the high holy gods (_regin_) seated themselves on their
judgment-seats and gave names to Nat and Nidjar (_Nott ok Nithiom_). The
giving of a name was in heathen times a sacred act, which implied an
adoption in the name-giver's family or circle of friends.

_Nidjar_ also appears to have had his signification of moon-changes in
regard to the changes of months. According to Saxo (see No. 46), King
Gorm saw in the lower world twelve sons of Gudmund-Mimer, all "of noble
appearance." Again, Solarljod's skald says that the sons of Nide, whom
he saw in the lower world, were "seven together." From the standpoint of
a nature-symbol the difference in these statements is explained by the
fact that the months of the year were counted as twelve, but in regard
to seasons and occupations there were seven divisions: _gor-mánudr_,
_frer-m._, _hrut-m._, _ein-m._, _sol-m._, _sel-m._, _kornskurdar-mánudr_.
Seven is the epic-mythological number of these _Nidjar_. To the saga in
regard to these I shall return in No. 94.



The names, epithets, and paraphrases with which the king of the lower
world, the ward of the fountain of wisdom, was designated, according to
the statements hitherto made, are the following:

(1) _Mimir_ (_Hodd-mímir_, _Mímr_, _Mími_, _Mime der alte_).

(2) _Narfi_ (_Narvi_, _Njorvi_, _Nörr_, _Nari_, _Neri_).

(3) _Nidi_ (_Nidhad_, _Nidadr_, _Nidudr_, _Nidungr_).

These three names, which means the Thinker, the Binder, the Subterranean,
are presumably all ancient.

(4) _Modsognir_, "the mead-drinker."

(5) _Hoddrofnir_, presumably "the one bounteous in treasures."

(6) _Gauta spjalli_, "the one with whom Gaute (Odin) counsels."

(7) _Baug-regin_, Ring-regin.

(8) _Godmundr_, the name by which Mimer appears in Christian middle-age
sagas of Norse origin. To these names may still be added:

(9) _Fimbulthulr_, "the great teacher" (the lecturer). Havamál (str.
142; cp. str. 80) says that _Fimbulthulr_ drew (_fadi_) the runes, that
_ginn-regin_ "made" (_gordo_) them, that is to say, in the older sense of
the word, prepared them for use, and that Odin (_hroptr raugna_) carved
(_reist_) them. In the strophes immediately preceding, it is said that
Odin, by self-sacrifice, begot runes out of the deep and fimbul-songs
from Beistla's brother. These statements, joined with those which mention
how the runes given by Mimer were spread over the world, and were taught
by various clan-chiefs to different clans (see No. 53), make it evident
that a perfect myth had been developed in regard to the origin of the
runes and the spreading of runic knowledge. Mimer, as the possessor
of the well of wisdom, was the inventor or source of the runes. When
Sigrdrifumal (str. 13) says that they dropped out of Hoddrofner's horn,
this is, figuratively speaking, the same as Havamál tells, when it states
that Fimbulthul carved them. The oldest powers (_ginnregin_) and Odin
afterwards developed and spread them.

At the time of Tacitus, and probably one or two centuries earlier, the
art of writing was known among the Teutons. The runic inscriptions that
have come down to our time bear evidence of a Greek-Roman origin.

By this we do not mean to deny that there were runes--at least,
non-phonetic ones--before them. The many kinds of magic runes of which
our mythic records speak are perhaps reminiscences of them. At all events
we must distinguish the latter from the common runes for writing, and
also from the many kinds of cypher-runes the keys of which are to be
sought in the common phonetic rune-row.

(10) _Brimir_. By the side of the golden hall of Sindre, Völuspa (str.
36) mentions the giants Brimer's "bjór" hall, which is in _Okólnir_.
_Bjórr_ is a synonym for mead and ale (Alvism., 34). _Okólnir_ means "the
place where cold is not found." The reference is to a giant dwelling in
the lower world who presides over mead, and whose hall is situated in
a domain to which cold cannot penetrate. The myth has put this giant
in connection with Ymer, who in relative opposition to him is called
_Leirbrimir_, clay-Brimer (Fjöllsvinnsmal). These circumstances refer to
Mimer. So also Sigrdrifumal (str. 14), where it is said that "Odin stood
on the mountain with Brimer's sword" (_Brimis eggiar_), when Mimer's head
for the first time talked with him. The expression "Brimer's sword" is
ambiguous. As a head was once used as a weapon against Heimdal, a sword
and a head can, according to Skaldskaparmal, be employed as paraphrases
for each other, whence "Brimer's sword" may be the same as "Mimer's
head" (Skaldskaparmal 69, Cod. H.; cp. Skaldskaparmal, 8, and Gylfag.,
27). Sigrdrifumal certainly also employs the phrase in its literal
sense of a famous mythological sword, for, in the case in question, it
represents Odin as fully armed, with helmet on his head; and the most
excellent mythological sword, according to an added line in strophe 24 of
Grimnersmal (Cod. A.), bore Brimer's name, just as the same sword in the
German saga has the name Miminc (Biterolf v. 176, in Vilkinasaga changed
to Mimmung), doubtless because it at one time was in Mimer-Nidhad's
possession; for the German saga (Biterolf, 157; cp. Vilkinasaga,
ch. 23) remembers that a sword called by Mimer's name was the same
celebrated weapon as that made by Volund (Weiland in Biterolf; Velint in
Vilkinasaga), and hence the same work of art as that which, according to
Vilkinasaga, Nidhad captured from him during his stay in Wolfdales.



We have seen (Nos. 72, 73) that the mead which was brewed from the three
subterranean liquids destroys the effects of death and gives new vitality
to the departed, and that the same liquid is absorbed by the roots of the
world-tree, and in its trunk is distilled into that sap which gives the
tree eternal life. From the stem the mead rises into the foliage of the
crown, whose leaves nourish the fair giver of "the sparkling drink," in
Grimnersmal symbolised as Heidrun, from the streams of whose teats the
mead-horns in Asgard are filled for the einherjes. The morning dew which
falls from Ygdrasil down into the dales of the lower world contains the
same elements. From the bridle of Rimfaxe and from the horses of the
valkyries some of the same dew also falls in the valleys of Midgard (see
No. 74). The flowers receive it in their chalices, where the bees extract
it, and thus is produced the earthly honey which man uses, and from which
he brews _his_ mead (cp. Gylfag., ch. 16). Thus the latter too contains
some of the strength of Mimer's and Urd's fountains (_veigar_--see Nos.
72, 73), and thus it happens that it is able to stimulate the mind
and inspire poetry and song--nay, used with prudence, it may suggest
excellent expedients in important emergencies (cp. Tacitus, _Germania_).

Thus the world-tree is among the Teutons, as it is among their kinsmen
the Iranians (see below), a _mead-tree_. And so it was called by the
latter, possibly also by the former. The name _miötvidr_, with which the
world-tree is mentioned in Völuspa (2) and whose origin and meaning have
been so much discussed, is from a mythological standpoint satisfactorily
explained if we assume that an older word, _miödvidr_, the mead-tree,
passed into the word similar in sound, _miötvidr_, the tree of fate (from
_miöt_, measure; cp. _mjötudr_ in the sense of fate, the power which
gives measure, and the Anglo-Saxon _metod_, Old Saxon _metod_, the giver
of measure, fate, providence).

The sap of the world-tree and the _veigar_ of the horn of the lower world
are not, however, precisely the same mead as the pure and undefiled
liquid from Mimer's fountain, that which Odin in his youth, through
self-sacrifice, was permitted to taste, nor is it precisely the same as
that concerning the possession of which the powers of mythology long
contended, before it finally, through Odin's adventures at Suttung's,
came to Asgard. The episodes of this conflict concerning the mead will be
given as my investigation progresses, so far as they can be discovered.
Here we must first examine what the heathen records have preserved in
regard to the closing episode in which the conflict was ended in favour
of Asgard. What the Younger Edda (Bragarædur) tells about it I must for
the present leave entirely unnoticed, lest the investigation should go
astray and become entirely abortive.

The chief sources are the Havamál strophes 104-110, and strophes 13
and 14. Subordinate sources are Grimnersmal (50) and Ynglingatal
(15). To this must be added half a strophe by Eyvind Skaldaspiller
(Skaldskaparmal, ch. 2).

The statements of the chief source have, strange to say, been almost
wholly unobserved, while the mythologists have confined their attention
to the later presentation in Bragarædur, which cannot be reconciled with
the earlier accounts, and which from a mythological standpoint is worse
than worthless. In 1877 justice was for the first time done to Havamál in
the excellent analysis of the strophes in question made by Prof. M. B.
Richert, in his "Attempts at explaining the obscure passages not hitherto
understood in the poetic Edda."

From Havamál alone we get directly or indirectly the following:

The giant Suttung, also called Fjalar, has acquired possession of the
precious mead for which Odin longs. The Asa-father resolves to capture it
by cunning.

There is a feast at Fjalar's. Guests belonging to the clan of rimthurses
are gathered in his halls (Havamál, 110). Besides these we must imagine
that Suttung-Fjalar's own nearest kith and kin are present. The mythology
speaks of a separate clan entirely distinct from the rimthurses, known as
_Suttungs Synir_ (Alvismal, Skirnersmal; see No. 78), whose chief must
be Suttung-Fjalar, as his very name indicates. The Suttung kin and the
rimthurses are accordingly gathered at the banquet on the day in question.

An honoured guest is expected, and a golden high-seat prepared for him
awaits his arrival. From the continuation of the story we learn that the
expected guest is the wooer or betrothed of Suttung-Fjalar's daughter,
Gunlad. On that night the wedding of the giant's daughter is to be

Odin arrives, but in disguise. He is received as the guest of honour, and
is conducted to the golden high-seat. It follows of necessity that the
guise assumed by Odin, when he descends to the mortal foes of the gods
and of himself, is that of the expected lover. Who the latter was Havamál
does not state, unless strophe 110, 5, like so many other passages, is
purposely ambiguous and contains his name, a question which I shall
consider later.

After the adventure has ended happily, Odin looks back with pleasure
upon the success with which he assumed the guise of the stranger and
played his part (str. 107). _el keyptz litar hefi ec vel notith_: "From
the well changed exterior I reaped great advantage." In regard to the
mythological meaning of _litr_, see No. 95: The expression _keyptr litr_,
which literally means "purchased appearance," may seem strange, but
_kaupa_ means not only to "buy," but also to "change," "exchange;" _kaupa
klædum vid einn_ means "to change clothes with some one." Of a queen who
exchanged her son with a slave woman, it is said that she _keyptr um sonu
vid ambátt_. But the cause of Odin's joy is not that he successfully
carried out a cunning trick, but that he in this way accomplished a deed
of inestimable value for Asgard and for man (str., 107, 4-6), and he is
sorry that poor Gunlad's trust in him was betrayed (str. 105). This is a
characterisation of Odin's personality.

Nor does Havamál tell us what hinders the real lover from putting in his
appearance and thwarting Odin's plan, while the latter is acting his
part; but of this we learn something from another source, which we shall
consider below.

The adventure undertaken by Odin is extremely dangerous, and he ran the
risk of losing his head (str. 106, 6). For this reason he has, before
entering Suttung-Fjalar's halls, secured an egress, through which he
must be able to fly, and if possible, with the skaldic mead as his
booty. There is no admittance for everybody to the rocky abode where the
mead-treasure so much desired by all powers is kept. The dwelling is, as
Eyvind tells us, situated in an abyss, and the door is, as another record
tells us, watched. But Odin has let Rate bore ("gnaw") a tunnel through
the mountain large enough to give him room to retire secretly (str. 106).
In regard to Rate, see No. 82.

When the pretended lover has seated himself in the golden high-seat, a
conversation begins around the banquet table. It is necessary for Odin to
guard well his words, for he represents another person, well known there,
and if he is not cautious he may be discovered. It is also necessary
to be eloquent and winning, so that he may charm Gunlad and secure her
devotion, for without her knowledge he cannot gain his end, that of
carrying away the supply of inspiration-mead kept at Suttung's. Odin also
boasts (str. 103, 104) that on this occasion he proved himself _minnigr_
and _málugr_ and _margfrodr_ and eloquent for the realisation of his plan.

During the progress of the feast the guest had his glass filled to his
honour with the precious mead he desired to obtain. "Gunlad gave me on
the golden seat the drink of the precious mead" (str. 105).

Then the marriage ceremony was performed, and on the holy ring Gunlad
took to Odin the oath of faithfulness (str. 110).

It would have been best for the Asa-father if the banquet had ended here,
and the bridegroom and the bride had been permitted to betake themselves
to the bridal chamber. But the jolly feast is continued and the horns
are frequently filled and emptied. Havamál does not state that the part
played by Odin required him to be continually drinking; but we shall show
that Gunlad's wooer was the champion drinker of all mythology, and in
the sagas he has many epithets referring to this quality. Odin became
on his own confession "drunk, very drunk, at Fjalar's." "The hern of
forgetfulness which steals one's wit and understanding hovers over his
drink" (str. 13, 15).

In this condition he let drop words which were not those of
caution--words which sowed the seed of suspicion in the minds of some of
his hearers who were less drunk. He dropped words which were not spelt
with letters of intelligence and good sense--words which did not suit the
part he was playing.

At last the banquet comes to an end, and the bridegroom is permitted to
be alone with the bride in that rocky hall which is their bed-chamber.
There is no doubt that Odin won Gunlad's heart, "the heart of that good
woman whom I took in my embrace" (str. 108). With her help he sees his
purpose attained and the mead in his possession. But the suspicions which
his reckless words had sown bear fruit in the night, and things happen
which Havamál does not give a full account of, but of a kind which would
have prevented Odin from getting out of the giant-gard, had he not had
Gunlad's assistance (str. 108). Odin was obliged to fight and rob Gunlad
of a kinsman (str. 110--_hann lèt grætta Gunnlödu_; see Rich., p. 17).
Taking the supply of mead with him, he takes flight by the way Rate had
opened for him--a dangerous way, for "above and below me were the paths
of the giants" (str. 106).

It seems to have been the custom that the wedding guests on the morning
of the next day went to the door of the bridal-chamber to hear how
the newly-married man was getting on in his new capacity of husband.
According to Havamál, Suttung's guests, the rimthurses, observe this
custom; but the events of the night change their inquires into the
question whether Odin had succeeded in escaping to the gods or had been
slain by Suttung (str. 109, 110).

Thus far Havamál. We must now examine Grimnersmal (150) and Ynglingatal
(15), whose connection with the myth concerning Odin's exploit in the
home of Suttung-Fjalar has not hitherto been noticed.

Odin says in Grimnersmal:

  Svitharr oc Svithrir
  er ec het at Sauccmimis
  oc dultha ec thann inn aldna iotun,
  tha er ec Mithvithnis varc
  ins mæra burar
  ordinn einbani.

"_Svidur and Svidrir_ I was called at Sokmimer's, and I presented myself
to the ancient giant, at the time when I alone became the slayer of
_Midvitnir's_ famous son."

Ynglingatal (15) reads:

  En Dagskjarr
  Durnis nidja
  Svegdi velti,
  tha er i stein
  hinn stórgedi
  Dulsa konr
  ept dvergi hljóp,
  ok sal bjartr
  theirra Sökkmimis
  vid jofri gein.

"The day-shy hall-guard of _Durnir's_ descendants deceived _Svegdir_ when
he, the dauntless son of _Dulsi_, ran after the dwarf into the rock, and
when the shining giant-inhabited hall of _Sökkmimir's_ kinsmen yawned
against the chief." (In regard to _Dulsi_, see No. 83).

What attracts attention in a comparison of these two strophes is that the
epithet _Sökkmimir_ is common to both of them, while this name does not
occur elsewhere in the whole Old Norse literature.

In both the strophes _Sökkmimir_ is a giant. Grimnersmal calls him _inn
aldna iotun_, "the ancient giant," with which we may compare Odin's
words in Havamál (104): _enn aldna iotun ec sotta_, "the ancient giant I
sought," when he visited that giant-chief, to whose clan Suttung-Fjalar,
the possessor of the skald-mead, belonged.

In both the strophes the giant _Sökkmimir_ is the lord and chief of
those giants to whom, according to Grimnersmal, Odin comes, and outside
of whose hall-door, according to Ynglingatal, a certain _Svegdir_ is
deceived by the ward of the hall. This position of _Sökkmimir_ in
relation to his surroundings already appears, so far as Grimnersmal is
concerned, from the expression _at Sauccmimis_, which means not only
"with Sokmimer," but also "at Sokmimer's," that is to say, with that
group of kinsmen and in that abode where Sokmimer is chief and ruler. It
is with this giant-chief, and in his rocky hall, that _Midvitnir_ and
his son sojourns when Odin visits him, presents himself to him, and by
the name _Svidur_ (_Svidrir_) acts the part of another person, and in
this connection causes Midvitner's death. The same quality of Sokmimer
as clan-chief and lord appears in the Ynglingatal strophe, in the form
that the hall, outside of whose door Svegder was deceived, is _theirra
Sökkmimis_, that is to say, is the abode of Sokmimer's kinsmen and
household, "is their giant-home." Thus all the giants who dwell there
take their clan-name from Sokmimer.

The appellation _Sökkmimir_ is manifestly not a name in the strictest
sense, but one of the epithets by which this ancient giant-chief could be
recognised in connection with mythological circumstances. We shall point
out these mythological circumstances further on.

The Ynglingatal strophe gives us, in fact, another epithet for the same
mythic person. What the latter half of the strophe calls the hall of
Sokmimer's kinsmen and household, the former half of the same strophe
calls the hall of _Durnir's_ descendants. Thus Sokmimer and _Durnir_ are
the same person.

_Durnir_, on the other hand, is a variation of _Durinn_ (cp. the parallel
variations _Dvalnir_ and _Dvalinn_). Of _Durinn_ we already know (see
No. 53) that he is one of the ancient beings of mythology who in time's
morning, together with _Modsognir_-Mimer and in accordance with the
resolve of the high-holy powers, created clans of artists. One of the
artists created by Durin, and whose father he in this sense became, is,
according to Völuspa (11), _Mjödvitnir_. Rask and Egilsson have for
philological reasons assumed that _Midvitnir_ and _Mjödvitnir_ are
variations of the same name, and designate the same person (_mjödr_,
in the dative _midi_). It here appears that the facts confirm this
assumption. _Durinn_ and _Mjödvitnir_, in Völuspa correspond to _Durnir_
and _Midvitnir_ in the strophes concerning _Sökkmimir_.

_Mjödvitnir_ means the mead-wolf, he who captured the mead celebrated in
mythology. As Odin, having assumed the name of another, visits the abode
of the descendants of Durner-Sokmimer, he accordingly visits that rocky
home, where that giant dwells who has secured and possesses the mead
desired by Odin.

Ynglingatal reports, as we have seen, that a certain _Svegdir_ was
deceived, when he was outside of the door of the hall of the kinsmen of
Durner-Sokmimer. He who deceived him was the doorkeeper of the hall.
The door appeared to be already open, and the "giant-inhabited" hall
"yawned" festively illuminated (_bjartr_) toward Svegder. If we may
believe Ynglingatal's commentary on the strophe, the hall-ward had called
to him and said that Odin was inside. The strophe represents Svegder
as running after the hall-ward, that is to say, toward the door in the
rock, eager to get in. What afterwards happened Ynglingatal does not
state; but that Svegder did not gain the point he desired, but fell into
some snare laid by the doorkeeper, follows from the expression that he
was deceived by him, and that this caused his death follows from the
fact that the purpose of the strophe is to tell how his life ended.
Ynglingasaga says that he got into the rock, but never out of it. The
rest that this saga has to say of Svegder--that he was on a journey to
the old Asgard in "Tyrkland," to find "Odin the old," Gylfaginning's King
Priam--has nothing to do with the mythology and with Ynglingatal, but is
of course important in regard to the Euhemeristic hypothesis in regard
to the descent of the Asas from Tyrkland (Troy), on which the author of
Ynglingatal, like that of Gylfaginning, bases his work.

The variations _Svegdir_, _Svidgir_, and _Sveigdir_ are used
interchangeably in regard to the same person (cp. Ynglingatal, 14, 15;
Fornald., ii. 2; Fornm., i. 29; and Egilsson, 796, 801). _Svigdir_ seems
to be the oldest of these forms. The words means the great drinker
(Egilsson, 801). _Svigdir_ was one of the most popular heroes of
mythology (see the treatise on the "Ivalde race"), and was already in
heathen times regarded as a race-hero of the Swedes. In Ynglingatal (14)
Svithiod is called _geiri Svigdis_, "Svigdir's domain." At the same time,
_Svegdir_ is an epithet of Odin. But it should be borne in mind that
several of the names by which Odin is designated belong to him only in
a secondary and transferred sense, and he has assumed them on occasions
when he did not want to be recognised, and wanted to represent some one
else (cp. Grimnersm., 49) whose name he then assumed.

When Odin visits the abode of _Durinn-Sökkmimir_, where the precious mead
is preserved, he calls himself, according to Grimnersmal, _Svidurr_,
_Svidrir_. Now it is the case with this name as with _Svigdir_, that it
was connected with Svithiod. Skaldskaparmal (65) says that _Svithiod var
kallat af nafni Svidurs_, "Svithiod was named after the name of Svidur."

Hence (1) the name _Svidurr_, like _Svegdir-Svigdir_, belongs to Odin,
but only in a secondary sense, as one assumed or borrowed from another
person; (2) _Svidurr_, like _Svegdir-Svigdir_, was originally a mythic
person, whom tradition connected as a race hero with Svithiod.

From all this it appears that the names, facts, and the chain of
events connect partly the strophes of Grimnersmal and Ynglingatal with
each other, and partly both of these with Havamál's account of Odin's
adventure to secure the mead, and this connection furnishes indubitable
evidence that they concern the same episode in the mythological epic.

In the mythic fragments handed down to our time are found other epithets,
which like _Svigdir_, refer to some mythical person who played the
part of a champion drinker, and was connected with the myth concerning
mead and brewing. These epithets are _Ölvaldi_, _Ölmódr_, and _Sumbl
finnakonungr_, _Sumblus phinnorum rex_ in Saxo. _Sumbl_, as a common
noun, means ale, feast. In the "Finn-king" _Sumbl_ these ideas are
personified, just as the soma-drink in the Veda songs is personified
in King Soma. In my treatise on the Ivalde race, I shall revert to the
person who had these epithets, in order to make his mythological position
clear. Here I shall simply point out the following: Havamál (110) makes
one of the rimthurses, Suttung's guests, say:

  Baugeith Odinn
  hygg ec at unnit hafi;
  hvat scal hans trygdom trua?
  Suttung svikinn
  han let sumbli fra
  oc grætta Gunnlaudo.

The strophe makes the one who says this blame Odin for breaking the oath
he took on the ring, and thus showing himself unworthy of being trusted
in the promises and oaths he might give in the future, whereupon it is
stated that he left Suttung deceitfully robbed of _sumbl_ (_Sumbl_), and
Gunlad in tears over a lost kinsman.

The expression that Suttung was deceitfully robbed of _sumbl_, to be
intelligible, requires no other interpretation than the one which lies
near at hand, that Suttung was treacherously deprived of the mead. But
as the skald might have designated the drink lost by Suttung in a more
definite manner than with the word _sumbl_, and as he still chose this
word, which to his hearers, familiar with the mythology, must have
called to mind the personal _Sumbl_ (_Ölvaldi Svigdir_), it is not only
possible, but, as it seems to me, even probable, that he purposely chose
an ambiguous word, and wanted thereby to refer at the same time to the
deceitfully captured mead, and to the intended son-in-law deceitfully
lost; and this seems to me to be corroborated by the juxtaposition of
Suttung's and Gunlad's loss. The common noun _sumbl's_ double meaning
as mead and "drink-feast" has also led M. B. Richert (page 14 in his
treatise mentioned above) to assume that "the expression was purposely
chosen in such a manner that the meaning should not be entirely limited
and definite," and he adds: "A similar indefiniteness of statement,
which may give rise to ambiguity and play of words, is frequently found
in the old songs." Meanwhile, I do not include this probability in my
evidence, and do not present it as the basis of any conclusions.

The name Suttung shows in its very form that it is a patronymic, and
although we can furnish no linguistic evidence that the original form was
_Surtungr_ and characterised its possessor as son of _Surtr_, still there
are other facts which prove that such was actually the case. The very
circumstance that the skaldic drink which came into Suttung's possession
is paraphrased with the expression _sylgr Surts ættar_, "the drink of
Surt's race" (Fornmanna, iii. 3), points that way and the question is
settled completely by the half-strophe quoted in the Younger Edda (i.
242), and composed by Eyvind Skaldaspiller, where the skaldic potion is

  hinn er Surts
  or sökkdölum
  fljugandi bar.

("the drink, which Odin flying bore from Surt's deep dales").

When Odin had come safely out of Fjalar-Suttung's deep rocky halls,
and, on eagle-pinions, was flying with the precious mead to Asgard, it
was accordingly that deep, in which _Surtr_ dwells, which he left below
him, and the giant race who had been drinking the mead before that time,
while it was still in Suttung's possession, was Surt's race. From this it
follows that "the ancient giant," whom Odin visited for the purpose of
robbing his circle of kinsmen of the skaldic mead, is none other than
that being so well known in the mythology, _Surtr_, and that _Surtr_ is
identical with _Durinn_ (_Durnir_), and _Sökkmimir_.

This also explains the epithet _Sökkmimir_, "the Mimer of the deep."
_Sökk-_ in _Sökk-Mimir_ refers to _Sökk_ in _Sökkdalir_, Surt's domain,
and that Surt could be associated with Mimer is, from the standpoint of
Old Norse poetics, perfectly justifiable from the fact that he appears in
time's morning as a co-worker with Mimer, and operating with him as one
of the forces of creation in the service of the oldest high-holy powers
(see No. 53). Consequently Mimer and Sokmimer (_Surtr-Durinn_) created
the clans of artists.

_Surtr_, _Durinn_, _Durnir_, _Sökkmimir_, are, therefore, synonyms, and
designate the same person. He has a son who is designated by the synonyms
_Suttungr_, _Fjalarr_, _Mjödvitnir_ (_Midvitnir_). Suttung has a son
slain by Odin, when the latter robs him of the mead of inspiration, and
a daughter, Gunlad. The giant maid, deceived and deplored by Odin, is
consequently the daughter of Surt's son.

Light is thus shed on the myth concerning the giant who reappears in
Ragnarok, and there wields the sword which fells Frey and hurls the
flames which consume the world. It is found to be connected with the myth
concerning the oldest events of mythology. In time's morning we find the
fire-being Surt--the representative of subterranean fire--as a creative
force by the side of Mimer, who is a friend of the gods, and whose
kinsman he must be as a descendant of Ymer. Both work together in peace
for similar purposes and under the direction of the gods (Völuspa, 9,
10). But then something occurs which interrupts the amicable relations.
Mimer and Surt no longer work together. The fountain of creative force,
the mead of wisdom and inspiration, is in the exclusive possession of
Mimer, and he and Urd are together the ruling powers in the lower world.
The fire-giant, the primeval artist, is then with his race relegated to
the "deep dales," situated to the southward (Völuspa, 52), difficult of
access, and dangerous for the gods to visit, and presumably conceived
as located deeper down than the lower world governed by Mimer and Urd.
That he tried to get possession of a part of "_Odrærir_" follows from the
position he afterwards occupies in the myth concerning the mead. When
daylight again falls on him from the mythic fragments extant, his son has
captured and is in possession of a supply of mead, which must originally
have come from Mimer's fountain, and been chiefly composed of its liquid,
for it is skaldic mead, it too, and can also be designated as _Ódrærir_
(Havamál, 107), while the son is called "the mead-wolf," the one who
has robbed and conceals the precious drink. Odin captures his mead by
cunning, the grandson of the fire-giant is slain, the devoted love of the
son's daughter is betrayed, and the husband selected for her is deceived
and removed. All this, though done for purposes to benefit gods and men,
demands and receives in the mythology its terrible retribution. It is a
trait peculiar to the whole Teutonic mythology that evil deeds, with a
good purpose, even when the object is attained, produce evil results,
which develop and finally smother the fruits of the good purpose. Thus
Surt has a reason for appearing in Ragnarok as the annihilator of the
world of the Asas, when the latter is to make room for a realm of
justice. The flames of revenge are hurled upon creation.

I have already above (No. 87), had occasion to speak of the choicest
sword of mythology, the one which Volund smithied and Mimer captured,
and which was fetched from the lower world by a hero whose name Saxo
Latinised into Hotherus. In my treatise on "the Ivalde race" it shall be
demonstrated who this Hotherus was in mythology, and that the sword was
delivered by him to Frey. Lokasenna (42; cp. Gylfag., 37), informs us
that the lovesick Frey gave the sword to the giant Gymer for his bride.
After coming into the hands of the giants it is preserved and watched
over until Ragnarok by _Eggther_ (an epithet meaning sword-watcher),
who in the Ironwood is the shepherd of the monster herd of Loke's
progeny, which in the last days shall harry the world and fight in
Ragnarok (Völuspa, 39-41). When Ragnarok is at hand a giant comes to this
sword-watcher in the guise of the red cock, the symbol of the destructive
fire. This giant is Fjalar (Völuspa, 41), and that the purpose of his
visit is to secure the sword follows from the fact that the best sword of
mythology is shortly afterwards in the hands of his father Surt (Völuspa,
50) when the latter comes from the south with his band (the sons of
Suttung, not of Muspel) to take part in the last conflict and destroy
with fire that part of the world that can be destroyed. Frey is slain by
the sword which was once his own.

In this manner the myth about the mead and that about the Volund sword
are knit together.

Thor, too, ventured to visit Fjalar's abode. In regard to this visit we
have a few words in strophe 26 of Harbardsljod. _Harbardr_ accuses Thor,
no doubt unjustly, of having exhibited fear. Of this matter we have no
reliable details in the records from heathendom, but a comparison of the
above strophe of Harbardsljod with Gylfaginning shows that the account
compiled in Gylfaginning from various mythic fragments concerning Thor's
journey to Utgarda-Loke and his adventures there contains reminiscences
of what the original myths have had to say about his experience on
his expedition to Fjalar's. The fire-giant natures of Surt and of
his son Fjalar gleam forth in the narrative: the ruler of Utgard can
produce earthquakes, and Loge (the flame) is his servant. It is also
doubtless correct, from a mythical standpoint, that he is represented
as exceedingly skilful in "deluding," in giving things the appearance
of something else than they really are (see No. 39). When Odin assumed
the guise of Fjalar's son-in-law, he defeated Surt's race with their own

Eyvind Skaldaspiller states, as we have seen, that Surt's abode is in
dales down in the deep. From an expression in Ynglingasaga's strophe we
must draw the conclusion that its author, in harmony herewith, conceived
the abyss where Surt's race dwelt as regions to which the light of day
never comes. Sokmimer's doorkeeper, one of whose tasks it was to take
notice of the wayfarers who approached, is a day-shy dwarf (_dagskjarr
salvordudr_; in regard to dwarfs that shun the light of day, see
Alvissmal). Darkness therefore broods over this region, but in the abode
of the fire-giant it is light (the hall is _bjartr_).

I now return to the episodes in the mead-myth under discussion to
recapitulate in brief the proofs and results. If we for a moment should
assume that the main source, namely, the Havamál strophes, together with
Eyvind's half strophe, were lost, and that the only remaining evidences
were Grimnersmal (50) and Ynglingatal (15), together with the prose text
in Ynglingasaga, then an analysis of these would lead to the following

(1) Grimnersmal (50) and Ynglingatal (15) should be compared with each
other. The reasons for assuming them to be intrinsically connected are
the following:

(_a_) Both contain the epithet _Sökkmimir_, which occurs nowhere else.

(_b_) Both describe a primeval giant, who is designated by this epithet
as chief and lord of a giant race gathered around him.

(_c_) Both refer the events described to the same locality: the one tells
what occurred in the halls of _Sökkmimir_; the other narrates an episode
which occurred outside of the door of Sokmimer's giant abode.

(_d_) The one shows that Sokmimer is identical with _Durnir_ (Durin); the
other mentions _Midvitnir_ as one of Sokmimer's subjects. _Midvitnir_
(_Mjódvitnir_), according to Völuspa, was created by _Durinn_.

(_e_) Both describe events occurring while Odin is inside at Sokmimer's.

(_f_) The one mentions _Svidurr_, the other _Svegdir_. Mythologically,
the two names refer to each other.

(2) To the giant group which Odin visits in the abode of _Sökkmimir_
belongs the giant who captured the famous mead which Odin is anxious to
secure. This appears from the epithet which the author of the Grimnersmal
strophe chose in order to designate him in such a manner that he could
be recognised, namely, _Midvitnir_, "the mead-wolf," an epithet which
explains why the mead-thirsty Odin made his journey to this race hostile
to the gods.

(3) That Odin did not venture, or did not think it desirable in
connection with the purpose of his visit, to appear in his own name
and in a guise easily recognised, is evident from the fact that he
"disguised" himself, "acted the hypocrite" (_dulda_), in the presence of
the giant, and appeared as another mythic person, _Svidurr_.

This mythic person has been handed down in the traditions as the one who
gave the name to Svithiod, and as a race-hero of the Swedes. _Svíthiód
var kallat af nafni Svidurs._

(4) While Odin, in the guise of this race-hero, plays his part in the
mountain in the abode of Sokmimer, a person arrives at the entrance of
the halls of this giant. This person, _Svegdir_ (_Svigdir_), is in the
sagas called the race-hero of the Swedes, and after him they have called
Svithiod _geiri Svigdis_. Odin, who acted _Svidurr's_ part, has also been
called _Svigdir_, _Svegdir_.

_Svigdir_ is an epithet, and means "the champion drinker" (Anglo-Saxon
_swig_: to drink deep draughts). "The champion drinker" is accordingly on
his way to the "Mead-wolf," while Odin is in his abode. All goes to show
that the event belongs to the domain of the mead-myth.

Accordingly, the situation is this: A pretended race-hero and namer
of Svithiod is in the abode of Sokmimer, while a person who, from a
mythological standpoint, is the real race-hero and namer of Svithiod is
on his way to Sokmimer's abode and about to enter. The myth could not
have conceived the matter in this way, unless the pretended race-hero
was believed to act the part of the real one. The arrival of the real
one makes Odin's position, which was already full of peril, still more
dangerous, and threatens him with discovery and its consequences.

(5) If Odin appeared in the part of a "champion drinker," he was
compelled to drink much in Sokmimer's halls in order to maintain his
part, and this, too, must have added to the danger of his position.

(6) Still the prudent Asa-father seems to have observed some degree
of caution, in order that his plans might not be frustrated by the
real _Svigdir_. That which happens gives the strongest support to this
supposition, which in itself is very probable. Sokmimer's doorkeeper
keeps watch in the darkness outside. When he discovers the approach of
_Svigdir_, he goes to meet him and informs him that Odin is inside.
Consequently the doorkeeper knows that _Svidurr_ is Odin, who is unknown
to all those within excepting to Odin himself. This and what follows
seems to show positively that the wise Odin and the cunning dwarf act
upon a settled plan. It may be delusion or reality, but _Svigdir_ sees
the mountain door open to the illuminated giant-hall, and the information
that Odin is within (the dwarf may or may not have added that Odin
pretends to be _Svigdir_) causes him, the "proud one," "of noble race,"
the kinsman of _Dulsi_ (epithet of Mundilfore, see No. 83), to rush with
all his might after the dwarf against the real or apparent door, and
the result is that the dwarf succeeded in "deceiving" him (he _velti_
Svegder), so that he never more was seen.

This is what we learn from the strophes in Grimnersmal and Ynglingatal,
with the prose text of the latter. If we now compare this with what
Havamál and Eyvind relates, we get the following parallels:

  _Havamál and Eyvind._             _The strophes about Sökkmimir._

  Odin visits inn aldna iotum       Odin visits inn aldna iotun
  (Surtr and his race).             (Sökkmimir and his race).

  Odin's purpose is to deceive      Odin's purpose is to deceive
  the old giant. In his abode is    the old giant. In his abode is
  found a kinsman, who is in        found a kinsman who is in
  possession of the skaldic         possession of the skaldic
  mead (Suttung-Fjalar).            mead (Midvitnir).

  Odin appears in the guise         Odin appears as Svidurr-Svigdir.
  of Gunlad's wooer, who, if he     Svigdir means the
  is named, is called Sumbl         champion drinker.
  (sumbl = a drink, a feast).

  Odin became drunk.                Odin must have drunk
                                    much, since he appears among
                                    the giants as one acting the
                                    part of a "champion drinker."

  A catastrophe occurs causing      A catastrophe occurs causing
  Gunnlöd to bewail the             Odin to slay Midvitnir's
  death of a kinsman.               son.

To this is finally to be added that Eyvind's statement, that the event
occurred in Surt's _Sökkdalir_, helps to throw light on Surt's epithet
_Sökkmimir_, and particularly that Ynglingatal's account of the arrival
and fate of the real Svegder fills a gap in Havamál's narrative, and
shows how Odin, appearing in the guise of another person who was
expected, could do so without fear of being surprised by the latter.

NOTE.--The account in the Younger Edda about Odin's visit to Suttung
seems to be based on some satire produced long after the introduction
of Christianity. With a free use of the confused mythic traditions then
extant, and without paying any heed to Havamál's statement, this satire
was produced to show in a semi-allegorical way how good and bad poetry
originated. The author of this satire either did not know or did not
care about the fact that Havamál identifies Suttung and Fjalar. To him
they are different persons, of whom the one receives the skaldic mead
as a ransom from the other. While in Havamál the rimthurses give Odin
the name _Bölverkr_, "the evil-doer," and this very properly from their
standpoint, the Younger Edda makes Odin give himself this name when
he is to appear _incognito_, though such a name was not calculated to
inspire confidence. While in Havamál Odin, in the guise of another,
enters Suttung's halls, is conducted to a golden high-seat, and takes
a lively part in the banquet and in the conversation, the Younger Edda
makes him steal into the mountain through a small gimlet-hole and get
down into Gunlad's chamber in this manner, where he remains the whole
time without seeing anyone else of the people living there, and where,
with Gunlad's consent, he empties to the bottom the giant's three
mead-vessels, _Ódrærir_, _Bodn_, and _Són_. These three names belong, as
we have seen, in the real mythology to the three subterranean fountains
which nourish the roots of the world-tree. Havamál contents itself with
using a poetic-rhetorical phrase and calling the skaldic mead, captured
by Odin, _Ódrærir_, "the giver of inspiration," "the inspiring nectar."
The author of the satire avails himself of this reason for using the
names of the two other fountains _Bodn_ and _Són_, and for applying them
to two other "vessels and kettles" in which Suttung is said to have
kept the mead. That he called one of the vessels a kettle is explained
by the fact that the third lower world fountain is _Hvergelmir_, "the
roaring kettle." In order that Odin and Gunlad may be able to discuss
and resolve in perfect secrecy in regard to the mead, Odin must come
secretly down into the mountain, hence the satire makes him use the bored
hole to get _in_. From the whole description in Havamál, it appears, on
the contrary, that Odin entered the giant's hall in the usual manner
through the door, while he avails himself of the tunnel made by Rate to
get _out_. Havamál first states that Odin seeks the giant, and then tells
how he enters into conversation and develops his eloquence in Suttung's
halls, and how, while he sits in the golden high-seat (probably opposite
the host, as Richter has assumed), Gunlad hands him the precious mead.
Then is mentioned for the first time the way made for him by Rate, and
this on the one hand in connection with the "evil compensation" Gunlad
received from him, she the loving and devoted woman whom he had embraced,
and on the other hand in connection with the fact that his flight from
the mountain was successful, so that he could take the mead with him
though his life was in danger, and there were giants' ways both above
and below that secret path by which he escaped. That Odin took the oath
of faithfulness on the holy ring, that there was a regular wedding feast
with the questions on the next morning in regard to the well-being of the
newly-married couple--all this the satire does not mention, nor does its
premises permit it to do so.



Before the skaldic mead came into the possession of Suttung-Fjalar, it
had passed through various adventures. In one of these enters _Máni_, the
god of the moon, who by the names _Nökkvi_ (variation _Nökkver_), _Nefr_
(variation _Nepr_), and _Gevarr_ (_Gævarr_) occupies a very conspicuous
position in our mythology, not least in the capacity of Nanna's father.

I shall here present the proofs which lie near at hand, and can be
furnished without entering into too elaborate investigations, that the
moon-god and Nanna's father are identical, and this will give me an
opportunity of referring to that episode of the mead-myth, in which he
appears as one of the actors.

The identity of _Nökkvi_, _Nefr_, and _Gevarr_ appears from the following

(1) Hyndluljod, 20: "Nanna was, in the next place, _Nökkvi's_ daughter"
(_Nanna var næst thar Nauckua dottir_).

(2) Gylfaginning, 32: "The son of Balder and of Nanna, daughter of Nef,
was called Forsete" (_Forseti heiter sonr Baldrs ok Nönnu Nefsdóttur_).
Gylfaginning, 49: "His (Balder's) wife Nanna, daughter of Nef" (_Kona
hans Nanna Nefsdóttir_).

(3) Saxo, _Hist., Dan._, iii.: "_Gevarr's_ daughter Nanna" (_Gevari filia
Nanna_). That Saxo means the mythological Nanna follows from the fact
that Balder appears in the story as her wooer. That the Norse form of the
name, which Saxo Latinised into Gevarus, was _Gevarr_, not _Gefr_, as a
prominent linguist has assumed, follows from the rules adopted by Saxo in
Latinising Norse names.

NOTE.--Names of the class to which _Gefr_ would belong, providing such a
name existed, would be Latinised in the following manner:

(_a_) _Askr_ Ascerus, _Baldr_ Balderus, _Geldr_ Gelderus, _Glaumr_
Glomerus, _Hödr_, _Hadr_, _Odr_, Hötherus, Hatherus, Hotherus, _Svipdagr_
Svipdagerus, _Ullr_ Ollerus, _Yggr_ Uggerus, _Vigr_ Vigerus.

(_b_) _Ásmundr_ Asmundus, _Amundr_ Amundus, _Arngrimr_ Arngrimus, _Bildr_
Bildus, _Knútr_ Canutus, _Fridleifr_ Fridlevus, _Gautrekr_ Gotricus,
_Gódmundr_ Guthmundus, _Haddingr_ Hadingus, _Haraldr_ Haraldus.

Names ending in _-arr_ are Latinised in the following manner:

(_a_) _Borgarr_ Borcarus, _Einarr_ Enarus, _Gunnarr_ Gunnarus, _Hjörvarr_
Hjartvarus, _Ingimarr_ Ingimarus, _Ingvarr_ Ingvarus, _Ísmarr_ Ismarus,
_Ívarr_ Ivarus, _Óttarr_ Otharus, _Rostarr_ Rostarus, _Sigarr_ Sigarus,
_Sivarr_ Sivarus, _Valdimarr_ Valdemarus.

(_b_) _Agnarr_ Agnerus, _Ragnarr_ Regnerus.

With the ending _-arus_ occurs also in a single instance a Norse name
in _-i_, namely, _Eylimi_ Olimarus. Herewith we might perhaps include
Liotarus, the Norse form of which Saxo may have had in _Ljóti_ from
_Ljótr_. Otherwise _Ljótr_ is a single exception from the rules followed
by Saxo, and methodology forbids our building anything on a single
exception, which moreover is uncertain.

Some monosyllabic names ending in _-r_ are sometimes unlatinised, as Alf,
Ulf, Sten, Ring, Rolf, and sometimes Latinised with _-o_, as Alvo, Ulvo,
Steno, Ringo, Rolvo, _Álfr_ is also found Latinised as Alverus.

From the above lists of names it follows that Saxo's rules for Latinising
Norse names ending with the nominative _-r_ after a consonant were these:

(1) Monosyllabic names (seldom a dissyllabic one, as _Svipdagr_) are
Latinised with the ending _-erus_ or the ending _-o_.

(2) Names of two or more syllables which do not end in _-arr_ (rarely a
name of one syllable, as _Bildr_) are Latinised with the ending _-us_.

(3) Names ending in _-arr_ are Latinised with _-arus_; in a few cases
(and then on account of the Danish pronunciation) with _-erus_.

From the above rules it follows (1) that _Gefr_, if such a name existed,
would have been Latinised by Saxo either into _Geverus_, _Geferus_, or
into _Gevo_, _Gefo_; (2) that _Gevarr_ is the regular Norse for _Gevarus_.

The only possible meaning of the name _Gevarr_, considered as a common
noun is "the ward of the atmosphere" from _ge_ (_gæ_; see Younger Edda,
ii. 486, and Egilsson, 227) and _-varr_. I cite this definition not for
the purpose of drawing any conclusions therefrom, but simply because it
agrees with the result reached in another way.

The other name of Nanna's father is, as we have seen, _Nökkvi_,
_Nökkver_. This word means the ship-owner, ship-captain. If we compare
these two names, _Gevarr_ and _Nökkver_, with each other, then it follows
from the comparison that Nanna's father was a mythic person who operated
in the atmosphere or had some connection with certain phenomena in the
air, and particularly in connection with a phenomenon there of such
a kind that the mythic fancy could imagine a ship. The result of the
comparison should be examined in connection with a strophe by Thorbjorn
Hornklofve, which I shall now consider.

Thorbjorn was the court-skald of Harald Fairfax, and he described many
of the king's deeds and adventures. Harald had at one time caused to be
built for himself and his body-guard a large and stately ship, with a
beautiful figure-head in the form of a serpent. On board this ship he was
overtaken by a severe gale, which Hornklofve (Harald Harfager's saga, ch.
9) describes in the following words:

  Ut á mar mætir
  mannskædr lagar tanna
  ræsinadr til rausnar
  rak vebrautar Nökkva.

In prose order: _Lagar tanna mannskædr mætir út á mar rak rausnar
ræsinadr til Nökkva vebrautar_ ("The assailants of the skerry (the teeth
of the sea), dangerous to man, flung out upon the sea the splendid
serpent of the vessel's stem to the holy path of Nokve").

All interpreters agree that by "the skerry's assailants, dangerous to
man," is meant the waves which are produced by the storm and rush against
the skerries in breakers dangerous to seamen. It is also evident that
Hornklofve wanted to depict the violence of the sea when he says that
the billows which rise to assail the skerry tosses the ship, so that
the figure-head of the stem reaches "the holy path of Nokve." Poems
of different literatures resemble each other in their descriptions of
a storm raging at sea. They make the billows rise to "the clouds," to
"the stars," or to "the moon." _Quanti montes volvuntur aquarum! Jam,
jam tacturos sidera summa putes_, Ovid sings (_Trist._, i. 18, 19); and
Virgil has it: _Procella fluctus ad sidera tollit_ (_Æn._, i. 107). One
of their brother skalds in the North, quoted in Skaldskaparmal (ch. 61),
depicts a storm with the following words:

  Hraud i himin upp glódum
  hafs, gekk sær af afli,
  bör hygg ek at sky skordi,
  skaut Ránar vegr mána.

The skald makes the phosphorescence of the sea splash against heaven; he
makes the ship split the clouds, and the way of Ran, the giantess of the
sea, cut the path of the moon.

The question now is, whether Hornklofve by "Nokve's holy path" did not
mean the path of the moon in space, and whether it is not to this path
the figure-head of the ship seems to pitch when it is lifted on high by
the towering billows. It is certain that this holy way toward which the
heaven-high billows lift the ship is situated in the atmosphere above the
sea, and that Nokve has been conceived as travelling this way in a ship,
since Nokve means the ship-captain. From this it follows that Nokve's
craft must have been a phenomenon in space resembling a ship which was
supposed to have its course marked out there. We must therefore choose
between the sun, the moon, and the stars; and as it is the moon which,
when it is not full, has the form of a ship sailing in space, it is more
probable that by Nokve's ship is meant the moon than that any other
celestial body is referred to.

This probability becomes a certainty by the following proofs. In
Sonatorrek (str. 2, 3) Egil Skallagrimson sings that when heavy sorrow
oppresses him (who has lost his favourite son) then the song does not
easily well forth from his breast:

  Thagna fundr
  thriggia nidja
  ár borinn
  or Jötunheimum,
  er lifnadi
  á Nökkvers
  nökkva Bragi.

The skaldic song is here compared with a fountain which does not easily
gush forth from a sorrowful heart, and the liquid of the fountain is
compared with the "Thrigge's kinsmen's find, the one kept secret, which
in times past was carried from Jotunheim into Nokve's ship, where Brage,
unharmed, refreshed himself (secured the vigour of life)."

It is plain that Egil here refers to a mythic event that formed an
episode in the myth concerning the skaldic mead. Somewhere in Jotunheim
a fountain containing the same precious liquid as that in Mimer's well
has burst forth. The vein of the fountain was discovered by kinsmen of
Thrigge, but the precious find eagerly desired by all powers is kept
secret, presumably in order that they who made the discovery might
enjoy it undivided and in safety. But something happens which causes
the treasure which the fountain gave its discoverers to be carried from
Jotunheim to Nokve's ship, and there the drink is accessible to the
gods. It is especially mentioned that Brage, the god of poetry, is there
permitted to partake of it and thus refresh his powers.

Thus the ship of Nanna's father here reappears, and we learn that on its
holy way in space in bygone times it bore a supply of skaldic mead, of
which Brage in the days of his innocence drank the strength of life.

With this we must compare a mythic fragment preserved in Gylfaginning
(ch. 11). There a fountain called _Byrgir_ is mentioned. Two children,
a lass by name _Bil_ and a lad by name _Hjuki_, whose father was named
_Vidfinnr_, had come with a pail to this fountain to fetch water. The
allegory in which the tradition is incorporated calls the pail _Sægr_,
"the one seething over its brinks," and calls the pole on which the pail
is carried _Simul_ (according to one manuscript _Sumul_; cp. _Suml_,
brewing ale, mead). Bil, one of the two children is put in connection
with the drink of poetry. The skalds pray that she may be gracious to
them. _Ef unna itr vildi Bil Skáldi_, "if the noble Bil will favour the
skald," is a wish expressed in a strophe in the Younger Edda, ii. 363.
_Byrgir_ is manifestly a fountain of the same kind as the one referred
to by Egil and containing the skaldic mead. _Byrgir's_ fountain must
have been kept secret, it must have been a "concealed find," for it is
in the night, while the moon is up, that Vidfin's children are engaged
in filling their pail from it. This is evident from the fact that _Máni_
sees the children. When they have filled the pail, they are about to
depart, presumably to their home, and to their father Vidfin. But they do
not get home. While they carry the pail with the pole on their shoulders
_Máni_ takes them unto himself, and they remain with him, together
with their precious burden. From other mythic traditions which I shall
consider later (see the treatise on the Ivalde race), we learn that the
moon-god adopts them as his children, and _Bil_ afterwards appears as an
asynje (Younger Edda, i. 118, 556).

If we now compare Egil's statement with the mythic fragment about Bil
and Hjuke, we find in both a fountain mentioned which contains the
liquid of inspiration found in Mimer's fountain, without being Mimer's
well-guarded or unapproachable "well." In Egil the find is "kept secret."
In Gylfaginning the children visit it in the night. Egil says the liquid
was _carried_ from Jotunheim; Gylfaginning says that Bil and Hjuke
_carried_ it in a pail. Egil makes the liquid transferred from Jotunheim
to Nokve's ship; Gylfaginning makes the liquid and its bearers be taken
aloft by the moon-god to the moon, where we still, says Gylfaginning, can
see Bil and Hjuke (in the moon-spots).

There can therefore be no doubt that Nokve's ship is the silvery craft
of the moon, sailing in space over sea and land on a course marked out
for it, and that Nokve is the moon-god. As in Rigveda, so in the Teutonic
mythology, the ship of the moon was for a time the place where the liquid
of inspiration, the life- and strength-giving mead, was concealed. The
myth has ancient Aryan roots.

On the myth concerning the mead-carrying ship, to which the Asas come to
drink, rests the paraphrase for _composing_, for _making a song_, which
Einar Skalaglam once used (Skaldskaparmal, 1). To make songs he calls "to
dip liquid out of Her-Tyr's wind-ship" (_ausa Hértys víngnodar austr_;
see further No. 121, about Odin's visit in Nokve's ship).

The name _Nefr_ (variation _Nepr_), the third name of Nanna's father
mentioned above, occurs nowhere in the Norse sources excepting in the
Younger Edda. It is, however, undoubtedly correct that Nokve-Gevar was
also called Nef.

Among all the Teutonic myths there is scarcely one other with which so
many heroic songs composed in heathen times have been connected as with
the myth concerning the moon-god and his descendants. As shall be shown
further on, the Niflungs are descendants of Nef's adopted son Hjuke, and
they are originally named after their adopted race-progenitor _Nefr_. A
more correct and an older form is perhaps _Hnefr_ and _Hniflungar_, and
the latter form is also found in the Icelandic literature. In Old English
the moon-god appears changed into a prehistoric king, _Hnäf_, also called
_Hoce_ (see Beowulf, 2142, and Gleeman's Tale). Hoce is the same name as
the Norse _Hjuki_. Thus while _Hnäf_ and _Hoce_ are identical in the Old
English poem "Beowulf," we find in the Norse source that the lad taken
aloft by Mane is called by one of the names of his foster-father. In
the Norse account the moon-god (_Nefr_) captures, as we have seen, the
children of one _Vidfinnr_, and at the same time he robs _Vidfinnr_ of
the priceless mead of inspiration found in the fountain _Byrgir_. In the
Old English saga _Hnäf_ has a son-in-law and vassal, whose name is _Finn_
(_Fin Folcvalding_), who becomes his bitterest foe, contends with him, is
conquered and pardoned, but attacks him again, and, in company with one
_Gudere_ (_Gunnr_), burns him. According to Saxo, Nanna's father _Gevarr_
has the same fate. He is attacked by a vassal and burnt. The vassal
is called Gunno (_Gunnr_, _Gudere_). Thus we have in the Old English
tradition the names _Hnäf_, _Hoce_, _Fin_, and _Gudere_; and in the
Norse tradition the corresponding names _Nefr_, _Hjuki_, _Vidfinnr_, and
_Gunnr_ (_Gunnarr_). The relation of the moon-god (_Nefr_) to _Vidfinnr_
is the mythological basis of _Fin's_ enmity to _Hnäf_. The burning is
common to both the Old English and the Norse sources. Later in this work
I shall consider these circumstances more minutely. What I have stated
is sufficient to show that the Old English tradition is in this point
connected with the Norse in a manner, which confirms _Nefr-Gevarr's_
identity with _Máni_, who takes aloft _Hjuki_ and robs _Vidfinnr_ of the
skaldic mead.

The tradition of _Gevarr-Nefr's_ identity with _Máni_ reappears in
Iceland once more as late as in Hromund Greipson's saga. There a person
called _Máni Karl_ shows where the hero of the saga is to find the sword
_Mistelteinn_. In Saxo, Nanna's father _Gevarr_ shows the beforementioned
Hotherus where he is to find the weapon which is to slay Balder. Thus
_Máni_ in Hromund's saga assumes the same position as _Gevarr_, Nanna's
father, occupies in Saxo's narrative.

All these circumstances form together a positive proof of the moon-god's
identity with Nanna's father. Further on, when the investigation has
progressed to the proper point, we shall give reasons for assuming that
_Vidfinnr_ of the Edda, the _Fin_ of the English heroic poem, is the same
person whom we have heretofore mentioned by the name _Sumbl Finnakonungr_
and _Svigdir_, and that the myth concerning the taking of the mead aloft
to the moon accordingly has an epic connection with the myth concerning
Odin's visit to the giant Fjalar, and concerning the fate which then
befell Nokve's slayer.



The moon-god, like Nat, Dag, and Sol, is by birth and abode a lower-world
divinity. As such, he too had his importance in the Teutonic eschatology.
The god who on his journeys on "Nokve's holy way" serves _auldom at
ártali_ (Vafthrudnersmal, 23) by measuring out to men time in phases of
the moon, in months, and in years has, in the mythology also, received a
certain influence in inflicting suffering and punishment on sinners. He
is lord of the _heiptir_, the Teutonic Erinnyes (see No. 75), and keeps
those _limar_ (bundles of thorns) with which the former are armed, and in
this capacity he has borne the epithet _Eylimi_, which reappears in the
heroic songs in a manner which removes all doubt that Nanna's father was
originally meant. (See in Saxo and in Helge Hjorvardson's saga. To the
latter I shall return in the second part of this work, and I shall there
present evidence that the saga is based on episodes taken from the Balder
myth, and that Helge Hjorvardson is himself an imitation of Balder).
In this capacity of lord of the _Heiptir_ the moon-god is the power to
whom prayers are to be addressed by those who desire to be spared from
those sufferings which the _Heiptir_ represent (_Heithtom scal mána
qvedja_--Havamál, 137). His quality as the one who keeps the thorn-rods
of the _heiptir_ still survives in a great part of the Teutonic world in
the scattered traditions about "the man in the moon," who carries bundles
of thorns on his back (J. Grimm, _Myth._, 680; see No. 123).



Thus Nanna is the daughter of the ruler of the moon, of "the ward of the
atmosphere." This alone indicates that she herself was mythologically
connected with the phenomena which pertain to her father's domain
of activity, and in all probability was a moon-dis (goddess). This
assumption is fully confirmed by a contribution to Teutonic mythology
rescued in Germany, the so-called Merseburg formula, which begins as

  Phol ende Uodan            Falr and Odin
  vuoron zi holza            went to the wood,
  dû vart demo Balderes      then was the foot sprained
  volon sin vous birenkit    on Balder's foal.
  thû biguolon Sinhtgunt.    Then sang over him Sinhtgunt,
  Sunna era svister,         Sunna her sister,
  thû biguolen Friia,        then sang over him Frigg,
  Volla era svister          Fulla her sister;
  thû biguolen Uodan         then sang over him Odin
  sô hê wola conda.          as best he could.

Of the names occurring in this strophe Uodan-Odin, Balder, Sunna (synonym
of Sol--Alvissm., 17; Younger Edda, i. 472, 593), Friia-Frigg, and
Volla-Fulla are well known in the Icelandic mythic records. Only Phol and
Sinhtgunt are strangers to our mythologists, though Phol-_Falr_ surely
ought not to be so.

In regard to the German form Phol, we find that it has by its side the
form Fal in German names of places connected with fountains. Jacob Grimm
has pointed out a "Pholes" fountain in Thuringia, a "Fals" fountain
in the Frankish Steigerwald, and in this connection a "Balder" well in
Rheinphaltz. In the Danish popular traditions Balder's horse had the
ability to produce fountains by tramping on the ground, and Balder's
fountain in Seeland is said to have originated in this manner (cp. P. E.
Müller on Saxo, _Hist._, 120). In Saxo, too, Balder gives rise to wells
(_Victor Balderus, ut afflictum siti militem opportuni liquoris beneficio
recrearet, novos humi latices terram altius rimatus operuit_--p. 120).

This very circumstance seems to indicate that Phol, Fal, was a common
epithet or surname of Balder in Germany, and it must be admitted that
this meaning must have appeared to the German mythologists to be
confirmed by the Merseburg formula; for in this way alone could it be
explained in a simple and natural manner, that Balder is not named in the
first line as Odin's companion, although he actually attends Odin, and
although the misfortune that befalls "Balder's foal" is the chief subject
of the narrative, while Phol on the other hand is not mentioned again
in the whole formula, although he is named in the first line as Odin's

This simple and incontrovertible conclusion, that Phol and Balder in
the Merseburg formula are identical is put beyond all doubt by a more
thorough examination of the Norse records. In these it is demonstrated
that the name _Falr_ was also known in the North as an epithet of Balder.

The first books of Saxo are based exclusively on the myths concerning
gods and heroes. There is not a single person, not a single name, which
Saxo did not borrow from the mythic traditions. Among them is also a
certain _Fjallerus_, who is mentioned in bk. i. 160. In the question in
regard to the Norse form which was Latinised into _Fjallerus_, we must
remember that Saxo writes _Hjallus_ (_Hist._, pp. 371, 672) for _Hjali_
(cp. p. 370), and alternately _Colo_, _Collo_, and _Collerus_ (_Hist._,
pp. 56, 136, 181), and that he uses the broken form _Bjarbi_ for _Barri_
(_Hist._, p. 250). In accordance with this the Latin form _Fjallerus_
must correspond to the Norse _Falr_, and there is, in fact, in the whole
Old Norse literature, not a single name to be found corresponding to this
excepting Falr, for the name _Fjalarr_, the only other one to be thought
of in this connection should, according to the rules followed by Saxo, be
Latinised into _Fjallarus_ or _Fjalarus_, but not into _Fjallerus_.

Of this _Fjallerus_ Saxo relates that he was banished by an enemy, and
the report says that _Fjallerus_ betook himself to the place which is
unknown to our populations, and which is called _Odáins-akr_ (_quem ad
locum, cui Undensakre nomen est, nostris ignotum populis concessisse est
fama_--p. 160.)

The mythology mentions only a single person who by an enemy was
transferred to _Odáinsakr_, and that is Balder. (Of _Odáinsakr_ and
Balder's abode there, see Nos. 44-53).

The enemy who transfers _Falr_ to the realm of immortality is,
according to Saxo, a son of _Horvendillus_, that is to say, a son of
the mythological _Örvandill_, Groa's husband and Svipdag's father (see
Nos. 108, 109). Svipdag has already once before been mistaken by Saxo
for _Hotherus_ (see No. 101). _Hotherus_ is, again, the Latin form for
_Hödr_. Hence it is Balder's banishment by _Hödr_ to the subterranean
realms of immortality of which we here read in Saxo where the latter
speaks of Fal's banishment to _Odáinsakr_ by a son of Orvandel.

When Balder dies by a _flaug_ hurled by _Hödr_ he stands in the midst
of a rain of javelins. He is the centre of a _mannhringr_, where all
throw or shoot at him: _sumir skjóta á hann, sumir höggva til, sumir
berja grjóti_ (Gylfaginning). In this lies the mythical explanation of
the paraphrase _Fal's rain_, which occurs in the last strophe of a poem
attributed to the skald Gisle Surson. In Gisle's saga we read that he
was banished on account of manslaughter, but by the aid of his faithful
wife he was able for thirteen years to endure a life of persecutions and
conflicts, until he finally was surprised and fell by the weapons of his
foes. Surrounded by his assailants, he is said to have sung the strophe
in question, in which he says that "the beloved, beautiful, brave Fulla
of his hall," that is to say, his wife, "is to enquire for him, her
friend," for whose sake "Fal's rain" now "falls thick and fast," while
"keen edges bite him." In a foregoing strophe Gisle has been compared
with a "Balder of the shield," and this shield-Balder now, as in the
Balder of the myth, is the focus of javelins and swords, while he like
Balder, has a beautiful and faithful wife, who, like Nanna, is to take
his death to heart. If the name Nanna, as has been assumed by Vigfusson
and others, is connected with the verb _nenna_, and means "the brave
one," then _rekkilát_ Fulla, "the brave Fulla of Gisle's hall," is an
all the more appropriate reference to Nanna, since Fulla and she are
intimately connected in the mythology, and are described as the warmest
of friends (Gylfaginning). Briefly stated: in the poem Gisle is compared
with Balder, his wife with Nanna, his death with Balder's death, and the
rain of weapons by which he falls with _Fal's rain_.

In a strophe composed by _Refr_ (Younger Edda, i. 240) the skald offers
thanks to Odin, the giver of the skaldic art. The Asa-father is here
called _Fals hrannvala brautar fannar salar valdi_ ("The ruler of the
hall of the drift of the way of the billow-falcons of Fal"). This long
paraphrase means, as has also been assumed by others, the ruler of
heaven. Thus heaven is designated as "the hall of the drift of the way of
the billow-falcons of Fal." The "drift" which belongs to heaven, and not
to the earth, is the cloud. The heavens are "the hall of the cloud." But
in order that the word "drift" might be applied in this manner it had to
be united with an appropriate word, showing that the heavens were meant.
This is done by the adjective phrase "of the way of the billow-falcons
of Fal." Standing alone, "the drift of the way of the billow-falcons"
could not possibly mean anything else than the billow white with foam,
since "billow-falcons" is a paraphrase for ships, and the "way of the
billow-falcons" is a paraphrase for the sea. By adding the name _Falr_
the meaning is changed from "sea" to "sky." By Fal's "billow-falcons"
must therefore be meant objects whose course is through the air, just
as the course of the ships is on the sea, and which traverse the drift
of the sky, the cloud, just as the ships plough through the drift of
the sea, the white-crested billow. Such a paraphrase could not possibly
avoid drawing the fancy of the hearers and readers to the atmosphere
strewn with clouds and penetrated by sunbeams, that is, to Odin's hall.
Balder is a sun-god, as his myth, taken as a whole, plainly shows, and
as is manifested by his epithet; _raudbrikar rikr rækir_ (see No. 53).
Thus Fal, like Balder, is a divinity of the sun, a being which sends
the sunbeams down through the drifts of the clouds. As he, furthermore,
like Balder, stood in a rain of weapons under circumstances sufficiently
familiar for such a rain to be recognised when designated as Fal's, and
as he, finally, like Balder, was sent by an opponent to the realm of
immortality in the lower world, then _Falr_ and Balder must be identical.

Their identity is furthermore confirmed by the fact that Balder in early
Christian times was made a historical king of Westphalia. The statement
concerning this, taken from Anglo-Saxon or German sources, has entered
into the foreword to Gylfaginning. Nearly all lands and peoples have,
according to the belief of that time, received their names from ancient
chiefs. The Franks were said to be named after one Francio, the East
Goth after Ostrogotha, the Angles after Angul, Denmark after Dan, &c.
The name Phalia, Westphalia, was explained in the same manner, and as
Balder's name was Phol, Fal, this name of his gave rise to the name of
the country in question. For the same reason the German poem Biterolf
makes Balder (Paltram) into king _ze Pülle_. (Compare the local name
Pölde, which, according to J. Grimm, is found in old manuscripts written
_Polidi_ and _Pholidi_.) In the one source Balder is made a king in
Pholidi, since Phol is a name of Balder, and in the other source he is
for the same reason made a king in Westphalia, since Phal is a variation
of Phol, and likewise designated Balder. "Biterolf" has preserved the
record of the fact that Balder was not only the stateliest hero to be
found, but also the most pure in morals, and a man much praised. Along
with Balder, Gylfaginning speaks of another son of Odin, _Siggi_, who
is said to have become a king in Frankland. The same reason for which
Fal-Balder was made a king in Westphalia also made the apocryphal _Siggi_
in question the progenitor of Frankian kings. The Frankian branch to
which the Merovingian kings belonged bore the name _Sigambrians_, and to
explain this name the son _Siggi_ was given to Odin, and he was made the
progenitor and eponym of the Sigambrians.

After this investigation which is to be continued more elaborately in
another volume, I now return to the Merseburg formula:

  "Fall and Odin
  Went to the wood,
  Then the foot was sprained
  Of Balder's foal."

With what here is said about Balder's steed, we must compare what Saxo
relates about Balder himself: _Adeo in adversam corporis valetudinem
incidit, ut ni pedibus quidem incedere posset_ (_Hist._, 120).

The misfortune which happened first to Balder and then to Balder's horse
must be counted among the warnings which foreboded the death of the son
of Odin. There are also other passages which indicate that Balder's
horse must have had a conspicuous signification in the mythology, and
the tradition concerning Balder as rider is preserved not only in
northern sources (Lokasenna, Gylfaginning), and in the Merseburg formula,
but also in the German poetry of the middle ages. That there was some
witchcraft connected with this misfortune which happened to Balder's
horse is evident from the fact that the magic songs sung by the goddesses
accompanying him availed nothing. According to the Norse ancient records,
the women particularly exercise the healing art of witchcraft (compare
Groa and Sigrdrifva), but still Odin has the profoundest knowledge of the
secrets of this art; he is _galdrs fadir_ (Veg., 3). And so Odin comes
in this instance, and is successful after the goddesses have tried in
vain. We must fancy that the goddesses make haste to render assistance in
the order in which they ride in relation to Balder, for the event would
lose its seriousness if we should conceive Odin as being very near to
Balder from the beginning, but postponing his activity in order to shine
afterwards with all the greater magic power, which nobody disputed.

The goddesses constitute two pairs of sisters: Sinhtgunt and her sister
Sunna, and Frigg and her sister Fulla. According to the Norse sources,
Frigg is Balder's mother. According to the same records, Fulla is always
near Frigg, enjoys her whole confidence, and wears a diadem as a token of
her high rank among the goddesses. An explanation of this is furnished
by the Merseburg formula, which informs us that Fulla is Frigg's sister,
and so a sister of Balder's mother. And as Odin is Balder's father, we
find in the Merseburg formula the Balder of the Norse records, surrounded
by the kindred assigned to him in these records.

Under such circumstances it would be strange, indeed, if Sinhtgunt and
the sun-dis, Sunna, did not also belong to the kin of the sun-god,
Balder, as they not only take part in this excursion of the Balder
family, but are also described as those nearest to him, and as the first
who give him assistance.

The Norse records have given to Balder as wife Nanna, daughter of that
divinity which under Odin's supremacy is the ward of the atmosphere
and the owner of the moon-ship. If the continental Teutons in their
mythological conceptions also gave Balder a wife devoted and faithful
as Nanna, then it would be in the highest degree improbable that
the Merseburg formula should not let her be one of those who, as a
body-guard, attend Balder on his expedition to the forest. Besides Frigg
and Fulla, there are two goddesses who accompany Balder. One of them is
a sun-dis, as is evident from the name Sunna; the other, Sinhtgunt, is,
according to Bugge's discriminating interpretation of this epithet, the
dis "who night after night has to battle her way." A goddess who is the
sister of the sun-dis, but who not in the daytime but in the night has
to battle on her journey across the sky, must be a goddess of the moon,
a moon-dis. This moon-goddess is the one who is nearest at hand to bring
assistance to Balder. Hence she can be none else than Nanna, who we know
is the daughter of the owner of the moon-ship. The fact that she has to
battle her way across the sky is explained by the Norse mythic statement,
according to which the wolf-giant Hate is greedy to capture the moon,
and finally secures it as his prey (Völuspa, Gylfaginning). In the poem
about Helge Hjorvardson, which is merely a free reproduction of the
materials in the Balder-myth (which shall be demonstrated in the second
part of this work), the giant Hate is conquered by the hero of the poem,
a Balder figure, whose wife is a dis, who, "white" herself, has a shining
horse (str. 25, 28), controls weather and harvests (str. 28), and makes
_nightly_ journeys on her steed, and "inspects the harbours" (str. 25).

The name Nanna (from the verb _nenna_; cp. Vigfusson, _Lex._) means "the
brave one." With her husband she has fought the battles of light, and in
the Norse, as in the Teutonic, mythology, she was with all her tenderness
a heroine.

The Merseburg formula makes the sun-dis and the moon-dis sisters. The
Norse variation of the Teutonic myth has done the same. Vafthrudnersmal
and Gylfaginning (ch. 11) inform us that the divinities which govern
the chariots of the sun and moon were brother and sister, but from the
masculine form _Máni_ Gylfaginning has drawn the false conclusion that
the one who governed the car of the moon was not a sister but a brother
of the sun. In the mythology a masculine divinity _Máni_ was certainly
known, but he was the father of the sun-dis and moon-dis, and identical
with _Gevarr-Nökkvi-Nefr_, the owner of the moon-ship. The god _Máni_ is
the father of the sun-dis for the same reason as Nat is the mother of Dag.

Vafthrudnersmal informs us that the father of the managers of the sun-
and moon-cars was called _Mundilföri_. We are already familiar with
this mythic personality (see Nos. 81-83) as the one who is appointed to
superintend the mechanism of the world, by whose _Möndull_ the starry
firmament is revolved. It is not probable that the power governing the
motion of the stars is any other than the one who under Odin's supremacy
is ruler of the sun and moon, and ward of all the visible phenomena in
space, among which are also the stars. As, by comparison of the old
records, we have thus reached the conclusion that the managers of the
sun and moon are daughters of the ward of the atmosphere, and as we have
also learned that they are daughters of him who superintends the motion
of the constellations, we are unable to see anything but harmony in these
statements. _Mundilföri_ and _Gevarr-Nökkvi-Nefr_ are the same person.

It should be added that the moon-goddess, like her father, could be
called _Máni_ without there being any obstacle in the masculine form of
the word. The name of the goddess _Skadi_ is also masculine in form, and
is inflected as a masculine noun (oblique case, _Skada_--Younger Edda,
212, 268).



In the preceding pages various scattered contributions have been made
to Teutonic cosmography, and particularly to the topography of the
lower world. It may not be out of the way to gather and complete these

The world-tree's three roots, which divide themselves in the lower
world and penetrate through the three lower-world fountains into the
foundations of the world-structure and hold it together, stand in a
direction from north to south--the northernmost over the Hvergelmer
fountain, with its cold waters; the middle one over Mimer's well, which
is the fountain of spiritual forces; and the third over Urd's well, whose
liquids give warmth to Ygdrasil (see No. 63).

In a north and south direction stands likewise the bridge _Bifröst_, also
called _Bilröst_, _Ásbru_ (Grimnersmal, 29), and in a bold paraphrase,
hitherto not understood, _thiodvitnis fiscr_, "the fish of the
folk-wolf." The paraphrase occurs in Grimnersmal (21) in its description
of Valhal and other abodes of the gods:

  thytr thund,
  unir thiódvitnis
  fiscr flódi i
  árstraumr thickir
  valglaumi at vatha.

"Thund (the air-river) roars. The fish of the folk-wolf stands secure in
the stream. To the noisy crowd of sword-fallen men the current seems too
strong to wade through."

It has already been shown (No. 65) that those fallen by the sword ride
with their psychopomps on Bifrost up to Valhal, and do not proceed
thither through space, but have a solid foundation for the hoofs of
their steeds. Here, as in Fafnersmal (15), the air is compared with a
river, in which the horses are compelled to wade or swim if the bridge
leading to Asgard is not used, and the current in this roaring stream is
said to be very strong; while, on the other hand, "the fish" stands safe
and inviting therein. That the author of Grimnersmal called the bridge
a fish must seem strange, but has its natural explanation in Icelandic
usage, which called every bridge-end or bridge-head a _spordr_, that is,
a fish-tail. Compare Sigrdrifumal (16), which informs us that runes were
risted on "the fish-tail" of the great mythic bridge (_á bruar spordi_),
and the expression _brúarspordr_ (bridge-head, bridge-"fish-tail") in
Njala (246) and _Biskupas_ (1, 17). As a bridge-pier could be called
a fish-tail, it was perfectly logical for the poem to make the bridge
a fish. On the zenith of the bridge stands Valhal, that secures those
fallen in battle, and whose entrance is decorated with images of the wolf
and of the eagle (Grimnersmal, 10), animals that satisfy their hunger on
the field of battle. This explains why the fish is called that of the
folk-wolf or great wolf. The meaning of the paraphrase is simply "the
Valhal bridge." That the bow of Bifrost stands north and south follows
from the fact that the gods pass over one end of the bridge on their way
to Urd's fountain, situated in the south of the lower world, while the
other end is outside of Nifelhel, situated in the north. From the south
the gods come to their judgment-seats in the realm of the dis of fate and
death. From the north came, according to Vegtamskvida, Odin when he rode
through Nifelhel to that hall which awaited Balder. Why the Asa-father
on that occasion chose that route Vegtamskvida does not inform us. But
from Saxo (_Hist. Dan._, 126), who knew an old heathen song about Odin's
visit in the lower world on account of Balder's death, we get light
on this point. According to this song[17] it was Rostiophus Phinnicus
who told Odin that a son of the latter and Rind was to avenge Balder's
death. Rostiophus is, as P. E. Müller has already remarked, the rimthurs
_Hrossthiófr_ mentioned in Hyndluljod as a son of _Hrimnir_ and brother
of the sorceress _Heidr_, the vala and witch well known from Völuspa and
other sources. Nifelhel is, as shown above (No. 60), the abode of the
rimthurses transferred to the lower world. Where his father _Hrimnir_
(Bergelmer) and his progenitor _Hrimgrimnir_ (Thrudgelmer) dwell in the
thurs-hall mentioned in Skirnersmal, there we also find _Hrossthiófr_,
and Odin must there seek him. Vegtamskvida makes Odin seek his sister.

It is Bifrost's north bridge-head which particularly requires the
vigilance of Heimdal, the ward of the gods, since the rimthurses and the
damned are its neighbours. Heimdal is therefore "widely known" among the
inhabitants of Nifelhel (Skirnersmal, 28), and Loke reproaches Heimdal
that his vocation as watchman always compels him to expose his back to
the torrents of an unfavourable sky (Lokas., 48). In the night which
constantly broods over this northern zone shine the forms of the "white"
god and of his gold-beaming horse _Gulltoppr_, when he makes spying
expeditions there. His eye penetrates the darkness of a hundred "rasts,"
and his ear catches the faintest sound (Gylfag., 27). Near Bifrost,
presumably at the very bridge-head, mythology has given him a fortified
citadel, _Himinbjorg_, "the ward of heaven," with a comfortable hall well
supplied with "the good mead" (Grimn., 13; Gylfag., 27).

The lower world is more extensive in all directions than the surface of
the earth above it. Bifrost would not be able to pass outside and below
the crust of the earth to rest with its bridge-heads on the domain of
the three world-fountains if this were not the case. The lower world
is therefore called _Jormungrund_, "the great ground or foundation"
(Forspjallsljod, 25), and its uttermost zone, _jadarr Jormungrundar_,
"the domain of the great ground," is open to the celestial canopy,
and the under side of the earth is not its roof. From _Hlidskjalf_,
the outlook of the gods in Asgard (Forspjallsljod, the prose texts in
Skirnersmal and in Grimnersmal), the view is open to Midgard, to the
sea, and to the giant-world situated beyond the Elivagar rivers (see the
texts mentioned), and should accordingly also be so to the broad zone of
Jormungrund, excepting its northernmost part, which always is shrouded in
night. From _Hlidskjalf_ the eye cannot discern what is done there. But
Heimdal keeps watch there, and when anything unusual is perceived Odin
sends the raven _Huginn_ (_Hugr_) thither to spy it out (Forspjallsljod,
10, 3, which strophes belong together). But from Hlidskjalf as the point
of observation the earth conceals all that part of Jormungrund below
it; and as it is important to Odin that he should know all that happens
there, _Huginn_ and _Muninn_ fly daily over these subterranean regions:
_Huginn oc Muninn fljuga hverjan dag iormungrund yfir_ (Grimnersmal, 20).
The expeditions of the ravens over Nifelhel in the north and over Surt's
"deep dales" in the south expose them to dangers: Odin expresses his fear
that some misfortune may befall them on these excursions (Grimnersmal,

In the western and eastern parts of _jadarr Jormungrundar_ dwell the two
divine clans the Vans and Elves, and the former rule over the whole zone
ever since "the gods in time's morning," gave Frey, Njord's bounteous
son, Alfheim as a tooth-gift (Grimners., 5). Delling is to be regarded as
clan-chief of the Elves (light-Elves), since in the very theogony he is
ranked with the most ancient powers. With Mimer's daughter Nat he becomes
the father of Dag and the progenitor of _Dag's synir_ (the light-Elves).
It has already been emphasised (see No. 53) that he is the lord of the
rosy-dawn, and that outside of his doors the song of awakening is sung
every morning over the world: "Power to the Asas, success to the Elves,
and wisdom to Hroptatyr" (Havamál, 100). The glow of dawn blazes up from
his domain beyond the eastern horizon. Where this clan-chieftain of the
Elves dwells, thither the mythology has referred the original home of
his clan. _Alfheimr_ occupies the eastern part of Jormungrund's zone. It
is in the eastern part that Dag, Delling's son, and Sol, his kinswoman,
mount their chariots to make their journey around the earth in the sky.
Here is also the Hel-gate through which all the dead must pass in the
lower world (No. 68).

There are many proofs that the giant settlement with the Ironwood or
Myrkwood was conceived as extending from the north over large portions of
the east (Völuspa, 39, 48, &c.). These regions of Alfheim constitute the
southern coasts of the Elivagar, and are the scenes of important events
in the epic of the mythology (see the treatise on the Ivalde race).

_Vanaheimr_ is situated in the western half of the zone. At the banquet
in _Ægir's_ hall described in Lokasenna, Loke says to Njord:

  thu vast austr hedan
  gisl um sendr godum--

"From here you were sent out east as a hostage to the gods."

Ægir's hall is far out in the depths of the sea. The ocean known by the
Teutons was the North Sea. The author has manifestly conceived Ægir's
hall as situated in the same direction from Asgard as Vanaheim, and
not far from the native home of the Vans. This lies in the word _hedan_
(from here). According to Vafthrudnersmal (str. 39), Njord was "created
in Vanaheim by wise _regin_." When he was sent as a hostage to the gods
to Asgard he had to journey eastward (_austr_). The western location of
Vanaheim is thereby demonstrated.

In the "western halls" of Vanaheim dwells Billing, Rind's father,
the father of the Asa-god, Vale's mother (_Rindr berr Vala i
væstrsölum_--Vegt., 11). His name has been preserved in both the German
and the Anglo-Saxon mythic records. An Old German document mentions
together Billunc and Nidunc, that is, Billing and Mimer (see No. 87). In
the mythology Mimer's domain is bounded on the west by Billing's realm,
and on the east by Delling's. Delling is Mimer's son-in-law. According to
Völuspa, 13 (Codex Hauk.), Billing is a being which in time's morning,
on the resolve of the gods, was created by _Modsognir_-Mimer and
_Durinn_. Mimer's neighbours in the east and in the west were therefore
intimately connected with him. An Anglo-Saxon record (Codex Exoniensis,
320, 7) makes Billing the race-hero of the kinsmen and neighbours of
the Angles, the Varnians (_Billing veold Vernum_). This too has a
mythological foundation, as appears in Grimnersmal (39) and in the saga
of Helge Hjorvardson, which, as before stated, is composed of mythic
fragments. When Sol and Mane leave Delling's domain and begin their
march across the heavens, their journey is not without danger. From the
Ironwood (cp. Völuspa, 39) come the wolf-giants _Skoll_ and _Hate_ and
pursue them. _Skoll_ does not desist from the pursuit before the car
of the bright-faced goddess has descended toward the western halls and
reached _Varna vidr_ (_Scaull heitir ulfr, er fylgir eno scirleita godi
til Varna vidar_--Grimnersmal, 39). _Varna vidr_ is the forest of the
mythic Varnians or Varinians. Varnians, Varinians, means "defenders,"
and the protection here referred to can be none other than that given to
the journeying divinities of light when they have reached the western
horizon. According to Helge Hjorvardson's saga, Hate, who pursues the
moon, is slain near Varin's Bay. _Varinn_, the "defender," "protector,"
is the singular form of the same word as reappears in the genitive plural
_Varna_. These expressions--_Billing veold Vernum_, _Varna vidr_, and
_Varins vik_--are to be considered as belonging together. So also the
local names borrowed from the mythology, _Varinsfjördr_ and _Varinsey_,
in Helge Hjorvardson's saga, where several names reappear, _e.g._,
_Svarinn_, _Móinn_, _Álfr_, and _Yngvi_, which in connection with that of
Billing occur in the list of the beings created by Mimer and _Durinn_. It
is manifest that _Varna vidr_, where the wolf _Skoll_ is obliged to turn
back from his pursuit of Sol, and that _Varins vik_, where the moon's
pursuer Hate is conquered, were conceived in the mythology as situated
in the western horizon, since the sun and the moon making their journey
from the east to west on the heavens are pursued and are not safe before
they reach the western halls. And now as Billing dwells in the western
halls and is remembered in the Anglo-Saxon mythic fragments as the prince
of the Varnians or Varinians, and as, furthermore, _Varinsfjördr_ and
_Varinsey_ are connected with adventures in which there occur several
names of mythic persons belonging to Billing's clan, then this proves
absolutely an original mythic connection between Billing and his
western halls and those western halls in whose regions _Varna vidr_
and _Varinsvik_ are situated, and where the divinities of light, their
journey athwart the sky accomplished, find defenders and can take their
rest. And when we add to this that Delling, Mimer's kinsman and eastern
neighbour, is the lord of morning and the rosy dawn, and that Billing is
Mimer's kinsman and western neighbour, then it follows that Billing, from
the standpoint of a symbol of nature, represents the evening and the glow
of twilight, and that in the epic he is ruler of those regions of the
world where the divinities of light find rest and peace. The description
which the Havamál strophes (97-101) give us of life in Billing's halls
corresponds most perfectly with this view. Through the epic presentation
there gleams, as it seems, a conscious symbolising of nature, which
paints to the fancy the play of colours in the west when the sun is set.
When eventide comes Billing's lass, "the sun-glittering one," sleeps on
her bed (_Billing's mey ec fann bedjum á solhvita sofa_--str. 97). In his
halls Billing has a body-guard of warriors, his _saldrótt_, _vigdrótt_
(str. 100, 101), in whom we must recognise those Varnians who protect
the divinities of light that come to his dwelling, and these warriors
watch far into the night, "with burning lights and with torches in their
hands," over the slumbering "sun-white" maiden. But when day breaks
their services are no longer necessary. Then they in their turn go to
sleep (_Oc nær morni ... thá var saldrott um sofin_--str. 101).

When the Asas--all on horseback excepting Thor--on their daily journey
to the thingstead near Urd's fountain, have reached the southern
rune-risted bridge-head of Bifrost, they turn to the north and ride
through a southern Hel-gate into the lower world proper. Here, in the
south, and far below Jormungrund's southern zone, we must conceive
those "deep dales" where the fire-giant Surt dwells with his race,
Suttung's sons (not Muspel's sons). The idea presented in Gylfaginning's
cosmogony, according to which there was a world of fire in the south
and a world of cold in the north of that Ginungagap in which the world
was formed, is certainly a genuine myth, resting on a view of nature
which the very geographical position forced upon the Teutons. Both these
border realms afterwards find their representatives in the organised
world: the fire-world in _Surt's Sökkdalir_, and the frost-world in
the Nifelhel incorporated with the eschatological places; and as the
latter constitutes the northern part of the realm of death, we may in
analogy herewith refer the dales of Surt and Suttung's sons to the
south, and we may do this without fear of error, for Völuspa (50) states
positively that Surt and his descendants come from the south to the
Ragnarok conflict (_Surtr fer sunan med sviga læfi_). While the northern
bridge-head of Bifrost is threatened by the rimthurses, the southern is
exposed to attacks from Suttung's sons. In Ragnarok the gods have to
meet storms from both quarters, and we must conceive the conflict as
extending along Jormungrund's outer zone and especially near both ends of
the Bifrost bridge. The plain around the south end of Bifrost where the
gods are to "mix the liquor of the sword with Surt" is called _Oskópnir_
in a part of a heathen poem incorporated with Fafnersmal. Here Frey
with his hosts of einherjes meets Surt and Suttung's sons, and falls by
the sword which once was his, after the arch of Bifrost on this side is
already broken under the weight of the hosts of riders (Fafnersmal, 14,
15; Völuspa, 51). _Oskópnir's_ plain must therefore be referred to the
south end of Bifrost and outside of the southern Hel-gate of the lower
world. The plain is also called _Vigridr_ (Vafthrudnersmal, 18), and is
said to be one hundred rasts long each way. As the gods who here appear
in the conflict are called _in svaso god_, "the sweet," and as Frey falls
in the battle, those who here go to meet Surt and his people seem to be
particularly Vana-gods and Vans, while those who contend with the giants
and with Loke's progeny are chiefly Asas.

When the gods have ridden through the southern Hel-gate, there lie before
them magnificent regions over which Urd in particular rules, and which
together with Mimer's domain constitute the realms of bliss in the lower
world with abodes for departed children and women, and for men who were
not chosen on the field of battle. Rivers flowing from Hvergelmer flow
through Urd's domain after they have traversed Mimer's realm. The way
leads the gods to the fountain of the norns, which waters the southern
root of the world-tree, and over which Ygdrasil's lower branches spread
their ever-green leaves, shading the gold-clad fountain, where swans swim
and whose waters give the whitest colour to everything that comes in
contact therewith. In the vicinity of this fountain are the thingstead
with judgment-seats, a tribunal, and benches for the hosts of people who
daily arrive to be blessed or damned.

These hosts enter through the Hel-gate of the east. They traverse deep
and dark valleys, and come to a thorn-grown plain against whose pricks
Hel-shoes protect those who were merciful in their life on earth, and
thence to the river mixed with blood, which in its eddies whirls weapons
and must be waded over by the wicked, but can be crossed by the good on
the drift-wood which floats on the river. When this river is crossed the
way of the dead leads southward to the thingstead of the gods.

Further up there is a golden bridge across the river to the glorious
realm where _Mimer's holt_ and the glittering halls are situated, in
which Balder and the _ásmegir_ await the regeneration. Many streams come
from Hvergelmer, among them _Leiptr_, on whose waters holy oaths are
taken, and cast their coils around these protected places, whence sorrow,
aging, and death are banished. The halls are situated in the eastern part
of Mimer's realm in the domain of the elf of the rosy dawn, for he is
their watchman.

Further down in Mimer's land and under the middle root of the world-tree
is the well of creative force and of inspiration, and near it are Mimer's
own golden halls.

Through this middle part of the lower world goes from west to east
the road which Nat, Dag, Sol, and Mane travel from Billing's domain to
Delling's. When the mother Nat whose car is drawn by _Hrimfaxi_ makes
her entrance through the western Hel-gate, darkness is diffused along
her course over the regions of bliss and accompanies her chariot to the
north, where the hall of Sindre, the great artist, is located, and toward
the Nida mountains, at whose southern foot Nat takes her rest in her own
home. Then those who dwell in the northern regions of Jormungrund retire
to rest (Forspjallsljod, 25); but on the outer rim of Midgard there is
life and activity, for there Dag's and Sol's cars then diffuse light
and splendour on land and sea. The hall of Sindre's race has a special
peculiarity. It is, as shall be shown below, the prototype of "the
sleeping castle" mentioned in the sagas of the middle ages.

Over the Nida mountains and the lands beyond them we find Ygdrasil's
third root, watered by the Hvergelmer fountain, the mother of all waters.
The Nida mountains constitute Jormungrund's great watershed, from
which rivers rush down to the south and to the north. In Hvergelmer's
fountain and above it the world-mill is built through whose mill-stone
eye water rushes up and down, causing the maelstrom and ebb and flood
tide, and scattering the meal of the mill over the bottom of the sea.
Nine giantesses march along the outer edge of the world pushing the
mill-handle before them, while the mill and the starry heavens at the
same time are revolved.

Where the Elivagar rivers rise out of Hvergelmer, and on the southern
strand of the mythic Gandvik, is found a region which, after one of its
inhabitants, is called _Ide's_ pasture (_setr_--Younger Edda, i. 292).
Here dwell warriors of mixed elf and giant blood (see the treatise on the
Ivalde race), who received from the gods the task of being a guard of
protection against the neighbouring giant-world.

Farther toward the north rise the Nida mountains and form the steep
wall which constitutes Nifelhel's southern boundary. In this wall are
the Na-gates, through which the damned when they have died their second
death are brought into the realm of torture, whose ruler is _Leikinn_.
Nifelheim is inhabited by the spirits of the primeval giants, by the
spirits of disease, and by giants who have fallen in conflict with the
gods. Under Nifelhel extend the enormous caves in which the various
kinds of criminals are tortured. In one of these caves is the torture
hall of the Nastrands. Outside of its northern door is a grotto guarded
by swarthy elves. The door opens to Armsvartner's sea, over which
eternal darkness broods. In this sea lies the Lyngve-holm, within whose
jurisdiction Loke, Fenrer, and "Muspel's sons" are fettered. Somewhere
in the same region Bifrost descends to its well fortified northern
bridge-head. The citadel is called _Himinbjörg_, "the defence or rampart
of heaven." Its chieftain is Heimdal.

While Bifrost's arch stands in a direction from north to south, the way
on which Mane and Sol travel across the heavens goes from east to west.
Mane's way is below Asgard.

The movable starry heaven is not the only, nor is it the highest, canopy
stretched over all that has been mentioned above. One can go so far to
the north that even the horizon of the starry heavens is left in the
rear. Outside, the heavens _Andlánger_ and _Vidblainn_ support their
edges against Jormungrund (Gylfag., 17). All this creation is supported
by the world-tree, on whose topmost bough the cock Vidofner glitters.

[17] Possibly the same as that of which a few strophes are preserved in
_Baldrs draumar_, an old poetic fragment whose gaps have been filled in
a very unsatisfactory manner in recent times with strophes which now are
current as Vegtamskvida. That Odin, when he is about to proceed to the
abode which in the subterranean realms of bliss is to receive Balder,
chooses the route through Nifelhel is explained not by Vegtamskvida,
where this fact is stated, but by the older poem mentioned by Saxo, which
makes him seek the dweller in Nifelhel, the rimthurs _Hrossthiófr_, son
of _Hrimnir_.

(_Continuation of Part IV in Volume III._)



Transcriber's Note: This index has been copied in from Volume III for the
convenience of the reader (although it doesn't use the accented letters
found in the rest of the text).


    Achilles, 44, 192.

    Achivians, 62.

    Adalbert, 320.

    Adam, 86, 132, 319, 338.

    Adam of Bremen, 714.

    Adriatic, 62.

    Aeduans, 66.

    Aegir, 43, 136, 235, 422, 575, 697, 813, 822, 967.

    Aeneas, 44, 66, 81, 730.

    African, 6.

    Agelmund, 858.

    Aggo, 104, 861, 893, 953, 1008.

    Agni, 587, 605, 886.

    Agrippa, 76, 86.

    Ahriman, 817.

    Ahura, 8.

    Ahuramazda, 127, 381, 450.

    Ai, 140.

    Ajo, 100, 861, 992.

    Alamannians, 53, 119, 708.

    Alarik, 25.

    Alba-Longa, 66.

    Aldonus, 101.

    Aldrian, 981, 991.

    Alexander, 50, 55.

    Alf, 167.

    Alfather, 376, 220, 340.

    Alfheim, 696, 865, 947.

    Alfhild, 168.

    Alfrandull, 1002.

    Alfsol, 168.

    Alps, 62.

    Almveig, 1000.

    Alvalde, 174, 584, 898, 953, 992.

    Alveig, 173, 257, 263, 273.

    Alveig-Signe, 793, 902.

    Alvis, 437.

    Alvism, 365, 376.

    Alvismal, 436, 445.

    Alvitr, 898.

    Amala, 293.

    Amalgort, 293.

    Amalian, 147, 285, 293, 980.

    Amazons, 168.

    Ambri, 100.

    Amelolt, 293.

    Amelungs, 147, 293.

    America, 940.

    Amlethus, 317, 843.

    Amlodi, 843, 568.

    Amma, 140.

    Ammianus, 58.

    Amsvartner, 564.

    Anarr, 157.

    Anchises, 54, 112.

    Andlanger, 706.

    Andvare, a dwarf, 300, 977.

    Angerboda, 226, 275, 558, 707, 809.

    Angeyja, 597.

    Angles, 55.

    Anglo-Saxon, 86.

    Angra-Mainyu, 127.

    Angul, 89.

    Animals, 23.

    Anses, 738.

    Ansgarius, 806.

    Ansgis, 54, 112.

    Antenor, 53, 62.

    Anthaib, 101.

    Anthropology, 729.

    Anti-Christ, 722.

    Anundus, 848, 884, 896, 932, 951.

    Anus, 879.

    Anzius, 147.

    Apaosha, 970.

    Apollo, 79.

    Aquili, 553.

    Are, 57, 425, 438.

    Arinbjorn, 173, 464.

    Aristarchus, 53.

    Armenia, 3.

    Arnulf, 54.

    Artimis, 79.

    Arvidson, 844.

    Aryan, 3, 14, 30, 124, 188, 253, 380, 746.

    Asa-Brage, 256, 801.

    Asa-father, 746.

    Asa-god, 147, 191, 210, 246, 740, 777, 793, 820.

    Asaland, 33.

    Asalfr, 926.

    Asas, 34, 41, 83, 211, 235, 254, 275, 364, 376, 397, 436, 485,
      580, 620, 720, 819, 838, 852, 875, 888, 946.

    Asasynir (goddesses), 446.

    Asbjorn, 245.

    Asciburgium, 122, 839.

    Asgard, 33, 41, 166, 218, 229, 245, 276, 376, 397, 423, 443,
      467, 575, 601, 693, 724, 751, 772, 790, 806, 845, 865, 877,
      909, 938, 959, 977, 989, 1004.

    Asia-land, 45.

    Asia Minor, 77.

    Asiatic, 4, 14.

    Ask, 127, 140, 604, 733.

    Asmegir, 353, 436, 446, 827, 878.

    Asmund, 265, 743.

    Assi, 100.

    Assyrians, 37.

    Astrology, 71.

    Asvid, 365, 743.

    Asvinians, 880, 910.

    Atlakvida, 512.

    Atlantic, 87.

    Atlas, 977.

    Atle, 471, 915.

    Attic, 53.

    Attila, 286, 809, 983.

    Audhumbla, 389, 574, 733, 433.

    Augustus, 711.

    Aurboda, 213, 242, 781, 815, 845, 962.

    Aurgelner, 433, 570.

    Aurnir, 899, 948, 992.

    Austria, 28.

    Ave, 140.

    Avo, 848, 884, 896.

    Avernians, 66.

    Avesta, 8, 17, 30, 450, 878.

    Azdingi, 159.


    Baal, 37.

    Babel, 37, 84.

    Babylon, 37, 84.

    Bacchus, 900.

    Bactria, 9, 84.

    Bærmagnis-Sogo, 310.

    Bainaib, 101.

    Balder, 36, 88, 191, 212, 248, 346, 368, 377, 400, 413, 436,
      465, 622, 684, 726, 782, 796, 809, 833, 877, 888, 898, 963, 985.

    Banings (destroyers), 297.

    Barbarossa, 55.

    Baugregin's Well, 577.

    Beda, 55, 88.

    Beistla, 624.

    Bel, 836.

    Beldegg, 40, 88.

    Belgium, 28.

    Beli, 836.

    Benfey, 18.

    Beowulf, 130, 191, 472, 605, 749, 811, 825, 844, 986, 1002.

    Berchter, 591.

    Berchtung, 146, 291.

    Bergelmer, 434, 570, 626.

    Bergio, 115.

    Berggram, 848.

    Berig, 116.

    Berker, 146.

    Bergtrollet, 844.

    Berserks, 39.

    Berther, 146.

    Bessarabia, 25.

    Bestla, 160, 389, 476.

    Beyla, 575.

    Bhrigu, 587.

    Bifrost, 397, 415, 462, 534, 586, 693, 705, 758, 827, 989.

    Bil, 676, 985, 1003.

    Billing, 471, 698.

    Birka, 806.

    Biterolf, 359, 644, 977, 997.

    Bjaef, 88.

    Bjarmia, 563.

    Bjorn, 245.

    Bjorno, 884.

    Bjort, 229, 756.

    Blekingia, 104.

    Blid, 229, 756.

    Bodn, 331.

    Bodvar, 530.

    Boethius, 812.

    Bolthorn, 361, 624.

    Bor, 389, 434, 574, 603.

    Borgar, 145, 255, 281, 293, 591, 847, 861, 976.

    Bose Saga, 310.

    Bosphorus, 48.

    Bous, 787.

    Bragarædur, 959.

    Brage, 43, 468, 675, 824, 967, 986.

    Bravalla, 283.

    Breidablik, 36.

    Brimer, 643.

    Brisingamen, 272, 364, 725, 819, 829, 876.

    Britain, 55.

    Brok, 361, 718, 895.

    Brunnakr, 898, 953.

    Brunnie, 898, 953.

    Brutus, 66.

    Brynhild, 491, 979.

    Buddhism, 732.

    Budlungs, 189.

    Bundehash, 126.

    Bure, 389.

    Burgarus, 145.

    Burgundaib, 101, 113.

    Byggvir, 575.

    Byleipt, 559.

    Byrgir, 676, 986, 1003.

    Byzantium, 48.


    Cæsar, 66, 283.

    Cain, 813.

    Capitoline Hill, 74.

    Carthage, 58.

    Cassiodorus, 114.

    Cave of Punishment, 552.

    Celts, 10, 25, 254.

    Cerberus, 38, 413.

    Ceres, 79.

    Chaldæans, 72.

    Cham, 85.

    Chaos, 389.

    Charlemagne, 53, 101, 807.

    Cheldricus, 981, 990.

    Cherson, 25.

    Christ, 77, 284, 807.

    Christianity, 50, 285.

    Chus, 85.

    Cimmerians, 76.

    Cis-Alpine, 66.

    Claudius, 114.

    Claybrimer, 570.

    Codex Regius, 233.

    Codex Upsalensis, 353, 538.

    Cool, 519.

    Cosmogony, 157.

    Cosmographic Review, 692.

    Creator, 813.

    Creation of Man, 126.

    Crete, 38.

    Crimea, 25.

    Cumæan Prophetess, 75.

    Curetians, 261.

    Cuso, 784.

    Cybile, 79.

    Cyclops, 715.


    Dacians, 129.

    Dag, 366, 420, 433, 446, 602, 696.

    Dainn, an elf artist, 240, 365, 717.

    Dalmatia, 63.

    Damkan, 386.

    Dan, 137.

    Danai, 56, 255.

    Danes, 27, 56, 117, 178, 257.

    Danische Wold, 811.

    Danish Adventurers, 714.

    Dankrat, 981.

    Danmark, 89.

    Dannevirke, 913, 927.

    Danr Draupr, 142.

    Danube, 62.

    Dardanus, 38.

    Darius, 3.

    Darnanians, 58.

    Dasyus, 596.

    Decius, 710.

    Delling, 356, 366, 377, 416, 461, 602, 696, 823.

    Diaconus, 54, 101, 859.

    Dictys, 59.

    Dieterich, 285, 980.

    Dis, sun goddess, 167.

    Disertus, 794.

    Ditevin, 109.

    Dobrudscho, 25.

    Domarr, 137.

    Don, 113.

    Doom of the Dead, 485.

    Dore, 356.

    Drauper, 361, 374, 427, 635.

    Draupner, 725, 824, 862.

    Drott, 143.

    Duben, 29.

    Dudo, 56, 67.

    Dulsi, 608, 652.

    Dunelmensis, 130.

    Durin, 357, 653.

    Durnir, 652.

    Dutch, 27.

    Dvalinn, a dwarf artist, 164, 244, 356, 461, 717.

    Dwarfs, 445.

    Dygve, 144, 621.


    Earendel, 769.

    East Goths, 25.

    Ebbo, 104, 779, 847.

    Ebur, 863, 953.

    Eckenbrecht, 896.

    Eckihard, 360.

    Edda, 325, 354, 406, 562, 603, 647, 718, 791, 827, 851, 888,
      927, 962.

    Egil, 425, 463, 529, 838, 847, 863, 873, 884, 901, 926, 941,
      969, 977, 990.

    Egilsson, 733.

    Eggther, sword guardian, 223, 707, 810, 962.

    Egyptian, 94.

    Eikthynir, a thunder cloud, 249, 968.

    Eilif, 857.

    Eilif Gudrunson, 331.

    Einar, 372, 908, 914.

    Einar Skalaglam, 330.

    Einberges, gods, 824, 1003.

    Eir, 229, 756.

    Eirikr, 793, 803, 823, 847.

    Elbe, 107.

    Elderich, 984.

    Elf Clans, 603.

    Elivagar, 424, 519, 532, 695, 775, 827, 835, 846, 857, 911,
      938, 960, 968, 1003.

    Elivogs, 325, 379.

    Elizabeth, 723.

    Elves, 164, 445, 696.

    Elysian Fields, 325.

    Embla, 127, 143, 604, 733.

    Emperor Theodosius, 710.

    Endil, 941.

    Endymion, 728.

    Eomenric, 830.

    Eos, 901.

    Ephesus, 709, 728.

    Epirus, 25.

    Ericus, 793, 868.

    Erik, 463, 620, 794, 807, 818, 828, 994.

    Eriksmal, 472.

    Erikvidforle's Saga, 306, 322.

    Erinnyes, 493.

    Ermenrich, 980, 998.

    Erythreian Sibyl, 76.

    Esculapians, 79.

    Ethelwardus, 130.

    Etgeir, 927.

    Etruria, 83.

    Etrurians, 58.

    Euhemerists, 49.

    Euripides, 716.

    Europe, 76.

    Eylud Mill, 827.

    Eyludr, 568, 584.

    Eystrasalt, the Baltic, 235.

    Eyrbyggja, 478.

    Eyrgjafa, 598.

    Eyvind, 225, 469.


    Fadir, 140.

    Fafner, 977.

    Fafnersbane, 191, 218, 260, 735.

    Fafnersmal, 460, 693.

    Fagerskinna, 741.

    Fal, 87.

    Falen, 89.

    Fann, 522.

    Farbaute, 823.

    Fenja, 262, 567, 584, 890, 951.

    Fenrer, 618, 705.

    Fenris Wolf, 44, 215, 404, 448, 558, 618.

    Fifel, 559.

    Fimbulthul, 642.

    Fimbul-Winter, 171, 585, 796.

    Finalf, 971.

    Finmark, 310.

    Finnr, 988.

    Finns, 118.

    Fjalar, a giant sorcerer, 210, 224, 266, 317, 336, 513, 596,
      647, 661, 707, 810, 891, 962, 1004.

    Fjallgyldir, 926.

    Fjolner, 499, 995.

    Fjolsvinn, 354, 499, 571.

    Fjolsvinsmal, 229, 238, 721, 747, 758, 772, 790, 817, 832, 978.

    Fjorgyn, 155.

    Fjorgyn-Frigg, 374.

    Flatey-bok, 133, 306.

    Floedarmal, 858.

    Flying Serpents, 564.

    Fornald, 363.

    Fornaldr Saga, 858.

    Fornmanna Saga, 96.

    Forsets, 888.

    Forspjallsljod, 196, 330, 447, 532, 553, 871, 911, 917, 1008.

    Francis, 51.

    Franks, 50, 60, 99, 708.

    Frankish, 82.

    Frankland, 40.

    Frau Breyde, 834.

    Frauenlob, 68.

    Frea, 100.

    Frey, 34, 137, 157, 230, 361, 426, 558, 575, 607, 661, 702,
      718, 777, 796, 810, 820, 863, 884, 918, 958, 983.

    Fredegar, 50, 60.

    Freyja, 34, 100, 155, 166, 229, 327, 363, 607, 443, 461, 526,
      684, 796, 819, 834, 843, 879, 887, 897, 931, 958, 989.

    Freki, Odin's wolf dog, 249, 559.

    Freyja Menglad, 250.

    Frid, 229, 842.

    Fridleif, 88.

    Fridleifson, 567.

    Fridigernus, 842.

    Fridlevus, 245, 798, 863, 884.

    Frigg, 34, 100, 155, 229, 607, 684, 824, 842, 903, 963.

    Frigga, 55.

    Frigida, 39.

    Friesland, 320.

    Frisian Adventurers, 715.

    Frode, 135, 499, 565, 578, 794.

    Froste, 225.

    Frotho, 815, 837, 868.

    Frotho-Frey, 274.

    Fulda, 111.

    Fulla, 685, 824.

    Funen, 35.

    Fylgies, 457.


    Gabriel, 836.

    Gaelic, 94.

    Galfrid, 66, 984.

    Gambanteinn, 427, 815, 964.

    Gambara, 100, 893, 953.

    Gambarac, 104.

    Gambrivians, 155.

    Gandaricus Magnus, 222.

    Gandil, 468.

    Gang, 946, 955, 974.

    Ganges, 10.

    Gangr, 932, 948.

    Gang-Urmir, 196.

    Gardarike, 15.

    Garm, 440, 564.

    Gastrofnir, 754.

    Gaul, 26, 58, 66, 129.

    Gauta, 505, 642.

    Gaya-Maretan, 127.

    Gayomert, 127.

    Gehenna, 437, 549.

    Gefion, 35.

    Gefu, 773.

    Geiger, 19, 131.

    Geirrod, a fire giant, 106, 310, 432, 459, 535, 598, 915, 928,

    Geiter, 96, 536.

    Geirvandil, 848, 867, 883, 948, 974, 993.

    Geldr, 784, 984, 1000.

    Gepaute, 116.

    Gepidians, 708.

    Gerd, a giantess, 192, 227, 241, 426, 437, 528, 815, 967.

    Geri, 754.

    German-Saga Cycle, 294.

    Germans, 548.

    Germany, 19, 27, 120.

    Gernoz, 981.

    Gersami, 756.

    Gerutha, 779.

    Geruthus, 312.

    Gesta, 62.

    Gevarr, 669, 792, 990, 1002.

    Gevarr-Nokkue, 202.

    Gevarus, 781, 836.

    Ghosts, 742.

    Giants, 39, 96, 175, 770, 836.

    Gibich, 981.

    Gifr, 754.

    Gigas, a giant, 776.

    Gillingr, 483.

    Gilzer, 981.

    Gimule, 561.

    Ginungagap, 452, 940.

    Gipties, 457.

    Gisle, 684, 741.

    Gisler, 981, 1007.

    Gissur, 527.

    Gjallahorn, 524.

    Gjaller-bridge, 736.

    Gjalp, 928, 933.

    Gjoll, 328, 415, 448, 515.

    Gjuke, 971, 981, 991, 999, 1009.

    Gjukung, 515.

    Gleipner, 565, 824.

    Glenr, husband of the Sun Dis, 169.

    Glitner, 827.

    Glittering-fields, 309, 322, 418, 517, 636.

    Gnipa-Cave, 440, 564.

    Godan, Odin, 100.

    Godmundr, 642.

    Gods of the Week Days, 72.

    Golaida, 101.

    Gold-Comb, 449.

    Gold-glittering Cock, 760.

    Gorm, 312, 418, 432, 515, 534, 552, 641, 714.

    Gosh, 382.

    Got, Gotland, 89, 132.

    Gothic, 23, 60, 99, 113, 178.

    Goths, 708, 729.

    Grafvitner, a giant wolf, 240.

    Gragas, 430.

    Gram, 147, 283, 794.

    Grandvik, 832, 940.

    Grane, 241, 978.

    Great Babylonia, 836.

    Greco, 10, 25.

    Greeks, 59.

    Greenland, 940.

    Greip, a giantess, 551, 598, 893, 928, 1004.

    Gregorius, 50, 81, 288, 711, 728.

    Grendel, 811.

    Grep, 797, 836.

    Gridarvolr, 933.

    Gridr, 933.

    Grimhild, 516.

    Grimm, 10, 298.

    Grimm's Mythology, 721.

    Grimner, 434.

    Grimner's Lay, 139.

    Grimnersmal, 423, 447, 564, 592, 644, 717, 802, 855, 866, 889.

    Grimnismal, 105, 236, 251, 399.

    Groa, 150, 196, 255, 268, 747, 776, 793, 819, 847, 858, 900,

    Grœdir, 566.

    Grogalder, 151, 201, 354, 571, 747, 758, 770, 795, 805, 832.

    Grotte, 727.

    Grotte-mill, 565.

    Grotte-Song, 181, 262, 584, 890, 951.

    Grund, 310.

    Gugnir, 876.

    Gudheim, 36.

    Gudhorm, 153, 255, 270.

    Gudmund, 217, 309, 360, 393, 516, 636.

    Gudmund-Mimer, 727.

    Gudolf, 88.

    Gudrun, 355, 915, 974, 989.

    Gudrunarkvida, 138, 522.

    Gudrundson, 138, 421, 452, 491, 516, 932.

    Gudzorm, 981.

    Gull, 231.

    Gulltoppr, 592.

    Gulveig, 165, 204, 230, 486.

    Gulveig-Heid, 724, 746, 780.

    Gunbjorn, 245.

    Gunlad, 224, 648, 1004.

    Gungner, a sword, 193, 268, 639.

    Gunnar, 472, 502, 735, 978, 989.

    Gunno, 787.

    Gunvara, 795, 815.

    Guod, a ship, 265.

    Guritha, 150.

    Guthmundus, 314.

    Guthorm, 567.

    Guthormus, 151.

    Gutland, 104.

    Gylder, 962.

    Gygr, a troll woman, 845.

    Gylfaginning, 41, 128, 138, 325, 344, 395, 425, 497, 524, 538,
      552, 565, 607, 757, 856, 925, 962.

    Gylfe, 35, 41, 93.

    Gymer, 426, 536.

    Gymir, a giant, 213, 227, 242.


    Hadaland, 741.

    Hadding, 255, 263, 273, 289, 317, 432, 449, 492, 517, 604, 729,
      737, 793, 806, 819, 843, 902, 980, 997.

    Hades, 123, 337, 392, 431, 482, 514, 577, 730, 817, 1004.

    Hadingus, 159, 301.

    Hadolaun, 107.

    Hadugoto, 108.

    Hagen, 298, 981.

    Haguinus, 896.

    Hakon, 370, 467, 500, 824, 867, 904, 913, 929.

    Hakonarmal, 468.

    Halfdan, 132, 185, 191, 202, 255, 318, 460, 489, 591, 741, 779,
      792, 803, 819, 847, 896, 919, 958, 973, 1000.

    Halfe, 256, 262.

    Haliorunæ, 22.

    Halir, 446.

    Hallfred, 407, 479.

    Hallin, 115.

    Halogaland, 312.

    Ham, 85.

    Hama, 830.

    Hamal, 147, 192, 281.

    Hamingjes, 457, 505.

    Hamlet, 843.

    Handuanus, 300.

    Har, 42, 95.

    Harald, 464.

    Harald Blue Tooth, 929.

    Harald Hardrade, 282.

    Harald Hildetand, 282.

    Harbard, 889, 961.

    Harbardsljod, 276, 449, 953, 967.

    Hardgrep, 260, 271, 492, 737.

    Hartung, 289.

    Hate, a monster, 558, 690, 707, 810.

    Haustlaug, 416, 574, 853, 902, 987.

    Havamal, 128, 259, 330, 361, 431, 476, 492, 642, 717, 735, 934.

    Hedinn, 887.

    Heid, 65, 351, 480, 876.

    Heidrun, 644.

    Heimdal, 36, 135, 170, 236, 272, 280, 298, 378, 425, 447, 586,
      695, 705, 722, 738, 822, 830, 891.

    Heimskringla, 32, 35, 47, 82, 94, 243, 370, 520, 606, 741.

    Heingest, 88, 99, 970, 991, 1008.

    Hektor, 38.

    Hel, 400, 406, 420, 440, 447, 478, 614, 745, 824, 968.

    Helblinde, 559, 599.

    Helblottin, 414, 969.

    Hel-dog, 564.

    Helgakvida, 216.

    Hel-gate, 702.

    Helge, 147, 181, 310, 520, 571, 690, 744, 791, 973.

    Helgo, 784.

    Hel-horse, 480.

    Heliand, 416, 456, 560.

    Hellenic, 25.

    Hellewite, 407.

    Hel-rivers, 765.

    Hel-shoes, 737.

    Helvegir, 440.

    Helvegum, 442.

    Hel-way, 515.

    Hengikjoptr, 566.

    Henricus, 86.

    Hephæstros, 189.

    Hercynian, 1.

    Herikon, 87.

    Hermanaricus, 301.

    Hermes, 70.

    Hermes-Mercurius, 94.

    Hermes-Trismegistus, 94.

    Hermionians, 155, 301.

    Hermod, 327, 374, 415, 465, 565, 737, 819, 845.

    Hertrich, 359.

    Herulians, 113.

    Hesiodus, 127.

    Hervor, 309, 335, 957.

    Hieronymus, 51.

    Hildebrand, 147, 814.

    Hildeger, 147, 193.

    Hildigun, 1000.

    Hildings, 190.

    Himalaya, 10.

    Himinn, 445.

    Himminbjorg, 36, 289, 705.

    Hindoos, 4, 254.

    Hindukush, 10.

    Hjaller-horn, 708.

    Hjardarholt, 592.

    Hjarrandi, 989.

    Hjorvardson, 746.

    Hjuki, 676.

    Hlandverr, 997.

    Hlebardr, 956, 964.

    Hler, 96.

    Hlidskjolf, 696.

    Hlif, 756.

    Hlin, 842.

    Hlodyn, 155, 599, 803, 930, 945.

    Hnoss, 756.

    Hoce, 986.

    Hodd-Mimer, 342.

    Hodbrod, 973.

    Hodd-goda, 416.

    Hoder, 415, 684, 791, 885, 963, 985, 880, 887.

    Hodrofner's-horn, 624.

    Hoenir, 739, 904.

    Hofudlausn, 500.

    Hogne, 979.

    Hohni, 738.

    Holt, 818.

    Homer, 76, 268.

    Honer, 34, 127, 243, 461, 505, 529, 603, 732.

    Hordaland, 929.

    Horn, 773.

    Hornklofve, 674.

    Horund, 989.

    Horvendillus, 317, 843.

    Hothbrodus, 781, 792.

    Hother, 340.

    Hothurus, 633, 773, 787, 823.

    Hrabanus, 111.

    Hraunbui, 855.

    Hraunn, 424.

    Hrimgrimner, 817.

    Hrimner, a giantess, 218, 230, 817.

    Hrolfr, 801.

    Hromund-Greipson's Saga, 269.

    Hroptatyr, 367.

    Hrunger, 748, 852.

    Hrutr-Heimdall, 286.

    Huginn, 696.

    Hunding's-bane, 184, 281, 744.

    Huns, 11, 116, 222, 273.

    Huyrvillus, 117.

    Hoedrung, 489.

    Hoergelmer, 402, 414, 423, 451, 519, 532, 562, 639, 702, 713,
      749, 765, 968.

    Hylten-Cavallius, 735.

    Hymir, winter giant, 854.

    Hymirskvida, 853.

    Hyndla, 526.

    Hyndley's Lay, 138.

    Hyndluljod, 155, 223, 526, 694, 718, 755, 773, 824, 892, 1000.

    Hypnos, 718.

    Hyrr, 753.

    Hyrroken, a giantess, 234.


    Iberians, 24.

    Ibor, 100, 119, 862, 1008.

    Iceland, 48, 82.

    Ida's Plains, 346.

    Ide, 425, 890, 926, 944, 972, 991.

    Idi, 197, 935.

    Idun, 174, 871, 887, 906, 918, 931, 950, 958, 987, 1003.

    Idunn, 197.

    Ilium, 52.

    Illyrian, 61.

    India, 3.

    Indo-Iranian, 14.

    Indra, 360.

    Indride, 88.

    Ing, 265.

    Ingjold, 457.

    Irania, 3, 84, 126, 254.

    Ire, 356.

    Ireland, 66.

    Ironwood, 216, 558, 707, 809, 877, 930.

    Irpa, 913.

    Irung, 281, 991.

    Isodorus, 76.

    Isolfr, 865.

    Israel, 58.

    Istævonians, 155.

    Isung's Wood, 223.

    Itrman, 88.

    Ivalde, 172, 196, 361, 747, 804, 838, 870, 879, 897, 948, 956,
      974, 999.

    Ivalderson, 202.


    Jafnhar, 42, 95.

    Jarl Hakonson, 994.

    Jarl Rig, 137.

    Jat, 88.

    Jaxartes, 9.

    Jerusalem, 83, 835.

    Jessen, 158.

    Jewes, 71.

    Jima (Grove), 381, 629, 878.

    Jokull, 96, 166.

    Jonsson, 114.

    Jord, the earth, 68, 615.

    Jordanes, 59, 113, 178, 301, 830.

    Jormungander, 919.

    Jormungrun, 601, 695.

    Jormunrek, 270, 836, 847.

    Jotunheim, home of the giants, 96, 223, 248, 310, 399, 425,
      434, 580, 599, 675, 770, 827, 845, 876, 885, 914, 936, 947,
      968, 1003.

    Jupiter, 38, 87.

    Jupiter's Temple, 74.

    Jutland, 40, 785.


    Kabulistan, 7.

    Kari, 96.

    Kark, 456.

    Karl (Churl), 140.

    Kiarr, 998.

    King Englin, 976.

    King Liutwar, 997.

    Kirshipta, 386.

    Kjalki, 267.

    Klage, 981.

    Klaproth, 9.

    Kollr, 851.

    Kon, 142.

    Kormak, 210, 463, 530.

    Kour-Rig, 137.

    Kuhn, 17.

    Kullen, 850.

    Kvaser, 34.


    Lactantius, 76.

    Lake Maelar, 47.

    Lamedon, 88.

    Lamia, 92.

    Lamissio, 859.

    Langarbrekku-Einar, 741.

    Lassen, 10.

    Latham, 15.

    Latin, 50, 87.

    Latium, 58.

    Latona, 79.

    Laurin, 301.

    Leifner's flames, 260, 299, 750.

    Leifthraser, 353, 378, 442, 453, 530.

    Legend of the Cross, 90.

    Leika, 365.

    Leikin, 476, 534, 705.

    Leiptr, 420.

    Lesso, 43, 265.

    Lethe, 335.

    Letto-Slavic, 14.

    Liburnia, 61.

    Libyan, 76.

    Lidskjalfn, 356, 911.

    Lif, 353, 378, 442, 453, 530.

    Lif and Leifthraser, 341.

    Lifthraser, 180.

    Link, 7.

    Liserus-Heimdal, 829.

    Liutker, 1006.

    Loder, 127, 732.

    Lodr, 603.

    Lodur, 601, 739.

    Lofdung, 189.

    Logi, 96, 662.

    Logrin, 35, 40.

    Loka-Senna, 155, 279, 428, 558, 575, 661, 897, 953, 965.

    Loke, 43, 136, 171, 214, 269, 273, 428, 438, 448, 476, 548,
      556, 575, 600, 697, 722, 761, 822, 840, 856, 876, 891, 904,
      921, 936, 945, 960, 991.

    Longobardians, 54, 156, 422, 708, 858, 995.

    Longobardian Saga, 99, 322.

    Longlegs, 738.

    Loptr, 760.

    Loride, 88.

    Lothurus, 604.

    Lower World Mill, 760.

    Ludr, 760.

    Luneburg, 100.

    Lykoa, 900.

    Lyngvi, Island of darkness, 278, 564, 705.

    Lyrner, 445.

    Lysir, the shining one, 272.


    Macedonia, 45, 54.

    Maeringaburg, 297.

    Magne, 88, 441.

    Malmesburiensis, 130.

    Mane, 446, 580, 629, 698.

    Manegarm, 564.

    Mani, 690.

    Mani-Karl, 791.

    Manu, 387, 587.

    Mannus, 68, 155, 841, 847.

    Manufortis, 993, 1008.

    Manus, 284.

    Mardoll, 819, 830.

    Marcellinus, 84.

    Markomir, 62.

    Marpessus, 76.

    Mars, 809.

    Mary, 723.

    Mashia, Mashiena, 127.

    Master Masons, 87.

    Maurus, 111.

    Mayence, 111.

    Mead Myth, 644.

    Mead Wells, 329.

    Media, 7.

    Memnor, 68.

    Menelaus, 840.

    Menglad, 202, 229, 368, 747, 757, 770, 836.

    Menglodum, 747.

    Menja, a giantess, 262, 567, 584, 890, 951.

    Mennon, 39.

    Mercury, 70.

    Merv, 9.

    Metals, 23.

    Metz, 54.

    Middle Ages Saga, 309.

    Midgard, 127, 136, 166, 232, 255, 276, 325, 362, 377, 404, 417,
      466, 558, 573, 707, 810, 819, 851, 877, 892, 968, 1003.

    Midgard Serpent, 44, 438, 599, 704, 838.

    Midjung, 922.

    Midvitnir, 651.

    Migration Saga, 32.

    Miklagard (Constantinople), 307.

    Miklagard Pison, 307.

    Milky-way, 983.

    Mime, 359.

    Mimameidr, 833.

    Mimer, 34, 180, 197, 203, 243, 326, 362, 389, 403, 423, 448,
      505, 529, 577, 602, 628, 696, 707, 719, 751, 766, 808, 817,
      871, 896, 909, 928, 962, 990.

    Mimer's Grove, 353, 379, 439, 484, 878.

    Mimingus, 635, 783, 804.

    Mimisholt, 529.

    Mimmung, 644.

    Mistelteinn, 790.

    Mistletoe, 963.

    Mithra, 93.

    Mitothian (Loke), 277.

    Mjolner, Thor's Hammer, 172, 329, 428, 599, 803, 855, 869, 958.

    Mode, 88, 441, 920.

    Modinn, 723.

    Modir, 140.

    Modsognir, 357, 367, 642.

    Mœotian, 52.

    Mokkr-Kalfi, 859.

    Moldgelmer, 570.

    Molossus, a giant dog, 885.

    Monasteriensis, 130.

    Mongolian, 5, 11.

    Moringia, 104.

    Morkwood, 929.

    Morn, 534.

    Mount Ida, 76.

    Muller, 13.

    Mundilfore, 579, 607, 721.

    Muspel, 441, 552, 705.

    Muspelheim, 561.

    Myrkwood, 558, 631.

    Mysing, 568.

    Mythology, 729.


    Nabbi, 718.

    Na-gates, 429, 478, 531, 564, 705, 745, 760, 817, 885.

    Nagelfar, 438, 556.

    Nanna, 43, 374, 466, 469, 782, 824, 986, 999.

    Nar, 426, 430.

    Narfi, 611.

    Narfi-Mimer, 872.

    Narve, 157, 612, 640.

    Narvi, 612.

    Nastrand, a place of torture, 328, 392, 405, 423, 535, 554.

    Nat, mother of the gods (also night), 157, 367, 446, 470, 530,
      602, 640, 719, 762, 871.

    Nedan, 640.

    Nef, 678.

    Nennius, 88.

    Neptune, 38.

    Nero, 59.

    Nerthus, 156.

    Nestor, 87.

    New Testament, 723.

    Niblunc, 977.

    Nibelungs, 972, 1000.

    Nida Mountains, 423, 532, 608, 704, 725, 765, 968.

    Nidad, 631, 634.

    Nide, 392, 577.

    Nidhad, 630, 763, 874, 915, 955, 975.

    Nidhog, 392, 423, 517, 533, 555, 639, 718.

    Nidi, 640.

    Nine Giant Mothers of Heimdal, 598.

    Nifelheim, 419, 532, 564, 764, 827, 969.

    Nifelheim demon, 271.

    Nifelhel, 328, 368, 399, 419, 431, 443, 478, 512, 694, 722,
      745, 817, 887, 968.

    Niflgodr, 533.

    Niflungs, 678, 971.

    Niflung hoard, 975.

    Nimrod, 85.

    Ninevah, 85.

    Ninus, 85.

    Nitherians, 323.

    Njal, 458.

    Njord, 34, 156, 203, 236, 244, 346, 470, 611, 640, 697, 721,
      757, 777, 816, 863, 884, 930, 955.

    Njorve, 613.

    Noah, 37, 85, 570.

    Noatun, 36, 136.

    Nokkvi, 669.

    Nokver, 987, 1000.

    Normandy, 56.

    Normans, 56.

    Norns (fates), 186, 458.

    Norse, 105.

    Norse Sagas, 844.

    Norwegians, 27.

    Noth, 1000.

    Numina, 353.

    Ny, 640.


    Ochta, 1008.

    Od, 772.

    Oda, 981.

    Odainsaker, a place of joy, 300, 336, 389, 808.

    Oder-Svipdag, 791.

    Odin, 6, 33, 40, 48, 70, 81, 93, 134, 157, 177, 212, 235, 252,
      273, 296, 326, 361, 368, 376, 410, 431, 444, 469, 585, 615,
      645, 687, 732, 758, 777, 787, 821, 858, 866, 906, 934, 987.

    Odlungs, 149.

    Odoacer, 103, 296.

    Odr, 758, 773, 823, 846.

    Odrærer, 362, 624.

    Odysseus, 189, 840.

    Offote, a giant, 249, 886.

    Oinopion, 900.

    Oland, 117.

    Olaf, 407.

    Olaf Trygveson, 310, 334, 731.

    Old, 149.

    Olgefion, 863.

    Olgefu, 197.

    Ollerus, 925.

    Olympus, 73, 806.

    Onar, 615.

    Ope, 534.

    Ore, 356.

    Orentel, 834, 843, 863.

    Origo Longobardarum, 156.

    Orion, 802, 900.

    Ormuzd, 8, 878.

    Orosius, 60, 81.

    Orvalde, 890, 932, 954, 988.

    Orvandel, 151, 192, 255, 426, 767, 779, 802, 827, 843, 865,
      900, 947, 975.

    Otacher, 296.

    Othale, 534.

    Otharus, 770, 779, 805, 823, 831, 845.

    Otto of Friesinger, 300.

    Ottar, 296, 526, 773, 805.

    Oxus, 9.


    Padua, 61.

    Pannonia, 50, 82, 100, 129.

    Paradise, 307.

    Parusha, 626.

    Patavi, 64.

    Paul, 711.

    Paulus Diaconus, 288, 712, 887.

    Peleid, 189.

    Pendschab, 7.

    Penka, 19.

    Persians, 7, 84.

    Petosiris, 71.

    Phœnicians, 59.

    Phrygians, 51, 76.

    Pictet, 12.

    Pindar, 59.

    Pliny, 84.

    Plutus, 38.

    Pompey, 83.

    Pomponius, 114.

    Posche, 19.

    Priam, 44, 55, 87.

    Priamus, 38, 81.

    Procopius, 117.

    Prometheus, 189.

    Prose Edda, 32, 48.

    Proserpine, 79, 457, 787.

    Psychopomps, 477.

    Ptolemy, 114, 839.


    Queen Rusila, 996.


    Rabenbattle, 303.

    Race of Ivalde, 125.

    Ragnaricii, 115.

    Ragnarok, 44, 192, 224, 276, 340, 378, 390, 442, 466, 534, 556,
      661, 701, 707, 721, 810, 866, 877.

    Ragnvaldson, 513.

    Ran, 422, 600, 822.

    Rati, 596.

    Raumaricii, 115.

    Reidgothaland, 40.

    Regin, 871, 909, 920.

    Retzius, 29.

    Rhetia, 58, 129.

    Rhine, 51, 839.

    Rhoa, 901.

    Rhoda, 8.

    Ribhuians, 639.

    Ribhus, 360, 879, 960.

    Rig, 137.

    Rig-Heimdal, 377.

    Rigsthula, 137.

    Rig-Veda, 3, 30, 166, 360, 586, 639, 740, 802, 874, 883, 902.

    Rimbegla, 585.

    Rimfaxe, 530.

    Rimgrimner, 434.

    Rimner, 437.

    Rim-Odin, 435.

    Rind, 210, 471, 749, 789.

    Rinda, 787.

    Ringhorn, 910.

    Risting, 472.

    Ritta, 88.

    Rogner, 871, 899, 909, 920, 943.

    Rolf Krake's Saga, 183.

    Roller, 795, 838.

    Roman Mythology, 78.

    Romans, 26, 49.

    Romund Greipson, 791.

    Roricus, 788.

    Rosengarten, 288, 896.

    Roskva, 943.

    Rubhus, 363.

    Rudbeck, 87.

    Rudiger, 286.

    Rudolph, 108.

    Rugen, 104.

    Rugians, 708.

    Ruler of the Lower World, 312.

    Runes, 163.

    Ruther, 167, 283.

    Rutze, 996.

    Rymer, 438.


    Saba, 90.

    Sacredfire, 586.

    Sacred Runes, 165.

    Sæming, 40.

    Sæmund, 57.

    Saga, 987.

    Saga-Men, 1.

    Saint Olaf, 746.

    Salian, 64.

    Sallust, 58.

    Samian, 76.

    Sanscrit, 6, 738.

    Sardinia, 58.

    Sarmatian, 129.

    Saturnus, 38, 85.

    Satyrs, 810.

    Saviour, 90.

    Saxo, 44, 49, 104, 211, 261, 360, 535, 546, 553, 607, 714, 773,
      789, 801, 822, 850, 890, 952.

    Saxland, 35, 97, 134.

    Saxons, 55, 90, 98.

    Scamandrius, 58.

    Scandians, 2, 98, 131, 264.

    Scandinavians, 2, 27, 49, 102.

    Scandza, 115, 178.

    Scania, 850.

    Sceaf, 131.

    Scedeland, 131.

    Scef-Saga, 132.

    Schelling, 11.

    Schelt, 64.

    Schildbunc, 977.

    Schlegel, 7.

    Schleicher, 13.

    Schrader, 19.

    Scoringia, 102.

    Scritobinians, 102.

    Scyld, 131.

    Scythia, 58.

    Sea-kidney, 819.

    Seeland, 35, 785.

    Sela, a giantess, 860.

    Semitic, 18.

    Servius, 59, 63, 75.

    Seven Sleepers, 707.

    Shem, 86.

    Shield-Maids, 90, 283.

    Shield-Song, 161.

    Sib, 90.

    Sibil Sibylla, 39, 55.

    Sibylline Books, 74.

    Sicily, 58.

    Sicombria, 52.

    Sida, 900.

    Sigemund, 826, 828, 976.

    Siege of Asgard, 235.

    Siegfried, 976.

    Sif, 39, 89, 780, 802, 852, 887, 897.

    Sigge, 40.

    Sigmundson, 181.

    Signe, 149, 196.

    Sigrdrifva, 49, 531.

    Sigrun, 181, 520.

    Sigtuna, 36, 40, 47.

    Sigtrygg, 149, 198.

    Sigurd, 191, 218, 241, 300, 319, 531.

    Sigurd-sven, 360, 471, 735, 976, 998.

    Sindre, 172, 361, 532, 704, 717, 723, 780, 865, 876, 883, 956.

    Sinfjotle, 217.

    Singasteinn, 828.

    Sinmara, 720, 760, 962.

    Sintram, 723.

    Skade, 236, 309, 565, 691, 780, 816, 846, 896, 903, 925, 959,

    Skaden, 100, 203.

    Skagul, 468.

    Skalaglam, 917.

    Skaldaspiller, 468, 500, 561, 799.

    Skaldskaparmal, 200, 567, 616, 932.

    Skallagrimson, 436, 500, 521, 566, 674.

    Skidbladner, 36, 172, 556, 639, 870, 880, 910.

    Skida-Rima, 916.

    Skidfinna, 713.

    Skidner, 241.

    Skidnersmal, 426, 434, 447, 528, 562.

    Skilfing-Yingling, 843, 862.

    Skilfings, 154, 608, 977.

    Skirner, 436, 815, 823, 846.

    Skjold, 35, 132, 149, 604.

    Skjoldun, 88, 154.

    Skold, 88, 150, 322.

    Skoldung, 827.

    Skuld, 453, 621.

    Slagfin, 849, 870, 890, 917, 947, 971, 982, 997, 1000.

    Slavs, 10, 117.

    Sleiper, 215, 241, 300, 327.

    Sleipner, 737, 824.

    Slesvik, 109, 482.

    Slid, 535.

    Slidrugtanne, 725, 880.

    Smaland, 735.

    Snæbjorn, 568, 583.

    Sno, 104, 322.

    Snœr, 96.

    Snot (Idun), 898.

    Sokkvabekkar, 987.

    Sokmimer, 651, 664.

    Sol, 367, 446, 580, 641, 680, 697.

    Solarjod, 719.

    Solarljod, 534, 579.

    Solbjartr, 767, 816.

    Solblinde, 238.

    Solon, 78.

    Solomon, 86.

    Sonatorrek, 340.

    Sons of the world ruin, 220.

    Speechrunes, 490.

    Spiegel, 19.

    St. Quentin, 56.

    Sturlason, 47, 57.

    Sughda-Sodiana, 8.

    Sulpicius, 50.

    Sumble, 901, 952.

    Sumblus, 196.

    Sunno, 53, 64, 656, 688, 999.

    Sursons-Saga, 458.

    Surt, 220, 226, 266, 345, 442, 561, 659, 701, 809, 928, 962,

    Sutting, 224, 928, 934, 952, 979.

    Suttung, 436, 552, 646.

    Svafa, 1000.

    Svafr, 757.

    Svaldilfan, giant Horse, 215.

    Svanhild, 301, 971.

    Svarin, 98.

    Svarin's Mound, 194.

    Svartalfaheim, 827.

    Svea, 37, 134.

    Svedal, 832.

    Svefuthorn, 721.

    Svehaus, 115.

    Sven, 89.

    Svend, 832.

    Svethidi, 118.

    Svevian, 2.

    Svider, 995.

    Svidferhd, 628, 846.

    Svidur, 651.

    Svigder, 664, 928, 952.

    Sviones, 2, 265.

    Svipdag, 150, 200, 255, 283, 354, 368, 379, 640, 683, 729, 744,
      747, 760, 770, 793, 803, 815, 827, 841, 870, 883, 919, 957,
      975, 989.

    Svithiod, 35, 178, 198, 475, 656.

    Swabians, 708.

    Swabian Saga, 107.

    Swan Maids, 90.

    Swedes, 27, 178.

    Sweden, 33, 89, 134.

    Switzerland, 28.

    Sygin, 618.

    Sygritha, 770, 831, 845.

    Sygrutha, 779, 860.

    Symbols of Nature, 73.

    Syr, 776.

    Syvaldus, 773.


    Tabernaculum, 720.

    Tacitus, 21, 68, 119, 193, 283, 475, 548.

    Tadchiks, 10.

    Tanais, 58, 82.

    Tanakvisi, 33, 45.

    Tanngnjostr, 853.

    Tanngrisnir, 853.

    Tarquin, 75.

    Teutonic, 726.

    Teutonic Mythology, 31, 38, 119, 173, 345.

    Teutons, 10, 14, 26, 50, 58, 99, 188, 713.

    Tertulianus, 93.

    Thakkrod, 982.

    Thanatos, 718.

    Theodosius, 710.

    Theodoric, 25, 295.

    Thidrek, 814.

    Thingstead, 485.

    Thiudemer, 295.

    Thjalfe, 857, 943.

    Thjasse, 166, 176, 225, 236, 309, 757, 890, 897, 903, 921, 931,
      943, 952, 970.

    Thjaza, 956.

    Thjelvar, 859.

    Thor, 36, 45, 88, 151, 198, 240, 256, 276, 298, 316, 415, 425,
      437, 470, 580, 599, 748, 784, 793, 809, 838, 852, 866, 889,
      909, 920, 933, 943, 960, 996.

    Thora, 784, 803.

    Thorbjorn, 243.

    Thord Sjarekson, 237.

    Thorer wood-beard, 513.

    Thorgerd, 913.

    Thorkil, 278, 312, 335, 515, 537, 552, 714, 727.

    Thorolf, 464.

    Thorri, 166.

    Thorsdraper, 270, 425, 447, 857, 915, 929, 947, 960.

    Thracia, 39, 65.

    Thraim, 791.

    Thrand, 309.

    Thride, 42.

    Thridi, 95.

    Thrudgelmer, 433, 570, 626.

    Thrudheim, 39, 866.

    Thruma, 753.

    Thrundvang, 36.

    Thrymheim, 237, 904.

    Thrymskvida, 822, 891.

    Thule, 117.

    Thund, 692.

    Thuringian, 108.

    Thurs, 752.

    Tiberius, 99.

    Tiburtinian, 76.

    Timavus, 61.

    Tistrya, 970.

    Tivi, 159.

    Toko, 848.

    Tope, 534.

    Tours, 50.

    Troy, 6, 39, 58, 397, 445.

    Troy-Asgard, 32.

    Trojans, 61, 76, 134.

    Trol (thrall), 140.

    Troy-Saga, 50.

    Trykland, 655.

    Tuisco, 155.

    Tvashtar, 878.

    Tyr, 74, 459, 809, 854, 897.

    Tyrfing, 363.

    Tysk, 3.

    Tyskland, 3, 35, 45.


    Udr Unnr, 157.

    Ugarthilocus, 278, 552.

    Uggarus, 274.

    Uggeson, 592, 823.

    Ulf, 823.

    Ulfdale, 558.

    Ulfilas, 723.

    Ulixes (Ulysses), 43, 51.

    Ull, 203, 236, 607, 846, 869, 925, 954.

    Ullr, 801, 865, 887.

    Ulysses, 730, 839.

    Undensaker, 317.

    Upregin, 446.

    Upsala, 36, 49, 561.

    Urd, a giantess, 136, 326, 397, 423, 448, 484, 523, 613, 660,
      759, 611.

    Urdr, 457.

    Ure, 356.

    Urner, 176, 890.

    Utgard-Loke, a giant, 224, 477, 662, 857.


    Vade, 927, 989.

    Vadgelmer, 431.

    Vaferflames, 753, 909, 959.

    Vafthrudner, 434.

    Vafthrudnersmal, 127, 325, 342, 353, 410, 417, 447, 569.

    Vagasker, 823.

    Vagn, 265.

    Vagnholde, 256.

    Vagoth, 114.

    Vajush, 382, 389.

    Valas, 228.

    Valdere, 173.

    Vale, 441, 620.

    Valentinianus, 53, 82.

    Valfather, 162, 441, 524, 720, 875.

    Valhal, 95, 207, 327, 414, 462, 512, 623, 692, 824, 876.

    Valkyries, 199, 457.

    Valthari, 993, 999.

    Vana-Child, 143.

    Vana-God, 135, 213, 254, 436, 602, 702, 757.

    Vanaheim, 607.

    Vandals, 100, 708.

    Vanlande, 477.

    Vamod, 114.

    Vans, 34, 49, 95, 157, 208, 275, 326, 441, 486, 603, 696, 720,
      801, 819, 869, 891.

    Var, 356, 367.

    Vardir, 754.

    Varg, 946, 962.

    Varinians, 117.

    Varro, 75.

    Vate, 899, 954, 989.

    Vaya-Vata, 383.

    Ve, 34, 83.

    Veda, 970.

    Vegdrasil, 356.

    Veggdegg, 40, 88.

    Vegtamskvida, 328, 368, 410, 447.

    Vei, 603, 739.

    Veig, 231.

    Velint, 360, 644.

    Velleka, 370, 907.

    Venetia, 58.

    Venus, 79.

    Vestfold, 741.

    Vidar, 44, 193, 441, 933.

    Vidblainn, 706.

    Vidfin, 676, 986.

    Vidforle, 517.

    Vidga, 869, 980.

    Vidofner, 449, 706, 758.

    Vidolf, 927, 954.

    Vidolt, Vitolphus, 170, 223.

    Vifill, 177.

    Vifir, 177.

    Vigfusson, 94, 156, 264, 459, 499.

    Vigrid, 441, 561.

    Vildebur, 980.

    Vile, 34, 83.

    Vili, 603, 739.

    Vilkinasaga, 223, 289, 300, 359, 644, 814, 839, 850, 863, 927,

    Villifer, 863.

    Vimur, 424, 933.

    Vindelicia, 58.

    Vingthor, 88.

    Vinnilians, 100.

    Virchow, 28.

    Virgil, 51, 75, 92.

    Visburr, 144.

    Visigoths, 25.

    Vitrgils, 88.

    Volsung, 826.

    Volund, 289, 359, 630, 707, 763, 790, 804, 814, 849, 864, 874,
      897, 909, 920, 947, 962, 978, 994.

    Volund's Sword, 815.

    Volunga Saga, 218.

    Voluspa, 128, 166, 208, 243, 326, 356, 431, 440, 499, 524, 538,
      555, 603, 707, 732, 758, 776, 875, 891.

    Vorva, 499.

    Vulcan, 300.

    Vyrd, 455.


    Wace, 56.

    Walther, 993, 999.

    Watlings, 899, 989.

    Wayland, 289, 359.

    Weapons, 24.

    Weber, 17.

    Welcker, 27.

    Wessex, 133.

    Westmonast, 133.

    Westphalia, 40, 89.

    Whitney, 17.

    Widukind, 54, 107.

    Wieland, 812, 839, 863, 991.

    Wild Boar, 899.

    Willehad, a saint, 321.

    William Tell, 850, 994.

    Wodan, 389.

    Wolfdales, 631, 765, 849, 874, 885, 898, 957, 978.

    Wolfdieterich, 292.

    Wonder-smith, 812.

    World-mill, 568, 586, 750.

    World-tree, 708, 766.

    World-war, 252.

    Wurth, 455.


    Ybor, 861.

    Ydaler, 865.

    Ygdrasil, tree of life, 326, 366, 395, 421, 433, 451, 534, 556,
      645, 704, 722, 817.

    Yggr, 274.

    Yingling-Saga, 231, 340, 475.

    Ylfings, 154.

    Ymer, 424, 433, 534, 569, 602, 733, 754, 812, 939, 946.

    Ynglingatal, 454, 740, 995.

    Ynglings, 37, 133.

    Yngve, 40, 135, 195, 255, 277, 304, 468.

    Younger Edda, 37, 82, 133, 242, 595.

    Yse, 838.


    Zarathustra, 84, 382.

    Zend, 6, 878.

    Zend Avesta, 383.

    Zeus, 73, 159.

    Zodiac, 87.

    Zoroaster, 3, 37, 84.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 2 (of 3) - Gods and Goddesses of the Northland" ***

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