Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

battle. These, thus re attack as sudden, as danceived into the residence gerous ? They gave them of the Gods, were still ex up to the custody of Death, ercised in all the opera who was to punish their tions of war, in order to weakness with languor keep them in breath, rea and pain. All this hath dy against the last great nothing to do with that conflict. This was the Eternal Hell and Elyfiuin, great end to which all

which we shall see sketchtheir pleasures and em ed out in the Edda with ployments were directed.

much more force and digAs to cowardly or inac- nity; and where nothing tive persons, what could will be regarded but fide the Gods have done with lity, chastity, integrity them, when they were and justice, thus threatened with an

Τ Η Ε .

THE SEVENTEENTH FABLE.

Of the Wolf Fenris.

AS

[ocr errors]

S to the Wolf Fenris, the Gods

bred him up among themselves ; Tyr being the only one among them who durft give him his food. Nevertheless, when they perceived that he every day increased prodigiously in fize, and that the Oracles warned them that he would one day become fatal to them; they determined to make very strong iron fetters for him, and presenting them to the Wolf, desired him to put them on to' shew his strength, in endeavouring to break them.

The Monfter perceiving that this enterprize would not be very difficult to him, permitted the Gods to do what they pleased; and then violently stretching his nerves, burst the chains, and set himself at liberty. The Gods having seen this, made a new set of iron chains, half as strong again as the former, and prevailed on the Wolf to put

them

them on, assuring him that in breaking these he would give an undeniable proof of his vigour. The Wolf saw well enough that these second chains would not be

very easy to break; but finding himself increase in strength, and that he could never become famous without running some risk, he voluntarily submitted to be chained. As soon as this was done, he shakes himfelf, rolls upon

the ground, dashes his chains against the earth, violently stretches his limbs, and at last bursts his fetters, which he made to fly in pieces all about him. By these means he freed himself from his chains;

and

gave rise to the proverb which we still apply, when any one makes strong efforts * After this, the Gods despaired of ever being able to bind the wolf: wherefore the Universal Father sent Skyrner, the messenger of the God Frey, into the country of the black Genii, to a dwarf; to engage him to make a new bandage to confine Fenris ut. That bandage was perfectly

smooth,

* In the Icelandic, Leysa or Læthingi edr drepi or Droma, i. e. according to Goranson's Latin version, Solvi ex Lædingo, et excutti ex Droma. DromA is the name given in the EDDA, to this chain of the Gods.

T. + Goranson's Edition adds; “ This nerve or string ! was made of fix things, viz. of the noise made by $ cats feet; of a woman's beard; of the roots of

moun.

[ocr errors][merged small]

( 92 ) smooth, and as limber as a common string, and yet very strong, as you will presently fee. When it was brought to the Gods, they were full of thanks and acknowledgments to the bringers ; and taking the Wolf with them into the isle of a certain lake, they shewed him the string, entreating that he would try to break it, and assuring him that it was somewhat stronger than one would think, on seeing it so slender. They took it themselves, one after another into their hands, attempting in vain to break it; and then told him, that there was none befides himself, who could accomplish such an enterprize. The Wolf replied, That string which you present to me is so flight, that there will be no glory in breaking it ; or if there be any artifice in the manner of its formation, although it appear never so brittle, assure yourselves it shall never touch a foot of mine. The Gods assured him that he would easily break so flight a bandage, since he had already burst asunder shackles of iron of the most folid make; adding, that if he shouid not succeed, he would then have shown the Gods that he was too feeble to excite their terror, and

« mountains ; of the nerves of bears; of the breath
65 of fifhes; and the spittle of birds, &c.(with much
more.)

T.
there-

therefore they should make no difficulty of setting him at liberty without delay. I am · very much afraid, replied the moniter, that if you once tye me so fast that I cannot work my deliverance myself, you will be in no haste to unloose me. I would not therefore voluntarily permit myself to be tied, but only to show you, that I am no coward: yet I insist upon it, that one of you put his hand in my mouth, as a pledge that you intend me no deceit. Then the Gods, wistfully looking on one another, found themselves in a very embarrassing dilemma; till Tyr presented himself, intrepidly offering his right hand to the monster. Here</ upon the Gods having tied up the Wolf; he forcibly stretched himself, as he had formerly done, and exerted all his powers to disengage himself: but the more efforts he made, the closer and straiter he drew the knot; and all the Gods (except Tyr, 'who

lost his hand') burst out into loud peals of laughter at the sight. Observing him

then so fast tied, as to be unable ever to get loose ágain, they took one end of the string, and having drilled a hole for it, drew it through the middle of a large broad rock, which they sunk very deep into the earth ; afterwards, to make it still more secure, they tied the end of the cord which came through the rock, to a great stone which they funk

« PreviousContinue »