The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 35

Looking into their eyes, Odin saw the shadows and forebodings that Hugin and Munin told him of take shape and substance. And now others came across the Rainbow Bridge. They were Frigga and Sif and Nanna, the wives[Pg 73] of Odin and Thor and Baldur. Frigga looked upon the Norns. As she did, she turned a glance of love and sadness upon Baldur, her son, and then she drew back and placed her hand upon Nanna's head.

Odin turned from gazing on the Norns, and looked upon Frigga, his queenly wife. "I would leave Asgard for a while, wife of Odin," he said.

"Yea," said Frigga. "Much has to be done in Midgard, the World of Men."

"I would change what knowledge I have into wisdom," said Odin, "so that the things that are to happen will be changed into the best that may be."

"You would go to Mimir's Well," said Frigga.

"I would go to Mimir's Well," said Odin.

"My husband, go," said Frigga.

Then they went back over that Rainbow Bridge that is more beautiful and more tremulous than the one that men see from the earth; they went back over the Rainbow Bridge, the Æsir and the Asyniur, Odin and Frigga, Baldur and Nanna, Tyr, with his sword, and Sif beside Tyr. As for Thor, he went struggling through the Cloud Rivers Körmt and Ermt, his hammer Miölnir upon his shoulder.

Little Hnossa, the youngest of the Dwellers in Asgard, was there, standing beside Heimdall, the Watcher for the Gods and the Keeper of the Bridge to Urda's Well, when Odin All-Father and Frigga, his Queen, went through the great gate with heads bent. "Tomorrow," Hnossa heard Odin say, "tomorrow I shall be Vegtam the Wanderer upon the ways of Midgard and Jötunheim."


[Pg 77]


And so Odin, no longer riding on Sleipner, his eight-legged steed; no longer wearing his golden armor and his eagle-helmet, and without even his spear in his hand, traveled through Midgard, the World of Men, and made his way toward Jötunheim, the Realm of the Giants.

No longer was he called Odin All-Father, but Vegtam the Wanderer. He wore a cloak of dark blue and he carried a traveler's staff in his hands. And now, as he went toward Mimir's Well, which was near to Jötunheim, he came upon a Giant riding on a great Stag.

Odin seemed a man to men and a giant to giants. He[Pg 78] went beside the Giant on the great Stag and the two talked together. "Who art thou, O brother?" Odin asked the Giant.

"I am Vafthrudner, the wisest of the Giants," said the one who was riding on the Stag. Odin knew him then. Vafthrudner was indeed the wisest of the Giants, and many went to strive to gain wisdom from him. But those who went to him had to answer the riddles Vafthrudner asked, and if they failed to answer the Giant took their heads off.