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“ half of such a night.” Frey having thus given away his sword, found himself without arms when he fought against Bela ; and hence it was, that he flew him with the horn of a stag. Then, said Gangler, it seems to me very astonishing, that fo brave a hero as Frey should give his sword away to another, without keeping one equally good for himself. He must have been in very bad plight, when he encountered with Bela ; and I'll be sworn, he repented him heartily. That conflict was trifling, replied Har: Frey could have slain Bela with a blow of his fift, had he had a mind to it. But when the sons of Muspell, those wicked Genii, shall come to fight with the Gods, then he will have reason to be sorry indeed that he parted with his sword.
Τ Η Ε
THE TWENTIETH FABLE.
Of the Food of the Gods.
UT, says Gangler, if every man who
has been flain in battle since the beginning of the world, repairs to the palace of Odin, what food does that God assign to so vast a multitude? Har answered him, You have reason to say it is a vast multitude; yet will it still increase ad infinitum ; nay, the Gods themselves shall desire, that it were still much more considerable, when the wolf Fenris arrives at the last day (A). The number, however, never can be fo great, but the flesh of the wild boar Serimner will suffice to sustain them; which, though dressed every morning, becomes intire again every night. I believe there are but few who are able to explain this matter to you, as it is described in those verses; the sense of which is to this effect; “ The cook, Andrimner, dresses the wild “ boar incessantly in his pot: the heroes
so are fed with the lard or fat of this ani
mal, which exceeds every thing in the “ world (B).” But,
But, says Gangler, Does Odin eat at the same table with the heroes? Har answered, The meat that is set before him, Opin distributes to two wolves, known by the names of Geri and Freki : for as to himself, he stands in no need of food : wine is to him instead of every other aliment; according to what is said in these verses; “ The illustrious father of armies, « with his own hands fattens his two W wolves; the victorious ODIN takes no “ other nourishment to himself, than what " arises from the unintermitted quaffing of • wine.” Two ravens constantly fit upon his fhoulders, and whisper in his ear whatever news they have seen or heard. The one of them is named Hugin, or Spirit; the other Munnin, or Memory. Odin lets them loose every day; and they, after having made their excursions over the whole world, return again at night about the hour of repast. Hence it is, that this , God knows so many things, and is called the God of the Ravens *.
Gangler proceeds, and demands, And what is the beverage of the heroes, which they have in
* The reader will find an additional passage here in the Latin Version of Goranson.
as great abundance as their food? Do they only drink water? Har says to him, You put a very foolish question. Can you imagine that the Universal Father would invite kings, and chiefs *, and great lords; and give them nothing to drink but water? In thať case, certainly very many of those, who arrive at the palace of Odin, and who had endured cruel torments and received mortal wounds in order to obtain access thither, would have reason to complain : this honour would indeed cost them dear were they there to meet with no better entertainment. But you shall see, that the case is quite otherwise. For in VALHALL, there is a fhe goat, which feeds on the leaves of the tree Lerada. From her hydromel, or mead, in such great abundance, that it every day compleatly fills a pitcher, large enough to inebriate all the heroes (c). Truly, says Gangler, this is a very useful, and very furprizing The goat: I fancy the tree she feeds upon, must have many fingular virtues.
Har answered him, What is related of a particular stag is much more marvellous. This stag also is in Valhall, and feeds upon the leaves of that same tree: there issues from his horns such
The original Icelandic word is Iarls, (Lat. Duces whence is derived our title, EARLS; the word Jarls however had not acquired so precise a meaning.
an abundance of vapour, that it forms the · fountain of Vergelmer, out of which arise
the rivers that water the residence of the Gods. Gangler goes on, and says, Valhall must needs be an immense palace ; yet I imagine there must often arise struggles and contests at the gate, among such a croud of people as are continually thronging in and out. Har replied,
Har replied, Why do not you inquire, how many gates there are; and what are their dimensions ? Then you would be able to judge, whether there be any difficulty in going in and out, or not. Know then, that there is plenty of seats and doors, as it is said in the
of Grimnis; “ I know that there are five «« hundred and forty gates in Valhall. “ Out of each, eight heroes may march e abreast when going to battle, followed « by crouds of spectators." A world of people! says Gangler ; and Odin must needs be a great chieftain, to command so numerous an army. But tell me, How do the heroes divert themselves when they are not drinking ? Every day, replies Har, as foon as they have dressed themselves, they take their arms; and entering the Lifts, fight, till they cut one another in pieces (D): this is their Diversion : but no fooner does the hour of repast approach, than they remount their steeds all fafe and sound, and return to drink in the palace