Norse Mythology: Grimnismol in Modern English

The fourth Eddic Poem in the Codex Regius, Grimnismoltells the tail of two brothers and their dealings with Odin:

King Hrauthung had two sons, one called Agnar, and the other Geirröd. When Agnar was ten years old and Geirröd eight, they rowed out in a boat with their fishing gear to catch little fish, and the wind drove them out into the sea. In the darkness of the night they were wrecked on a shore. Going up from the beach, they found a poor peasant with whom they stayed through the winter. The housewife took care of Agnar, and the peasant cared for Geirröd and taught him wisdom.

In the spring the peasant gave him a boat, and when the couple led them to the shore, the peasant spoke secretly with Geirröd. They had good winds, and came to their father’s landing place. Geirröd was in the prow of the boat. He leaped up on land, but pushed the boat out.

“Go wherever evil may take you!” he said to Agnar.

The boat drifted out to sea. Geirröd went up to the house, and was well received, but learned his father was dead. The boy was made king, and in time became a renowned man.

Odin and Frigg sat in Hlithskjolf and looked over all the worlds.

“See how Agnar, your fosterling, begets children with a giantess in a cave?” said Odin. “But Geirröd, my fosterling, is a king, and now rules over his land.”

“Yet he is so miserly that he tortures his guests if he thinks that too many of them come to him.” said Frigg.

“That is the greatest of lies,” replied Odin.

“Then let us wager on this,” said Frigg.

She then sent her maid servant, Fulla, to Geirröd. The maid bade the king beware of a magician who was coming to his land to bewitch him, and gave him this sign concerning the man: that no dog was so fierce as to leap at him.

Now it was a very great slander to say that King Geirröd was not hospitable, but nevertheless he had his men capture the man whom the dogs would not attack. He wore a dark blue mantle and called himself Grimnir the Hooded, but would say no more about himself, though he was questioned. The king had him tortured to make him speak, and set him between two fires, and he sat there eight nights.

Grímnir_and_AgnarKing Geirröd had a ten year old son, called Agnar after his father’s brother. Agnar went to Grimnir, and gave him a full horn to drink from, and said that the king was wrong to let him be tormented with out cause. Grimnir drank from the horn. The fire had come so near that the mantle burned on Grimnir’s back. He spoke:

You are hot, fire! Too fierce by far. Begone now, flames!” he said. “My mantle is burnt, though I bear it aloft, and the fire scorches the fur. I’ve now sat between these fires for eight nights, and no man brought meat to me save Agnar alone, and alone Geirröd’s son shall rule over the Goths. Hail to you, Agnar! You are hailed by the Lord of Men. For a single drink, you will never receive a greater gift as reward.

The holy land lies close by. The gods, the elves, and Thor shall live together forever in Thruthheim, the place of might, until the gods are destroyed. Ull has built a hall for himself in Ydalir and the gods gave Alfheim to Freyr as a gift when he cut his first tooth in ancient times. There is a third home, Valaskjolf, thatched with silver by the hands of the gracious gods in days of old, built by a god for himself. Sökkvabekk, the sinking stream, is the fourth, where cool waves flow, and it stands amid their murmur. There each day, Odin and Saga drink happily from golden cups. 

The fifth is Gladsheim, the place of joy, where golden, bright Valhalla stands, stretching wide. There, each day, Odin chooses men who have fallen in battle. Valhalla is easily recognized for one who comes to Odin and beholds the hall. Its rafters are spears, and it is roofed with shields. Breastplates are strewn on its benches. A wolf hangs by the western door, and over it an eagle hovers.

The sixth is Thrymheim, the house of clamor, where Thjazi, the  marvelous mighty giant, dwelt. Now Skadi, the fair bride of Njord, lives in her father’s home. The seventh is Breidablik, where Baldr has there built his dwelling, in a land I know that lies fair and free from evil fate. Himinbjorg, heaven’s cliff, is the eighth, and Heimdall holds sway over men there in his well built house, where the warder of heaven gladly drinks good mead.

The ninth is Folkvang, the field of the folk, where Freyja decrees who shall have seats in her hall, Sessrymnir. Each day, she chooses half of the dead, and Odin has the other half,. The tenth is Glitnir, the shining. Its pillars are gold, and its roof set with silver. There most of his days Forseti dwells, and ends all strife. The eleventh is Noatun, the ship’s haven. There has Njord has built himself a dwelling. The sinless ruler of men sits there in his tall temple of timber. Vidi, Vidar’s land, is filled with growing trees and high-standing grass. There the son will leap down from his steed when the time comes to avenge his father.

In the kettle Eldhrimnir, Andhrimnir cooks the boar Sæhrimnir’s seething flesh, the best of food. Few men know that this is the fare on which the warriors feast. Odin feeds his wolves Freki and Geri, but the weapon decked god himself lives forever on wine alone. His ravens Hugin and Munin set forth each day to fly over Midgard. I fear for Hugin lest he does not come home, but for Munin I care even more.

The river Thund roars loudly about the hall, and Thjodvitnir’s fish joyously swims in the flood. It seems hard to the host of the slain to wade through the wild torrent. There, Valgrind, the sacred gate, stands, and behind it are the holy doors. The gate is old, but few there can tell how it is so tightly locked. There are five hundred and forty doors in Valhalla’s walls, and eight hundred fighters will pass through each when they go to war with the wolf.

The goat Heidrun stands near the Allfather’s hall, and chews on the branches of Lærath. She fills pitchers with the fair, clear mead, and the foaming drink never runs out. Eikthyrnir the hart stands next to her, also chewing on the branches of Lærath. A stream falls from his horns into Hvergelmir, the roaring cauldron, from which all the rivers run.

There are five hundred and forty rooms in Bilskirnir. Of all the homes whose roofs I have beheld, my son Thor’s is the greatest. Each day, Thor wades through the river Kormt, the Ormt, and the two Kerlaugs to the ash-tree Yggdrasil to give judgement, for heaven’s bridge burns all in flame, and the sacred waters seethe. The other gods ride forth to meet him on the steeds Glath, Gyllir, Gler, Skeithbrimir, Silfrintopp, Sinir, Gisl, Falhofnir, Golltopp and Lettfeti.

The three roots of the ash tree Yggdrasil run three ways run. Beneath the first lives Hel, beneath the second the land of the frost giants, and under the last, the lands of men. Ratatosk the squirrel runs up and down the tree bearing the words of the eagle above to Nidhogg beneath. Four harts, Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, and Dyrathror, nibble with their necks bent back at the highest twigs.

There are more serpents beneath the ash than an unwise ape would think. Goin and Moin, Grafvitnir’s sons, and Grabak, Grafvolluth, Ofnir, and Svafnir shall gnaw at the twigs of the tree forever. Yggdrasil the ash suffers far greater evil than men know. The harts bite its crown, its trunk is rotting, and Nithhogg gnaws on its roots.

The Valkyries Hrist and Mist bring the horn at my command. Skeggjold, Skogul, Hild, Thruth, Hlok, Herfjotur, Gol, Geironul, Randgrith, Rathgrith, and Reginleif bring beer to the warriors. The horses Arvak and Alsvith wearily pull the weight of the sun, but long ago, the kindly gods set cool iron under their yokes. Svalin, the shield ofthe shining god, stands in front of the sun. Mountains and seas would be set aflame if it fell from before the sun.

Skoll the wolf follows the glittering god that to Ironwood and Hati, the son of Fenrir the mighty, awaits the burning bride of heaven.

The earth was fashioned out of Ymir’s flesh and the ocean out of his blood. The hills were made of his bones, the trees his hair, and the high heavens of his skull. The gods walled Midgard with his eyebrows to protect the sons of men. Out of his brain, they made the baleful clouds that move on high.

He who first reaches the flames of these fires will win the favor of Ull and of all the gods, for the inside of the house can be seen by the sons of the gods if the kettle that blocks the smoke hole is cast aside.

In days of old, the sons of Ivaldi the mighty fashioned fair Skidbladnir, the best of ships, for the bright god Freyr, the noble son of Njorth. Yggdrasil is the greatest of trees, Skithblathnir best of boats; of all the gods, Odin is the greatest, and Sleipnir the best of steeds. Bifrost is the greatest bridge, Bragi the best skald, Hobrok the best hawks, and Garm the greatest hound.

I have raised my face to the race of the gods and awakened the wished for aid. The message gone to all the gods that sit in Ægir’s seats and drink within Ægir’s doors.

I am called Grimnir the hooded one, Gangleri the wanderer, Herjan the ruler,  Hjalmberi the helmet bearer, Thekk the much loved, Thridi the third, Thuth, Uth,
Herblindi the blinder of the hosts, and Hor the highest. Others have called me Sath the truthful, Svipal the changing, Sanngetal the truth teller, Herteit, the host’s gladness, Hnikar the overthrower, Bileyg the shifty eyed, Baleyg the flaming eyed, Bolverk the door of evil, Fjolnir the shapeshifter, Glapsvith the swift deceiver, Fjolsvith the wise. Still others call me Sithhott of the broad hat, Sithskegg the long beard, Sig the father of victory, Hnikuth the overthrower, Allfather, Val the father of the slain, Atrith the rider, and Farmatyr, the god of cargoes. I have never had a single name since I first fared among men.

Though they call me Grimnir in Geirröd’s hall, with Asmund I am Jalk, I was Kjalar I when I rode in a sledge, I’m called Thror at the council Thror, I fare to the fight as Vithur, Oski god of wishes, Biflindi, Jafnhor the equally high, and Omi the shouter, and I’m known as Gondlir the wand bearer and Harbarth the graybeard by the gods. I deceived the old giant Sokkmimir as Svidur.  Long ago, I slew Svidrir, the son of Midvitnir.

Geirröd is drunk; he drank too much and has lost much for he will get no more help from me or my heroes. He paid little attention to all that I told him, and his friends to him lies. Now I see my friend’s sword, waiting wet with blood. I will soon have your sword pierced body, for your life is ended at last. The Norns are hostile; now behol Odin the terrible! Come to me if you can!

Now am I called Odin, once I was Ygg. Before that they called me Thund the thunderer, Vak the wakeful, Skilfing the shaker, Vofuth the wanderer, Hroptatyr the crier of the gods, Gaut the fther, and Jalk in the midst the gods. All, of these are names for none but me.

King Geirröd was sitting with his sword on his knee, half drawn from its sheath. When he heard that his prisoner was Odin, he rose up to go to Odin and take him from the fire. The sword slipped from the king’s hand, and fell with the hilt down. He stumbled and fell forward, and the sword pierced through him, and killed him. Then Odin vanished, but Agnar ruled there as king for many long years.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Horror Movies of the 90’s

oldman-dracHere are my top 10 horror movies of the 90’s. I used Horror Fandom’s Chronological List of Horror Films as a mnemonic aid. Unlike the 80’s, which were chock-a-block with great horror movies, the 90’s were a bit of a desert, IMO. Here are the few I recall fondly, from least to greatest:

10. Tremors (1990)

A somewhat silly film where people living in a small town in the desert are terrorized by monsters that live under the surface of the sand. Stars Kevin Bacon, and Michael Gross has a great part as a gun enthusiast.

9. Army of Darkness (1993)

An over the top crazy film about a demon hunter, played by Bruce Campbell.

8. Species (1995)

A fairly run of the mill creature flick, with a dangerous alien who comes to earth in the form of a beautiful woman.

7. From Dusk Til Dawn (1996)

Quentin Terantino’s over the top vampire film. Lot’s of action, but light on plot. Stars Harvey Kytel.

6. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

One of the few slasher films of the decade that wasn’t terrible.

5. Needful Things (1993)

A mystery man comes to the small Maine Town of Castle Rock and wrecks havoc. The main character, the sheriff, is played by Ed Harris, the trickster by Max von Sydow.

4. Flatliners (1990)

A film about the perils of crossing over into death and bring back the evil that lurks there. Stars a good cast led by Keefer Sutherland.

3. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

A creepy, mysterious film about a man who returns from the Vietnam war and finds reality slowly falling apart around him. Stars Tim Robbins, and Macaulay Culkin has a small part as his son.

2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

The classic remade with an all star cast. Gary Oldman plays the title role, Keanu Reeves is Jonathon, Winona Rider is Lucy, and Anthony Hopkins is Van Helsing. This is my favorite adaptation of the novel.

1. The Sixth Sense (1999)

This masterpiece, starring Bruce Willis as a psychiatrist trying to help a boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, who can communicate with ghosts. The twist ending is shocking.

Posted in movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Blames Hypergamy for Low Marriage Rate

hypergamyI’m going to comment on the article Why Are Marriage Rates Down? Study Blames Lack Of ‘Economically-Attractive’ Men. I’ve rarely seen an article that so clearly shows the hypergamous nature of most women today.

Marriage rates have steadily declined over the past few decades, and now researchers from Cornell University are offering up a possible explanation: there just aren’t as many economically-attractive men for unmarried women to meet as there used to be.

Women don’t want to marry men who aren’t “economically attractive”.

Previous studies had attempted to answer why marriage rates are on the decline, but most focused solely on gender ratio discrepancies as opposed to looking into the specific socioeconomic characteristics that make a particular man and woman a good match.

A man is a good match due to his socioeconomic status.

First, the study’s authors examined data collected on recent marriages between 2007-2012 and 2013-2017, gathered as part of the American Community Survey’s cumulative 5-year marriage statistics. That data was used to estimate the financial and sociodemographic characteristics of unmarried women’s potential husbands by creating economic profiles that resembled real husbands who had married comparable women. These potential husband estimates were then compared to actual population data on unmarried men across national, state, and local locations.

What is meant by “comparable women”? I would assume that this refers to women with comparable socioeconomic status.

Researchers found that these estimated potential “dream” husbands had an average income about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men currently available to unmarried women. These synthetic husbands were also 30% more likely to be employed than real single men and 19% more likely to have a college degree.

So the average man available to an unmarried woman makes 58% less than the average man actually married by similar women. Since the mean income in the US is $30000/year, and to make $50000 you have to be in the top 30%, this means average women are looking at only three men in ten as desirable mates. Put a different way, women are looking at only 60% of the men who are more successfully financially than they are.

It was also observed that many racial and ethnic minorities, specifically African American women, seem to be dealing with especially low numbers of economically attractive potential mates. Additionally, women on both the low end and high end of the socioeconomic spectrum face a harder time finding an economically compatible mate.

On the lower end of the spectrum, women achieve a bump in economic status due to welfare programs, but it doesn’t come with an equivalent boost in social status. Women on the high end are chasing a very tiny “long tail” of very wealthy men.

“Most American women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men–men with a stable job and a good income–make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs,” explains lead author Dr. Daniel T. Lichter of Cornell University, in a media release. “Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction. Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.”

You heard the doctor: men who don’t make a “good income” are not “marriageable”. He then makes a whopper of an oxymoronical statement: marriage is based on love, but it’s fundamentally an economic transaction. Unless the love he is referring to is the love of money, this statement makes no sense. You heard it here: If you don’t bring money, you have “little to bring”.

It’s amazing to see red pill wisdom openly proclaimed in the media, though I’m sure the story will be spun as it get’s picked up by the big name outlets. Any man who reads this and is at all familiar with the MGTOW movement will see that this study confirms one of their core arguments. Unfortunately for women, while they are the gatekeeper of sexual relationships, men are the gatekeepers of the “marriage bargain”. The old adage that men only care about one thing seems to be true of women as well, though in both cases, this is a gross generalization.

Posted in philosophy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Feminism Fails to Fathom Men’s Reaction to #metoo

metoo-backlashIn November of 2017, I wrote an article titled Are Men Who Avoid Women at Work Being Childish? In it, I explained the obvious reasons why men had begun avoiding women. In summary, the definition of harassment had become fluid, and presumption of innocence had been thrown out the window. Now, more than a year and a half on, the Guardian has published Men now avoid women at work – another sign we’re being punished for #MeToo, showing that some, at least, have learned nothing.

new study, due to be published in the journal Organizational Dynamics, has found that, following the #MeToo movement, men are significantly more reluctant to interact with their female colleagues. A few highlights from the research include:

Sigh. It’s not fear. It is wise to be cautious when a single false allegation can be listened to and believed, leading to a loss of livelihood with no due process.

It’s not just men who are afraid of women, by the way. Women also appear to be increasingly wary of hiring women. The 2018 survey results found that more than 10% of men and women said they expected to be less willing than before to hire attractive women. (Note: the 2019 results for women are not yet public.) Internalized misogyny really is a bitch.

Interesting. Is it “internalized misogyny”, or do intelligent women realize that hiring an attractive woman who then accuses a man of harassment and forces the company to fire him may actually do harm to their careers?

There’s been a lot of talk about “grey areas” in #MeToo. All this harassment business is very difficult for men, we’re told, because nobody even knows what sexual harassment is any more! Men are afraid to even shake a woman’s hand in case she thinks it’s harassment! Easier to just avoid contact altogether! What’s really interesting about this study, however, is that it thoroughly debunks the argument that men are confused about what constitutes unacceptable behavior. The very first thing researchers did was look at 19 behaviours (emailing sexual jokes to a subordinate, for example) and get people to classify it as harassment or not. Surprise, surprise, both genders basically agreed on what harassment entails.

If that agreed definition was codified as an objective standard and men were not fired based on accusations without evidence, it would mean something.

“Most men know what sexual harassment is, and most women know what it is,” Leanne Atwater, a professor at the University of Houston and one of the study’s authors, told the Harvard Business Review. “The idea that men don’t know their behavior is bad and that women are making a mountain out of a molehill is largely untrue. If anything, women are more lenient in defining harassment.”

Not all women are honest.

So there you go: most men are perfectly aware of the difference between a friendly hug and a creepy hug. They are perfectly aware of what constitutes harassment and what doesn’t. Which makes you wonder why so many men are afraid to interact with women at work?

Bullshit. Just because on average, there is agreement on what is “creepy”, doesn’t mean there is any guarantee that a specific woman won’t interpret a “friendly” hug as harassment.

The answer to that question, perhaps, is that a lot of men aren’t so much afraid of being accused of anything as they are they are angry that #MeToo ever happened. They’re angry that they’ve been made to think about their behavior, made to interrogate power dynamics they always took for granted, and they are punishing women for it by refusing to interact with them.

Men who are wrongfully accused and fired without evidence are rightfully angry. The rest of us who see this happening are simply avoiding a losing proposition. If you want to sell your product, you have to make the juice worth the squeeze.

It’s worth noting, I think, that the Harvard Business Review article previewing the study’s 2019 results is headlined The #MeToo Backlash. You see that phrase a lot and that framing subtly implies that #MeToo went too far, that a backlash is only natural. It’s yet another form of victim-blaming; another way to quietly put women back in their place.

No one is blaming the victims. Those who are using this movement as a weapon against men are the ones that these behaviors are directed against. Withdrawing is not a backlash, it’s merely a defensive reaction. And yes, it is natural. If you want men to want to work with women, you need to make the benefit of doing so outweigh the cost. Apparently, the “21% of men” who “said they would be reluctant to hire women for a job that would require close interaction (such as business travel)” no longer believe that to be the case.

Posted in philosophy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Installing a Gutter: Preparing the Gutter

The laundry room roof I rebuilt four years ago (see Roofing: Installing Certainteed Flintastic Roof Cap) never had it’s gutter reinstalled. This meant the deck below it has rotted out for probably the third time in twenty years. Before rebuilding the deck, I’m going to reinstall a new gutter. The downspout ends up being tricky, as there’s a washing line that runs under the gutter between the downspout and the laundry room.

Step 1: Cut the gutter to length, cut a hole in it, and fit the outlet (the top of the downspout). Unfortunately, all I could get at Home Depot was this crappy plastic part.


Here’s what the outlet looks like from the bottom of the gutter. I cut the hole with a drill, a pair of tin shears, and a pair of wire cutters to get the final fit.


Step 2: I’m going to fasten the downspout with rivets, so the next step is to find a drill bit that fits the rivets.


Step 3: Drill through the downspout and the outlet, push a rivet through the hole, and secure it with the riveter on both sides.


Step 4: After doing the same on the other side, open a tube of gutter seal.


Step 5: Seal around the outlet and attach the end caps to the gutter with sealant as well.


Step 6: Since the downspout is only riveted into plastic, I put sealant around the top of it too, just for extra strength.


Once the sealant is dry, I’ll fasten the gutter to the edge of the roof and finish the downspout.

Posted in diy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Make a 6 Layer Nacho Dip

You will need a largish ceramic cake pan, a spatula, a sharp pairing knife, a plate, a can of refried beans, a red pepper, a jar of salsa, a bunch of green onions, a tub of sour cream, and a block of cheddar cheese.

Step 1: Open the refried beans–I like to use Old El Paso refried beans with mild green chili–and spread the beans evenly over the bottom of the pan:


Like so:


Step 2: Wash, halve, and core the red pepper, then dice it finely:

IMG_0573 Spread the peppers in a thin even layer:


Step 3: Add a layer of salsa. I like to use Pace medium chunky.


Step 4: Chop the whole bunch of green onions and spread them in an even layer:


Step 5: Add a layer of sour cream:


Step 6: Add a layer of finely grated cheddar on top, then refrigerate:


Posted in cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Norse Mythology: Vafthrúdnismál in Modern English

Odin_and_VafþrúðnirThe Vafthrúdnismál  is an Eddic poem found in the Codex Regius. The bulk of the poem consists of a dialog between Odin and the wise giant Vafthrudnir. They ask each other a series of questions to determine each other’s wisdom. Odin ends his questioning by asking for the giant’s prophecies of what will occur at Ragnarok.

“Counsel me, Frigg,” said Odin, “for I long to journey to find Vafthrudnir, and to match my wisdom of ancient times with the wise giant.”

“Father of the hosts,” replied Frigg, “I would stay here at home, where the gods live together. Among all the giants, I know of none equal in might to Vafthrudnir.”

“I have traveled far, and have learned a lot,” said Odin, “and have learned much from the gods. I now want to know how Vafthrudnir lives in his lofty hall.”

“Go safely,” said Frigg, “and return safely again, and may the path you travel be safe! Father of men, let your mind be keen when you speak with the giant.”

Odin went forth and found the hall of Vafthrudnir, the father of Im, and entered it.

“Vafthrudnir, hail!” he said. “I’ve come to your hall to see you, and to first ask if you are merely wise, or have complete wisdom.”

“Who is this man that speaks to me, here in my lofty hall?” asked Vafthrudnir. “You will never go forth from this dwelling unless you are wiser than me.”

“They call me Gagnrath, the wise counselor,” said Odin, “and I am thirsty from the hard journey to your hall. I look for welcome and a gentle greeting, giant, for I have traveled a long way.”

“Then why do you stand on the floor while you speak?” asked Vafthrudnir. “Prove your wisdom, and you shall have a seat in my hall. We shall soon know whose knowledge is greater, the guest’s or the gray sage’s.”

“If a poor man reaches the home of the rich, let him speak wisely or be still,” said Odin. “For to one who speaks with the hard of heart, chattering will always go badly.”

“Speak then, Gagnrath,” said Vafthrudnir, “and make your wisdom known from there on the floor. What is the name of the steed that each morning draws the new day for mankind?”

“Skinfaxi of the shining mane is the steed who for draws the glittering day forth,” said Odin. “He seems the best of horses to heroes, and his mane burns brightly.”

“Tell me, Gagnrath, if you wish to show your wisdom,” asked Vafthrudnir, “what is the name of the steed that from the East brings each night for the noble gods?”

“Hrimfaxi of the frosty mane they name the steed that brings night,” said Odin. “Each morning, foam falls from his bit, and forms the dew in the dales.”

If you are truly wise, Gagnrath,” said Vafthrudnir, “you will tell me the name of the river that runs between the realms of the gods and the giants.”

“Ifing is the river that runs between the realms,” said Odin. “For all time, it flows open, and there is never any ice on that river.”

“I will be convinced of your wisdom,” said Vafthrudnir, “if you tell me the name of the field where Surt and the gracious gods shall meet in battle.”

“Vigrith is the field of battle where the final conflict between Surt and the gods shall take place,” said Odin. “It measures a hundred miles in each way direction, and so are its boundaries set.”

“You are truly wise, guest!” said Vafthrudnir. “Come join me on my bench, and let us speak together. Here in the hall, we will wager our heads on our wisdom.”

Odin joined the giant on his enormous bench.

“First answer me, if your wisdom serves, and you know it, Vafthruthnir,” said Odin.
“In earliest times, where did the earth and the sky come from?”

“The earth was fashioned Out of Ymir’s flesh and the mountains were made of his bones,” said Vafthrudnir. “The sky from the frost-cold giant’s skull, and the ocean out of his blood.”

“Then tell me, if you know,” said Odin, “where the moon and the flaming sun that fare over the world of men came from.”

“Mundilferi fathered the moon and the flaming sun,” said Vafthrudnir, “and each day they run the circle of the heavens to tell the time for men.”

“Third tell me, if you are called wise,” said Odin, “where the day and the night with the narrowing moon come from?”

“Night was the child of the giant Nor. She and her husband Delling were mother and father of the day,” said Vafthrudnir. “The full moon and old one were fashioned by the gods to tell time for men.”

“Fourth tell me,” said Odin, “where winter and the warm summer came from.”

“Vindsval the wind chilled was winter’s father, and Svosuth the gentle fathered the summer,” replied Vafthrudni.

“Fifth tell me which giant was first fashioned in ancient times, and was the eldest of Ymir’s children,” said Odin.

“Winters unmeasured before the earth was made, Bergelmir was born,” replied Vafthrudni. “He was the son of Thrudgelmir, and Aurgelmir’s grandson of old.”

“Sixth, where did Ymir–who you call Aurgelmir–come from long ago?” asked Odin.

“Venom dripped down from the frozen waters of the river Elivagar and waxed until the giant was formed,” replied Vafthrudni. “And from him, our giants’ race descended, and this is why we  are so fierce.”

“Seventh,” asked Odin, “tell me how that first grim giant fathered children, without a giantess to bear them?”

“They say that beneath the arms of the ice giant of ice, a boy and girl grew together,” replied Vafthrudni, “and with his feet, the wise one fashioned a son that had six heads.”

“What is the oldest thing that you remember?” asked Odin. “For your wisdom is great, giant!”

“Bergelmir was born winters unmeasured before the earth was made,” said Vafthrudni. “The first thing I remember was being born in a boat of old.”

“Where does the wind that fares over the waves yet itself is never seen come from?” asked Odin.

“The giant Hræsvelg the corpse eater sits at the end of heaven in the form of an eagle,” said Vafthrudni. “And the wind comes forth from his wings to move o’er the world of men.”

“Tell me, if you know, the fate that is fixed for the gods,” said Odin. “Where did Njorth come from before he came to live with the gods. He is rich with temples and shrines, though he was not born of a god.”

“The wise ones create him in the home of the Vanir did, and gave him as a pledge to the gods,” said Vafthrudni. “At the end of the world he shall return once more to the home to the wise Vanir.”

“Who are the men in Odin’s hall who each day go forth to fight?” asked Odin.

“The heroes brought to Odin’s hall by the Valkyries go forth each day to fight,” said Vafthrudni. “They fell each other, then return from the fight healed, and sit down to feast.”

“Tell me of the runes of the gods and the giants’ race,” said Odin, “for you do indeed tell the truth indeed dost thou tell, and your wisdom is deep, giant!”

“Of the runes of the gods and the giants’ race I call indeed tell you the truth,” said Vafthrudni, “For to each of the nine worlds I have won, even to Niflhel beneath, the land where dead men dwell.”

“Will mankind survive when at the end the long winter comes?” asked Odin.

“Lif and Lifthrasir will hide themselves in Mimir’s wood,” said Vafthrudni. “They will survive on morning dews; such food shall men then find.”

“How will the sun return to the smooth back of the sky after Fenrir has snatched it from its place?” asked Odin.

“Sol, the beaming elf, shall bear a bright daughter before Fenrir snatches her from the sky,” said Vafthrudni. “The maiden will tread her mother’s path when the gods have gone to death.”

Which maidens, so wise of mind, will fare forth over the sea?” asked Odin.

“The maidens shall pass over Mogthrasir’s hill, and they will be followed by three throngs,” said Vafthrudni. “They will protect the dwellers on earth, though they are the descendants of the giants.”

“Who will rule the realm of the gods after the fires of Surt have sunk down?” asked Odin.

“Vidar and Vali shall dwell In the land of the gods after the fires of Surt die down,” said Vafthrudni. “His sons Modi and Magni shall have Mjollnir after Thor the hurler falls in battle.”

“What shall be the doom of Odin, when the gods are destroyed?” asked Odin.

“The wolf shall fell the father of men, and his son Vidar will avenge avenge him,” said Vafthrudni. “He shall tear apart its terrible jaws, and so doing, slay the wolf.”

“What did Odin himself whisper in the ear of his son, before Balder was burned in the bale-fire?” Odin asked.

“No man knows what you said in the ear of your son,” said Vafthrudni.
“With fated mouth, I have told you of the fall of the gods, and given you tales of old. Now have I striven with Odin in knowledge, and ever the wiser you are.”

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment