The Children of Odin The Book of Northern Myths

Page: 39

"I will be a hero, no doubt of that," Geirrod answered. "And I would be a King, too, only Agnar Little-good was born before me."

Agnar bade goodby to Frigga and to Odin, thanking them for the care they had taken of Geirrod and himself. He looked into Frigga's eyes, and he told her that he would strive to learn how he might fight the battle for the Gods.

The two went into the boat and they rowed away. They came near to King Hrauding's realm. They saw the castle overlooking the sea. Then Geirrod did a terrible thing. He turned the boat back toward the sea, and he cast the oars away. Then, for he was well fit to swim the roughest sea and climb the highest cliffs, he plunged into the water and struck out toward the shore. And Agnar, left without oars, went drifting out to sea.

Geirrod climbed the high cliffs and came to his father's castle.[Pg 85]

King Hrauding, who had given up both of his sons for lost, was rejoiced to see him. Geirrod told of Agnar that he had fallen out of the boat on their way back and that he had been drowned. King Hrauding, who had thought both of his sons were gone from him, was glad enough that one had come safe. He put Geirrod beside him on the throne, and when he died Geirrod was made King over the people.

And now Odin, having drunk from Mimir's Well, went through the kingdoms of men, judging Kings and simple people according to the wisdom he had gained. He came at last to the kingdom that Geirrod ruled over. Odin thought that of all the Kings he had judged to be noble, Geirrod would assuredly be the noblest.

He went to the King's house as a Wanderer, blind of one eye, wearing a cloak of dark blue and with a wanderer's staff in his hands. As he drew near the King's house men on dark horses came riding behind him. The first of the men did not turn his horse as he came near the Wanderer, but rode on, nearly trampling him to the ground.

As they came before the King's house the men on the dark horses shouted for servants. Only one servant was in the stable. He came out and took the horse of the first man. Then the others called upon the Wanderer to tend their horses. He had to hold the stirrups for some of them to dismount.

Odin knew who the first man was. He was Geirrod the King. And he knew who the man who served in the stable was. He was Agnar, Geirrod's brother. By the wisdom he had gained he knew that Agnar had come back to his[Pg 86] father's kingdom in the guise of a servant, and he knew that Geirrod did not know who this servant was.

They went into the stable together. Agnar took bread and broke it and gave some to the Wanderer. He gave him, too, straw to seat himself on. But in a while Odin said, "I would seat myself at the fire in the King's hall and eat my supper of meat."