from http://www.rhi.hi.is/~eybjorn/mjo.html Actually there are three versions of the Rydberg Edda: 1. The earliest one seems to be SEJRSSVĆRDET (SWORD OF VICTORY), published in Danish in 1885. This is a prototype, containing some interesting variants. 2. FÄDERNAS GUDASAGA (MYTHIC SAGA OF THE ANCESTORS), published in Swedish in 1887. This is Rydberg's Edda proper, including a complete, annotated index of proper names. 3. The synopsis (roughly translated here) contained in Vol. 2 of UNDERSÖKNINGAR I GERMANISK MYTOLOGI (REASEARCHES IN TEUTONIC MYTHOLOGY), published in Swedish in 1889. Although only a very concise synopsis, it is basically identical to the 1887 version. The most interesting variants have to do with the timing of the three deaths of Gullveig. STRUCTURE: I (1-8) CREATION OF THE WORLD II (9-14) PRIMAL AGE OF PEACE III (15-23) THE SWITCH FROM PEACE TO WAR IV a (24-62) AGE OF WAR - before Fimbul-winter b (63-84) AGE OF WAR - Fimbul-winter c (85-95) AGE OF WAR - Fimbul-winter finishes d (96-106) AGE OF WAR - Svipdagur and the Sword of Revenge e 107-148) AGE OF WAR - War between Ćsir and Vanir V (149) HISTORICAL TIME VI (150-152) RAGNARÖK VII (153-154) RENEWAL OF THE WORLD ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Please note: As the plot thickens, and the various sub-epics are born, a lot of the different story-lines are taking place at the same time. Where I think it is necessary I've included some pointers to help the reader. So if you see "(go to 68)", this means that the current story is taken up again in section 68. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I. CREATION OF THE WORLD 1) GINNUNGAGAP (Void). THE THREE WELLS. YGGDRASILL (World Tree). There was a beginning to the world. Three forces were at work in the primeval emptiness of Ginnungagap: the forces of Cold, Heat, and Creative Power, which sprang up from three Wells, the sources of which are unknown and hidden. After creation has taken place these Wells have their place in the World, their names being: Hvergelmir, Urđarbrunnur, Mímisbrunnur. To the north of Ginnungagap space was enveloped in an icy mist, which rose from Hvergelmir, but to the south warmth welled up from Urđarbrunnur. The elements were formed by the clashing of Cold and Heat in Ginnungagap. In the very middle of Ginnungagap was situated the Well of Creative Power, and in the unknown depths underneath it was the seed of Yggdrasill. 2) PRIMAL BEINGS The first living creature which quickened in the Primal Void was the cow Auđhumla. She licked out of the primal rime-rocks the ancestor of the Gods, Búri, and by the four rivers of milk, which streamed forth from her udder she nourished the primeval Giant Ýmir, who was formed out of the elements. From Ýmir's limbs came the clan of the Giants: from his left armpit came that clan of Giants which is friendly to the Gods, among them Mímir, his sister Beisla, and the Norns. Ýmir's two feet begat on each other the monstrous clan of misshapen Hrímţursar (Frost-Giants). 3) THE UNDERWORLD. BORR'S SONS. The Underworld, or Jörmungrund, was the first created world. Mímir, who is the original smith, there guards the Well of Creative Power, but the Well of Heat is guarded by the Norns, Urđur and her sisters. Borr, the son of Búri, took as wife Beisla, Mímir's sister. Their sons, Óđinn, Hćnir and Lóđurr are the ancestors of all the Gods. 4) CREATION OF THE EARTH Yggdrasill grew to a great height, and was taken care of and watered by Mímir and the Norns of Fate. Miđgarđur (Middle-Earth) rests in the branches of Yggdrasill. There lived through long ages Ýmir and the vile offspring of his feet, the Frost-Giants. 5) ÓĐINN'S SELF-SACRIFICE Óđinn, while still young and inexperienced, was determined to rule the earth, but realized that he would need help in order to get rid of the ghastly brood. He climbed Yggdrasill, dwelt there for nine nights without food and water, wounded with a spear, sacrificing himself to himself, praying for the power he needed. Mímir gave him a drink from the Well of Creation, and taught him runic poems and lays of might (fimbulţulur). 6) THE FROST-GIANTS DEFEATED Óđinn and his brothers slaughtered Ýmir. The Frost-Giants drowned in his blood, and their souls migrated down into the northernmost part of the Underworld, the dark and foggy Niflhel. A few of the youngest Frost-Giants barely escaped, and crawled onto the beach of the northernmost part of the Earth, which is called Jötunheimur (Giants' World). 7) THE WORLD MILL Mímir's craftsmen built a huge mill on top of Hvergelmir in the Under- world. The mill regulates the flowing of waters, revolves the dome of heaven, and grinds the flesh of Ýmir and his kinsmen into fertile soil. 8) CREATION CONTINUES The soil of Ýmir's flesh covers Middle-Earth, which Borr's sons raised out of the ocean of Ýmir's blood. The smiths, who built the mill, were created by Mímir and Durinn (Mímir's first son, the eldest of Dwarves) in accordance with the Gods' decree. Furthermore they created the heavens out of Ýmir's skull, mountains from his bones, etc. Also they crafted all of nature's adornments. Mímir's daughter, Night, and all her kinsmen were made Gods. The roads traveled by Day and Night, Sun and Moon were laid down. The Ćsir and the Vanir defined their separate roles. The Vanir preside over the regulation of the fixed processes of the world; the Ćsir watch and guard all of creation. The marvellous Ásgarđur was built for the Gods in the very top of the World-Tree. A bridge called Bifröst connects Ásgarđur to the Underworld. II. PRIMAL AGE OF PEACE 9) CONFEDERATION OF PEACE All creatures formed a covenant of peace, and exchanged hostages. The Vanir gave Njörđur and his children, Freyr and Freyja, as hostages to the Ćsir. óđinn married Frigg, Njörđur's sister. Óđinn and Mímir exchanged pledges. Giant youngsters Gullveig and Loki were admitted to Ásgarđur. Gullveig became favoured by the Goddesses; Óđinn and Loki entered into sworn brotherhood. Óđinn sent his son Týr to be fostered by the giant Hymir, and his son Ţórr he sent to the giant Vingnir and his wife Hlóra. 10) TREASURES OF THE GODS In Mímir's smithy, where his sons worked side by side with Ívaldi's sons, many precious treasures were crafted for the Gods. Mímir's sons made Brísingamen for Freyja, and a magical chess-board for all the Gods. Ívaldi's sons forged the spear Gungnir for Óđinn, the ship Skíđblađnir for Frey, and for Njörđur they crafted an axe which can break any lock and open any door. Most importantly Ívaldi's sons made for all the Ćsir the elixir vitae, which is preserved in Ásgarđur by their sister Iđunn. Njörđur sent his son Freyr to be fostered by the sons of Ívaldi. 11) CREATION OF MAN Now the world was finally created and regulated, but still there were no human beings to grace the beautiful Miđgarđur. Óđinn, Hćnir and Lóđurr created the first human beings from two trees that grew on the seashore in Aurvanga-land, Askur and Embla (Ash and Ivy). 12) HEIMDALLUR, THE ORIGINATOR OF CULTURE The descendants of Askur and Embla led a dreary, culture-less life. But one day a boat drifted towards their shores, and in the boat a little boy slept, lying on a sheaf of corn, surrounded by all manner of treasures and tools. The boy was none other than Heimdallur, sent by the Gods. The humans accepted him gladly, and raised him. He taught them to kindle the holy fire, instructed them in runic wisdom, taught them workmanship and handicraft, organized their society, and originated and stabilized the three classes of men. 13) HEIMDALLUR, FIRST ANCESTOR Heimdallur lived long as a man among men, and the age of his rulership was a golden age of peace and prosperity. When he died, his boat returned to take him back. The sorrowing humans laid his corpse in the boat, and surrounded it with his treasures and weapons. The boat then sailed back to Vanaheimur, where Heimdallur was stripped of his aged human shape, regained his eternal youth and was taken into Ásgarđur. 14) SKJÖLDUR/BORGARR, SECOND ANCESTOR He became ruler of Aurvanga-land after Heimdallur. In the golden age of Middle-Earth men multiplied and migrated as far as Svarinshaugur (Svarin's Mound) in Svíţjóđ (Sweden). In the northern settlements Ívaldi (Svigđir) became a ruler of men. (go to 68) III. SWITCH FROM PEACE TO WAR 15) MAGIC RUNES AND THE FIRST BURNING OF GULLVEIG The clan of the Frost-Giants, Ýmir's foot-brood living in Niflhel and Jötunheimur, passionately hated mankind, which the Gods created and protected. They also hated the holy rune-poems, which Óđinn learned from Mímir, and all the benevolent knowledge that Heimdallur brought mankind. The purpose of the Giants is to bring the world to ruin, and recreate the chaotic anti-existence of Ginnungagap, out of which they were born. Gullveig and Loki were their secret agents in Ásgarđur. Gullveig devised a perversion of the lore of Heimdallur, the evil sorcery (seiđur) and powerful black magic runes. In Ásgarđur she was one of Freyja's handmaidens, and she actually tried to convert the Goddess of Love over to her unique type of evil sorcery. Fortunately the gods found out, and judged Gullveig to be burned to death. When the holy white fire of the Gods touched Gullveig, it became contaminated by her vileness, choked by smoke, so that it was not powerful enough to burn her heart. 16) BIRTH OF MIĐGARĐSORMUR (The Serpent of Middle-Earth) Loki found and swallowed the half-burnt heart of Gullveig, became pregnant and bore Miđgarđsormur, whom he threw into the ocean. Miđgarđsormur grows in direct proportion to the evil in the world. 17) ŢÓRR'S FIRST GIANT-SLAYING Vingnir and Hlóra planned to betray Óđinn's trust and kill Ţórr, being awed by his overwhelming size and power, which grew every day. But Ţórr realized their intentions, and killed the pair, while still a lad. He returned to Ásgarđur and took with him the magical stone- hammer, which belonged to Vingnir. At that time the clan of giants living in Jötunheimur was quite numerous, and they were divided into many powerful families (ćttir). (Of interest: Please note that this is the very first breaking of the covenant on behalf of the Gods. But see above - Gullveig's crime and execution. Ideally, it can be argued forever who is the REAL covenant-breaker, since Vingir's and Hlóra's sin is only an intent to kill, but Ţórr actually kills. This kind of ethical conundrum is inherent throughout the rest of the Rydberg Edda. Re: Gullveig's sin - it seems obvious that Freyja was credulous enough to at least test Gullveig's methods, thus sexual magic. So Gullveig's crime is theoretical, whereas Freyja makes it practical. Interesting?) 18) STRONGHOLD OF THE GODS AT ÉLIVOGAR (Please note Élivogar is usually spoken of as a river, but it is really a narrow stretch of ocean separating Miđgarđur proper from Jötunheimur in the north. This arrangement exactly parallels the Underworld geography: Niflhel is separated from Hel proper by mountains (and perhaps a narrow stretch of underworld ocean as well). There are passages connecting Jötunheimur to Niflhel. Jötunheimur contains the Giants that survived the blood-flood, Niflhel the souls of the Giants that drowned. Thus: Jötunheimar (plural), meaning Jötunheimur (above) and Niflhel (below).) Since oaths had been broken, a Giant hostage burnt to death in Ásgarđur, and the inviolability of foster-parents forfeited by Ţórr, the original covenant of peace was no longer valid. Now the Gods feared an invasion of Giants into Miđgarđur. Therefore they built a citadel south of Élivogar, strategically placed to keep an eye on the Giants. This citadel (probably "Ýsetur") belonged to Ţórr, but he handed it over to the King of the Elves, Ívaldi, who ruled it with the assistance of Egill his son, and a multitude of Elven soldiers. Ívaldi, a ruler of Sweden and Finland, was the best of all spear-heroes. Egill was the foremost of archers and skiers. Egill's brother, Völundur, was a master of smiths and craftsmen, who studied under Mímir himself, and was thought to be an equal to Mímir's sons, if not better. Ívaldi, his sons and kinsmen swore oaths of allegiance to the Gods. 19. THE SECOND BURNING OF GULLVEIG Gullveig was reborn in Jötunheimur, and made her way towards Miđgarđur, where she travelled in her new incarnation under the name of Heiđur. She taught her evil runes to men, trying to wean them away from Heimdallur's sacred runology, and did whatever she could to spoil mankind with her evil tricks. But as before, she was caught in the act, and the gods deemed that she should burn at the stake. And so she did, but again Loki ate her heart and spawned the Fenrisúlfur (Fenris-Wolf), a monster which Loki actually convinced the gods to raise as a pet in Ásgarđur. (In FG Gullveig's second burning is placed differently. But chronology is the least of our worries. For the chron(olog)ically interested, let me state that according to FG section 46 should be replaced by this (19).) 20) GIANTS WORRY ABOUT ŢÓRR'S STRENGTH The Giants with Loki devised a scheme in order to find out how strong Ţórr really was, how dangerous an opponent he might prove to be. Loki tricked Ţórr into visiting the Giant Fjalarr, and even accompanied him. On their way and in Fjalarr's hall they were tricked and deluded by Fjalarr, who was strong in magic. The competitions Ţórr participated in all ended with his defeat, but these were just magical delusions devised by Fjalarr. Actually Ţórr had shown an awesome power, much feared by the Giants. 21) ŢJÁLFI AND SVIPDAGUR Egill and his wife Gróa adopted an orphan boy named Ţjálfi, who grew up in Egill's citadel, proving himself as a clever and hardy warrior. Later Gróa bore Egill a child, a radiantly handsome boy, whose name is Svipdagur (Óđur). (See also 75) 22) ŢÓRR AND HYMIR. The Giant Hymir owned the bull Himinhrjótur. He also had a huge brewing-kettle, which was necessary to the Gods, because of the mead that Ćgir, the Ocean-Giant, made for them. Ţórr went to Hymir, accompanied by Týrr, who was Hymir's foster-son. Ţórr left his goats with Egill in Ýsetur, and crossed Élivogar into Jötunheimur. Hymir invited Ţórr to go fish with him, since both had experience fishing for whales. Ţórr tore the head off Himinhrjótur for bait. Miđgarđs- ormur (The World Serpent) took the bait. Hymir had to cut the fishing-line, in order to save the two of them from the serpent's jaws, but the huge serpent insisted until Ţórr wielded his hammer, leaving a huge dent in Miđgarđsormur's head. Hymir was impressed. Returning to Hymir's abode, Ţórr's might was still to be tested, but he just stole Hymir's kettle and escaped with Týrr. Hymir's kinsmen followed, but the Ćsir slaughtered them. Thus Hymir's kettle entered Ásgarđur. 23) LOKI AND ŢJÁLFI. While Ţórr was at Hymir's, Loki came to Egill's citadel and tricked Ţjálfi into breaking a leg of one of Ţórr's goats, last night's dinner. However Ţórr forgave Ţjálfi, and made him a foster-son. IV a. AGE OF WAR - BEFORE FIMBUL-WINTER 24) ŢÓRR GOES TO GEIRRÖĐARGARĐAR Inescapably, Gods and Giants were now at war. Egill could only just manage to defend the Élivogar straits. The daughters of Geirröđur devised a scheme with Loki in order to undermine the strength of Egill's and Ţjálfi's defenses, and the vigilance of their Elven warriors. Loki tricked Ţórr into a campaign against the giant Geirröđur. Ţórr, Egill, Ţjálfi and their legions entered Jötun- heimur. They were ambushed, and Egill and his champions were almost drowned at the Élivogar ford. After a battle with the Giants inside the stony halls of Geirröđur, Ţórr and the Elves slaughtered Geir- röđur and all his clan. 25) THE THEFT OF ŢÓRR'S VINGNIS-HAMMER While travelling with Loki, Ţórr's hammer was stolen. The Giant Ţrymur buried it deep in the ground, and refused to part with it unless in exchange for the goddess Freyja. Ţórr went to Ţrymheimur disguised as Freyja, wearing bridal finery, carrying Brísingamen around his neck, accompanied by Loki disguised as a bridal maid. At the climax of the wedding, the hammer was ceremoniously carried into the hall in order to sanctify the wedding, and placed in the "bride's" lap. Ţórr then grabbed his hammer, and thereupon killed Ţrymur and all his kinsmen. 26) THE CITY WALLS OF ÁSGARĐUR The age of peace was now at an end, so the Gods had to build battle- ments around Ásgarđur, to guard them from the sworn enemies of the regulated universe. The only builder available wanted Sun, Moon and Freyja as payment. However, he was prevented by Loki to finish the job on time, and thus forfeited his payment. Being a Giant he did not like this, so he went into a giant-tantrum, and had to be killed by Ţórr. Loki had metamorphed into a mare in order to seduce the Giant's horse, and soon after gave birth to the eight-footed steed of Óđinn. 27) LOKI CUTS SIF'S HAIR Later Völundur Ívaldi's son made her a golden wig, which caught root and grew as normal hair. 28) LOKI CONTRIVES COMPETITION OF MÍMIR'S AND ÍVALDI'S SONS (!!! This is a crux. We've had dissonances before, but this is the one that makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE! What happens here is going to resonate throughout the rest of the myth.) Loki devised a plot, which seemed to benefit the Gods, but was intended to create enmity between the Gods and the smiths of all nature, as well as causing a rift between the two groups of smiths. (i.e. Dwarves/Mímir's sons versus Elves/Ívaldi's sons.) Loki bet his head to Brokkur Mímir's son, that Sindri, the most artistic of all Mímir's sons, would not be able to craft treasures to beat the treasures of Ívaldi's sons: i.e. Sif's golden hair, the spear Gungnir, the ship Skíđblađnir. Brokkur, who liked the idea of beheading Loki, accepted the bet. His brother Sindri created the boar Slíđrugtanni for Freyr and Freyja, the ring Draupnir for Óđinn, and a new hammer for Ţórr, a hammer which would be impossible to steal, because it would always return to it's owner. The only possible judges in this competition would be the Gods themselves, after having tried out the various treasures, and passed judgement onto them. (go to 37) 29) GIANT HRUNGNIR IN ÁSGARĐUR Óđinn rode his hose Sleipnir into Jötunheimur in order to meet the Giant Hrungnir, who claimed his horse Gullfaxi to be the best of all horses. Hrungnir fought verbally with Óđinn unto Ásgarđur. In Ásgarđur Hrungnir was politely offered a drink, but soon he became abusive and started threatening his hosts. When Ţórr entered the hall, he regretted his brawl and started claiming the immunity resulting from Óđinn's invitation. Since he carried no weapon, he offered to fight Ţórr in a duel at Grjóttúnagarđar. Ţórr accepted. 30) THE TRIAL OF MJÖLNIR Ţórr went to fight Hrungnir. He had expected Egill to accompany him, but when he reached Élivogar, he found out that Egill had just entered Jötunheimur to fight an army of Giants. Therefore he took the young Ţjálfi along, in order to participate in a fight of epic proportions. During the fight Ţórr fell to the ground, but threw his hammer, which crushed Hrungnir's skull into tiny pieces, whereupon the hammer boomeranged back to Ţórr. Ţjálfi proved his worth by slaying Hrungnir's golem-like servant Mökkurkálfi. 31) ŢÓRR SAVES EGILL'S LIFE On their way back Ţórr and his companions were met by a violent snowstorm and a freezing cold. Ţórr saved Egill from a certain death and carried him over the Élivogar straits from Jötunheimur to the citadel of the Elves. 32) EGILL'S STAR (ÖRVANDILL'S TOE) During the trip Ţórr did not notice that one of Egill's toes was exposed. It froze, so Ţórr broke it off and cast it up into the heavens, where it still stands as the star called Örvandil's Toe. 33) GRÓA'S MAGIC CHANT When Ţórr brought Egill back, his wife Gróa was there waiting. She sang a magic runesong to cure her husband, but such was her happiness at seeing her husband alive that she faltered and was not able to retrieve her husband's lost appendage. However she was quite happy to see her husband's toe transported to the heavens. 34) THE MEAD AND THE MOON In Ívaldi's kingdom a well was discovered, and named Byrgir, probably directly connected with Mímisbrunnur, conferrring on it's imbibers a gift of poetic power and ecstacy. Ívaldi tried to keep this secret, and sent two of his children in the dark of night to empty out the well and bring back the mead. (Note: The two children, Hjúki and Bil, are perhaps better known as Jack and Jill.) Nepur the Moon-God spied the youngsters on their way back home with a pail full of mead, and abducted them and the mead. From this mead he allowed the Gods to drink as much as they wanted. 35) ÍVALDI TURNS AGAINST THE GODS In his fury Ívaldi ambushed Nepur as he travelled through the Under- world, overcame him and took back the mead, which he considered to be his by right. In order not to lose the mead again he gave it to the Giant Fjalarr for safekeeping in the deepest underground chamber of his rocky palace. He entered into an sworn friendship with Fjalarr, which involved Ívaldi's marriage to Gunnlöđ, Fjalarr's daughter. 36) ÓĐINN VISITS FJALARR. THE SLAYING OF ÍVALDI. On the day before the wedding Óđinn visited Fjalarr's palace, and had taken upon himself the likeness of Ívaldi. He went to bed with the bride, and in the night he exposed his true identity to her, and with her help stole the mead, which he carried to Ásgarđur in the shape of an eagle. Meanwhile Ívaldi was slain in an ambush arranged by Fjalarr's door- keeper. 37) THE GODS JUDGE IN THE BET OF LOKI AND BROKKUR. After witnessing the slaying of Hrungnir, the gods judged that the iron-hammer Mjölnir was the best of all treasures, Sindri a better smith than Völundur, and thus Brokkur had won the bet. Furthermore they supported Loki's claim that Brokkur could only have his head, and might not harm his neck. Thereby the Gods had offended both the sons of Ívaldi and the sons of Mímir. Brokkur sewed Loki's lips together with his brother's awl. 38) VÖLUNDUR AND LOKI. Óđinn, Hćnir and Loki travelled in the wilderness. Völundur, having taken the shape of an eagle, carried Loki away, and forced him to agree to help smuggle Iđunn out of Ásgarđur with the Gods' elixir of eternal life. Völundur was resolved on revenge for his father's death and his own honour, and decided to ruin the Gods and all of their creation. 39) IĐUNN ABDUCTED. Loki enticed Iđunn out of Ásgarđur with the elixir of life. She was now prisoner of the Gods' enemies. (go to 44, go to 67) 40) FREYJA DISAPPEARS FROM ÁSGARĐUR. Loki, at Völundur's behest, devised a plot with the help of his devious sister Gullveig, and together they managed to abduct Freyja. Völundur gave Freyja to the clan of the Giant Beli. 41) FREYR GIVEN OVER TO THE GIANTS. Völundur and Egill also handed Freyr, their fosterson, over to the same Giant-clan. 42) NJÖRĐUR SEEKS RECONCILIATION. Njörđur hastened off, taking Höđur and Baldur with him, seeking out Ívaldi's sons. Reaching Élivogar he found that Völundur and his brothers had left the citadel of the Elves, leaving the place unguarded. Njörđur and his companions finally found the brothers in the northernmost wilderness of the world. An attempt at reconciliation totally failed, and resulted in an archers' duel between Höđur and Egill. Egill proved himself to be superior, but Höđur was not hurt. 43) ÍVALDI'S SONS AS OUTLAWS Völundur, Egill and Slagfinnur, the third son of Ívaldi, chose to become outlaws, and travelled all the way to the northernmost edge of the world, to Úlfdalir (Wolf-dales), where Gods never go. (go to 63) 44) DÍSIR (Minor Goddesses) OF VEGETATION of the clan of Ívaldi left the Gods, and flew as swans to their kins- men in the Úlfdalir. (go to 67) 45) MÍMIR'S SONS RESIGN as the master-smiths of the Gods. Even so they still supported the order of the universe, which was now endangered by the hostility of Ívaldi's sons. 46) THE THIRD BURNING OF GULLVEIG. It was discovered that one of Freyja's handmaidens was guilty of having betrayed Freyja into the hands of Giants, and that she was yet a new incarnation of the monstrous Gullveig. Ţórr in his rage attacked her with his hammer and felled her; thereupon she was burnt one more time. Those of her bodily remains not destructible by the holy fire were removed to the Underworld and buried in holy ground in order to render them scatheless. However Loki still managed to eat her heart. (see 19, perhaps better placed here, in which case 46 should accompany 62, see) 47) BROTHER BETRAYS BROTHER Höđur was hunting in Járnviđur (Iron-Wood) and stayed overnight in a cave, where a witch welcomed him, and bewitched him with a magical potion, so that he was tricked into swearing an oath to gain the love of Nanna, Baldur's betrothed. The magical potion filled Höđur's heart with a burning love for his brother's fiancée. When he woke up the next morning he was filled with shame, but nevertheless he was bound by his oath to betray his brother. 48) HÖĐUR JOINS THE GIANTS. After Egill left the Elves' citadel at Élivogar, many Giants crossed the border. Höđur joined these, and organized them to do battle with the Gods, but was defeated. Baldur brought his repenting brother back to Ásgarđur. 49) BALDUR'S DESPAIR. Baldur was now beset by evil dreams and frantic despair. Various prophecies seemed to foretell his death. Ásgarđur was depleted and Miđgarđur declining. Three major powers were lost to the Giants: Freyrr, the God of Vegetation; Freyja, the Goddess of Fertility; Iđunn, the Goddess of Eternal Youth. One clan of nature-smiths had stopped serving the Gods; the other clan were now enemies. The Dísir of Vegetation had joined the enemies of Ásgarđur. But while Baldur, the God of Peace, still lived, at least there was still hope that the forces of eternal winter could still be held back. 50) ALL LIVING CREATURES swore never to harm Baldur. Not even the Giants wanted him dead. But there were exceptions: Gullveig, Loki and Völundur the Avenger, who now had taken the name of Ţjazi, and deformed into a ghastliest of Giants. 51) THE MISTLETOE In the Iron-Wood there grew a sapling, which had been overlooked when all the creatures swore their oath not to harm Baldur. Loki discovered this, found the sapling, and took it directly to the Wolf-Dales, where Völundur (Ţjazi) wrought from it a deadly arrow, which would never swerve from its mark. 52) BALDUR'S DEATH After oaths of allegiance to Baldur had been sworn, the Gods made a sport of shooting at Baldur, and hewing at him with all manner of weapons, knowing he could not be harmed. Höđur joined in the sport with his bow. Loki surreptiously put the deadly mistletoe-arrow into his quiver, knowing that Höđur was the only one of the Ćsir, who could possibly be suspected of wishing to harm Baldur. Höđur shot Baldur with the mistletoe, which looked exactly the same as his usual arrows, and Baldur fell dead. 53) THE DUTY OF BLOOD-REVENGE is inescapable, even to the Gods, but no one could be found within Ásgarđur, who would slay Höđur, and thus deprive Óđinn of another of his sons. Thus the Gods were in danger of being unable to fulfil their duty of revenge. 54) ÓĐINN'S EXCURSION TO THE UNDERWORLD Óđinn saddled Sleipnir and entered the Underworld from the north, passing through Niflhel towards the kingdoms of Mímir and Urđur. In Niflhel he sought out Hrossţjófur, Gullveig's brother, who made a prophesy that he would beget upon Rindur in the West Halls a son, who would be his brother's bane. A hellish giant dog, foaming with blood, followed Óđinn all the way to the borders of Mímir's realm. Óđinn sought out Mímir and asked the Ruler of the subterranean Paradise to answer his burning question: Did Baldur's death mean the end of all creation? 55) ÓĐINN'S EYE IN MÍMIR'S WELL. In exchange for an answer to this riddle, Óđinn had to sacrifice of himself. The answer was hidden at the bottom of the Well of Wisdom. Then Óđinn tore out one of his eyes, and threw it into the well, whereupon his eye saw the future of the world. Even so Óđinn chose to have Urđur confirm the vision he had seen. 56) ÓĐINN AT GULLVEIG'S MOUND. Óđinn rode on, and soon he passed the place where Gullveig's bodily remains had been buried. Nearby a palace stood, tall and magnificent, which had been built by Mímir's sons. Óđinn looked in, and saw "benches covered with costly rings, and beautiful beds embroidered with gold". But the mound of Gullveig was covered with snow, even though winter never comes to Mímir's realm. Óđinn raised the witch back from the dead, but all she did was to repeat her brother's prophesy. 57) THE ÁSMEGIR AND THE BREIĐABLIK OF THE UNDERWORLD. The palace Óđinn saw has a most important role. Mímir had already seen the future, and read the signs, which proved that a terrible fate was in store for the world. He did not want the clan of Men descended from Askur and Embla to become irretrievably spoilt from distress and sin, so he sought out two children, pure and unspoilt, in order to preserve them. In Miđgarđur he found Líf and Leifţrasir, and ordered his sons to build for them a magnificent palace in the land of morning-light to the east of Jörmungrund, a palace surrounded by the greenest of woods. The palace was also built for Baldur, whose fate Mímir had foreseen. Dellingur, the Elf of morning, is the gate- keeper of Breiđablik. The gate was built by Sindri (Dvalinn) and his smiths, and through it no sorrow or sin will ever pass, nor old age, nor illness. The two human children are nourished by the succulent dew which drips off the branches of Yggdrasill. So now they awaited the coming of Baldur, and the drink which gives new life to the dead, awaited him in the hall. 58) URĐUR FORETELLS RAGNARÖK. Still Óđinn rode on, until he arrived at the Norns' Well. He asked Urđur to solve the riddle burdening his mind. Urđur answered him, that she knew that his eye lay deep in Mímir's Well of Wisdom, so he already knew the answer to all his questions. But óđinn laid all manner of treasures at her feet and begged for an answer. Then she chanted the fearsome, but somehow comforting lay, which tells of Ragnarök and the renewal of the world. 59) THE PYRE OF BALDUR was made on his ship, Hringhorni. Óđinn carried his son in his own arms onto the pyre. When Nanna, Baldur's wife, witnessed this, her heart burst with sorrow, so that she was able to join her beloved husband on the funeral pyre. Óđinn laid the ring Draupnir on Baldur's chest and whispered in his son's ear. What he whispered will never be known. The pyre was lit, and the burning ship sailed out onto the ocean of the heavens. 60) ÓĐINN USES MAGIC RUNES. The law demanded revenge for Baldur, and Óđinn already knew that the avenger would be born of Rindur, the daughter of Billingur the Elf of evening. Rindur rejected Óđinn's advances, so he was forced to use magic runes in order to ravish her. 61) BALDUR'S AVENGER. Rindur bore Váli to Óđinn. Váli forced his way out of his mother's womb before his time, and slew Höđur while one day old, still irresponsible and unknowing of the grave necessity of the dire deed which was the only reason for his birth. 62) CREATION OF DISEASES. Loki, pregnant with Gullveig's heart, bore into the world the Queen of Disease, named Leikin. She would soon become very busy, with the advent of the horrifying Fimbul-Winter, which directly followed Baldur's death. (Please note that this Leikin is identical with Snorri's Hel, the Queen of Hell. The real Hel is of course Urđur, the Queen of the southern part of the Underworld.) (see 46; should perhaps be moved to 110?) IV b. AGE OF WAR - THE FIMBUL-WINTER 63) ÍVALDi'S SONS IN THE WOLF-DALES At the northernmost edge of the world, not far from one of the tunnels which lead down into the Underworld, Ívaldi's sons built their abode. Egill and Slagfinnur skied and hunted; Völundur sat alone in his great smithy, and cultivated his craft; but whenever he grew tired of his anvil, he would wield his magic wands & chant sorcerous magic-songs. 64) VÖLUNDUR'S GREAT SORCERY filled the atmosphere with misty sleet and hoarfrost, thich clouds of rime which tumbled southward, causing snowstorms and hailshowers over Middle-Earth. Every day, for many years, Völundur sent forth icy winds against helpless Mankind. The air was poisoned with baleful sorcery. Óđinn looked out from Hliđskjálf, and became aware of the source of the evil power in the wastes beyond Jötunheimur. He sent his wise ravens off to find out the truth, but their wings grew feeble and the blood threatened to freeze in their veins. They were forced to return and Óđinn was none the wiser. 65) VÖLUNDUR'S GREATEST TREASURE Völundur made a great sword in the Wolf-Dales, a Sword of Revenge, the greatest of all weapons, into which he poured all of his craft and knowledge. He hardened its steel in the deadly cold eddies of Niflhel's rivers, and carved it with runes of certain victory. 66) DECLINE OF THE WORLD. The harvests of Miđgarđur became poorer with every year that passed. Vegetation failed, and famine followed. On the chilly winds were carried evil spirits of hunger and disease, which felled both man and beast. The Gods appeared to be helpless; prayer and sacrifice were of no avail. Two huge Giant maidens, Fenja and Menja, took hold of the turning-shaft of the world mill, and revolved it at such a terrible speed that Earth shuddered in its depths. Huge rocks were torn from the mill-stone and thrown up out of the ocean, mountains spewed fire, the mill went askew, and the heavens oblique, as may still be seen. (This may refer to the obliquity of the Ecliptic, and the apparently "askew" revolution of the Heavenly dome.) 67) SWAN-MAIDENS IN THE WOLF-DALES Ívaldi's sons had not dwelt long the the Wolf-Dales, when they were visited by three maidens in the shapes of swans, who had decided to share their fate. Two were daughters of Ívaldi, their half-sisters: Iđunn, betrothed to Völundur, and Auđa who loved Slagfinnur. The third was Sif, their kinswoman, who brought Egill a message from Gróa, that she was unable to join him. (But properly Sif is also a daughter of Ívaldi's, and the brothers' half-sister.) 68) MIGRATION FROM THE NORTH Hosts of Giants flocked over the Élivogar into the North of Miđgarđur. The smiths of nature, who formerly had blessed the land with beauty and fertile growth, now left it, and went all the way from Svarin's Mound to Aurvangaland in the south. Sindri (Dvalinn) was their leader. Numerous Teutonic clans lived in Svíţjóđ, and were forced by the atmospheric changes to move south. The Northern Swedes suffered first, and thereupon all the other clans. Thus one clan pushed the next one towards the south, fleeing the icy winter-winds of the far north. Behind them the lands became covered with wastes of snow and terrible glaciers. Delivery from cold and famine could be glimpsed toward the south. 69) SKJÖLDUR FOUNDS THE TEUTONIC EMPIRE SOUTH OF THE SEA The multitudes flocking towards Aurvangaland grew alarmingly. The now aged Skjöldur/Borgarr decided to migrate still further south, over the sea to the mainland of Europe. There, aided by his son Hálfdan (Mannus), he founded an extensive kingdom, reaching far south along the banks of the Rhine towards the tallest mountains on Middle-Earth. The Northern Swedes conquered Aurvangaland, and stayed there. 70) HÁLFDAN/GRAMUR, ANCESTOR THE THIRD, FIRST OF KINGS. When Skjöldur/Borgarr, the ancestor of men throughout the gold and bronze ages, finally passed away, his son Hálfdan became king over all the nations of the new Germania. He was first of the Teutonic leaders to receive the title of king. His father's title had been that of "judge". 71) OF THE BIRTH OF HÁLFDAN. He was born at night during a thunderstorm, while "the sacred waters flowed down from Heaven's mountains". Ţórr was imminent in the night sky at the child's birth, so in a sense he is Hálfdan's "father". Urđur and her sisters were also present: they fastened a thread of fate under the heavens and fixed it strongly to the east and west, but to the north they could only fasten one strand, and prayed for it to hold forever. Two ravens, who witnessed the birth, remarked that this marked the beginning of good times for ravens and wolves. The boy's parents, to whom Heimdallur had taught the language of birds, heard this prophesy, and were saddened. 72) HÁLFDAN AND HAMALL. Skjöldur/Borgarr sent Hálfdan to be fostered by his friend Hagall. This Hagall had a son named Hamall, clan-father of the Amelungs. Hálfdan and Hamall were the handsomest of all men's sons, and looked alike enough to be brothers. They became sworn friends. 73) HÁLFDAN'S ATTRIBUTES. Hálfdan was not only blessed with physical beauty, but great physical and mental powers as well. He was the greatest of Teutonic bards, and composed lays, which have passed from generation to generation for many ages. He was popular and generous, thirsty for adventure and battle. 74) HÁLFDAN AND GRÓA. Once Hálfdan and Hamall accompanied Ţórr to the north of Sweden, in order to fight the Giants, who now lived there. While riding through a forest, they spied Gróa and her handmaidens, who were on their way to bathe in a lake in the woods. Hálfdan forced Gróa to accompany him and made her his wife. Gróa's father was slain in battle with Hálfdan. (This actually takes place before 44 & 67, being the reason why Gróa can't join Egill in the Wolf-Dales.) 75) GRÓA'S SONS: SVIPDAGUR OG GUTTORMUR. Gróa bore Egil's son in Hálfan's palace, and named him Svipdagur (Óđur, see 21). Later she bore Guttormur, Hálfdan's son. 76) GRÓA'S DEPARTURE AND DEATH. Gróa could neither bear to be mother to the son of her father's slayer, nor to see Egill's son be raised in Hálfdan's palace. She knew that he would sooner or later have to avenge himself upon his foster-father. Finally Hálfdan sent Gróa and Svipdagur away. They returned to the north of Sweden, where Gróa awaited Egill's return. She wasted away from longing and sorrow, and finally died. On her death-bed she asked of her son that if ever in sore need, he must visit his mother's howe and call upon her advice. 77) THE SWAN MAIDENS AND VÖLUNDUR'S BROTHERS LEAVE THE WOLF-DALES At the beginning of their eighth year in the Wolf-Dales, the Swan Maidens grew sorrowful with longing for their home, reassumed their Swan-shapes and flew away. Egill and Slagfinnur left Völundur in order to seek them. 78) ULLUR. Egill was accompanied by the boy Ullur, his son by Sif, who had been born in the Wolf-Dales, and learnt there from his father all manner of skills. 79) VÖLUNDUR BOUND AND DEPRIVED OF HIS SWORD. Mímir, the guardian of the World Tree, had until now kept away from the Gods' striving to save the world order from the powers of destruction. When Völundur had finished his sword, Mímir saw that the Gods might never succeed. He then left the Underworld, accompanied by his wife, who is the mother of the Dísir of Night, and the Njárar, who are his kinsmen. He went all the way up to the Wolf-Dales, where he came upon Völundur sleeping, and bound him fast with his magical bonds. He confiscated the sword of revenge, brought Völundur down into the Underworld, and imprisoned him in a strong dungeon on an island in the middle of a lake. Mímir's queen ordered Völundur's knee-tendons to be cut, expecting terrible misfortune if ever Völundur escaped. 80) THE HIDING OF THE SWORD OF REVENGE Mímir gave the sword into his queen's keeping. She hid it away inside the trunk of the World Tree itself, where it lay magically locked within the nine locks of its growth rings. 81) VÖLUNDUR AND BÖĐVILDUR. Völundur murdered two young sons of Mímir, who, heedless of their father's command, had rowed out to Völundur's island in order to view his treasures. From their skulls and eye-balls he crafted precious treasures, which he gave to their parents and their sister Böđvildur. Böđvildur secretly went to the island, where Völundur gave here a magic potion, and lay with her. 82) VÖLUNDUR ENSURES BLOOD-REVENGE AND FLEES. Völundur had secretly crafted for himself the shape of an eagle, in which he now flew to Mímir's palace. He promised to tell Mímir what had become of his sons, if Mímir would promise him never to harm his child's mother, whoever she was. Mímir accepted this, whereupon Völundur reavealed his horrible misdeed, and flew away. Böđvildur bore his son, who was named Viđga. 83) VIĐGA, THE SON OF VÖLUNDUR. Thus it came about that a sworn enemy of the Gods and their creation was raised in the palace of Mímir and his queen, protected by the very clan which guards over and takes care of the World Tree, a clan connected to the Gods by ancient oaths of friendship. Viđga was heir to the sword of vengeance, and bound by blood to avenge his father, should he lose his battle with the Gods. But only by reclaiming the sword would he be able to do this. 84) VÖLUNDUR AND IĐUNN IN ŢRYMHEIMUR. Völundur found Iđunn his betrothed again, and together they barricaded themselves inside a mountain in Ţrymheimur. Disabled in body, bereft of his sword, unfit to do battle with the Gods, Völundur could still go on laying Miđgarđur waste with his sorcery and magic songs. Further- more, as the Gods' elixir of eternal life was still in Iđunn's keeping the Gods were bound to fail sooner or later. Time alone would show how: either by the ravages of old age, or the sword of revenge in the hands of Völundur's son. IV c. AGE OF WAR - THE END OF FIMBUL-WINTER 85) IĐUNN RETURNS TO ÁSGARĐUR In order to please the Gods and avenge himself upon Völundur, Loki offered to recall Iđunn to Ásgarđur, since he had found the place where Völundur hid away. He borrowed Freyja's falcon-shape, and flew towards Ţrymheimur, where he managed to sneak into the mountain while Völundur was out hunting. He turned Iđunn into an apple, and flew away with her in his claws. 86) THE DEATH OF VÖLUNDUR When Völundur returned and realized what had happened, he immediately dressed in his eagle-shape and gave chase to Loki, all the way to Ásgarđur, where the Gods were ready to receive these two birds. As soon as the falcon had entered Ásgarđur, they set fire to the magical river which surrounds Ásgarđur. Völundur, wounded with spears and arrows, flew into the fire, and crashed to the ground with burning wings, whereupon Ţórr slew him with his hammer. 87) SVIPDAGUR SAVES FREYJA Now Egill was back with Sif, together with his sons Svipdagur and Ullur. One day Sif remarked to her stepson, who was both handsome and able, that he had now reached manhood and must do a heroic deed of some kind. Most of all she wanted him to save Freyja from the Giants. Svipdagur was not exactly willing to do this, but Sif, who was prescient and inspired by Urđur, made it a sacred duty of his. Svipdagur, suspecting his stepmother of malice, arose in the middle of the night, went to his mother Gróa's burial mound, begged her to wake up, reminded her of the promise she had given him, and told her of the duty Sif had demanded of him. Gróa encouraged him, and sang magic songs to help him on his quest. Ullur, who loved his brother dearly, sought permission from his mother to accompany him. Egill supplied them with strong weapons and hardy steeds. As they were Völundur's nephews, they were thought to be giantfriends, and were welcomed wherever they went in Jötunheimur. After a long and arduous journey, they came to the land of Beli. There they found both Freyr and Freyja, who at Völundur's bidding were treated as royalty among the Giants. Even so they were bound by magical spells, as if entranced. So distracted was Freyja that she hardly noticed that one of the Giants, name of Greppur, meant her to be his wife. The brothers managed to speak to Freyr, who was so ashamed of his life among the Giants and his helplessness against the powers of destruction, that he wouldn't return to Ásgarđur, but begged them to save his sister and take her away from the Giants. This they managed to do, but on their way back Svipdagur fell in love with the Goddess, who was still in a coma with her eyes closed. One night she disappeared. The brothers searched long and far for her, and finally found her, where she had become the shepherdess of an anchorite ogress. Svipdagur befriended the ogress, and asked to marry her shepherdess. While the ogress went to fetch her kinsmen to the wedding, the brothers escaped with Freyja. They made it all the way to Egill's abode. Sif was overjoyed by the brothers' success, but Svipdagur was distressed by Freyja's indifference. Sif then made preparations for the wedding of Svipdagur to a maiden of some beauty, whereupon Freyja could no longer hide her willingness to marry him, and became his lawful wife. Freyja must be returned intact to Ásgarđur. Such was Sif's will and Svipdagur's design, even if the Gods were his kinsmen's enemies. He therefore placed a naked sword between himself and the bride on the wedding night. On the next day Sif led Freyja into Ásgarđur, whereupon Freyja again sank into a dreamy trance. 88) FREYR RETURNS Now the Gods learned where Freyr was to be found, and Njörđur took his ship Skíđblađnir to the fog-shrouded skerries, where Beli lived with his clan. Beli was slain by Njörđur in battle, and thus Freyr was freed. 89) HÁLFDAN BATTLES THE WINTER ARMIES OF THE NORTH Hálfdan amassed a great army south of the Eystrasalt in order to reclaim the sacred land of the fathers, Scandia, from the forces of winter. The ships set sail, and the army went forth onto the shores of Aurvangaland. The Swedes, who had taken over the land, refused to budge, and called upon the northern giants to assist them. Hálfdan was assisted both by Gods and the sons of Mímir, so now Men, Gods, Nature-Smiths and Giants fought a bloody battle. The enemy retreated, and Hálfdan's army made its way towards the north. The defeated Swedes were surprised to see that in the wake of the army there came spring, accompanied by growing flowers and flocks of birds. In the air above Hálfdan's ranks there rode Valkyries armed with golden spears. From their horses' manes there dripped fertile dew-drops upon thawing fields. Sindri (Dvalinn) Mímir's son, who earlier had led the first migration from the north, now led his people back, and joined in the battle under Hálfdan's banners. 90) ÍSAVÍG (ICE-BATTLE). MÓINSHEIĐAR (MÓIN'S MOORS). The most renowned battle fought in this war has been called the Ice-Battle (Ísavíg). Freyr, Dellingur, Dagur, Sindri and his brother Bjárr took part in this battle, and so did the mighty Vífill. Another famous battle took place at Móinsheiđar (Móin's Moors). 91) HILDIGEIR FALLS IN BATTLE Hildigeir, Hálfdan's half-brother, was slain as he fought in the Swedes' army. Drótt had born him in Sweden, while married to the clan-father of the Hildings, before she became Skjöldur's wife. Hálfdan was born in Denmark, and knew not his brother. Hildigeir was slain by Hálfdan's sword, after having spared his life. As he lay dying he revealed himself to his brother. 92) BATTLE ON THE WESTERN AND EASTERN SEAS Great battles were also fought on the Western and Eastern Seas against the powers of winter. Brokkur and Bjárr, Sindri's brothers, slew a horrible sea-monster of giant birth. Ţórr and Ţjálfi wrested the Danish and Swedish isles from the rule of Giants. On Hlésey (Lässö) Ţjálfi almost lost his life when attacked by a savage ogress, but Ţórr saved him. 93) THE SCANDIAN ISLES RESETTLED Among those who rebuilt the isles were Ţjálfi, Vífill and Véseti. Ţjálfi settled on Gotland, which heretofore had sunk into the ocean at sundown and re-emerged at sunrise. Ţjálfi encircled the island with sacred fire, and thus stabilized it. Vífill settled on Áland, Véseti on Bornholm. 94) FINAL BATTLE AT SVARIN'S MOUND. EGILL SLAIN. SVIPDAGUR PRISONER. Finally Hálfdan made his way north to Svarin's Mound where the migration had started at the beginning of the Fimbul-Winter. There the final battle was fought. Egill and Svipdagur joined the army of the North-Swedes. On the night before the final battle, under the cloak of night, Egill secretly sought out Egill's tents, surprised him and slew him with his club. On the battle-field Svipdagur was taken prisoner. 95) HÁLFDAN, HIGH KING OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES Now even the Swedes bowed to Hálfdan's rule, and resettled the lands where they had dwelt before Fimbul-Winter laid it waste. The defeat of the powers of winter was now complete and final, or so it seemed. But the story was not over yet. IV d. AGE OF WAR - SVIPDAGUR AND THE SWORD OF REVENGE 96) HÁLFDAN AND SVIPDAGUR Hálfdan offered to make peace with his stepson and promised to make him a powerful king over men. Svipdagur was furious, and refused to accept bribery from a man who had raped his mother, slain his maternal grandfather and murdered his father. If Hálfdan wouldn't kill him now, he swore to kill Hálfdan later. Hálfdan tied his stepson to a tree in the middle of a wild forest, and left his fate to a higher power. 97) SVIPDAGUR AND MÁNI (THE MOON GOD) Svipdagur freed himself from the bonds with the help of the magic spells, which Gróa had taught him. Overcome by despair he roamed the woods in the moonlight. Máni spoke to him, and told him not to despair: In the Underworld "Sinmara" kept his uncle's magical sword hidden inside the World Tree itself. If he could fetch it, victory would be his. This Sinmara was burdened with sorrow, and if Svipdagur could lighten her burden, she would give him the sword. In order to free her from sorrow, he would have to bring her a sickle, which could cut a certain one of the threads of Urđur's fate. Máni also told Svipdagur where he would find the entrance to the tunnel leading down into the Underworld, and how to get there. When Máni had spoken, a silver sickle fell to the earth at Svipdagur's feet. He seized the sickle, and began his journey. 98) SVIPDAGUR OBTAINS THE SWORD After a dangerous journey north over snowy mountains and barren wastes, Svipdagur found the entrance to the Underworld. After fighting the Njárr who guarded the gate, he entered the dark tunnel, and finally emerged in Niflhel. He boldly made his way through the terrors of Niflhel, climbed the Mountains of Hvergelmir, saw the World Mill turning, and finally came down on the other side into Mímir's Kingdom, where he made his way towards the palace of Night and her dark Dísir. He was welcomed there by the sorrowful Queen of Mímir and her daughter Böđvildur, and there he saw the boy Viđga, the son of his uncle Völundur. He offered to give the Queen Máni's silver sickle, which would enable her to cut the thread of blood vengeance fixed by Urđur in the name of Viđga. Svipdagur took upon himself the duty of avenging Völundur, whereby the Sword of Revenge would be rightfully his. Mímir's Queen fetched the sword from its hiding place, and happily exchanged it for the moon-sickle. Before Svipdagur returned to the upper worlds, he was allowed to look upon various wondrous places and things in the Underworld, among them the magically locked Breiđablik, where the Ásmegir (Líf and Leifţrasir) await by Baldur's side. 99) SVIPDAGUR LEADER OF GIANTS Svipdagur now summoned to him the hosts of Jötunheimur, and made it known that he was now the wielder of Völundur's sword. He then led towards the south a huge army of Giants, which Gymir had collected. Soon it became known in Ásgarđur what had become of the sword. Óđinn himself went forth, accompanied by his sons and the Vanagods Heimdallur, Njörđur and Freyr, in order to assist Hálfdan to defend Miđgarđur. 100) SVIPDAGUR VICTORIOUS A deadly battle took place, but even though the Gods were victorious over the Giants, Svipdagur was the real conqueror. His marvellous sword, bright as the sun, slew just as many men as Ţórr's hammer did Giants. Svipdagur fought a duel with Hálfdan. Hálfdan's mighty club shattered into tiny pieces, as if struck by lightning, and his byrnie split apart so that he received a deep wound. Ţórr then threw his mighty hammer against Egill's son. The hammer did no harm to Svipdagur and returned to Ţórr as powder. Ţórr himself was forced to retreat. He carried the wounded Hálfdan onto a cliff-top, wherefrom he threw huge boulders over Svipdagur's army. Svipdagur did not wish to wield his weapon against Njörđur and Freyr, so he retired from the battle. 101) HÁLFDAN DIES. HIS SONS Hálfdan's wound was fatal. He left two sons: Svipdagur's half-brother Guttormur son of Gróa, and an infant boy, son of Alveig, whose name was Haddingur. 102) ÓTTI Í ÁSGARĐI It could now be said that the fate of Ásgarđur hung balanced on the point of Svipdagur's sword. However this formidable enemy of the Gods had saved Freyja from a terrible fate, and delivered her intact into Ásgarđur. She loved him, and longed for his return. Had he forgotten all about her? 103) SVIPDAGUR IN ÁSGARĐUR On a spring morning a young man with a gleaming sword walked alone up to the gates of Ásgarđur, and beheld in wonder the golden citadel on green plains within. On a flowery knoll Freyja was sitting, deep in her secret dreams, surrounded by Eir and other Dísir. When the young man had exchanged words with the gate-keeper for a while, he revealed his name, and the magnificent gates instantly opened. The fierce wolf-hounds, who are trained to let no one pass, came running and licked his hands. The gate-keeper informed Freyja, that she had a visitor, who was none other than Svipdagur Egill's son. Then the Vanadís awoke from her slumbers and leapt to her feet. She recognized her loved one instantly and greeted him with a kiss. 104) RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE GODS AND ÍVALDI'S KIN Now Svipdagur and Freyja had a lawful wedding in Ásgarđur. Iđunn daughter of Ívaldi married the Bard-God Bragi. Ţór married Sif. Njörđur took as wife Skađi daughter of Völundur. She arrived in full armour at the gates, where she was welcomed. She was made a Goddess in compensation for her father, and through the marriage she became one of the Vanir. Völundur's eyes were cast upon the heavens, and turned into stars. Thus he gained honour in the end, like his brother Egill long ago. 105) FREYR RECEIVES THE SWORD OF REVENGE As bridal fee Svipdagur gave Völundur's sword to Freyja's clan, and it was decided that Freyr should be its keeper. The nature of the sword was that it granted unconditional victory to Völundur himself or his kinsmen, but eternal ruin to anybody else. With the sacred bonds of marriage Ívaldi's clan was now interwoven with the Gods' clans forever, and the sword therefore Ásgarđur's mightiest weapon. 106) SVIPDAGUR ATTEMPTS TO RESURRECT BALDUR The end of Fimbul-Winter, the defeat of the Giants and reconciliation with Ívaldi's clan filled Frigg with hope that fate might be reversed and Baldur resurrected from Hel. Svipdagur took it upon himself to carry her wish to the Norns, and her greetings to Baldur and Nanna. He rode on Sleipnir into the Underworld, and when he returned, he brought back greetings and gifts. Baldur returned the ring Draupnir to his father; Nanna sent Frigg fine clothes, and Fulla a golden ring. The Norns of fate had told Svipdagur, that Baldur might indeed return with Nanna on one condition: that no creature could be found that hadn't wept or wouldn't weep over Baldur's death. But soon it became apparent that such a creature existed: an ogress named Ţökk, who chanted from her mountain-cave: "Ţökk shall weep dry tears over Baldur's funeral pyre". It is more than likely that Ţökk was either of the two, Gullveig or Loki. IV e. AGE OF WAR - THE ĆSIR-VANIR WAR. FIRST WAR OF MEN. 107) FREYR PROPOSES TO GERĐUR One day Freyr was sitting in Hliđskjálf, and saw the giant-maiden Gerđur daughter of Gymir. She seemed to him the most beautiful of all maidens, and he was filled with longing and sorrow, but dared not tell the other gods, who worried about him. Of all the Giants Gymir was now the most terrible, and a sworn enemy of Ásgarđur, and therefore a bond of matrimony between the Gods and Gymir would be a shameful thing indeed, and most dangerous for all of creation. Nevertheless Freyr's passion became so overwhelming that he felt that he would die unless Gerđur become his. He opened his heart to Svipdagur, and it came to pass that Svipdagur went to Gerđur in order to propose marriage on Freyr's behalf. He took with him the ring Draupnir and eleven golden apples, but she would only accept the proposal on three conditions: that her father Gymir receive Völundur's sword; that Svipdagur and Freyja fetch her and accompany her into Ásgarđur; and that she become one of the Goddesses in Ásgarđur. 108) THE SWORD OF REVENGE IN GYMIR'S POWER The Gods accepted unwillingly, and thus forfeited the certain victory, which the sword had ensured. The sword was a great gain for the giants, even if they would never be able to use it without destroying themselves. Gymir gave the sword into the keeping of his kinsman Eggţér, who buried it deep below the earth in the Iron-Wood (Járnviđur). 109) BATTLE IN THE HALL OF GYMIR Svipdagur went to Gymir's hall along with Freyja. They planned to betray the Giants. Ţórr and Ullur rode secretly to the north, and hid themselves near to Gymir's mountainous abode. Gymir told Svipdagur that he planned to keep Freyja, and proposed that he himself marry Gerđur. Thus he would regain the sword of revenge, be able to fulfil the blood vengeance which he had sworn, overthrow the God-powers and himself become Lord of the Universe. Svipdagur pretended to accept this, and now a double wedding was prepared. Just in time Ţórr and Ullur burst into the rocky hall. Svipdagur grabbed his weapons, and Freyja fought valiantly by her husband's side. Gymir and all his clan were slaughtered after a violent battle, and the Gods brought Gerđur into Ásgarđur. 110) GULLVEIG EXECUTED ONCE MORE At this time a giant maiden named Aurbođa was one of Freyja's hand- maidens. As soon as Gerđur had entered Ásgarđur, it seemed obvious that Aurbođa was her mother, and furthermore it was revealed that she was none other than the thrice-executed, thrice-burnt and thrice- resurrected Gullveig. When this became known, all the Gods were assembled in Valhöll, and Aurbođa was present. Ţórr in his fury killed the giantess with his hammer, and the Ćsir pierced her with their spears and suspended her body in the fire. (go back to 15, 19, 46, 62; go forwards to 148) 111) THE VANIR DEMAND COMPENSATION To the Vanir, just as to the Ćsir, Gullveig was an abomination who did not deserve to live, and they even suspected that her sorcery was responsible for Freyr's irresistible love for Gerđur. Nevertheless she was now Freyr's mother-in-law, and connected to the Vanir through sacred marriage-bonds. Therefore it was their duty to demand compensation in return for her execution. 112) FEUD BETWEEN ĆSIR AND VANIR Óđinn refused the Vanir's demand, stating that Gullveig had long ago forfeited her right to live and been sentenced to death, and that the Gods must carry out this sentence, whenever she was reborn. He claimed that the Gods could not be made to make compensation for the monstrous witch, who had brought the evil "seiđur" into the world. One of the Vanir then pointed out, that Óđinn himself had once availed himself of the evil runes of Gullveig. 113) ÓĐINN BREAKS UP THE ASSEMBLY Furious at being reminded of this regrettable instance, Óđinn threw his spear over the assembled Vanir, signifying that this quarrel would not be settled with words or discussion, but with weapons. Thus he sundered the ties, which in yore had united the Ćsir and the Vanir. The Vanir therefore left Ásgarđur. 114) VANIR DEMAND THE DETHRONEMENT OF ÓĐINN The Vanir came to the conclusion, since Óđinn and Gullveig both were guilty of the same crime, that Óđinn ought to step down from his throne, which he had thus defiled. 115) MÍMIR'S DEATH Mímir tried to make peace between Ćsir and Vanir, but was slain, and it is thought that this was Loki's work. His head was sent to Óđinn, since Mímir had acted in his name. Whoever it was, that committed this dreadful deed, made it appear that the Vanir had slaughtered Mímir. 116) THE HEAD OF MÍMIR In Óđinn's possession the head of Mímir turned into a head of gold, that could speak and answer his questions, and give him good and honest advice. Ever since Óđinn possessed Mímir's head, all his deeds have been wise and true. 117) THE SEVEN SLEEPERS Mímir's seven eldest sons, the great primal smiths, retired after their father's death, tired of the world's toil, determined that now nothing could purify the world except the coming Ragnarök. They therefore went to sleep, and their sleep will last throughout ages. Night cloaks their hall with twilight and deep silence. The din of the World Mill and the eddies of Hvergelmir does not disturb their slumber. In their palace there are innumerable halls filled with weapons and magnificent treasures of their making. In one of the halls their sleeping horses await, fully attired for war. Mortal men, whose destiny it is to enter their palace, must not disturb the seven sleepers, lest they be punished with a fatal disease which consumes them. 118) THE SPLITTING OF THE GODS With Óđinn there stayed in Ásgarđur the Gods Ţórr, Týr, Bragi, Víđarr, Váli and Forseti, but Skađi alone of the Goddesses. Frigg returned to the clan of the Vanir, and also Freyja, Freyr, Svipdagur and Ullur, along with all other Vanir and Álfar, except Hćnir alone, who thus lost all his propertis in Vanaheimur, which were taken over by Lóđurr. 119) ÁSGARĐUR IN THE POWER OF THE VANIR After a long siege, the Vanir conquered Ásgarđur with their strategy. Njörđur's axe burst open the locks of the city gates, and the armies of the Vanir filled the sacred plains. The Ćsir obeyed the head of Mímir and left Ásgarđur, in order that none of the Gods be slain and thus the order of the universe endangered. 120) ULLUR LORD OF ÁSGARĐUR The Vanir and the Álfar decided that one of them must overtake Óđinn's name and functions, in order to accept the prayers and sacrifices of men, who worship him. This would have to be a God, who still had no defined function in the order of things, and Ullur was chosen. This change of authority in Ásgarđur did not involve any revolutionary changes in the nature of religious worship, although it led to certain new and stricter rules of sacrifice. (??? This constitutional change is interesting. It is tempting to relate to it the otherwise inexplicable change in the runic alphabet, from 24 runes to 16 runes (3*8 to 2*8). 121) MANHEIMUR. Manheimur is the name of the land where the Ćsir settled during their absence from Ásgarđur. They were not idle, but went on protecting the world and their special protégés. 122) ĆSIR SUPPORT THE SONS OF HÁLFDAN Now that the Vanir ruled Ásgarđur, the Gods feared that Svipdagur might take advantage of the situation, in order to avenge himself upon the sons of Hálfdan, his slain enemy. Ţórr therefore found foster-fathers for the two brothers in Sweden the Great: Guttormur went to Hafli the Great, Haddingur to the mighty Vagnhöfđi. Nevertheless Guttormur had no reason to fear Svipdagur. They were both Gróa's sons, and when he learned that Svipdagur offered him a great kingdom on the banks of the Rhine in the west of Germania, he accepted his brother's offer and became king over the West-Teutons, who from his name (Gođ-Hormur) received the appellation of Hermiones. 123) JÖRMUNREKUR (EORMENRIC) was the name that Guttormur received as High King of the West Teutons. 124) SIFKA was the name of a man, who one day appeared in the halls of Jörmunrekur. He claimed to be Lord of the Baningjar. He became Jörmunrekur's trusted counsellor. He was none other than Loki in disguise. 125) THE YOUTHFUL DEEDS OF HADDINGUR Svipdagur reluctantly decided to treat Haddingur in the same manner, and offered him a great kingdom, which had been his father's, but the boy refused to accept favours from his father's bane. Sifka/Loki sought Haddingur in order to kill him, so that the boy was no longer safe with his foster-father Vagnhöfđi. One evening there appeared a one-eyed rider on an eight-footed horse, who expressed polite thanks to Vagnhöfđi, placed the boy in his saddle, and rode with him through the air all the way to Manheimur. There the boy received instruction in runic wisdom and weaponry. Óđinn chanted to him songs of protection, and gave him a magic drink, Leifnislogar, which enabled him to break any bond or fetter with his breath. A Norn showed him the way down into the Under- world, where he was privileged to look upon the wonderful world of the blessed, and all its magical treasures. 126) MĆRINGABORG (MAERING CITY) When Haddingur grew up, he was sent to a city in Miđgarđur, which name is Mćringaborg. On the way he was ambushed by the Baningjar, led by Loki, and imprisoned; but with his breath he freed himself in the night and escaped. Reaching Mćringaborg he found many of his father's friends, who had assembled there away from Svipdagur's wrath. Among them were Hamall and Hildibrandur (see 72). They planned a revolution among the East Teutonic peoples under the leadership of Haddingur. 127) VIĐGA SON OF VÖLUNDUR In the midst of the preparations, a youthful hero rode into Mćringaborg. On his shield was painted a heraldic design, showing a smith's tongues and hammer. This was Viđga, the son of Völundur and Böđvildur. Being Svipdagur's cousin, it was his duty (he said) to fight Hálfdan's clan. He challenged Haddingur to single combat, was victorious, but did not slay his enemy but held out his hand in friendship. Thereafter he lingered long in the city, where he gained love and respect. 128) HADDINGUR LEADER OF THE EAST TEUTONS The East Teutons were now ready to revolt. Haddingur went among them and was hailed as High King. Reluctantly he bid farewell to his great friend, Viđga, who dutifully left to take his place by the side of Gróa's sons, Svipdagur and Guttormur/Jörmunrekur. 129) ŢJÓĐREKUR (THEODORIC, DIETRICH) is the name of Haddingur, after becoming King of the East Teutons. 130) FIRST BATTLE OF MEN Svipdagur came down from Ásgarđur to Germania, and called upon the Swedes and the Danes to do battle with Ţjóđrekur/Haddingur. Enormous warships were built in order to transport the Scandian warriors to the mainland, where they were united with Jörmunrekur/Gottormur's armies. Valkyries rode in the skies, some from Vanaheimur, others from Ásgarđur, still others from Manheimur. Jörmunrekur's army was strengthened by his foster-father Hafli, who arrived with the giant- maidens Fenja and Menja; Ţjóđrekur's army by Vagnhöfđi and his daughter Harđgreip. Svipdagur's bards made it known to his and Jörmunrekur's soldiers, that those who would fall in battle would be guaranteed a place in Freyja's hall, Sessrúmnir. Ţjóđrekur promised his soldiers a place in Óđinn's palace. The ensuing battle was long and cruel, and every night the exhausted warriors could see an amazing spectacle in the night sky: a super- natural battle of Vanir fighting Ćsir. During the daytime, as men fought men, the supernatural beings were at work as well: whenever dark clouds and hailstorms threatened to overwhelm Haddingur's army, the warriors would see óđinn and Ţórr, carrying golden spear and thunderous hammer, coming forth to fight the foul weather. But soon the ultimate battle took place, and great heroic deeds were done on both sides; but Sifka/Loki, who had stayed well away from the main battle, managed to employ the Western armies in such a manner that Haddingur's armies were scattered. Haddingur/Ţjóđrekur was totally defeated. He had to flee to Manheimur along with Hamall and Hildi- brandur. 131) PEACE came to Miđgarđur for many years. Svipdagur's viceroys and earls ruled Germania for generations. Freyja bore to Svipdagur two lovely daughters, and a son, named Ásmundur, who became ruler of the Northern Kingdom. 132) THE EVIL DEEDS OF SIFKA/LOKI Sifka still dwelt at the court of Jörmunrekur/Guttormur. With lies and treachery he created conflicts among the Teutonic lords. Guttormur wished to marry Svanhildur, the daughter of a king of the North. He sent his son Randver, accompanied by Sifka, to propose the marriage to her. She willingly accepted, and accompanied them to Guttorm's court. Sifka convinced Guttormur that Svanhildur had been untrue to him with his son. Guttormur was furious, let his own son be hanged, and Svanhildur be trampled to death by wild horses. Sifka also tricked Guttormor into executing two of his kinsmen (the Harlungs). Svanhildur's two brothers, Sörli and Hamđir, swore to avenge their sister's death. They were both slain during their attempt to kill Guttormur, but manage to wound him horrible, so that he suffered unto his death. 133) HÚNASTRÍĐ (WAR OF THE HUNS) The discord between the Ćsir and the Vanir resulted in an attack of the Giants upon Miđgarđur. The Giants slily offered the outlawed Ćsir to join in the attack, but Óđinn, caring more about the welfare of mankind than that of the Ćsir, warned the Vanir of the Giant's attack and even offered to assist them. The whole of creation was in danger, and all assistance was needed. The giant armies which now overflowed Miđgarđur, even unto Bifröst, seemed totally invincible. The Ćsir, the Vanir, the Elves and Men united against the Giants, and ensured victory. The number of Giants which fell in this battle was so huge that the Élivogar straits became filled with their bodies. Ever since that time the Giants are so drastically decimated, that they are no longer a threat to men, at least not until Ragnarök is at hand. 134) RECONCILIATION BETWEEN ĆSIR AND VANIR Thankful for Óđinn's high-mindedness, the Vanir recalled him to Ásgarđur, and gave him back his throne. The peace was sealed with a triple agreement: the Vanir would hereafter disregard any of Óđinn's acts not to their liking; if Gullveig were to be born again, she would not be executed, but outlawed to the Ironwood; the slain in battle would be divided between the Ćsir and the Vanir evermore. 135) THE SECOND BATTLE OF MEN In East Germania a new generation of warriors had now taken over, and raised anew the banners of Ţjóđrekur/Haddingur. Accompanied by Hamall and Hildibrandur, Haddingur again went forth as leader of the armies of the East. The Gods attempted to make peace, but Loki now held in thrall both Guttormur/Jörmunrekur and Svipdagur himself. The Gods held assembly and judged that Svipdagur must keep the peace and hand over to Haddingur his father's inheritance, but Loki's wiles had totally blinded Svipđdagur, so that neither the Gods' judgement nor Freyja's tears could sway his stubbornness. He commanded his son Ásmundur to gather the Swedes, the Danes and Guttormur's armies. Again there was war between the Teutonic nations. 136) SVIPDAGUR DISAPPEARS The gods sent Svipdagur a final warning, and urged him to obey the decree of the Rulers of the Universe. He disregarded their bidding. His fleet sailed forth over the Eystrasalt, but mid-way it became apparent that Svipdagur had disappeared. The Gods' wrath had forced him to regret his hybris, so that he jumped off board into the ocean's depths. There he was transmogrified into a hideous monster. Humbled and desparate he dived unto the bottomless abyss of the ocean, in order to dwell there forever, hidden from the eyes of Gods and men. The Gods kept his fate secret from Freyja. His son Ásmundur took over the leadership of his armies. 137) JÁLKUR AT ÁSMUNDUR'S COURT The armies of Guttormur and Ásmundur joined on the mainland. Sifka was present as usual. In the middle of the night a tall, one-eyed stranger visited Ásmundur's tent. He called himself Jálkur, and warned Ásmundur against fighting his uncle. Ásmundur was totally in Sifka's power, and would not listen to Jálkur's warnings. The one- eyed warrior then visited Haddingur, and had a long discussion with him and his right-hand man Hamall. 138) A NEW TYPE OF BATTLE ARRAY Jálkur taught them a new array of battle, the wedge-shaped column, which ever since has been sacred to the Teutons. 139) VAGNHÖFĐI On the next day the battle started, but Vagnhöfđi, having been delayed, was still missing from Haddingur's army. A one-eyed warrior, naming himself Kjalarr, met Vagnhöfđi on his way to the battle, took him upon his eight-footed steed and flew through the air towards the battle. When they were directly above Haddingur's army, Kjalarr put Vagnhöfđi down in the exact place where he was needed. 140) HADDINGUR VICTORIOUS Sifka/loki was in charge of the battle arrays of Ásmundur and Guttormur, but the wedge-shaped column was too much for him. Óđinn's wisdom here conquered Loki's wiliness. Ásmundur forced his way into Haddingur's army, until he fell by Haddingur's blade and Vagnhöfđi's curved sword. Sadly Viđga Völundur's son also was slain in this battle, but some say that he was thrown into the sea and saved by Mímir's daughters, his kinswomen. Before that he had slain many hundreds of men, and only he could have slain Haddingur, but would not, because of their sworn bonds of everlasting friendship. 141) PEACE ONCE MORE After Ásmundur had fallen, a white shield was borne aloft, and the lords of the Teutons made peace among themselves. Sifka/Loki was away and gone. Germania was divided between Haddingur, Guttormur and Ásmundur's son. 142) ŢJÓĐREKUR/HADDINGUR became a kind and prosperous king. As soon as Sifka/Loki was out of the way, the Teutonic lords were easily reconciled. A great friendship was born between Haddingur and Ásmundur's son, who now ruled in Sweden. The latter took his own life when Haddingur's death was wrongly reported to him. When Haddingur heard of this tragedy, he willingly faced death himself. 143) FREYJA SEEKS SVIPDAGUR Freyja in her sorrow went into her falcon-shape, and flew all over the earth in search of her lover. Finally she found him swimming in the seas by the skerry, which is called Singasteinn. She knew him by his eyes, and stayed at Singasteinn because of her love. She was wearing the Brísingamen, the divine of which was forever reflected in the ever-moving ocean; therefore Freyja is called Mardöll. The tears she cried over Svipdagur turned to gold, and with this gold, which is the purest gold in all of creation, she bought Svipdagur free from the Gods' wrath. 144) THE DEATH OF SVIPDAGUR One day Haddingur bathed in the ocean near the skerry Singasteinn, fought a strange sea-monster and killed it. Immediately a beautiful woman appeared to him, and revealed to him that he had slain one of the Vanir, and therefore had to pay compensation to Freyr in order not to call upon himself the wrath of the Vanir. Haddingur at once realized that he had killed none other than Svipdagur himself, and rejoiced in the finalization of revenge for his father. Nevertheless he paid the recompensation demanded, and thereby closed a vicious circle of ancient blood revenge, and strengthened his ties of friendship to all the descendants of Svipdagur. 145) BATTLE OVER THE BRÍSINGAMEN As Freyja appeared to Haddingur's eyes, the Brísingamen was lying unprotected on the Singasteinn skerry. A seal crawled onto the skerry: this was Loki, who lusted for the Brísingamen. The Gods were now seeking after him high and low, and the Brísingamen was the only treasure that they would accept in exchange for his life. But another seal crawled upon the skerry and attacked him, and when Loki looked into his eyes, he saw that it was Heimdallur himself. Loki then jumped into the sea and escaped, but Heimdallur brought Brísingamen back to Ásgarđur. There now sits Svipdagur among the Einherjar, and Freyja enjoys limitless happiness with him. 146) LOKI IMPRISONED Finally the Gods caught Loki in Fránangursfoss (Franangur's Force), where he lived disguised as a salmon. They placed him in a cavern on the islet Lyngvi in the midst of the Sea of Ámsvartnir. Sigyn, the lawful wife of Loki but most unlike him, asked of the Gods that she might share his fate. In the ghastly cavern Loki rests upon three sharp edges of rock, with a sword-point penetrating his back. His fetters are twisted from the entrails of a wolf, Loki's son. A horrid serpent hangs above his face, dripping venom. The hair on Loki's head grows into noxious needles and piercing spikes. 147) THE FETTERING OF FENRIR Fenrir, Loki's offspring, was imprisoned, also on the islet of Lyngvi. There Týr lost his right hand. 148) GULLVEIG FINALLY OUTLAWED Gullveig, reborn as Angurbođa, was banished to the Ironwood, and magically bound to stay there until Ragnarök. Her wolfen offspring and her brother Loki accompanied her. There she stays, with Eggţér, the guardian of Völundur's sword of revenge. V. HISTORICAL TIME 149) DECLINE OF THE WORLD Even if the originators of evil have been bound fast, and Gods still walk among men, the seeds of wickedness sown by Gullveig and Loki into men's minds still bear fruit. The World Tree, bereft of the care of Mímir and the goodness of his sons, grows old, and mankind degenerates. "Brothers will fight and be each other's banes; cousins will betray one another; men do suffer, whoredom is rampant; it is the age of the axe, the age of war, the age of cloven shields; the age of storm, the age of wolves, ere the world founders." VI. RAGNARÖK (DESTRUCTION OF THE GODS) 150) FOREBODINGS The light and heat of the sun lessens year by year. The powers that be lose control over the winds, and through the whine of storms can be heard the howling of the Fenrir wolf from the Gnipa cavern. From Járnviđur the wolf-giant Hati comes, and terrorizes Miđgarđur along with his wolf-kin. Great battles occur all over the world, and the lords' abodes become red with blood. The dead are too many; they can not all be buried. The hungry wolves fight over their dead bodies, before Niđhöggur, the dragon of decomposition, claims them. 151) MANKIND GOES UNDER A second Fimbul-Winter freezes Miđgarđur. The Wolf Hati eats the Moon. The descendants of Askur and Embla are slain by sword, disease, cold and hunger. 152) THE FINAL BATTLE The Giant Eggţér sits on his howe in the Ironwood, happily strumming his harp of storms. He calls upon the Fire Giant Fjalarr, who comes in the guise of a crimson cock, crows loudly, and accepts Völundur's sword from Eggţér's keeping. Fjalarr returns to the Surtur's Sunken Dales (Surt's Sökkdalir), where the fires of destruction are waiting to burst forth, and hands the sword over to Surtur his father. Ygg- drasill, the World Tree, trembles from root to crown, and the Gjallar- horn, which until now has rested in the shadows underneath the tree, jumps into Heimdallur's grasp. He blows the horn with all his might, and it reverberates throughout the universe. The sons of Mímir rise from their eternal sleep in order to do battle against the ultimate evil. The dwarves stand "groaning in front of their stone doors". Whichever monsters housed by woods and mountains rush forth over the lands of men. The peaceful denizens of the blessed realms of the Underworld are filled with fear. The trembling of Yggdrasill loosens the bonds and fetters of the Lyngvi prisoners: Loki, Fenrir and other sons of destruction step onto Naglfar, the ship of Doom. Loki steers the ship towards Nástrendur, in order to take aboard the cursed ones, and then he sets sail towards the Ironwood. All the Giants of Jötun- heimur assemble under the leadership of Hrymur. The ocean erupts and overflows the lands of men, because Miđgarđsormur grows gigantically strong and thrashes about. Óđinn has spoken to Mímir's head for the very last time. At the thing- stead of the Gods the Ćsir, Vanir, Valkyries and Einherjar prepare to do battle. Óđinn and his sons go forth against the Frost-Giants. The Vanir and the Einherjar of Sessrúmnir will fight Surtur and Suttungs- synir. Njörđur has retired to Vanaheimur, but Freyr chooses to stay in order to fight Surtur, in recompense for the folly that caused him to hand over the sword of revenge to the giants. The southern part of Bifröst collapses from the sheer weight of the warriors, but even if having to swim through the ocean of air the Vanir warriors finally make it to the plain of Óskópnir. The final battle will be fought along Jörmungrund's outer periphery, where Óskópnir and Vígríđur unite into a single battle-field. In the North the horizon is endarkened with hosts of Frost-Giants, screaming their battle-songs from beneath the shields. The East grows black with the appearance of the monsters which come out of Járnviđur. To the South the sky grows crimson, as Surtur and his Fire-Giants burst forth. In Surtur's grasp the Sword of Revenge blazes, adding a blood red colour to the twilight of the whole world. From the four corners of the world, the multiple armies attack each other. Týrr, the one-handed Áss, slays Hati, but falls dead from his horse's saddle, pierced with a fatal wound. Heimdallur rushes forth against Loki and beheads him with his sword; but Loki's head, bristling with poisonous spikes, bounds back penetrating the pure God's breast. As the God of sacred fire falls dead, the sun goes out and the stars fall from the heavens. Óđinn rides against Fenrisúlfur, but is over- come by the poisonous fumes from the wolf's jaws and swallowed by the monster. Víđarr, the silent Áss, avenges his father. With one of his feet (wearing a magical shoe) he opens up the jaws of the Fenrir monster and with his sword pierces its heart. Miđgarđsormur has just reared his head, looking for Ţórr. The God of Thunder wields his hammer, splitting the dragon's head, but after stepping away nine feet he falls dead from the poison spewed from the monster's jaws. Freyr rushes at Surtur, and is felled by Völundur's sword. Now the sky splits, and the mountains burst open with the fiery lava hitherto held in rein. Fire envelopes the field of battle, the armies are devoured and the blazing heat burns to cinders all of creation, above as below. Through the fire and smoke of Ragnarök there ride the sons of the Gods, Víđarr, Váli, Móđi and Magni, down unto Mímir's grove, where death and destruction can never reach. VII. RENEWAL OF THE WORLD 153) A NEW EARTH ARISES The sin-defiled earth sinks into the sea and is dissolved. Slowly the flames go out, and in purified air, underneath a higher heaven, a new earth arises out of the ocean, the primal earth of Mímir and Urđur, the world of the three wells, where the grass is ever green and the flowers never die, that world where Hoddmímisholt and Breiđablik will remain forever. There live Baldur, Nanna and Höđur, as well as Líf and Leif- ţrasir, who are the parents of a new mankind. Glittering waterfalls tumble off the mountains of Niđafjöll, and overhead the eagles swarm, and all manner of creatures come forth, as planned by Mímir in days of yore. Unsown fields will bring forth corn, and righteous children of men will settle upon the earth and enjoy its fruits again and again underneath the golden roofs of Gimlé, which will remain forever, more beautiful than the sun. 154) BALDUR WILL RETURN There the Gods will assemble once again at Iđavellir. Hćnir, Víđarr, Váli, Móđi and Magni will come together and surround Baldur, Nanna and Höđur. Baldur and Höđur will rebuild their father's house together. As a sign of things to come, they will find in the grass that golden chessboard, which was owned by the Gods of yore.