Oleg Shaposhnikov. Modern Edda. The will of Gods. Translated by Ilaidj Keiv.
This plateau is situated high in the mountains. Pointed mountain peaks surrounded it from every side. All the year round mountain peaks are covered with snow. White snow. It may serve as a standard of white color, brightly glittering in sunrays. Solid mountain peaks are surrounded with light and soft clouds. Tender clouds, just if it were gigantic beads, are threaded on the mountains. Clouds are celestial water. Snow on tops of the mountains is frozen water on earth. Bright sunlight. Fiery sunlight. Snow blends with white cumuli. The sky and the earth are connected here. The elements of water and fire linked the element of the air with the element of the earth. This is the place where gods live.
Odin was sitting in his arm-chair. He always sat in this arm-chair at this time. For many centuries nothing changed. Odin was looking to the north. He was looking at the pointed mountain peaks, at clouds, at blue sky. Clouds were floating on the sky. Sometimes they were taking odd shapes. Today there was something extremely strange in them, something unusual. Odin was looking at the clouds trying to solve their riddle. What did they want to tell him? The answer was behind his back. Odin stood up and turned. Clouds on the south were different. A dark, black cloud floated still, as if frozen, between two mountain peaks. Odin called Thor. Mighty Thor appeared at once. It seemed like he was waiting for Odin’s signal.
‘Today is a strange day’ Thor said. ‘From the very morning I feel excitement. Strong excitement.’
‘Look towards the south’ Odin waved his hand at the black cloud.
‘It seems like they decided to disturb us.’ exclaimed Thor. ‘Who could it be?’
‘We’ll find out soon’ replied Odin.
The cloud began to approach quickly. Now they could take a better look at it. Dark, black fog concealed from their sight all that was inside the cloud. But suddenly fog began to break up to the sides. There was something horrible inside. A horrible, ugly creature was in there, looking at them. It started laughing a terrifying, outrageous laughter.
‘It’s Loki’ uttered Odin.
Suddenly the cloud disappeared, and the creature appeared near them. It transformed into Loki.
‘I decided to trick you a little’ he said, laughing.
‘We are awfully thankful to you’ grinned Thor.
Odin looked towards the north. Clouds didn’t change their shape. Loki’s joke wasn’t a reason which transformed them tremendously. Most likely, something really serious has happened in Miðgarð.
‘What’s new, Loki?’ said Odin, addressing Loki.
‘All is the same’ replied Loki. ‘Just there is a terrible heat. People go insane. Never there was such an intense heat. It is now impossible to live in southern latitudes. The climate on the north became warm, even hot. Ice on the poles melts fast. The level of ocean increases. Ocean is invading dry land.’
‘What do people do?’ asked Thor.
‘There might be a war, a world war’ replied Loki. ‘There’s little space worth for normal life.’
‘Maybe, people will come to an agreement’ uttered Thor.
‘I don’t know, I do not know’ Loki shrugged his shoulders. ‘I doubt it. People from the south are trying to move north. The inhabitants of the north do not allow entering. The part of northern territories is already sunk underwater. And ocean goes on taking away new territories off dry land. Northern people are already lacking places, suitable for living. They closed the borders and don’t let southerners come.’
‘People have a continent. It’s on the southern pole. It is covered with huge layers of ice’ Thor uttered thoughtfully.
‘That’s true.’ Loki sat on a stone and continued the story. ‘Ice in Antarctica melts quickly. People would have liked to settle there. But when the continent began to free from ice, strange things began to happen there. Everyone, who arrives there, gets sick. They are haunted with strange, unrecognizable and very strong smell. People cannot handle this horror and leave.’
‘Giants awaken’ uttered Thor.
‘Giants?’ asked again Loki.
‘Yes, they were bricked up and slept under thick layers of ice’ replied Thor. ‘Now they awaken.’
‘I don’t remember about them’ Loki exclaimed.
‘Long ago it happened’ Thor sat on a stone and started his story.
In the beginning
not anything existed,
there was no sand
nor cooling waves;
earth was unknown and heaven
only void was,
there was no grass
It was many aeons before the earth was created that Niflheim was made, and in the midst of it is a well called bubbling cauldron and thence flow the rivers with these names: Svól, Gunnthrá, Fjörm, Fimbulthul, Slíð, Hríð, Sylg, Ylg, Víð, Leipt, and Gjöll which is next Hel's gate. The first world to exist, however, was Muspell in the southern hemisphere. It is light and hot and that region flames. And burns so that those who do not belong to it and whose native land it is not, cannot endure it. The one who sits there at land's end to guard it is called Surt. He has a flaming sword, and at the end of the world he will come and harry and will vanquish all the gods and burn the whole world with fire. As it says in the Sibyl's Vision:
Surt from the south comes
with spoiler for twigs,
blazing sword of gods
the Mighty Ones mountains will crash down,
men tread the road to Hel,
heaven's rent asunder.
When those rivers which are called Elivágar came so far from their source that the yeasty venom accompanying them hardened like slag, it turned into ice. Then when that ice formed and was firm, a drizzling rain that arose from the venom poured over it and cooled into rime, and one layer of ice formed on top of the other throughout Ginnungagap. That part of Ginnungagap which turned northwards became full of the ice and the hoar frost's weight and heaviness, and within there was drizzling rain and gusts of wind. But the southern part of Ginnungagap became light by meeting the sparks and glowing embers which flew out of the world of Muspell. Just as cold and all harsh things emanated from Niflheim, so everything in the neighbourhood of Muspell was warm and bright. Ginnungagap was as mild as windless air, and where the soft air of the heat met the frost so that it thawed and dripped, then, by the might of that which sent the heat, life appeared in the drops of running fluid and grew into the likeness of a man. He was given the name Ymir, but the frost ogres call him Aurgelmir, and that is where the families of frost ogres come from, as is said in the Shorter Sibyl's Vision:
All the sibyls are from Viðólf,
all the wizards
but the sorcerers
all the giants
have come from Ymir.
And here is what the giant Vafthrúðnir:
Whence first from giant-kin
From the Elivágar;
gar oozed drops or venom
that grew till they fashioned a giant,
all our kindred
came from thence.
Because of this birth they are aye far too barbarous.
He and all his family were evil; we call them frost ogres. But it is said that while he slept he fell into a sweat; then there grew under his left arm a man and woman, and one of his legs got a son with the other, and that is where the families of frost ogres come from. We call that old frost ogre Ymir. As soon as the frost thawed, it became a cow called Auðhumla, and four rivers of milk ran from her teats, and she fed Ymir. She licked the ice-blocks which were salty, and by the evening of the first day of the block-licking appeared a man's hair, on the second day a man's head, and on the third day the whole man was there. He was called Buri. He was handsome and tall and strong. He had a son called Bor, who married a woman called Bestla, daughter of the giant Bólthorn. They had three sons; the first, Óðin; the second, Vili; the third, Vé. Bor's sons killed the giant Ymir, and when he fell, so much blood poured from his wounds that they drowned the whole tribe of frost ogres with it - except for one who escaped with his household; this one is known to the giants as Bergelmir. He climbed up on to his "lur" boat hollowed out of a tree trunk and his wife with him, and there they were safe. From them spring the families of frost ogres, as it is said here:
Innumerable years ago,
before the earth
was made, was born the giant Bergelmir;
the first thing I remember was
when they laid
that wise one down on a lur.
‘Does it mean that his ancestors were sleeping in Antarctica for a long time?’ asked Loki.
‘Yes’ replied Thor. ‘And now they awaken. And this is a serious problem.’
‘Problem? Can’t you crush them with your hammer?’ exclaimed Loki and then slyly added ‘Or maybe you have lost your hammer?’
‘We cannot destroy them all’ uttered Odin strictly.
‘Why?’ Loki jumped up and began to gesticulate. ‘I am always indignant with your rules – this should not be done, this cannot be done.’
‘We can’t’ Thor said. ‘Earth is made of Ymir’s flesh. And they are an integral part of it. This is how it was.’
And Thor continued his story.
Bor's sons took Ymir and carried him into the middle of Ginnungagap, and made the world from him: from his blood the sea and lakes, from his flesh the earth, from his bones the mountains; rocks and pebbles they made from his teeth and jaws and those bones that were broken. From the blood which welled freely from his wounds they fashioned the ocean, when they put together the earth and girdled it, laying the ocean round about it. To cross it would strike most men as impossible. They also took his skull and made the sky from it and set it over the earth with its four sides, and under each corner they put a dwarf. These are called: East, West, North, and South. Then they took the sparks and burning embers that were flying about after they had been blown out of Muspell, and placed them in the midst of Ginnungagap to give light to heaven above and earth beneath. They gave their stations to all the stars, some fixed in the sky; others that had wandered at will in the firmament were now given their appointed places and the paths in which they were to travel. So it is said in ancient poems that from that time sprang the reckoning of days and years, as it is said in the Sibyl's Vision:
The sun did not know
where she had her home,
stars did not know
where their stations were,
the moon did not know
what might he had.
It is round, and surrounding it lies the deep sea, and on the strand of that sea they gave lands to the families of giants to settle, but inland they built a stronghold round the world on account of the hostility of the giants; for this stronghold they used Ymir's eyebrows, and they called it Miðgarð. They took his brains too and flung them up into the air and made from them the clouds, as it is said here:
From Ymir's flesh
the earth was made
and from his blood the seas,
crags from his bones,
trees from his hair,
and from his skull the sky.
From his eyebrows
the blessed gods
for the sons of men,
and from his brains
all storm-threatening clouds.
‘So’ Loki uttered. ‘If the giants will be destroyed, every one of them, then the Earth will die. And your comfortable place, you once created, will be ruined.’
Loki pointed his finger at the ground underneath.
‘There won’t be anything of these’ he exclaimed.
‘That’s true’ uttered Odin.
‘If that’s true,’ Loki grinned, ‘you are not almighty. It means that you cannot do all you want. Right?’
‘How do you know what I want?’ Odin frowned.
‘I agree, I don’t know that’ Loki sat on a stone again. ‘Curiosity tears me apart. What is going to happen next?’
‘I haven’t decided yet what is to come and what is not to come’ replied Odin harshly. ‘Time has come. And you go.’
With a gesture Odin invited Thor to follow him. They headed towards Odin’s dwelling. Thor walked displeased. Odin looked at him attentively.
‘Loki once again spoiled my mood. He didn’t say anything special. But mood is spoiled.’ Thor discontentedly puckered his forehead.
‘We are patient to him in vain’ he added.
‘Loki is needed’ smiled Odin. ‘He destroys old, outmoded things. They will be ruined by themselves, but there will be time lost. Loki assists to progress, bringing out stagnated phenomena, and gives impulse for overcoming this stagnation. He cannot destroy that what is stable.’
‘And what about Baldr?’
‘That’s a completely different story. Let’s discuss it later.’
‘Alright’ Thor agreed.
Odin and Thor entered Odin’s dwelling. It was located in a huge cave. Everyone who entered this place found himself in a big hall with cupola-like ceiling. There was a huge holy ash-tree. It is so big that it doesn’t fit in this huge hall. His trunk came out through a hole in ceiling. Floor, ceiling and walls preserved its original appearance. Odin did not change anything in natural hall of the cave.
In one of the niches on the wall a spring spurted. Clear and transparent water poured somewhere downwards. Thor came to the spring and washed his face.
From one of the corridors Frigg appeared. She friendly smiled to Odin and Thor.
‘Send someone for Heimdal’, Odin asked her.
Odin and Thor followed to another hall. It was round too. It was bigger in size than the first hall. Odin sat on his throne which was located on a height opposite to entrance. Along the wall in a circle there were twelve thrones for other gods. Thor stopped near his throne and crossed his hands behind the back.
‘It turns out to be an unpleasant situation’, he uttered. ‘If giants awake, they will face people. Would both of them be able to come to an agreement?’
‘Giants are unable to find agreement with people’, Odin said. ‘Either they or people can exist on the planet.’
‘But can people find a way to force them to stay within Athlantida’s boundaries?’ asked Thor.
‘They can if all the countries come to one decision’, Odin replied. ‘But don’t forget that people themselves are in the state of war now. And even if they successfully block giants in Athlantida, there will always be a great risk that this block will be overcome.’
Heimdal entered and after exchanging greetings with Odin and Thor lowered himself onto his throne.
‘Loki goes from one god to another and tells horrors’, he uttered. ‘He tells them what you said’, Heimdal addressed Odin, ‘and what he made up.’
Odin waved his hand indifferently.
‘This is not important now’, he uttered.
‘Heimdal’, Odin called, ‘you were writing a Pact. Is it ready?’
‘Yes’, Heimdal replied. ‘Here is what I made.’
He pulled out a sheet of parchment and handed it to Odin. Odin took it and started to explore carefully. Then he folded this sheet and put it in his pocket.
Frey entered the hall.
‘We have a visitor’ he said instead of greeting. ‘A rider gallops to us. He gallops quite nicely. I haven’t seen such a gallop.’
‘Meet him’, Odin uttered. ’And I need to stay alone for a while’.
Everybody came outside. Thor, Heimdal and Frey headed to meet an Ambassador. Odin looked at the sky.
Sun was shining brightly. It seemed like it wanted to reach the earth with its fiery hands, embrace it and not to let go for a long-long time.
Odin felt thirsty. He didn’t notice how he had moved to the center of a hot desert. He got overwhelmed with fiery heat, unbearably intense heat. This was not the desert, he once was in. There was life. It wasn’t amazing with wildness of color of tropic forests or huge herds of animals in prairies. But it was. It was running away like a tiny lizard, some insect or something else. It was. Everything alive managed to adapt to waterless desert conditions and live despite of severe conditions. Now it was different. There was no life. One could not succeed in finding it. The feeling that this desert is deprived of anything near alive, was coming from somewhere inside. This feeling caused an absolute confidence in a fact of absence of any life, confidence that didn’t require any proof. This desert is dead, and it’s useless to look for life here. It wasn’t a death of a single alive organism, it wasn’t a death of many organisms, it was a death of a whole ecological system. Odin was standing in the center of this catastrophe. He was thinking of him standing there and of absolutely dead spaces thousand kilometers around. This feeling overflowed him. It was unusually strong, even for him.
‘Moses now not could have led Hebrews here for forty years’, a voice who said this phrase was flat and calm.
‘Maybe’, said Odin evasively.
He didn’t want to leave yet that state he was in, he didn’t live it all the way.
‘It seems like I disturbed you’, a companion, standing behind Odin’s back, noticed sarcastically.
Odin turned around. A companion was sitting right on sand. With philosophic look he poured some sand from one hand to another. Odin squatted. He felt tiredness, indifference and pity. A pity for that he was feeling tired and indifferent.
‘There’s nothing to disturb’, he made a wry face.
‘Surt will burn the earth, this is how it is written in a work about you, right?’
‘There is a different situation. There is meant the Earth as whole. The Planet’, Odin replied.
‘Don’t you find that to “burn the Earth” one doesn’t have to burn it physically?’
‘Everything alive is destroyed here. But this is not the whole Earth’, Odin uttered.
‘This is only a beginning. It may become a reason for war. As the result of war, everything alive on the whole Earth will be destroyed.’
‘Yes, it is not necessary to burn everything physically, burn obviously. When chaos begins, everything will be burnt by then. “Burnt from inside”. Inside every human. Inside society. Surt will burn not a man. Surt will burn his soul. He will create circumstances that will do that. And now we are in the center of “one of these circumstances”.’
‘Bravo. Bravo. But if you have said the first letter, you should say the second.’
The companion looked at Odin with interest.
‘To my mind, you and some others are widely known “specialists in human souls”. Why can’t you save souls of those who believe in you?’ Odin uttered.
The companion smiled.
‘We can. We can. But not in this case’, he said.
Odin took a portion of sand in his hand, raised it and slightly unclasped his fingers. Sand began to pour from his hand through the holes between fingers.
‘You need to find an agreement among yourselves’, he spoke solemnly. ‘After that you may take further steps.’
‘What should be a further step?’ the companion asked.
Odin smiled broadly and stood up.
‘When you agree among yourselves, you will need to make a deal with me.’
‘Oh’, the companion exclaimed. ‘I don’t think that when we come to a deal among ourselves, we won’t have to make a deal with you.’
‘You asked a question, and answered it yourself. You cannot come to an agreement.’
Odin made a sign that he couldn’t help, but stated it.
‘And can you?’ the Companion asked him.
‘We have experience of co-existence and collaboration of gods. Here is what I wish to tell you.’
The divine gods are twelve in number. The goddesses are no less sacred and no less powerful. I am the highest and the oldest of the gods. I rule all things and, no matter how mighty the other gods may be, they all serve my as children do their father. My wife is Frigg and she knows the fates of all men, although she does not prophesy, as is said here, when I himself was speaking to that god known as Loki:
You're insane, Loki, and out of your senses, Loki, why don't you desist?
I think that Frigg knows the whole of fate although she herself says nothing.
I am called All-father because I am the father of all the gods. I am also called Valfather because all who fall in battle are my adopted sons. I allot to them Valhalla and Vingólf, and then they are called Einherjar (one-harriers). I am also called Hangaguð (god of the hanged), Haptaguð (god of the gods), Farmaguð (god of cargoes), and my named himself in many other ways when I came to King Geirröð:
I am called Grím (Masked-one) and Gangleri (Waywont),
Herjan, (Raider) Hjálmberi, (Helmeted-one)
Thekk (Pleasant-one), Thriði (third),
Thuð (Thin-one), Uð,
Helblindi (One-who-blinds-with-death), Hár, (high one)
Sað, Svipall (Changable-one), Sanngetall (One-who-guesses-right),
Herteit (Glad-of-war), Hnikar, ( [Spear]-thruster )
Bileyg (One-who's-eye-deceives-him, ie: One-eyed), Báleyg, (Flame-eyed),
Bölverk (Worker-of-evil), Fjölnir,
Grímnir (Masked-one), Glapsvið, Fjölsvið (Very-wise-one),
Síðhött (Deep-hood or Broad-hat), Siðskegg (Broad-beard),
Sigföð (Father of victory), Hnikuð ( [Spear]-thruster),
Allföð (All-father), Atríð (Attacking-rider), Farmatýr (Cargo-god),
Óski (Fulfiller-of-desire), Ómi (One-whose-voice-resounds),
Jafnhár (Just-as-high), Biflindi (Spear-shaker),
Göndlir (Wand-bearer), Hárbarð (Grey-beard),
Jálk (gelding), Kjalar (Keel-rider i.e.: Sled-rider), Viður,
Thrór, Ygg, (Terrible one) Thund,
Vak, (Alert one) Skilving,
Gaut (One-from-Gotland), Veratýr (God-of-men or God-of-being).
It would take a vast amount of knowledge to go over them all. It will, however, be quickest to tell you that most of these names have been given me because the many different nations in the world, all speaking different tongues, felt the need of translating my name into their several languages in order to worship and pray to me. Some incidents giving rise to these names, however, took place on my journeys, and these have been made into tales, and it will be impossible for you to be called a well-informed person if you cannot relate some of these great events.
Thór, who is called Ása-Thór or Thór-the-charioteer, is the foremost of them. He is strongest of all gods and men. He rules over that kingdom called Thrúðvangar, (plains of power) and his hall is called Bilskirnir; (strong) in that building are six hundred and forty floors - it is the largest house known to men. As it says in the Lay of Grímnir:
Bilskirnir with its winding ways I know has more
than six hundred and forty floors, of those buildings
I know to be roofed
I know my son's is the largest
Thór has two goats known as Tooth-gnasher and Gap-tooth, and the chariot he drives in. The goats pull the chariot, and for this reason he is called Oku-Thór (Driver-Thór). He also owns three precious things. One is the hammer Mjöllnir (Crusher), which the frost ogres and cliff giants know when it is raised aloft, and that is not surprising since he has cracked the skulls of many of their kith and kin. His second great treasure is a belt of strength, and when he buckles that on his divine might is doubled. And he owns a third thing of great value in his iron gauntlets; he cannot do without these when he grips the handle of the hammer. But no one is well-informed enough to be able to recount all his mighty deeds. I can, however, tell you so many things about him that it would take a long time before all I knew had been related.
Another my son is called Baldr, and there is (nothing but) good to be told of him. He is the best of them and everyone sings his praises. He is so fair of face and bright that a splendour radiates from him, and there is one flower so white that it is likened to Baldr's brow; it is the whitest of all flowers. From that you can tell how beautiful his body is, and how bright his hair. He is the wisest of the gods, and the sweetest-spoken, and the most merciful, but it is a characteristic of his that once he has pronounced a judgment it can never be altered. He lives in the place in heaven called Breióablik; nothing impure can be there, as it says here:
There where Baldr has built his dwellings
they call it Breiðablik; in that land
where I know there are fewest evil things.
The third god is the one called Njörð. He lives in heaven at a place called Nóatún (Ship-yard). He controls the path of the wind, stills sea and fire, and is to be invoked for seafaring and fishing. He is so wealthy and rosperous that he is able to bestow abundance of land and property on those who call on him for this. Njörð is not one of the Æsir. He was brought up in Vanaheim, but the Vanir gave him as a hostage to the gods and accepted as a counter-hostage one called Hœnir. He brought about a reconciliation between the gods and the Vanir. Njörð has a wife called Skaði, daughter of the giant Thjazi. Skaði wanted to have the homestead her father had had, on some mountains in the place called Thrymheim, (Stone home) but Njörd wanted to be near the sea. They came to an agreement that they should be nine nights in Thrymheim and then another nine at Nóatún. When Njörð came back to Nóatún from the mountain, however, he said this:
Mountains I loathed, no longer than nine nights did I stay there, the howling of wolves seemed ugly to me compared with the hooping of swans.
Then Skaði said this:
I could not sleep by the shore of the sea for the noise of the mew that awakened me, the bird that flew each dawn from the deep.
Then Skaði went up the mountain and lived in Thrymheim, and she goes about a great deal on skis and with her bow and arrow shoots wild animals. She is called Snow-shoe-goddess, or Snow-shoe-divinity. As it is said:
Thrymheim's the name of Thjazi's place, that giant of monstrous frame; his daughter wed with one of the gods Skaði, now, the fair of face, lives there in her sire's old home.
Njörð of Nóatún had two children after this, a son called Frey (Lord) and a daughter Freyja (Lady). They were beautiful to look at, and powerful. Frey is an exceedingly famous god; he decides when the sun shall shine or the rain come down, and along with that the fruitfulness of the earth, and he is good to invoke for peace and plenty. He also brings about the prosperity of men. But Freyja is the most renowned of the goddesses. She owns that homestead in heaven known as Fólkvangar, (Field-of-warriors) and whenever she rides into battle she has half the slain and Óðin half, as it says here:
Fólkvangar's where Freyja decides
who shall sit where in the hall;
half the slain every day she chooses
and Óðin has half.
Her hall Sessrúmnir (Many-seated) is large and beautiful. When she goes on a journey she sits in a chariot drawn by two cats. She is most readily invoked, and from her name derives the polite custom of calling the wives of men of rank Frú (Madam). She enjoys love poetry, and it is good to call on her for help in love affairs.
There is a god called Týr. He is the boldest and most courageous, and has power over victory in battle; it is good for brave men to invoke him. It is a proverbial saying that he who surpasses others and does not waver is "Týr-valiant". He is also so well informed that a very knowledgeable man is said to be "Týr-wise". Here is one proof of his daring. When the gods tried to persuade the wolf Fenrir to allow the fetter Gleipnir to be placed on him, he did not believe that they would free him until they put Týr's hand in his mouth as a pledge. Then, when the Æsir would not loose him, he bit off the hand at the place now known as the "wolf-joint" (the wrist). So Týr is one-handed and he is not called a peace-maker.
One (god) is called Bragi. He is famous for wisdom and most of all for eloquence and skill with words; he knows most about poetry, and from him poetry gets its name, (bragr is Old Icelandic for poetry) and from his name the man or woman who can use words better than others is called a poet. His wife is Iðun. (One-who-renews) She keeps in her box the apples the gods have to eat, when they grow old, to become young again, and so it will continue up to Ragnarök (the twilight of the gods).
One is called Heimdall. He is called the white god, and he is great and holy. Nine maidens gave birth to him, and all of them sisters. He is also known as allínskíði and Goldtooth, he had teeth of gold. His horse is called Goldtuft. He lives in a place called Himinbjörg (Cliffs-of-heaven) by Bifröst. He is the warder of the gods, and sits there at the end of heaven to guard the bridge from the cliff giants. He needs less sleep than a bird, and can see a hundred leagues in front of him as well by night as by day. He can hear the grass growing on the earth and the wool on sheep, and every-thing that makes more noise. He has the trumpet known as the horn Gjöll, and its blast can be heard over all the worlds. A name for the head is Heimdall's sword. So it is said:
Himinbjörg's said to he the name of Heimdall's house;
there the warden of the gods glad at his gracious home drinks the good mead.
And further he says himself in Heimdall's Spell:
Of nine mothers I'm the son and son of nine sisters too.
Höð is one of the gods. He is blind; He is immensely strong too, but the gods would rather there were no need to mention his name, since his handiwork will long be remembered amongst gods and men.
Víðar is the name of one of them, the silent god. He has a stout shoe and is almost as strong as Thór. The gods rely greatly on him in all difficult situations.
Áli or Váli is the name of one, a my son and Rind; he is bold in battle and a very good shot.
Ull, Sif's son and Thór's stepson, is one (too). He is such a good archer and ski-runner that no one can rival him. He is beautiful to look at as well and he has all the characteristics of a warrior. It is also good to call on him in duels.
Forseti is the son of Baldr and Nanna, Nep's daughter. He owns the hall in heaven known as Glitnir (Glittering). Without exception all who come to him with legal disputes go away reconciled; that is the best court known to gods and men. As it says here:
There's a hall called Glitnir with pillars of gold
it's also roofed with silver; there Forseti
spends all day long settling all suits-at-law.
Also reckoned amongst the gods is one that some call the Mischief-monger-of-the-Æsir and the Father-of-lies and the Disgrace-of-gods-and-men. He is the son of the giant Fárbauti and his name is Loki or Lopt. His mother's name is Laufey or Nál, and Býleist and Helblindi are his brothers. Loki is handsome and fair of face, but has an evil disposition and is very changeable of mood. He excelled all men in the art of cunning, and he always cheats. He was continually involving the Æsir in great difficulties and he often helped them out again by guile. His wife's name is Sigyn; their son (is) Nari or Narvi.
‘I will tell about goddesses.’
The foremost is Frigg. She owns that dwelling known as Fensalir, and it is most magnificent.
Saga is another; she lives at Sökkvabekk, and that is a large estate.
The third is Eir; she is the best of physicians.
The fourth is Gefjon; she is a virgin, and women who die unmarried serve her.
The fifth is Fulla; she, too, is a virgin and wears her hair loose and a golden band round her head. She carries Frigg's little box and looks after her shoes and knows her secrets.
Freyja is as distinguished as Frigg. She is married to a man called Óð; their daughter is Hnoss; she is so lovely that whatever is beautiful and valuable is called "treasure" from her name(hnoss is Old Icelandic for ‘treasure’). Óð went away on long journeys and Freyja weeps for him, and her tears are red gold. Freyja has many names, and the reason for this is that she gave herself several when she went to look for Óð among peoples she did not know. She is called Mardöll and Hörn, Gefn (Giver) and Sýr (Sow). Freyja owns the necklace of the Brísings. She is also called the divinity of the Vanir.
The seventh goddess is Sjöfn; she is much concerned with turning the minds of people, both men and women, to love. From her name love is called sjafni.
The eighth is Lofn; she is so gentle and good to invoke that she has permission from All-father and Frigg to bring together men and women for whom marriage was forbidden or banned. From her name comes the word "permission", also what is much praised by men.
The ninth is Vár; she listens to the vows and compacts made by men and women with each other; for this reason such agreements are called várar (promises). She also takes vengeance on those who break their vows.
The tenth is Vör; she is so wise and searching that nothing can be concealed from her. It is a proverb that a woman becomes "aware" of what she gets to know.
The eleventh is Syn; (Denial) she guards the door of the hall and shuts it against those who are not to enter. She is also appointed defending counsel at trials in cases she wishes to refute, hence the saying that "Syn is brought forward" when anyone denies an accusation.! The twelfth is Hlín; she is appointed to protect those men Frigg wants to save from dangers, hence the proverb that "he who is protected 'leans' ".
The thirteenth is Snotra; she is wise and gentle mannered. From her name a man or woman who is self-controlled is called snotr (prudent). The fourteenth is Gná; Frigg sends her on her errands. She has a horse that runs through the air and over the sea called Hoof-flourisher. Once when she was riding, some Vanir saw her riding in the air and one said:
What is flying there, faring there and gliding through the air?
I am not flying, although I am faring gliding through the air on Hoof-flourisher."
From Gná’s name what soars high is called "towering".
Sól (sun) and Bil are reckoned among the goddesses, but their nature has been described before. There are, moreover, others whose duty it is to serve in Valhalla, carry the drink round and look after the table service and ale-cups. Their names are as the follows:
Hrist and Mist
I want to bring me the horn,
Skeggjóld and Skögul,
Hild (Battle) and Thrúð,
Hlökk (Din-of-battle) and Herfjötur, (Fetterer-of-an-army)
Göll and Geirahoð,
Randgríð (Sheild destroyer), Ráðgríð, and Reginleif
These bear ale to the Einherjar.
These are called Valkyries. I send them to every battle, and they choose death for the men destined to die, and award victory. Guð and Rota and the youngest norn Skuld always ride to choose the slain and decide (the issue of) battles.
‘Wow’, said the Companion. ‘Well now. I am ready to listen to you. What do you offer?’
Odin pulled out a parchment and held it out to the Companion. He started to explore it carefully. Having read everything, the Companion kept silence for a while and then asked Odin.
‘What do others think of your proposal?’
‘We’ll see’, replied Odin evasively.
‘Good, I will inform you of my decision soon.’
The Companion disappeared as insensibly as he once appeared. Odin returned back.
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