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Grimnismal


King Hrauthung had two sons, Agnar and Geirroeth. Agnar was
ten years old, Geirroeth eight. One day they were rowing in a
bout with their tackle, to catch small fry, when the wind blew
them out to sea. In the darkness of night they were dashed
against land. They made the shore and found a cotter. They
stayed there that winter. The goodwife fostered Agnar, the
goodman, Geirroeth an counseled him in shrewdness. In spring
he got them a boat, and when he and his wife led them down to
the shore, he spoke secretly with Geirroeth. They had a fair wind
and came to their father's landing place. Geirroeth was forward in
the boat. He leapt out on shore and thrust the boat into the sea
and said, " Now go where all trolls may take thee!"

Agnar drifted out to sea; but Geirroeth went up to the buildings.
He was warmly welcomed, and as his father had died, he was
made king and became a famous leader.

One day, Odhinn and Frigg were sitting in Hlithskjalf and were
looking out upon all the worlds. Then said Odhinn: "Dost thou
see Agnar,thy foster son, how he begets children with an ogress
in a cave? But Geirroeth, my foster son, is king in the land." Frigg
answered: "He is so grudging about his food that he lets his
guests die of hunger when he thinks too many have come."
Odhinn said that this was a gross lie, and so they laid a wager
about this matter. Frigg sent her chambermaid Fulla to Geirroeth
to tell him to beware lest he be fall under the magick of an evil
sorcerer. She told him that the sorcerer could be recognized by
this, that no dog was so fierce as to rush him. But it was evil
slander, to say that King Geirroeth was not generous about his
food. Yet he had that man taken captive whom his dogs would
not set upon. He was clad in a blue cloak and gave his name as
Grimnir, and said no more about himself though he was asked.
The king tortured him to make him speak, by setting him between
two fires; and there he sat for eight night. Geirroeth had a son ten
years old, who was named Agnar after his brother. Agnar went
up to Grimnir and gave him a full horn to drink from and said that
the king did ill to torture one who had done no wrong. Grimnir
emptied it. By that time the fire had come so near him that his
cloak began to burn.

Hot art thou, blaze, and too high, withal!
Get, fire, thee farther away!
My frieze coat is singed though I flung it aloft,
flares up the fur in the flames.

Eight nights famished 'twixt the fire I sate,
nor did anyone fetch me food,
but Agnar only who after shall rule,
Geirroeth's son, o'er the Goths.

All hail to thee, for happiness
is given thee, Agnar, by Odhinn
Better reward shalt never get
for one horn of ale.

The land is hallowed which lies yonder,
near to Aesir and alfs;
in Thrudheim, there shall Thorr ay dwell,
till draws nigh the doom of the Gods.

On Ydal's plains Ullr hath reared him
his hall timbered on high.
For Freyr's tooth-fee was fashioned of yore
Alf-Home, as gift by the Gods.

A third hall still, all thatched with silver,
was built by the blessed Gods:
In Valaskjalf hall did house himself
Odhinn in olden days.

Sokkvabekk called is the fourth, which cool waters
ripple round about;
There Odhinn and Saga all their days drink,
glad from golden cups.

Gladsheim is called the fifth where golden shimm'ring
Valhalla is widely spread out;
Here Odhinn chooses every day
weapon-slain warriors.

Easily known to Ygg's chosen
are the heavenly halls:
The rafters, spearshafts; the roofs, shield-shingled;
and the benches strewn with coats of mail.

Easily known to Ygg's chosen
are the heavenly halls:
A wolf hangeth o'er the western gate,
and hovers an eagle on high.

Thrymheim is called the sixth, where Thjatsi dwelled,
the Etin of awful might;
Njordhr bride there her bower hath,
Skadhi, where her father before.

Breidhablik the seventh; there Baldr the Good
hath reared him his bright abode:
in that land it lies where least I know
falsehood and faithlessness.

Himinbjorg the eighth; there Heimdallr, they say,
guards the hallowed hall;
There the Gods' warder in goodly stead
the mead drinks, glad in mind.

Folkvang the ninth, where Freyja chooses
who seats shall have in her hall:
Half of the slain are hers each day,
and half are Odhinn's own.

Glitnir the tenth, which with gold is propped,
and is shingled with shining silver;
There Forseti unflagging sits,
the God that stills all strife.

Noatun the eleventh, where Njordhr hath him
reared his bright abode;
the sinless God his seat there has
and rules in high-timbered hall.

Greenwoods grow, and grasses tall,
in Vithi, Vithar's land:
from horseback leaps the hero, eager
to avenge his father's fall.

By Andhrimnir in Eldhrimnir
Saehrimnir, the boar, is boiled,
the best of bacons; though 'tis barely known
what the Einherjar eat.

Valfadhir feeds Freki and Geri
on the flesh of the fallen;
but weapon-glad Odhinn on wine only
lives forever and ay.

The whole earth over, every day,
hover Hugin and Munnin;
I dread lest Hugin droop in his flight,
yet I fear me still more for Munnin.

Thund roars loudly; sports Thjothvitnir's
fish in the foaming flood;
the strong stream seems too stiff to wade
for warriors to Valhalla bent.

Valgrind is the gate that ward the Gods,
Hallowed, nigh hallowed doors;
old is that wicket, nor wot many
with what bolt that gate is barred.

Five hundred rooms and forty withal
I ween that in Bilskirnir be;
of all the halls which on high are reared
the greatest I see is my son's.

Five hundred doors and forty withal
I ween that in Valhalla be:
eight hundred warriors through one door hie them
when they fare forth to fight the Wolf.

Heithrun, the goat on the hall that stands,
eateth off Laerath's limbs;
the crocks she fills with clearest mead,
will that drink not e'er be drained.

Eikthyrnir, the hart on the hall that stands,
eateth off Laerath's limbs;
drops from his horns in Hvergelmir fall,
thence wend all the waters their way.

[Sith and Vith, Soekin and Eikin,
Svol and Gunnthro, Fjorm and Fimbulthul,
Rin and Rinnandi,
Gipul and Gopul, Gomul and Geirvimul,
they flow by the gardhr of the Gods;
Thyn and Vin, Tholl and Holl,
Grath and Gunnthorin.

Vina is called one, Vegsvinn the other,
the third, Thjothnuma;
Nyt and Not, Nonn and Hronn,
Slith and Hrith, Sylg and Ylg,
Vil and Van, Vond and Strond,
Gjoll and Leiptr, flow in the land of men,
but hence flow to Hel.]

Kormt and Ormt and the Kerlaugs twain,
Thorr does wade through
every day, to doom when he fares
'neath the ash Yggdrasil;
for the bridge of the Gods is ablaze with flames--
hot are the hollowed waters.

[Glath and Gyllir, Gler and Skeithbrimnir,
Silfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir, Golltopp and Lettfeti--
these steeds ride heavenly hosts
every day, to the doom when they fare
'neath the ash Yggdrasil.]

Three roots do spread in threefold ways
beneath the ash Yggdrasil:
dwell Etins 'neath one, 'neath the other, Hel,
'neath the third; Midhgardhr's men.

(An eagle sitteth on Yggdrasil's limbs,
whose keen eyes widely ken;
'twixt his eyes a fallow falcon is perched,
called Vedhrfolnir, and watcheth.)

Ratatosk the squirrel is called which runneth ay
about the ash Yggdrasil:
the warning words of the watchful eagle
he bears to Nidhogg beneath.

[Four harts also the highest shoots,
ay gnaw from beneath:
Dain and Dvalin, Duneyr and Dyrathror.]

[More wyrms do lie the world-tree beneath
than unwise apes may ween:
Goin and Moin, which are Grafvitnir's sons,
Grabak and Grafvolluth;
Ofnir and Svafnir ay, I fear me,
on that tree's twigs will batten.]

The ash Yggdrasil doth ill abide,
more than to men to is known:
the hart browsing above, its bole rotting,
and Nidhogg gnawing beneath.

Hrist and Mist the horn shall bear me,
Skeggjold and Skogul;
but Hild and Thrudh, Hlokk and Herfjotur,
Goll and Geironul,
Randgrith and Rathgrith and Reginleif,
to the Einherjar ale shall bear.

Arvakr and Alsvith, they up shall draw
the sun's wain wearily;
but under their bellies the blessed Gods
have hidden the Icy Irons.

Svalin is called, the Sun before,
a shield from the shining god.
Would smoke and smolder both sea and land,
if from him it ever should fall.

Skoll the wolf, in the sky dogs him
to the warding woods;
but Hati the other, Hrothvitnir's son,
follows the fair orb too.

Of Ymir's flesh the earth was shaped,
of his blood, the briny sea,
of his hair, the trees, the hills of his bones,
out of his skull the sky.

But of his lashes the loving Gods made
Midhgardhr for sons of men;
from his brow they made the menacing clouds
which in the heavens hover.

Will Ullr befriend him, and all the Gods,
who first the fire quenches;
for open lie to the Aesir all worlds,
when kettles are heaved from the hearth.

[In earliest times Ivaldi's sons
Skithblathnir, the ship, did shape,
the best of boats, for beaming Freyr,
the noble son of Njordhr.]

[The ash Yggdrasil is of all trees best;
Skithblathnir, the best of boats;
of hallowed Gods, Odhinn; of horses, Sleipnir;
of bridges, Bifrost; of skalds, Bragi;
of hawks, Habrok; of hounds all, Garm.]

Now my looks have I lifted aloft to the Gods:
help will come from on high,
from all the Aesir which in shall come
on Aegir's benches,
at Aegir's feast.

Grim is my name, and Gangleri,
Herjan and Hjalmberi,
Thekk and Thrithi, Thuth and Uth,
Helblindi and Har.

Sath and Svipal and Sanngetal,
Herteit and Hnikar,
Bileyg, Baleyg, Bolverk, Fjolnir,
Grim and Grimnir, Glapsvith, Fjolsvith,

Sithhott, Sithskegg, Sigfadhir, Hnikuth,
Alfadhir, Valfadhir, Atrith, Farmatyr:
by one name was I not welcomed ever,
since among folk I fared.

Grimnir my name in Geirroeth's hall,
but Jalk in Asmund's.
Was I Kjalar called when the hand sled I drew,
but Thror at Things,
Vithur in wars,
Oski and Omi, Jafnhar, Biflindi,
Gondlir and Harbardhr among Gods.

Svithur and Svithrir at Sokkmimir's was I,
when the old Etin I hid,
and when Midhvitnir's, the mighty one's,
son I slew alone.

Thou art muddled, Geirroeth! Too much thou hast drunk;
of much art robbed since rashly thou losest
Odhinn's and the Einherjar's favor.

Full long I spake, but little thou mindest:
faithless friends betray thee:
before me I see my foster son's sword,
its blade all dripping with blood.

A death-doomed man will soon drink with Ygg:
not long the life left thee.
The Norns wish thee ill: now Odhinn mayst see;
come thou near if thou canst.

Now Odhinn's my name. Ygg was I called,
Thund was my name ere then;
Vak and Skilfing, Vafuth abd Hroptatyr,
Gaut and Jalk among Gods.
Ofnir and Svafnir, they all have become
one with me, I ween.

King Geirroeth was sitting with his sword on his knees half
unsheathed. But when he heard that it was Odhinn who had
come to him, he arose and wanted to take him from between the
fires. His sword slid from his hands with its hilt downward. The
King stumbled and fell forward, the sword pierced him, and so he
lost his life. Then Odhinn vanished; but Agnar was king in that
land for a long time.

 

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